Christian Herold

Current position: PhD student (February 2012 – present) with Prof Eva Rentschler at Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany.

Previous: Visiting researcher (October 2014 – February 2015) at Otago University with Prof Sally Brooker.

Chemistry diploma: at Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany (2007 – 2011).


Photos: Christian Herold feeding a lamb on Sally’s farm (left) and in the Abel Tasman National Park (right).

I met Sally at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz (Germany) after her talk in our department, hosted by Eva, and I had a chance to discuss my research results with her. Sally and Eva have known each other since they both worked in Professor Karl Wieghardt’s reearch goup in the late 1990’s. Given our common ground research-wise, Sally invited me to visit her group at the University of Otago in Dunedin for a research visit. I was able to begin my journey to the other side of the world with the help of Sally and Eva, and the financial support of the ‚German Academic Exchange Service‘ (DAAD) and the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. This was an excellent opportunity to improve my skills as a chemist, as well as my language skills, and it was a great experience to work in a foreign country.

Whilst at Otago I started work on a new collaboration between the Brooker Bunch and the group of Prof Eva Rentschler, which will form part of the research for my PhD thesis. My research topic is the synthesis of dinuclear iron(II) spin-crossover (SCO) systems with polydentate heterocyclic bridging ligands, so the research visit to Sally’s group was a great chance to benefit from the incredible experience of Sally and her group in the field of SCO.

I had a nice time in Sally’s group. There is a positive atmosphere in the Brooker Bunch, and Sally was very helpful and gave a lot of useful feedback and suggestions, helping to ensure I had a productive time. Sally is always keen to help her students with their problems and makes it easy to feel welcome in the group. The chemistry department of the University of Otago offers all the necessary equipment, including a newly installed Versalab magnetometer (50-400 K), and everybody in the department is very helpful.

I had an amazing time in Sally’s group and in the lovely city Dunedin with its nice buildings and beautiful beaches and gardens. I was able to travel around the incredible south island of New Zealand with my family and friends. I enjoyed the wide variation of great landscapes and really liked the friendly nature of the Kiwi’s. It was a wonderful research visit, I absolutely enjoyed my time in New Zealand and I am very thankful for the opportunity!