11 professors appointed at ETH Zurich and EPFL

At its meeting of 22/23 May 2019 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 eleven professors and awarded the title of professor to two individuals. It also took note of the resignations of two professors and thanked them for their services.

Appointments at ETH Zurich

Professor Afonso Bandeira (*1988), currently Associate Professor at New York University, USA, as Full Professor of Mathematics. Afonso Bandeira’s research reaches a wide international audience and focuses on the interfaces between optimisation, information theory and data science. He has a broad range of interests, including phase retrieval in signal processing, community detection in networks, and the statistical properties of matrix and tensor deformations. With the appointment of Afonso Bandeira, the Department of Mathematics is strengthening the intradepartmental links between the research areas of statistics, optimisation and numerical mathematics.

Professor Alexander Barnes (*1981), currently Associate Professor at Washington University, St. Louis, USA, as Full Professor of Solid State NMR Spectroscopy. Alexander Barnes’ work focuses on solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. NMR is a versatile method which enables both the chemical composition of small molecules and the 3D structure and dynamics of proteins to be determined at atomic resolution. Alexander Barnes is particularly interested in boosting the weak NMR signal through dynamic nuclear polarisation. His appointment offers great potential for cooperation between a wide variety of departments and subject areas at ETH Zurich.

Dr Klaus Eyer (*1985), currently a Group Leader at ESPCI and Research Associate at the Institut Pasteur, both in Paris, France, as Assistant Professor of Functional Immune Repertoire Analysis. Klaus Eyer is a very promising young scientist. His achievements have already resulted in the award of a Branco Weiss Fellowship, as well as an ERC Starting Grant in 2018. His research focuses on the development, characterisation and integration of bioanalytical methods for the functional analysis of individual cells. The main emphasis is on quantifying the humoral immune response. By appointing Klaus Eyer, ETH Zurich is strengthening the development of new procedures, vaccines and diagnostic approaches, especially in the area of personalised medicine.

Dr Cara Magnabosco (*1989), currently a post-doctoral student at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute, New York, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Geobiology. Cara Magnabosco’s research focuses on the development of computational methods for investigating the coevolution of life and the Earth. She uses ideas derived from genomics and phylogenetics in order to detect signatures of ecological and environmental changes contained in the genomes of modern microorganisms. The appointment of Cara Magnabosco will enable the Department of Earth Sciences to set up a research and teaching programme which further reinforces its relations with other units of ETH Zurich and within the ETH Domain, such as Eawag.

Professor Martin Pilhofer (*1980), currently Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy. Martin Pilhofer is a highly dedicated scientist in the area of the cellular structural biology of microorganisms. In 2016, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant. His research field is becoming increasingly important in explaining and revealing the structure of larger protein complexes. The appointment of Martin Pilhofer enables ETH Zurich to offer long-term research prospects to one of the few internationally recognised experts in the forward-looking area of cryo-electron microscopy, thus further expanding the Federal Institute’s leading global position in molecular structural biology.

Dr Sascha Patrick Quanz (*1979), currently Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Exoplanets and Habitability. Sascha Quanz is a scientist who has developed an excellent international network. He investigates the formation of new planetary systems and the physical and atmospheric properties of extrasolar planets, primarily through the direct imaging of optical and near-infrared wavelengths. He played a leading role in the development of new methods of analysis which make the detection of planets and circumstellar discs faster and more robust. The appointment of Sascha Quanz enables the Department of Physics to fill a post in one of the most dynamic research fields of modern astrophysics.

Professor Roger Schibli (*1968), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich and Laboratory Head at the PSI, as Full Professor of Radiopharmacy. Roger Schibli is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of radiopharmaceutical chemistry and is regarded as a specialist in the development of radiodiagnostics and radiotherapeutics. The main focus of his research at ETH Zurich is on developing new chemical and enzymatic strategies for the functionalisation of biomolecules for subsequent labelling with diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides. At the PSI’s Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, Roger Schibli’s group is developing new radiotracers based on small molecules, particularly folates and nucleosides.

