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University of Basel

25 November 2020

Eccellenza Fellowships: new assistant professorships for the University of Basel

The Kollegienhaus of the University of Basel at Petersplatz. (Photo: University of Basel)

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has awarded seven new assistant professorships to the University of Basel. Among others, the projects supported in connection with the Eccellenza program come from the fields of theoretical physics, immunopathology and psychology, and will each receive an average of about one and a half million Swiss francs.

The SNSF uses the Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships to finance outstanding young researches who aspire to a professorship. The five-year funding period comprises salary and project funds of up to CHF 1 million, which enables the researchers to lead a research project with their own team.

The fellowships are linked to an appointment as assistant professor at the university chosen by the researchers for their project. Seven scientists successfully applied for a fellowship at the University of Basel, and will receive CHF 1.6 million on average in support from the SNSF.

  • Dr. Karin Hediger obtained her doctorate in psychology from the University of Rostock in 2012. In addition to her clinical work as a psychotherapist, she researches aspects of human-animal relationships in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at the University of Basel. Her project investigates the effects and mechanisms of animal-assisted interventions.
  • Dr. Andreas Keller obtained his doctorate at the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich. He completed his postdoc at the University of California San Francisco and now works at the University of Basel in the areas of neurophysiology and brain research. His project focuses on the role that sleep plays in the formation of neural circuits.
  • Dr. Sarah Nemiah Ladd received her doctorate in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2014. She spent a period as a postdoc in the Department of Surface Waters Research and Management at Eawag, and is currently working in the area of ecosystem physiology at the University of Freiburg. Her project, which she will conduct in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel, focuses on reconstructing algal ecology and productivity over geologic time.
  • Dr. Patrick P. Potts received his doctorate in physics from the University of Geneva in 2016. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lund, where he is studying the field of quantum thermodynamics. His project in theoretical physics at the University of Basel focuses on fluctuations, sensing and information in open quantum systems.
  • PD Dr. Anne-Katrin Pröbstel received her doctorate from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich in 2014. She completed her neurological specialist training at the University Hospital Basel and continued her scientific work at the Department of Biomedicine. After a three-year postdoctoral stay at the University of San Francisco, she returned to Basel in 2019. Her project in the field of immunology and immunopathology focuses on the question of whether and how intestinal bacteria influence the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.
  • Dr. Katharina Timper is currently working as an attending physician at the Endocrinology Department of the University Hospital Basel, where she is heading the nutrition team and the obesity outpatient clinic. At the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine, she focuses on the role of astrocytes in the central regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis.
  • Dr. Pascale Vonaesch received her doctorate in infection biology from ETH Zurich in 2013. She is currently carrying out research at Swiss TPH into the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with various forms of malnutrition in children. Her project at the University of Basel focuses on the dynamics and consequences of diet-induced microbial dysbiosis in early life.

Eccellenza Grants

Eccellenza Grants are awarded by the SNSF to researchers who already have an assistant professorship with the prospect of a permanent appointment. They also receive funding on average of CHF 1.6 million:

  • Prof. Dr. Jonathan De Roo received his doctorate in chemistry from Ghent University in 2016. As a postdoc, he then spent two years conducting research at Columbia University, and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Basel. His project studies the development of complex ceramic nanocrystals by means of kinetic control and mechanistic knowledge.
  • Prof. Dr. Flavio Donato is an assistant professor at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum. His group studies the creation of cognitive maps; this research focuses on the analysis of mechanisms that drive the emergence of the brain’s representation of space.

This year, the SNSF has awarded a total of 35 Eccellenza Professorial Fellowships and ten Eccellenza Grants. The 45 recipients perform their work at ten Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences.


Further information

Reto Caluori, University of Basel, Communications, phone +41 61 207 24 95, email: reto.caluori@unibas.ch

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