December 4, 2013

Two new professors and one ERC grantee

IST Austria President Thomas Henzinger presents successful young scientists • Enhancements in the fields of neuroscience and theoretical physics

This evening, President Thomas A. Henzinger at his end-of-year press conference announced the names of two new professors and a further ERC grantee: the theoretical physicist Mikhail Lemeshko and the neuroscientist Gaia Novarino are joining the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) as Assistant Professors bringing the number of the faculty to 30. The computer scientist Vladimir Kolmogorov has been awarded with an ERC Consolidator Grant, resulting in a total number of ERC grantees at IST Austria of 14.  Henzinger expressed his delight: “The appointments and the ERC grant demonstrate that IST Austria continues to attract extraordinarily talented young scientists. At IST Austria they can expect the best environment possible which will enable them to contribute outstanding results to their field of research.”

Mikhail Lemeshko was born in 1985 and studied Physics at the Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. For his PhD he joined the group of Professor Bretislav Friedrich based in the Department of Molecular Physics at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. His PhD research was devoted to the manipulation of molecules and their interactions with external fields. One of the main results of his thesis was the development of a new model for molecular scattering.

Since 2011 Lemeshko has been an independent postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard University. His current research is focused on studying complex physical phenomena using controllable quantum systems, such as ultracold atoms, molecules, and ions. He is interested in using tools of atomic physics to answer questions arising in condensed matter physics and far-from-equilibrium behavior of open quantum systems.

Gaia Novarino is an Italian scientist, born in 1977, doing research in Neuroscience. She studied Molecular Biology (MA) and received her PhD in Cell Biology in 2006 at Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, having performed her predoctoral studies at “La Sapienza”, at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee and at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology in Hamburg. She then spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow in Thomas Jentsch’s lab at the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. Since November 2010 she was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Joseph Gleeson at University of California San Diego.

A core interest of Novarino is to research the molecular functions of genes underlying epilepsy, autism and intellectual disability in humans as the dissection of the molecular mechanisms relevant for these pathologies will lay the foundation to the development of new treatments and contribute to the understanding of human brain physiology. This research program is based on the combination of the new generation of DNA sequencing techniques with cell and molecular biology and animal modeling.

Vladimir Kolmogorov joined IST Austria in September 2011. The Assistant Professor works in the areas of computer vision and combinatorial optimization. More specifically, he focuses on graphical models and their applications to image segmentation, stereo vision and other vision problems. The ERC Consolidator Grant will enable Kolmogorov to look into the details of “Discrete Optimization in Computer Vision”. Special attention is dedicated to MAP estimation algorithms. These have transformed computer vision in the last decade and are now routinely used for various applications, and are also utilized in commercial systems. The grant is funded with € 1,6 mio for five years and will start in June 2014.

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