24 new professors appointed at ETH Zurich and EPFL
Berne/Zurich, 10.03.2023 - At its meeting of 8/9 March 2023 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 10 women and 14 men as professors and awarded the title of professor to six individuals. It also took note of the resignations of nine professors and thanked them for their services. In the last 12 months, the ETH Board has made a total of 23 new appointments for women and 34 for men; the proportion of women among these new appointments amounts to 40%.
New appointments at ETH Zurich
Professor Bernd Bickel (*1982), currently Professor and Vice President for Technology Transfer at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, and Senior Staff Research Scientist at Google in Zurich, as Full Professor of Computational Design in the Department of Architecture. Bernd Bickel conducts research into digital technologies with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and extended reality. He has a particular interest in computer graphics at the intersection between robotics, computer vision, machine learning, materials science and digital fabrication. The aim of his research is to create new and efficient ways of modelling, simulating and fabricating digital content. His work has won multiple prizes, including an Oscar (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technical Achievement Award) in 2019 and an ERC Starting Grant in 2016.
Dr Cindy De Jonge (*1987), currently Group Leader at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Earth Ecosystem Dynamics in the Department of Earth Sciences. Cindy De Jonge's research focuses on the development and application of microbial lipid signatures as molecular proxies for current and past environmental and climatic conditions. Her research approach is recognised by the international community and closes a key knowledge gap with regard to changes in soil systems. She was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The appointment of Cindy De Jonge strengthens not only the department but also ETH Zurich in respect of a pressing issue: the sustainability of soils and ecosystems.
Dr Caroline Dorn (*1984), currently Research Fellow at the University of Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Exoplanets in the Department of Physics. Caroline Dorn's research concentrates on the composition and nature of planets outside our solar system. She was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant for her work. Her appointment presents an ideal way for the Department of Physics to strengthen intradepartmental connections between the research areas of geophysics, astrophysics, petrochemistry and exoplanetary research, and facilitates important interactions with the Department of Earth Sciences, the Centre for Origin and Prevalence of Life and the Physics Institute of the University of Zurich.
Dr Allard Duursma (*1986), currently Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Conflict Management and International Relations in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences. Allard Duursma investigates the question of how mediation and peacekeeping can contribute to preventing or ending armed conflicts. He was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant for his research, which utilises both quantitative and case study methods. In making this appointment the department is strengthening its research on conflict management as well as reinforcing the connections between the disciplines of international relations and conflict research within the subject area.
Dr Alexander Harms (*1987), currently Junior Group Leader at the University of Basel, as Assistant Professor of Molecular Phage Biology in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Alexander Harms studies the molecular biology of bacteriophages. The principal aim of his research is to enable newly discovered processes to be used in biotechnological applications or to combat bacterial infections. He was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant. This appointment is an ideal opportunity for the department to strengthen research and teaching in the field of molecular biology. Interactions and synergies with the Department of Biology and Zurich University Hospital are also being planned.
Professor Mikaela Iacobelli (*1987), currently Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics. Mikaela Iacobelli conducts research in the area of mathematical physics with the aim of using mathematical methods to solve physical problems. She is internationally acknowledged as an expert on the Vlasov-Poisson system. Mikaela Iacobelli's publications have appeared in leading academic journals. She is a popular lecturer who is particularly dedicated to teaching and undertakes duties relating to academic self-government. Mikaela Iacobelli also serves on various committees and panels. In addition, she takes a very active part in the promotion, management and dissemination of science at various levels.
Dr Puneet Anantha Murthy (*1988), currently Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Photonics in the Department of Physics. Puneet Anantha Murthy works in the field of solid state photonics, investigating a new class of two-dimensional materials. He made a significant contribution to developing a new method of capturing optically excited particles, known as excitons, at the smallest length scales in order to demonstrate their quantum mechanical behaviour. His next objective is to create a new class of quantum matter from light. He was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant for his research. In making this appointment, the Department of Physics is strengthening quantum research at ETH Zurich.
Dr Natalia Pikor (*1986), currently Group Leader at the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen, as Assistant Professor of Neuroimmunology in the Department of Biology. Natalia Pikor investigates immune responses in the central nervous system in relation to auto-immune diseases, malignant brain tumours and neurotropic viral infections, especially coronavirus infections. She received an SNSF Starting Grant for her research. By appointing Natalia Pikor, the department is strengthening basic research in the areas of neuroimmunology and tumour immunology, as well as virology. Her connection with the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen will enable research groups at ETH Zurich to build bridges with clinical research projects and patient cohorts.
