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Three Cologne researchers are awarded Alexander von Humboldt Professorships

Christian Frezza, Kate Rigby and Bart Thomma join the University of Cologne with the coveted AvH Professorship / Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger presented the award certificates in Berlin on 12 May

21 top researchers have been awarded Germany's most highly valued international research award, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, in Berlin. Among the honourees were three researchers who are moving or have already moved to the University of Cologne with the Humboldt Professorship: metabolic researcher Professor Dr. Christian Frezza, literary scholar Professor Dr. Kate Rigby and microbiologist Professor Dr. Bart Thomma. Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Humboldt Foundation, presented the awards, worth up to five million euros, during a ceremony. The total of five female and 16 male award winners move from seven countries on to universities in 15 German cities, where they conduct research on a permanent basis as Humboldt Professors.

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is awarded annually by the Humboldt Foundation to up to ten leading researchers from all disciplines working abroad. It is endowed with five million euros for experimental researchers and three and a half million euros for theoretical researchers. In addition to the outstanding scientific qualifications of the candidates, the concepts of the universities are decisive, which should offer the researchers and their teams a long-term perspective in Germany. The award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


The Cologne award winners:

Christian Frezza

Cancer cells grow much faster than ordinary cells in the body. Their metabolism therefore functions differently and utilises nutrients at great speed. Metabolic researcher Christian Frezza is looking for ways to disrupt or even prevent nutrient processing in cancer cells so that they stop growing and eventually die.

Kate Rigby

Literary scholar Kate Rigby is a central figure in the research field of Environmental Humanities. With her as director of the new centre for "Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities", the University of Cologne aims to establish itself as a location for interdisciplinary global environmental research.

Bart Thomma

At the University of Cologne, Bart Thomma researches soil organisms and their interactions with plants. A "Centre for Microbial Interactomics" is being established, which Thomma will head and in which he will represent evolutionary microbiology and plant pathology. He also plans to work together with human biologists. Understanding microorganisms in the soil with their genetics and interactions more precisely could also be helpful for medicine - for example, for improving antibiotics.