Here, you get a first tiny introduction to our new fellows in 2023!

Pauline: Studying Emotional Reaction in Primates

Hello there! I’m Pauline Zablocki-Thomas, a primatology and ethology researcher currently based in my home country of France. My current project focuses on personality and social context in the mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate. I’ve always been fascinated by primate behavior, particularly animal personality – the unique behavioral patterns that are influenced by an individual’s genes and life experiences, much like in humans.

Recently, I’ve expanded my research into the neuroscience of emotions, studying the titi monkey at the University of California Davis. This monogamous primate displays jealousy reactions when faced with intruders, and I’ve had the exciting opportunity to study the specific neural activations that occur in this context using PET scans. I’m passionate about comparative psychology and am always eager to learn more about our fellow primates and other non-human animals, which can help us better understand ourselves.

Now, onto a fun fact about me: I’m a huge fan of slow-paced hikes, as I love bird watching and discovering cool plants, rocks, and animals to show to my three little kiddos. During our stay in the US, we’ve already seen some incredible sights, including volcanic hot spots, giant sequoias, and flower blooms, as well as encountering moose, otters, bison, and even a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park! But our ultimate goal is to spot a real wild wolf – fingers crossed we’ll get to see one soon!

Elisha: Artistic Intervention in the Data-driven ‘Smart’ City

Kia ora, I’m Elisha Masemann and I’m currently a remote researcher based in my home country, New Zealand. My research field is contemporary urban and visual art, with an interest in the intersections of art, architecture, urbanism and socio-cultural theory in the context of today’s rapidly changing cities. In Münster, I will analyse an emerging aspect of this field, the ‘smart city,’ by way of artistic praxis. I’m interested in how the interdisciplinary humanities responds to nascent forms of ‘virtual productivity’ and regimes of ‘constant visibility’ that increasingly attend or inscribe the human condition in the data-driven city. A key objective is to develop and expand analysis of public art interventions that initiate platforms for digitally-networked participation in the city using technology. I’m interested in how artists expose latent or virtual networks to make the data-driven city evident in physical space and inspire new or unexpected spatial possibilities. I’m excited to be working with the internationally recognised Skulptur Projekte Archives for this project; they are an invaluable resource and barometer of urban and cultural changes in Münster’s public spaces.

I’ve always been fascinated by cities, urban histories, cultures and societies. Although I spend a lot of time researching cities today (as well as art), they were quite foreign places at a young age because I was raised in a small country town a long way from any city. Today I love to discover cities as much love to explore in nature!

Aleksandra: Optimizing Enzymes for Sustainable Plastic Recycling

Hi, my name is Aleksandra Maršavelski and I am coming from Zagreb, Croatia. I am a biochemist, and my research is focused on improving enzyme activity by applying different computational and experimental approaches. More precisely, I am interested in the evolution and optimization of enzyme activity toward plastic polyesters that might serve in sustainable plastic recycling. Here in Münster, I use a computational technique called ancestral sequence reconstruction which is a well-established strategy to reveal the mechanisms and dynamics of protein evolution and key points in the protein evolutionary path. This technique will allow us to identify how the plastic degrading activity in naturally occurring enzymes evolved in the first place during the short time span that plastics have existed in the environment.

Fun fact: Here in Münster, I ride my bike in high heels.

Since childhood I enjoy different genres of music and music from different cultures. Later I learned that there is even the brain science of listening to different genres of music.

Priyanga: A mathematician exploring quantum information theory

Hello! My name is Priyanga Ganesan and I am a mathematician.

I am originally from India and currently live in San Diego, USA. I started my training in mathematics with an integrated bachelor’s-master’s degree from the National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER) in Bhubaneswar, India. I moved to the US for doctoral studies and received my PhD from Texas A&M University, College Station. Currently, I work as a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California San Diego. 

I am a mathematician, yet I rarely work with numbers! My interests revolve around operator algebras (which is a branch of mathematics that deals with the study of mappings between linear spaces) and their connections with quantum information theory. During my WiRe fellowship, I will be developing operator algebraic tools to understand mathematical structures called quantum graphs that model the noise arising in quantum communication. I am very excited to be a part of the WiRe program and look forward to working at WWU. Besides mathematics, I love traveling, dancing and playing with pets 🙂

Fun fact about me: I enjoy critical thinking and used to be a national-level chess player during my childhood!

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