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New Appointments to LMU

Munich, 10/31/2008


Prof. Dr. Dirk Trauner
Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals

On August 1, Dirk Trauner, recently of the University of California, Berkeley, took on a professorship for chemical biology and genetics at LMU. Here, he shall continue his work on the production of biologically active natural substances by biomimetic synthesis, primarily as part of the cluster of excellence “Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich” (CIPSM). Substances occurring in nature can be produced using this approach, in that naturally occurring production steps are imitated in the laboratory. This approach quite often leads to more elegant and more efficient synthesis paths. “We intend to produce immunosuppressants; that is, the drugs administered after an organ transplant or for treating autoimmune disease,” Trauner tells us. “We are also looking at anticancer agents.”

Dirk Trauner was born in 1967 in Linz, Austria. He first studied biology and then biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and the University of Vienna, and obtained his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1997 in Vienna. He then went on to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he worked as postdoctoral fellow with Professor Samuel J. Danishefsky in the field of chemical biology. From 2000 to 2008, he headed a research group, first as assistant professor and later as associate professor, at the Department of Chemistry of the University of California, Berkeley. The Austrian-born scientist decided quite deliberately in favor of LMU. “Munich has the necessary critical mass for optimal work in my field of research,” says Trauner. It is above all the close collaboration of the research establishments on the LMU high-tech campus in Großhadern/Martinsried, and the proximity of the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and Neurobiology that promise ideal conditions for innovative research, Trauner tells us.


Prof. Dr. Marianne Dieterich
Medical Faculty

Marianne Dieterich has been a professor at LMU and Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology with the Friedrich-Baur Institute for Neuromuscular Disorders since June 2008. Born in 1956, she studied medicine from 1975 to 1981 at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and at Essen University. From 1978 to 1981, she obtained her doctorate at the Neurosurgical University Clinic Essen. Following that, she was a medical practitioner at the Neurosurgery and Neurology Clinics of Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen and at the Neurological Clinic of LMU between 1984 and 1992. In 1992, at the same establishment, she qualified as lecturer for neurology and clinical neurophysiology, and was appointed Privatdozentin. From 1992 to 1995, she held a Heisenberg Foundation scholarship from DFG, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), and from 1993 to 1994, she conducted animal experiments at the international primate laboratory of the Ontoneurology Center of the Neurological Clinic of Kantonsspital Zürich. Following that, Marianne Dieterich was professor and head of a DFG clinical research group “Vestibular System and Ocular Motor Function” at the Neurology Clinic of LMU until 2001. Since 2001, she was professor and director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. “What I find most interested in this research,” says Marianne Dieterich“ is analyzing human peripheral and central vestibular diseases, that is vertigo and balance disorders, using neurophysiological, psychophysical and imaging methods, as well as the analysis of the cortical processing of self-motion and object-motion perception and three-dimensional orientation in space, and also the interplay of sensory systems in the cortex.” Furthermore, she is involved in functional imaging studies on the plasticity of the central nervous system after damage such as heart attack or deficits in one of the sensory systems, interactions between the different sensory systems, the role of various cerebellar and temporal lobe areas in eye, head and body coordination, as well as clinical vertiginous syndromes such as somatoform disorder and vestibular migraines. Marianne Dieterich holds numerous awards, including the Vertigo Award of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurologie and the international Hallpike-Nylén Award of the international Bárány Society for Neuro-Otology.


