For Research. For Berlin.

Press Release

18.02.2021 // (01/21)

New funding awarded to promote research in the fields of demographic science, quantum physics, and neuroscience

The Einstein Foundation Berlin is assisting the creation of a new Einstein Center to promote interdisciplinary population research. Funding will also be made available to support an Einstein Junior Fellow and an International Postdoctoral Fellow conducting neuroscience research at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin. An International Postdoctoral Fellow will also take up research into string theory at the Humboldt-Universität. Another new addition to the list of funded projects is an Einstein Circle on the designing and teaching of fashion at the Berlin University of the Arts. These newly awarded grants total approximately €1.85 million.

Einstein Center for Population Diversity

How does demographic diversity impact processes that lead to social and health inequality? Which specific factors enable a society to hold together despite differences e.g. in people’s ages, backgrounds, and economic status? If we wish to better understand our populations, it is vital to focus specifically on the diversity that exists within them. This is the stated mission of the planned Einstein Center for Population Diversity. Hosted by Berlin’s Humboldt-Universität and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin, the Center aims to bring together the expertise of renowned international partners in this field, including the Hertie School, the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the Population Europe research network currently being hosted by the Institute, the Berlin Social Science Center, the German Institute for Economic Research, and the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science based at the University of Oxford.

Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellows
Georgios Itsios, Humboldt-Universität
Physicist Georgios Itsios is moving from the University of Athens in Greece to the Humboldt-Universität, where he will be bringing his expertise to the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group on string theory led by Emanuel Malek. The research group’s aim is to use string theory to gain new insights into quantum field theory, which describes interactions between elementary particles and condensed matter. This is carried out using the holographic principle, which states that in space with negative curvature, i.e. anti-de Sitter space, string theory produces a description that is equivalent to that produced by a quantum field theory at the boundary of such space.

Mahta Mousavi, Charité – Universitätsmedizin
Neuroscientist Mahta Mousavi from the University of California, San Diego (USA), will soon be conducting research at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin. Together with Stefan Haufe’s research group, which is funded by the European Research Council, Mousavi will be using non-invasive methods to research connections between brain regions in order to identify possible disease patterns. Machine learning will be used to develop complex models based on EEG data that can predict mental states present in autistic spectrum disorders and hyperactivity.

Einstein Junior Fellow
Philipp Mergenthaler, Charité – Universitätsmedizin
Neurologist and clinical neuroscientist Philipp Mergenthaler is researching the relationship between two basic cytological processes: glucose metabolism and programmed cell death, otherwise known as apoptosis. In his project at Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Mergenthaler observes how these two processes interact in mitochondrial diseases, i.e. disorders that are triggered when mitochondria are damaged. His research will also consider bioenergetic defects and dysfunctional mitochondria as mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Mergenthaler works at the Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin and at the Center for Stroke Research Berlin (CSB). He is an alumnus of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program.


Fashioning Education Einstein Circle 
The aim of the Fashioning Education Einstein Circle is to bring together researchers and creatives from the various fields of fashion, education, and fashion pedagogy to engage in a critical discussion about fashion’s social potential and its constitutive role in society. The Circle will be jointly led by Valeska Schmidt-Thomsen, Franziska Schreiber, and Renate Stauss, who are colleagues at the Berlin University of the Arts’ Institute of Experimental Fashion and Textile Design, with the aim of creating stronger ties between fashion educators and educational institutions both in Germany and abroad, and enhancing the teaching methods currently used in fashion design.


The Einstein Foundation Berlin is an independent, not-for-profit, science-led organization established as a foundation under civil law in 2009. Since then, its task has been to promote international cutting-edge science and research across disciplines and institutions in and for Berlin. To date, it has funded 172 researchers, including three Nobel laureates, 71 projects, and six Einstein Centers.