Press releases

Whether it is new and groundbreaking research results, university topics or events – in our press releases you can find everything you need to know about the happenings at Goethe University. To subscribe, just send an email to

Goethe University PR & Communication Department 

Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt


May 24 2024

Sustainability Conference discusses global basis for sustainability reporting

How can sustainability reporting become internationally comparable?

FRANKFURT. How can sustainability reporting become internationally comparable? How do sustainability and reporting obligations feature in research? These and other questions will be the focus of the Sustainability Standards Conference 2024, which will take place on Monday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Casino Building, Room 1.811, Goethe University.

The conference organizers – the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE , Goethe University Frankfurt, the IFRS Foundation and the Accounting Standards Committee of Germany [Deutsches Rechnungslegungs Standards Committee], with the support of the House of Finance and Deutsche Börse Group – invite you to the event, which will address topics related to the current standard-setting activities of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) both from a practical and an academic perspective. 

The conference will be held in English.

The panel discussions and presentations will address the following questions: How can global comparability of sustainability reporting be achieved? What is the current state of research? What are first experiences from practice? How do sustainability disclosures affect policy makers' agendas? How can sustainable business models, investment decisions and reporting requirements be shaped in the future? 

The conference will be opened by Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff and Hesse's Finance Minister Prof. Alexander Lorz. In addition to ISSB chairman Emmanuel Faber and his deputy Sue Lloyd, other ISSB board members and employees will also offer insights into their work. Speakers include Dr. Stephan Leithner (Deutsche Börse AG), Prof. Axel Weber (Center for Financial Studies), Prof. Kerstin Lopatta (University of Hamburg, Vice Chair of the EFRAG SR Board), Prof. Tobias Berg (Goethe University Frankfurt), Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese (Senkenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center), Adam Pradela (DHL Group), Mark Vessen (KPMG) Gülşah Günay (KGK) and Prof. Loriana Pelizzon (SAFE). Current research findings on an improved corporate carbon accounting and the relevance of biodiversity data for investors will be discussed by Prof. Stefan Reichelstein (University of Mannheim) and Prof. F. Alexander Wagner (University of Zurich).

It will be possible to join the conference online. Please register at

Further information:
Ursula Albrecht
Administrative Koordinatorin des SAFE Policy Centers
Leibniz-Institut für Finanzmarktforschung SAFE an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531, 


May 23 2024

Andrew Apter to speak at Ad. E. Jensen Memorial Lecture

Historical ethnography and the ritual archive

xxxFRANKFURT. The connection between anthropology and history is the focus of this year's Ad. E. Jensen Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Frobenius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt. The interdisciplinary relationship between the two disciplines has its own significant history, which has been the subject of research since the 1950s. US-American anthropologist and historian Prof. Andrew Apter will be giving lectures during four upcoming evening events in June, the first of which will take place 

on Monday, June 3, 16:15-17:45 
in Room 1.801 in the Casino Building on Westend Campus 

and is titled “My life in the forest of spirits". Apter will recount his own experiences in applying anthropological methods to the historical ethnography of the Afro-Atlantic region, exploring the possibilities of using rituals as archives to uncover repressed historical memories and the pasts they resurrect. After all, while “fetishized" forms of ritual invocations and representations of the past are standard material for anthropological reflection, few studies take up the far greater challenge of determining the actual pasts that manifest themselves in these rituals.

How are “actual" pasts ritually archived and made accessible? How can we explain their transmission from generation to generation through ritual sacrifice, surrogation and substitution? And how can we transform them into historical narratives without violating their culturally specific epistemological frameworks? In the second lecture, Apter, who directed the African Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, traces the outlines and methodology of the “ritual archive" and shows how to recognize the relevant categories and practices of ritual assemblages encountered in the field. The third lecture will focus on Yoruba ideas about history and historicity in different ritual contexts on the basis of Apter's own ethnographic research, while in the last lecture, he will take a fresh look at Frobenius' fourth Inner Africa research expedition (1910-12) by examining the ritual foundations of his Yoruba archive.

All lectures will be held in English. 


