24 new professors appointed at ETH Zurich and EPFL

At its meeting of 6/7 March 2024 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 seven women and seventeen men as professors and awarded the title of professor to six individuals and the title of Professor of Practice to one individual. It also took note of the resignations of three 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 23 for men; the proportion of women among these new appointments thus amounts to 51%.

New appointments at ETH Zurich

Dr Laura Bégon-Lours (*1989), currently Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Neuromorphic Electronics with Oxides in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Laura Bégon-Lours’ research is concerned with the development and application of nanoscale components that can be used as synapses in artificial neural networks. Her goal is to manufacture bio-inspired chips that work in a similar way to the human brain. In 2019 Laura Bégon-Lours won a Marie Curie Fellowship for her innovative work, and she has also been the recipient of an SNSF Starting Grant. Her appointment strengthens the Department in the area of neuromorphic engineering.

Dr Christian Freudlsperger (*1989), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Multilevel Politics in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences. Christian Freudlsperger’s research interests lie at the intersection of European integration, comparative federalism and the analysis of political development. In addition to numerous articles on comparative and European politics, Christian Freudlsperger has written a monograph published by Oxford University Press on the subject of trade policy in multilevel systems. He will use his SNSF Starting Grant to seek to develop a novel understanding of the EU as a provider of “public reinsurance” against transboundary crises, thus strengthening the Department in the area of governance.

Dr Nathalie M. Grob (*1989), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, as Assistant Professor of Peptide-based Drug Discovery in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Nathalie M. Grob’s research involves developing efficient methods of discovering new, peptide-based medications. Her teaching and research have a particular focus on pathologies that principally affect women and have been little studied to date. She was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant for her work. This appointment will help to create numerous multidisciplinary synergies, both within the Department and in other areas, as well as with partners in the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Marco Pavone (*1980), currently Associate Professor at Stanford University, USA, and Director at Nvidia Corporation, USA, as Full Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Marco Pavone develops methodologies for the analysis, design and control of autonomous systems, with particular emphasis on aerospace robotics networks, autonomous vehicles and the mobility systems of the future. This acclaimed researcher has won many awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers presented by President Barack Obama. By making this appointment, ETH Zurich will be able to expand the recently established, future-oriented field of space science and technology in a targeted way.

Dr Patrick Alberto Rühs (*1985), currently Head of Science at Planted Foods AG, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Food Structure Engineering in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Patrick Alberto Rühs’ research focuses on the interactions between process engineering and biotechnology, with the aim of producing new food structures. At the ETH spin-off Planted Foods AG he has developed new, patented technologies and processes for the manufacture of novel foods, which can now be found in grocery stores. Patrick Alberto Rühs has obtained a significant number of grants for Planted Foods. His appointment will result in important interactions and synergies within the Department and also with industry.

Professor Livia Schubiger (*1980), currently Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, UK, as Full Professor of International Relations and Data Science in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences. Livia Schubiger’s research has a focus on the social and institutional implications of violence and conflict, and on avenues to reduce gender-specific and political violence against civilian populations in wartime. She has won a number of prizes for her work, and has extensive international teaching experience. With the appointment of Livia Schubiger, the Department is boosting the research areas of Data Science and International Relations, and strengthening the links between ETH Zurich and international Geneva.

Promotions at ETH Zurich

Professor Nicola Aceto (*1982), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Department of Biology. Nicola Aceto’s research aims to understand the basic molecular mechanisms that drive cancer. He is acknowledged as a world leader in the field of cancer metastasis, has won numerous awards, and is regularly invited to speak at prestigious conferences. His ground-breaking discoveries and scientific achievements are documented in a large number of publications, a significant proportion of which have appeared in high-impact journals such as Nature and Cell. Nicola Aceto’s commitment to ETH Zurich includes his comprehensive support for knowledge transfer, and goes well beyond teaching: in spring 2023, for example, he was elected as a member of the Tenure Committee of ETH Zurich.

Professor Lucio Isa (*1979), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Soft Materials and Interfaces in the Department of Materials. Lucio Isa focuses on understanding the fundamental properties of colloidal particles and fluid interfaces with a view to developing a broad range of new soft and active materials. His research attracts considerable attention both nationally and internationally, and has won several awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020. He sits on several committees and develops partnerships with industry. In 2019 Lucio Isa won a Golden Owl at ETH Zurich for his notable commitment and excellent teaching. He has been Director of the Doctoral School of Materials and Processes since 2021, and the Department’s Director of Studies since 2023.

