Document Actions

You are here: Home Newsroom People New faces at the University of …

New faces at the University of Freiburg

Engineer Frank Balle and physicists Johann Bollmann and Joachim Dzubiella take up their professorships

Freiburg, Jul 12, 2018

New faces at the University of Freiburg

From the left: Frank Balle, Johann Bollmann, Joachim Dzubiella. Photos: Thomas Brenner, Margit Böhler, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Frank Balle has been Professor of Engineering of Functional Materials since April 1 and is developing a team of the same name at the Institute of Sustainable Technical Systems at the Faculty of Engineering. Balle works on research issues surrounding hybrid materials systems. He investigates how various materials can be combined and how the service life of such systems can be calculated faster. For this Balle uses power ultrasonics and looks at microstructure and the resulting characteristics. Alongside the established lightweight metal materials, he is focusing on fiber-composite materials which may be combined to create new, multifunctional applications such as fuselage or chassis structures in the aviation and auto industries.

Balle studied Engineering and completed his doctorate in 2009 at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. From 2010 to 2014 he was an Akademischer Rat at the Center for Mathematical and Computational Modelling (CM)² research center in Rheinland-Pfalz and also spent time as a guest researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, USA. From 2015 to 2018 Balle was an assistant professor heading the new subject of Hybrid Materials Systems at the TU Kaiserslautern. He has been a co-editor of the specialist journal Ultrasonics since 2011 and has organized several international symposia on the subject of power ultrasound.

Johann Bollmann is the new Heisenberg Professor of Neurodevelopmental Genetics at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg; he took up the post on May 1. His research is in the area of the structural functional analysis of neural circuits and their development in genetic model organisms such as the zebra fish. One focus of Bollmann’s work is the mechanisms underlying the information processing of the visual system of the zebra fish which enable the organism to carry out fast, visually-driven behavior. For example, Bollmann is looking into the way the brain of a zebra fish larva very quickly filters and assesses visual information in order to carry out appropriate movement patterns. For this he determines the synaptic switches in the larva’s nerve cell network and measures the neural activity spreading through it, using the latest microscopy methods. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a model of neural information processing in the zebra fish brain and to use it to find functional rules which will also help us to understand the way mammal brains work.

Bollmann studied Physics at the University of Göttingen, the University of California in Berkeley and - with Physiology as a minor subject - at the University of Heidelberg. In 2001 he completed his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg; his doctoral thesis on the physiology of fast synapses won him the Max Planck Society’s Otto Hahn Medal. From 2004 to 2008 Bollmann was a scholarship holder conducting research at the Human Frontier Science Program Organization at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. From 2009 to 2017 he worked as a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and completed his habilitation thesis in 2016 at the Heidelberg University Faculty of Biology. He came to the University of Freiburg in October 2017 on a German Research Foundation Heisenberg scholarship.

Joachim Dzubiella has been Professor of Applied Theoretical Physics at the University of Freiburg Faculty of Mathematics and Physics since April 1. His focus is on the computer-assisted research into soft functional materials and complex liquids. This includes for instance synthetic and biomimetic macromolecules, whose functions include simulating the features of proteins.  The molecules serve as the basis of hydrogels which can be used in medical technology as nanoreactors, nanotransporters, or programmable films on implants, for example. Another core research area for Dzubiella is the simulation of complex electrolytes on interfaces. These substances have a key role in electrochemical energy conversion and storage as well as in organisms.

Dzubiella studied Physics in Düsseldorf, where he completed his doctorate in 2002. Following guest research at the University of Cambridge in the UK and at the University of California in San Diego, he headed an Emmy Noether research group at the TUM Munich. In 2010 Dzubiella became a research group leaders at the Helmholtz Center Berlin and shortly after that, a professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University. In 2015 he received an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council to investigate responsive nanoreactors.


Professor Dr. Frank Balle
Institute of Sustainable Technical Systems
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-54200

Professor Dr. Johann Bollmann
Institute of Biology I
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-2907


Professor Dr. Joachim Dzubiella
Institute of Physics
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-7627