Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Successful nurturing of young talent

17.01.2012
Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner recently conducted research in California, before opting to join the University of Würzburg. With an Emmy Noether grant in the bag, she is setting up her own junior research group at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and is on the lookout for new and interesting substances.

Her high school tutor had actually advised her against studying chemistry, saying that it was not a subject for a woman, but if she really must study it then she should at least set her sights on becoming a teacher. However, this did not stop Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner from enrolling on a chemistry course at the University of Marburg. A degree course.

Now the 29-year-old lectures and conducts research at the University of Würzburg’s Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. Working under Professor Holger Braunschweig, she is in the process of setting up her own junior research group and pursuing her postdoctoral qualification (habilitation). The German Research Foundation (DFG) is supporting her in this venture with a grant of around one million euros over the next five years within the framework of its Emmy Noether Program. The program is intended to provide talented young scientists with the opportunity to achieve scientific independence more rapidly; by running their own junior research groups, postdoctoral researchers should acquire the qualification to become a university lecturer, according to the DFG’s description of the program.

Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner works with molecules that have a nucleus usually containing a reactive carbon atom that possesses a high negative charge. She combines these with various types of so-called “electron-drawing groups”, which enable stabilization of the products, making it possible to research their properties.

On the quest for stable systems

“We are practicing basic chemistry,” she says. “What we are concerned with is making reactive substances manageable so that we can work with them further.” This is not always that easy for the very reason that these substances react so quickly with their environment and can head in directions that provide for new surprises. In such cases, the chemist has to reach for her bag of tricks. The experiments are then conducted in a special glove box, separated from normal ambient air in a pure inert gas atmosphere, or in extreme minus degrees.

“Our goal is to develop systems that are stable,” says Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner. Once this has been achieved, the search for the reactions that occur there will begin – in conjunction with the question: Where can we go from here with these reactions? Should the work be successful, one possible outcome might be a metal complex that serves as a catalyst and therefore makes the transition from research to application. In principle, however, for the researcher it is all about “understanding reactivity”. A practical application would an ideal consequence of the insights obtained.

About the person

Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner grew up near Würzburg and attended school in Lauda-Königshofen. In 2002, she started a chemistry degree course in Marburg, before switching, in 2004, to the University of Würzburg for the advanced stage of her studies. She obtained a doctorate at TU Dortmund University with a thesis on lithiumorganic compounds; she then spent some time conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California in Berkeley (USA). And now she is back in Würzburg.

“Würzburg’s chemistry department enjoys a good reputation, internationally as well,” she says. And nowhere else in Germany is there an inorganic chemistry department as large as the one headed by Holger Braunschweig, she adds. What is more, the institute’s equipment is outstanding, especially as regards the large apparatus. A spectral analysis with the help of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, or an x-ray structure analysis – not a problem at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry.

However, Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner does not have all that much time to work in the laboratory at the moment. The task of setting up her own research group is taking its toll. With a load of meetings, paperwork, and administrative chores to deal with, the chemist sometimes finds herself unable to conclude an experiment she has prepared in the extractor hood because she is called away for other urgent matters. This will soon be over, she hopes. Once the team has established itself and the “start-up phase” has been completed. After all, she still has research to do for her habilitation.

Why did she choose chemistry in the first place? “I have always enjoyed asking questions. And in chemistry you receive the most answers,” says Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner. Today, after a good ten years of studying and research, she still finds the world of atoms and molecules fascinating. “You always come across new surprises in chemistry,” she says.

Contact

Dr. Viktoria H. Däschlein-Gessner, T: +49 (0)931 31-84163,
e-mail: VGessner@uni-wuerzburg.de

Gunnar Bartsch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

Further reports about: CHEMISTRY Molecules electron-drawing groups gas atmosphere inorganic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>