A diamond for science

Thanks to the support of two long-time patrons of the Max Planck Society, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz has dedicated a new laboratory to the married couple Sibylle and Walter Kalkhof-Rose.

In the new rooms of the Institute in Mainz, a team headed by Director Tanja Weil produces nanoscopically tiny diamond particles. Their goal ist to synthesize special nanodiamonds under high pressure and high temperature from carbon and functionalize them in medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

This work at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research impressed Sibylle Kalkhof-Rose (born 1925) so much that she funded Tanja Weil’s research for almost two years. "Promoting this outstanding research is something wonderful and special, and it keeps alive the memory of my husband, who was always strongly committed to science in Mainz," says Sibylle Kalkhof-Rose. Her deceased husband, the chemist and entrepreneur Walter Kalkhof-Rose was a Supporting Member of the Max Planck Society from 1960 to 1988 and maintained a close friendship with Gerhard Wegner, emeritus Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. They worked hand in hand to establish the Institute in Mainz in the 1980s as a preeminent site for polymer research.

Promoting this outstanding research is something wonderful and special, and it keeps alive the memory of my husband, who was always strongly committed to science in Mainz.

- Sibylle Kalkhof-Rose

For Sibylle Kalkhof-Rose, too, science is a matter to her heart. She has continued her husband's Supporting Membership since his death in 1988. The couple’s unwavering commitment has already resulted in a six-figure grant for projects in the Max Planck Society, including scientific work at the Mainz Institute. The new lab, named in honour of the couple, was inaugurated in January. Sibylle Kalkhof-Rose attended the ceremony in person and listened with obvious enthusiasm to explanations about the research with nanodiamonds conducted there.

The scientific work at the Kalkhof-Rose Laboratory is exciting: The diamond particles are coated, with a biopolymer linked to a cancer drug. These drug-carrying nanodiamonds are designed to be introduced into cancer tissue to make it visible for the doctor and at the same time attack the cancer cells in a targeted manner – an innovative therapeutic approach that the Mainz researchers will continue to advance in the coming years.

KF/je

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