19.09.14 - EPFL Board Appoints ten Professors in Their September 17–18 Assembly

Tom Battin is appointed Full Professor of Ecohydraulics in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) – EPFL Valais Wallis in Sion.
Tom Battin is a pioneer in the observation of biofilms in the context of river dynamics. He was able to demonstrate how these biofilms could alter the physical and chemical environment of the rivers studied. His research has contributed to the development and use of advanced analytical methods for improving and understanding the structure and function of sedimentary microbial communities in shallow freshwater.

Tom Battin’s research will be driven by a multifaceted approach involving the creation of close collaborations with ETH institutions, especially Eawag. He will also develop research projects around the close synergy involving several areas, such as the impact of melting glaciers in the Swiss aquatic network and understanding the dynamics of sediment in streams. He will develop his research on the EPFL Valais Wallis campus in Sion.

Clemence Corminboeuf is appointed Associate Professor of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, School of Basic Sciences (SB).
Clemence Corminboeuf conducts research on modeling precursor organic molecules of pi-conjugated materials. These organic semiconductors have unique properties for the design of solar cells, diodes and transistors. They represent an attractive alternative to inorganic analogues.

The optimization of these systems at the molecular level is essential for obtaining new materials with increased mobility for load carriers. The team of Clemence Corminboeuf will focus on the development and application of new computational methods to describe and rationalize the properties of organic materials. Although the simulation on a macroscopic scale is a complex issue, the development of new approaches based on the dynamics of charge carriers in molecular assemblies should contribute to the design of high performance materials.

Bruno Correia is named Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering (STI).
Immunoengineering is an emerging field at the interface between immunology and bioengineering. Bruno Correia’s research lies between computational biology, protein design and proteomics. As a doctoral student, he made innovative contributions to the development of computational methods for protein design and their application to create effective immunogens for vaccine development. More recently, Bruno Correia has played a central role in a project to map in detail the ligandable proteome using fragments of small covalent and non-covalent molecules.

Bruno Correia’s proposed research at EPFL focuses on the further development of a vaccine based on an epitope against respiratory syncytial virus. It will focus on expanding computational design methodologies and the plethora of immunogens based on the structure. Coordinated progress on both fronts enables the targeting of a wider range of pathogens and agents that increase the coverage of different neutralization epitopes in each pathogen.

Matteo Dal Peraro is appointed Associate Professor of Life Sciences in the School of Life Sciences (SV).
Matteo Dal Peraro is an expert in molecular modeling. With his expertise in mathematics and statistics, he made major contributions in the development of methods to simulate the dynamics of macromolecular complexes of proteins. These techniques are proving to be significant in the field of structural biology. In addition to developing these approaches, he was able to apply them in very productive collaborations with experimental researchers. These multidisciplinary projects have facilitated precise analyses of the dynamic functioning of protein complexes involved in various biological processes.

Matteo Dal Peraro’s research in the development of new methods and tools for the “in silico” investigation in molecular dynamics, offers huge opportunities for collaborations with experimental laboratories in EPFL’s life sciences community.

Catherine Dehollain, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Engineering (STI), now carries the title Full Professor at EPFL.
Catherine Dehollain continues to pursue her research activities and provide influential contributions to the field of designing integrated RF and analog circuits, used for wireless data transmission, radio frequency identification (RFID), power management and low power circuits for biomedical applications and for telecommunications. Her contributions to RFID and to remote-powered systems significantly advance knowledge in the field, making it accessible to a wide range of applications (e.g., for medical implants).

Since 1998, Catherine Dehollain has fully participated in the teaching and activities of the Section of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (SEL). As a member of the program committee of SEL from 2001 to 2009, she was particularly involved in the implementation of the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in line with European directives.

Bart Deplancke is named Associate Professor of Life Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences (SV).
The main topic of Bart Deplancke’s research is genomic regulation, and how variations in the expression of individual genes throughout the genome determine the biological phenotype in the body. The strength of his research lies in the combination of expertise in computational biology, bioengineering and molecular biology. This multidisciplinary approach has led to substantial contributions in the development of new methodologies for studying gene expression at the systemic level and for the investigation of specific biological questions that benefit from the application of these new approaches.

Bart Deplancke is one of two professors who initiated the participation of EPFL in the international IGEM competition. This is a course in the form of a group project in which students must solve a complex problem in bioengineering. On several occasions, the projects submitted to the competition by EPFL received awards at MIT (USA).

Elisa Oricchio is appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Life Sciences in the School of Life Sciences (SV).
Elisa Oricchio has already contributed to extensive studies in oncology by her discovery of a tumor suppressor protein that is present in normal cells but absent in the cells of certain types of lymphoma and other cancers. She also demonstrated that the net effect of the administration of this factor to cancer cells is anti-cancerous. These findings have enormous therapeutic potential, and her work has initiated the launch of therapeutic studies. Based on the discovery of the tumor suppressor protein, the researcher was able to establish, for the first time, a mouse model that enables detailed investigation of follicular lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that is very difficult to study.

The Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) became part of the School of Life Sciences (SV) at EPFL in 2009. The appointment of Elisa Oricchio arises from the desire to strengthen translational oncology and from the joint initiative between UNIL, EPFL and CHUV to create the Swiss Cancer Centre SCCL (Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne).
To realize its commitment to accelerating progress in oncology, the ISREC Foundation has contributed a sum of 3,000,000 Swiss francs for the creation of a Chair in Translational Oncology headed by Professor Elisa Oricchio.

Wendy Queen is named Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, School of Basic Sciences (SB) – EPFL Valais Wallis in Sion.
Wendy Queen offers a highly innovative approach to the design and production of hybrid organic/inorganic materials for applications in the field of separating gas mixtures, the storage of small molecular entities and catalysis. Based on the systematic study of molecular factors and conditions influencing the crystallization properties of metal-organic materials, her research program aims to create a comprehensive platform for design, synthesis and characterization of porous materials capture.

Of particular interest among her proposed projects are the production of hybrid materials with controlled crystallization and the study of interactions between hybrid materials and “host” molecules.
These projects, combining materials engineering and characterization techniques by electron microscopy, spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, bring a research platform dedicated to the development of new hybrid materials to the EPFL Valais Wallis campus.

Sabine Süsstrunk is named Full Professor of Communication Systems in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC).
In addition to widely recognized expertise in the various areas of digital photography, Sabine Süsstrunk plays a pioneering role in the digital humanities and is driving the effort to develop a dedicated center in this field at EPFL.

Her early research at EPFL focused on improving image processing techniques in cameras and digital vision. More recently, she has also worked on improving mobile phone cameras by using the vast amount of data on the Internet to improve image rendering. Among her research projects, the most significant led to the development of technology that integrates close infrared radiation to improve images and the recognition of scenes. This work was awarded four prizes.

Pierre Vandergheynst is appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering in the School of Engineering (STI).
Pierre Vandergheynst’s research focuses on harmonic analysis, sparse representations and mathematical image processing with high dimensional applications and complex data processing. In the coming years, it will focus on two main areas: signal processing on graphs and inverse problems constrained by low dimensional models. These developments, which require significant methodological advances, could immediately open up new avenues of application, for example the construction of wavelets adapted to the cortical brain networks and their use in the study of fMRI experiments.

Pierre Vandergheynst is heavily involved in teaching at EPFL, not only through the courses he gives but also as director of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (SEL). He completely revamped the curriculum by strengthening courses on the Bachelor level, introducing new courses and restructuring the Master’s program into three areas: electronics and microelectronics, information technology and Energy Smart Grids.