On 29 June, the Federal Council appointed Martin Ackermann as the new director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). Mr Ackermann (51), who is currently Professor for Microbial Systems Ecology at ETH Zurich and a group leader at Eawag, succeeds Janet Hering, who has reached the age of retirement. He will take up his new position on 1 January 2023.
Martin Ackermann studied biology at the University of Basel, where he earned his PhD in 2002. Following that, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California in San Diego. In 2004 he took up a position as senior assistant at ETH Zurich and was appointed SNSF assistant professor in March 2006. The ETH Board appointed him associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2015. In addition to his professorship at ETH Zurich, Martin Ackermann led an Eawag research department with around 50 employees for ten years, which is a leader in solution-oriented research in aquatic microbiology. From April to July 2020 he was vice-chair and from August 2020 to August 2021 chair of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force.
Professor Ackermann’s research group works on fundamental questions about the ecology and evolution of bacteria. The aim of this research is to expand the understanding of the biology of bacteria in nature and to provide insights that are of practical use for controlling and harnessing bacterial activity. He has published over 100 scientific papers in international journals, many of them in leading interdisciplinary journals. He is a member of the European Academy of Microbiology and is successful in promoting young scientists.