New appointments at ETH Zurich
Professor Juan Felipe Carrasquilla Alvarez (*1980), currently Assisstant Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, as Associate Professor of Computational Physics in the Department of Physics. Juan Carrasquilla’s research focuses on the development of computational methods in physics. His work is particularly noted for the wide variety of approaches he uses, ranging from traditional algorithms and artificial intelligence through to quantum computing. He combines quantum Monte Carlo simulations with machine learning, for example. His appointment to the department will strengthen the area of computational physics and boost research in quantum computing.
Dr Mennatallah El-Assady (*1991), currently Research Fellow at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Mennatallah El-Assady works at the intersection of data analysis, visualisation, computational linguistics and explainable artificial intelligence. She focuses in particular on combining data mining and machine learning techniques with visual analytics, specifically for text data. Her research delivers innovative methodology that contributes to the creation of explainable, robust and versatile AI. She was honoured with the EuroVis Early Career Researcher Award 2023 in recognition of her outstanding contributions. By appointing Mennatallah El-Assady, the department is strengthening its presence in the field of information visualisation.
Dr Nicolò Defenu (*1988), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Quantum Physics in the Department of Physics. Nicolò Defenu’s research is concerned with statistical physics and field theory, and makes use of methods derived from the renormalisation group and non-linear dynamics. He has a particular interest in long-range interacting quantum systems. Nicolò Defenu’s teaching experience includes giving lectures and lecture series, as well as supervising students at all levels. The European Research Council awarded him an ERC Starting Grant, which is subsidised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Promotions at ETH Zurich
Professor Paola Picotti (*1977), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Molecular Systems Biology in the Department of Biology. Paola Picotti investigates how protein conformational changes, such as those associated with protein aggregation or allostery, impact cellular physiology and result in human disease. Mass spectrometry is her primary tool. She has made groundbreaking discoveries and is regarded as one of the world’s leading systems biologists, as attested by numerous awards and seats on committees and other bodies. Paola Picotti has strengthened the department through her contribution as Group Leader and Deputy Head of the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology.
Professor Johannes Bohacek (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Johannes Bohacek’s research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of stress, with particular attention to specific areas of the brain. Thanks to successful collaborations and his extensive network, his laboratory is ideally placed to have a significant impact in various areas of biomedicine, ranging from molecular and circuit neuroscience through to technological developments and translational medicine. Johannes Bohacek has won many awards for his research and teaching.
New appointments at EPFL
Dr Sascha Feldmann (*1993), currently Research Group Leader at Harvard University, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry in the School of Basic Sciences (EPFL Valais Wallis). Sascha Feldmann conducts research in the field of semiconductor optoelectronics and has already made a name for himself for his work on hybrid perovskites, especially in connection with the development of new, energy-saving devices. He has been awarded prestigious prizes at every stage of his scientific career. The high-quality results and ambitious scientific programme of this exceptionally creative and talented researcher are an ideal fit with the research environment at the EPFL Valais Wallis campus in Sion.
Dr Nako Nakatsuka (*1990), currently Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Neurotechnology in the School of Engineering. Nako Nakatsuka is an expert in the field of neurochemical sensor technology and biosensors at the intersection of chemistry, physics, neuroscience and engineering. A rising star in the field, she has won many prestigious awards all along her career. Her research at EPFL will focus on the development of transformative therapeutic and diagnostic technologies to treat and prevent psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Nako Nakatsuka’s appointment will strengthen and expand the visibility of neuroengineering at EPFLand foster new interdisciplinary interactions.
Promotions at EPFL
Professor Romain Fleury (*1987), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Electronics in the School of Engineering. Romain Fleury’s research focuses on wave physics and engineering, including periodic structures, wave propagation, insulators, and various materials and metamaterials. He is known worldwide for his expertise and innovative contributions. Among other distinctions, he was awarded an SNSF Eccellenza Grant in 2018 and an ERC Starting Grant in 2021. Thanks to his innovative research and a large network of cooperations, Romain Fleury is helping to develop the future of wave engineering at EPFL.
Professor Negar Kiyavash (*1976), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Business Analytics in the College of Management of Technology. Negar Kiyavash works at the interface between statistical learning theory and information theory. She is an internationally recognised leader in the areas of causal inference and applied probability, especially in relation to the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Her work is published in leading journals and conferences and is frequently cited. She is also very successful at attracting research funding. Since joining EPFL in 2019 Negar Kiyavash is an active contributor to the life of EPFL, where she has already held a number of positions of responsibility.
Professor Paolo Ricci (*1976), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Plasma Physics in the School of Basic Sciences. Paolo Ricci’s main area of research is the theory of plasma physics. He is regarded as one of the leading researchers in this field and has been awarded numerous prizes. Among other achievements, he developed a comprehensive theoretical model based on fluid dynamics to describe the behaviour of the plasma boundary layer. This model has been implemented in a cutting-edge code used by numerous research groups throughout the world. At EPFL he is head of the theory group at the Swiss Plasma Centre. He is also a dedicated teacher and an active member of the physics community.
Award of the title of “Professor”
Professor Corsin Battaglia (*1977), currently Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich and Head of Laboratory at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. Corsin Battaglia’s research focuses on batteries and, in particular, on sustainable alternatives to the lithium-ion batteries that are used, for example, in electric vehicles. He is an internationally acclaimed researcher who has won multiple awards and is very active in the area of technology transfer and cooperation with industry.
Dr Christof Bigler (*1972), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Christof Bigler is Deputy Group Leader in the Professorship of Forest Ecology and Head of the ETH Tree-ring Laboratory. He is an internationally recognised expert on forest dynamics, dendroecology, phenology and applied statistics. His research has a particular focus on investigating how climate and environmental factors influence demographic processes in trees.
Professor Mirko Kovac (*1980), currently Full Professor at Imperial College London, United Kingdom, and Head of Laboratory at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. Mirko Kovac’s main research interest lies in developing flying and biohybrid soft robotic solutions for digital infrastructure systems. He specialises in robot design, hardware development and multimodal robot mobility. Mirko Kovac’s achievements include receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2022.
Dr Olivier Lambercy (*1982), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Olivier Lambercy’s research is situated at the intersection of medical technology and neuroscience. He is internationally acclaimed for his interdisciplinary research and has registered five patents. Since 2022 he has been Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory and Principal Investigator at the Singapore-ETH Centre, as part of the “Future Health Technologies” programme.
Dr Peter Wick (*1971), currently Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich and Head of Laboratory at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Peter Wick works at the interface between materials science and health, with particular reference to the safety of nanomaterials and nanomedicine. He is an internationally recognised expert who has been invited to serve on various bodies, including the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, and as a consultant on the “Action Plan for Synthetic Nanomaterials” for the Federal Office of Public Health.
Departure from EPFL
Professor Martinus Gijs (*1959), currently Full Professor of Microstructure Technology in the School of Engineering, will retire at the end of April 2024. Martinus Gijs joined EPFL in 1997 and was appointed full professor in 2000. His research covers the areas of design, simulation, manufacturing, integration and application of microsystems, particularly microfluidic systems. His work on new inductive and magnetic devices earned him international recognition and he received an ERC Advanced Grant in 2012. Very attached to his role as a teacher, Martinus Gijs has contributed to high quality teaching at EPFL. He was the founding director of the doctoral programme in microsystems and microelectronics, which he directed until 2020. He is co-author of more than 30 patents and several start-ups were initiated by his laboratory.
The ETH Board would like to thank the departing professor for his services to science, teaching and academic administration.