ETH Board, 18 May 2017

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 17 May 2017 to appoint a total of 18 professors; it also acknowledged the resignation of 2 professors and thanked them for their services.

Appointments at ETH Zurich

Professor Ulrik Brandes (*1968), currently Professor at the University of Konstanz, Germany, as Full Professor of Social Networks. The research focus of Ulrik Brandes, who has a highly interdisciplinary approach, is on the methodological principles of network research in general and its application to social networks in particular. His special interest is the question of how to reduce the gap between social science theory and data analytical methods. Ulrik Brandes received an ERC Synergy Grant in 2013. By appointing him, the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences is strengthening the research fields of social networks and computational social science and creating the potential for synergy both within ETH Zurich and with the University of Zurich.

Professor Arno Brandlhuber (*1964), currently Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg, Germany, as Associate Professor of Architecture and Design. Arno Brandlhuber is committed to working with the existing stock, and he views questioning the existing conventions and rules as a constant challenge to be tackled. In the political and social debate, the text is just as important to him as his designs. With the appointment of Arno Brandlhuber, the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich is gaining a position that did not previously exist, which looks beyond the built object and understands architecture as the ordering of social relationships, while taking social, economic and political interactions into account.

Dr Francesco Corman (*1982), currently a Senior Scientist in the private sector, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Transport Systems. Francesco Corman is an internationally renowned specialist in the field of transport and railways. His doctoral thesis was on the real-time optimisation of timetables. At ETH Zurich he will address the future development of transport systems in the coming age of autonomous vehicles. By appointing Francesco Corman, the Federal Institute is gaining a highly experienced transport researcher with a talent for invention in engineering. Thanks to his expertise, he is set to create and exploit synergies in information technology, mathematics and robotics.

Professor Jan De Vylder (*1968), currently Professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, as Associate Professor of Architecture and Design. For Jan De Vylder, practice, teaching and research are inseparably linked. He is interested in the process which leads to the creation of architecture, and by extension in the creation of architecture which in turn influences the process. In his view, this interplay of investigation/discovery and invention/implementation is an essential element of architectural activity. The appointment of Jan De Vylder will give students at ETH Zurich the opportunity to participate actively in his particular blend of teaching, research and practice.

Professor Daniela Domeisen (*1982), currently Junior Professor at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany, as Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Predictability. Daniela Domeisen is a weather and climate scientist with excellent contacts. Her research focuses on the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and the resulting predictability of weather and climate. At ETH Zurich, the SNSF professor will explore variability and predictability over time scales ranging from weeks to months, and will collaborate with MeteoSwiss. With the appointment of Daniela Domeisen, the Department of Environmental Systems Science is significantly boosting its expertise in the field of large-scale atmospheric dynamics.

Professor An Fonteyne (*1971), currently Professor at Hasselt University, Belgium, as Associate Professor of Architecture and Design. An Fonteyne advocates a building culture that pays particular attention to the economic and social boundary conditions of construction, as a counterweight to the trend for self-oriented and object-related architecture. By appointing An Fonteyne, the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich is gaining an incisive teacher and an outstanding architect. With her particular background she introduces an important theme to the department: construction in existing contexts, which will be of increasing relevance to the architects of the future.

Professor Torsten Hoefler (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Scalable Parallel Computing. Internationally, Torsten Hoefler is one of the leading young scientists in the field of high-performance computing. In 2015 he was awarded the ETH Zurich Latsis Prize for his innovative ideas. His research interests in system design, programming and performance analysis cover all the main aspects of high-performance computing on highly parallel systems. He aims to improve the usage efficiency of these systems many times over. To this end, he employs programming models which embody a higher abstraction level, for example.

Dr Stefanie Jonas (*1980), currently a post-doctoral student at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of RNA Biology and Disease. Stefanie Jonas conducts research into the regulation and processing of ribonucleic acids (RNA) and their incorporation into cellular RNA protein machineries in human cells. These processes are of considerable importance in genetic diseases and cancer. Stefanie Jonas’s results lay the foundations for potential therapeutic approaches in these areas. By appointing her to an assistant professorship, ETH Zurich is strengthening its important research in the field of RNA biology with a particular focus on pathogenetically relevant interconnections.

Professor Momoyo Kaijima (*1969), currently Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, as Associate Professor of Architectural Behaviorology. Momoyo Kaijima is an internationally recognised ambassador for behaviorology theory. This explores how a human being, object or building behaves in relation to its present social and physical environment and also develops strategies for the mutual improvement of this relationship. Through the appointment of Momoyo Kaijima, the Department of Architecture gains an important new position which expands on the theory of architectural behaviorology by investigating the current relationship between architecture and landscape, with a focus on new and innovative ways of using resources.

Dr Johan Lilliestam (*1980), currently a Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Renewable Energy Policy. Johan Lilliestam explores the social and ecological consequences of switching to a sustainable energy system. He attempts to identify factors that may prevent such a switch or have an impact on the attractiveness of sustainable energy systems. Johan Lilliestam’s current research focuses on the social, economic, ecological and political implications of centralised or decentralised renewable energy systems. In 2016 he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant for his innovative ideas.

