15 new professors at ETH Zurich

At its meeting of 17/18 September 2014, the ETH Board appointed 15 professors at ETH Zurich in accordance with the applications submitted by the ETH President Ralph Eichler, and awarded the title of professor to one individual.

ETH Zurich  
The ETH Board appointed 15 professors at ETH Zurich. (Photo: ETH Zurich/Josef Kuster)

Professor Philippe Block (*1980), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Architecture and Structure. Philippe Block combines civil engineering and architecture in a convincing, digitally supported interdisciplinary approach which blends the two areas of supporting structure and design. The multitude of requirements to which modern construction is subject can only be mastered by means of a multidisciplinary approach of this kind. Philippe Block is an original researcher and an enthusiastic lecturer who will continue to enrich the Department of Architecture and related fields.

Professor Petra S. Dittrich (*1974), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Bioanalytics. Petra Dittrich is an internationally recognised specialist in lab-on-a-chip technologies. Her research interests lie in developing new analytical chemistry methods for biological applications, especially the use of microchips for the analysis of living cells and cell components. She has extensive experience of fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy and of single molecule detection. Petra Dittrich ideally complements the research and teaching of the engineering and technology section within the Department of Biosystems.

Professor Roger Gassert (*1976), currently Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering. Roger Gassert conducts research at the interface between engineering, neuroscience and kinesiology. He develops mechatronic systems that explore the neuromechanical generation of movement and support people with disabilities. He uses this interdisciplinary approach to bridge the gap between neuroscientists and kinesiologists with a focus on fundamental research, and application-based engineering scientists, as well as hospitals working in the field of assistive technologies. This is an excellent fit with the goals of the Department of Health Sciences and Technology.

Dr Ulrike Grossner (*1973), currently Principal Scientist at ABB Corporate Research in Baden (AG), as Full Professor of Power Semiconductors. Ulrike Grossner is an internationally recognised expert in semiconductors. Her specialist area is the development of new semiconductors based on wide bandgap materials. She has previously worked at top universities and in the research departments of leading technology companies. The appointment of Ulrike Grossner will enhance the research carried out at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering in the strategically important field of energy technology and sustainable energy supply.

Professor Cornelia Halin Winter (*1974), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Immunology. Cornelia Halin Winter works on biomedical questions in the field of immunology and vascular biology. Her group is examining how immune cells move within lymphatic vessels and how they change in inflammatory processes. She is thus contributing to a better molecular understanding of leukocyte migration and inflammatory reactions, which could prepare the way for new immunomodulatory therapeutic approaches.

Professor Dagmar Iber (*1978), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Computational Biology. Dagmar Iber focuses her research on cellular differentiation and specialisation. Her interest lies in the mathematical description of molecular processes resulting in the formation of two dissimilar cell types. Dagmar Iber's expertise in experimental and theoretical biology has received international acclaim. She is ideally placed to investigate the complex problems of systems biology in a competent, interdisciplinary manner.

Professor Christian Kerez (*1962), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Architecture and Design. Christian Kerez is one of Switzerland's leading architects of the younger generation. The quality and significance of his work to date has also attracted international attention. By promoting Christian Kerez, ETH Zurich is reinforcing its successful long-term strategy of entrusting the academic teaching of the Department of Architecture to professionally and intellectually outstanding architects from Switzerland and abroad.

Professor Sebastian Kozerke (*1970), currently Professor ad personam of Biomedical Imaging at the University of Zurich and Professor of MR Physics at King's College, London, as Full Professor of Biomedical Imaging. Sebastian Kozerke develops technologies and methods for the investigation of the cardiovascular system and the human metabolism. He has gained a leading international position in the field of cardiovascular imaging based on magnetic resonance. With the appointment of Sebastian Kozerke, ETH Zurich is expanding its focus in the field of biomedical imaging and strengthening the interface between the engineering sciences and clinical practice.

Professor Dirk Mohr (*1976), currently Associate Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France, and Research Affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computational Modelling of Materials in Manufacturing. Dirk Mohr conducts research in the field of materials modelling. He develops his own material models for plastic multiaxial deformation and ductile failure, including under high strain rates. Dirk Mohr's expertise will complement the current research on materials modelling in manufacturing processes and strengthen ETH Zurich's position in this rapidly developing area.

Dr Antia Rodriguez-Villalon (*1983), currently Research Associate at the University of Lausanne, as Assistant Professor of Plant Development Biology. Through the appointment of Antia Rodriguez-Villalon, ETH Zurich is gaining a competent, committed and motivated young scientist. While conducting research for her doctoral thesis and as a post-doctoral researcher, she has already performed highly regarded pioneering work in the biochemistry of plant biosynthesis pathways and in developmental biology. Her focus on the biology of plant transport tissue will make an important and promising contribution to the internationally acclaimed plant biology research conducted at ETH Zurich.

Dr Chih-Jen Shih (*1980), currently a post-doctoral student at Stanford University, California, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. Chih-Jen Shih is a highly regarded young scientist in his specialist areas of molecular modelling, nanomaterials, and surface science and technology. He works with both multiscale modelling and small-scale experiments. With this combination, he develops flexible and highly mobile electronic components and integrated microsystems. By appointing Chih-Jen Shih, the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences is strengthening its research in the field of nanotechnology and chemical material design.

Professor Ralph Spolenak (*1971), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Nanometallurgy. Ralph Spolenak analyses the scaling of mechanical characteristics of materials from the macroscale to the nanoscale, and designs innovative nanomaterials. In addition to his internationally regarded research activities, Ralph Spolenak is a member of the FIRST (clean room) committee as well as of the Competence Centre for Materials Science and Technology (CCMX), and served for several years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Swiss Association for Materials Science and Technology. Thanks to this experience, he will contribute to the success of the entire institution.

Professor Wendelin J. Stark (*1976), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Functional Materials Engineering. Wendelin Stark has forged an excellent international reputation thanks to his at times very critical research into the functionalisation of nanomaterials, nanotoxicity and the use of nanomaterials in biomedicine. With his excellent research record, the integrative nature of his research and the high quality of his teaching, Wendelin Stark has been a valuable asset to ETH Zurich.

Dr Laurent Vanbever (*1985), currently a post-doctoral student at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Networked Systems. Laurent Vanbever is pursuing a new level of abstraction for computer networks, thus also improving our understanding of them. In his research projects he uses the design principles of software-designed networkings (SDN) on mobile networks and internet routing, and develops methods and techniques for the disruption-free optimisation of SDN controllers. With the appointment of Laurent Vanbever, ETH Zurich is decisively strengthening the networked systems research area.

Professor Evelina Viada (*1973), currently Assistant Professor at the University of Basel, as Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Evelina Viada's research area is number theory with a focus on diophantine and arithmetical geometry. She is a leading specialist in this dynamic field of mathematics. At ETH Zurich, Evelina Viada will significantly strengthen the group working on number theory and will contribute her proven expertise to the Department of Mathematics. The assistant professorship is fully funded by the grant awarded to Evelina Viada by the Swiss National Science Foundation for an SNSF professorship, and is limited to the duration of the latter.

Departure from ETH Zurich

Professor Stefanie Engel (*1968), currently Full Professor of Environmental Policy and Economics, will leave ETH Zurich at the end of March 2015. She is taking up her appointment as Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, from the beginning of October 2014, and will reduce her working hours at ETH Zurich. Stefanie Engel joined ETH Zurich in 2006 as an Associate Professor and became a Full Professor in 2013. Her research focus is on the analysis and design of environmental policies. Her expertise is recognised throughout the world and has led to her being appointed to renowned international bodies.

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

Award of the title of Professor

Dr Christopher Onder (*1961), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Christopher Onder is an internationally recognised expert in the model-based control and optimisation of engines. He successfully combines fundamental research with applications relevant to industry, and is also an excellent teacher.

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