Female faculty members honored

17 Jul 2019

Six exceptionally talented female members of the Faculties of Natural Science at LMU have been chosen to receive the Princess Therese of Bavaria Prize 2019.

The Princess Therese of Bavaria Prize was instituted by the eponymous Foundation with the aim of honoring the achievements and highlighting the careers of exceptionally creative and supportive female researchers at LMU Munich. The Prize is awarded annually to female faculty members with distinguished research records who have also inspired younger women to pursue academic careers. The Foundation was set up at LMU in 1997. It was named after the anthropologist and zoologist Princess Therese of Bavaria (1850-1925) who carried out field research in both Europe and America. She was an active supporter of higher education for women, and was herself the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from LMU.

The six women chosen from LMU’s Natural Science Faculties this year will receive their awards, which are sponsored by the Heidehof Foundation GmbH, on July 19, 2019.

Prof. Dr. Monika Aidelsburger, Professor of Artificial Quantum Systems at LMU’s Faculty of Physics, studies quantum phenomena using ultracold atomic gases trapped in optical lattices formed by interfering laser beams. These systems allow one to simulate the collective dynamics of quantum particles, and serve as models for a wide range of quantum many-body phenomena related to condensed-matter physics. In 2018, she received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council.

Aidelsburger is Joint Coordinator of the Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology (MCQST), a newly established Cluster of Excellence, and will serve as Commissioner for Gender Equality in the DFG-funded Research Unit on Artificial Gauge Fields and Interacting Topological Phases in Ultracold Atoms (FOR2414) during its next funding period.

Monika Aidelsburger studied Physics at LMU from 2006 to 2011, and did her doctoral project as a Research Associate at the Chair of Experimental Physics under the supervision of Immanuel Bloch, obtaining her PhD in 2015. She then went to Collège de France in Paris as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2016/2017, before returning to LMU to lead a Junior Research Group at the Chair of Experimental Physics – Quantum Optics. She was appointed to a W2 (Tenure-Track) Professorship at LMU in 2019.

For further information on Monika Aidelsburger’s research, see: A Bridge to the Quantum World

Prof. Dr. Francesca Biagini holds the Chair of Financial and Insurance Mathematics at LMU. Her research deals with the dynamics of speculative bubbles in financial markets and stochastic modelling of insurance markets, a class of mathematical models that enable insurance risks to be quantified.

Biagini is Secretary of the SIAM Activity Group on Financial Mathematics and Engineering, and Vice-President of the Bachelier Finance Society. In addition, she is a member of the Executive Board of the Munich Risk and Insurance Center and Coordinator of the Quantitative and Computational Systems Science Center (QCSSC) at LMU and, as a committed contributor to the LMUMentoring Program, she advises female academics on career development and work-life balance. This month Francesca Biagini was elected to the post of LMU Vice-President for International Affairs and Diversity. Her 3-year term of office begins on October 1, 2019.

Francesca Biagini studied Mathematics in Pisa at the city‘s university and at the Scuola Normale Superiore, where she obtained her PhD in Financial Mathematics and Stochastic Analysis. Before moving to Munich in 2005, she was an Assistant Professor of Probability Theory and Statistics at Bologna University.

Prof. Dr. Lena Daumann is Professor of Bio-Inorganic Chemistry at LMU. Her research focuses on the group of metals known as rare earths, which play a vital role in many modern technologies, and have recently been found to essential trace elements for certain species of bacteria.

In 2019, Lena Daumann was awarded the Ars legendi Faculty Prize for her exemplary commitment to teaching. In the context of the LMUMentoring Program, she is a dedicated promoter of young talent. She also works with secondary-school students – for example, she is involved in a school project on the recycling of rare earths, which is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation as part of its program “Our Common Future”.

Lena Daumann studied Chemistry and Environmental Hygiene at Heidelberg University, and did her doctoral studies in Australia at the University of Queensland (2010-2013). She then did a postdoc at the University of California in Berkeley, which was made possible by a Feodor Lynen Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2016, she was appointed to a W2 Professorship at LMU.

Prof. Dr. Sonja Greven has held the Chair of Statistics at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin since April 2019, having previously been Professor of Biostatistics at LMU. Sonja Greven develops statistical methods specifically for the analysis of complex datasets, such as those generated by clinical brain scans.

Sonja Greven’s research work is inherently interdisciplinary in character and she works with specialists in many areas including Medicine, Psychology, Sociology and Economics. The statistical models she develops for data analysis in these fields are all made available as open-source software on the Internet.

Sonja Greven studied Mathematics in Aachen, focusing on Statistics with Medicine as a subsidiary subject and went on to study Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 2007, she obtained her doctorate in Statistics at LMU. Following a stint as a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (Maryland), she returned to LMU. In the years 2010-2016, she led an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group in Statistical Methods for Longitudinal Functional Data, and became Professor of Biostatistics at LMU in 2014.

Prof. Dr. Kirsten Jung holds the Chair of Microbiology at the Faculty of Biology of the LMU. Her research focuses on elucidating the molecular principles of intercellular communication as well as the adaptation and survival strategies of bacteria in fluctuating environments.

Kirsten Jung is strongly engaged in the organization of research collaborations and has initiated the DFG priority program "Phenotypic Heterogeneity and Sociobiology of Bacterial Populations" as well as the Research Training Group "Molecular Principles of Synthetic Biology". In both cases she is spokesperson, and she is also vice-spokesperson of the SFB-Transregio "Spatio-temporal dynamics of prokaryotic cells". She is a committed supporter of early-career researchers, and in particular of female scientists, and has been an enthusiastic contributor to LMU’s Mentoring Program.

Kirsten Jung studied Biochemistry at Leipzig University, where she obtained her doctorate. She spent the years 1992-1994 as a postdoc at the University of California, Los Angeles, before taking a post as staff scientist at the University of Osnabrück. She completed her habilitation there in 1999 and in the same year, she was awarded a Heisenberg Fellowship by the DFG. In 2002 Jung obtained a faculty position at the Technical University in Darmstadt, and has held her present position at LMU since 2004.

Prof. Dr. Olivia Merkel is a Professor of Drug Delivery in the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy at LMU, and develops new therapeutic approaches based on the use of nanomaterials. These efforts have led to improved experimental treatments, specifically for inflammatory diseases of the airways and for lung cancer. In 2014 she received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for a project aiming to develop nanoparticle-based drugs for the treatment of asthma, which can be directly delivered to their site of action by inhalation.

Olivia Merkel studied Pharmacy at Marburg University, and went on to earn her PhD there. After doing a postdoc in Marburg (2009-2011), she was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit (Michigan). She has held her present position at LMU since 2015, while also supervising doctoral students in her research group in Detroit until 2017. Merkel has won many prizes for her research. She is Vice-President of the German Section of the Controlled Release Society and a member of the Evaluation Committee of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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