Dr Benjamin David Stocker (*1982), currently Research Fellow at the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF) in Barcelona, Spain, as Assistant Professor of Computational Ecosystem Science. Benjamin Stocker conducts research into how ecosystems function, and into climate feedback mechanisms between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. He uses dynamic global vegetation and Earth system models to quantify the impact of the biosphere on the Earth’s carbon balance. With the appointment of Benjamin Stocker, ETH Zurich is strengthening research into the impact of climate change on the biosphere and into terrestrial ecosystems. This will bring important synergies, including with WSL.

Professor Jeroen van Bokhoven (*1971), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich and Laboratory Head at the PSI, as Full Professor of Heterogeneous Catalysis. Through his research, Jeroen van Bokhoven strives to achieve a fundamental understanding of the functions of heterogeneous catalysts, on the basis of which he seeks to develop new heterogeneous catalysts. His interests focus on the oxidation activity of carrier-supported precious metal catalysts and the nature of active sites in zeolite catalysts. The appointment of Jeroen van Bokhoven as Full Professor will strengthen the links between ETH Zurich and the PSI, where he and his laboratory carry out research and instrument development on a number of beamlines of the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source, as well as supporting user operation.

Appointments at EPFL

Professor Katerina Argyraki (*1976), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Computer and Communication Sciences. Katerina Argyraki is a scientist who has attracted considerable attention internationally. Her research has a particular focus on the architecture of networked systems and its practical application in computer networks. She has made significant contributions in areas which include the modular construction of routers with standard components and software, and their use in large-scale computer and data centres. Katerina Argyraki’s findings are of great significance for Internet security. She is currently working on a number of topics, including innovations in verification systems.

Professor Julien Hugonnier (*1974), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Finance. Julien Hugonnier’s research is very varied in terms of both themes and methods, and his findings attract worldwide interest from academics and practitioners alike. He has made significant contributions in a number of different areas, including the general equilibrium model, insolvency risk modelling and corporate finance. By conducting the first rigorously quantitative analysis of banks’ liquidity and equity requirements, he recently tackled a highly topical theme and made an important contribution to the debate. Julien Hugonnier’s work is helping to enhance the way EPFL is perceived by industry and society in general.

Award of the title of Professor

Dr Susan Ivy-Ochs (*1958), currently Scientist and Senior Lecturer at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Susan Ivy-Ochs has led an independent research programme for many years. Her particular area of interest is the application of cosmogenic nuclides in geomorphology, with particular reference to glacial processes and landslides. She also teaches in this area.

Dr Carsten Schubert (*1966), currently Head of Department at Eawag and Lecturer at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Carsten Schubert’s fundamental research into biogeochemical processes in lakes and marine systems has resulted in highly relevant findings on the biological, physical and chemical processes underlying the cycle of elements in aquatic systems.

Departures from EPFL

Professor John Botsis (*1955), currently Full Professor of Solids and Structural Mechanics, is to retire at the end of February 2020. John Botsis was appointed to his present position at EPFL in 1996, following an international career. His research focuses on experimental mechanics, with special emphasis on signs of fatigue and fractures in materials such as polymers, ceramics, composites and biomaterials. He makes use of innovative experimental techniques, numerical methods and computational micromechanics. John Botsis has led numerous international projects, thus cementing the network of academic and industrial partnerships that is so essential to EPFL’s wider influence.

Professor José del Rocío Millán Ruiz (*1962), currently Associate Professor of Bioengineering, is to leave EPFL at the end of August 2019 to take up an appointment at the University of Texas, Austin, USA. José Millán has been working at EPFL since April 2009. His research interests lie in the area of intelligent adaptive robots, such as wheelchairs and exoskeletons, and cover numerous cooperative ventures in the institutional and industrial fields.

The ETH Board would like to thank the departing professors for their services to science, teaching and academic administration.

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