Published: 08.12.10

ETH Board appoints new professors

At its meeting of 6 and 7 December 2010, the ETH Board has appointed new professors to ETH Zurich.


Upon application of the President of the ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Ralph Eichler, the ETH Board has appointed the following individuals as full professors at the ETH Zurich:

Stefano Brusoni (*1970), currently Associate Professor of Applied Economics at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy, as Full Professor of Technology and Innovation Management. At Bocconi University, Stefano Brusoni is Vice-Director of the KITeS Institute, one of the most productive research groups for technology and innovation studies in Europe. His interdisciplinary research covers fields such as industrial and innovation dynamics and R&D management.

Jonathan M. Levine (*1973), currently Full Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology of the University of California Santa Barbara, USA, as Full Professor of Plant Ecology. Jonathan Levine has been awarded numerous prizes. His research interests concern fundamental questions of ecology and biodiversity. He investigates processes that determine the coexistence of plants, as well as the biological reasons for the success of invasive plants and their impact on natural plant diversity.

Ralph Müller (*1964), currently Associate Professor of Biomechanics at the ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Biomechanics. Ralph Müller’s research extends to microstructural imaging and new techniques for the visualisation of biological tissue and biomaterials with the help of biomechanics and simulation processes. Müller has been awarded several renowned research prizes and set up two spin-offs.

Thomas J. Schmidt (*1970), currently Director of Research & Development at BASF Fuel Cell GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Lecturer at the Provadis School of International Management & Technology in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as Full Professor of Electrochemistry. Besides his professorship at the ETH Zurich, Thomas Schmidt will take on the directorship of the Electrochemistry Laboratory at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). His research concerns the exploration of catalytic processes for the development of electrocatalysts.

The ETH Board has appointed the following individuals as tenure-track assistant professors:

Christian Degen (*1976), currently Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Experimental Solid-State Physics. Christian Degen’s research covers the development of experimental tools which are not only applicable in physics, but also in chemistry and biology. At the MIT, he designed new experiments for the detection of faint magnetic signals in biological and anorganic systems.

Andreas Krause (*1978), currently Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, USA, as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science. Andreas Krause is among the leading young researchers in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. In his work on adaptive systems, he develops new types of models and algorithms. These methods have proved useful in traffic planning and in medical diagnostics.

Olga Sorkine (*1981), currently Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at New York University, USA, as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science. Olga Sorkine is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of geometric modelling and digital geometry processing. Her research into the interactive modelling of surfaces is important for many applications in computer graphics.

Savas Tay (*1977), currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Bioengineering of Stanford University, USA, as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Bioengineering. In his research, Savas Tay combines nanotechnology, optics and microfluidics in order to characterise cell-biological systems. The development of the first updatable holographic 3D display earned him a publication in Nature and attracted the attention of the print media and of television.

The ETH Board has appointed the following individual as assistant professor:

Boris J. P. Kaus (*1976), currently Senior Assistant and Scientist at the ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Computational Geodynamics. Boris Kaus’s field of research is geodynamics at various scales of magnitude from crystal conglomerates to the lithosphere and the earth’s mantle. In 2010, Kaus was awarded an ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant. He received this honour on account of his progress in the understanding of the lithosphere dynamics.

The ETH Board has re-appointed the following individuals as assistant professors:

Reto Knutti (*1973), currently Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Climate Physics. Reto Knutti is a highly recognised climatologist and an author in connection with the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provides the scientific foundation for international treaties on climate protection. In his research, Knutti investigates changes in the global climate system that are caused by the increasing emission of greenhouse gases.

Sonia Seneviratne (*1974), currently Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Land-Climate Interactions. Sonia Seneviratne is an author in connection with the climate reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She explores land-climate interactions at various spatial and temporal scales. For these purposes, she makes use of climate and land-surface models, data analysis from observation, model simulation and satellite data, as well as new processes for the generation of validation sets.

The ETH Board has appointed the following individuals as adjunct professors:

Taras Gerya (*1962), currently head of an independent research group and privat docent at the Institute of Geophysics at the ETH Zurich. Taras Gerya is the winner of the 2008 Golden Owl, the sympathy prize awarded by the students of the ETH Zurich. His research is concerned with the numerical modelling of geodynamic and planetary processes and is characterised by a multi-disciplinary approach.

Juliane Hollender (*1964), currently Head of the Department of Environmental Chemistry as the Aquatic Research Institute, Eawag, lecturer at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the ETH Zurich, and Adjunct Professor at the RWTH Aachen. In her research, Juliane Hollender explores the fate and behaviour of organic contaminants in aquatic environments and technical systems, as well as the biological degradation of organic compounds.

Martin Wild (*1964), currently a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at the ETH Zurich. In his research, Martin Wild investigates global climate changes with global climate models and with the earth’s radiation and surface energy budget. Wild is an author in connection with the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The ETH Board has acknowledged the resignation of the following professors of the ETH Zurich:

Prof. Dr. Vahid Sandoghar (*1966), currently Full Professor at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of the ETH Zurich, will leave the ETH Zurich as at 31 January 2011 because he has been appointed a Director of the newly established Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, Germany. The ETH Board and the ETH Zurich would like to thank Vahid Sandoghars for his services to teaching and research.

Prof. Dr. René Schwarzenbach (*1945), currently Full Professor of Environmental Chemistry, will retire as at 31 January 2011. René Schwarzenbach is a prominent scientist in the field of organic contaminants in the environment, the winner of several research prizes, as well as the author of a standard work on organic environmental chemistry. The ETH Board and the ETH Zurich appreciate his services to teaching, research and consultancy, and would like to express their thanks.