Renowned Reinforcement for the University of Bonn
Biochemist Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar and theologian Martin Keßler fill new Schlegel professorships.
The University of Bonn has again recruited high-ranking personalities. Prof. Dr. Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar and Prof. Dr. Martin Keßler are now taking up so-called Schlegel Professorships, which are financed by excellence funds. The internationally recognized researchers will open up new fields of research at the University of Bonn and provide important impulses in the life sciences and Protestant theology.
With the Schlegel Professorships, named after the Bonn philologist August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), the University of Bonn is establishing high-caliber chairs as part of its excellence funding. The „Schlegel Chairs“ are filled by the faculties in subjects that belong to the strong research focus areas or the development areas.
„Attracting internationally recognized researchers to enhance our scientific performance is a core element of our excellence strategy,“ emphasizes Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch. „With the biochemist Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar and the theologian Martin Keßler, we have once again succeeded in recruiting outstanding personalities to the University of Bonn. I am convinced that they will not only make valuable contributions in their disciplines, but at the same time will excellently develop our faculties and transdisciplinary research areas.“
The relationship of the vascular and nervous systems
The human brain consumes about 20 percent of the body’s oxygen and glucose needs to maintain its highly precise and sophisticated functions. As a result, the organ is heavily infused with blood vessels that reach every corner of the brain and mix with all the nerve cell types located there. Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar, a new Schlegel Professor at the School of Medicine, wants to understand how the vascular and nervous systems interact in different parts of the central nervous system. How does the brain become equipped with vessels during development? What molecular signals do neurons and vessels use to communicate with each other? How does this communication change in pathological conditions such as neurological and neurodegenerative disorders? To answer these and other questions, Ruiz de Almodóvar and her interdisciplinary team are bringing together knowledge and expertise from neuroscience and vascular science.
„The University of Bonn offers me and my research group a unique environment for excellent research and teaching and a great focus on interdisciplinary research in the life sciences,“ says Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar. „I am impressed by the great vision for the future to which I am eager to contribute. We look forward to working with scientists and clinicians from different fields to advance the Transdisciplinary Research Area ‚Life and Health‘.“
„We are very pleased to have recruited Professor Ruiz de Almodóvar to Bonn. With her, we have been able to recruit an excellent researcher who ideally links our main research areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular research and immunology,“ says Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. „As a result, she will also explore new approaches to understand and therapeutically target various diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, at the University Hospital.“
About the person: biochemist Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar
Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar studied biochemistry at the University of Granada (Spain), where she obtained her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2004. She then moved to Leuven (Belgium) to complete her postdoctoral training at the Flanders Center for Biotechnology (VIB). Prior to her appointment in Bonn, she was a junior group leader at the Biochemistry Center of the University of Heidelberg from 2011 to 2018 and then a professor of vascular dysfunction at the European Center for Angioscience (Mannheim Medical School) of the University of Heidelberg. She has received an ERC Starting Research Grant and is currently a recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant. Her work has received international recognition through various awards and high-level scientific publications.
History of Christianity in the Modern Era
How is it that certain individuals become key figures in historical retrospect while others recede? Prof. Dr. Martin Keßler examines this question using the history of Christianity in modern times, from about 1500 to the present. After the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Bonn appointed Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch to the first Schlegel Professorship last July, the Faculty of Protestant Theology has now filled the Schlegel Professorship for Church History with a focus on Reformation and Enlightenment with Martin Keßler.
„Of high importance for Christian self-understandings of the present are the confessional profiles that developed in the 16th century with the Reformation,“ says the newly appointed Schlegel professor. In addition, Keßler is concerned with the Enlightenment in its European and global dimensions. He is working intensively on Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), whose best connoisseurs in the 19th century included the professor’s namesake, August Wilhelm Schlegel. On Herder and others, Keßler wants to pursue digital or hybrid edition projects in interdisciplinary collaborations.
“We deliberately placed the focus of the Schlegel Professorship on Reformation and Enlightenment: The Reformation is the founding era of Protestant theology, and thanks to the Enlightenment theology is one of the academic disciplines,” says Prof. Dr. Cornelia Richter, Dean of the Faculty of Protestant Theology. “Both traditions include: self-reflective faith, freedom of thought, responsibility of the individual, critical examination of church structures. A theology that defines itself in this way is guarded against fundamentalism and open to the urging questions of our time. Martin Keßler fulfils the profile of the chair in the best possible way and we are very happy about the new addition.“
The newly appointed Schlegel professor is looking forward to the exchange with students and colleagues on site. „In collaborative research, the University of Bonn is currently opening up opportunities like almost no other German-speaking university,“ says Keßler. He perceives as unique the willingness of the rectorate to strengthen theology in its denominational diversity, which is characteristic of Bonn, and to create funding opportunities through inter- as well as transdisciplinary networking.
About the person: Protestant theologian Martin Keßler
Martin Keßler studied Protestant theology in Heidelberg, Erlangen and Munich. He received his doctorate from the University of Jena. The dissertation on Johann Gottfried Herder was awarded the Hanns Lilje Prize of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. After posts in Basel and Göttingen, where he completed his habilitation, he filled in chairs in Bonn and Göttingen. In Frankfurt/Main he was Heisenberg Professor of Modern Church History with a focus on the history of interpretation and digital humanities from 2018. Since 2020 he has held the Chair for Ecclesiastical History in Basel, from where he accepted the call to Bonn. He is European co-editor of the „Archiv für Reformationgeschichte“ and president of the „International Herder Society“.
Contact for scientific information:
Prof. Dr. Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar
Schlegel Professorship for Neurovascular Cell Biology
Director of the Institute of Neurovascular Cell Biology
Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn
University Hospital Bonn
Prof. Dr. Martin Keßler
Schlegel Professorship for Church History with focus on Reformation and Enlightenment
Faculty of Protestant Theology
University of Bonn