16 new professors appointed at ETH Zurich and EPFL
Berne/Zurich, 22.09.2022 - At its meeting of 21/22 September 2022 and upon application of the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Joël Mesot, and the President of EPFL, Professor Martin Vetterli, the ETH Board appointed a total of 3 women and 13 men as professors and awarded the title of “Professor of Practice” to one individual. It also took note of the resignations of 10 professors and thanked them for their services. In the last 12 months, the ETH Board has made a total of 24 new appointments for women and 36 for men; the proportion of women among these new appointments amounts to 40%.
New appointments at ETH Zurich
Dr Jordan Aaron (*1990), currently Scientist at WSL, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Engineering Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences. Jordan Aaron's research is concerned with the basic mechanisms that control the deformation of geomaterials. He has a particular interest in major underground excavations and landslides. Jordan Aaron has won a number of awards for his research and teaching, including a Golden Owl 2019 from ETH Zurich. His appointment will strengthen the Department and help develop a strong programme of research and teaching. The chair of engineering geology is the only one of its kind in Switzerland, and acts as a focal point and interface for geological agencies and authorities.
Professor Jonas Peters (*1984), currently Full Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, as Full Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics. Jonas Peters conducts research in the field of statistical causality at the intersection of statistics and machine learning. His outstanding research findings have been published in the top specialist journals and are having a significant impact that goes far beyond statistics. He has also made important contributions to interdisciplinary projects, where his findings have been of special relevance to earth system sciences and biomedicine. Jonas Peters is an acclaimed researcher who has won numerous awards and is a brilliant communicator, as well as being very committed to popular science.
Promotions at ETH Zurich
Professor Alexander Mathys (*1979), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Sustainable Food Processing in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Alexander Mathys is head of the Sustainable Food Processing Laboratory at ETH Zurich. The main aim of his research is to develop a more sustainable food system that will help achieve the sustainable development targets of the United Nations. His main interest lies in processing microalgae and insects into food and animal feed. He has an impressive list of publications to his name and has won several awards. Alexander Mathys is currently setting up a Future Food Laboratory at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.
Professor Melanie Zeilinger (*1982), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Intelligent Control Systems in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Melanie Zeilinger's research concerns model predictive control (MPC), with particular reference to the control of autonomous, security-critical systems. As a well-known researcher with an impressive list of publications to her name, she has received numerous awards and is regularly invited to speak at conferences. Through the appointment of Melanie Zeilinger, the Department is retaining an outstanding scientist and expert who has successfully built up an important and extensive network of national and international collaborations.
New appointments at EPFL
Professor Martin Ackermann (*1971), currently Full Professor at ETH Zurich, additionally as Full Professor of Microbial Systems Ecology in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL. Martin Ackermann's research focuses on the biology and ecology of bacteria in the environment. Alongside his professorship at ETH Zurich, he spent ten years as head of a 50-strong research department at Eawag that is a leading centre for solution-oriented research in the field of aquatic microbiology. He also served from April to July 2020 as Vice-Chair, and from August 2020 to August 2021 as Chair, of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force. The Federal Council has selected Martin Ackermann to succeed Janet Hering as Director of Eawag. He will take up his new post on 1 January 2023. A joint professorship at ETH Zurich and EPFL is attached to this role.
Professor Michaël Aklin (*1984), currently Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, as Associate Professor of Economics and Innovation Management at the College of Management of Technology. Michaël Aklin's main research areas cover public policy, energy and environmental policy, and technology policy. The connecting theme of his research is the investigation of long-term crises such as climate change and the energy transition. Michaël Aklin has garnered significant international recognition for his important research findings. In addition to his academic work, he regularly collaborates with international NGOs, national regulatory authorities and the private sector.
Professor Jérôme Chappellaz (*1964), currently Director of Research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France, as Full Professor of Environmental Engineering (Environmental Observation under Extreme Conditions) in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Jérôme Chappellaz investigates biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases andpolar sciences. His research has led to significant findings and a patent. He has received numerous awards, including an ERC Advanced Grant 2011 and an ERC Proof of Concept Grant 2016. The appointment of Jérôme Chappellaz represents a unique opportunity for the School and for EPFL as a whole to become a key player in a research area that is of great relevance to society.
Dr Gregor Jotzu (*1986), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Technology in the School of Engineering. Gregor Jotzu undertakes fundamental research into quantum materials and topological materials. He is internationally recognised as one of the most promising researchers in his field. His innovative work using unique experiments is set to have a major impact on the future of quantum research. This appointment will strengthen EPFL's reputation and contribute to the education of students in this emerging area of basic and engineering sciences.
