Press releases – May 2024

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 31 2024

Rome, Brussels, Frankfurt: Goethe University’s Economics and Business Faculty introduces international Bachelor's degree at three universities 

Living and learning in three countries 

Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management, Rome-based Luiss University and Goethe University Frankfurt already operate a joint Master's degree program. In the upcoming 2024/25 winter semester, the three partners will launch a joint European Triple Bachelor in Economics and Business (EUTribe). The application process for Goethe University's first Triple Bachelor will get underway then. 

FRANKFURT. A new Bachelor's degree program offered by Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management, Luiss University and Goethe University Frankfurt's Economics and Business Faculty will allow participants to not only study at three locations, but also obtain a degree from the three participating institutions. This first Bachelor program with three degrees will be available at Goethe University for the first time starting in the upcoming 2024/25 winter semester. 

Spanning three years, participants in the European Triple Bachelor in Economics and Business (EUTribe) will spend one year each in Frankfurt, Brussels and Rome and familiarize themselves with different university cultures, teaching and learning methods in their three host European countries. For the initial start, 10 students will join per location. 

Anyone interested in the Triple Study Program must first apply to study economics at Goethe University Frankfurt in the 2024/25 winter semester. Once enrolled, first-semester students have until February 1, 2025, to apply to the faculty to continue their studies as a Triple Bachelor. 

In addition to very good academic grades, B2 level English language skills are required for admission to the international business degree program. All relevant courses are available in English in Brussels and Rome, and there exist offer excellent opportunities to learn Italian or French. The program is supported by ERASMUS+ scholarships. 

The close collaboration between the three universities dates back to the 2012 establishment of the joint QTEM (Quantitative Techniques for Economics & Management Masters Network) program, as part of which they offer student exchanges within the framework of a quantitatively oriented Master's program – not only with each other, but as part of a global network spanning 20 other universities. The initiative to offer international training at Bachelor's level emerged in response to QTEM's success. 

“EUTribe is a unique educational experience for students interested in economics: They study in a culturally diverse environment, live and learn in three countries, get to experience different institutional frameworks and are educated at three first-class European universities," says Luiss University Rector Andrea Prencipe. 

“Our international students not only have direct access to the respective labor markets in Italy, Belgium and Germany. Successful completion of the program also opens up great opportunities for them in other fields of work," adds Christian Schlag, Dean of Goethe University Frankfurt's Faculty of Economics and Business. 

“We plan to make the specializations of each individual institution accessible to the participants in the exchange, allowing them to tailor to their own interests," adds Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, Dean of Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management. 

Further information
Lars O. Pilz
Dean's Research Associate Studies
Faculty of Economics and Business 
Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel. +49 (069) 798-34608

Editor: Pia Barth, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt, Tel. +49 (0)69 798-12481, Fax +49 (0)69 798-763-12531,


May 29 2024

Construction work on Westend Campus-based future Center for Humanities officially gets underway 

A showcase for Goethe University Frankfurt

Goethe University Frankfurt’s Westend Campus is set to receive yet another impressive building, with the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Center for Humanities held on May 28, 2024. Once complete, the building will house 180 office workstations, three seminar rooms, a rehearsal stage and an exhibition space.  

FRANKFURT. Another building will be constructed on Goethe University’s Westend Campus over the course of the next two years. The new Center for Humanities will be prominently located on the corner of Miquelallee and Hansallee, and will dominate the campus’ appearance from afar. Its immediate neighbors are the Linguistics, Cultures and Arts building, completed in 2022, and the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF). 

“The Center for Humanities will become an easily recognizable prominent entrance feature of our Westend Campus. Designed by Goethe University’s own in-house architects, the building’s aesthetics will convey from afar how much life and creativity can be found on this campus,” says Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff. “The building’s current name already illustrates Goethe University's fundamental conviction that it takes strong research in the humanities and social sciences to sustainably shape tomorrow’s society.”  In addition to office and seminar space, the building will also house a rehearsal stage for theater, film and media studies. It will be available for usage by all Goethe University Frankfurt faculties. 

The Center for Humanities is the first construction project entirely planned and financed by Goethe University itself. The building’s external dimensions, known among architects as its “cubature”, were set during the spatial planning of the adjacent DIPF, the contract for which was awarded during a competition, explains Goethe University architect Esref Yavuz, adding that during the coronavirus pandemic, he built a model that takes very different usage needs into account. To ensure it fits in with the two neighboring buildings, he based the center’s floor heights on those of DIPF.

The original plan called for a purely administrative building, but discussions with future users showed that the third-party funded projects from the Faculty of Linguistics, Cultures and Arts, as well as that of Modern Languages, both of which currently still reside in Mensa II on the university’s Bockenheim Campus, require additional seminar rooms. In addition, a functional rehearsal stage for the theater scholars was also urgently needed. The new building will meet all these needs, boosting interdisciplinary research, including with Goethe University Frankfurt’s partners in the Frankfurt Alliance and the Rhine-Main Universities (RMU) alliance. 

The plans by architect Yavuz call for ground-level entrances located in the building’s east and west, leading into its spacious two-story glazed foyer, from which all other floors can be accessed. Although it is located in the basement, the rehearsal stage extends over two floors. The four seminar rooms, which all faculties may use, are located on the ground- and first floor, which also house study areas for students. The building’s second to fifth floors are reserved for office use and will primarily house third-party funded projects.

Excavation work began in March 2024, ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony. The building, whose construction costs are estimated at around €20 million and for which architectural firm ArGe Architekten has been brought on board, is due to be completed in 2026. Managing the project for Goethe University Frankfurt is Stephanie Köhler-Frank, architect in the planning and construction department.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Christoph Degen, state secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts, said: “The Center for Humanities brings together research, teaching and culture, offering space for cutting-edge science as well as for students of theater, film and media studies. This will further advance Goethe University’s relocation, which the Hessian state government has already supported with over one billion euros from its HEUREKA university construction investment program. I wish everyone involved the utmost success in planning and implementing this great project.” 

Image for download:

Caption: The new Center for Humanities is being constructed on the corner of Miquelallee and Hansallee. (Illustration: ArGe Architekten)

Further information
Vanessa Fuchs
Assistant Planning and Building Department, Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (0)69 798-13828

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


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,