12 professors at ETH Zurich appointed

Ioannis Anastasopoulos. (Photo: courtesy of I.A.)

Ioannis Anastasopoulos. (Photo: courtesy of I.A.)

Upon application of the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Lino Guzzella, at its meeting of September 23rd/24th 2015 the ETH-Board appointed 12 individuals as professors.


Ioannis Anastasopoulos (*1976), currently Professor at the University of Dundee, Scotland, as Full Professor of Geotechnical Engineering. Ioannis Anastasopoulos is an internationally renowned scientist with extensive knowledge of numerical and physical modelling. In addition, he has industrial experience and innovative research ideas in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering and offshore geotechnical engineering. He ideally complements the existing expertise in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. Ioannis Anastasopoulos will help reinforce ETH Zurich’s leading position in geotechnical engineering topics, such as the ability of buildings to withstand earthquakes.



Yaakov Benenson (*1975), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Synthetic Biology. Yaakov Benenson is one of the leading young scientists in the field of synthetic biology. This new science uses functional combinations of individual molecular components to develop artificial biological systems which allow new insights into diseases and innovative therapeutic approaches. Yaakov Benenson was the first person to build this kind of biomolecular computing device. By promoting him to Associate Professor, ETH Zurich and the Department of Biosystems in Basel are strengthening the position of synthetic biology as a strategic research focus.



Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger (*1977), currently Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as Assistant Professor of Digital Building Technologies. Benjamin Dillenburger has attracted international attention for his outstanding work in opening up new fields in construction. The theses he has formulated on the basis of digital design and fabrication processes call classical paradigms into question. 3D architectural printing is one of his key areas of research. Here, he focuses on investigating the specific performance and tectonic possibilities of high-resolution additive printing processes. Benjamin Dillenburger has the potential to make a significant contribution to the future of architectural production.


Dr. Marco Hutter (*1985), currently Deputy Laboratory Director at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Robotic Systems. Marco Hutter has achieved global recognition for his pioneering work on mechanical walking. His focus is on innovative concepts of series elastic actuation systems, which enable quadrupedal robots to walk and run in an extremely efficient and dynamic manner. A drive module developed by his team will shortly be used in the industrial manufacture of walking excavators. Marco Hutter’s appointment will further enhance ETH Zurich’s leading position in robotics research and significantly strengthen two National Centres of Competence in Research - Digital Fabrication and Robotics.


Dr. Christoph Keller (*1981), currently a post-doctoral student at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, as Assistant Professor of Mathematical Physics. Christoph Keller is an internationally acclaimed theoretical physicist. His work highly successfully combines physical intuition with methods from modern mathematics. He has gained particular recognition for his work on conformal field theories and their applications in string theory. In addition, he is a gifted teacher who is able to explain even the most complex content while inspiring students to discover more about his research interests. Christoph Keller’s appointment at ETH Zurich is expected to reinforce the traditionally strong relationship between the Departments of mathematics and physics.


Dr. Alexander Mathys (*1979), currently Head of Department at the German Institute of Food Technologies in Lower Saxony, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Processing. Alexander Mathys is a well-regarded expert in thermal and non-thermal preservation technologies. His other research interests include the scalability of processes using approaches derived from micro-processing technology, alternative sources of protein from algae and insects, and using life cycle analyses to assess the sustainability of value chains. With the appointment of Alexander Mathys, ETH Zurich is adding the area of sustainable food processing to its existing strengths in food sciences and nutrition.


Christoph Müller (*1978), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Energy Science and Engineering. Christoph Müller is recognised as a young scientist with an international reputation. He works on research problems at the interface between the mechanical and chemical engineering sciences. His goal is to develop new energy conversion processes with massively reduced CO2 emissions. By appointing Christoph Müller as an Associate Professor, ETH Zurich is gaining an outstanding specialist who will make a significant contribution to its research competence in a subject of particular importance to the world’s future energy supplies.


Onur Mutlu (*1978), currently Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, as Full Professor of Computer Science. Onur Mutlu is one of the world’s most promising scientists in the field of computer engineering and has gained an excellent reputation through his contributions to top conferences. He conducts research into the design of fast, scalable and energy-efficient computers, especially their memory architecture. His other research topics include biological computing and bio-inspired systems. Onur Mutlu’s appointment strengthens the computer systems subject area at ETH Zurich. His work also has interesting cross-connections with topical research issues such as data centres, networks and operating systems.

Gunnar Rätsch (*1973), currently Associate Professor at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, as Full Professor of Biomedical Informatics. Gunnar Rätsch is an internationally renowned specialist in medical and bioinformatics. He develops highly advanced statistical processes to discover genes in genomic sequence data and use them to extract medical information. This knowledge is linked to large volumes of data from hospital archives, for example, thus helping to drive personalised medicine forward. By appointing Gunnar Rätsch, ETH Zurich is not only proactively strengthening research and teaching at the interface between information technology and medicine but also reinforcing the strategic area of big data.

Award of the title of Professor


Dr. Takashi Ishikawa (*1967), Lecturer at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Takashi Ishikawa has made a significant contribution to the development of structural electron microscopy at ETH Zurich. He is a global leader in applying this technology to biological questions.



