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Goethe University PR & Communication Department 

Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt


Nov 4 2022

Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Dr. des Valerie Nur

Mobile Tuareg artisans in Niger

The Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Bayreuth this year: Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University honors Valerie Nur for her outstanding dissertation on Tuareg artisans in Niger.

FRANKFURT. Each year, the Frobenius Institute honors excellent ethnological dissertations in German-speaking countries with the Frobenius Research Promotion Prize, endowed with 3000 euros. This year the prize went to Valerie Nur for her doctoral thesis "Handwerkliche Arbeit als soziale Praxis. Eine ethnologische Studie über die handwerklichen Praktiken der endogamen Handwerkergruppe der inadan Tuareg des Aïr in Niger" (Craft as social practice. An anthropological study of the craft practices of the endogamous artisan group of the inadan Tuareg of the Aïr in Niger). The thesis was supervised by Professor Gerd Spittler and submitted to the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies in Cultural Anthropology. It is based on a field study in the course of which Valerie Nur spent a total of twenty months with the Inadan (Tuareg), who have received little attention in research to date, at various locations in the Aïr mountains as well as in the capital Niamey (Niger). 

Together with the Inadan, Valerie Nur reflected on craft work and was able to gain intensive experience with craft practice during her field study. In her work, she describes the everyday handicrafts of the men and women, such as leather work, the procurement process itself, the making and reshaping of tools, and the recurring changes that occur in craft practice. Moreover, Valerie Nur explains how intricately this work is integrated into the daily family life of the mobile Inadan, who grow up with the craft and are connected by kinship over hundreds of kilometers. Since the finished products have a spiritual value beyond their market value, the craft is of special importance for the social relations of the Inadan beyond these family ties. 

Valeria Nur's study also contributes to migration research; after all, mobile craftsmen are also migrant workers, capable of working anywhere and of expanding their skills. Valerie Nur's dissertation convinced the committee with its underlying intensive and self-reflective ethnographic research as well as with the excellent linguistic presentation of the results.

Images for download: 


Image 1: A blacksmith in his workshop in Timia surrounded by neighbors and children. (Timia, 2013) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 2: A craftsman soaks wood for a camel saddle. (Niamey, 2014) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 3: Two craftsmen with shouldered axes on their way to a customer. (Mont Bagzan 2015) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Further information 

Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University
Dr. Katja Geisenhainer
Tel: +49 (0)69 798-33058;

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


Nov 3 2022

International conference at Goethe University looks at the history of the Jewish Frankfurt during the Nazi era and after 1945

Destruction and New Beginnings 

FRANKFURT. An international conference organized by Goethe University's Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History of Modernity and the Present as well as several partners, will take place from

Sunday, November 6, through Tuesday, November 8, 2022
in the Casino Building on Goethe University's Westend Campus

The topic of discussion will be “Jewish Frankfurt. Destruction and Fragile New Beginnings, 1933 to 1990".

Frankfurt am Main was one of the most important centers of Jewish life and culture in Europe up until 1933. During the National Socialist regime, Frankfurt's Jews were also systematically disenfranchised, persecuted and murdered, and the city's Jewish communities dissolved. The conference is dedicated to the history of the Jewish Frankfurt in the Nazi state and traces both the threats to it as well as its destruction. Under the protection of the U.S. military administration, a new Jewish community was established in the postwar period, several Jewish organizations settled in the city, and Jewish life developed anew. The conference will also shed light on this history until the 1980s, when it was precisely from Frankfurt that impulses emanated for a new visibility of the Jewish community in the Federal Republic.

The conference focuses on different facets of these two highly different, yet closely linked phases of Frankfurt's Jewish history. How did Frankfurt's Jews experience the exclusion from the city's society and their persecution, what was irretrievably lost in the process, and how was the intellectual and cultural legacy of the Jewish Frankfurt able to continue thriving in exile? Under what conditions did the Jewish community reestablish itself, and by what means did Jews return to the center of Frankfurt's urban society in the postwar decades?

The conference will bring together internationally renowned scholars and present the latest findings on Frankfurt's Jewish history during the Nazi era and after World War II. The event will kick off on Sunday, November 6, at 19:00 with a keynote lecture by Steven E. Aschheim, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on the topic "Before the Catastrophe: Frankfurt's Diverse Jewish Intellectuals and the Entangled Vortex of Change." On Monday, November 7, at 19:00, Professor Michael Brenner of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich will give a second keynote lecture on "Jewish Postwar Geography: Frankfurt between Föhrenwald, Düsseldorf and Berlin."

The conference is part of the project "Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse", organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion at Goethe University Frankfurt, the Education Department of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies at the Augustana University Neuendettelsau. The project's aim is to comprehensively research and document the history of the Hessian Jewish communities and their synagogues. The “Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse" is organized in cooperation with the Fritz Bauer Institute for the History and Impact of the Holocaust, the Jewish Community Frankfurt and the Jewish Museum Frankfurt.