Dr Joshua Payne (*1980), currently a Group Leader at the University of Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Computational Biology. As an SNSF professor, Joshua Payne will tackle fundamental questions regarding the evolution of complexity. Taking the structure of gene regulation and transcription networks as a paradigm, he will investigate whether evolution typically leads to greater complexity, and if so, which factors underpin this evolution. He will develop new computer-aided models of gene regulation for this purpose, linking these to publicly accessible research data on transcription networks in the human being and in yeast. The appointment of Joshua Payne enables ETH Zurich to raise its profile in theoretical and evolutionary biology substantially.

Dr Christian Schöb (*1979), currently a Group Leader at the University of Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Agricultural Ecology. Christian Schöb's research focuses on biodiversity patterns, their mechanisms and their role in ecosystem processes. His current interest is knowledge transfer for agricultural systems. This is illustrated by his latest work on the role played by positive and negative plant interactions in productivity and the occurrence of rare species in mixtures of breeds and species in grain fields. By appointing Christian Schöb as SNSF professor, ETH Zurich is strengthening the links between the research areas of agricultural sciences, integrative biology and terrestrial ecosystems.

Dr Simone Schürle (*1985), currently a post-doctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, in connection with a Branco Weiss Fellowship of ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Responsive Biomedical Systems. The focus of Simone Schürle’s research is the development of micro and nanometric tools for the investigation or manipulation of biological processes in cells and organs. She has designed activatable and reactive nanosystems to meet the rapidly growing demand for accurate tools. The appointment of Simone Schürle enables the Department of Health Sciences and Technology to strengthen the links between the research areas of robotics, nutrition, health and neuroscience in an ideal manner.

Professor Eftychia Vayena (*1972), currently SNSF Professor at the University of Zurich, as Full Professor of Bioethics. Eftychia Vayena is an internationally sought-after expert on ethical questions relating to the digital revolution in healthcare. She explores the individual’s rights to his or her own genome and health data, for example. The increasing importance of personal data gathered by means of smartphone sensors is a particular interest of hers. By appointing Eftychia Vayena, ETH Zurich is underlining the importance of health ethics, with particular reference to the future training of medical students, while establishing a connection with the strategic focus area of big data.

Professor Marcy Zenobi-Wong (*1963), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Tissue Engineering and Biofabrication. Marcy Zenobi-Wong’s research interests revolve around the biomechanics of cartilaginous tissue. She is exceptionally skilled at combining mechanical and biological perspectives. This enables her to pursue innovative paths in order to apply the latest knowledge of cellular and mechanobiology to regeneration methods. She is thus in an excellent position to assume a key role in tissue and cartilage engineering in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich.

Appointments at EPFL

Professor Patrick Barth (*1972), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA, as Associate Professor of Life Sciences. Patrick Barth has attracted international attention for his contributions on the structure of membrane proteins and the design of modified membrane proteins. At EPFL he intends to investigate how extracellular signals are transmitted through the membrane and trigger reactions in the cell. His discoveries have great potential in the field of cancer treatment. Patrick Barth has extensive knowledge of biophysics, structural biology, and cellular signal transmission combined with computer modelling. He will therefore greatly strengthen the strategic area of computational biology at EPFL.

Professor Georg Fantner (*1977), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL, as Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Microtechnology. Georg Fantner is a highly innovative scientist who was awarded an ERC Starting Grant for his research approaches in 2012. He gained considerable acclaim for developing microelectromechanical systems for atomic force microscopes, as well as a measuring process that facilitates the real-time 3D visualisation of living cells at the nanoscale. Georg Fantner is making major multidisciplinary contributions in biophysics, materials science and molecular biology. As one of the world’s leading experts in his field, he contributes significantly to the excellent reputation of EPFL.

Professor Daniel Kuhn (*1975), currently Associate Professor at EPFL, as Full Professor of Operations Research. Daniel Kuhn is an internationally renowned scientist with an impressive list of publications to his name. He focuses his mathematics-based research on decision theory, and specifically on new modelling paradigms for decision-making under uncertainty and on efficient dynamic decision-making models. Daniel Kuhn has succeeded in applying his findings on robust optimisation to a wide variety of problems, in particular energy storage optimisation, production planning, network optimization, process control or traffic planning.

Departure from ETH Zurich

Professor Donald Kossmann (*1968), currently Full Professor of Computer Science (Information Systems), will leave ETH Zurich at the end of October 2017 in order to take up a senior position in industry. Donald Kossmann was appointed to his present post in summer 2004. His research into the optimisation and scalability of database and information systems, and of web services platforms, is regarded as outstanding. He has also made substantial contributions in the fields of database architectures, efficient search processes and system interoperability.

Departure from EPFL

Professor Pierre Magistretti (*1952), currently Full Professor of Neurosciences, will retire at the end of September 2017. Pierre Magistretti is a world-renowned neuroscientist who has made key contributions to the understanding of brain metabolism. This includes discovering cellular mechanisms which influence the brain's energy consumption. These findings paved the way for the use of imaging techniques which have now become standard tools for neurological and psychiatric research. Pierre Magistretti was appointed to EPFL in 2005 and greatly strengthened neuroscience studies at the Faculty of Life Sciences, which had at that time only recently been established; his contributions included fostering close collaborations with partner institutions such as the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva.

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