People

Leadership and Staff


Dr. Julia Serong
Research Director / Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Julia Serong is the research director at the Munich Science Communication Lab. Since December 2017, she has been a research associate at the Department of Media and Communication. Until 2021, she was the ad hoc working group “Facticity of the World” coordinator at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. From 2013 to 2020, she was a research associate (project management) at the Institute of Journalism at TU Dortmund University. From 2009 to 2014, she was a research assistant at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies at the FU Berlin. There she received her Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) on “Media Quality and Audience” in 2014. Julia Serong studied communication science, economic policy, and English Studies at the WWU Münster.

Why is this project important to you?
Over the last few years, I have been doing a lot of work on science communication, and the exchange with practitioners has always been important to me. I have learned so much about the basic questions, problems, and challenges of science communication. And I have also noticed how great the need for research on science communication is.

With the MSCL, a dream becomes a reality: We can research science communication and help shape it. The MSCL gives us the unique opportunity to expand and deepen our fundamental knowledge of science communication and to accompany and improve the development of new formats. With the topic of Planetary Health, we are also taking on a challenge for communication science: to think public communication about the environment and health together, at the intersection of science, politics, and economics. This interdisciplinarity and diversity of perspectives that we live at MSCL mean a lot to me.



Dr. Bernhard Goodwin
Executive Director / Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Dr. Goodwin is Managing Director of the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He studied communication science, psychology, computer science and law, and earned his doctorate on the transfer of knowledge to society using the example of forestry science.

Why is this project important to you?
This project is important to me firstly because it is a very pressing issue with high relevance. Secondly, it is an issue that involves complicated problems for which there are no simple solutions. We call this “wicked problems” and that’s why science communication is a bit more difficult than with other topics. Thirdly, science communication is actually part of the phenomenon itself. Because when you’re talking about how the health and the environment of our planet are interrelated; how people think about it and get into the conversation plays an important role.

Profile on www.ifkw.lmu.de
Email: goodwin (at) lmu (dot) de


Dr. Thassilo Franke
Science Communicator

While doing botanical fieldwork in Africa and Latin America, Thassilo experienced habitat destruction and its devastating impact on biodiversity right in front of his eyes. This inspired him to attend a post graduate program in science communication and natural history filmmaking in New Zealand. His graduate film, a forensic crime investigation story about the fate of an extinct flower, won the prestigious BBC Newcomer Award. After finalizing his PhD in biology, he worked for several years as a script writer in the natural history filmmaking business. Since 2016 Thassilo has been a senior researcher at BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern and, at the end of 2021, he joined the Munich Science Communication Lab  team. 

Why is the project important to you? In his opinion, reliable science communication is society’s most powerful tool to recognize and understand wicked problems threatening planetary health, and – most important – to communicate ways, how to solve them.

Website: www.biotopia.net/en/
Email: franke@biotopia.net


Dr. Fabienne Will
Science Communication Coordinator

Until 2022 she was Scholar in Residence at the Research Institute for History of Science and Technology at the Deutsches Museum, working on the Anthropocene and the history of environmental perception. Between 2017 and 2020, she was a research associate there. During this time, she was part of the DFG research group “Practicing Evidence – Evidencing Practice”. She received her PhD in history of science on “Evidence Practices at the Interstice of Sciences, Humanities, and the Public: The Anthropocene Debate” at the LMU Munich in 2020. Between 2018 and 2020 she was part of the Doctoral Program Environment and Society at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich. Fabienne studied History, German and Italian studies at the LMU.

Why is this project important to you?

During my doctoral studies, I dealt intensively with the Anthropocene and realized how important it is to take content out of the academic circle and communicate it to the public when it comes to achieving change and preserving the habitability of planet Earth for humans. There is a great need for science communication formats that succeed in communicating global challenges in a way that connects to the public`s experience. With the MSCL, we have the opportunity to take science communication a big step forward and contribute to a planetary healthy future.

Email: f.will@deutsches-museum.de


Clara Kühner, M.Sc.
Evaluation Coordinator

Clara studied psychology at the LMU and the University of Bamberg. She recently submitted her doctoral thesis to the University of Leipzig and is expected to receive her PhD at the end of 2022. In her doctoral thesis, Clara focuses on the connections between work and employee well-being. Her work combines various statistical methods such as diary studies and meta-analyses. Parallel to her dissertation, Clara worked in a consulting company specialized in management diagnostics until 2022 and gave lectures on work and organizational psychology at the FOM University of Applied Sciences. Since 2021, Clara has been invited by various institutions as a speaker on climate psychology.

