Chemistry

The Faculty of Chemistry makes a significant contribution to all the priority research areas at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Activities in bioorganic chemistry, biomaterial research, drug release and biophysical chemistry are an essential foundation of Genetic Medicine and Medical Biotechnology, and in particular the Matthias Epple, Gebhard Haberhauer, Christian Mayer, Carsten Schmuck, Thomas Schrader and Mathias Ulbricht research groups provide important input in this context. Members of the Faculty of Chemistry are also active members of the Centre for Medical Biotechnology (ZMB) and the university’s newly founded interdisciplinary focus, Research in Biomedical Sciences (RIBS).
Nanosciences ( CeNIDE ) is supported by numerous activities in surface chemistry and functional­isation, nanomaterials research and crystallo-graphy. These topics are also linked to the subject of medical biotechnology when biological and medical aspects are investigated on the nano­metre scale. The research groups of Professors Roland Boese, Matthias Epple, Hermann-Josef Frohn, Sjoerd Harder, Eckhart Hasselbrink, Georg Jansen, Christian Mayer, Carsten Schmuck, Stephan Schulz, Eckhard Spohr, Mathias Ulbricht and Reinhard Zellner are key contributors in this field.
Empirical Research in Education is represented in Essen in particular by Chemistry Education (research groups of Professors Stefan Rumann, Karin Stachelscheid and Elke Sumfleth). Research in this area focuses on cumulative learning, the effects on learning of experimentation in small groups in chemistry classes, and the role of visualisation in chemistry classes.
Urban Systems – Sustainable Development, Logistics and Traffic is represented by the active contribution of the Faculty of Chemistry to the Centre for Microscale Environmental Systems (ZMU). Topics covered here are, for instance, atmosphere research, water research and technology and monitoring of harmful substances in the environment. The groups involved here include those of Professors Matthias Epple, Hans-Curt Flemming, Alfred Hirner, Karl Molt, Wolfgang Sand, Torsten Schmidt, Axel Schönbucher, Bettina Siebers,Mathias Ulbricht and Reinhard Zellner.
The faculty is home to or makes a major contribution to several major collaborative projects. These include the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 616 “Energy dissipation at surfaces”, the DFG Research Unit 618 “Aggregation of small molecules”, the DFG Research Unit 511 “Education in Sciences”, the DFG Graduate Training Group 902 “Education in Sciences”, and the DFG Research Training Group 1431 “Transcription, Chromatin structure and DNA repair in development and differentiation”. The DFG Priority Programme 1313 “Biological Responses to Nanoscale Particles” (“Bio-Nano-Responses”) has been coordinated since 01.01.2008 from Essen.
The appointment of Professors Carsten Schmuck (Organic Chemistry), Bettina Siebers (Micro­biology) and Stefan Rumann (ChemistryEducation) in 2008 added three further prestigious scientists to the faculty.
The most important event of the year was the opening of the new lab building for chemistry on the Essen campus. This has created new space for research and teaching for the preparative disciplines of inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and technical chemistry. Not only Ph. D. students are now working in the new high-tech laboratories; labs for advanced students or work on Bachelor and Master theses ensure high quality education and training. In the course of the next two years, the Faculty of Chemistry is scheduled to be reunited on the Essen campus when sections of Analytical Chemistry and the Biofilm Centre move into fully refurbished facilities.
In February 2008, the Stable Isotope Laboratory directed by Prof. Schmidt was inaugurated with an international workshop and around 100 participants. The ratio of stable, i. e. not radioactive, isotopes in compounds can supply – like a fingerprint – information on their origin or certain conversion processes. However, the differences between the ratios are so small that highly specialised instruments, known as isotope mass spectrometers, are required to measure them. Two of these instruments have now been installed, initially on the Duisburg campus. This advanced equipment now makes it possible to work on pro­jects towards further development of the instrumentation and application of isotope analytics.
The faculty’s research activities have been presented in more than 150 peer-reviewedpublications per year and over 300 papers and lectures. Research topics are also reflected in the educational programmes offered by the faculty (B.Sc. / M.Sc. Chemistry, B.Sc. / M.Sc. Water Science and teacher training in chemistry); in advanced courses and during their work for graduationtheses, students are exposed to modern research topics at an early stage.