New Year's Reception of the TUM School of Life Sciences – Research for global challenges

Campus, Award |

Rising student numbers, numerous awards and top-class new appointments: The TUM School of Life Sciences can look back on a successful year. At the traditional New Year's reception in Weihenstephan, Dean Ingrid Kögel-Knabner welcomed President Thomas Hofmann as well as members, emeriti and supporters of the university. The university has a positive outlook for the future - after all, the work on campus is providing the right answers to the big questions of our time, from climate change and resource conservation to global health.

Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Dean of the TUM School of Life Sciences
Dean Ingrid Kögel-Knaber welcomed president Thomas Hofmann and members, emeritit and supporters of the university (Image: Matthias Göbel)
Prof. Thomas Hofmann, President of TU Munich
President Thomas Hofmann praised the development at TUM School of Life Sciences in his welcome address (Image: Matthias Göbel)
Group photo of the new 2023 appointees with the Dean
Newly appointed professors of the last year: Prof. Mariana Rufino, Prof. Livia Cabernard, Prof. Corinna Dawid, Prof. Markus List, Prof. Melanie Schirmer, Prof. Ute Weisz, Dekanin Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Prof. Romana Gerner, Prof. Antonella Di Pizio (from left to right) (Image: Matthias Göbel)
Lord Mayor with the award winners for the best Master's theses
Mayor Tobias Eschenbacher (left) honored the best Master's degree theses: Christian Zehner, Sophie Schwarzenbach, Theresa Liegsalz, Matthias Lenz, Tobin Thür, Madleen Biggel, Annalena Müller, Präsident Thomas Hofmann (from left to right) (Image: Matthias Göbel)

"If you compare 2019 and 2024, you think you're in a different world. That's why it's important that TUM remains agile and continues to change. This is the only way we can meet the challenges of the future. Otherwise, we will be changed," says President Thomas Hofmann in his welcoming address. There have been many changes in the past year and the TUM School of Life Sciences has had a successful year. The number of first-year students rose to over 1,500 this winter semester, and more than 4,800 students are currently studying at the school - a new record number. 31% of all students are of international origin. The increase is particularly strong in the Bachelor's degree program in Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, which recorded around 150 new students.

With two new international Master's programs starting in the winter semester 2024/25, TUM is creating additional attractive courses: „AgriFood Economics, Policy and Regulation“´and „Sustainable Food”. The former is a combination of agricultural sciences, politics and economics that is unique in Europe. „Sustainable Food“, on the other hand, is a cooperative study program with TUM Asia, the campus in Singapore. Students can expect a range of topics from food technology, food safety and food chemistry.

Top places and awards for Weihenstephan

The excellent research at Weihenstephan attracts national and international attention. Particularly in the field of agricultural and forestry sciences, the School consistently occupies top positions in global university rankings. This is also reflected in the many prizes awarded to the researchers and teaching staff in Freising last year. These include the "National Award - Education for Sustainable Development" from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and from UNESCO for the Forest Science and Resource Management study area. Numerous successful spin-offs pass on the innovative spirit of TUM. Most recently, two start-up teams from Weihenstephan won the TUM IDEAward with sustainable start-up ideas.

A holistic view of human, animal and ecosystem health

One Health“, holistic research for the health of humans, animals and ecosystems, is the focus of research at the Weihenstephan campus. In 2023, the strategy was further sharpened in order to conduct interdisciplinary research in the areas of "Ecosystem health and resilience", "Animal and human health" and "Healthy and sustainable food".

The establishment of the Center for Infection Prevention (ZIP) lays the foundation for the expansion of expertise in the field of infection control and the containment of resistant pathogens.  "A highlight of the past year," says Dean Kögel-Knabner. Research is being carried out here on resistant bacterial strains in order to largely avoid the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, to better control existing infections and to prevent transmission paths between animals and humans. The new building in Thalhauser Straße will enable researchers to work together under one roof from 2025.

Numerous new appointments for the challenges of the future

A total of eleven new professors were recruited for the TUM School of Life Sciences in 2023. This will lead to an enormous change at the location. In addition to teaching, this will also prepare the research area for future challenges. "The many new appointments are an opportunity. They bring our One Health strategy to life," says Dean Kögel-Knabner. The proportion of women continues to rise as a result of the new appointments. Numerous international talents have been recruited to TUM.

New appointments were made last year:

  • Prof. Mutez A. Ahmed (Root-Soil-Interaction)
  • Prof. Livia Cabernard (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems)
  • Prof. Corinna Dawid (Functional Phytometabolomics)
  • Prof. Antonella Di Pizio (Chemoinformatics and Protein Modelling)
  • Prof. Friederike Ebner (Infection Pathogenesis)
  • Prof. Romana Gerner (Clinical Microbiome)
  • Prof. Markus List (Data Science Systems Biology)
  • Prof. Mariana Rufino (Livestock Systems)
  • Prof. Melanie Schirmer (Translational Microbiome Data Integration)
  • Prof. Michael Schloter (Environmental Microbiology)
  • Prof. Ute Weisz (Plant Proteins and Nutrition)

Four new honorary professors have joined the School's faculty: Hon. Prof. Gregor Vollkommer (Jurisprudence), Hon. Prof. Lilian Busse (Environmental Science – Policy Interaction), Hon. Prof. Martina Gastl (Brewing Technology) and Hon. Prof. Peter Eisner (Food Technology).

The following retired after many years of service:

  • Prof. Jörg Durner (Biochemical Plant Pathology)
  • Prof. Erwin Grill (Botany)
  • Prof. Dieter Langosch (Chemistry of Biopolymers)
  • Prof. Martin Moog (Forest Economics)
  • Prof. Hans Pretzsch (Forest Growth Science)
  • Prof. Klaus Richter (Wood Science)
  • Prof. Michael Suda (Forest and Environmental Policy)

Professors Grill and Pretzsch were honored for their services as TUM Emeriti of Excellence. As such, they will continue to make a valuable contribution to TUM.

Prize for the best Master's theses

Freising's Lord Mayor Tobias Eschenbacher was pleased about the good and close cooperation between the city and the university. He referred to events such as the TUM@Freising lecture series, where the people of Freising are regularly invited to exchange ideas directly with university researchers. As Lord Mayor, Eschenbacher also awarded prizes this year for the best theses of the Master's students from the seven subject areas of the TUM School of Life Sciences. All Master’s theses were awarded the top grade of 1.0. Eschenbacher congratulated the young scientists with a personal laudatory speech and presented the prize money of EUR 250. The winners of the City of Freising prize in the 2022/2023 academic year are Theresa Liegsalz (Agricultural Systems Science), Matthias Lenz (Biology), Sophie Schwarzenbach (Pharmaceutical Bioprocess Engineering), Madleen Biggel (Nutrition and Biomedicine), Annalena Müller (Sustainable Resource Management), Christian Zehner (Engineering Ecology) and Robin Thür (Food Chemistry).

Professional Contact:

Dr. Tobias Bidon
Technical University of Munich
TUM School of Life Sciences
Tel. +49 8161 71-3410

Contact at TUM Corporate Communications Center:

Magdalena Eisenmann
Press Officer
Tel. +49 8161 71-6127