Prizes for the best doctoral theses in 2022

On April 18th, the Bielefeld University Society (UGBi) awarded prizes for the best doctoral theses at Bielefeld University. Topics range from starting a family with an egg donation, across clouds of charged particles, to brain activity in sports. At least one doctoral student from each of thirteen faculties received an award, and one prize went also to a doctoral student from the Bielefeld School of Education (BiSEd).

group photo: (from left standing:) Dr Katrin Weible, Dr Clemens Heyder, Dr Markus Ebke, Dr Svenja Heitmann, Dr Michael Brinkmeier (UGBi), Camilo Nelson Forero Medina, Dr Jan Klostermann, Dr Niklas Adebar, Rector Professor Dr-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Dr Jean-Marcel Krausen, Dr Kuo-Pin Wang, Maria Unger (UGBi), (seated from left:) Dr Hans-Peter Griewatz, Dr Louise Biddle, Dr Eva Laura von der Heyde, Dr Johanna Lojewski and Dr Sarah Täuber.
Before the award ceremony, the winners of the Dissertation Award 2022 and the representatives of the UGBi as well as the Rector of Bielefeld University came together for the memorial photo: (from left standing:) Dr Katrin Weible, Dr Clemens Heyder, Dr Markus Ebke, Dr Svenja Heitmann, Dr Michael Brinkmeier (UGBi), Camilo Nelson Forero Medina, Dr Jan Klostermann, Dr Niklas Adebar, Rector Professor Dr-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Dr Jean-Marcel Krausen, Dr Kuo-Pin Wang, Maria Unger (UGBi), (seated from left:) Dr Hans-Peter Griewatz, Dr Louise Biddle, Dr Eva Laura von der Heyde, Dr Johanna Lojewski and Dr Sarah Täuber.

Dr Eva Laura von der Heyde (Faculty of Biology)

„In my doctoral thesis, I investigated the dynamics of cell division and light perception in microalgae. I found that, in some respects, algae and animals are more similar than previously assumed. As a postdoc at Bielefeld University, I am currently developing molecular biology tools to study algae and further examine the molecular relationships in their cell biology.“

Thesis title: Light Reception and Early Embryonic Development of Volvox Carteri: Characterization of 2c-Cyclop1, Babo1, and Mitosis-Associated Proteins

Dr Niklas Adebar (Faculty of Chemistry)

„In my research, I studied the production routes of new lead structures for fine chemicals from renewable raw materials. To speed up this process development, I devised a platform for self-optimizing synthesis in order to automatically optimize process parameters such as the reaction temperature. I am currently working as a postdoc at Boehringer Ingelheim on digital tools for chemical drug development.“

Thesis title: Towards Automation of Continuous Chemoenzymatic Syntheses of Plasticizers, Nitriles, and Chiral Esters from Renewable Resources

Dr Hans-Peter Griewatz (Faculty of Educational Science)

„In my thesis, I reconstructed supervision processes with (student) teachers. I found that the theoretical demands placed on supervision in the profession are not met in practice. Instead, the parties establish their own different expectations that they each try to enforce. I have been a professor of social work at IU in Wuppertal since October 2022, where I am continuing my research on supervision processes using qualitative research methods.

Thesis title: Supervision Between Aspiration and Reality

Clemens Heyder (Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology)

„Egg donation is a very controversial method of medically assisted reproduction. I discuss the associated problems from an ethical perspective and show ways for a morally good practice. Moreover, I highlight key points for an upcoming debate on possible legislation. In the last years, I focused more on nursing ethics and currently work as a lecturer for nursing staff.“

Thesis title: Building Families Through Egg Donation. Ethical Consideration of How to Deal With Reproductive Medicine in a Liberal Society

Dr Louise Biddle (Fakultät für Gesundheitswissenschaften)

„In my dissertation I came to the conclusion that the resilience of health care for refugees in Germany should be strengthened. Above all this could be achieved through improved data basis and data processing, as well as a more direct involvement of the public health service. Currently, I am researching the living conditions for refugees in Germany, such as accommodation and the social environment, and what influence these factors have on health.“

Thesis title: Analysing health systems responses to forced migration in Germany through the complementary lenses of resilience and responsiveness

Camilo Nelson Forero Medina (Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies)

„In my thesis, I analysed the role of Latin American media in relation to time perception of. I found that the digitalization of the media has led to fragmentation replacing duration as a stabilizing unit of time. This makes the past seem unavailable and the future uncertain. I am currently teaching and researching at Bielefeld University.“