Promotions at ETH Zurich
Professor Paolo Arosio (*1983), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Biochemical Engineering in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Paolo Arosio's research is based on applying concepts and tools drawn from chemical engineering to investigate central questions in protein sciences. His innovative work has so far led to over 100 publications in international and prestigious peer-reviewed journals and has also won a number of awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020. The appointment of Paolo Arosio as an associate professor will make a decisive contribution to strengthening the strategic action area of "Health and Medicine" at ETH Zurich, and potentially also the area of "Materials and Manufacturing".
Professor Katrien De Bock (*1980), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Exercise and Health in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Katrien De Bock studies muscle physiology and the processes involved in adapting to physical training and immobilisation. She has made a significant contribution to solving current health problems in collaboration with the ETH institutions active in these areas, as well as with other partner institutions such as Schulthess Clinic. This committed teacher has an impressive list of publications to her name and her contributions to the field of research are in demand throughout the world. She has received numerous awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2017.
Professor Andreas Fichtner (*1979), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Seismology and Wave Physics in the Department of Earth Sciences. Andreas Fichtner is an applied and theoretical seismologist with a focus on seismic tomography and fibre-optic sensing. He is a global leader in his specialist area and has won prestigious prizes, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2016. Andreas Fichtner has been very successful at raising research funds, both from the academic world and from industry. He is also a co-founder of and scientific consultant for the ETH spin-off Mondaic AG. Since 2020 he has been Deputy Head of the Institute of Geophysics and since 2022 Director of Studies of the department.
Professor Petra Schmid (*1983), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour in the Department of Management, Technology and Economics. Petra Schmid's research focuses on the effects of (experienced) social power. She provides new insights into the mechanisms that underlie the consequent effects, using a combination of mainly experimental methods from social psychology and measurement processes from the neurosciences. Her interdisciplinary approach injects much-needed hard facts into a discussion that is often conducted on the basis of anecdotes and observations. Petra Schmid's achievements are evident from her numerous articles in academic journals, the high level of media interest she attracts and the many invitations she receives to important conferences.
Professor Hans Jakob Wörner (*1981), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Physical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Hans Jakob Wörner's research has a focus on the ultra-fast spectroscopy of molecules with an attosecond time resolution and the development of new experimental methods to characterise the structure and dynamics of the valence shell of molecules. He is an internationally acclaimed scientist in the field of time-resolved spectroscopy and has received an impressive number of international awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2012 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017.
Professor Ce Zhang (*1987), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Ce Zhang conducts research at the interface between data science and systems, and works at the cutting edge of developments in IT following the transition to cloud-based systems. Several of the systems he has developed or is currently developing are already in full or partial use by industry. He has a long list of publications to his name and has also won multiple awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2021. Within the Department of Computer Science he is a committed teacher who builds bridges between the various research groups.
New appointments at EPFL
Dr Thomas Bourgeat (*1991), currently Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. Thomas Bourgeat's research investigates programming languages, computer architecture and formal hardware verification. He is a leader in the area of hardware verification and has already collaborated with a number of groups from the worlds of research and industry. Thomas Bourgeat is regarded as an up-and-coming researcher in this future-oriented area and will be an asset to the School. Expanding education, research and technology transfer in the area of cybersecurity is a key component of EPFL's strategy.
Dr Caglar Gulcehre (*1985), currently Senior Research Scientist at the Google research laboratory DeepMind in London, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. Caglar Gulcehre's research interests lie in the fields of reinforcement learning, deep learning, representation learning and natural language processing. This acclaimed researcher has won several awards and has a network of cooperations with leading groups in academia and industry. His appointment enables the School to close a key gap in the area of machine learning. Caglar Gulcehre will have a fundamental influence on the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and on EPFL.
Dr Gioele La Manno (*1990), currently Group Leader at EPFL, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Life Sciences in the School of Life Sciences. Gioele La Manno's research has a focus on single-cell genomics, computer biology and developmental neuroscience. He develops new technologies and complex computer-assisted analyses for investigating brain development. His work has contributed significantly to new discoveries as well as to several patents that have been licensed to leading companies in single-cell biology and to a very well-known and widely distributed open-source software. The appointment of this internationally renowned researcher is in line with the technological orientation of life sciences at EPFL.
Dr Yanina Shkel (*1982), currently Research Associate at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. Yanina Shkel's research covers theoretical aspects of data science as well as statistics, data protection and cryptography. She has received an SNSF Starting Grant 2023 for her remarkable work. The appointment of Yanina Shkel not only strengthens the School's research results but is also a perfect match with EPFL's strategic aim of developing information theory, security and data protection.
