The Faculty Colloquium usually takes place every second Monday each month during the semester (four talks). National and international scientists as well as scientists from our Faculty of Chemistry give insight into their field of research in the framework of 45-minute lectures.

Before the colloquia, there is usually a faculty coffee, during which faculty members are cordially invited to meet for an exchange over coffee and cake.

Program Coordination: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Becker


If at least three of the four lectures have been attended, this course will have a credit of 0.5 ECTS.

Program Faculty Colloquium 2023/2024

  • Monday, 22 January 2024, 16:00 /  Joseph Loschmidt lecture hall (LH 2) of the Faculty of Chemistry:


Prof. Dr. Michael Hellwig, Technische Universität Dresden


“Understanding the Complexity of Pain – from proteins to networks”

Proteins may undergo non-enzymatic reactions such as glycation and oxidation both under physiological conditions and in food products. In my group, we are focusing on the reactivity, analysis and toxicity of glycated and oxidized amino acids. We are developping model substances for tests in model systems and in vivo.

In recent works, we were able to uncover a methionine-specific peptide backbone cleavage mechanism as well as a new crosslink between the side-chains of tyrosine and tryptophan. We optimized an analytical workflow for the reliable quantitation of methionine sulfoxide in food products by anaerobic enzymatic hydrolysis. Recently, we intensified our works on the metabolism of glycated and oxidized amino acids in yeast and bacterial cell models. Currently, we are assessing the metabolic fate and microbial ecology of “new” biogenic amines formed from glycated amino acids in E. coli.


Prof. Dr. Michael Hellwig is a qualified professional with a background in Food Chemistry. He pursued his studies from 1999 to 2004 in Dresden, Germany, where he earned his degree. Following this, he underwent practical training for food chemists in Münster from 2004 to 2006. Dr. Hellwig furthered his academic journey by completing his Ph.D. thesis at the Institute of Food Chemistry in Dresden from 2006 to 2011.

After obtaining his doctorate, he engaged in postdoctoral research in Dresden, with brief research stays in Karlsruhe at the Max Rubner Institute, Germany, and Clermont-Ferrand at INRA, France, from 2011 to 2020. In 2020, he assumed the role of a Professor of Food Chemistry at TU Braunschweig, Germany. Since 2022, Dr. Hellwig has held the position of Professor of Special Food Chemistry at TU Dresden.

  • Monday, 15 January 2024, 16:00 /  Joseph Loschmidt lecture hall (LH 2) of the Faculty of Chemistry:


Univ.-Prof. Manuela Schmidt, Ph.D., University of Vienna, Vice-Dean Faculty of Life Sciences


“Understanding the Complexity of Pain – from proteins to networks”

Chronic pain represents a major medical challenge. Enormous efforts have been invested towards deciphering the complexity of chronic pain at different levels (molecular, physiological, psychosocial, and behavioral) in both preclinical and clinical settings. While progress has been made, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain remains insufficient. Consequently, chronic pain treatment is often inadequate. It lacks efficacy in most patients and is associated with detrimental side effects culminating in the opioid crisis.  

Dr. Manuela Schmidt will discuss how recent advances in comprehensive proteome profiling can be exploited to decipher cellular protein networks relevant for pain-related disorders. She will initially introduce key principles and cellular components implicated in pain processing. Thereafter Dr. Schmidt will provide a brief methodological overview of proteomics and the mass spectrometry-based pain proteomics workflow established in her laboratory. Finally, she will highlight examples showing the successful integration of proteomics and phenotypic data to construct pain-related signaling networks, which helped reveal tissue-, pain-, and species-specific disease signatures of pain.
Overall, her presentation aims at showcasing how protein-based systems biology contributes to (i) uncovering mechanisms underlying chronic pain, and (ii) determining disease signatures associated with pain phenotypes across species. Ultimately, this knowledge will pave the way towards the identification of pain biomarkers and more effective treatments for pain-related conditions.

