TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Thu, 03 Dec 2020 08:35:29 +0100 Thu, 03 Dec 2020 08:35:29 +0100 Precious metal-free silicone curing https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36334/ Silicones are synthetic polymers consisting of an inorganic silicon-oxygen backbone modified with organic side groups Before use, silicone must be converted to a rubber-elastic state through chemical crosslinking. One of the more important methods used in the industry is addition-curing, since this crosslinking process does not release any volatile byproducts and results in particularly high-quality silicone elastomers.

The process does have one disadvantage, however: the catalysts required for crosslinking contain precious metals such as platinum, which make the manufacturing process relatively expensive. These metals also remain in the silicone permanently.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36333 Tue, 24 Nov 2020 09:01:23 +0100
On the trail of the genetic code https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36345/ Viruses often have so-called overlapping genes, which can easily be overlooked but may play an important role in virus spread, even up to the level of a pandemic. Dr. Zachary Ardern, scientist in the field of Microbial Ecology, has studied the matter in great detail. In this interview, he talks about his research results.

Covid-19 Research news news-36344 Mon, 30 Nov 2020 15:33:57 +0100
Prof. Jia Chen among the "Top 40 under 40" https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36343/ Prof. Jia Chen conducts research on topics relating to climate change and urban air pollution. She also develops sensors and mathematical models for the exact determination of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality parameters. The data generated can be used to developed new climate protection measures and to evaluate existing measures.

Last year Prof. Chen established in Munich the world's first permanent sensor network for the measurement of urban greenhouse gases, based on the differential column measurement method she developed. She is currently developing an intelligent sensor network for the determination of air quality parameters, for example regarding particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. She heads the UN project "German MEASURE", which investigates the methane emissions of major German cities.

Prof. Chen studied electrical engineering in Beijing and Karlsruhe, earning her doctorate at TUM in 2011. She then did postdoctoral work at Harvard University. Since 2015 she has been the head of the TUM Professorship for Environmental Sensing and Modeling and is an Associate at Harvard University. Prof. Chen is author or co-author of more than 150 publications and twelve patents.


Campus news news-36342 Mon, 30 Nov 2020 10:44:08 +0100
TUM IdeAward for technologies with high market potential https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36341/ The Technical University of Munich (TUM) and its Affiliated Institute UnternehmerTUM, Europe's biggest Center for Innovation and Business Creation, promote start-ups from science in an eco-system unique in Europe. A central element in this facilitation and support structure is the TUM IdeAward, which has been presented to the best start-up ideas at the university since 2012. TUM and UnternehmerTUM award the prize jointly with the Zeidler Research Foundation, which provides the cash prize amounting to a total of 37,500 euros. 
At yesterday's online event, which was followed by more than 800 viewers in the livestream, ten teams presented their founding ideas - three of them received awards: 

Entrepreneurship a.schmdit@tum.de news-36340 Fri, 27 Nov 2020 09:39:55 +0100
How epithelial cells ward off viruses https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36339/ Among the proteins which recognize intruders is a class known as inflammasome sensors. Once activated, these sensors form inflammasome complexes, which then trigger a range of inflammatory responses that can in some cases lead to the death of the infected cell. A group of researchers at TUM, LMU and MPIB has now demonstrated that one such sensor found in skin cells binds directly to a specific molecular structure that arises during the replication of certain RNA viruses. The new findings underline the importance of epithelial cells as a barrier against invasive pathogens.

Research news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36338 Fri, 27 Nov 2020 07:03:00 +0100
Sun model completely confirmed for the first time https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36337/ The sun generates its energy through the fusion of hydrogen to helium. This occurs in two ways: The majority of the energy, approximately 99 percent, comes from a process of fusion and decay which begins with two hydrogen nuclei and ends with one helium nucleus. This process is referred to as the pp (proton-proton) chain. 