Promotions at EPFL
Professor Martin Jaggi (*1982), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. Martin Jaggi's research takes place at the intersection between the theoretical foundations and concrete applications of machine learning. His scalable and decentralised models are used not only by famous multinational corporations but also by smaller Swiss companies. This multi-award-winning researcher serves on the most important committees in his specialist area and is also very active at EPFL, where he co-founded Applied Machine Learning Days, Europe's leading conference for machine learning.
Professor Mikhail Kapralov (*1983), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Computer Science and Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. Mikhail Kapralov works in the field of theoretical computer science. His research on sublinear algorithms has led to significant breakthroughs in the areas of big data and data analysis. He has been awarded several prizes, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2017. Although his research is theoretical, he nevertheless cultivates strong links with industry. His contacts with important companies such as Microsoft Research Lab and Google Research open up unique opportunities for his students as regards their career prospects.
Professor Tamar Kohn (*1973), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Environmental Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Tamar Kohn works in the field of environmental chemistry and environmental virology, in which she has established herself as one of the world's leading researchers. Her current focus is on the fate of human viruses in the natural and built environment, such as in sewage treatment plants or in aerosol particles. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her research results enabled SARS-CoV-2 viruses to be identified and tracked in wastewater. She serves on a number of expert bodies, has been appointed to advisory committees of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is an Adjunct Researcher at Eawag.
Professor Dimitrios Lignos (*1979), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dimitrios Lignos conducts research with emphasis on the performance-based design of earthquake-resistant steel and composite structures. His work on integrated computational modelling and multi-scale experimentation for the fundamental understanding and simulating structural collapse has influenced international codes and standards with regards to seismic safety of building infrastructure. This internationally acclaimed researcher has received numerous awards. Since September 2021 he has been the director of the Civil Engineering Institute at EPFL.
Professor Karen Mulleners (*1983), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. Karen Mulleners studies non-stationary aerodynamics with a special focus on the analysis and modelling of unsteady vortex-dominated flow phenomena with applications in areas such as the design of wind turbine rotor blades. She is internationally acknowledged as an innovator in the field of unsteady aerodynamics and is noted for her commitment to high-quality teaching. With her highly innovative research and wide network of partnerships, Karen Mulleners is contributing to the future development of her specialist area at EPFL.
Professor Vasiliki Tileli (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Materials Science and Technology in the School of Engineering. Vasiliki Tileli's research focuses on the characterisation of nanomaterials using in situ electron microscopy and electron microscopy. Her studies have applications in the areas of energy conversion and storage and electronic devices. Thanks to her original research approach, Vasiliki Tileli is one of the leading researchers in this field worldwide. Her activity is contributing key academic partnerships, high-quality teaching and innovative research to EPFL.
Award of the title of Professor
Dr Corsin Battaglia (*1977), currently Head of Laboratory at Empa and Lecturer in the Departments of Materials Science and of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Corsin Battaglia's research investigates novel materials and concepts for sustainable energy storage with a focus on next-generation batteries and on synthetic fuels. He published an impressive number of research papers, is co-inventor on multiple patent applications and has won several awards.
Professor Andrea Cavalli (*1971), currently Full Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, and Director of the Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire (CECAM) at EPFL, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. Andrea Cavalli is a world leader in the development and application of computer-assisted methods used in different research areas, including drug discovery and precision medicine. He applies machine learning to datasets obtained from industry and hospitals.
Dr Dorina Opris (*1974), currently Lecturer in the Department of Materials Science at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Dorina Opris conducts research into the synthesis, characterisation, processing and application of stimuli-responsive dielectric elastomers. Her excellent reputation is demonstrated by the many invitations she receives to scientific conferences throughout the world and by her peer reviewing activities for reputable publishers, not to mention the award of an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020.
Dr Stephan Pfister (*1980), currently Lecturer and Senior Associate in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Stephan Pfister's main area of interest is the impact assessment of water consumption and land use in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with applications in agriculture and power production. His research is acknowledged not only by the scientific community but also by political decision-makers, and is finding practical applications.
Dr Vincenzo Picotti (*1962), currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Vincenzo Picotti's research covers stratigraphy and tectonics. He is one of the most active lecturers in basic geology and is noted for organising wide-ranging geological field trips in challenging and unpredictable conditions. This combination of teaching and research skills is very rare. Vincenzo Picotti thus has a unique profile within the department.
Dr Barbara Solenthaler (*1978), currently Lecturer and Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Barbara Solenthaler develops algorithms and techniques for data-driven simulations and 3D modelling. She is an acknowledged expert in her field and serves on prominent committees. Her research is disseminated at prestigious conferences and in scientific journals.