Professor Martin Pilhofer (*1980), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy in the Department of Biology. Martin Pilhofer’s research focuses on investigating the structure of macromolecular machines. He has made key contributions to the understanding of bacterial contractile injection systems. These results were made possible thanks to his work on the methodological development of cryo-electron tomography. As the leading researcher in this field, he was quickly able to introduce this novel, groundbreaking technology to ETH Zurich and apply it successfully. He is recognised for the high quality of his teaching and supervision, and the awards he has received include an ERC Starting Grant in 2015 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020.

New appointments at EPFL

Dr Karim Achouri (*1988), currently Scientist at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Electrical and Micro Engineering in the School of Engineering. Karim Achouri’s research activities focus on the mathematical synthesis and practical realisation of electromagnetic meta-surfaces and their applications. His work covers a wide range of topics, including birefringence, bianisotropy, non-reciprocity and non-linearity, with concepts applying to both microwave and optical regimes. In 2021, he received an SNSF Ambizione Fellowship, followed, in 2023, by an SNSF Starting Grant.

Dr Sara Gallini (*1986), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Yale University, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Life Sciences in the School of Life Sciences. Sara Gallini’s research focuses on imaging individual cells in living tissue. This intravital, long-term imaging approach to cancer cell behavior is novel and complementary to those currently employed in EPFL and indeed in the Lemanic area. She combines this imaging with single-cell genomics to characterize individual cells in cancerous tissue. Her novel in vivo approach is an ideal complement to the methods currently applied at EPFL. At the same time, the field of single-cell genomics, which is strongly represented in the School, provides the perfect scientific environment for her research project.

Dr Konstantinos Karapiperis (*1989), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Konstantinos Karapiperis uses data-based methods for his work on multiscale modelling of materials, with a particular focus on granular materials and geomaterials. He is acknowledged as a promising researcher in the field of geomechanics. This appointment will strengthen and complement geotechnical engineering at EPFL, particularly in the areas of climate change and digitalisation. His expertise will also enable the creation of synergies and partnerships with the disciplines of materials science and structural engineering.

Dr Mirko Musa (*1988), currently Postdoctoral Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Mirko Musa’s research ranges from the physical modelling of water flows and the planning and monitoring of water infrastructure, to sediment transport processes. His work is relevant to the maintenance and development of hydraulic structures such as dams or renewable energy infrastructures. Through this appointment, the Department is expanding and strengthening the areas of energy, sustainability and climate change impact. Mirko Musa’s research will also facilitate cooperations with EPFL Valais Wallis.

Professor Andrei Negut (*1986), currently Associate Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, as Associate Professor of Mathematics in the School of Basic Sciences. Andrei Negut’s research is in the field of geometric representation theory, with applications in mathematical physics, combinatorics, knot theory and algebraic geometry. He is regarded as a leading researcher in his field, has an impressive list of publications to his name, and has received numerous prizes. His appointment will complement and expand EPFL’s existing expertise in this area, and he will play a decisive role in developing the Institute of Mathematics within the School of Basic Sciences.

Dr Emma Tolley (*1989), currently Scientist at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Emma Tolley conducts research in the field of astrophysics, with particular reference to radio astronomy. She leverages high-performance computing (HPC) and data science for the efficient, automated computation and analysis of Big Data produced by scientific infrastructures such as the Square Kilometre Array Observatory radio telescope. In 2023, the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded her an SNSF Starting Grant for her Deep Waves research project. Her previous experience includes working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. This appointment will strengthen astrophysics at EPFL.

Dr Lijing Xin (*1980), currently Scientist at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Lijing Xin’s research involves developing cutting-edge magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques in order to obtain a better understanding of brain function and the pathophysiology of neurological diseases. She was awarded an SNSF Consolidator Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation for her research in 2022. Her interdisciplinary approach to developing a new neuroimaging method that targets molecular aspects of brain networks is a good fit with the research undertaken at the Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM) and the Institute of Physics . She will make a key contribution to research and teaching in the field of magnetic resonance tomography.