The rest of the energy results from a cycle in which a total of four hydrogen nuclei ultimately combine to form a helium nucleus with the help of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen as catalysts and intermediate products. In stars larger than our sun the majority of energy generated is generated by this second process, referred to as the CNO process because of the involvement of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36336 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 08:31:03 +0100
Ultrathin nanomesh sensor to measure sense of touch https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36332/ Our hands and fingers are our primary tools for direct interaction with materials, other human beings and our immediate environment. Finding out how the sense of touch actually works and having ways to record it would be a great benefit not only for research in the fields of medicine, sports or neuroengineering, but also for archiving skills.

However, capturing this data is not easy. A wearable sensor on a finger has to be extremely thin and flexible, because fingertips are so sensitive that anything could affect the feeling. In addition, a sensor worn on hands needs to be resistant to rubbing or other physical damage.

To overcome this problem, David Franklin, Professor for Neuromuscular Diagnostics at TUM and his colleagues teamed up with researchers from the University of Tokyo. Here, a group of scientists led by Professor Takao Someya had developed a sensor covered by four ultrathin layers of a functional and porous material named “nanomesh sensor”, which “turned out to be just perfect”, as Franklin says.

Research news christine.lehner@tum.de news-36331 Mon, 23 Nov 2020 09:44:00 +0100
TUM graduates in demand worldwide https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36330/ Every year, on behalf of the British magazine "Times Higher Education", the French management consultancy Emerging and the German market research company Trendence ask companies in all major industries to name the universities with the best graduates.

TUM in Rankings a.schmidt@tum.de news-36329 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:24:31 +0100
Neutrons detect air pollution https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36327/ In the region around Ponte de Sor (Portalegre County, Portugal), coal has been produced for centuries by smoldering wood in charcoal kilns. Traditional charcoal production not only provides jobs, it is also responsible for bad air quality.

Complaints about the smell, clouds of smoke in winter, reports of asthma and other respiratory diseases are not uncommon, says chemist Dr. Nuno Canha of the Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon. However, no official air quality measurements have been taken up to date.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36326 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 08:35:20 +0100
Thirteen TUM researchers among the most cited worldwide https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36328/ In their publications, scientists cite the most important papers previously published on the respective topic. The frequency of citations is therefore a good indicator of the quality and worldwide recognition of a research work and its authors. Using the "Web of Science" database, which records scientific publications from a wide range of disciplines, the US company Clarivate Analytics once a year identifies the "Highly Cited Researchers".

The current edition of the ranking lists the scientists who were cited most frequently in their respective fields from 2009 to 2019. Researchers who were cited frequently in various fields are listed in the "Cross-Field" category. In total, the list includes about 6,400 persons in no particular order, including the following researchers from TUM:

Agricultural Sciences:


Clinical Medicine:

Psychiatry and Psychology:

Environment and Ecology: 


TUM in Rankings a.schmidt@tum.de news-36323 Wed, 18 Nov 2020 15:58:00 +0100
Cervical cancer to be eradicated https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36320/ Cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer that can be prevented through vaccination and regular screenings. In more than 90 percent of cases, cervical cancer is caused by an infection with certain human papillomaviruses (HPV) that are transmitted during sexual intercourse — an infection which can now be prevented via a vaccine. The WHO’s mission is for all countries worldwide to reach the 90-70-90 target in the fight against cervical cancer by 2030:

•    90 percent HPV vaccination rate
•    70 percent early detection rate (screening)
•    90 percent treatment rate for cervical cancer and its preliminary stages, including palliative care

Marion Kiechle, professor for Gynaecology at TUM and director of the Women’s Hospital at Klinikum rechts der Isar, is committed to eradicating cervical cancer: “I stand behind this campaign with all my medical knowledge and all my heart, as I still see women dying from these cancers to this day.”

Campus news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36319 Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:55:00 +0100
“Together on the Pulse of the Future” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36324/ Prof. Hofmann, a year ago you took over as president. What was that like for you?

