Insights into the lab
What are you researching at the moment?
More than 2,000 scientists work at Forschungszentrum Jülich. At more than 80 different institutes, they search for new insights in their respective fields and often go unconventional ways. Year after year, they publish their results in thousands of articles, initiate research projects or file new patents. Reason enough to look straight at the laboratory or the desks of individual researchers and ask: what’s your research all about?
Dr. Sarah Genon
„For my research, I use imaging data produced by brain scans of healthy and sick individuals, on the one hand, and data containing information about the mental performance, personality, or emotions of study participants, on the other hand. I correlate these two types of data using statistical and machine learning methods. In this way, I interlink the characteristics of regions and large networks in the brain with the whole spectrum of human behaviour. I want to improve our understanding of how changes in the complex organization of the human brain lead to the very diverse symptoms in people with neurological or psychiatric diseases.“
Research Group Cognitive Neuroinformatics
Jun.-Prof. Jesus Gonzalez-Julian
“Some hot stuff: together with my team, I am developing new materials which are particularly heat-resistant, for example for turbines in power plants and aircraft or for solar power plants. These so-called MAX phases combine the positive properties of ceramics and metals. Ceramic can withstand high temperatures, but is brittle, while metal is very stable, but deforms in the heat. The MAX phases are heat-resistant and not brittle. We are also the first in the world to combine MAX phases with silicon carbide fibres. This is to further improve the mechanical properties.”
Dr. Marc Heggen
“Precious, shiny metals are the focus of my research – but only in tiny quantities because I look at individual atoms. Expensive platinum, for example, which is used as a catalyst in fuel cells. With my colleagues, I look for inexpensive alternatives. We use high-resolution electron microscopy for this purpose. We could thus show that the arrangement of platinum and nickel in specially shaped nanoparticles is decisive for their performance. As a result, catalysts were designed that are ten times more efficient than pure platinum – and thus significantly cheaper.”
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Simone Vossel
“Our sense organs are continuously sending signals to our brains. But we don’t pay equal attention to all of them; some remain fuzzy. How do our brains know which signals are important at any given moment and which brain regions are involved? That’s what I want to find out! If we understand this in healthy individuals, then we will be able to explain perception disorders in patients who have suffered a stroke for example, and help them to regain abilities that they have lost.”
Prof. Patricia Hidalgo
“I make films that show the journey of calcium ion channels through the inside of a cell.These are molecules which act like a gate to control how many calcium ions flow in and out of cells. Dysfunctions can cause cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, and migraines. In order to work correctly, the channels must migrate to the correct point of the cell membrane at the right time. Using colourants, we make the channels visible and film their movements with a fluorescence microscope. This helps us to better understand why some molecules are unable to find the right place."