Six professors appointed

At its meeting of 22 and 23 September and upon application of Jol Mesot, President of ETH Zurich, the ETH Board appointed six professors. At the same time, the Board also bid farewell to six professors and thanked them for their service.

Professor Lint Barrage (*1985), currently Assistant Professor at the University of California, USA, as Associate Professor of Energy and Climate Economics in the Department of Management, Technology and Economics. Lint Barrage’s research focuses on the macroeconomic and social consequences of ecological developments and environmental policy decisions. She has a particular interest in the effects of energy and climate policy on economic development. The appointment of Lint Barrage boosts the Department’s competences and research activities in energy economics and policy. It will also create important synergies with colleagues at the Center for Energy Policy and Economics and the Energy Science Center.

Florian Tramr (*1991), currently a doctoral candidate at Stanford University, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. Florian Tramr conducts research at the interface of privacy, security and machine learning. He is completing a doctoral thesis about attacks on machine learning systems. His work on visual ad blockers caught the attention of the industry and influenced Adblock Plus, a leading ad blocking application with millions of users. Florian Tramr has also been working on the privacy and security of smart contracts and cryptocurrencies. His appointment significantly improves the links between the Department’s research programmes in IT security and machine learning.

Dr Michal Wieczorek (*1987), currently Postdoctoral Fellow at Rockefeller University in New York, USA, as Assistant Professor of Integrative Approaches in Structural Biology in the Department of Biology. Michal Wieczorek’s research focuses on the study of the cytoskeleton. Disruptions in cytoskeletal processes can be a cause of illness, and a number of cancer treatments aim to eliminate them. The appointment of Michal Wieczorek is an ideal opportunity for the Department of Biology to strengthen intradepartmental links between the research areas of biochemistry, cell biology, structural biology and biophysics. Interactions and synergies will also be created with colleagues at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and in the health sciences and chemistry.

Professor Sarah Zerbes (*1978), currently Full Professor at University College London, United Kingdom, as Full Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics. Sarah Zerbes’ field of research is number theory, particularly arithmetic geometry. She has recently developed new methods of constructing Euler systems. These new tools have enabled her to make radical advances in relation to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, which is one of the most famous and enigmatic mathematical problems yet to be solved. Sarah Zerbes has won numerous awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2015. By appointing Sarah Zerbes as a full professor, the Department of Mathematics is gaining one of the world’s leading number theorists, who will strengthen this important area of mathematics.

Professor Marco Hutter (*1985), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Robotic Systems in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. Marco Hutter is head of the Robotic Systems Lab and works on the development of intelligent robotic systems for use in challenging environments. He devises novel concepts of serial elastic actuation for legged robots. In 2017, research projects led by Marco Hutter resulted in the foundation of ANYmal and the ANYmal Research Initiative, one of the most important cooperation networks in the area of legged robotic systems. He is an internationally acclaimed pioneer and leader in his field and has won multiple awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2019.

Professor Tanja Stadler (*1981), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Computational Evolution in the Department of Biosystems. Tanja Stadler develops mathematical and bioinformatic methods of identifying dynamic processes and is acknowledged to be a leading researcher in the new field of phylogenetic dynamics. She has an outstanding list of publications to her name and has received many prestigious awards, including an ERC Starting Grant in 2013 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2021. Tanja Stadler has been a member of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force since it was founded in March 2020; she became head of the Task Force in August 2021.

Professor Michael Ambhl (*1951), currently Full Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Management in the Department of Management, Technology and Economics, is to retire at the end of January 2022. Michael Ambhl studied at ETH Zurich and completed his doctorate there in 1980. From 1982 to 2013 he was a public servant; his career included a posting to the Swiss Mission to the EU in Brussels and serving both as Head of the Integration Office and as State Secretary. He played a substantial part in many important negotiations, and in 2013 the ETH Board appointed him as a full professor so that he could share his experience of politics and diplomacy via university teaching and research. In addition to holding his professorship, Michael Ambhl set up the Swiss School of Public Governance (SSPG), of which he is Director.

Professor Michael Detmar (*1957), currently Full Professor of Pharmacogenomics in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, will retire at the end of January 2022. Michael Detmar joined ETH Zurich as a full professor in 2004. His research focuses on tumour biology, the molecular control of chronic inflammation and the development of individualised therapies. In 2015 he received the accolade of election as a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Michael Detmar was a member of the National Research Council of the SNSF from 2013 to 2021. He has been awarded numerous prizes, has co-edited several academic journals and is an adviser to a number of international institutions and companies.

Professor Qiuting Huang (*1957), currently Full Professor of Electronics in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, is to retire at the end of January 2022. Qiuting Huang joined ETH Zurich as an assistant professor in 1993. Over the past 30 years he has carried out pioneering work in a multitude of disciplines in the field of integrated circuits and systems. He is also regarded as one of the leading experts on high-frequency integrated circuits for wireless and mobile communication. From 2013 to 2015 he was Director of Studies at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Qiuting Huang is a committed university lecturer who has received numerous awards and prizes; he continues to serve on various committees.

Professor Simon Lw (*1956), currently Full Professor of Engineering Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences, is to retire at the end of January 2022. Simon Lw joined ETH Zurich as a full professor in 1996. His research has a focus on hydro-mechanical processes in fractured rocks at project relevant scales. He is regarded as an international expert in the fields of nuclear waste repositories, deep tunnels and rock mass behaviour. Simon Lw is currently President of the Swiss Commission for Nuclear Waste Disposal (EGT). He had a decisive impact on the destiny of the Geological Institute at ETH Zurich during his many years as Dean or Deputy Dean.

Professor Danilo Pescia (*1956), currently Full Professor of Experimental Physics in the Department of Physics, will retire at the end of January 2022. Danilo Pescia studied physics at ETH Zurich and was appointed to an associate professorship in 1992. His research focuses on magnetism in low-dimensional systems and their phase transitions with the highest spatial and temporal resolution. In recognition of his ground-breaking work on magnetism in 3D metals, as well as developing the foundations for the manufacture of very thin layers of transition metals, Danilo Pescia was elected an individual member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences in 2018. He was Delegate of Studies for the Department of Physics for many years, alongside his work as a university teacher.

Professor Annette Spiro (*1957), currently Full Professor of Architecture and Construction in the Department of Architecture, is to retire at the end of January 2022. Annette Spiro studied architecture at ETH Zurich and became a full professor in 2007. Her work focuses on the use of technology in the building sector, and investigates questions to do with integrating construction into architectural design. Both her research and her teaching have had an influence on the practice of architecture. Annette Spiro is an enthusiastic teacher who has developed innovative didactic approaches. Her architectural works have contributed to the Department’s international reputation in the discipline of architecture. She has also served as Dean of the Department and as a member of several committees.

Editorial team

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