I have fond memories of the inauguration ceremony, where I took over the helm of TUM from Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann. Eager students, dedicated members of the university, active supporters and patrons of TUM, and a number of prominent figures from the worlds of science, business, politics and society gathered to wish me all the best in guiding “our TUM” toward a prosperous future. It was reassuring to know that I had the support of so many in this ambitious endeavor.

How would you describe your first year as president?

Exciting, intense and full of surprises, like the Corona pandemic, for example. This first year was also marked by intensive exchange with the members of our TUM family. They are the DNA of our university. As President, it is important for me to listen to them and show them my appreciation, to learn what moves them, what drives and where they want to go. This helps me to broaden my own horizon. It also enables me to support the members of our university community in taking off their blinders, acting creatively and pursuing promising avenues of development.

„Progress is the result of the open exchange of ideas, knowledge, working methods and experience, across professional and institutional boundaries.”

The central idea of your inaugural speech was your vision of the university as a “global marketplace of knowledge.” How has this vision developed over the past year?

I am convinced that progress is the result of the open exchange of ideas, knowledge, working methods and experience, across professional and institutional boundaries. This is why we want to develop TUM into a place where people from the worlds of science, business, politics and society can engage in intensive exchange with our students, our early-career and seasoned scientists, as well as our alumnae and alumni. I see TUM as a place that brings together people with their individual talents and inspires them, people who support each other and share a commitment to developing innovative solutions to the problems of our time, such as the consequences of climate change. “Together on the pulse of the future” is how I would describe the guiding principle of our new initiative “TUM. The Open University.” As lifelong learners, our university alumnae and alumni can return to their alma mater again and again to refresh and expand their competency profiles, to further their professional development and remain competitive in the face of ever-changing job markets.

Campus news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36309 Wed, 18 Nov 2020 10:42:00 +0100
An epigenetic ageing clock in trees https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36315/ Epigenetic marks do not change the DNA sequence but can affect the activity of genes. “Although in animals, including humans, these marks are believed to be completely reset in gametes, in plants, they can be stably inherited for many generations,” says Frank Johannes, Professor of Population Epigenetics and Epigenomics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), whose research team has been trying to understand how epimutations arise in plant genomes, how stable they are across generations, and whether they can affect important plant characteristics.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36314 Wed, 18 Nov 2020 10:39:00 +0100
Eighth Alexander von Humboldt professorship for TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36325/ Machines of the future which are to function autonomously in road traffic or in human health care situations will have to be able to adapt quickly to the circumstances at hand. As a result these machines need the ability to learn from experience and at the same time to ensure the safety of the humans around them.

Prof. Angela Schöllig currently conducts research on these topics and others from the fields of Robotics, Control Engineering and Machine Learning at the Dynamic Systems Lab of the University of Toronto. Her work covers both theoretical and practical applications such as self-driving cars. The native German earned her doctorate in 2013 at the ETH Zurich and has won numerous awards and honors, most recently the Canada CIFAR AI Chair of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Angela Schöllig will be appointed to the Professorship for Safety, Performance and Reliability for Learning Systems at the TUM Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and will become a member of the TUM School of Computation, Information and Technology, established as part of the TUM AGENDA 2030. She will reinforce the diverse group of approximately 60 TUM professors with international leading core competencies in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. This scientific mainstay field at TUM will be further reinforced in the upcoming months with strategic new appointments as part of the Hightech Agenda Bavaria. TUM consolidates its expertise in the fields of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence on a transdisciplinary basis at the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM), founded in 2017, and the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI), established in 2020 in the course of the TUM Excellence Strategy.

Artificial Intelligence Campus news news-36318 Tue, 17 Nov 2020 13:33:09 +0100
Deep-learning in hospitals https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36317/ In recent years, clinics have taken first steps towards artificial intelligence and deep learning to automate medical screenings. However, training a deep learning algorithm for accurate screening and diagnosis prediction requires large sets of annotated data and clinics often struggle with expensive expert labelling.