Dr Zhengmao Lu (*1990), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. Zhengmao Lu's focuses on the interface between liquids and gases. He translates his fundamental studies into applications in the domain of cooling systems across scales, from electronics to buildings. His innovative, creative research contributes to major societal challenges such as reducing energy consumption. Zhengmao Lu's expertise will facilitate partnerships between research and industry and will further strengthen the School and EPFL as a whole in this promising area.
Dr Radoslav Marchevski (*1990), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Radoslav Marchevski's research lies in the field of particle physics, with special reference to kaon decay. He was closely involved with the NA62 experiment in the SPS accelerator at the nuclear research centre CERN. His appointment brings new expertise to EPFL, ideally complementing that of already present in the existing high energy physics laboratory. In addition, Radoslav Marchevski will collaborate on the LHCb experiment, to which EPFL has already made a notable contribution at CERN. He will strengthen EPFL's strategic interests at CERN and help raise the Federal Institute of Technology's visibility significantly.
Martin Schrimpf (*1993), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Life Sciences and also of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the Schools of Life Sciences and of Computer and Communication Sciences respectively. Martin Schrimpf's research combines neurosciences and machine learning, with a focus on deep neural networks. He was one of the driving forces behind the development of models of artificial neural networks (ANNs). Now that the various research areas of computer-assisted biology are rapidly growing in significance, the two Schools decided to do a joint recruitment in this field. Martin Schrimpf is the ideal appointment.
Dr Angela Steinauer (*1988), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Chemical Biology in the School of Basic Sciences. Angela Steinauer's research interests bring together chemical synthesis, protein engineering and biological chemistry. She belongs to a new generation of researchers benefiting from a very varied and multidisciplinary education. Angela Steinauer has achieved impressive results in the field of protein development and directed evolution. In addition, she has performed pioneering work on the development of protein cages. Her current research programme grapples with the challenge of designing non-viral vectors for RNA-based therapies.
Promotions at EPFL
Professor Suliana Manley (*1975), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Suliana Manley's research has a focus on the development of high-resolution optical instruments and their application in studying the organisation and dynamics of proteins. As a pioneer in her field who works closely with the best-known biologists, she took only a few years to become recognised as a leader in her area of research. She received an ERC Starting Grant in 2009 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2019. Suliana Manley will make a decisive contribution to super-resolution microscopy at EPFL.
Professor Christophe Moser (*1969), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Microtechnology in the School of Engineering. Christophe Moser carries out research in applied photonics and has been head of the Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices (LAPD) since 2010. He is an acknowledged expert in additive production processes, imaging and multimode fibres. Over the course of his career as a physicist who also tackles engineering challenges, he has been able to conduct research in a variety of areas. Christophe Moser is not only internationally recognised for his specialist knowledge and innovative achievements, but is also highly esteemed for his teaching activities. He will continue to enhance EPFL by contributing his creative and innovative research and his network.
Professor Dominique Pioletti (*1967), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering. Dominique Pioletti's research is concerned with developing biomaterials for orthopaedic applications and hydrogels for biomechanical applications. The Laboratory for Biomechanical Orthopedics (LBO), which Dominique Pioletti has headed since 2006, has in recent years brought together considerable expertise on dissipation in functional materials. This innovative and internationally acclaimed researcher has thus been enabled to manufacture hydrogels with unusual mechanical and adhesive characteristics.
Professor Guillermo Villanueva (*1979), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. Guillermo Villanueva works in the field of nanotechnology and nanomechanics. Resonators are his primary interest and he has made exceptional contributions to the investigation of autonomous nanostructures. He is the author or co-author of a total of five patents and is regarded as an international expert on piezoelectric materials and nanoelectromechanical systems. The School and EPFL as a whole will be further strengthened by his excellent research and teaching, as well as his extensive network and numerous collaborations.
Award of the title of "Professor of Practice"
Dr Robert Perich (*1961), currently Vice President of ETH Zurich, as Professor of Practice at ETH Zurich. Robert Perich has been Vice President for Finance & Controlling since 1 October 2008. His duties include responsibility for the ETH-wide financial strategy, medium-term financial planning and risk management. He taught at the University of St. Gallen for many years. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Zurich since 2016 and at ETH Zurich since 2017. The Department of Management, Technology and Economics intends to entrust Robert Perich with the direction of the Swiss School of Public Governance (SSPG) once he steps down as Vice President and takes voluntary partial retirement. He will also lead a small translational research group in the field of management of higher education institutions and non-profit organisations. He will take up the new roles at the start of April 2023 and will be awarded the title of "Professor of Practice" as of that date.
Departures from ETH Zurich
Professor Petros Koumoutsakos (*1963), formerly Full Professor of Computational Science in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, left ETH Zurich at the end of August 2022. Petros Koumoutsakos is active in the fields of particle methods, machine learning, artificial intelligence, biomimetics and bio-inspired computing. His research has attracted a significant number of major awards. This internationally acclaimed, well-connected scientist has left ETH Zurich in order to pursue his career at Harvard University.