The conference program is available here (in German):

Further information:
Dr. Stefan Vogt
Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion Faculty of Protestant Theology
Westend Campus Phone: +49 (0)179 5281106

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


With the exception of black holes, neutron stars are the densest objects in our universe. As their name suggests, neutron stars are mainly made of neutrons. However, our knowledge about the matter produced during the collision of two neutron stars is still limited. Scientists from Goethe University Frankfurt and the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in Pohang have now developed a new model that gives insights about matter under such extreme conditions.

FRANKFURT. After a massive star has burned its fuel and explodes as a supernova, an extremely compact object, called a neutron star, can be formed. Neutron stars are extraordinarily dense: To reach the density inside them, one would need to squeeze a massive body like our sun down to the size of a city like Frankfurt. In 2017, gravitational waves, the small ripples in spacetime that are produced during a collision of two neutron stars, could be directly measured here on earth for the first time. However, the composition of the resulting hot and dense merger product is not known precisely. It is still an open question, for instance, whether quarks, which are otherwise trapped in neutrons, can appear in free form after the collision. Dr. Christian Ecker from the Institute for Theoretical Physics of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, and Dr. Matti Järvinen and Dr. Tuna Demircik from the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in Pohang, South Korea, have now developed a new model that allows them to get one step closer to answering this question. 

In their work, they extend models from nuclear physics, which are not applicable at high densities, with a method used in string theory to describe the transition to dense and hot quark matter. “Our method uses a mathematical relationship found in string theory, namely the correspondence between five-dimensional black holes and strongly interacting matter, to describe the phase transition between dense nuclear and quark matter", explain Dr. Demircik and Dr. Järvinen. "We have already used the new model in computer simulations to calculate the gravitational-wave signal from these collisions and show that both hot and cold quark matter can be produced", adds Dr. Ecker, who implemented these simulations in collaboration with Samuel Tootle and Konrad Topolski from the working group of Prof. Luciano Rezzolla at Goethe University in Frankfurt. Next, the researchers hope to be able to compare their simulations with future gravitational waves measured from space in order to gain further insights into quark matter in neutron star collisions.


Image for Download: 

Caption: Illustration of the new method: the researchers use five-dimensional black holes (right) to calculate the phase diagram of strongly coupled matter (middle), enabling simulations of neutron star mergers and the produced gravitational waves (left).

Further information
Dr. Christian Ecker
Institute for Theoretical Physics
Goethe University

Editor: Dr. Phyllis Mania, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13001, Fax 069 798-763-12531,


Oct 26 2022

Historian Steven E. Aschheim opens new Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture series at Goethe University 

What does Europe mean for Zionism? 

FRANKFURT. The latest lecture series introduced at Goethe University – the "Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture on Jewish Intellectual History and Philosophy" – focuses on topics related to Jewish thought in both the past and the present. Following the 2021 establishment of the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History of Modernity and the Present, the lecture series will replace the "Martin Buber Lecture", which had addressed topics of Jewish thought, history and culture since 2010 and which brought numerous renowned researchers to Frankfurt.

The new lecture series will be kicked-off by Professor Steven E. Aschheim from Jerusalem. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022, at 18:15 
Lecture Hall 5 in the Lecture Hall Center
Westend Campus

Aschheim will be speaking about the topic “Zionism and Europe". 125 years after the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1897, the renowned historian and emeritus professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem addresses the role Europe played in the history of the Zionist movement in the 20th century and continues to play in the state of Israel to this day. He addresses the tension that prevailed in Zionism's early days: although Theodor Herzl, author of the famous "The Jewish State" (1896), and other representatives of the Zionist movement fundamentally questioned whether Jewish life in Europe was possible in the face of rising anti-Semitism, Zionism was nevertheless deeply rooted in Europe – in ideological, cultural, social and political concepts. The many-voiced debates about nationalism, humanism, and cosmopolitanism that took place in Europe before World War I shaped the self-image of the various Zionist currents. Aschheim will also explore the question of how Europe was perceived after the founding of the state of Israel, and in the wake of the experiences of World War II and the genocide of European Jews. He will also discuss the significance of relations with Europe in current social, political and cultural debates in Israel.

The "Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture on Jewish Intellectual History and Philosophy" will in future be held annually. The series is organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion and the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History at the Faculty of Protestant Theology. The lectures are financed by the Martin Buber Professorship and the Faculty of Protestant Theology.