Researchers were therefore looking for ways to reduce the need for costly annotated data while still maintaining the high performance of the algorithm.

Artificial Intelligence Research news news-36316 Tue, 17 Nov 2020 11:48:26 +0100
Metal-organic frameworks become flexible https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36313/ A research team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and Technical University of Munich (TUM) has used experiments and simulations to find out by what means MOFs can be rendered flexible and why: they tricked the system by using clever chemical manipulations to enable a variety of energetically similar arrangements in the crystalline order.

The application potential of MOFs was first discovered around 20 years ago, and almost 100,000 such hybrid porous materials have since been identified. There are great hopes for technical applications, especially for flexible MOFs. 

As shock absorbers, for example, they could react to sudden high pressure by closing their pores and losing volume, i.e. deforming plastically. Or they could separate chemical substances from each other like a sponge by absorbing them into their pores and releasing them again under pressure. 

“This would require much less energy than the usual distillation process,” explains Rochus Schmid. However, only a few such flexible MOFs have been identified to date.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36311 Tue, 17 Nov 2020 08:28:31 +0100
Climate-adapted plant breeding https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36306/ The famous seed vault in Spitsbergen and national gene banks retain hundreds of thousands of seed samples to preserve old varieties of crop plants and the genetic diversity associated with them. Are these seed banks gold mines or seed cemeteries?

Researchers around the globe are investigating whether retained samples contain genes that have been lost through breeding which could be beneficial in counteracting climate change. A research team led by Chris-Carolin Schön, Professor of Plant Breeding at the TUM, is now presenting a solution to harness the genetic potential of old varieties, so-called landraces.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36305 Tue, 10 Nov 2020 15:50:13 +0100
New research institute for Artificial Intelligence in the construction industry https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36308/ Conceiving, designing and sustaining the built environment are among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The use of the latest modern computer technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning offer completely new possibilities for ecologically and economically sustainable solutions to this challenge. Now TUM has founded the "TUM Georg Nemetschek Institute Artificial Intelligence for the Built World" to conduct research on this future-oriented technological focus area.

Artificial Intelligence Campus news a.schmidt@tum.de news-36307 Wed, 11 Nov 2020 08:00:00 +0100
TUM founds leading center for integrated Data Sciences and Machine Learning https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36304/ In concert with the volatile development of high-performance computing technologies, breathtaking advances in data analysis, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have triggered a paradigm shift in research by facilitating the convergence of theory and experimentation as the classical paths to cognitive insights. In the future, modern Data Sciences also promise to validate models and hypotheses in highly complex research domains, for example regarding the explanation of global developments, making reliable predictions and in optimizing materials, technologies and processes. 

Building on its first-rate international reputation in Informatics and AI research, TUM is now consolidating data-based research activities previously distributed across several sites at a single location in the newly founded Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI) at the TUM Garching campus.

Artificial Intelligence Campus news a.schmidt@tum.de news-36302 Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:17:40 +0100
United against COVID https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36301/ The Bavarian Ministry of Science established the Bavarian research alliance FOR-COVID as a response to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The State of Bavaria is providing approximately 800,000 euros in funding for the current year and next year. In addition to the TUM, the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), the Universität Regensburg, the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU), and the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology in Munich will also be participating in this endeavor. The research alliance aims to contribute to facilitating the management of the current pandemic through interdisciplinary cooperation throughout Bavaria.

"We are extremely glad to now be able to consolidate the expertise of leading scientists in Bavaria in order to research how we can overcome the COVID-19 crisis, thereby also learning how we can prepare ourselves better for future challenges," said the spokesperson for the alliance Prof. Ulrike Protzer, virologist at TUM and Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Covid-19 Research news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36300 Wed, 04 Nov 2020 16:18:51 +0100
Online discussion on the US election https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36298/ Prof. Tim Büthe, Chair of International Relations, Prof. Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt, Chair of European and Global Governance, and Prof. Miranda Schreurs, Chair of Environmental and Climate Policy, will speak with Jeff Rathke, the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington. Moderator: Peter Schmalz, PresseClub München.