Why is this project important to you?
Planetary crises such as the climate crisis or the loss of biodiversity pose an immense threat to the health of my and future generations. For a sustainable change towards a healthy planet, scientific knowledge about the causes and possible solutions to these crises must be effectively communicated to society. In this context, I am particularly interested in continuously evaluating the effectiveness and success of different formats of science communication with respect to the set goals and defined target audiences.

Email: Clara.Kuehner@ifkw.lmu.de


Sarah Stiller, M.A.
Science Communication Coordinator

Sarah Stiller completed a bachelor’s degree in media and communication science at Uni Augsburg in 2011 and a master’s degree in Communication Science at LMU Munich in 2013. She has worked in online communication in the field of culture and film and as a freelance writer with a focus on sustainability topics. She joined the MSCL team in October 2022 as Science Communication Coordinator at the intersection with the Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research.

Why is this project important to you?
Planetary health is a highly relevant topic. With our everyday behavior, humans endanger the future of our planet’s and our own health. I am interested in science communication as a tool to make scientific knowledge more accessible and understandable to a broader public and empower different groups to make changes. It is a great opportunity to be able to be part of this movement – not only on a private level, but on a professional, too.

Email: sarah.stiller (at) ibe.med.uni-muenchen (dot) de


Paulina Schaaf, M.A.
Project Assistance

Paulina Schaaf completed a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with focus in Public Relations at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and her masters degree in Intercultural Communication and Cooperation at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. She is interested on how communication can create social change and the role of narratives in understanding and shaping society. She has worked in different industries’ communication departments, and recently as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Munich University of Applied Sciences.


Why is this project important to you?

Planetary Health is a major concern in our society at the moment – a topic that is not only of interest to a specific group, but a subject that affects most areas of society in the present and in the future. However, different groups give different meaning and value to it. Planetary Health is still a field of political and social field of negotiation. How communication plays a role in the inclusion of various communities within the area, as well as the development of better understanding from different perspectives makes the subject very meaningful to me.


Dr. Sabine Reich
Postdoc

From 2016 to October 2022, Dr. Reich was a Postdoc at the Institute of Journalism and Communication Research at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. From 2010 to 2016, Sabine Reich worked as a research associate with Prof. Dr. Peter Vorderer, Institute for Media and Communication Studies at the University of Mannheim, and in 2014 she was a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. In 2016 she received her Ph.D. (Dr. Phil.) from the University of Mannheim on abstract and concrete construal in mediated message processing. Sabine Reich studied Communication (B.A./M.A.) at the University of Erfurt and the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (Pullman).

Why is this project important to you?
The planetary challenges we face are only solved with a joint effort. The MSCL is a great hub to address the communication challenges involved with that. My interest is particularly how scientists and science communication can impact individual behavior through different channels, how we can communicate complexity (“wicked problems”), and the additional roles and challenges scientists face in our social media age.

Website: www.sabine-reich.com
Email: Sabine.Reich@ifkw.lmu.de


Anna Gaul, M.A.
PhD Student

Anna completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication studies at LMU Munich. During her master’s studies, she worked as a student research assistant in the junior research group “Digital Democratic Mobilization in Hybrid Media Systems (DigiDeMo)” at LMU.

Why is this project important to you?
Numerous environmental changes, such as the climate crisis or the pollution of land, water, and air, threaten the health of the planet and society. Planetary Health is therefore a topic of high urgency and relevance that concerns us all. However, communicating about it is challenging because it involves ‘wicked problems’ characterized by interdependencies, uncertainty, and conflicting stakeholder interests. This makes research on science communication all the more important, both on the side of the communicators and on the side of the recipients. Furthermore, the MSCL enables an exchange with different disciplines and fields of application, which I see as a great opportunity.

Profile on www.ifkw.lmu.de
Email: Anna.Gaul (at) ifkw.lmu (dot) de


Christopher Kurth, B.Eng.
Intern

Christopher Kurth has a background in mechatronics and electrical engineering and spent some years in the automotive industry, but decided to add the social sciences to his education. He is enrolled in the master’s programme “Responsibility in Science, Engineering and Technology” at the Technical University Munich, where he focusses on responsible (science) communication, ethics and values, and environmental sciences.

Why is this project important to you?
I believe communication is the key to everything. A society can only function properly if its people communicate openly and transparently. Among many other areas, science is a field that requires responsible communication, especially in times where many problems are global and highly complex. As part of my study programme, the internship at the MSCL is a great opportunity to deepen my knowledge in (responsible) science communication.

Email: christopher.kurth@ifkw.lmu.de


Jule M. Schmitz
Intern

Jule Schmitz completed a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations at the University of Applied Sciences in Hanover. She is currently enrolled in the master’s program Health Communication at the University of Erfurt. Because this master program combines aspects of communication science and psychology, it allows her to follow her intrinsic motivation to understand human behavior. For the same reason, she worked as a scientific assistant at the Psychology and Infectious Diseases Lab and Communication Lab Erfurt.