David du Toit
Faculty of Protestant Theology

David du Toit has held a professorship for the New Testament focusing on Greco-Roman culture at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at LMU since July. The South African scientist, born in 1961, first studied mathematics and then protestant theology and Greek philology at universities in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. From 1988 to 1990, a scholarship from the Schweizerische Eidgenössische Stipendienkommission and the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst took him to Universität Bern and to LMU. After stations at the Kirchliche Hochschule Berlin in Berlin-Zehlendorf as research assistant for the New Testament, the Collegium Oecumenicum in Munich as academic tutor and intermittently at LMU as academic assistant, he obtained his doctorate in 1995 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. From 1995 to 1997, he completed his theology studies in Munster to become research assistant at the Kirchliche Hochschule Bethel in Bielefeld. From 2003 to 2008, du Toit was research assistant at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where he qualified as lecturer in 2006 and worked as Privatdozent. “My main research at LMU,” says du Toit, “will focus on the language, texts and genesis of early Christianity in the conditions of the Greco-Roman culture.” In particular, he intends to occupy himself with the lexicography and semantics of early Christian Greek, the beginnings of Christological interpretive patterns in early Christianity and the methodical and epistemological prerequisites for the pursuit of the historical Jesus. And: “Firstly, I will revise the standard dictionary of early Christian Greek over the next few years. Secondly, I wish to initiate an international project with linguists, Greek scholars and computer scientists aimed at getting a complete e-lexicon of the Greek language up and running, which will be based on the latest computer, database and Internet technology.


Prof. Dr. Christina Scheu
Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy

Christina Scheu has been a professor of physical chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at LMU since June 2008. The professorship is fully funded by the cluster of excellence NIM (Nanosystems Initiative Munich). Scheu’s main field of research is transmission electron microscopy of nanostructures and boundary surfaces. More than 100 scientific publications deal with high-resolution structural and chemical analysis of materials, determination of bonding behaviors at boundary surfaces, and the investigation of the electronic structure of nanocrystalline materials and nanostructures. Interdisciplinary cooperation with international project partners forms an essential basis for this scientific work. Christina Scheu, born in 1965, studied physics at TH Darmstadt. From 1993 to 1996, she received her doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart. From 1996 to 1998, she was at the Department of Materials Engineering of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa as Minerva scholarship holder, before heading a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart from 1999 onward. From 2003 to 2005, she engaged herself in electron microscopy and metallography at the material research laboratory of Universität Stuttgart, before heading the research group "Nano and Macroanalysis” between 2005 and 2008 at Montanuniversität Leoben in Austria. In addition to electron microscopy, Christina Scheu dealt with correlating properties with microstructure. The materials she works with range from metal-ceramic composites, to intermetallic materials, to nanocrystalline hard material layers.


Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller
Faculty of Mathematics

Dieter Kranzlmüller, born in 1969, who last worked at Universität Linz, took on a professorship for computer science at LMU in May, combined with a position in the board of directors of the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (Leibnitz Rechenzentrum, LRZ). Directly after his studies, he worked as head of Integrated Information Processing at E. Eisenbeiss Söhne. Kranzlmüller then pursued a university career: From 1993 to 2003, he was Assistant at the Computer Sciences Institute of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, in 2004 he was visiting researcher at the Supercomputing Center of Technische Universität Dresden, from 2005 to 2006 vice-project director at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva and from 2004 to 2008 assistant director at the Institute of Graphics and Parallel Processing of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz. Since 2003, he has also been a seasonal lecturer at the School of Systems Engineering of the University of Reading, UK, as well as associate university professor at the Institute for Graphics and Parallel Processing of Johannes Kepler Universität Linz. Kranzlmüller’s fields of study and research are network management, grid and cluster computing and systems programming. He works on the enhancement of grid computing into an infrastructure for productive operations and researches into innovative IT infrastructure technologies and middleware.