Departures from ETH Zurich
Professor Yaakov Benenson (*1975), currently Associate Professor of Synthetic Biology in the Department of Biosystems, is to reduce his hours and will leave ETH Zurich at the end of March 2024. Yaakov Benenson develops and applies the tools and methods of biological computing and synthetic biology in the mammalian context. He will be leaving ETH Zurich in order to take up a management role at a start-up company.
Professor Theodoros Rekatsinas (*1987), Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science, left ETH Zurich at the end of January 2023. Theodoros Rekatsinas' research interests lie in the areas of databases, machine learning, data processing and data science, and he combines his research with new methods derived from artificial intelligence and machine learning. He has left ETH Zurich to take up a position with Apple.
Professor Wendelin Werner (*1968), currently Full Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics, is to leave ETH Zurich at the end of May 2023. Wendelin Werner works in the field of probability theory and statistical physics. During his time at ETH Zurich, Wendelin Werner - winner of the Fields Medal - has made his mark as a distinguished scientist with an outstanding international reputation for research and teaching. His legacy will continue to boost the international visibility not only of the department but also of ETH Zurich and of Switzerland as a research centre. He is leaving ETH Zurich in order to take up a professorship at the University of Cambridge.
Departures from EPFL
Professor David Andrew Barry (*1958), currently Full Professor of Environmental Remediation and Ecohydrology in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of August 2023. David Andrew Barry joined EPFL as a full professor in 2005. He is a leading expert in water quality, hydrodynamics, groundwater analysis and soil erosion. His research has a particular focus on contaminant transport, the remediation of soil and groundwater, and the impact of climate change on large lakes. This acclaimed researcher has an impressive list of publications and is a highly esteemed lecturer and colleague. He is also a very committed member of the School who serves on key committees and has made a significant contribution to EPFL.
Professor Eugen Brühwiler (*1958), currently Full Professor of Maintenance, Construction and Safety for Civil Structures in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, will retire at the end of November 2023. Eugen Brühwiler joined EPFL as an associate professor in 1994. His research focuses mainly on structural and material engineering, existing civil structures (especially bridges of high cultural value) and ultra-high performance fibre concrete. He has filled several important roles within the School and EPFL and has also served on numerous international scientific committees and on the editorial boards of a number of scientific journals. In addition he is a highly valued lecturer, supervisor and mentor.
Professor Bernard Cache (*1958), currently Associate Professor of Digital Culture for Architectural Projects in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of July 2023. Bernard Cache joined EPFL as an associate professor in 2013. His scientific focus is on the study, processing and application of materials. He has also devoted particular attention to the creative use of new technologies and innovative digital tools. This internationally acclaimed researcher is the author of several important publications and regularly participates in conferences, exhibitions and as a juror for international architecture competitions. He has had a major impact on the School through his commitment to teaching and supervising.
Professor Franz Graf (*1958), currently Associate Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of July 2023. Franz Graf joined EPFL as a visiting professor in 2005 and was appointed to an associate professorship in 2007. His research covers modern and contemporary construction systems and their preservation. He places particular emphasis on the use of materials and resources for the reutilisation of historic buildings, with due regard to environmental requirements. Franz Graf has written numerous books and articles and has also contributed to several standard works. In 2013 he won the research category of the prestigious European Union prize for cultural heritage, the Europa Nostra Award, for his work on the refurbishment of the Cité du Lignon housing project near Geneva.
Professor Aurelio Muttoni (*1958), currently Full Professor of Structural Concrete in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, will retire at the end of February 2024. Aurelio Muttoni joined EPFL as a full professor in the year 2000. His research investigates a variety of topics linked to concrete technology, especially analysing the stability of existing concrete structures with the aim of maintaining the safety of operational constructions. His innovative and applied work has resulted in five patents in the areas of structural engineering and geotechnical engineering. This very popular and highly dedicated lecturer has made a strong contribution to the School's teaching and development. Aurelio Muttoni is also co-owner of the engineering consultancy firm Muttoni & Fernández.
Professor Thomas Rizzo (*1956), currently Full Professor of Molecular Physical Chemistry in the School of Basic Sciences, is to retire at the end of August 2023. Thomas Rizzo joined EPFL as a full professor in 1994. He is internationally recognised for his key contributions to the field of physical chemistry. Over the past 15 years his research has focused on combining laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and ion mobility for the study of cryogenically cooled bimolecular ions. This renowned researcher has an impressive list of publications to his name, has won numerous prizes and awards, and is the owner of two patents. On account of his commitment and dedication, he has also made a decisive contribution to EPFL.
The ETH Board would like to thank the departing professors for their services to science and teaching, as well as their commitment to their institution.
Address for enquiries
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Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology