Published: 25.05.12

New professors at the ETH Zurich appointed

Upon application of the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Ralph Eichler, the ETH Board appointed at its meeting of 23/24 May 2012 the following new professors.

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The ETH Board appointed the new professors. (Image: Peter Rüegg / ETH Zürich)
The ETH Board appointed the new professors. (Image: Peter Rüegg / ETH Zürich) (large view)

Appointment of the Director of WSL as a Professor of both Federal Institutes of Technology

Professor Konrad Steffen (*1952), currently Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA, and Director of that university’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), as Full Professor of the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich and of the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL. Konrad Steffen was appointed as the new Director of the WSL Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research by the Federal Council as of 1 July 2012 in response to an application from the ETH Board. His appointment as a Professor of the two Federal Institutes of Technology will take effect from the same date.


Dr Jonas Buchli (*1977), currently a research group head at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, as Assistant Professor (SNF) of Agile and Dexterous Robotics. Jonas Buchli studied at ETH Zurich before going on to obtain his doctorate at EPFL. His research focuses on robotics control in unstructured environments and in particular on robots that can act independently and be deployed in the event of catastrophes, for example. With the appointment of Jonas Buchli, ETH Zurich will further strengthen its globally acknowledged leading position in robotics research.

Dr Andreas Fichtner (*1979), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, as Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Computational Seismology. Through his work, Andreas Fichtner has established himself as one of the leading international scientists in the field of theoretical and computer-based seismology. His dissertation has been drawn on by both researchers and lecturers at leading universities. Andreas Fichtner’s research work is of great significance in the quest for a better understanding of the earth’s interior.

Dr Guillaume Habert (*1977), currently Research Engineer at the Université Paris-Est, France, as Associate Professor of Sustainable Construction. Guillaume Habert’s principal research focus is the evaluation of the sustainability of concrete and the development of new bonding agents for the construction sector. With his multidisciplinary approach, he will expand collaboration with other institutions and joint ventures through global scientific networks, and thereby play a key role in the strategically important area of sustainable construction.

Professor George Haller (*1965), currently Distinguished Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, as Full Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics. George Haller pursues a fundamental research approach, combining ideas from applied mathematics, continuum and fluid mechanics, and nonlinear dynamics. He ranks among the world’s leading figures in this field. George Haller’s research can be used to determine transport barriers mathematically, which in turn helps to predict the way oil slicks spread across oceans, for example.

Dr Sebastian Huber (*1977), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, as Assistant Professor (SNF) of Condensed Matter Theory and Quantum Optics. Sebastian Huber studied and obtained his doctorate at ETH Zurich. The focus of his research lies on highly correlated systems in solid-state physics and quantum optics. With the appointment of Sebastian Huber, the Department of Physics is strengthening the theoretical foundation for harnessing new phenomena and laws, particularly in the area of quantum information.

Professor Patrick Jenny (*1965), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Multi-Scale Modeling. Patrick Jenny studied and obtained his doctorate at ETH Zurich before working as a researcher for a number of years in the USA. His field of research is numerical flow calculation, with a particular focus on the simulation of flow in porous media and turbulent reactive flow. In recognition of his outstanding research services, he was awarded the National Latsis Prize in 2005. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Patrick Jenny seeks to deliver research results that can be applied in both scientific and industrial areas.

Professor Jürg Leuthold (*1966), currently Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany, as Full Professor of Photonics and Communication. Jürg Leuthold studied and obtained his doctorate at ETH Zurich. His research interests include high-speed communication on an optical basis. His interdisciplinary work combines fundamental research in physics with applications in the field of information technology. With the appointment of Jürg Leuthold, ETH Zurich is further expanding its teaching and research activities in the area of communications technology.

Professor Adrian Perrig (*1972), currently Full Professor and Director of CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, as Full Professor of Computer Science. Adrian Perrig is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of systems security. His research involves the design of secure and reliable computer systems, comprising mobile platforms, social networks and key components of the internet. With his work on the redesign of crucial internet components, Adrian Perrig will strengthen the recently founded Institute of Information Security at ETH Zurich.

Professor Michael Ristow (*1967), currently Full Professor at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany, as Full Professor of Energy Metabolism. Michael Ristow is interested in the biochemical fundamentals of obesity, diabetes mellitus and general ageing. In particular, his work focuses on the parameters of mitochondrial energy metabolism in the context of these conditions. Michael Ristow’s research work will make a major contribution to solving current health problems.

Dr Jennifer Rupp (*1980), senior scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA, as Assistant Professor (SNF) of Electrochemical Materials. Jennifer Rupp obtained her doctorate from ETH Zurich. She researches electric and dielectric properties of complex metal oxides in the form of thin films with potential application for data storage in fuel cells or in miniaturised switching elements. With the appointment of Jennifer Rupp, ETH Zurich is further expanding its globally acknowledged leading position in the research of non-metallic, inorganic materials.

Dr Kevin Schawinski (*1981), currently Einstein Fellow at the Chandra Science Center of NASA at Yale University in New Haven, USA, as Assistant Professor (SNF) of Black Hole and Galaxy Astrophysics. Kevin Schawinski’s research focuses on the symbiotic relationship between galaxies and their central supermassive black holes, and looks at the question of how galaxies and black holes influence one another. With the appointment of Kevin Schawinski, the Department of Physics is strengthening its research focus on the role of black holes in the structural development of the universe.

Dr Bruno Studer (*1977), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University, Denmark, as Assistant Professor (SNF) of Forage Crop Genetics. Bruno Studer studied agricultural science at ETH Zurich. He focuses on the development of plant breeding procedures which are supported by molecular markers, with a view to improving the productivity and efficiency of plants used for forage purposes. These breeding procedures encompass the traditional applications of functional markers as well as new concepts of genomic selection. ETH Zurich is expecting Bruno Studer to make significant contributions to the resolution of global nutrition problems.

Dr Anton Wutz (*1968), currently Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow and research group head at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, as Full Professor of Genetics. Anton Wutz focuses on processes of gene regulation in mammals. His area of research extends from the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation to the physiological control of cell differentiation. With the appointment of Anton Wutz, ETH Zurich is strengthening the important research areas of genetics, epigenetics and stem cell research, and thereby further consolidating its globally acknowledged leading position in the area of cell biology and molecular medicine.


Professor Ryan Gilmour (*1980), Assistant Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Ryan Gilmour will leave ETH Zurich as of 30 September 2012 and accept a professorship at the Westphalian-Wilhelms University of Münster, Germany.

Professor Sebastian Jessberger (*1974), Assistant Professor of Neural Stem Cell Biology. Sebastian Jessberger will leave ETH Zurich as of 31 July 2012 and accept an associate professorship at the University of Zurich.