ETH Board, 08 March 2018

In response to the proposals received from the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Lino Guzzella, and the President of EPFL, Professor Martin Vetterli, the ETH Board resolved at its meeting of 7/8 March 2018 to appoint a total of 11 professors and award the title of professor to four individuals; it also acknowledged the resignation of 15 professors and thanked them for their services.

Appointments at ETH Zurich

Professor Whitney Behr (*1981), currently Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, USA, as Associate Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics. Whitney Behr studies questions relating to structural geology, the mechanics and rheology of the continental lithosphere, and quaternary geomorphology as a record that can be used to reconstruct deformation rates in faults. She combines field studies with laboratory experiments on rock deformation, and her research makes an important contribution to a better understanding of earthquake processes. With the appointment of Whitney Behr, the Department of Earth Sciences at ETH Zurich is expanding into the new research field of experimental rock mechanics.

Dr Andrea Burden (*1983), currently a post-doctoral student at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology. Andrea Burden is a promising young scientist. Her research, which has already won several awards, focuses on the use of pharmacoepidemiological methods to work on pharmacotherapy and drug safety in chronic disease. Andrea Burden is particularly interested in exploring the impact of obesity on the safety and effectiveness of medicines in inflammatory diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Through her appointment, ETH Zurich is creating synergies within the Federal Institute and with the University of Zurich.

Emanuel Christ (*1970) and Christoph Gantenbein (*1971), currently Partners and Architects at Christ & Gantenbein AG, Basel, and guest lecturers at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, as Full Professors of Architecture and Design. Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein are members of Switzerland’s most prominent group of architects in their age group, and have won numerous prizes. In Switzerland they have created unique and exceptionally bold buildings, including the extension and renovation of the Swiss National Museum in Zurich and the Kunstmuseum Basel. Their work in China, the UK, Mexico and Norway has established their reputation far beyond their own country. With their extensive experience of teaching at various universities, Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein are able to develop adventurous and imaginative new ideas for university teaching and will act as role models for their students.

Professor Jacob Corn (*1979), currently scientific director at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), Berkeley, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, as Full Professor of Genome Biology. Jacob Corn researches fundamental processes which identify and repair damage to inherited genetic material (DNA). He uses discoveries about the molecular processes of DNA repair to fix, switch on and off or replace genes at a defined position in the genome. This knowledge is important not only for fundamental and applied research but also for therapeutic medical applications. By appointing Jacob Corn, ETH Zurich is strengthening the cooperation between the fields of genomics, genetics and cell biology, as well as the development of modern genome editing techniques.

Dr Bill Morandi (*1983), currently a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, Mülheim, Germany, as Associate Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Bill Morandi has built up a globally visible research programme and is internationally recognised as a leading scientist in the field of homogeneous catalysis. His group has demonstrated new conceptual approaches to catalysis which facilitate the development of effective synthetic methods of preparing pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, polymers and organic materials. By appointing Bill Morandi, who recently received an ERC Starting Grant, ETH Zurich is encouraging research in the fields of catalysis and sustainable chemistry.

Dr Stanisa Raspopovic (*1983), currently Chief Technology Officer at the EPFL spin-off SensArs Neuroprosthetics, as Assistant Professor of Neuroengineering. Stanisa Raspopovic explores the field of human-machine interaction with reference to amputees and diabetics. New methods of sensory movement feedback enable lower limb amputees to be more aware of their prostheses, improve their gait and thus walk more efficiently and safely. In 2017 Stanisa Raspopovic was awarded an ERC Starting Grant for his forward-looking research. Through his appointment, ETH Zurich is strengthening research in medical technology and creating links between the research fields of medical technology and neuroscience.

Professor Lenny Winkel (*1975), currently Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich and a group leader at Eawag, as Associate Professor of Environmental Inorganic Geochemistry. Lenny Winkel investigates the environmental behaviour of selenium and other trace elements – such as arsenic – that can affect health. She conducts research into sources, pathways and sinks of naturally occurring selenium and explores the production of volatile forms of selenium by marine phytoplankton. She also examines the deposition of atmospherically transported selenium in the soil, providing an insight into the role climate plays in the abundance of selenium in the soil. Lenny Winkel also makes a substantial and committed contribution to teaching in the Department of Environmental Systems Science.

Appointments at EPFL

Professor Christoph Bostedt (*1972), currently Full Professor at Northwestern University, Evanston, USA, as Full Professor of Physical Chemistry and Head of the Femtochemistry Laboratory at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Christoph Bostedt is an internationally renowned expert on synchrotron radiation and free-electron lasers. His research findings have enabled significant advances to be made. Christoph Bostedt belongs to a new generation of researchers working in the field of physical chemistry on an interdisciplinary basis. His particular interests and outstanding expertise make him ideally qualified to exploit the potential of the X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL, which is due to come into regular use at the PSI in 2019. 

