Five professors appointed

(Photograph: Dora Gaviria)
(Photograph: Dora Gaviria)

At its meeting of 20 and 21 September 2023 and upon application of JoŽl Mesot, President of ETH Zurich, the ETH Board appointed five professors and awarded the title of professor three times.


New appointments at ETH Zurich

Professor Juan Felipe Carrasquilla Alvarez (*1980), currently Assisstant Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, as Associate Professor of Computational Physics in the Department of Physics. Juan Carrasquilla’s research focuses on the development of computational methods in physics. His work is particularly noted for the wide variety of approaches he uses, ranging from traditional algorithms and artificial intelligence through to quantum computing. He combines quantum Monte Carlo simulations with machine learning, for example. His appointment to the department will strengthen the area of computational physics and boost research in quantum computing.

Dr Mennatallah El-Assady (*1991), currently Research Fellow at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Mennatallah El-Assady works at the intersection of data analysis, visualisation, computational linguistics and explainable artificial intelligence. She focuses in particular on combining data mining and machine learning techniques with visual analytics, specifically for text data. Her research delivers innovative methodology that contributes to the creation of explainable, robust and versatile AI. She was honoured with the EuroVis Early Career Researcher Award 2023 in recognition of her outstanding contributions. By appointing Mennatallah El-Assady, the department is strengthening its presence in the field of information visualisation.

Dr Nicolò Defenu (*1988), currently Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, as Assistant Professor of Quantum Physics in the Department of Physics. Nicolò Defenu’s research is concerned with statistical physics and field theory, and makes use of methods derived from the renormalisation group and non-linear dynamics. He has a particular interest in long-range interacting quantum systems. Nicolò Defenu’s teaching experience includes giving lectures and lecture series, as well as supervising students at all levels. The European Research Council awarded him an ERC Starting Grant, which is subsidised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Professor Paola Picotti (*1977), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Molecular Systems Biology in the Department of Biology. Paola Picotti investigates how protein conformational changes, such as those associated with protein aggregation or allostery, impact cellular physiology and result in human disease. Mass spectrometry is her primary tool. She has made groundbreaking discoveries and is regarded as one of the world’s leading systems biologists, as attested by numerous awards and seats on committees and other bodies. Paola Picotti has strengthened the department through her contribution as Group Leader and Deputy Head of the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology.

Professor Johannes Bohacek (*1981), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Johannes Bohacek’s research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of stress, with particular attention to specific areas of the brain. Thanks to successful collaborations and his extensive network, his laboratory is ideally placed to have a significant impact in various areas of biomedicine, ranging from molecular and circuit neuroscience through to technological developments and translational medicine. Johannes Bohacek has won many awards for his research and teaching.

Dr Christof Bigler (*1972), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Christof Bigler is Deputy Group Leader in the Professorship of Forest Ecology and Head of the ETH Tree-ring Laboratory. He is an internationally recognised expert on forest dynamics, dendroecology, phenology and applied statistics. His research has a particular focus on investigating how climate and environmental factors influence demographic processes in trees.

Dr Olivier Lambercy (*1982), currently Senior Scientist and Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Olivier Lambercy’s research is situated at the intersection of medical technology and neuroscience. He is internationally acclaimed for his interdisciplinary research and has registered five patents. Since 2022 he has been Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory and Principal Investigator at the Singapore-ETH Centre, as part of the "Future Health Technologies" programme.

Dr Peter Wick (*1971), currently Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich and Head of Laboratory at Empa, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Peter Wick works at the interface between materials science and health, with particular reference to the safety of nanomaterials. He is an internationally recognised expert who has been invited to serve on various bodies, including the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, and as a consultant on the "Action Plan for Synthetic Nanomaterials" for the Federal Office of Public Health.