The HGS Fellows' Speakers

Every year the fellows' general assembly elects the fellows representatives consisting of two speakers and two deputies. It is our job to communicate the opinion of the fellows to the PIs during the executive-board meetings. We can also suggest changes/ additions to curriculum and topics within the graduate school to improve the experience from the fellows' perspective.

To be able to do this we need input from you! Are you satisfied? Are you frustrated? Can something be improved? Do you want to hear talks by specific people? Would you like to have a lecture or compact course on a specific topic? Do you need free sushi and beer in the common room?  We can discuss all these things on your behalf (with varying degrees of success obviously) - so do contact us at 


We also organize and participate in the HGS Initiative GroupHave a look at the awesome stuff done there :-).


Marcel Gutsche

Hi folks, 

I'm in the second year of my PhD in the Image Processing and Modeling group. I investigate properties of light fields and develop new algorithms for extracting geometry and BRDF.

In my spare time I love playing the guitar, watching ridiculous action movies, hiking, bicycling and enjoying the warmth of a cozy fire at a beach. I've grown up in Cologne and albeit detesting carnival, I have a lot of the Rhenish mindset.    

So if you have any suggestion how to improve things here at HGS just let me know! 

Yue Hu

Hi everyone,

I am doing my PhD in the Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics group (ORB), and my main topic is "Modeling and Optimal Control of Compliant Robots". My work is mainly focused on analyzing compliance properties in human locomotion and humanoid robots walking by means of model based optimal control.

I have an engineering background, with a bachelor degree in Electronics Engineering from Italy and a master in Advanced Robotics from Italy and France.

I am Italian of Chinese origins, and I like having two very different cultural backgrounds. I like travelling, visiting new places, and I enjoy cooking. =)

As a fellow speaker I hope we will be able to organize interesting events through the year!

Asha Roberts

Hey hey!

I have just started the second year of my PhD in the Comba group (inorganic chemistry) working in the area of single molecule magnets. Basically, I am trying to make really small magnets.

I grew up in Queensland, Australia and completed dual bachelor and honours degrees (science/law) at the University of Queensland. After spending 7 years of my life at UQ, I thought it was high time for a change of scenery. I love the size and convenience of Heidelberg, although I do feel that the weather could do with some improvements!

During my first year as a foreigner here in Heidelberg, I found the social events provided by the HGS really helpful for meeting new people and settling in. Therefore, as a fellow speaker I am very interested in offering more social activities to encourage more interaction between the fellows and to help welcome new students to Heidelberg. All suggestions are welcome!




Malin Schemschat

At the Reschensee


I'm in the second year of my PhD also in the group of Katja Mombaur (optimzation in Robotics and Biomechanics). My topic is the analysis of human push recovery motions using optimization strategies.

Grown up in the north of Germany I still love lakes and the sea, but I also learned to enjoy the hilly countryside near Heidelberg. I'm spending my free time running or cycling in the woods, skating in the flat countryside or visiting friends.

During my studies I moved between different cities and learned how hard it can be to get to know people in the new environment. As a speaker I would like to improve the possibilities of exchange between the fellows by organizing events and I'm happy to bring through our and your ideas in the HGS committees. So let us know, if there is a topic you have concerns about.


Lilli Bergner

Hey there! I'm currently in the second year of my PhD in Christian Kirches' research group 'Optimization of Uncertain Systems', and that title is also the topic of my Phd (and life ;-)). 

I have studied at universities in three different countries and know how hard it can be to be new in some environment. Thus as a fellows' speaker, I'd like to ensure that the HGS graduate school provides a platform to meet PhD students also outside your work group or corridor, to learn from each other and exchange ideas, whether for fun or for work.

If I am not working hard on this task or on my PhD, I very much enjoy sports such as bouldering and alpin hiking, and dancing.



Stefanie Bäppler

Beijing 2015


I'm doing my PhD in the group of Prof. Andreas Dreuw in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry. My main interest is to develop new analysis tools to understand how molecules react being exposed to light.

I studied Chemistry in Heidelberg and specialized on Computational Chemistry during my master. Besides the university buisness, I appreciate hiking and bouldering as well as running. And I also enjoy creative crafts :)

As HGS fellows' speaker I like to promote the social activities and we are always happy recieving your input!

Michael Herbst

Hi all,

similar to Steffi I am also doing my PhD in Theoretical Chemistry with Prof. Andreas Dreuw, but my PhD is more concerned with finding new ways how to solve the very basic equations governing the electronic structure of matter.

Before coming to Heidelberg to do my PhD, I studied Natural Science in Cambridge, specialising in Theoretical Chemistry in my last year of studies.

In my leasure time I enjoy playing the trumpet in a small Jazz Combo or start tinkering around with all sorts of LinuX devices around my home. I am less of the sporty type, but I nevertheless often relex on long walks with the great Bergstaße scenery in the back.