Professor Carlotta Guiducci (*1977), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Bioengineering. Carlotta Guiducci's research focuses on biomolecular analysis within microsystems. One of her specialist areas is the study of integration and interfacing in lab-on-a-chip devices. These are microfluidic systems which integrate all the functions of a full-size laboratory on a plastic substrate the size of a credit card. With her interdisciplinary approach and her focus on fundamental questions at the point where biology, electronics and biomedicine intersect, Carlotta Guiducci will make valuable contributions to a number of different research fields at EPFL.

Professor Athanasios Nenes (*1969), currently Full Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA, as Full Professor of Atmospheric Processes. In recent years, Athanasios Nenes has built up an international reputation in the areas of climate, air quality and cloud formation. One of his specialist fields is the impact on cloud formation and ecosystem function of bioaerosols produced from biomass combustion. The appointment of Athanasios Nenes gives EPFL a unique opportunity to establish itself more firmly as an active participant with a significant voice in an area of vital importance to the future of mankind.

Award of the title of Professor

Professor Jean-Pierre Danthine (*1950), currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Paris School of Economics (PSE), France, as Adjunct Professor at EPFL. Jean-Pierre Danthine is an internationally acclaimed economist who has had an impressive career in science and industry. From 2010 to 2015 he was on the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, serving as Vice-Chairman from 2012 onwards. Together with Professor Dominique Foray, Jean-Pierre Danthine will manage the College of Management of Technology (CDM) – EPFL’s college focusing on management, public policy and finance – for a period of two years. Based on internal and external partnerships at EPFL, a new phase of development has begun, to which Jean-Pierre Danthine will make a substantial contribution.

Dr Markus Künzler (*1964), currently Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Markus Künzler has led the Fungal Interaction Group for more than ten years. His work on the defence mechanisms of fungi against predators and bacteria is unique at ETH Zurich and his research findings have attracted great international attention.

Dr Katharina Maniura (*1964), currently Lecturer at ETH Zurich and Head of the Biointerfaces Department at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Katharina Maniura and her research group at Empa in St. Gallen investigate how cells and tissues react to an implant, for example. This work breaks down the barriers between materials science, biology and medicine, and has attracted considerable attention internationally.

Dr Nicola Zamboni (*1975), currently Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Nicola Zamboni’s internationally acclaimed research focuses on developing metabolomic techniques and methods of tracking stable isotopes for flux analysis in higher cells, and on investigating the metabolism of mammalian cells.

Departures from ETH Zurich

Professor Jean-Pierre Burg (*1953), currently Full Professor of Geology, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Jean-Pierre Burg has held a full professorship at ETH Zurich and a dual professorship with the University of Zurich since 1993; he was head of the Department of Earth Sciences for several years. He combines his field work on deformations with laboratory experiments and numerical modelling in order to test the stability of experimental principles over geological periods. Most of his field studies are conducted in the Himalayas, especially the area of Pakistan where the Karakoram Plate collides with the subducting Northern Kohistan Plate. Jean-Pierre Burg was the first foreigner to gain access to this remote region.

Professor Kees Christiaanse (*1953), currently Full Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Kees Christiaanse was appointed to his present post in 2003. He was head of the Institute for Urban Design for several years and has been Programme Coordinator for the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) of the Singapore-ETH Centre since 2010. Having trained as an architect, he soon turned his attention to urban design. Kees Christiaanse has gained experience in a wide variety of fields and has produced an extensive and nuanced body of work in the area of urban design. His publications document his endeavours to explore a broad range of urban-related questions. He has always been conscious of the interconnectedness of research, teaching and practice.

Professor Paul Embrechts (*1953), currently Full Professor of Mathematics, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Paul Embrechts has been a Full Professor at ETH Zurich since 1989. His research focuses on quantitative risk management, financial and insurance regulation, and extreme value analysis. He has served as Director of RiskLab Switzerland, an interdisciplinary research centre with a focus on statistical modelling and quantitative risk management in the insurance and finance sector. Thanks to his outstanding work, Paul Embrechts acts as an important bridge builder between academia and industry and ensures that his research findings are implemented in practice.

Professor Gerd Folkers (*1953), currently Full Professor of Science Studies with a special Focus on the History of Chemistry and Pharmacy, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Gerd Folkers was appointed Full Professor at ETH Zurich in 1994. The main focus of his research is the molecular description of the interactions between drug molecules and their binding sites within the organism. He has contributed significantly to the reform of pharmacy training in Switzerland, and to the biological orientation of pharmaceutical sciences at ETH Zurich. From 2004 to the end of 2015 he was head of the Collegium Helveticum. Since 2016 Gerd Folkers has led the critical thinking initiative of ETH Zurich and served as President of the Swiss Science Council (SSC).

Professor Jacques Herzog (*1950) and Professor Pierre de Meuron (*1950), currently Full Professors of Architecture and Design, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were appointed to their present posts in 1999. They are numbered among the world’s leading architects, attracting international attention for work such as the remodelling of the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London, the construction of the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Beijing National Stadium used for the 2008 Olympics. In conjunction with other renowned exponents of the Swiss architecture scene, they founded the internationally prominent ETH Studio Basel, which fuses architecture-related research and teaching in a novel way.