Monday, June 3: 
My Life in the Forest of Spirits 

Monday, June 10: 
An Operating Manual for the Ritual Archive 

Monday, June 17: 
The Ritual Archive in Yoruba Culture 

Monday, June 2: 
“Yoruba Culture" in the Frobenius Archive 

The Ad. E. Jensen Memorial Lecture
Each year, the Frobenius Institute invites renowned scholars from abroad to give one-semester guest lectures. The lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Adolf Ellegard Jensen (1899-1965), who was appointed director of the Frobenius Institute, director of the Ethnological Museum and as first chair of cultural and ethnological studies at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in 1946. While the emphasis of the lectures should be on Jensen's research on myth and cult, the visiting scholars are free to choose their own topics. The lecture series is funded by the Hahn-Hissink'sche Frobenius Foundation and the Frobenius Society.

A portrait of Prof. Apter is available for download at: Link einsetzen. 
© Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften 2023 (Photo: Stefanie Wetzel)

Further Information:
PD Dr. Susanne Fehlings
Public Relations
Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology 

Redaktion: Dr. Anke Sauter, Referentin für Wissenschaftskommunikation, Büro für PR & Kommunikation, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Telefon 069 798-13066, E-Mail


May 13 2024

Thalidomide derivatives mediate the degradation of proteins needed by mutated cells to survive 

Derivatives of the thalidomide compound drive resistant cancer cells to their deaths 

A study by Goethe University Frankfurt points to the possibility that thalidomide derivatives are potentially suitable for treating cancer. Thalidomide was marketed in the 1950s as a sleeping pill. It later gained sad notoriety for causing severe fetal abnormalities in the early stages of pregnancy. It is meanwhile known that the molecule marks proteins in the cell for degradation. For the current study, the researchers produced thalidomide derivatives. They were able to show that these influence the degradation of proteins responsible for the survival of cancer cells.

FRANKFURT. Hardly any other molecule has a more turbulent past than thalidomide. It was the central ingredient in a drug approved in many countries in the 1950s as a sedative and sleeping pill. However, it soon became apparent that pregnant women who had taken thalidomide often gave birth to children with severe deformities. 

For the past few decades, however, medicine has nevertheless pinned great hopes on it again. Studies have shown, among other things, that it inhibits the growth of blood vessels and is therefore potentially suitable for cutting off tumors from their nutrient supply. It then also proved very effective in the treatment of multiple myeloma, malignant tumors in the bone marrow.

“We know now that thalidomide is something referred to as a ‘molecular glue’,” explains Dr. Xinlai Cheng from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Goethe University Frankfurt. “This means it is able to catch hold of two proteins and pull them together.” This is particularly interesting because one of these proteins is a kind of ‘labeling machine’: It attaches an unmistakable label to the other protein that says “WASTE”.

The cell’s waste disposal system recognizes this label: It catches hold of the marked protein molecule and shreds it. “It is precisely this mechanism that explains the different effects of thalidomide,” says Cheng. “Depending on which protein is marked, it can lead to malformations during embryonal development or else kill off malignant cells.”

This mechanism opens up great possibilities for medicine because cancer cells are dependent on certain proteins to survive. If these could be systematically targeted and shredded, it might be possible to cure the disease. The problem is that molecular glue is rather idiosyncratic. One of its binding partners is always the cell’s labeling machine, or in scientific terms an E3 ligase called CRBN. Only very few of the many thousands of proteins in the body come into question as the other partner – which ones exactly vary from glue to glue.

“That is why we produced a range of thalidomide derivatives,” says Cheng. “We then examined whether they have glue-like properties and, if so, which proteins they are effective against.” To do this, the researchers added their derivatives to all the proteins in a cultured cell line. They then monitored which of these proteins were subsequently degraded in the presence of CRBN.

“During the process, we pinpointed three derivatives that are able to mark a cell protein which is very important for degradation, BCL-2,” explains Cheng. “BCL-2 prevents the activation of the cellular self-destruction program, so if it is absent, the cells perish.” That is why BCL-2 has already been in the spotlight of cancer research for some time. There is even already a drug for treating leukemia, called venetoclax, which reduces the efficacy of BCL-2 and in this way causes mutated cells to self-destruct.

