Ten new professors at ETH Zurich

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At its meeting of 21 and 22 May 2014, the ETH Board appointed ten professors at ETH Zurich in accordance with the applications submitted by the President of ETH Zurich.


The ETH Board appointed ten new professors at ETH Zurich. (Photo: ETH Zurich/Josef Kuster)

Dr Orçun Göksel (*1979), currently a post-doctoral student at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Computer-assisted Applications in Medicine. Orçun Göksel is a promising young researcher in the fields of radiological imaging, the application of statistical shape models for the patient-specific planning of surgical interventions, and the use of ultrasound for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. By developing new procedures and working out new approaches to the quantitative in vivo characterisation of mechanical tissue properties, Orçun Göksel will contribute to extending ETH Zurich's leading global position in this strategically important area.

Dr Rachel Grange (*1976), currently a Research Associate at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, as Assistant Professor of Photonics. Rachel Grange is an experienced researcher specialising in nonlinear optics and plasmonics. She concentrates in particular on the synthesis and characterisation of metal-dielectric particles and researches the behaviour of materials with nonlinear optical properties in the nanometre range. This specialism makes her ideally suited to working on nonlinear optics, an important research focus of the Department of Physics, which cooperates closely with the areas of materials science, information technology, electrical engineering and chemistry. These activities will be broadened thanks to the appointment of Rachel Grange.

Professor Isabel Günther (*1978), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Development Economics. Isabel Günther is a recognised expert in micro-economic development economics. She focuses on topics such as the effectiveness of development aid, measuring poverty and insecurity, population growth and urbanisation, public services and decentralised technologies in developing countries. Her empirical and experimental research is conducted in an area of science that is experiencing rapid international growth and producing a wealth of policy-relevant findings. Her work enriches the range of research at ETH Zurich and is also of great interest to Swiss development organisations.

Professor Gabriela Hug (*1979), currently Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, as Associate Professor of Electric Power Systems. Gabriela Hug's work on interdisciplinary approaches to the design and operation of the energy networks of the future is receiving great attention from experts. Through her research at ETH Zurich, Gabriela Hug will make a significant contribution to embedding renewable energies more firmly in the energy supply, thus enabling the use of fossil energy sources to be gradually discontinued. This is also a matter of great political relevance.

Dr Peter Simon Jossen (*1980), currently a post-doctoral student at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Peter Simon Jossen researches various areas of arithmetic and algebraic geometry. His most important contribution to date was in the area of the Mumford-Tate conjecture. Along with the Tate and Hodge conjectures, this is one of many essential problems that correlate the arithmetical and geometrical aspects of algebraic varieties. By appointing Peter Simon Jossen, the Department of Mathematics is decisively strengthening its teaching and research activities in a key field of research.

Dr Walter Karlen (*1979), currently a post-doctoral student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, as Assistant Professor of Mobile Health Systems. Walter Karlen is an internationally recognised researcher who works on individualised methods and devices for use in healthcare. Specifically, he develops biomedical sensors that can be deployed via wearable systems (e.g. mobile phones) away from clinical centres in order to investigate the health of selected population groups. With the appointment of Walter Karlen, the Department of Health Sciences and Technology is strengthening its focus in the area of medical technology, rehabilitation and care.

Dr Volodymyr Korkhov (*1980), currently a post-doctoral student at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Membrane Proteins and Signal Transduction. Volodymyr Korkhov has very broad-based knowledge in the field of experimental biological research. He is currently focusing on a new, independent line of research into the structural molecular biology of membrane proteins. The Department of Biology expects the appointment of Volodymyr Korkhov to make a significant contribution to explaining the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction of membrane proteins and cholesterol recognition. In his new role, he will work at both ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen (Aargau).

Dr Paul D. Nelson (*1984), currently a post-doctoral student at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Paul Nelson is one of the leading young experts investigating the analytical aspects of automorphic forms and their applications, with special reference to arithmetic quantum chaos. He has achieved international recognition for his work, which combines different theories. With the appointment of Paul Nelson, ETH Zurich will be able to expand and develop its already strong group of researchers in the field of number theory and geometry. The breadth of his knowledge and his reputation will greatly enrich the Department of Mathematics.

Dr Nicolas Noiray (*1981), currently working as a researcher and developer in the private sector, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Energy Technologies. In recent years Nicolas Noiray's work, both academically and in his industrial practice, has focused on the field of thermoacoustic coupling in combustion chambers. This multidisciplinary area is of great significance to energy technology in general as well as to countless industrial applications. The appointment of Nicolas Noiray allows the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering to strengthen its expertise in the area of energy technologies and boost its attractiveness as regards relevant collaborations with other institutions active in this field, both in Switzerland and abroad, as well as with industrial partners.

Professor Arno Schlüter (*1974), currently Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Architecture and Building Systems. Arno Schlüter researches the interactions between energy/building technology and architecture, from new building system components through to urban districts. He thus captures the potential for more efficient energy usage and enables renewable sources of energy to be harnessed at local level. Arno Schlüter's work strengthens the increasingly important bridge between technology and architecture. His familiarity with all the relevant standards – from technological details through to the urban level – together with his scientific and industrial network make him an extremely valuable member of the Department of Architecture.

Award of the title of Professor

Dr Markus Ammann (*1963), currently Research Associate at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen (Aargau) and Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Markus Ammann works in the fields of physical chemistry and solid-state physics. His work has achieved international recognition. Since 2007 he has been a member of the renowned IUPAC Subcommittee for Gas Kinetic Data Evaluation for Atmospheric Chemistry.

Dr Francesca Da Lio (*1968), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Francesca Da Lio conducts research in the area of analysis, with a particular focus on nonlinear partial differential equations. She covers a wide spectrum in this field, making cross-connections with financial mathematics and geometry. Her work receives international attention.

Dr Jörg Goldhahn (*1969), currently director of a research institute in the private sector and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Jörg Goldhahn's scientific achievements in the field of musculoskeletal medicine are impressive and satisfy the highest standards. He also makes an outstanding contribution to accelerating the transfer of knowledge and technology in his subject area.

Dr Bernd Wollscheid (*1970), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Bernd Wollscheid is one of the world's best-regarded scientists in the field of proteomics. He has received particular recognition for his work on methods of unambiguously identifying membrane proteins and deciphering specific ligand-receptor interactions.

Retirements/departures from ETH Zurich

Professor Matthias Christandl (*1978), Assistant Professor of Quantum Information Theory, resigned in mid-March 2014. He had been Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich since mid-2010. Matthias Christandl is a recognised expert on quantum information theory. He is regarded as a pioneer in the field of information theory analysis of spin networks and has made significant contributions to the theory of entanglement measures. Matthias Christandl has left ETH Zurich in order to take up a professorship at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Professor Hansjürg Leibundgut (*1949), currently Full Professor of Building Systems, will reduce his working hours to 50 percent at the end of October 2014 and retire at the end of January 2015. Hansjürg Leibundgut has been a Full Professor since autumn 2005. He previously held various leading positions in the administration of the Canton of Zurich and in the private sector. He is internationally regarded as one of the foremost experts in energy and building technology related issues, and has made significant contributions to the development of emission-free, inexpensive and reliable buildings. Thanks to his wide-ranging network, he has also greatly strengthened the external relationships of the Department of Architecture.

Professor Pierre Mérel (*1976), currently Full Professor of Agricultural Economics, is departing at the end of August 2014. Pierre Mérel was appointed Full Professor at ETH Zurich at the end of 2012. His research focuses on the connections between agriculture and the environment. He also conducts research on topics related to industry and to agricultural and environmental policy. Pierre Mérel is returning to the University of California, Davis, USA.

Worries over exclusion from Horizon 2020

At its meeting of 21/22 May 2014, the ETH Board further supported the measures taken by the Confederation in the wake of the Mass Immigration Initiative and consolidates the ETH Domain’s national and international cooperation.

The ETH Board is observing the looming adverse impact of the Mass Immigration Initiative on Switzerland as a research and innovation centre with a high degree of concern. It obtained information from the institutions about the consequences that had been observed so far and called on them develop, among other things, an exclusion scenario that would take into consideration the financial consequences for the ETH Domain.

For this reason, the ETH Board and the institutions are engaged in an intensive exchange with parliament and the competent federal authorities. The most pressing objective is to reinstitute as complete as possible an association of Switzerland with Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ from 2015 at the latest and to offer suitable transitional measures in the meantime. The ETH Board therefore also supports the immediate measures launched to date.

The aim must be to preserve optional framework conditions for Swiss universities in order to attract the most excellent and promising researchers and young talents irrespective of their nationalities and cultural backgrounds, says the ETH-Board.

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