Prof. Dr. Claus Belka
Medical Faculty

Since 1 June 2008, the Medical Faculty of LMU has had a new professor of radiotherapy and the Clinic and Polyclinic for Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology of LMU has had a new head: Professor Claus Belka, born in 1967, studied medicine at Universität/Gesamthochschule Essen. He wrote his doctoral thesis between 1989 and 1990 at the Institute for Human Genetics on the topic of “Characterizing and identifying a DNA clone that cross-hybridizes with the retinoblastoma gene”. A station as medical practitioner during his practical training led him to the Department of Hematology of the Benjamin Franklin Clinic of Freie Universität Berlin and to the Robert-Rössle Clinic of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He obtained his doctorate in 1996. From 1995 to 2002, he worked as research scientist at the Clinic for Radiation Oncology of Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, where he was consulting physician for radiotherapy from 2002 to 2003. In 2003, Belka qualified as lecturer, his thesis being on “Molecular mechanisms of radiation-induced cell death”, received license to teach radio-oncology and was appointed Privatdozent. In 2003, he became senior physician, in 2004 assistant director of the Clinic for Radiation Oncology, and in 2005 member of the board of the Southwest German Tumor Center. In the following year, he was appointed supernumerary professor and head of the Radiotherapy Medical Research Center at Universität Tübingen”. Belka contributed significantly in the establishment of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Universität Tübingen, which is one of the first centers to be funded by the Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid). His current focus in radiobiological research is on the role of the CD95 system in the modulation of radiation-induced changes to lungs, mechanisms of so-called “hypoxic selection”, the role of the PKB/Akt system for the modulation of radioresistances in the case of prostate carcinoma and the effectiveness of “targeted triple therapy”. In the field of radiation oncological research, Claus Belka is mainly interested in aspects of intensity-modulated radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy in the case of high-risk prostate carcinomas, probabilistic target volume definition in the case of dose escalation in the case of medium-risk prostate carcinoma, high-precision therapy in the case of brain tumors/metastases, and the use of PET hypoxia imaging in the planning of irradiation, and tumors in the ears, nose and throat area. Belka holds many awards, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Radioonkologie Award.


Dr. Wolfgang Keydel (honorary professor)
Faculty of Geosciences

Wolfgang Keydel has strengthened the Faculty of Geosciences as Honorary Professor for Microwave Remote Sensing since July. For more than 40 years, the physicist, born in 1936, has been dealing with high-frequency technology and its applications in remote sensing and reconnaissance with radar and microwave radiometry, and in satellite navigation. Wolfgang Keydel studied physics and mathematics at the Universities of Marburg and Hamburg, and received his D.Sc. from Philipps-Universität Marburg and his honorary D.Eng. from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen Nuremberg. Starting in 1967, he developed high-frequency technology bases and systems at AEG-Telefunken AG in Ulm (now EADS). Following that, he was director of the present DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute in Oberpfaffenhofen until his retirement in 2001. His specialist expertise is in high-frequency physics, components, methods and systems for use in remote sensing and reconnaissance. One example is the German involvement in three shuttle missions for earth observation using X-band radar, which he initiated. Since 1989, Keydel teaches microwave remote sensing at LMU, and intermittently at other universities as well. He was guest professor at Kepler-Universität Linz and at Tongji-Universität in Shanghai, and is currently teaching at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg during the winter semesters. He was co-founder and, until 2001, head of the Münchener Forschungsverbund Fernerkundung (Munich Remote Sensing Research Association) focusing on the environment. He also works as a consultant for the industry and EU, and as an organizer and lecturer in civil and military science.


Dr. Martin Plendl (honorary professor)
School of Management

Dr. Martin Plendl has been visiting lecturer at LMU already since 2001. Since June this year, the certified public accountant and tax advisor has been working here as Honorary Professor for Accounting and Auditing. “I am bound to LMU by a long, mutual road of study and work,” says Plendl, “starting from when my studies began, over practical seminars and taking on a teaching position in the seminar for accounting and auditing, to being appointed honorary professor.” Born in 1959, Plendl studied business management, and law as complementary study, at LMU and Regensburg University. In 1989, he received his doctorate at Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. He had been working at the present accounting firm Deloitte as early as 1985, and sat exams to become a tax advisor and certified public accountant during this period. He is presently in the management of Deloitte, responsible for “auditing and audit consultation”. Plendl supported LMU as visiting lecturer at the Seminar for Accounting and Auditing by giving regular courses on the subject of national and international law and auditing of accounts. The idea for an annual research award for accounting, which distinguishes outstanding theses and dissertations, goes back to him. At LMU, Plendl intends to bring science and practice closer. “I will give interested students whatever expertise I have in accounting, and in managing a globally active accounting and consultation firm.” He sees a theoretical scientific university education as an “essential success factor for a professional career”.

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