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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.

Marina Kemperle

Marina Kemperle obtained her diploma in Geology and Paleontology at the University of Cologne. Her diploma thesis was dedicated to petrologic conditions and microstructural evolution of high grade rocks from the Southern Granulite Terrain, South India. After her studies, Marina started working in the Department of Structural Geology and Petrology where she is responsible for the supervision and support for measurements on the Electron Microprobe and, since September 2017, Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) measurements on a Scanning Electron Microscope.

In September 2017, Marina started her PhD project at the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Cologne. She investigates deformation mechanisms and rheology of polyphase rocks from the lower crust of Sri Lanka to develop applicable flow laws for the rheological behaviour of the continental lower crust.


Laura Müller

Laura Müller completed her Bachelor and Master studies at the University of Münster. During her Bachelor thesis she explored the mineralogy of quartz sands from Haltern am See, Germany.  Subsequently, in her Master thesis she studied the ferric iron content of experimental garnets and clinopyroxenes from the Earth’s deeper upper mantle (300 km depth).
Currently, Laura is doing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Raúl Fonseca at the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy of Cologne where she explores redox dependent isotope fractionation during lunar formation.

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.

Niklas Bonacker

Niklas Bonacker completed his Master studies in theoretical physics in Dortmund. Niklas wrote his master thesis in Prof. Gudrun Hiller’s group working on a hypothetical extension of the standard model of particle physics. Since October 2017 Niklas is a PhD student in Prof. Johannes Berg’s group in the University of Cologne. The Berg research group investigates statistical problems in complex biological systems. Currently Niklas is working on the inference of gene regulatory networks with mathematical methods developed in the context of inverse problems in statistical physics.