Dr Eunok Yim (*1987), currently Lead Engineer at General Electric Renewable Energy – Hydropower in Birr, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering. Eunok Yim is an expert in computational and theoretical fluid mechanics. Her research focuses on the analysis of fluid instabilities, turbulence, thermal coupling, and efficiency of hydraulic machines, such as turbines and generators. She pioneered a new class of theoretical models for the analysis and control of fluid instabilities. Her expertise will strengthen and extend the visibility of EPFL activities in the field of hydropower and create new interactions with industrial players.

Promotions at EPFL

Professor Giuseppe Carleo (*1984), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Giuseppe Carleo works in the field of quantum many-particle physics, using neural networks to gain a better understanding of quantum systems. He has a particular interest in the development of new computer-aided approaches for investigating the many-body problem in quantum physics. He is acknowledged as a leading researcher in this field and his work has already had a major impact in a number of different areas, such as quantum chemistry, condensed matter physics, nuclear astrophysics and quantum computing. In 2022 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for his research.

Professor Pavan Ramdya (*1979), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Life Sciences in the School of Life Sciences. Pavan Ramdya studies neural activity in walking flies, and relating this activity to actual leg movements. He develops new instruments for the sophisticated simultaneous recording of neural activities and animal behaviour. In order to investigate how flies move and how they decide which actions to take, he combines neuroscience methods and approaches with robotics and engineering. His work has helped to address important questions in the field of neuroscience. He is a highly regarded researcher and colleague, and also a very popular lecturer.

Professor Christian Theiler (*1982), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Christian Theiler works in the field of plasma physics, with a particular focus on investigating nuclear fusion and the behaviour of ultra-hot plasma. At EPFL he has already led several important experiments using the variable configuration tokamak (TCV) nuclear fusion reactor. He has also coordinated a number of international collaborative projects on the simulation of turbulent flows. Christian Theiler is a leading researcher in his field, and is also highly esteemed for his commitment to EPFL and for the quality of his teaching.

Professor Dimitri Van De Ville (*1975), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Neuroscience in the School of Engineering. Dimitri Van De Ville is an internationally leading scientist in the fields of medical imaging, signal processing, neuroimaging of the brain and spinal cord, and functional connectivity. At EPFL, he leads the Medical Image Processing Laboratory (MIPLAB). He is strongly committed to high-quality teaching and leads the Neuro-X section. He is a Fellow of IEEE and EURASIP for his contributions to computational brain imaging. Through his activities, he contributes to strengthening EPFL’s innovative research in the field of neuroscience and medical image processing.

Professor Yves Weinand (*1963), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Timber Construction in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Yves Weinand works at the intersection of engineering and architecture, in particular by developing raw wood as an engineering material for load-bearing structures, which can be recycled and connected exclusively using wood-wood connections. He heads EPFL’s Timber Construction Laboratory (IBOIS), as well as an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the fields of architecture, engineering, mathematics and computer science who are redefining the logistics of the construction sector. Yves Weinand is a highly effective acquirer of third-party funding and is currently involved in a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. In addition to his teaching activities, he owns an architectural practice in Lausanne.

Professor Robert West (*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. Robert West carries out research into the structure and dynamics of social networks, the dissemination of information, and ethical considerations connected with data collection and analysis. His work makes use of large amounts of data, which he analyses with the help of methods drawn from natural language processing, machine learning and computational social science. Particular mention should be made of his great commitment to EPFL, including as co-founder of the Applied Machine Learning Days (AMLD), an event which is held at EPFL each year and is the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Professor Matthieu Wyart (*1978), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Theoretical Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Matthieu Wyart’s research is concerned with disordered solids in the broadest sense, ranging from amorphous solids such as glass through to the theory of physics-informed machine learning. He is regarded as a very creative physicist and an influential theoretician in the field of soft matter and statistical physics, and is one of the leading researchers of his generation. His work has been awarded numerous prestigious prizes. Matthieu Wyart is also highly esteemed for his contribution to teaching and his ability to supervise large numbers of students working towards Master’s degrees.

Award of the title of “Professor”

Dr Eling de Bruin (*1963), currently Private Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich and at Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Eling de Bruin’s scientific work covers numerous examples of new contributions to sport and movement science, gerontology and various clinical disciplines. He is a leading international expert on falls in the elderly. Eling de Bruin has an impressive list of publications and has won many awards. Universities throughout the world show great interest in his research.

Dr Joaquín Jiménez-Martínez (*1981), currently Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at Eawag, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Joaquín Jiménez-Martínez conducts research on subsurface applications, including geothermal energy, and how they interact with the ecology of the subsurface – a topic of great importance to the energy transition in Switzerland and beyond. He has developed an international network of contacts and won a number of awards. His work has found applications in groundwater monitoring and protection in Switzerland and abroad.

