Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”New Spokespersons for the Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”

23 February 2022

Life scientist Joachim Wittbrodt and materials scientist Christine Selhuber-Unkel now in spokespersons team for Universität Heidelberg

There has been a change in the board of the Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order” (3DMM2O). For Heidelberg University, life scientist Prof. Dr Joachim Wittbrodt is the new spokesperson of the cluster, which is organised jointly with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He shares this office with Karlsruhe physicist Prof. Dr Martin Wegener. Their two deputy spokespersons are Prof. Dr Christine Selhuber-Unkel for Heidelberg University, and Prof. Dr Uli Lemmer, who was re-elected for KIT. In this cluster, scientists from the two institutions work on innovative technologies and materials for additive manufacturing processes that are digital and scalable, in order to make 3D printing more precise, rapid, and efficient.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt and Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-Unkel

Prof. Wittbrodt and Prof. Selhuber-Unkel highlight that, besides interdisciplinarity and collaborative creativity, the cluster’s scientific transfer activities will be strengthened. The cluster conference on the topic of “Future 3D Additive Manufacturing” will take place in April. A further priority is the expansion of support for junior researchers. In January of this year, twelve postdoctoral researchers – eight from Heidelberg and four from Karlsruhe – received a “Postdoc Take-Off Grant”. Moreover, a seminar entitled “Successes and Challenges” is geared specifically towards junior researchers. In addition to the programmes that have already been successfully implemented, new initiatives will be launched at the Cluster of Excellence over the course of the year.

Joachim Wittbrodt has been professor for molecular developmental biology and physiology at the Centre for Organismal Studies since 2007, where he investigates the development of fish embryos from the first cells to complex bodies. As spokesperson he follows Heidelberg chemist Prof. Dr Uwe Bunz. Christine Selhuber-Unkel has held the first professorship at the newly founded Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering at Heidelberg University since 2020. She does research at the interface of chemistry, physics, materials science, and biology. As deputy spokesperson she follows materials scientist Prof. Dr Rasmus Schröder. The new cluster spokespersons at Heidelberg University want to pick up where their predecessors left off: “Their efforts have paved the way for a collaborative and interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence”, emphasised Jochen Wittbrodt and Christine Selhuber-Unkel.

The Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order” under the aegis of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Heidelberg University took up work in 2019 and pursues a strong interdisciplinary approach in connecting the natural and engineering sciences. The cluster focuses on three-dimensional additive manufacturing technologies – from the level of molecules to macroscopic measurements. The aim is the complete digitisation of 3D manufacturing and materials processing based on processes that are precise, rapid, and efficient. This approach enables the scientists involved in the cluster to transform digital information into functional materials, devices and systems that create the preconditions for innovative applications in the materials sciences and life sciences. That includes, for example, the reconstruction of organotypic systems through the use of 3D scaffolds for cell cultures. 3DMM2O receives funding as a Cluster of Excellence from the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments and is also financed by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

At present, 34 professors are involved in the Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”, 17 of them from Heidelberg University and 17 from KIT. In addition, there is a team of nine senior scientists and 122 junior researchers, made up of 87 doctoral candidates and 35 postdoctoral researchers.