As Fellow's Speakers I would like to influence the direction in which the HGS develops as a graduate school in the next few years. We are looking at quite a few important changes like the way the HGS is funded and the move to the Mathematikon. If you have anything that you want us to mention in your name in one of the HGS committees, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.


Katharina Beuke

Hey there! I'm currently doing my PhD with Ursula Kummer. Where I'm working on an ODE-based model of NFkappaB signalling in hepatocytes - which translates into: a model of how a liver cell processes a certain piece of information. :)

I am from Rutesheim a small town close to Stuttgart. I studied Molecular Life Science at the University of Lübeck (BSc) and went on to do my master's degree here at the University Heidelberg in Molecular Biosciences with Systems Biology as my major, before I started my PhD.

Besides loving to learn new things especially about molecular biology I enjoy reading, running, cooking, and skiing.

As a fellows' speaker I would like to ensure that we all have the platform we need to get into contact and have the opportunity for exchange with other each other.

Dominic Edelmann

Hey there!

I am working in the statistics group at the Institute for Applied Mathematics, where I am doing my PhD with Rainer Dahlhaus. My  main research interests are inference for Gaussian graphical models, statistics for queueing systems and alternative dependence measures (particularly distance correlation).

Apart from mathematics and statistics, I am interested in a lot of other fields. In particular I love reading about psychology and social sciences. Moreover I enjoy cooking with my friends and family, watching great movies and hiking in the nearby woods.
Finally I do quite a lot of sports, such as running, skiing or soccer.

My goal as a fellows' speaker is to help improving the course system in the HGS, such that students can find seminars and lectures, which really help them with her PhD and/or later career.

Manuel Kudruss

Hey there! I am a doctoral student in the OptimUS group of Christian Kirches and the ORB group of Katja Mombaur, where I will improve the walking capabilites of humanoid robots with methods of nonlinear model predictive control.

Apart from my work, I enjoy having a walk in the nature, especially in the nice landscape of the Black Forest or abroad in my vacation. Besides that, I also love cooking and eating delicous food, hanging out with my friends and going to the cinema or the theatre.

Another passion of mine is martial arts, where karate has become very important for me. However, I have not yet stopped trying out new things, like taekwondo or jiu-jitsu, to broaden my horizon.

The new university state law (Landeshochschulgesetz) shall be passed in 2014. As a speaker of the graduate school, I hope that an own status for doctoral students will be established in Heidelberg and I will work out how the fellows can optimally participate in a doctorand convent.


Jan Mewes

Summer '13 on the Alster in Hamburg

Hey there!

I'm currently doing my Ph.D. with Andreas Dreuw in theoretical and computational chemistry. Recently, I started to blog about my research, so if you are interested:

Having grown up in Frankfurt/M, I studied chemistry at the local Goethe-Universitaet where I finished my Master in late 2010. For my Ph.D. I followed Andreas Dreuw to Heidelberg in early 2011.

Besides science, I enjoy cooking as much as eating and therefore also sports :D I love all kinds of music but in particular dark and clubbing electronic stuff. I'm also quite interested in politics. After all, my biggest joy is sharing all of the above with the people I love.

As a fellows' speaker, I plan on expanding the fellows seminar to include more general topics that are still somehow connected to our research but also receive public attention (e.g. renewables, greenhouse gases, nuclear energy).

Another idea is to accelerate the acclimatization of freshmen by setting up some kind of introductory course in the framework of the fellows seminar. 

So lang!


Rahul Nair

Originally from Mumbai, India, I moved to Germany in 1994.

In 2010 I graduated in physics at the University of Heidelberg. 

Currently I am working on my PhD thesis at the   HCI. Have a look at my project page over   here.

Apart from computer vision and machine learning I also enjoy various outdoor sporting activities such as running in the halfmarathon team, climbing and beach volleyball.

Katie Fletcher

I'm from Boston, Massachusetts and studied at Mount Holyoke College (AB) and Universität Hamburg (MSc) before moving to Heidelberg to start my PhD.

Aside from my love of chemistry, I also enjoy running, reading, traveling, and learning languages. 

Caroline Krauter

In my free time I like to read, play the flute or the piano, listen to music and to go jogging. Additionally, I am learning French at the moment.

When it comes to my holidays, I especially enjoy to go sailing, skiing or hiking

Simon Lenz

The limited free time that I have I typically spend on reading, listening to music (mainly Rock and Heavy Metal), and playing soccer.

I like to go hiking, either in the nearby Black Forest or, during my vacations, in Scotland and Ireland.

Occasionally, I go back to my home town to visit family and old friends and to support Borussia Dortmund live in the best stadium of the world.