Dr João P. Leitão (*1978), currently Private Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at Eawag, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. João P. Leitão’s research investigates urban flood risks and infrastructure management, with a focus on increasing urbanisation and future-oriented infrastructure. The models and methods he has developed are of considerable relevance to society and are set to gain steadily in importance over the coming decades. His results are published in academic journals, and his commitment to Eawag is exemplary.

Dr Guillaume Obozinski (*1978), currently Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Executive Director at the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) of EPFL, ETH Zurich and PSI, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. As Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Executive Director of the SDSC, Guillaume Obozinski has demonstrated scientific excellence, leadership and commitment to advancing the field of data science. He plays a key scientific role and in supervising the research team.

Dr Luca Pattaroni (*1970), currently Senior Scientist in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. Luca Pattaroni is an urban sociologist renowned for his significant contributions to the study of cities and the social dynamics that drive them. His transdisciplinary work, which touches on the social sciences, architecture, urban planning and engineering sciences, contributes to the development of new and sustainable approaches to urbanisation.

Dr Olivier Verscheure (*1972), currently Executive Director at the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) of EPFL, ETH Zurich and PSI, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. As Executive Director of the SDSC, Dr. Verscheure has demonstrated exceptional leadership, academic excellence and commitment to the advancement of the field of data science. SDSC is a key hub for encouraging the use of data science and machine learning techniques across a wide range of academic disciplines, public institutions, and the Swiss industrial sector.

Award of the title of “Professor of Practice”

Damian Jerjen (*1973), currently Director of the Swiss association for spatial planning EspaceSuisse and Lecturer at ETH Zurich and other Swiss universities, as Professor of Practice at ETH Zurich. Damian Jerjen is an economist and spatial planner. He serves on various bodies, including the Council for Spatial Planning (ROR). At EspaceSuisse, Damian Jerjen supports and brings together spatial planning experts throughout Switzerland, and is active in the Spatial Planning Network. He has a thorough knowledge of ETH Zurich, both as a lecturer and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Master of Advanced Studies in Spatial Planning. He will continue to participate in stakeholder dialogues on curriculum development for the Master’s course. Damian Jerjen is to commence work as Professor of Practice at the start of April 2024, in addition to being head of EspaceSuisse.

Departures from EPFL

Professor Christof Holliger (*1959), currently Full Professor of Environmental Biotechnology in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, is to retire at the end of February 2025. Christof Holliger studied at ETH Zurich and joined EPFL as an Assistant Professor in 1998. His research interests include bioremediation of soils and groundwater, wastewater treatment, biofuels and environmental microbiology. His research has led to key advances in methods for analysing biological processes. He has achieved international recognition for his work on the conversion of organic pollutants, in particular. Christof Holliger has an impressive list of publications to his name and is highly esteemed for his commitment to teaching and to EPFL in general.

Professor Urs von Gunten (*1959), currently Full Professor of Water Quality and Treatment in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL and at Eawag, is to retire at the end of February 2025. Urs von Gunten studied and obtained a PhD at ETH Zurich before joining Eawag in 1989, initially as a postdoctoral researcher and later as a group leader and head of department. In 2010 he was appointed to a joint professorship at EPFL and Eawag. The main focus of his research is on water resources and drinking water. His work has contributed to the implementation of new treatment processes for drinking water and wastewater, for which he has received several international awards. Urs von Gunten also attaches great importance to cooperation with the water sector. He nurtures a wide network of contacts in the water industry and with public authorities responsible for water supplies in Switzerland and abroad.

Professor Valerio Zerbi (*1983), currently Assistant Professor of Neurotechnology in the School of Engineering, is to leave EPFL at the end of May 2024. Valerio Zerbi is a pioneering scientist in the field of preclinical magnetic resonance imaging. He was awarded an SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship in 2022. He is leaving to become Tenure Track Assistant Professor at the University of Geneva.

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.

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Contact

Gian-Andri Casutt

Head of Communications

+41 58 856 86 06

E-Mail

ETH Board

Häldeliweg 15

8092 Zurich

Drucken

Contact

Gian-Andri Casutt

Head of Communications

+41 58 856 86 06

E-Mail

ETH Board

Häldeliweg 15

8092 Zurich

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