Graduate School MAINZ doctoral award for Anna Maria Hofmann and Christine Tonhauser

MAINZ Award given for outstanding dissertations in chemistry


The 2012 doctoral award of the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) was given to Anna Maria Hofmann and Christine Tonhauser, who as doctoral candidates were both members of the work group of Professor Holger Frey at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Anna Maria Hofmann received the prize for work on new types of multi-functional liposomes. Christine Tonhauser was honored for her thesis on functional polyethylene glycols. The MAINZ Award for excellent dissertations in materials science includes prize money of EUR 2,000 and has been given this year for the fourth time.

Anna Maria Hofmann received the MAINZ Award 2012 for her highly innovative dissertation on multi-functional liposomes entitled "Amphiphilic Polyethers via Oxyanionic Polymerization: From Liposomes to Liquid Crystals." In this she considers the synthesis of new polyfunctional lipids – a complex and multi-faceted subject that is highly relevant to the fields of pharmaceutical sciences and biochemistry and involves the investigation of the chemistry of lipids and the physical chemistry of thin lipid layers. The high quality of the dissertation is demonstrated by the fact that it has generated a series of high-profile publications. Hofmann, who now works for Evonik in Marl, was the first to establish the direct oxyanionic polymerization synthesis process using cholesterol.

Dr. Christine Tonhauser, who completed her doctorate in a relatively brief period of just two-and-a-half years, achieved another accomplished dissertation. Her thesis on "Tailored Epoxide Monomers as Building Units for Multifunctional Poly(ethylene glycol)" was the origin of four papers that have appeared in the internationally eminent journal Macromolecules. With regard to functional polyethylene glycols, the prize winner's publications are increasingly being seen as the standard literature on the subject by her colleagues. According to her doctoral supervisor, Tonhauser was very creative and successful in both proving the central propositions of the thesis while integrating her own ideas. She is now working for BASF in Ludwigshafen.

Funding of the Graduate School "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) was approved in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments in 2007 and the proposal for its continued funding was again successful in the second round of the initiative in June 2012. MAINZ combines work groups from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. The school is dedicated to graduate training in the area of materials research and employs an innovative program that provides for exceptional scientific and technical training of doctoral candidates, the promotion of complementary core skills as well as high level materials research.

To be eligible for a MAINZ Award, candidates must complete their doctoral degree with distinction and obtain the MAINZ Certificate through participation in the MAINZ Training Program.