Twelve professors appointed

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At its meeting of 13 July 2022 and upon application of Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich, the ETH Board appointed twelve professors. At the same time, the Board also bid farewell to four professors and thanked them for their service.

Dr Manuela Irene Brunner (*1989), currently Lecturer at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Hydrology and Climate Impact in the Department of Environmental Systems Science. Manuela Irene Brunner’s research focuses on hydrological processes and climate impact, with particular reference to hydrological extremes such as droughts and floods. She works at the interface of several disciplines - including climate science, hydrology and statistics - and combines data science with statistical and hydrological modelling. Her appointment is made jointly with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in connection with the new CERC research centre at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos.

Maria Antoinette Conen (*1979), currently an architect in her own architectural office in Zurich and Lecturer at ETH Zurich and EPFL, as Full Professor of Architecture and Housing in the Department of Architecture. Maria Antoinette Conen’s research investigates recycling, reuse and the transformation of buildings. Her architecture features references to and cross-links with other fields, such as art, ecology, science and architectural history. The appointment of the popular teacher Maria Antoinette Conen will greatly enrich the Department of Architecture and its students, ensuring synergies with other chairs and areas within the Department.

Professor Johan Gaume (*1985), currently Assistant Professor at EPFL and Visiting Scientist at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos, as Associate Professor of Alpine Mass Movements in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. Johan Gaume conducts research into the initiation and dynamics of gravitational mass movements, with a particular focus on snow and avalanche mechanics. He was awarded an SNSF Ambizione Scholarship in 2015, an SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship in 2018 and an SNSF Spark Award in 2020. His appointment represents an excellent opportunity for the Department and the WSL/SLF institutes to strengthen the links between natural hazards, geomechanics and numerical modelling as areas of research.

Dr Andreas Güntner (*1987), currently Research Associate at Zurich University Hospital, as Assistant Professor of Human-centered Sensing in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Andreas Güntner’s research focuses on molecular sensor technologies that will enable the next generation of electronic devices to perceive smells. This work has applications in personalised medicine and can also be used for monitoring air and food quality. Andreas Güntner was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2021. With this appointment, the Department is notably strengthening the strategic research areas of materials and manufacturing technologies in connection with health and medicine. Important synergies between the University of Zurich, Zurich University Hospital, PSI, Empa, Agroscope and ETH Zurich will also be created through the interdisciplinary Exhalomics research project.

Dr Ralf Jung (*1990), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Ralf Jung’s research deals with programming languages, formal verification and interactive theorem proving. He has a particular interest in developing a formal foundation for the programming language Rust, which is rapidly gaining importance in research and industry. His groundbreaking thesis has been awarded five prizes and he is globally recognised as a pioneer. By appointing Ralf Jung, the Department of Computer Science is securing a leader in this field while simultaneously boosting its expertise in programming languages.

Mariam Kamara (*1979), currently an architect in her own architecture firm in Niger and in the USA, as Full Professor of Architecture Heritage and Sustainability in the Department of Architecture. Mariam Kamara’s work stands out for its systematic consideration of local, traditional types of construction; most of her projects are located in her home country of Niger. Her construction projects, which have won multiple international awards, combine traditional knowledge with modern design strategies. In her teaching she is committed to representing an alternative history of architecture, drawing on formerly neglected sources of local knowledge in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Mariam Kamara’s appointment will help the Department to reposition itself internationally.

Dr Tatjana Kleele (*1984), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at EPFL, as Assistant Professor of Mitochondrial Biology in the Department of Biology. Tatjana Kleele’s research focuses on applying and refining cutting-edge microscopy techniques that are employed to investigate cellular processes with high spatial and temporal resolution. She has won several grants and awards for her work. Her appointment will help to strengthen the Department. The key role played by mitochondria in many diseases and ageing processes means that important synergies can be created not only with the Department of Health Sciences and Technology but also with Zurich University Hospital.

Dr Thomas Michaels (*1988), currently Lecturer and Group Leader at University College London, United Kingdom, as Assistant Professor of Soft and Living Matter Physics in the Department of Biology. Thomas Michaels’ research explores complex systems theory in biology using control theory, soft matter physics and computational biology. He has wide-ranging teaching experience and is particularly well-known for his books on mathematical topics. The appointment of Thomas Michaels is an ideal opportunity for the Department of Biology to strengthen intradepartmental links between the research areas of physics, mathematics, chemistry, materials science, biology and biophysics.

Professor Whitney Behr (*1981), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics in the Department of Earth Sciences. Whitney Behr’s research investigates topics that include the deformation of earth materials under different environmental conditions. Her detailed characterisation of rock deformation and the structural context of material deformation behaviour has attracted considerable attention. She heads the Rock Physics and Mechanics Laboratory at ETH Zurich. In addition, she has served and continues to serve on various global bodies and is regularly invited to speak at numerous international conferences. Whitney Behr has received a number of awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2020.

Professor Otmar Hilliges (*1979), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Otmar Hilliges conducts research in the areas of human-machine interaction, machine vision and machine learning. This branch of research, which Otmar Hilliges himself established at ETH Zurich, is a perfect fit with the Department of Computer Science and opened up numerous opportunities for collaboration, which soon attracted considerable attention and recognition in the international scientific community. Otmar Hilliges is highly committed to making a contribution both at ETH Zurich and elsewhere, and he is an internationally requested consultant and conference organiser who also serves on various steering committees.

Professor Ender Konukoglu (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Biomedical Image Computing in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Ender Konukoglu works at the interface between machine learning and biomedical imaging, with a focus on developing computer methods for the analysis and interpretation of medical images, such as MR and CT images. He is an acclaimed researcher with an impressive list of publications and three patents to his name. In addition he is a dedicated lecturer and a successful supervisor and mentor, as shown by his nomination for the Art of Leadership Award in 2020.

Professor Emma Wetter Slack (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Mucosal Immunology in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Emma Wetter Slack’s research programme covers both novel technologies for the development of oral vaccines and research into functional microbiota. At ETH Zurich she set up the world’s first facility for the metabolic and behavioural analysis of animals that lack, or have very limited, microbiota. She has won a number of awards for her research, including the 2017 Latsis Prize from ETH Zurich and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2019. In 2016 ETH Zurich also awarded her a Golden Owl for excellence in teaching.

Professor Pierrick Bousseau (*1992), currently Assistant Professor of Mathematical Physics in the Department of Physics, is leaving ETH Zurich at the end of July 2022. Pierrick Bousseau conducts research at the point where algebraic geometry intersects with mathematical physics and symplectic geometry. He has won several awards for his research. Pierrick Bousseau is leaving to take up a tenure track assistant professorship at the University of Georgia in the USA.

Professor Alessandro Carlotto (*1984), currently Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics, will leave ETH Zurich at the end of August 2022. Alessandro Carlotto’s research takes place at the interface of differential geometry, non-linear analysis and mathematical physics, with a special focus on geometric variational problems. He is leaving to take up a full professorship at the University of Trento in Italy.

Professor Daniel Hall (*1985), currently Assistant Professor of Innovative and Industrial Construction in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, is to leave ETH Zurich at the end of August 2022. Daniel Hall’s research explores how to use new organisational models to improve governance, productivity and innovation in construction projects. He is leaving to take up a tenure track assistant professorship at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Professor Marloes Maathuis (*1978), currently Full Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics, will leave ETH Zurich at the end of December 2022. Marloes Maathuis is a leading scientist who works at the interface between biology, epidemiology and statistics. Her interests include causal inference, algorithmics and methods for graphical models. She is one of the most popular teachers in the Department.


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