Department of Chemistry
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Universität Bielefeld > Department of Chemistry
The members of the Faculty of Chemistry deeply mourn the loss of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Knoche, who died on May, 2nd 2018, after a short severe illness.
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Knoche
Universitätsarchiv/Klaus Halbe
Wilhelm Knoche was professor in the field of physical chemistry from 01.10.1981 until 28.02.2003 at Bielefeld University. His research focused on thermodynamics and kinetics of fast chemical reactions. He was co-author of one of the most important books on this area of research (Strehlow, Knoche: Fundamentals of Chemical Relaxation). Many instrumental developments for the investigation of fast reactions result from Wilhelm Knoches research group in Bielefeld.
Wilhelm Knoche was one of the co-initiators of the discussion group "Fast Reactions in Solution" (FRIS) and was internationally well-known and valued in this scientific domain. In addition he also made a key contribution to the internationalization for the Faculty of Chemistry and he has initiated a lively exchange with the universities of Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, Burgos and others in Europe.
In Wilhelm Knoches research group more than 35 PhD students earned their doctoral degree.
He hosted a lot of foreign graduate students and additionally also several successful post docs were supervised by him.
Wilhelm Knoche was passionate about academic teaching. He was enthusiastic and extremely active. Often one would find him in his office in conversations with students, sharing his broad expertise and experience. He saw it as his duty to guarantee the best professional teaching standards including mathematical aspects regarding physical chemistry. He set a great value on precise mathematical derivations in thermodynamics and kinetics.
Wilhelm Knoche will be remembered not only as a professor and scientist but also for his charisma, personality and collegiality. Even after his active career Wilhelm Knoche was closely related to Bielefeld University. With his passing we have lost an appreciated colleague and teacher.

Research profile of the Faculty of Chemistry

  1. Molecule-based Materials
    Aziz-Lange, Ghadwal, Glaser, Godt, Hellweg, Hoge, Kohse-Höinghaus, Kühnle, Mitzel
  2. Life Science Chemistry
    Dierks, Fischer v. Mollard, Gröger, Hellweg, Kottke, Lübke, Niemann, Sewald
  3. Gas Phase- und Atmospheric Chemistry
    Brockhinke, Eisfeld, Kohse-Höinghaus, Koop, Manthe, Mitzel
  4. Public Understanding of Science
    Dunker, Kohse-Höinghaus, Lück, Mitzel

Important subjects in the research area Molecule-based Materials are molecular magnets, biomimetic catalysts, cytostatic compounds, fluorinated compounds, organometallic compounds, silanes, spin probes an models for EPR-spectroscopy, microgels and microemulsions.

Protein crystallography is used and sulfatases, lysosomal hydrolases and membrane transport are studied in the research area Life Science Chemistry. An additional focus are bioorganic and biocatalytic topics in organic chemistry groups, which are also investigated by biochemistry groups within the Faculty of Chemistry.

Research topics in Gas Phase- und Atmospheric Chemistry are combustion, atmospheric aerosols and ice nucleation. The core facility „gas-electron diffraction and structure analysis of small molecules“ (GED@BI, N. Mitzel) is funded by the DFG and is unique within the EU.

The research area Public Understanding of Science focuses on research concerning instructions in chemistry during early childhood.

The Faculty of Chemistry is characterized by interdisciplinary research, which is typical for Bielefeld University. Researchers in the research area Molecule-based Materials cooperate with the department of Physics.

The research area Life Science Chemistry is strengthened by cooperation with the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Technology and the CeBiTec.
The „Center for Molecular Materials“ CM2 is an academic department with groups from chemistry and physics (coordinator B.Hoge), which aims at connections between technical know-how of industrial partners and basic research at the university.
In addition, each group is involved in national and international research cooperations.

Current work from our research groups 

Three-Fold Scholl-Type Cycloheptatriene Ring Formation around a Tribenzotriquinacene Core: Toward Warped Graphenes
An unprecedented 3-fold Scholl-type cycloheptatriene ring formation around a tribenzotriquinacene core is realized, producing a polyaromatic arene with a wizard hat-shaped structure. The presence of three 3,4-dimethoxyphenyl rings at the C-1, C-4 and C-8 positions of the tribenzotriquinacene skeleton is crucial to the success of this transformation.
H.-W. Ip, C.-F. Ng, H.-F. Chow and D. Kuck, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 13778–13781. [DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b05820]

A High-Throughput Fluorescence Assay to Determine the Activity of Tryptophan Halogenases
Biocatalytic halogenation with tryptophan halogenases is hampered by severe limitations such as low activity and stability. These drawbacks can be overcome by directed evolution, but for screening large mutant libraries, a facile high-throughput method is required. Therefore, we developed a quantitative halogenase assay based on a Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling towards the formation of a fluorescent aryltryptophan. The technique was optimized for application in crude E. coli lysate without intermediary purification steps, and was used for quantitatively monitoring the formation of halogenated tryptophans with high specificity by facile fluorescence screening in microtiter plates. This novel screening approach was exploited to engineer a thermostable tryptophan 6-halogenase. Libraries were constructed by error-prone PCR and selected for improved thermal resistance simply by fluorogenic cross-coupling. Our method led to an enzyme variant with substantially increased thermal stability and 2.5-fold improved activity.

C. Schnepel, H. Minges, M. Frese, N. Sewald, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 14159–14163; Angew. Chem. 2016, 128, 14365–14369.
[DOI: 10.1002/ange.201605635 (deutsch)]
[DOI: 10.1002/anie.201605635 (english)]

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