“In many cancer cells, however, BCL-2 itself is mutated. As a result, venetoclax no longer inhibits the protein,” says Cheng. “We were able to show that our derivatives also mark this mutated form for degradation. Moreover, our partners at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics simulated the interaction of the thalidomide derivatives with BCL-2 on the computer. This showed that the derivatives bind to completely different sites than venetoclax – a result that we were later also able to corroborate experimentally.” 

In addition, the researchers tested their substances in fruit flies with cancerous cells. The survival rate of flies treated in this way was much higher. However, Cheng warns against exceedingly high expectations, as these results are still basic research: “Although they show that modified thalidomide molecules have great therapeutic potential, we cannot say yet whether they will actually prove themselves in practice at some point in time.”

The work was supported by DFG, the Frankfurt Cancer Institute, and the PROXIDRUGS project.

Publication: Jianhui Wang, Marcel Heinz, Kang Han, Varun J. Shah, Sebastian Hasselbeck, Martin P. Schwalm, Rajeshwari Rathore, Gerhard Hummer, Jun Zhou, Ivan Dikic, Xinlai Cheng: Thalidomide derivatives degrade BCL-2 by reprogramming the binding surface of CRBN; Cell Reports Physical Science (2024)

Picture download:

Caption: The thalidomide derivatives C5, C6 and C7 alter CRBN – the “labeling machine” – so that it can bind to BCL-2. In this way, the BCL-2 molecule is marked for degradation – a possible new strategy against cancer. Graphics: Dr. Xinlai Cheng, Goethe University Frankfurt

Further information: 
Dr. Xinlai Cheng
Senior Scientist
Buchmann Institute for Molekular Life Sciences
Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798-42718

Editor: Dr. Markus Bernards, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-12498, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Apr 25 2024

Goethe University and ISSB want to work together intensively in future.

Sustainability standards on a scientific basis

Internationally comparable standards for corporate sustainability reporting are an important prerequisite for achieving climate and other sustainability goals worldwide. The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which has been based in Frankfurt am Main as one of its key locations since 2022, is to receive stronger academic support from the Rhine-Main region in future. Goethe University and ISSB have set out the cornerstones of future cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding.  

FRANKFURT. One or two conferences a year, networking with the relevant research institutions in the Rhine-Main region, training and further education with regard to the development and application of sustainability reporting standards - coordinated by the House of Finance (HoF) at Goethe University: these are the main objectives that Goethe University and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) agreed on today in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The document was signed on behalf of Goethe University by its President Prof. Enrico Schleiff, while Dr Erhard Schipporeit signed on behalf of the IFRS Foundation (ISSB) Frankfurt. 

In particular, the House of Finance, the Sustainability & Biodiversity profile area and the Departments of Economics and Biosciences will be closely involved in the development of generally applicable ISSB standards. The Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research (ISOE), the German Accounting Standards Committee (DRSC) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research are named as associated partners. The aim of the participating institutions is to form an academic network centred around the ISSB, in which the threads for Europe, the Middle East and Africa come together. The House of Finance will assume the role of coordinator.

The conference, which takes place at least once a year at the Westend Campus of the Goethe University, is also directed at non-academic audiences, politicians, regulators, practitioners and media representatives. The aim is to discuss sustainable standards based on scientific evidence. The next conference will be held on 10 June. There will also be workshops in cooperation with the scientific community, for example involving partners from African countries.

"As a comprehensive university and with its claim to develop knowledge for development, sustainability and justice in the 21st century, Frankfurt's Goethe University offers the ideal conditions for looking at the topic of sustainability from a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective. The MoU with the ISSB demonstrates the great attractiveness of this interdisciplinary approach, especially for research. It is therefore a contribution to the current process of developing our sustainability strategy based on our understanding of sustainability and thus part of our contribution to Frankfurt and the State of Hesse in developing knowledge and solutions for a society worth living in," says University President Prof Enrico Schleiff. 

