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We represent you!

The Doctoral Representatives Council consists of two doctoral representatives from each department of the MNF and was built to enable and improve the exchange between all departments and their students.

You can contact us for ideas and suggestions regarding the Doctoral Representatives Council or everything related to your doctoral studies. We will collect your input and bring it to the attention of the different graduate school steering committees and/or offices. Vice versa we will bring information or requests to your attention. 

Concerning our interests, we elect delegates for different commitees like the Hochschulkonferenz, the student consilium, the Board of the Graduate Schools, the Promotionsausschuss and the Consilium AMNZ. 

Doctoral Representatives Council

Lisa-Marie Niestroj - Main Representative

Lisa-Marie Niestroj completed her Bachelor studies in biology focusing on natural variations in pattern-triggered immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne. During her post-graduate studies in statistics and population genetics at the Cologne Center for Genomics (CCG), she investigated human genetic variation on an Indonesian island. Currently, Lisa-Marie is a PhD student in Prof. Dr. Nürnberg’s group (University of Cologne, CCG), working on computational epilepsy genetics.

Kathrin Schrage - Deputy Representative

Kathrin Schrage completed her Bachelor studies in Biology at the University of Cologne (Hasselmann lab). In 2015 she completed her Master studies in Anthropology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz. During those studies she did a two month internship at the Institute of Genetics at the Medical University in Innsbruck. In August 2016 she started her PhD at the University of Cologne at the Institute of Biochemistry in the group of Dr. Sajid Hussain where she elucidates the role of different genetic mutations in the etiology of the Filippi syndrome and primary microcephaly.

Oliver Zingsheim

Oliver Zingsheim completed his Bachelor and Master studies in molecular physics focusing on high resolution millimeter- and submillimeter wave spectroscopy of astronomically relevant molecules. The “fingerprints” of these molecules can lead to their unambiguous assignment in space. Currently, Oliver is a doctoral candidate (Schlemmer group) located within the CRC 956 - “Conditions and Impact of star formation”; I. Physikalisches Institut. There he studies complex molecules so astronomers can understand the chemical evolution in space and answer the question of how complex molecules can be in the interstellar medium (Where does life come from?). A two month CRC 956 student exchange offered him the possibility to visit the McCarthy lab at the Havard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Oliver is also a member of the BCGS.

Katharina Molitor

Katharina Molitor is a research fellow and PhD candidate in Economic Geography at the University of Cologne. Her PhD research looks at the role of food price changes for the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Global South. Within that research project Katharina works on the nexus of market-making practices, agricultural production decision-making and household food and nutrition security of smallholders in a multi-sited case study in Bangladesh.

Katharina completed her Bachelor and Master studies in (Human) Geography at the University of Cologne. After that she continued in Cologne and received a start-up honours grant of the GSGS to apply for funding for a PhD project. Katharina got a two-year scholarschip for PhD research of the Schmittmann-Wahlen foundation.

Sebastian Seidel

Sebastian Seidel studied geography (B.Sc.) and human geography (M.Sc.) with a minor in political science at the WWU Münster. Currently he is a PhD student in the research group Human Geography and its Didactics at the Institute for Geography Education at the University of Cologne. In his doctoral project he deals with the thematization of borders and territories in geography lessons, media and everyday life of students.

Petra Sprengart

Petra Sprengart started her studies on chemistry at the University of Cologne in 2010. During her bachelor thesis in 2013 she worked on the synthesis of unknown N-heterocyclic carbenes in the group of Prof. A. Berkessel. Following up her master thesis on bioorganic synthesis and catalysis in 2015 in the group of Prof. J. Deska, she passed a three-month-internship at BASF in Ludwigshafen in the R&D department. Back in cologne she started her phd thesis in the group of Prof. H.-G. Schmalz, working on transition-metal catalysis in order to facilitate an enantioselective access to promising anti-cancer-drug-presursors.

Martin Reiher

Martin Reiher completed his Bachelor studies in chemistry focusing on organic and inorganic chemistry, his Bachelor thesis dealt with chiral phosphine-phosphite ligands and their application in cupper mediated oxidation reactions. He then used his Master studies to gain a deeper knowledge on organic chemistry, especially catalysis but also biochemistry and drug target development. Currently, Martin is a PhD student in the group of Prof. Dr. H.-G. Schmalz (University of Cologne, Institute for Organic Chemistry). During his research he is working on establishing better ligand synthesis, developing new catalysis methods and understanding reaction mechanism of those methods.

Yana Staneva

Yana Staneva completed both her Bachelor and Master studies in Mathematics at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Currently she is doing her PhD studies in the research group of Prof. Dr. Markus Kunze at the Mathematical Institute in the University of Cologne. Yana is working on "Algebraic and analytic aspects of integrable systems", funded by CRC/TRR 191. Her interests lie mainly in the intersection of physics and mathematics, more precisely, dynamical and integrable systems.

Valentin Rappel

Valentin Rappel completed both his Bachelor and Master studies in Mathematics at the University of Cologne. Currently he pursues a PhD in the working group of Prof. Dr. Peter Littelmann at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Cologne. He works on "Loop groups and the Path model" as part of the CRC/TRR 191. His main interest is algebra more specifically representation theory of algebraic groups, quantum groups and the geometry of loop groups.

Leonardo Rydin

Leonardo Rydin finished his Bachelor in the University of Lisbon in Physics in 2013 and moved on to the University of Bonn to obtain his Master’s degree in Physics in 2017. His Master thesis revolved around the emergence of anomalous behaviour of coupled-oscillator-system dynamics contingent on the topology of coupled network structures, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lehnertz. Leonardo is currently doing his Ph.D. under the supervision of J.-Prof. Dr. Witthaut in the Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Research Centre Jülich, researching stability and operationality of modern-day electrical power-grid systems.

Maxwell Thiemens

Maxwell Thiemens completed his Bachelor studies in Geophysics at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his Masters in isotope geochemistry at Washington University in St Louis with Zn isotope analyses of cap carbonates from the Marinoan "Snowball Earth" event, as well as the cultivation and analysis of methanogenic archaea. His PhD research topics, in the workgroup of Dr. Carsten Münker, have involved mineral isochron dating of xenoliths from the Eifel volcanic field, High Field Strength Element analyses of lunar mission rocks for reconstruction of  lunar formation, and meteorite dating and analysis.