New appointments at ETH Zurich

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At its meeting of 6 and 7 March 2024 and upon application of Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich, the ETH Board appointed nine professors. The Board also awarded the title of "Professor" three times and the title of "Professor of Practice" once.

Dr Laura Bégon-Lours (*1989), currently Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Neuromorphic Electronics with Oxides in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Laura Bégon-Lours’ research is concerned with the development and application of nanoscale components that can be used as synapses in artificial neural networks. Her goal is to manufacture bio-inspired chips that work in a similar way to the human brain. In 2019 Laura Bégon-Lours won a Marie Curie Fellowship for her innovative work, and she has also been the recipient of an SNSF Starting Grant. Her appointment strengthens the Department in the area of neuromorphic engineering.

Dr Christian Freudlsperger (*1989), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Multilevel Politics in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences. Christian Freudlsperger’s research interests lie at the intersection of European integration, comparative federalism and the analysis of political development. In addition to numerous articles on comparative and European politics, Christian Freudlsperger has written a monograph published by Oxford University Press on the subject of trade policy in multilevel systems. He will use his SNSF Starting Grant to seek to develop a novel understanding of the EU as a provider of "public reinsurance" against transboundary crises, thus strengthening the Department in the area of governance.

Dr Nathalie M. Grob (*1989), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, as Assistant Professor of Peptide-based Drug Discovery in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Nathalie M. Grob’s research involves developing efficient methods of discovering new, peptide-based medications. Her teaching and research have a particular focus on pathologies that principally affect women and have been little studied to date. She was awarded an SNSF Starting Grant for her work. This appointment will help to create numerous multidisciplinary synergies, both within the Department and in other areas, as well as with partners in the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Marco Pavone (*1980), currently Associate Professor at Stanford University, USA, and Director at Nvidia Corporation, USA, as Full Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Marco Pavone develops methodologies for the analysis, design and control of autonomous systems, with particular emphasis on aerospace robotics networks, autonomous vehicles and the mobility systems of the future. This acclaimed researcher has won many awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers presented by President Barack Obama. By making this appointment, ETH Zurich will be able to expand the recently established, future-oriented field of space science and technology in a targeted way.

Dr Patrick Alberto Rühs (*1985), currently Head of Science at Planted Foods AG, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Food Structure Engineering in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Patrick Alberto Rühs’ research focuses on the interactions between process engineering and biotechnology, with the aim of producing new food structures. At the ETH spin-off Planted Foods AG he has developed new, patented technologies and processes for the manufacture of novel foods, which can now be found in grocery stores. Patrick Alberto Rühs has obtained a significant number of grants for Planted Foods. His appointment will result in important interactions and synergies within the Department and also with industry.

Professor Livia Schubiger (*1980), currently Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, UK, as Full Professor of International Relations and Data Science in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences. Livia Schubiger’s research has a focus on the social and institutional implications of violence and conflict, and on avenues to reduce gender-specific and political violence against civilian populations in wartime. She has won a number of prizes for her work, and has extensive international teaching experience. With the appointment of Livia Schubiger, the Department is boosting the research areas of Data Science and International Relations, and strengthening the links between ETH Zurich and international Geneva.

Professor Nicola Aceto (*1982), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Department of Biology. Nicola Aceto’s research aims to understand the basic molecular mechanisms that drive cancer. He is acknowledged as a world leader in the field of cancer metastasis, has won numerous awards, and is regularly invited to speak at prestigious conferences. His ground-breaking discoveries and scientific achievements are documented in a large number of publications, a significant proportion of which have appeared in high-impact journals such as Nature and Cell. Nicola Aceto’s commitment to ETH Zurich includes his comprehensive support for knowledge transfer, and goes well beyond teaching: in spring 2023, for example, he was elected as a member of the Tenure Committee of ETH Zurich.

Professor Lucio Isa (*1979), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Soft Materials and Interfaces in the Department of Materials. Lucio Isa focuses on understanding the fundamental properties of colloidal particles and fluid interfaces with a view to developing a broad range of new soft and active materials. His research attracts considerable attention both nationally and internationally, and has won several awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020. He sits on several committees and develops partnerships with industry. In 2019 Lucio Isa won a Golden Owl at ETH Zurich for his notable commitment and excellent teaching. He has been Director of the Doctoral School of Materials and Processes since 2021, and the Department’s Director of Studies since 2023.

Professor Martin Pilhofer (*1980), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy in the Department of Biology. Martin Pilhofer’s research focuses on investigating the structure of macromolecular machines. He has made key contributions to the understanding of bacterial contractile injection systems. These results were made possible thanks to his work on the methodological development of cryo-electron tomography. As the leading researcher in this field, he was quickly able to introduce this novel, groundbreaking technology to ETH Zurich and apply it successfully. He is recognised for the high quality of his teaching and supervision, and the awards he has received include an ERC Starting Grant in 2015 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2020.

Dr Eling de Bruin (*1963), currently Private Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich and at Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Eling de Bruin’s scientific work covers numerous examples of new contributions to sport and movement science, gerontology and various clinical disciplines. He is a leading international expert on falls in the elderly. Eling de Bruin has an impressive list of publications and has won many awards. Universities throughout the world show great interest in his research.

Dr Joaquín Jiménez-Martínez (*1981), currently Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at Eawag, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Joaquín Jiménez-Martínez conducts research on subsurface applications, including geothermal energy, and how they interact with the ecology of the subsurface - a topic of great importance to the energy transition in Switzerland and beyond. He has developed an international network of contacts and won a number of awards. His work has found applications in groundwater monitoring and protection in Switzerland and abroad.

Dr João P. Leitão (*1978), currently Private Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich and Group Leader at Eawag, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. João P. Leitão’s research investigates urban flood risks and infrastructure management, with a focus on increasing urbanisation and future-oriented infrastructure. The models and methods he has developed are of considerable relevance to society and are set to gain steadily in importance over the coming decades. His results are published in academic journals, and his commitment to Eawag is exemplary.

Damian Jerjen (*1973), currently Director of the Swiss association for spatial planning EspaceSuisse and Lecturer at ETH Zurich and other Swiss universities, as Professor of Practice at ETH Zurich. Damian Jerjen is an economist and spatial planner. He serves on various bodies, including the Council for Spatial Planning (ROR). At EspaceSuisse, Damian Jerjen supports and brings together spatial planning experts throughout Switzerland, and is active in the Spatial Planning Network. He has a thorough knowledge of ETH Zurich, both as a lecturer and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Master of Advanced Studies in Spatial Planning. He will continue to participate in stakeholder dialogues on curriculum development for the Master’s course. Damian Jerjen is to commence work as Professor of Practice at the start of April 2024, in addition to being head of EspaceSuisse.
Editorial team