"The cooperation with the ISSB in Frankfurt regulated in the MoU emphasises the outstanding importance that the House of Finance at Goethe University has in the academic research networks on topics of finance and monetary policy, and which can now be further expanded in the area of “sustainable finance" with numerous partners from academia. We are delighted to be making a further contribution to strengthening Frankfurt/Rhine Main as a financial centre," emphasised Prof. Rainer Klump, Managing Director of the House of Finance. 

"The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding marks another important milestone and fulfils a key action point of the German Consortium, our funding partner. Today's event demonstrates the importance of the ISSB's presence in Frankfurt, also in the field of academic work. The IFRS Foundation (ISSB) Frankfurt sincerely thanks the House of Finance for facilitating this Memorandum of Understanding. We are looking forward to working together to create a scientific hub and an academic platform," emphasised Erhard Schipporeit, Member of the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation.

"The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), through its Frankfurt Office, will engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Goethe University and its partners to discuss current research on sustainability standards and future research and implementation issues. The ISSB is committed in supporting the House of Finance in building up its academic network, not only in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region, but also across the EMEA region. At its April meeting, the ISSB decided to launch new research projects on risks and opportunities associated with nature and human capital. Moving forward, the ISSB strongly welcomes stakeholders' input, including through Goethe University into its research projects," stressed Richard Barker, Member of the International Sustainability Standards Board.

The State of Hesse already emphasised the financial expertise in Frankfurt when it applied for the ISSB's headquarters in Frankfurt. The state government therefore welcomes the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding between the ISSB and Goethe University: "Today's agreement is the written basis for the targeted strengthening of cooperation between the ISSB and the academic centre of Frankfurt. This networking does not stop at Goethe University. It is important to the state government that the agreement establishes a network between scientists and institutions in the entire region and that experts for the ISSB standards are trained directly at the Frankfurt location," explained the Hessian Minister of Finance, Prof. R. Alexander Lorz.

"Goethe University with the House of Finance conducts research on issues relevant to the capital markets and is an enrichment for Frankfurt as a financial centre. The new collaboration with the ISSB and associated institutions creates great opportunities for an intensive exchange between science, business, media, and society and looks at financial sustainability reporting from a research perspective - an important component in the future of sustainable finance," said Hessian Minister of Science Timon Gremmels.

As part of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the Board of Trustees of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation announced the establishment of the ISSB, which began its work in Frankfurt am Main in 2022.

Images for download:

(1) Erhard Schipporeit (left), member of the IFRS Board of Trustees, and Prof. Rainer Klump, Managing Director of the House of Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt, sign the MoU. Hessian Finance Minister Prof. R. Alexander Lorz (in the background) is pleased about the increased networking between academia and the ISSB in Frankfurt.  (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)
(2) The Memorandum of Understanding links many people and institutions in the Rhine-Main region with the International Sustainability Standards Board. (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)

Further information
Prof. Dr. Rainer Klump
Managing Director 
House of Finance
Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798-34009

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531, 


Apr 22 2024

Photo book "Moin und Salam" depicts the diversity of Muslim life in Germany  

Against the clichés 

Headscarves and minarets or bearded men praying: Islam's image in Germany and its media is often characterize ed by clichés. In a joint publication, photographer Julius Matuschik and religious scholar and political scientist Dr. Raida Chbib showcase images that transcend the usual stereotypes. The bilingual illustrated book "Moin und Salam", by Goethe University Frankfurt's Academy for Islam in Research and Society, has now been published by Kerber Publishing House. 

FRANKFURT. Using historical images, snapshots of everyday life, multimedia links and explanatory texts, photographer Julius Matuschik and researcher Dr. Raida Chbib trace the history of Islam in Germany from the past to the present, exploring the question: Do Muslims and their religion belong to Germany? The illustrated book "Moin und Salam" shows that rather than being a question of "if", the answer should instead focus on "since when". Using select historical documents, Matuschik and Chbib show that Islam did not just arrive in Germany with the guest workers. Traces of Muslim life date back much further.