Dr. Stefanie D. Krämer (*1964), Senior Lecturer and Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Stefanie Krämer contributes significantly to the teaching offered by the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her scientific work is well regarded internationally.



Christoph Vorburger (*1971), from October 2015 Group Leader at Eawag in Dübendorf, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Christoph Vorburger is an internationally acclaimed evolutionary biologist and an outstanding university lecturer. His Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) assistant professorship at the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich expires at the end of September 2015.

Departures from ETH Zurich


Pius Baschera (*1950), currently Full Professor of Entrepreneurship, will retire at the end of January 2016. Since 1998 Pius Baschera has been a lecturer at ETH Zurich, alongside his successful business career as a mechanical engineer and business expert. In 2006 the ETH Board appointed him as a Full Professor. His post was established along the lines of a Professor of Practice with reduced working hours. ETH Zurich thus ensures a suitable mix of research and practical management. In his work as a lecturer, Pius Baschera focused on giving lectures on innovation management and practice-based case studies on strategy development and implementation. His lectures have been very popular.

Bertram Batlogg (*1950), currently Full Professor of Physics of Condensed Matter, is to retire at the end of January 2016. Bertram Batlogg was appointed to ETH Zurich in the year 2000, following a successful international research career. His award-winning research activities, which have received recognition at the highest levels, are in the field of experimental solid-state physics with an emphasis on new materials and their electrical, magnetic and optical characteristics. He has been able to expand fundamental knowledge and make it usable for practical applications. For some years, Bertram Batlogg has also been working on questions relating to organic molecular crystals and organic semiconductors.

Roman Boutellier (*1950), currently Full Professor of Innovation and Technology Management and Vice President Human Resources and Infrastructure, is to retire at the end of December 2015. Roman Boutellier is one of the few people in Switzerland to attain top positions both academically and in business. He has filled a variety of demanding positions in leading industrial firms and serves on the boards of directors of international companies to this day. His scientific career led him to the University of St. Gallen, where he was appointed as a Full Professor in 1993. In March 2004 the ETH Board appointed him as a Full Professor at ETH Zurich, while from 2005 onwards he was head of postgraduate management studies. At the beginning of October 2008 he was appointed to the Executive Board. Both as a professor and in his management role, Roman Boutellier has made a significant contribution to strengthening ETH Zurich in strategically important areas such as real estate, human resources and IT infrastructure, and in enhancing its standing as a leading international university. He left his mark in particular in the development of the university site in central Zurich, in the expansion of the Hönggerberg location and in the project to construct the new Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano and launch the ETH Biosystems department in Basel.

Uta Hassler (*1950), currently Full Professor of Historic Building Research and Conservation, will retire at the end of January 2016. Uta Hassler joined ETH Zurich in June 2005. She is one of Europe’s leading figures in the preservation of historical monuments. In her work Uta Hassler has devoted herself to the entire spectrum of historic building research and monument conservation. She has placed particular emphasis on developing new methods of analysing the condition of buildings and gaining new perspectives on a sustainable management policy. With her interdisciplinary approach, Uta Hassler has further enhanced the profile of the Institute for Historic Building Research and Conservation and added forward-looking topics to the research activity of the Department of Architecture.

Ottmar Holdenrieder (*1954), currently Full Professor of Forest Pathology and Dendrology, is to take early retirement at the end of August 2016. After holding various international posts, Ottmar Holdenrieder was appointed to ETH Zurich as an Associate Professor in 1990. He was promoted to Full Professor in October 1997. His research has focused on fungal diseases in forest trees, differential diagnosis of tree diseases and biodiversity in woody plants. Under Ottmar Holdenrieder, the subject area of forest pathology and dendrology has experienced rapid growth at ETH Zurich, gaining a leading international position in the field of forest mycology.

Bertrand Meyer (*1950), currently Full Professor of Software Engineering, will retire at the end of January 2016. In October 2001 the ETH Board appointed Bertrand Meyer as a Full Professor at ETH Zurich. His work has covered various aspects of software engineering with a particular focus on methods, technologies, languages and tools for improving software quality. He has been outstandingly successful at making his research results applicable in practice. A software programme he developed is currently used by companies and government offices throughout the world. Furthermore, Bertrand Meyer has written a number of highly regarded books and academic articles on software engineering.

Paul Smith (*1951), currently Full Professor of Polymer Technology, is to retire at the end of January 2016. Paul Smith was appointed to ETH Zurich in 1995 following a successful career in science and business. His areas of work have included electrically and optically active polymers, polymer phase behaviour, polymer systems with strong intermolecular interactions and polymer systems with metallic components. In addition, polymer processing has been given high priority within his very active research group. Paul Smith’s research findings have attracted international attention and won a number of prizes.

Walter Steurer (*1950), currently Full Professor of Crystallography, will retire at the end of January 2016. Walter Steurer has held joint professorships at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich since autumn 1993. He is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on crystallography. His research interests include investigating the structure of aperiodic crystals and their phase transformations, the modelling of order/disorder phenomena, the measurement of thermoelastic tensors of single crystals, X-ray holography and higher-dimensional crystallography. In addition to his work in research and teaching, Walter Steurer has served as a head of institute and head of department.

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