Why is this project important to you?
From the moment I started to learn more about planetary health, I experienced many eye-opening moments that inspired my way of life. Through the MSCL, I am able to engage in various projects that share this knowledge with more people and thus contribute to behavioral change. In short: I see the MSCL a space full of opportunities, interesting collaborations, and big visions for sustaining and advancing human health and the health of our planet.

Email: jule.schmitz@uni-erfurt.de 


Matteo Vivi, M.A.
Student Assistant

Matteo has received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Bologna and a MA in Media Studies from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is currently enrolled in the MA program of Science and Technology Studies at the Technical University of Munich. Besides MSCL, he works as a research assistant at the TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology. His research interests focus on the co-construction of gendered identities, environmentalism, and technological artifacts, particularly in relation to masculinities and “green” technologies.

I am interested in investigating the significance of identity politics for planetary health, exploring how different sociotechnical solutions proposed to address this and other wicked problems might shape how people understand themselves, their responsibilities, and their role in society. 

Email: matteo.vivi (at) tum (dot) de

Members of the Executive Boards


Prof. Dr. Hans-Bernd Brosius
Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Prof. Brosius studied psychology and medicine at the Westfälische-Wilhelms University in Münster. He received his doctoral degree there in 1983. From 1983 to 1995 he was a postdoctoral fellow and – later on – assistant professor for communication studies at the University of Mainz. He received his secondary doctoral degree (Habilitation) in 1994. Since 1996, he has been a communication professor at the Department of Media and Communication (IfKW) at LMU Munich. From 1998 till 2002 he was chairman of the German Communication Association. From 2001 to 2021 he was dean of the faculty of social sciences. His research interests include media use, media effects, digitalization of mass media, and methodology.

Why is this project important to you?
Good science communication is crucial for modern societies around the world. We need more research on the antecedents, content, usage and effects of science communication on citizens, politicians, and institutions.

Email: brosius@ifkw.lmu.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 9455


Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch
Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Prof. Mauch started at LMU Munich in 2007 as the Chair in American Cultural History and founded the Rachel Carson Center in 2009. He is an Honorary Professor and Senior Fellow at the Center for Ecological History of Renmin University in China, a past President of the European Society for Environmental History and a former Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. (1999-2007).

Why is this project important to you?
I feel strongly that, in order for humanity to survive on planet Earth, we need to understand – and properly communicate – the intrinsic connection between global ecological destruction and the well-being of the human (and more-than-human) species. 

Website: www.carsoncenter.uni-muenchen.de/staff_fellows/directors/christof_mauch/index.html
Email: mauch@lmu.de
Phone: 089-2180-723-52/ 51/ 50


Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler
Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Prof. Trischler is head of research at the Deutsches Museum, Munich and professor of modern history at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich. In 2009, he jointly with Christof Mauch founded the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, one of the internationally leading centers for the growing field of Environmental Humanities. His main research interests are innovation cultures in international comparison; science, technology and European integration; evidence practices in science, technology and society; cooperation and competition in the sciences; and environmental history. He has conceptualized the world’s first major exhibition on the Anthropocene (Welcome to the Anthropocene. The Earth in Our Hands) on display at the Deutsches Museum 2014-2016.

Head of Research of Deutsches Museum; Professor of Modern History and History of Technology at LMU Munich; Co-Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Website: www.deutsches-museum.de/forschung/person/helmuth-trischler
Email: h.trischler@deutsches-museum.de
Phone: 089/2179-209


Prof. Dr. Eva Annette Rehfuess
Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Eva Rehfuess, BA, MA(Oxon) PhD holds the Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research at the LMU Munich and is spokesperson for the Pettenkofer School of Public Health in Munich, Germany. Nine years of working for the World Health Organization inspired her keen interest in methods for evidence-based public health and her passion for global health with thematic foci on environmental health, public health nutrition, child health and COVID-19. Much of Eva’s research relates to the evaluation of complex interventions in complex systems, in Germany and Europe as well as in low- and middle-income countries.

Why is this project important to you? Planetary health represents the greatest challenge of our time: the health of current and future generations of human beings relies on a habitable planet. Effective communication is essential for making the connections between human health and the health of the planet apparent – and for achieving an urgently needed societal transformation. This will greatly affect the way we live, work, eat and move: it will mean sacrificing some of the things and habits we love; but it will also mean exploring novel, cool, enjoyable approaches. For me, the MSCL represents a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with highly committed colleagues across a broad range of disciplines and institutions and to engage with the public through innovative, fun and impactful science communication experiments.

