Research centres

Research Centres

In collaboration with the Faculty of Natural Sciences

The research centres at Leibniz University are interdisciplinary, in-house research collaborations. The scientists in the Faculty of Natural Sciences undertake research in the following centres:


Wissenschaftlerinnen im Labor Wissenschaftlerinnen im Labor Wissenschaftlerinnen im Labor
Group picture of the members of the BMWZ Group picture of the members of the BMWZ Group picture of the members of the BMWZ
Group picture of the members of the BMWZ

The Centre for Biomolecular Drug Research (BMWZ) bundles together the key research areas of the chemistry, biosciences and structural biology of active ingredient-based natural substances and their biological targets. It specialises in the development and application of multi-disciplinary methods.

The key competences include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other biophysical and computer-based methods: the Carlomagno/Marchanka research groups investigate the structures of drug targets in ribonucleo-protein complexes and develop new methods to support structure-based drug design. This is supplemented by the expertise in protein crystallography offered by the Preller research group, which is developing new inhibitors against the malaria parasites.

Biosynthesis and the synthesis of natural substances are pursued in particular by the Cox research group, which uses methods from synthetic biology and “metabolic engineering”. The Franke research group completes this work on the biosynthesis of natural plant substances.

The Kalesse, Kirschning, Brönstrup and Plettenburg research groups dedicate their work to the synthesis of natural substances and drugs and the development of molecular tools and probes for target validation. These drug-based topics are supported by the Zeilinger research group through the development of new drug assays. The Scheper/Stahl/Walter research groups concentrate on high-throughput technologies for assay development.

The centre, which opened in 2014, is equipped with modern research laboratories for chemistry, microbiology, bio-NMR spectroscopy, and molecular biology.

Managing Director: Prof. Dr. Russell Cox, Institute of Organic Chemistry


© Roman Botcharnikov, FZ:GEO, LUH
The Earth System is the object of research at FZ:GEO. This includes all processes that shape our earth's surface (such as erosion, sedimentation, volcanism and soil formation). ©Roman Botcharnikov, FZ:GEO, LUH
Graphical representation of the different quantification methods at different locations: satellite- or airborne remote sensing as well as in-situ measurements in the field or laboratory Graphical representation of the different quantification methods at different locations: satellite- or airborne remote sensing as well as in-situ measurements in the field or laboratory Graphical representation of the different quantification methods at different locations: satellite- or airborne remote sensing as well as in-situ measurements in the field or laboratory © Insa Cassens, FZ:GEO, LUH
The processes taking place on the Earth's surface are quantified using various methods, such as satellite-based or airborne remote sensing and in-situ measurements in the field or laboratory. ©Insa Cassens, FZ:GEO, LUH

A unique feature of Leibniz University Hannover is the successful cooperation between the geosciences, the environmental sciences, engineering and the computer sciences within the FZ:GEO Leibniz research centre.

As one of four faculties involved, the Faculty of Natural Sciences is represented in FZ:GEO by the Institutes of Soil Science, Geobotany, Geology, Microbiology, Mineralogy and Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology.

The FZ:GEO research centre forms a platform for interdisciplinary research and teaching in the disciplines dealing with the earth sciences. It provides relevant contributions to urgent issues facing mankind, which are often related to earth sciences (e. g. global change, sustainable use of resources, natural hazards). The key here lies in the unique combination of different disciplines. A completely new approach to solving urgent geological and environmental issues is possible by virtue of their joint access to modern infrastructure and a multitude of innovative methods and procedures from the engineering sciences, computer science and the natural sciences.

In addition to the institutes at Leibniz University, the central research and service institutions on federal government and federal state level – BGR, LIAG, LBEG and LGLN – and strong partners from industry make their contribution to Hanover’s special position as one of the leading locations for geo-related research in Germany.

In the course of the successful work done by the FZ:GEO research centre so far, three promising key research areas have emerged: earth’s surface processes, geo-resources and digitisation.

Spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Monika Sester and Prof. Dr. François Holtz


Logo des Laboratorium für Nano- und Quantenengineering Logo des Laboratorium für Nano- und Quantenengineering Logo des Laboratorium für Nano- und Quantenengineering
Group picture of the members of the LNQE at Nanoday
Building of the Laboratory for Nano and Quantum Engineering at Schneiderberg 39, 30167 Hannover, Germany

The Laboratory of Nano and Quantum Engineering (LNQE) is an interdisciplinary Leibniz research centre involving the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculties of Mathematics and Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering. The research at the LNQE can be characterised by the terms nanoengineering, nanoanalytics and nanomaterials. The work undertaken at the LNQE concentrates on three fields of application: nanotechnology for energy research, nanotechnology for sensing technology, and nanotechnology for biomedical engineering and nanomedicine.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences has four institutes within the LNQE: Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry and Technical Chemistry.

The key contributions of the natural science research groups at the LNQE are the production, functionalisation and physico-chemical analysis of materials and nanostructures. Important here are nanoporous materials such as zeolites and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are investigated with a view to their applications as biomaterials and in energy storage and conversion (Behrens RG), or as membrane material for gas separation and catalysis (Caro RG). Another important contribution to the LNQE is made by chemists working on nanostructured materials, i. e. their production and characterisation as well as the specific creation of higher superstructures (Bigall RG and Dorfs RG). These substances also have the potential for a variety of applications relating to the transport and controlled release of drugs (Bigall RG, Kirschning RG and Behrens RG). The Bahnemann RG works on nanomaterials which exhibit photocatalytic activity. Applications are particularly to be found in air and water purification and water splitting. The focus of the Giese RG is on elastomer chemistry, especially on the interaction between polymer matrices and fillers. A topic common to all are materials which change their properties in response to an external stimulation (for example light, magnetic fields, pH value) and whose possible applications lie in efficient information storage (Renz RG), membrane switching (Caro RG) or drug release.

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Peter Behrens
Chief Operating Officer:  Dr. Fritz Schulze-Wischeler


NIFE Building at Stadtfelddamm 34, 30625 Hanover, Germany

The aim of the NIFE research centre is to bundle the transdiciplinary research and development focusing on implant research which is being undertaken in Lower Saxony. The research centre involves Hannover Medical School, the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation and Leibniz University Hannover in collaboration with Laser Zentrum Hannover. The NIFE makes Hanover a leading location for biomedical research and development on both the national and the international level.

The institutes and research groups at the Faculty of Natural Sciences are members of NIFE and maintain research laboratories there. The research groups involved are the Behrens RG , Blume RG, Dräger RG, Kirschning RG and Scheper RG

At the heart of these research activities are the development and functionalisation of new inorganic and organic materials, and the production and processing of biomedically relevant proteins for use in tissue engineering and implant research. This material-oriented research is supported by the biological validation of the materials.

Chair of the Board: Prof. Dr. Alexander Heisterkamp
PR office: Tanja Hesse


BMBF Project LAZIK N2030: Exchange with a Mayor

The objectives of TRUST are to bring together the research activities in the field of spatial transformation, to build up an interdisciplinary network, and to be an expert partner for society, industry, and those working in administration and the political arena. The Centre's research is organised in clusters. These clusters are dedicated either to particular key areas (Agents and society in a spatial context, Spatial patterns and settlement structures, Resources and ecosystem services, Risk and inequality in Asia, Africa and Latin America) or to supra-institutional aspects (theories, knowledge transfer).

From the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard from the Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, and Prof. Dr. Peter Dirksmeier, Prof. Dr. Ingo Liefner and Prof. Dr. Rolf Sternberg from the Institute of Economic and Human Geography are active in various thematic clusters. Prof. Dr. Christiane Meyer is lecturer in geography education at the Institute for Science Education and the cluster coordinator for the supra-institutional knowledge transfer cluster, which acts as an important bridge between the individual clusters, and also in exchanges with target groups in the public sector and society at large. The research planned is to focus on processes relating to the associated knowledge generation and utilisation. 

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Winrich Voß