The five chapters of the book shine a spotlight on topics such as identity, affiliation, religious practices and holidays, Muslim youth subcultures as well as the first mosques and community foundations. The pictures are accompanied by short introductions of dedicated personalities or initiatives from Muslim communities that showcase the voluntary work that has been ongoing for years to promote coexistence in a pluralistic society. On more than 200 pages, the illustrated book not only reveals the diversity of Muslim life in Germany – whose multitude is probably unknown to many. The photographs also offer insights into the everyday lives of Muslims.

"German media often use imagery that portray Muslims and Islam in a one-sided and stereotypical manner. These recurring images create a framing effect that makes the Muslim presence appear foreign, dangerous or exotic. This imagery does not reflect our immigration society, in which religious freedom prevails and of which Muslims have long been a natural part," says the photographer. 

Julius Matuschik and Dr. Raida Chbib already collaborated on the homonymous multimedia "Moin und Salam" blog, which – together with the image archive – is based on Matuschik's practical project, funded by Stiftung Mercator and carried out at the Academy for Islam in Research and Society (AIWG). 

"One of our objectives in this project has been to create a knowledge transfer between science and practice that takes place at eye level, which is also one of the AIWG's main goals. The photographic research and audiovisual material constitute the framework for examining the history, backgrounds and contexts, and thus also for the accompanying texts. This approach brought to light exciting facts and questions, including how the act of making the history of minority groups more visible can contribute to a more pluralistic German culture of remembrance ," says Dr. Raida Chbib. 

Chbib and Matuschik's joint illustrated book is designed with a broad, international audience in mind.

Publication: Moin und Salam. Muslimisches Leben in Deutschland – Muslim life in Germany. Eine Reportage. Edited by Julius Matuschik and Raida Chbib. Kerber: Berlin, Bielefeld, 2024 (208 p., hardcover German/English, ISBN 978-3-7356-0952-6). Publisher's website

Save the date
A discussion with authors Julius Matuschik and Dr. Raida Chbib will take place on June 8, 2024. Further information will be available on the AIWG homepage soon. 

Julius Matuschik works as a photojournalist for various online and offline media. He is active in Cameo Kollektiv e.V., where he works together with others to realize socio-cultural projects and implement measures promoting cultural and political education. He first began photographically documenting Islam in Germany in 2013.

Dr. Raida Chbib is managing director of the Academy for Islam in Research and Society at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research focuses on migration and religion, religious diversity, the organizational processes of Islam, as well as relations between the state and Islam in both Germany and Europe. She studied political science, international law and Islamic studies at the University of Bonn and received her doctorate in religious studies at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB).

About the AIWG
The Academy for Islam in Research and Society (AIWG) at Goethe University Frankfurt conducts interdisciplinary research and transfer activities with a focus on Islamic Theological Studies and Muslim life in Germany. It connects all faculties for Islamic Theological Studies or Islamic religious pedagogy found at universities in Germany. The academy addresses issues of social participation by including perspectives related to religion. The AIWG is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Further links: 

The photos taken by Julius Matuschik are available for download at

(1) Medical student Säli enjoying her hobby: longboarding. 
(2) The Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque in Berlin. 
(3) Interior of the central mosque in Cologne.
(4) Children's sports coach Leona Osmanaj in Hanover. 
(5) Prayer pulpit in the Fatih Camii in Berlin Kreuzberg. 
(6) Soccer tournament "Imams against priests" in Berlin. 

The copyright of all images lies with Julius Matuschik. The images offered for download on our website may be used in the context of reporting on the illustrated book.

Further information and press contact (for interview requests)
Stefanie Golla-Dehmamy
Coordinator Science Communication and PR 
Academy for Islam in Research and Society 
Goethe University Frankfurt 
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-22459

If you would like to order a review copy, please contact the publisher directly:
Anne Levke Vorbeck, Email:

About the AIWG
The Academy for Islam in Research and Society (AIWG) at Goethe University Frankfurt conducts interdisciplinary research and transfer activities with a focus on Islamic Theological Studies and Muslim life in Germany. It connects all faculties for Islamic Theological Studies or Islamic religious pedagogy found at universities in Germany. The academy addresses issues of social participation by including perspectives related to religion. The AIWG is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,