Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Phys. Robert J Flassig

Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik komplexer technischer Systeme
+49 391 6110 368
S. 307


Complex systems identification, mathematical modeling and optimization

I am leading a team of Phd and Master students from several disciplines (physics, biosystems engineering, cybernetics, biologists) that focus on application driven methodological contributions to complex systems understanding, design and optimization. Having a wide range of applications we foster crossdisciplinary insight and understanding. Our common language is mathematics and our awareness of thinking from different perspectives. We use paper and pen, Mathematica, Python, Matlab, AMPL and GAMS. People who are interested in code or data from our published work may contact me.

Methodological contributions

  • Uncertainty propagation in nonlinear systems
  • Distributed stochastic modeling (ODE, PDE, SDE)
  • Conceptual design of reactor-networks via dynamic optimization and flux profile analysis
  • Robust process design optimization
  • Optimal experimental design for model discrimination / parameter estimation
  • Statistical data analysis and machine learning


  • Biomedical Systems
    • NFKB signaling upon DNA double strand breaks
    • Stochastic modeling of CD95 signaling
  • Biotechnological Systems
    • Algal-based production of beta-carotene
    • Bio-based process design and scale-up under substrate fluctuations
  • Biosynthetic Systems
    • Computational modeling of synthethic biological cells
    • Self-organization of the actin-myosin system
    • CO2 utilization via biosynthetic pathways
  • Chemical Systems
    • Hydroformylation using thermomorphic solvent systems

Professional Activities

Current Projects: EMIBEX, MaxSynBio

Closed Projects: MODEXA (BMBF), AML (BMBF)

Conference Organization: Mathmod 2018 Minisymposium "Model Based Design of Experiments: Where to go?" joint organization with R. Schenkendorf from TU Braunschweig.

until 2018 at Otto-von-Guericke University:
Design of Experiments
Process Optimization
Process Simulation

since 2018 at TH Brandenburg:

LCA and Sustainability of Energy Systems
Energy Management
Urban Energy Systems
Complex Systems Optimization

Reviewing for (inter)national journals and funding agencies

Recent Publications

  • N.M. Kaiser, R.J. Flassig*, K. Sundmacher: "Optimal Reactor Design via Flux Profile Analysis for an Integrated Hydroformylation Process", Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2017, 56 (40), pp 11507–11518
  • D. Pischel, K. Sundmacher, R.J. Flassig*: "Efficient Simulation of Intrinsic, Extrinsic and External Noise in Biochemical Systems", Bioinformatics, Volume 33, Issue 14, 15 July 2017, Pages i319–i324
  • N.M. Kaiser, R.J. Flassig*, K. Sundmacher: "Probabilistic reactor design in the framework of elementary process functions", Computers & Chemical Engineering 94, 45-59, 2016
  • R.J. Flassig*, M. Fachet, K. Höffner, P. Barton, K. Sundmacher:"Dynamic flux balance modeling to increase the production of high-value compounds in green microalgae", Biotechnology for Biofuels 4 (9), 165, 2016

*corresponding author


  • 2017 Young Talent Award by the DECHEMA e.V. (see Award)
  • 2013 Sbv Improver Species Translation Sub-Challenge 2: 1st Place for optimized network reconstruction including prior knowledge (Nature, 21 Nov, 2013, Naturejobs p. 12)
  • 2009 DREAM 4 In Silico Network Challenge: 3rd Place for network reconstruction using TRANSWESD

Publications & Bibliometrics


Since 2018 Professor for Technical Energy Efficiency, Department of Engineering at Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences

Since 2015 Teamleader at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems Magdeburg, Germany

Since 2010 Lecturer at the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany

2009 - 2014 PhD position at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

I had the pleasure to develop mathematical methods for statistical model identification tailored to biochemical and process systems engineering applications in the group of Prof. K. Sundmacher (Process Systems Engieneering group at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg).

2005 - 2008  Diploma thesis in Physics at the Spahn-Lab in Potsdam, Germany (Institute for Physics & Astronomy, University Potsdam)

Here I studied faint ringlets of Saturn and their heliotropic orientation via perturbation theory and statistical physics under the supervision of Prof. F. Spahn (Co-Investigator, Cosmic-Dust-Analyzer (CDA) Team, Cassini) and Prof. J. Schmidt (now University of Oulu, Co-investigator of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) instrument onboard the CASSINI (NASA/ESA) mission to Saturn, the Surface Dust Analyzer (SUDA) on the Europa Clipper Mission (NASA), and the JANUS camera onboard the ESA mission JUICE)

2006 - 2008 R&D, Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG, Germany

I worked in the Design Systems Engineering group headed by Prof. M. Swoboda (Aerospace Engineering, TU Berlin, Rolls-Royce Dtl.) under the supervision of Dr. A. Huppertz (Rolls-Royce Dtl.). We worked on knowledge-based 2D design and optimization of axial compressor blades.

2004 - 2005 Graduate Studies Physics at Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France

2002 - 2004 Undergraduate Studies in Physics at University Potsdam, Germany

1998 - 2001 Highschool Graduation, Wisconsin, USA and Brandenburg, Germany

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