"We are very pleased to have Prof. Steven E. Aschheim, an important interpreter of German-Jewish and European-Jewish history in the 20th century, deliver the first lecture in our new series named after Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, two important figures in Frankfurt's Jewish history," says Prof. Christian Wiese, director of the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute. The Jerusalem-based historian is the author of numerous influential books, including "The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany" (1992), "Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises" (1996), "Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad" (2007), and "Fragile Spaces: Forays into Jewish Memory, European History and Complex Identities" (2018).
The lecture will be held in English. Registration (at is desired, but not mandatory for participation.

Further information:
Dr. Stefan Vogt
Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion
Faculty of Protestant Theology 
Westend Campus
Phone: +49 (0)179 5281106

A portrait of Prof. Aschheim and the event poster are available for download at: 

Caption: Professor Steven E. Aschheim from Jerusalem will speak on "Zionism and Europe" at Goethe University. (Photo: private)

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


Oct 26 2022

Preclinical models and cell culture experiments show “rejuvenation” of T cells by urolithin A – clinical trials planned

Metabolite product from pomegranate: Researchers identify way to boost tumour-fighting immune cells

As part of an interdisciplinary project of the LOEWE Centre Frankfurt Cancer Institute (FCI), researchers from the Georg-Speyer-Haus in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Goethe University Frankfurt have succeeded in identifying a new approach for the therapy of colorectal cancer. In preclinical models and studies on human immune cells, they found that urolithin A, a metabolite product from pomegranate, sustainably improves the function of immune cells in their fight against cancer. After treatment with urolithin A, tumour-fighting immune cells become T memory stem cells which, due to their ability to divide, constantly supply the immune system with rejuvenated, non-exhausted T cells.

FRANKFURT. Colorectal cancer remains a disease with high mortality rates in advanced stages. In recent years, numerous research findings have improved early diagnosis and therapy, although unfortunately not all patients respond adequately to novel therapeutic approaches. Current research suggests that one characteristic of tumour diseases is immune dysfunction: immune cells that are supposed to fight the tumour are systematically suppressed by the tissue surrounding the tumour, the tumour microenvironment. As a result, T cells, which are our body's natural immune response against cancer, are restricted in their function, allowing the tumour to grow and spread uncontrollably.

The research team led by Professor Florian Greten, Institute for Tumour Biology and Experimental Therapy and Goethe University Frankfurt, has now come a significant step closer to a possible solution to the problem. The researchers showed that urolithin A induces a biological pathway that recycles and renews mitochondria, the “powerhouse" of the cell in T cells, through a process known as mitophagy. Aged and damaged mitochondria in the T cells are removed and replaced by new, functional ones. This changes the genetic programme of the T cells, which are thus more able to fight the tumour. The researchers demonstrated the therapeutic potential of urolithin A in two ways: on the one hand, urolithin A can be used as a food in the preclinical model, which limits tumour growth and even acts synergistically with existing immunotherapy. On the other hand, the benefits of urolithin A were also observed in human T cells. In vitro treatment with urolithin A “rejuvenates" human T cells, producing memory T memory stem cells in the laboratory.

Dominic Denk, MD, physician at Frankfurt University Hospital and first author of the study, explains: “Our findings are particularly exciting because the focus is not on the tumour cell but on the immune system, the natural defence against cancer. This is where reliable therapeutic approaches are still lacking in the reality of colorectal cancer patients. By possibly improving the combination therapy with existing immunotherapies, the study opens up meaningful possibilities for further application in the clinic. We hope to use this to sustainably improve the therapy of colorectal cancer, but also of other cancers."

Building on these findings, the researchers plan to continue the successful collaboration: in future clinical trials, the application of urolithin A will be investigated in individuals with colorectal cancer.

Professor Greten, director of the Georg-Speyer-Haus and spokesperson of the Frankfurt Cancer Institute, emphasizes the necessary teamwork: “This work proves once again how successful the interdisciplinary concepts of the FCI are. We are very pleased that we can now quickly transfer our results to the clinic and look forward with great excitement to the upcoming clinical trials."

Publication: Dominic Denk, Valentina Petrocelli, Claire Conche, Pénélope A. Andreux, Chris Rinsch, Florian R. Greten: Expansion of T memory stem cells with superior antitumor immunity by Urolithin A-induced mitophagy. Immunity (2022) 

Picture download 

Caption: A metabolite from pomegranates boosts tumour-fighting T cells, according to a study by Georg-Speyer-Haus, Goethe University Frankfurt and the LOEWE Centre Frankfurt Cancer Institute (FCI). Photo: Markus Bernards

Further information
Professor Florian R. Greten
Georg-Speyer-Haus / Goethe University Frankfurt
Institute for Tumour Biology and Experimental Therapy
Tel.: +49 (0)69 63395-232
Twitter: @FCI_health

Editor: Dr Markus Bernards, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-12498, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,