Published: 08.03.13

New professors at the ETH Zurich appointed

Upon application of the President of ETH Zurich, Professor Ralph Eichler, at its meeting of 6/7 March 2013 the ETH Board appointed professors, took note of the resignations and thanked them for their services.

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

Professor Niko Beerenwinkel (*1973), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel, as Associate Professor of Computational Biology. Niko Beerenwinkel is internationally recognised for his research into the dynamics of the organisation of cellular networks. He applies methods and models from mathematics, applied statistics and informatics to his research in biology and medicine. His achievements include the development of important applications used to optimise antiviral therapies. Nico Beerenwinkel’s mathematical, theoretical approach ideally complements the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering's key research areas in bioinformatics.

Professor Consuelo de Moraes (*1968), currently Full Professor at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, USA, as Full Professor of Biocommunications and Ecology. Consuelo de Moraes researches at the interface of chemistry, biology and ecology, in particular interactions among plants, insects and parasites. Her research, for which she been received a number of prestigious awards, is of great relevance for a better understanding of natural ecosystems and for the sustainable management of agro-ecosystems. The appointment of Consuelo de Moraes will strengthen the competence of the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences in the field of food safety. It will also enhance the international reputation of ETH Zurich in the field of interdisciplinary environmental and agricultural research.

Dr Anthony Gooding Patt (*1965), currently Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria, as Full Professor of Human Environment Systems in the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences. Anthony Patt's research addresses in particular questions related to climate change policy. His focus is on adaptation to climate change and the resultant costs for society as well as on analysing the benefits of different energy systems. For his work on solar energy Anthony Patt won a competition for an ERC grant in 2012. Anthony Patt has substantial teaching experience. His appointment enhances the transdisciplinary competence of ETH Zurich at the interface of the social and natural sciences.

Dr Giovanni Sansavini (*1981), currently a post-doctoral student in the Department of Energy at the Polytechnic of Milan, Italy, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor for Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis. Giovanni Sansavini's research focuses on developing methods for modelling behaviour and analysing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure networks to chance random failures and malicious attacks. His pioneering work on the theory of complex networks has attracted great international interest. Giovanni Sansavini will help to consolidate the position of the Institute of Energy Technology in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering as a global leader in the modelling and simulation of complex technical systems and their risks.

Professor Wendelin Werner (*1968), currently Full Professor at the University of Paris-Sud in Orsay, France, and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, as Full Professor of Mathematics. Wendelin Werner is an internationally recognised scientist. In 2006 he was awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in the field of mathematics. He is famous in particular for developing methods to link probability theory with conformal mapping theory so as to study universal properties of random processes. With the appointment of Wendelin Werner, both ETH Zurich and Switzerland as a centre of research gain an outstanding scientist who will make his mark in both research and teaching.


Professor Rodney J. Douglas (*1948), currently Full Professor of Theoretical Neuroinformatics, will retire with effect from 31 July 2013. After various positions all over the world, Rodney Douglas took up a joint professorship at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich in summer 1995. He is co-director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics. In his research he has developed, among other things, simulation models to describe the behaviour of biological neuronal networks. Rodney Douglas has been the driving force behind the international networking of the Institute of Neuroinformatics and creating public awareness about neuroinformatics. He also has a reputation as an inspiring university lecturer.

Professor Alan G. Green (*1948), currently Full Professor of Applied Geophysics, will retire with effect from 31 July 2013. Alan Green heads a multidisciplinary research group working on the development and application of high resolution geophysical techniques to solve engineering and environmental problems. Since taking up his position at ETH Zurich at the beginning of 1992 he has succeeded in establishing his group as an international leader in its field with a reputation for interdisciplinary activities and practical applications. As head of the Institute of Geophysics, President of the ETH Zurich Research Commission and President of the ETH Zurich Commission of Innovations Initiatives, Alan Green has also effectively represented the interests of the organisation.

Professor Martin Quack (*1948), currently Full Professor of Physical Chemistry, will retire with effect from 31 July 2013. After 30 years as a professor at ETH Zurich, Martin Quack can look back on a lifetime of achievements in research and teaching. His research interests are the fields of molecular kinetics and spectroscopy, the primary processes of intramolecular kinetics and quantum dynamics and infrared laser chemistry. For many years Martin Quack was actively involved in running the Physical Chemistry Laboratory and since 1996 has been a delegate of the President for faculty appointment procedures.

Professor Justin Read (*1978), currently Assistant Professor of Astrophysics, will leave ETH Zurich at the end of March 2013 to set up and head a research group at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England. He took up his position at ETH Zurich in October 2010.

Professor Paul Schmid-Hempel (*1948), currently Full Professor of Experimental Ecology, will retire with effect from 31 July 2013. After holding a number of positions abroad and a post in Basel, Paul Schmid-Hempel was appointed Professor at ETH Zurich in October 1991. The focus of his studies has been the role of parasites in maintaining genetic diversity in natural populations and the analysis of insect immune defence strategies. By combining conceptual and quantitative methods, he succeeded in developing innovative research approaches that subsequently became standard in the discipline. Paul Hempel-Schmid enjoys global recognition, which has enabled him to promote the international networking of ETH Zurich.

Professor Gisbert Wüstholz (*1948), currently Full Professor of Mathematics, will retire with effect from 31 July 2013. Gisbert Wüstholz is an internationally acknowledged number theorist with a broad range of research interests in the field of number theory. After taking up his position in October 1987 he single-mindedly worked to build up a strong group that over the years has regularly produced talented young scientists. Again and again he managed to tap a range of sources for substantial funding for ETH Zurich. Between 2003 and 2008 Gisbert Wüstholz dedicated himself to creating the Zurich Graduate School in Mathematics, subsequently becoming its director.

The ETH Board would like to thank the departing professors for their services to science and teaching, as well as their commitment to their institution.

Award of the title of Professor

Dr Bernd Gärtner, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich.

Dr Peter Molnar, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich.

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