Manuela Schmidt studied Biology at the University of Würzburg. In 2006, she obtained her PhD at the International Max Planck Research School Neurosciences in Göttingen under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Stephan Sigrist.
From 2007 to 2012 she worked as a postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla (California) in the laboratory of Prof. Ardem Patapoutian, where she investigated TRP channels and contributed to the discovery and characterization of Piezo2 channels in the context of somatosensation.
From 2012 to 2018 she lead her own research group (funded by the Emmy Noether Programme, DFG) at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen and got appointed as W2-professor at the Faculty of Biology and Psychology of the University of Göttingen in 2019.
In 2020, she became full professor at the University of Vienna heading the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology and became Deputy Head of the Department for Pharmaceutical Sciences. Since September 2022, she has been appointed Vice Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences.
As a researcher, Manuela Schmidt is working on uncovering molecular mechanisms that underlie chronic pain - with the aim of improving treatment options.

  • Monday, 11 December 2023, 16:00 / Auer von Welsbach Hörsaal (HS1) of the Faculty of Chemistry:


Gerald J. Meyer, University of North Carolina, USA


“The Quest for Sustainable and Renewable Energy”

Prof. Gerald J. Meyer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Director, CHASE Solar Fuels Hub,  and Deputy Editor, ACS Ap-plied Energy Materials

This presentation describes a personal and worldwide quest to provide future generations with clean and sustainable energy from our sun. The story begins with a political inspiration. In 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo in response to the United States support of Israel during the Arab-Israeli conflict. The ensuing energy crisis was dire for many countries and the resulting chaos motivated the US President Jimmy Carter to ask the Treasury Department to print bills that could be used exclusively for gasoline. This embargo also represented an early signal that energy resources in the middle east were unreliable and raised important questions about the future of oil and how our societies could one day become independent of fossil fuels. These discussions continue to this day. More recently, environmental concerns over the continued burning of fossil fuels have arisen that many believe are linked to global warming. These concerns have renewed awareness of the need for alternative energy sources that can be sustained and utilized for generations to come.

This historical context will be utilized to frame the current quest for sustainable and renewable energy resources that is now central to a growing body of scientists from around the world. The impact of China’s recent entry into the silicon photovoltaics market and the increased use of wind will be highlighted as an indication that ‘grid parity’ has already arrived or will soon.  Indeed, it is likely that wind and solar combined will soon provide all of our electrical needs.  However, full utility of the sun requires energy storage on a massive scale. What has been termed “solar fuels” has the potential to provide much higher energy densities with much lower costs than what can be achieved with batteries. The general idea behind ‘solar fuels” is to utilize water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to make liquid fuels. Since neither water or carbon dioxide absorb much sunlight, the efficient production of solar fuels will require light absorbing materials that do so. An overview of a particular approach, utilized by the Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels (CHASE) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that utilizes silicon to harvest sunlight with hybrid photoelectrodes that generate liquid fuels using only the chemical feedstocks found in air, see CHASE.

Professor Gerald (Jerry) J. Meyer attended the State University of New York at Albany (B.S. Chemistry and Mathematics, 1985) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Ph.D., 1989), working with Arthur B. Ellis. Following a post-doctoral appointment with Thomas J. Meyer he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University and later moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is now a Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Solar Hub entitled CHASE: the Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels. His research has focused on photochemistry and artificial photosynthesis with particular interest in halide photoredox chemistry, interfacial electron transfer at semiconductor interfaces, and photoelectrosynthetic cells.

  • Monday, 16 October 2023, 16:00 / Joseph Loschmidt lecture hall (LH 2) of the Faculty of Chemistry:


Stephen L. Buchwald, MIT, USA


Palladium-Catalyzed Carbon-Heteroatom Bond-Forming Reactions for the Functionalization of Molecules Big and Small


Stephen L. Buchwald
Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA USA


Stephen L. Buchwald is Professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from Harvard University. His thesis work, with Jeremy R. Knowles, concerned the mechanism of phosphoryl transfer reactions in chemistry and biochemistry. He then was a Myron A. Bantrell postdoctoral fellow at Caltech with Professor Robert H. Grubbs where he studied titanocene methylenes as reagents in organic synthesis and the mechanism of Ziegler-Natta polymerization.

He was promoted to Professor in 1993 and was named the Camille Dreyfus Professor in 1997.
In July 2015, he became Associate Head of the Chemistry Department at MIT.

During his time at MIT, he has received numerous honors including the Harold Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award of MIT, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the 2000 Award in Organometallic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health.

He is the coauthor of over 510 published or accepted papers and 52 issued patents. He serves as a consultant to a number of companies and is an associate editor of Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis.