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 How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>