Three Early-Career Researchers From RWTH to Attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting


Hans Gildenast, Renè Hommelsheim, Teresa Karl, Ruth D. Rittinghaus, Christian Schumacher, and Adrian Usler are among the 611 Lindau Meeting participants from 91 countries.


RWTH chemists Hans Gildenast, Renè Hommelsheim, Teresa Karl, Dr. Ruth D. Rittinghaus, Christian Schumacher, and Adrian Uslerhave been selected to participate in the 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, scheduled to be held from June 26 to July 1, 2022. At the high-profile event, 611 students, doctoral candidates, and postdocs from 91 countries will meet and discuss with about 35 Nobel laureates.

The Lindau Meeting has been held since 1951, and its key topic alternates annually between the three disciplines of physics, chemistry, and physiology/medicine. Early-career researchers who are invited to the Lindau Meeting have passed a highly competitive multi-stage selection process. Applicants must not be older than 35 years. Those who are invited are considered to represent the next generation of leading scientists and remain members of the network of excellence of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

Gildenast studied chemistry at RWTH from 2013 to 2019. Supported by a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, he then began his doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Ulli Englert at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. He is conducting research on metal-organic networks, that is, materials made of metal ions that are held together by organic bonds. These have fine pores, like sponges, which are a few nanometers in diameter and can be used, among other things, to store gases such as hydrogen. The focus of his research is on the targeted and ordered intergration of several types of metal ions in order to combine their advantages.

Renè Hommelsheim received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from RWTH in 2017. During his Bachelor’s degree, he worked on photochemical and metal-catalyzed transformations of diazo compounds under the supervision of Junior Professor René Koenigs. For his master's thesis, he joined the group of Professor Carsten Bolm at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at RWTH, where he has been working as a doctoral candidate on the synthesis and transformation of sulfoximines and sulfonimidamides since November 2019. His doctoral studies are supported by the German Chemical Industry Association (Kekulé Fellowship) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (non-material support).

Teresa Karl studied chemistry at RWTH from 2015 to 2020. She completed her master's degree with a focus on synthetic organic chemistry at the top of her class with a Master's thesis in the Ritter Group at the Max-PIanck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim. For this she received the Procter & Gamble Award of the Chemistry Department. She then began her doctoral studies at RWTH in the group of Professor Franziska Schoenebeck at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, supported by a scholarship from the German Chemical Industry Association. Her current research work covers the area of homogeneous metal catalysis and computational chemistry. Here, her work is located at the crossroads of synthetic, mechanistically oriented, and computational chemistry. This combination offers her the opportunity to investigate new reactivities and mechanisms in organometallic chemistry and to gain significant insights especially for the development of new catalysts.

Rittinghaus studied chemistry at RWTH between 2011 and 2017, when she completed her Master’s degree with a focus on catalysis, materials, and mesoscopic systems. Her doctoral thesis, supervised by Professor Sonja Herres-Pawlis from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, was concerned with the development of catalysts for the production of bioplastics. One of her key research areas is the mechanistic investigation of so-called copolymerizations, in which different starting materials are integrated in a polymer. By varying the type and arrangement of the starting materials, bioplastics with tailored properties can be obtained. In September 2021, Rittinghaus joined the Herres-Pawlis Group as a postdoc.

Christian Schumacher studied chemistry at RWTH from 2013 to 2018 and obtained his Master's degree with a focus on catalysis, synthesis, and bioactive molecules. In 2018, he started doctoral studies in the group of Professor Carsten Bolm at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and received a Kekulé Fellowship. His research focuses on the application of mechanical forces in organic synthesis – also known as mechanochemistry – to access molecules and enable synthetic strategies that are inaccessible in any other way. He is also interested in halogen bridges. As a visiting doctoral candidate with Humboldt Professor Kari Rissanen at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), he analyzed intermolecular forces in the solid state and was supported by a fellowship from the German Academic Exchance Service, DAAD.

Usler studied chemistry at RWTH from 2014 to 2019. Subsequently, supported by a scholarship from the RWTH Graduate School, he became a doctoral candidate in Professor Roger De Souza’s group at the Institute of Physical Chemistry. Usler is conducting research on the electrochemical properties of interfaces in ion-conducting oxide ceramics, which are used, for example, as electrolyte materials in high-temperature fuel cells. To this end, he uses a number of mathematical tools to simulate interfacial resistances and capacitances, with the overall goal of obtaining a sound interpretation and deeper understanding of experimental data.