Thesis title: Fragmentation of Time: From Mass Media to Digital Media in Latin America

Dr Simon Nowak (Faculty of Mathematics)

„Integro-differential equations are used in probability theory or physics to model nonlocal interactions—informally known as ‘long jumps’. In this context, I have proved regularity results that make statements about how ‘good’ solutions are as a function of the input data. I am currently working in Bielefeld University’s CRC 1283 where I am investigating such regularity properties under more general assumptions.“

Titel der Dissertation: Regularity theory for nonlocal equations

Dr Markus Ebke (Faculty of Physics)

„In my thesis, I analysed a mathematical model to describe clouds of charged particles. My main question was whether the external potential, which controls the shape of the cloud, also influences the distribution of particles within the cloud. As a PhD student in IRTG 2235, I spent several months in South Korea. At the moment, I am working as a postdoc at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU).“

Thesis title: Universal Scaling Limits of the Symplectic Elliptic Ginibre Ensemble

Dr Svenja Heitmann (Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science)

„Answering questions while engaged in learning promotes successful recall of what has been learned at a later time (test-based learning). In my thesis on adaptive test-based learning, I showed the benefits of a good fit between the learning questions and the learners’ cognitive resources. Currently, I am working as a project manager at GOLDBECK in Bielefeld.“

Thesis title: On Optimising the Use of Practice Quizzing: Benefits Increase by Adapting and May Depend on Learners’ Achievement Motives

Dr Kuo-Pin Wang (Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science)

„We specify the essential brain processes for superior sport performance in athletes. In addition, we observed that a single session of brain training approach can change brain processes and improve performance in sports. I am going to apply for a professorship. Meanwhile, I am going to participate in international research projects to stay ahead of the latest trends in the field and work to improve the sport industry through cutting-edge solutions and innovative approaches.„

Thesis title: Cognitive neuropsychological assessment and intervention: Understanding and promoting superior performance in precision sports

Dr Jean-Marcel Krausen (Faculty of Law)

„In my thesis, I addressed artificial intelligence as both invention and inventor. From the perspective of patent law, human inventiveness remains indispensable for technical progress despite AI-generated solutions to problems. However, there is a need for a change in the patent-granting procedure as well as a technology-induced step-by-step regulation of AI-assisted inventive processes. I am looking forward to starting my professional life.“

Thesis title: Artificial Intelligence as Invention and Inventor: Implications for Patent Law of Progress in the Field of Artificial Intelligence

Dr Katrin Weible (Faculty of Sociology)

„Since the 2000s, programmes providing some sort of social assistance for poor and vulnerable groups have been introduced in many developing and emerging countries. But what do they contribute to social protection? My work shows how selective and highly diverse benefit entitlements are; and this encourages a rethink of previous approaches. I shall soon be advising the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on social protection as a consultant for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Society for International Cooperation.“

Thesis title: Social citizenship for “the poor”? Large N data construction, conceptualization, and comparative analysis of social cash transfers across the global South

Dr Sarah Täuber (Faculty of Technology)

„The aim of my thesis was to investigate dynamic environmental conditions from large-scale bioreactors on the single-cell level. I developed a microfluidic system that can investigate different bioprocess parameters with high temporal resolution and precision. I am currently working at Bielefeld University on developing a gas-impermeable microfluidic system as well as a microfluidic system for multi-parameter analyses.

Thesis title: Development and application of a microfluidic single-cell cultivation device to simulate dynamic environmental conditions for Corynebacterium glutamicum

Dr Jan Klostermann (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics)

„In my thesis (and also in my current work as a postdoc at the University of Cologne), I investigated how companies and consumers influence each other reciprocally through their bidirectional communication in social media. I also showed how companies can gain marketing-relevant information from this. My research was based on analysing unstructured textual and visual data using machine learning methods.“

Thesis title: Essays on Brand-Related User-Generated Content in Online Social Networks

Dr Johanna Lojewski (Bielefeld School of Education)

„In my thesis, I investigated to what extent the school profile and social composition of upper secondary schools correspond to how the characteristics of their school cultures are perceived. One important finding was that upper secondary schools are more diverse than educational research and educational policy would suggest. This reveals the need to consider them in more differentiated ways. I am currently employed at the Wissenschaftliche Einrichtung Oberstufen-Kolleg, an action research department of Bielefeld University, and at the Bielefeld School of Education (BiSEd).“

Thesis title: The Subtle Differences: School Cultures in Upper Secondary Schools. An Explorative Study Based on Quantitative Data