Admission to the “Junges Kolleg” of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts

Group of people smiling for the camera Copyright: © AWK NRW/Andreas Endermann

Three young researchers from RWTH honored for outstanding achievements.


Three young RWTH researchers have now been admitted to the “Junges Kolleg” of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts: Christoph Hoog Antink from the Department of Medical Information Technology, biologist Anna-Christin Joel from the Department of Zoology, and physician Jakob Nikolas Kather from the Department of Gastroenterology, Metabolic Disorders, and Internal Intensive Medicine. Academy President Professor Dr. Wolfgang Löwer and NRW Minister of Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen congratulated the researchers on this award in Düsseldorf.

Christoph Hoog Antink

Antink works on signal and data processing in medical technology; he is interested in how robustness can be increased by combining information from different sources. He uses different signal sources, from classic ECG to multidimensional video data. For example, this sensor fusion can be used to reduce false alarms in intensive care units. Another field of research he is involved in is developing contactless monitoring technology. These are currently still prone to faults and can be optimized with sensor fusion. For example, several cameras can be used to analyze the data using machine learning methods and determine vital parameters such as the patient’s heart rate without contact. This leads to close cooperations with neonatology and geriatric medicine: For both patient groups, comfort and freedom of movement should be increased and skin damage and the risk of infection minimized.

Anna-Christin Joel

Joel researches areas ranging from functional morphology, ecology, evolution, and protein chemistry to bionics and medical technology, but there is one key focus to her work: a cribellate spider silk, which consists of nanofibers that have a diameter of 20 nanometers, making the protein chemistry of this silk particularly interesting. In addition, spiders weave the nanofibers together with other fibers to form complex threads. The manufacturing process and the fact that the nanofibers do not stick to the spider itself despite the effective van der Waals forces – which the gecko foot’s adhesion principle is based upon – are particularly interesting for modern nanotechnology. The biologist hopes to establish new processes in nanofiber processing through the bionic transfer of these aspects.

Jacob Nikolas Kather

Kather works as a physician at the Department of Gastroenterology, Metabolic Disorders, and Internal Intensive Medicine at Uniklinik RWTH Aachen. He heads a working group on Computational Oncology. In the clinic, he mainly treats patients suffering from tumors in the gastrointestinal tract. In research, he uses methods of computer-based simulation and artificial intelligence to better understand these diseases. Most recently, Kather was able to show that deep learning makes it possible to predict genetic changes in tumors directly from histological images. These changes determine the optimal type of tumor therapy. Until now, expensive and time-consuming laboratory tests have been required to detect such changes, but histological images of the patients are available at no extra cost. Kather's research could lead to faster diagnoses and significant cost savings in oncology.

The "Junges Kolleg"

Acceptance to the Academy is one of the most meaningful academic honors in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was initially established in 2006 with the support of the Stiftung Mercator foundation and has been funded by the Federal State since 2014. Up to 30 outstanding young scholars and scientists from any discipline are appointed for a period of up to four years. Members participate in the activities of the Academy and receive an annual stipend of 10,000 Euros. A doctoral degree as well as exceptional academic and research achievements at one of the NRW universities or research institutions are among the prerequisites for election into the College. At the time of admission, members may not be older than 36 years and may not yet hold a permanent university teaching position. Members have the opportunity to discuss their projects in interdisciplinary working groups.


Three RWTH young researchers have now been admitted to the have now been admitted to the “Junges Kolleg” of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen (left) and President Professor Dr. Wolfgang Löwer (right) with Dr.-Ing. Christoph Hoog Antink, Dr. rer. nat. Anna-Christin Joel, and Dr. med. Jakob Nikolas Kather (from left).

Source: Press and Communications