IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future
Across the globe, young people are stepping up to innovation challenges, using their energy and ingenuity, their curiosity and creativity to steer a course towards a better future. This year, the World Intellectual Property Day 2022’s theme focuses on IP and Youth innovating for a better Future. We explore how these innovative, energetic and creative minds are driving positive change.
On the occasion of the World Day, the President of the DPMA, Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, paid tribute to the innovative spirit of young people. She also called for young people to be made aware of IP rights at an early stage, in addition to technical understanding (…).
To mark World Intellectual Property Day, we present three innovative young minds from Germany: Rieke-Marie Hackbarth, Jan Heinemann and Dr Carina Lämmle.
Dr Carina Lämmle: A very early bird
Dr Carina Lämmle – as a young researcher, she separated a mixture of substances into pure components using a homemade apparatus. Later, she became Germany’s youngest university lecturer. As early as the 7th grade, Carina Lämmle showed great interest in chemistry and physics. Through her physics teacher at the Pestalozzi-Gymnasium in Biberach, she then came into contact with the Schülerforschungszentrum Südwürttemberg (SFZ) in Bad Saulgau, 30 kilometers away, which she visited regularly from then on. The SFZ offers students the opportunity to carry out their own research projects and present their results at national and international competitions.
At the SFZ, she discovers her interest in finding solutions to technical problems. Together with her team, she first uses chromatographic methods to investigate the ingredients of an onion. Later, she and her SFZ project partners Felix Engelmann and Simeon Völkel research the physical principles of countercurrent chromatography. “We wanted to understand it from a physical point of view,” explains Carina Lämmle, “Most chemists use the process without knowing why and how countercurrent chromatography works. It’s enough for them that they can use the method.” The countercurrent chromatography process is used to separate mixtures of substances at an interface of two immiscible liquids into their pure components.
“Phase carousel” is what the three young researchers call their project: two immiscible liquid phases are used. While one phase is held stationary in a coil, the other flows over it. Using an apparatus they built themselves, the young people are investigating how the flow behavior in a rotating glass screw changes as a function of its geometry, rotation speed and screw diameter. They transfer the findings from this analysis to a self-built apparatus that now also allows this chromatographic separation method to be applied. At Jugend forscht 2011, the three young scientists made a smooth transition from the regional to the state level and finally to the national finals. Here, too, the three young scientists convinced the jury: they were awarded the national prize for the best interdisciplinary work by the Federal Minister of Education.
In the course of their research projects, the young researchers’ careers take another unusual turn: During a tour of the university in Biberach, Upper Swabia, in 2011, the young researcher discovers a mass spectrometer that is out of service. She is familiar with the method from her research projects at the Student Research Center, and her interest is aroused to take a closer look at the device. However, she is also quickly aware that it will be a challenge to bring the mass spectrometer back into use. “Shutting it down doesn’t do the vacuum pumps any good at all – plus, you can’t just let such an expensive piece of equipment gather dust in the corner.” The dean is enthusiastic about so much passion, doesn’t hesitate for long and gives Carina Lämmle the opportunity to take a closer look at the device. After the device delivers its first usable readings again, he also wants to share the knowledge with the university’s students. That’s why he hires the young scientist to give an introduction to the device as part of a lecture given by Professor Chrystelle Mavoungou in the bachelor’s program “Pharmaceutical Biotechnology”. And so it came about that Carina Lämmle was given a small teaching assignment at Biberach University of Applied Sciences.
Via chemistry studies to patent attorney candidate
After graduating from high school, Carina Lämmle studied chemistry at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Uppsala in Sweden. In between, she moved to the USA and back to Biberach, where she completed her research work in laboratory internships.
During her doctoral work, she was developing molecular probes for visualizing biological processes in fluorescence microscopy at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg. In the future, these probes will be used, for example, in virological research to study retroviruses.
Since 2022, Carina Lämmle has been a patent attorney candidate in a Munich patent law firm, handling patent applications ranging from pharmaceutical products to semiconductor materials. What made her decide to become a patent attorney? “I never wanted to become a technical expert in just one field,” Lämmle says. “What I like about patent law is that you can have a broad range of expertise and be at the forefront when it comes to keeping up with new technical developments. It also has a lot to do with communication, which I really enjoy.”
In the near future, however, Carina Lämmle is looking forward to the “Jugend forscht” finals in Lübeck at the end of May. “It will finally take place in the presence of people. As a former “Jugend forscht” winner, I’ll be there as a guest and am naturally looking forward to many exciting projects and inventions from this year’s participants.”
This text is a publication of the German Patent and Trademark Office. You can find the full article here: DPMA | World IP Day 2022.