Livestream starting at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, November 4

Event klaus.becker@tum.de news-36298 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 11:55:30 +0100
How the immune system remembers viruses https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36297/ When a virus enters the body, it is picked up by certain cells of the immune system. They transport the virus to the lymph nodes where they present its fragments, known as antigens, to CD8+ T cells responsible control of viral infections. Each of these cells carries a unique T cell receptor on the surface that can recognize certain antigens. However, only very few T cell receptors match a given viral the antigen.

To bring the infection under control and maximize the defenses against the virus, these few antigen-specific T cells start dividing rapidly and develop into effector T cells. These kill virus-infected host cells and then die off themselves once the infection is cleared. Some of these short-lived effector cells – according to the generally accepted theory – turn into memory T cells, which persist in the organism long term. In case the same pathogen enters the body again, memory T cells are already present and ready to fight the invader more swiftly and effectively than during the first encounter.

Research news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36296 Mon, 02 Nov 2020 09:36:00 +0100
New enrolment record at TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36292/ Next week, as in 2019, around 7,200 students will start their first semester of study for a bachelor's program or in another undergraduate program. Approximately 5,600 students will start master's programs. This represents a 17 percent increase over the previous year and yet another record. For the first time, more than half of the students starting master's programs are from abroad. Other students have enrolled for higher semesters, pushing the total number of students to the 44,000 mark – another first for TUM.

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36292 Fri, 30 Oct 2020 11:12:38 +0100
Prof. Jörg Drewes appointed to German Federal Advisory Council https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36291/ The WBGU is an independent scientific advisory body of the German federal government, advising policymakers in matters regarding global environmental changes. The German Federal Cabinet has now approved the new appointment of members for the eighth term of office. The members are experts with various research focus areas such as economics, physical and social sciences as well as environmental legal science. The appointments will last from November 1, 2020 until October 31, 2024.

Prof. Jörg Drewes, appointed to the advisory body for the first time together with five other scientists, is the head of the Professorship for Urban Water Systems Engineering at TUM. His research focuses on the development of sustainable water treatment procedures, including water recycling as well as the analysis of organic trace elements and pathogens and their removal from water.

Drewes studied environmental engineering at the TU Berlin from 1987 to 1992. After earning his PhD he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State University, where he assumed the position of Associate Director of the National Center for Sustainable Water Supply. In 2001 he was appointed as a tenure track professor at the Colorado School of Mines and promoted to a full professorship there in 2010. He was appointed professor at TUM in 2013.

Campus news news-36290 Fri, 30 Oct 2020 11:48:00 +0100
Smart bottle brushes https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36275/ "The structure of the bottle-brush polymers, which are only nanometers in size, cannot be investigated using classical optical methods: It can be seen that an aqueous solution containing these polymers becomes turbid at a certain temperature. But why this is the case, and how the backbone and the side arms stretch out into in the water or contract, has not yet been clarified," reports Prof. Christine Papadakis.

There is a simple reason why scientists would like to know more about the inner life of bottle-brush polymers: The fluffy molecules, which consist of different polymer chains and abruptly change their solubility in water at a certain temperature, are promising candidates for a variety of applications. 

For example, they could be used as catalysts to accelerate chemical reactions, as molecular switches to open or close tiny valves, or as transport media for medical drugs – the molecular brushes could thus bring pharmaceuticals to a center of inflammation and, because the temperature is elevated there, release them directly at the site of action.

However, the basic prerequisite for using the brush molecules is that their behavior can be programmed: Theoretically, chemists can use a combination of water-soluble and water-insoluble building blocks to determine precisely at what temperature the polymers clump together and the liquid in which they were just dissolved becomes cloudy. "In practice, however, you have to know exactly how and under what conditions the structure of the polymers changes if you want to design smart brush molecules," explains Papadakis.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36274 Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:48:36 +0100