Professor Mathias Senge awarded prestigious international fellowship

Posted on: 25 June 2020

Mathias Senge, Chair of Organic Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at Trinity has been awarded the highly competitive and prestigious Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

The fellowship is named after Hans Fischer, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1930 for his work on porphyrins and the synthesis of the red blood pigment heme.

Together with his research group, who earlier this year received the Irish Laboratory Award “Laboratory Team of the Year”, Professor Senge has published over 360 papers in peer-reviewed journals introducing several groundbreaking new concepts to the research community.

The three-year fellowship is awarded to “outstanding international scientists who intend to explore innovative, high-risk topics in their scientific research areas together with a TUM Research Group” with the goal of making a long-term impact. It carries an award, research funds and full support for a doctoral candidate at TUM, which is Germany’s top ranked institution.

Professor Senge will be working with the groups of Professors Johannes Barth and Willi Auwärter – international leaders in the area of molecular nanosciences – in the Department of Physics at TUM. He will also interact with colleagues and students in chemistry and at TUM’s Catalysis Research Center.

Professor Senge said:

I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be chosen as a recipient of the Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship. Chemistry is the central science and being able to expand my interests into the realms of material science and physics in the stimulating international and collegial environment of the Institute of Advanced Study will be an enjoyable challenge.

As an organic chemist much of my past work has focused on the red and green pigments of life – porphyrins – which were centre stage in Hans Fischer’s lifework. No better award for me.

Over his three years as Fellow, Professor Senge will make frequent visits to Germany to work with TUM faculty and students on research aimed to advance molecular design and control of nanomaterials with tunable electronic, photonic, and chemical functionalities. Such materials are important in areas such as catalysis, information storage, and photovoltaics.

He added:

In addition to researching an emerging area at the interface of chemistry and physics I also look forward to rekindling my interest in the history of science. Chemistry in Munich has a fascinating and rich history and I always wanted to write a history of the key protagonists in the early 20th century. So, it will be a time not only spent in the laboratory but also delving into the archives. The Fellowship and the time that I will spend in Munich dispersed over the next three years also gives opportunities to build stronger ties between Trinity and TUM, the two premier academic institutions in the two countries.

Professor Senge has received funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council, Trinity College Dublin, industry, and the European Commission.

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