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Graduate School of Life Sciences

Snapshot of a GSLS Alumnus

From Würzburg into the World

Dieudonné Tshitenge is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and completed the majority of his doctoral studies at the University of Würzburg. Passion, a vision and at times luck are, in his opinion, the conditions for success

What do graduates of the University of Würzburg (JMU) do? In order to give current students different perspectives of graduate careers, Michael Thiel, the managing director of the central alumni network of the JMU, talks to selected alumni.  This time, it's Dieudonné Tshitenge's turn.

Dieudonné completed the experimental part of his master thesis at the Department for Organic Chemistry and then carried out his doctoral studies here too.   He also successfully applied for a GSLS fellowship and was funded via the fellowship for the majority of his doctoral studies.  Originally from the Congo, he currently works for Bayer AG as lab manager in Wuppertal.  He also teaches at the University of Kinshasa.

Dieudonné, how would you explain your job to a lay-person in one word? Fascinating!

What do you experience as particularly challenging in your job? The exact classification of a complax macromolecule with bad spectra.  This task is very time-consuming.

What element of your job is most fun? The structural eluciadation of a new medication.  With this work it's about putting together spectroscopic information in order to ascertain the chemical structure of future medication.  Like doing a jigsaw puzzle, every case is something special and is really fun!

What would you advise students who wish to pursue a similar route to you? I have needed passion for chemistry, a life vision, discipline and long-term planning to arrive at where I am now.  Sometimes you also need a bit of luck in order to reach particular goals, but never let that be a deciding factor.

What do you most miss about Würzburg? The view of the Fortress Marienberg from the Old Main Bridge with a glass of Silvaner.

Questions by Michaela Thiel

Not already a member of the Alumni network of the University of Würzburg? Then you are invited to register! www.alumni.uni-wuerzburg.de  Here you will also find all previously published portaits from alumni of the JMU.

About Dieudonné

Dieudonné Tshitenge is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied Pharmacy at bachelor level from 2006 until 2011 at the University of Kinshasa. He completed his studies with the best grade in the Faculty. He completed his master studies within the framework of an EU-funded Congolese-Belgian study programme.  The experimental part of his master thesis was completed at the University of Würzburg, which has been partnered with the University of Kinshasa since 2003.

In Würzburg,  Dieudonné worked in the research group of Professor Gerhard Bringmann, the then head of the Department of Organic Chemistry I.  His master thesis was about the quality control of Congolese anti-malarial medication and the isolation of active ingredients of Congolese medicinal plants. He continued this line of research in his doctoral studies, which he successfully completed in October 2017. He was a funded Fellow of the Graduate Scool of Life Sciences for the majority of his doctoral studies.

Within the framework of his doctoral thesis in the lab of Professor Bringmann, Dieudonné analysed herbal remedies which have been authorised in the Congo to be used against the cause of malaria - an important task, as many of these had so far never been tested for their effectiveness and constituent ingredients. 

In addition, Dieudonné isolated many new alkaloids from a Congolese variety of Liana and elucidated their unique structures.  These natural substances, including ealapasamines discovered by Dieudonné, indicate very promising activity against the causes of tropical infectious diseases and against cancer cells.

The above article was translated from the original article released by the media department of the University of Würzburg, published on the University of Würzburg website on 02.12.2019 and can be found here. Additional information about the GSLS fellowship has been added to this  article and does not appear in the original article.