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# Research Highlights 2020

## Precious metal-free silicone curing

Sustainable processes could replace precious metals in silicone crosslinking

[01.12.2020] Silicones are tried and tested in the private and professional domains. In many applications, however, expensive precious metals are required as catalysts to transform the liquid intermediate products to durable elastic polymers. A research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Munich-based WACKER Group has now developed a curing process that works without precious metals. [more...]

## Thirteen TUM researchers among the most cited worldwide

Global bibliometric analysis - "Highly Cited Researchers 2020"

[17.11.2020] Thirteen researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are among the most cited in their respective fields. This is shown by the current edition of the ranking "Highly Cited Researchers". [more...]

## Metal-organic frameworks become flexible

Combined efforts of experiment and simulation pave the way to new applications

[17.11.2020] Materials consisting of inorganic and organic components can combine the best of two worlds: under certain circumstances, the so-called MOFs – short for metal-organic frameworks – are structured in the same order as crystals and are at the same time porous and deformable. This opens up the prospect of intelligent materials for energy-saving technical applications. However, so far only a few flexible MOFs have been identified. [more...]

## The lab in the computer

Portrait Prof. Frank Ortmann – Theoretical Chemistry

[28.09.2020] "And what do you do for a living?" – To some people, this classic small talk question poses a real challenge. For example, what should a professor for "Theoretical Methods of Spectroscopy" reply? Frank Ortmann has several possible answers ready, depending on how deep the interest is. "My simplest answer is: I sit at the computer and simulate processes in the field of nanoscience, for example for materials for photovoltaics. With the help of these simulations, we explore the fundamentals," the scientist explains. "Our basic findings may not immediately increase solar cell efficiency by 1 % in one day," he adds with a wink, "but they might enable an improvement of 2 % in one year." [more...]

## Secure nano-carrier delivers medications directly to cells

Nanoparticles with synthetic DNA can control release of drugs

[25.09.2020] Medications often have unwanted side-effects. One reason is that they reach not only the unhealthy cells for which they are intended, but also reach and have an impact on healthy cells. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), working together with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, have developed a stable nano-carrier for medications. A special mechanism makes sure the drugs are only released in diseased cells. [more...]

## Substrate dynamics governs recognition by $$\gamma$$-secretase

Novel recognition mechanism of $$\gamma$$-secretase revealed for the Alzheimer risk factor TREM2

[10.09.2020] A research team from the Technical University of Munich at the Department of Chemistry led by biochemist Franz Hagn together with colleagues at the LMU and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) around Christian Haass provide unprecedented structural insights into the mechanism of substrate recognition of the Alzheimer disease risk factor TREM2 by the intra-membrane protease $$\gamma$$-secretase. [more...]

## Hydrochloric acid boosts catalyst activity

Hydrochloric acid treatment improves catalysts for removing sulfur from crude oil

[25.08.2020] A research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) led by chemist Johannes Lercher has developed a synthesis process which drastically increases the activity of catalysts for the desulfurization of crude oil. The new process could perhaps also be used for catalysts in fuel cells. [more...]

## Designed bacteria produce coral-antibiotic

Sustainable biotechnological production of a natural substance against tuberculosis

[17.08.2020] Corals growing on the reefs of the Bahamas produce an active agent that kills multi-resistant tuberculosis bacteria. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have managed to produce the antibiotic biotechnologically in the laboratory – fast, cost-efficient and sustainably. [more...]

## Grow faster, die sooner

How growth rates influence the fitness of bacteria

[07.08.2020] Bacteria are survival artists: When they get nutrition, they multiply rapidly, albeit they can also survive periods of hunger. But, when they grow too quickly, their ability to survive is hampered, as studies by a research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) on E. coli bacteria show. The results could help increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. [more...]

## Stephan A. Sieber receives Future Insight Prize

One million euros for the development of new strategies against multidrug-resistant germs

[13.07.2020] Stephan A. Sieber, Professor for Organic Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has been awarded the 2020 Future Insight Prize for his research on the development of new strategies against multidrug-resistant germs. The award, which includes a cash prize of one million euros, is sponsored by the science and technology company Merck. [more...]

## The battery of the future: intelligent, sustainable, powerful

Federal government to fund three competency clusters with TUM involvement

[10.07.2020] The battery is regarded as a key technology in such sectors as transportation and energy. To boost battery research in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is investing a total of 100 million euros in four new competency clusters. The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a major participant in three of these clusters, where it will contribute its expertise in production, use concepts and quality assurance. [more...]

## How do bacteria build up natural products?

X-ray structure analysis gives detailed insights into molecular factory

[06.07.2020]The active agents of many drugs are natural products, so called because often only microorganisms are able to produce the complex structures. Similar to the production line in a factory, large enzyme complexes put these active agent molecules together. A team of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Goethe University Frankfurt has now succeeded in investigating the basic mechanisms of one of these molecular factories. [mehr...]

## Superatoms as catalysts

Prof. Roland Fischer awarded Reinhard Koselleck Project funding from the DFG

[30.04.2020] Precious metals like platinum are good catalysts – but they are expensive. While the chemical industry is trying to solve this cost issue by developing ever-smaller catalyst particles, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is taking an entirely new approach: the targeted development of catalyst particles from individual atoms. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) is providing 1.2 million Euros in funding for this innovative work under the auspices of the Reinhard Koselleck Projects program. [more...]

## Blocking sugar structures on viruses and tumor cells

Artificial sugar-binding protein may inhibit cell growth

[17.03.2020] During a viral infection, viruses enter the body and multiply in its cells. Viruses often specifically attach themselves to the sugar structures of the host cells, or present characteristic sugar structures on their surface themselves. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a new type of protein reagent for identifying biological sugar structures, which may block the spread of an illness in the body if used for blocking the sugar structures of a cell or a pathogen. [more...]

## Fatal overproduction of antibodies

Mutations in plasma cells play a key role in light chain amyloidosis

[10.03.2020] Using a mixture of oil droplets and hydrogel, medical active agents can be not only precisely dosed, but also continuously administered over periods of up to several days. The active agents inside the active droplets are released at a constant rate, decreasing the risk of over- or underdosage. [more...]

## Active droplets

Long-lasting and precise dosing of medication thanks to an oil-hydrogel mixture

[20.02.2020] Using a mixture of oil droplets and hydrogel, medical active agents can be not only precisely dosed, but also continuously administered over periods of up to several days. The active agents inside the active droplets are released at a constant rate, decreasing the risk of over- or underdosage. [more...]

## Guardian angel of the eye

Protective protein in the eye lens affects protein oxidation

[29.01.2020] The lens of the human eye comprises a highly concentrated protein solution, which lends the lens its great refractive power. Protective proteins prevent these proteins from clumping together throughout a lifetime. A team of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now uncovered the precise structure of the αA-crystallin protein and, in the process, discovered an important additional function. [more...]

## A real alternative to crude oil

The synthesis of bio-based high-performance polyamide from biogenic residues

[27.01.2020] A research team from the Fraunhofer Society and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) led by chemist Volker Sieber has developed a new polyamide family which can be produced from a byproduct of cellulose production – a successful example for a more sustainable economy with bio-based materials.[more...]