Professor Clara Sánchez Rodríguez (*1980), currently Assistant Professor of Plant Cell Biology in the Department of Biology, is to leave ETH Zurich at the end of January 2023. Clara Sánchez Rodríguez has carried out pioneering research in the fields of cell biology and plant-pathogen interactions. She has won numerous prizes and grants for her work and is now leaving ETH Zurich to take up a new post at the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGO) in Madrid.
Retirements/departures from EPFL
Professor William A. Curtin (*1959), currently Full Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering, is retiring at the end of December 2022. William A. Curtin joined EPFL as a visiting professor in 2011 and was appointed to a full professorship in 2012. He is regarded as a leading researcher in the field of materials physics and materials science. The main focus of his work is on modelling the mechanical behaviour of lightweight materials. He received an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013 for his excellent research and became a Fellow of the European Mechanics Society in 2018. Since 2012 he has been head of the Laboratory for Multiscale Mechanics Modeling. His achievements in both research and teaching have enabled him to make a substantial contribution to the development of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Philippe Gillet (*1958), currently Full Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences, is to retire at the end of January 2023. Philippe Gillet joined EPFL as a full professor in 2010 and was Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2010 to 2016. His research investigates extraterrestrial matter. In his role as Vice President, Philippe Gillet contributed to the large rise in the number of students and initiated various projects of importance to EPFL's development. He was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Swiss Polar Institute, of which he was President from 2016 to 2017, and coordinated the Human Brain Project, of which he was General Director from 2014 to 2017.
Professor François Golay (*1958), currently Full Professor of Spatial Information Systems in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of January 2023. François Golay studied at EPFL before returning in 1994 as an associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG). His research focuses on spatial decision support systems, data infrastructures and information exchange, as well as exploratory spatial data analysis and visualisation. The great commitment he has shown to LASIG has enabled it to grow strongly. François Golay was also head of the Environmental Science and Engineering Section (SSIE) from 2013 to 2021.
Professor John Henry Maddocks (*1958), currently Full Professor of Mathematics in the School of Basic Sciences, will retire at the end of February 2023. John Maddocks joined EPFL as a full professor in 1997. He is acknowledged as a leading expert in multiscale modelling of DNA and is head of the EPFL Laboratory for Computation and Visualization in Mathematics and Mechanics. Recognition of his outstanding research is reflected in his impressive list of publications and his election to offices in several organisations. He is also a dedicated lecturer who has supervised a large number of doctoral and post-doctoral students. John Maddocks has had a hugely positive impact on mathematics at EPFL and has helped foster the Federal Institute's international reputation.
Professor Adam Marcus (*1979), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the School of Basic Sciences, will leave EPFL at the end of February 2023. Adam Marcus is regarded as one of the most talented mathematicians of his generation. In 2021, he and his colleagues were awarded the prestigious AMS Ciprian Foias Prize and the Michael and Sheila Held Prize. Adam Marcus is leaving EPFL in order to take up a non-academic career.
Professor Bertrand Merminod (*1958), currently Full Professor of Topometry in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of January 2023. Bertrand Merminod studied at EPFL before returning as an associate professor in 1995. Geomatics engineering is his main focus; his research areas include satellite positioning, geodetic networks, structural deformation and navigation instruments. His findings have resulted in one patent, and he also assisted colleagues with the creation of a start-up. Bertrand Merminod is a member of numerous international committees and has also served on various bodies at EPFL. He is a dedicated lecturer with an impressive list of publications to his name.
Professor Jean-Louis Scartezzini (*1957), currently Full Professor of Building Physics in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, will retire at the end of November 2022. Jean-Louis Scartezzini studied at EPFL before holding various posts at EPFL and at foreign universities. He returned to EPFL as an associate professor in 1994. His research investigates energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies in the built environment; one of its aims is to reduce energy consumption by buildings. Jean-Louis Scartezzini has won many awards, has an impressive list of publications and has been elected to numerous committees because of his great expertise and international standing.
Professor Laurent Vulliet (*1958), currently Full Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of January 2023. Laurent Vulliet obtained his doctorate at EPFL and then returned in 1993 as an associate professor. His research focuses on geotechnical engineering. He is an expert in geostructures, geomaterials and risk management (including in relation to landslides and debris flows). Laurent Vulliet helped set up the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering and then, as Dean, encouraged interdisciplinary cooperation between its students. He is an extremely popular lecturer with an impressive list of publications to his name. In addition, he serves on numerous committees.
The ETH Board would like to thank the departing professors for their services to science, teaching and academic administration.
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Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology