Nine professors appointed at ETH Zurich

30.09.2016 | News

By:  From the editors

Upon application of the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Lino Guzzella, at its meeting of 28/29 September 2016 the ETH Board appointed nine professors and took note of the resignation of 3 professors and thanked them for their services.


Rima Alaifari
Rima Alaifari.

Dr Rima Alaifari (*1987), currently a post-doctoral student at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics. Rima Alaifari’s research investigates the mathematical foundations of signal and image processing (applied and computational harmonic analysis), and mathematical analysis of the solvability of inverse and poorly formulated problems. Since gaining her doctorate, she has already published a number of seminal articles in leading journals, some of them in collaboration with internationally renowned co-authors. Rima Alaifari's research profile is an ideal complement to the existing areas covered by the Seminar for Applied Mathematics, and enriches ETH Zurich’s teaching portfolio.

Johannes Bohacek
Johannes Bohacek.

Dr Johannes Bohacek (*1981), currently a Senior Assistant at the University of Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. Johannes Bohacek's research focuses on the neural consequences of acute and chronic stress. He is particularly interested in the connection between stress and neuropsychiatric disorders and the question of how stress influences germ cells epigenetically and can lead to long-term consequences for descendants. Through the appointment of Johannes Bohacek, ETH Zurich is strengthening the neurosciences in a targeted way and at the same time expanding into the field of stress research, with its relevance to medical applications.

Mathieu Luisier
Mathieu Luisier.

Professor Mathieu Luisier (*1978), currently Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Computational Nanoelectronics. Mathieu Luisier, who received an ERC Starting Grant in 2013, is an internationally acclaimed specialist in the simulation of transistor structures and the development of new physical models and parallel numerical algorithms. OMEN, the software he developed for this purpose, is now regarded as state-of-the-art. ETH Zurich expects Mathieu Luisier’s future research activity to make important contributions to the computer-aided development of energy-conserving nanotransistors and new nanoelectronic devices such as molecular switches, thermogenerators, solar cells and batteries.

Motohiko Murakami
Motohiko Murakami.

Professor Motohiko Murakami (*1977), currently Associate Professor at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, as Full Professor of Experimental Mineral Physics. Motohiko Murakami is an internationally recognised expert in the structures, dynamics and evolution of the Earth’s interior. For his research he has developed innovative spectroscopic measuring processes in combination with a laser-heated high-pressure diamond anvil cell and an in-situ synchrotron X-ray source. At ETH Zurich, Motohiko Murakami will set up a laboratory to mimic the pressure and temperature conditions deep inside the Earth. His appointment substantially strengthens the area of mineralogy and mineral physics at the Federal Institute of Technology.

Laura Nyström
Laura Nyström.

Professor Laura Nyström (*1977), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Food Biochemistry. Laura Nyström’s research focuses on dietary fibres and the associated phytochemicals in cereal grains and other plant components. Her research group investigates chemical and biochemical reactions which may destroy these health-promoting compounds in foodstuffs during processing and storage, evaluates different types of cereal and plants as raw materials, and looks for ways to improve the functionality of these food constituents. Laura Nyström has received a number of awards and grants for her research, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2015.

Federica Sallusto
Federica Sallusto

Dr Federica Sallusto (*1961), currently Director of the Center of Medical Immunology and Head of the Cellular Immunology Laboratory at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Università della Svizzera italiana, Bellinzona, as Full Professor of Medical Immunology. Federica Sallusto is a globally renowned scientist. Her work and research findings have made a significant contribution to our current understanding of human immunology. Recently, she and her team used new approaches to investigate human T cells with defined characteristics for vaccination studies and in pathological clinical situations (e.g. auto-immune diseases). The appointment of Federica Sallusto will enable ETH Zurich to substantially strengthen its leading international position in the life sciences and personalised medicine.

Gerhard Schratt
Gerhard Schratt.

Professor Gerhard Schratt (*1972), currently Professor and Director of the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, as Full Professor of Systems Neuroscience. Gerhard Schratt’s internationally acclaimed research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation and environmentally-dependent alteration of neural circuits in the human brain. His special interest is in synapses, which play an important role in information storage. The appointment of Gerhard Schratt enables the Department of Health Sciences and Technology to strengthen the connections between the research areas of health, systems biology and neuroscience in an optimal way.

Sonia Seneviratne
Sonia Seneviratne.

Professor Sonia Seneviratne (*1974), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Land Climate Dynamics. Sonia Seneviratne has attracted international attention as a highly innovative researcher. She conducts research into land climate interactions on different spatial and temporal scales. In her work, she makes use of models, data analyses and new processes for generating validation data sets. She gained wide recognition through her appointment as the leading co-author of the Special Report on Climate Change and Extreme Events, which was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) in 2012. The promotion of Sonia Seneviratne to Full professor enables ETH Zurich to retain a successful researcher in an area of research that is highly relevant to society.

Mark Tibbitt
Mark Tibbitt.

Dr Mark Tibbitt (*1985), currently a post-doctoral student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Macromolecular Engineering. During his doctoral studies, Mark Tibbitt worked on the synthesis and mechanical characterisation of polymer hydrogels for mammalian cell culture and regenerative medicine. His results attracted international recognition. Since then he has been working on the development and manufacture of polymer materials for the controlled delivery of small molecules and biotherapeutics, including for applications in ophthalmic, cardiac and cancer medicine. By appointing Mark Tibbitt, ETH Zurich is strengthening its expertise in important fields such as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.


Demetrios Christodoulou
Demetrios Christodoulou.

Professor Demetrios Christodoulou (*1951), currently Full Professor of Mathematics and Physics at ETH Zurich, will retire with effect from 1 February 2017. Demetrios Christodoulou was appointed to ETH Zurich in 2001 following a successful career. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the General Theory of Relativity. His work with Klainerman on the global nonlinear stability of the Minkowski space and his investigations into the formation of singularities and the gravitational collapse of space-time with cylindrical symmetry opened up new fields of research. Demetrios Christodoulou has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences.

Antti Knowles
Antti Knowles.

Professor Antti Knowles (*1981), currently Assistant Professor of Mathematics at ETH Zurich, resigned at the end of August 2016. Antti Knowles joined ETH Zurich at the beginning of 2014. He works in the very topical and competitive field of large random matrices, obtaining crucial results on several occasions. Antti Knowles is leaving ETH Zurich to pursue his career at another university.

Antonio Lanzavecchia
Antonio Lanzavecchia.

Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia (*1951), currently Full Professor of Human Immunology at ETH Zurich, will retire with effect from 1 February 2017. In 1999, Antonio Lanzavecchia was appointed founding director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, which he has run successfully ever since. In mid-2009, the ETH Board appointed him Full Professor of Human Immunology at ETH Zurich. During the course of his award-winning scientific career, he has continued to make significant contributions to advances in the cellular immunology of the human immune system. At the start of 2016, a methodological breakthrough by Antonio Lanzavecchia and his team led to the development of the first effective vaccine against Ebola.

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

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