TU Ilmenau: Dagmar Schipanski Prize awarded for outstanding doctoral theses

Chris Liebold
Dr. Alexander Hunold and Dr. Sophia Gänßle were honoured with the Dagmar Schipanski Award for their dissertations at the matriculation ceremony for the winter semester 2023/24

Two young scientists received the Dagmar Schipanski Award of the Friends of the TU Ilmenau for their doctoral theses: Dr. Sophia Gänßle for her dissertation in economics on interactive and audiovisual media in the digital age and Dr. Alexander Hunold for his biomedical work on a novel technique for stimulating the brain and the eye, which can be used, among other things, in the treatment of depression. The prize is endowed with 2,500 euros each.

With the Dagmar Schipanski Award, the Friends of the TU Ilmenau "Universitätsgesellschaft Ilmenau - Freunde, Förderer, Alumni e. V." honors outstanding scientific work. The award winners, Dr. Sophia Gänßle and Dr. Alexander Hunold, received the excellent rating "summa cum laude" for their dissertations.

Dagmar Schipanski Award for Dr. Sophia Gänßle, Group of Economic Theory: "Audiovisual and Interactive Entertainment in the Digital Age - An Economic Perspective"

In view of a gigantic use of online media in the age of digitalization, Dr.Sophia Gänßle examines entertainment markets, especially film and social media, from an economic perspective in her dissertation. Especially the use of moving images via the Internet has increased rapidly in recent years.

Although entertainment media are becoming increasingly important socially and economically, not least due to social media, there have been few economic studies on the topic to date. In her work, Sophia Gänßle now investigated how entertainment markets move and have a lasting impact on our society. In doing so, she used modern empirical methods to derive, among other things, new insights into the star economics of social media stars, so-called influencers, on YouTube and Instagram. Her research also provides new insights into competition in markets for audiovisual goods such as video-on-demand.

With her work, Sophia Gänßle already made a name for herself in the scientific world during her doctorate with numerous publications and conference contributions at renowned international conferences.She herself sees her findings as a basis for better understanding current social developments and asking broader questions: "For example, whether we as a society consider current market outcomes to be meaningful and desirable and how we want to deal with them."

Dagmar Schipanski Award for Dr. Alexander Hunold, Group of Biomedical Engineering: "Transcranial Current Stimulation - Modeling, Application, Verification."

In his dissertation, Dr. Alexander Hunold presents a new method for electrical stimulation of the brain and eye. With novel electrodes and an innovative system of head hoods, the so-called transcranial current stimulation, which is non-invasive, i.e. without surgical intervention, is significantly improved. The scientific work of Dr. Hunold, according to the justification for the award, contributes significantly to treating patients with depression more effectively. It also improves basic neuroscientific research. The topic of the dissertation is therefore of high scientific and practical relevance.

In transcranial current stimulation, the human brain is specifically influenced with weak currents of a few milliamperes to achieve therapeutic effects. As soon as such currents flow at the nerve cell membrane, the voltage at the membrane changes and thus also the so-called firing rate, the activity of the nerve cells. This influences how the brain processes information, which in turn can affect human behavior.

In his doctoral thesis, Alexander Hunold gained new insights into how electricity is distributed in the head. In particular, the electrode techniques he developed - dry electrodes manufactured using additive processes and textile electrodes in fabric hoods - make brain stimulation more flexible and patient-friendly in everyday clinical practice. The practical implementation of Dr. Hunold's work in medical technology products, which is imminent, will soon enable clinics to use the new technology.

Dissertation prize is now called the Dagmar Schipanski Award

The Dagmar Schipanski Award of the "Universitätsgesellschaft Ilmenau - Freunde, Förderer, Alumni e. V." was previously awarded under the name Dissertation Prize. With the Dagmar Schipanski Prize, the Friends of Ilmenau University of Technology honors outstanding scientific work and thus highlights the high quality standard of research at Ilmenau University of Technology. The renaming to Dagmar Schipanski Prize was done in appreciation of the great services in science and politics of Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski, long-time chairwoman of the University Society and former rector of the TU Ilmenau, who passed away last year.


Prof. Peter Scharff
Chairman Ilmenau University Society - Friends, Sponsors, Alumni e. V.
+49 3677 69-3602



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