Website: www.en.ibe.med.uni-muenchen.de/mitarbeiter/professoren/rehfuess/
Email: rehfuess@ibe.med.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: : +49 (0)89 2180-78224


Prof. Dr. Constanze Rossmann
Executive Board Member

Prof. Rossmann, PhD, holds a chair of communication at LMU Munich. She used to be professor of communication, vice dean for empirical research and vice director of the Erfurt Laboratory for Empirical Research at University of Erfurt until 2021, where she co-founded the Master Program Health Communication. She is also co-founder and former speaker of the Health Communication Division within the German Communication Association and associate editor of the European Journal of Health Communication. Her research interests include health and crisis communication with a focus on health-related media use and effects, health campaigns, and mobile Health.

Why is this project important to me? I am specifically interested in the interaction between health and climate (communication), that is, how can health communication profit from emphasizing the positive and negative consequences, (un)healthy behaviors have for climate change and, vice versa, how can climate communication benefit from arguing with the health consequences of environmental friendly behaviors, and, finally, how can the fields of health and environmental communication grow together to integrate their expertise for better scientific answers to demanding social problems.

Website: www.ifkw.uni-muenchen.de/lehrbereiche/rossmann/index.html
Email: constanze.rossmann@ifkw.lmu.de
Phone: +49 89 2180-9424


Prof. Dr. Michael Gorman
Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

Michael John Gorman is Founding Director of BIOTOPIA, a new museum for life sciences and environment in development at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich, and holds the Chair in Life Sciences in Society at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Previously, Michael John was Founding Director of Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, and founder/CEO of Science Gallery International, developing a global network of Science Gallery spaces for creative collisions of science and art in cities including London, Melbourne and Bengaluru. Prior to founding Science Gallery, Michael John was Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT. He has published several books exploring the interface of science and culture including Idea Colliders: The Future of Science Museums, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Why is this project important to you? From climate change to the current pandemic, we have recently witnessed a growing gap between emerging scientific and biomedical research and different publics with different social and political identities and affiliations on the other. We urgently require innovative, empirically grounded approaches to science communication to bridge this gulf. BIOTOPIA will be a new museum focussing on exactly the relationship between people and planet, and I believe that the establishment of the Munich Science Communication Lab, with a focus on the wicked problem of Communicating Planetary Health, will provide valuable insights that can transform the way we engage the public with such topics in the future, impacting urgent discussions of climate change, pandemics, food systems and ecological collapse. For BIOTOPIA, this is a chance to test out new ideas and approaches while our museum is in development, including in our new BIOTOPIA Lab.

Email: gorman@biotopia.net
Phone: 089 17861 437


Dr. Julia Serong
Research Director / Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

More details under ‘Leadership and Staff’


Dr. Bernhard Goodwin
Executive Director / Executive Board Member / Co-Applicant

More details under ‘Leadership and Staff’

Co-Applicants

  • Prof. Dr. Martin Parniske, Head of Genetics LMU Munich, Coordinator of EU research and training group Integral.
  • Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch, Professor for Theoretical Astrophysics, LMU Munich and Professor for Philosophy of science, Munich University of Philosophy.
  • Prof. Dr. Georg Marckmann, Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of the Institute of Ethics, History, and Theory of Medicine, LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Gregg Mitman, Vilas Research and William Coleman Professorship in History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Affiliated Professor, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and serves as the Chair of the Academic Advisory.
  • Prof. Dr. Julia Pongratz, Professor of Physical Geography and Land Use Systems, LMU Munich. Group leader, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg.
  • Dr. Cecilia Scorza, Coordinator of public outreach and school contacts of the Faculty of Physics, LMU Munich.
  • Dr. Julia Serong, Research Director at the Munich Science Communication Lab.
  • Dr. Bernhard Goodwin, Managing Director of the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research, LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, Founding Director of BIOTOPIA. Chair in Life Sciences in Society, LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Eva Rehfuess, Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research, LMU Munich. Spokesperson, Pettenkofer School of Public Health in Munich, Germany.
  • Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler, Head of Research, Deutsches Museum, Munich. Professor of Modern History, LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch, Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. Chair in American Culture and Transatlantic Relations, LMU Munich. 
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Bernd Brosius, until 2021 Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, LMU Munich.

Members of the Advisory Board

  • Clare Matterson, Executive Director of Engagement at the Natural History Museum London.
  • Prof. Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Prof. Dr. Tony Goldberg, DVM, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Gabrysch, Head of Research Department 2 on Climate Resilience, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor for Climate Change and Health, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
  • Prof. Dr. Bruce Lewenstein, Professor of Science Communication, Cornell University.
  • Prof. Dr. Dominique Brossard, Professor and Chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Alumni

  • Dr. Jeanette Orminski – former team member at the MSCL.
    Contact: jeanette.orminski@gmail.com
  • Lena Maurer – former student assistent at the MSCL
    Contact: lena.maurer@rolmail.net