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University of Basel

New assistant professors and two promotions

The chemist Yang Yao and the historian Falestin Naïli become new Assistant Professors at the University of Basel. In addition, Enno Lenzmann and Florian Seebeck are promoted to Full Professors.

20 September 2023

Portrait Prof. Dr. Yang Yao.
Prof. Dr. Yang Yao.

Prof. Dr. Yang Yao is currently a senior scientist at ETH Zurich. The 34-year-old physical chemist has dedicated her research efforts to the soft matter study and the exploration of molecular dynamics using spectroscopic techniques.

Yang will move to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Basel at the beginning of 2024, where she will pursue a project for which she received an ERC Starting Grant in 2022. Her goal is to develop artificial cells equipped with liquid water that exhibit biological activities at subzero temperatures. Her project will push the boundaries of our understanding of cellular life.

Yang Yao completed her master's degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2015. In 2018, she received her PhD in chemistry from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP) in Germany. Subsequently, as a postdoctoral researcher, Yang conducted research at both MPIP as well as ETH Zurich. Her assistant professorship (without tenure track) is closely tied to the duration of the ERC Starting Grant.

Prof. Dr. Falestin Naïli
Prof. Dr. Falestin Naïli.

Falestin Naïli becomes Assistant Professor of Near and Middle Eastern Studies

On 1 January 2024, Prof. Falestin Naïli will take on the role of Assistant Professor (non-tenure-track) of Near and Middle Eastern Studies in the Department of Social Sciences. In early 2023, Dr. Naïli was awarded an SNSF Consolidator Grant for a project in which she aims to update our perspective on the period between the end of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the era of nations in the Arab world with a focus on unrealized social and political projects. The project, which is entitled “Futures Interrupted,” combines history, critical theory, sociology and political science.

The 49-year-old social historian obtained her doctorate in 2007 from the Université de Provence in France. Previously, she studied in Aix-en-Provence, Birzeit and New York with a focus on the Arab world. Her assistant professorship is limited to the duration of the grant.

Enno Lenzmann becomes full professor at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

The University Council has promoted Professor Enno Lenzmann to full professor with retroactive effect from August 1, 2023. Lenzmann has been associate professor at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in the Faculty of Science since 2014.

The main focus of his research is the theory of non-linear partial differential equations, which play a key role in describing physical processes. Lenzmann has worked at the University of Basel since 2012; before that, he held positions at the University of Copenhagen and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The 46-year-old obtained his doctorate in mathematics at ETH Zurich in 2006, where he also completed his studies in theoretical physics.

Florian Seebeck becomes full professor at the Department of Chemistry

Professor Florian Seebeck has also been promoted to full professor as of August 1, 2023. He has held an associate professorship in molecular bionics at the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science since 2016.

Seebeck studies enzymatic reactions that form or break carbon-sulfur bonds under physiologically relevant conditions. His research focuses on decoding the fundamental aspects of sulfur-based enzymology, but also aims to use the mechanistic knowledge gained to develop new biocatalytic reactions.

The 48-year-old has been at the University of Basel since 2011. He previously worked at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund and at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He obtained his doctorate in chemistry at ETH Zurich in 2005.

Adjunct professorship

The University Council has approved the decision made by the Senate to appoint Professor Peter Fornaro as adjunct professor for digital humanities at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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