Professor Horst Knörrer (*1953), currently Full Professor of Mathematics, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Horst Knörrer has been a Full Professor at ETH Zurich since 1987. His main research areas are algebraic geometry and mathematical physics, and he is primarily interested in multi-electron systems in solid state physics. Horst Knörrer’s theoretical descriptions of weakly coupled fermions have made a key contribution to the understanding of multi-electron systems. He has achieved great success and international distinction for his work at the frontier between mathematics and physics, and can thus take credit for a considerable share of ETH Zurich’s world reputation in this field.

Professor Moira Norrie (*1953), currently Full Professor of Computer Science, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Moira Norrie has worked at ETH Zurich since 1993 and was appointed to her present post in 2002. Her research focused on the use of object-oriented and web technologies in information systems with an emphasis on supporting novel applications and forms of interaction. She cultivates successful partnerships with industrial companies and has attracted significant research funding. Moira Norrie’s courses are received with great interest by students, as demonstrated by a large number of term papers and degree dissertations. She has also served on a large number of committees, both at ETH Zurich and externally, and was a manager at both institute and department level for many years.

Professor Markus Rudin (*1953), currently Full Professor of Molecular Imaging and Functional Pharmacology, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Markus Rudin has been a Full Professor at ETH Zurich since 2006, holding a dual professorship with the University of Zurich. His research focuses on the development of non-invasive imaging procedures for investigating the structure, physiology and metabolism of tissue. Another field of application for imaging procedures is the study of cellular and molecular processes in intact organisms, particularly for monitoring signal transduction pathways. Markus Rudin's work has established him as one of the world’s leading experts in animal imaging.

Professor Dietmar A. Salamon (*1953), currently Full Professor of Mathematics, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Dietmar Salamon was appointed to his present post in 1998. His work focuses on symplectic topology – a relatively new field of mathematics – and related areas such as symplectic geometry. By setting up his symplectic topology research group, Dietmar Salamon was able to introduce an important branch of mathematics to ETH Zurich. This subject area has since achieved international recognition and enjoys great popularity with students thanks to Dietmar Salamon’s teaching skills.

Professor Bernd Scholl (*1953), currently Full Professor of Spatial Planning and Development, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Bernd Scholl has been a Full Professor at ETH Zurich since 2006. His teaching and research focus on spatial management in local and regional development, as well as space and infrastructure development. He also devotes considerable attention to cross-border tasks, and the development and design of innovative planning processes and methods in the areas of spatial planning and spatial development. Bernd Scholl deploys an excellent combination of planning and scientific/technical skills, and as a leading figure with an inclusive approach he plays an important role as a point of contact for practitioners.

Professor Miroslav Sik (*1953), currently Full Professor of Architecture and Design, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Miroslav Sik was appointed to his present post in 1999. He is regarded as the initiator of Analogue Architecture, and thus had a significant influence on architectural discourse in the early 1990s. In naturalistic architectural representations, which were still laboriously designed and drawn by hand, Analogue Architecture proposed a synthesis of existing models and alienating elements, thus attempting to transcend the basic tenets of postmodernism. As a teacher, Miroslav Sik succeeded in linking architectural theory to his specific design methodology in an inspiring, challenging and stimulating way.

Professor Gerhard Tröster (*1953), currently Full Professor of Electronics, will retire with effect from 1 August 2018. Gerhard Tröster has been a Full Professor at ETH Zurich since 1993 and was also head of institute and head of department for some years. His research group investigates methods, technologies and system platforms for detecting the physical, mental and social context, as well as testing wearable sensor networks. In addition, Gerhard Tröster works on modelling and designing smart textiles, and on the packaging and miniaturisation of mobile signal processing and computing platforms. Mobile systems of this kind are used in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, for example.

Departures from EPFL

Professor Elyahou Kapon (*1953), currently Full Professor of Physics, will retire with effect from 1 August 2019. Elyahou Kapon was appointed to EPFL in 1993 following a successful career in science and industry. As an expert on microelectronics and optoelectronics, he directed the Federal Institute's first laboratory devoted to nanostructures – with a focus on semiconductors and photonics. Elyahou Kapon’s internationally acclaimed research, along with his creativity and scientific curiosity, have helped enhance the reputation of EPFL. He has been a member of numerous international committees, acted as a consultant to the ESA and served on a European Research Council (ERC) committee; in addition, he has registered 17 patents and founded a company.

Professor Willy Zwaenepoel (*1956), currently Full Professor of Operating Systems, will leave EPFL with effect from 1 July 2020. Willy Zwaenepoel joined EPFL in 2002. Until 2011 he was the first Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and made a major contribution to turning it into one of the best European research institutes in its field today. Willy Zwaenepoel’s own research focuses on a number of key aspects of operating systems, including microkernels, fault tolerance and distributed shared memory. Several of his projects have led to products that can be used in industry, and also to start-ups. Willy Zwaenepoel is leaving EPFL to take up a senior appointment at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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