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Moves & Milestones

In its "moves & milestones" section, bridges presents career steps and other outstanding events in the professional lives of Austrian scientists and scholars in the US and Canada

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

Ulrike Diebold

Ulrike Dieboldrecently received a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant, funded at €2.5 million. Diebold will use the grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to continue her work on metal oxides and research on ternary compounds, which are compounds that contain three different elements. Diebold, a physicist by training, is one of the leading experts in the investigation of metal oxide surfaces. The ERC grant opens up new opportunities as Diebold, who currently studies surface effects in a vacuum, plans to produce high-definition microscopy images of surfaces in liquid solutions. Before joining the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Technology, Vienna, in 2010, Diebold had been at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, since 1993.

Further information:
bridges article about Ulrike Diebold, September 2007, "Introducing Ulrike Diebold – Scanning Devilish Surfaces of Benign Materials" by Johannes Strobl
Vienna Technical University
Personal Web site: http://www.iap.tuwien.ac.at/www/surface/index


Ulrike Dydak

Ulrike Dydak

recently received one of seven Outstanding New Environmental Scientist Awards (ONES) from NIH/NIEHS, which comes in the form of an R01 grant worth $2,066,765, over five years. Dydak does research on "Neuroimaging for early diagnosis of manganese toxicity in humans and rodents." She is a medical physicist and is working on magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy – MRI/MRS. Since 2007 she has been an assistant professor of health sciences at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, with a joint appointment at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Further information:
Personal Web site:


Robert Seiringer

Robert Seiringerof McGill University has received a 2012 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for his work on the mathematical problems surrounding the collective behavior of many particles in quantum mechanics. Every year, NSERC awards up to six Steacie Fellowships that are held for a two-year period. Steacie fellows are relieved of teaching and administrative duties, so they can devote all their time and energy to research. The fellowship includes a contribution to the university in the amount of $90,000 per year toward the fellow's salary. In recognition of the award's prestige and the increased time available for research, each fellow also receives a research grant of $250,000. Seiringer's research focuses on developing new mathematical tools that will enable scientists to better understand and predict the behavior of "quantum many-body systems," and will shed some new light on interesting quantum phenomena such as superconductivity or Bose-Einstein condensation.

Further reading: http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/NewsRelease-CommuniqueDePresse_eng.asp?ID=340
Personal Web site: http://www.math.mcgill.ca/rseiring/Robert_Seiringer/Robert_Seiringers_Homepage.html


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Matthias Wolf

Matthias Wolfhas recently accepted a position as principal investigator and assistant professor in the Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy Unit at the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan. The lab's ultimate goal is to achieve atomic resolution of highly symmetric molecular assemblies such as icosahedral viruses and to extend the current methods towards near-atomic resolution for objects of lower molecular mass and lower symmetry. Prior to his move to Japan, Wolf was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Laboratory of Structural and Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston.

Günter Wagner

Günter Wagnerof Yale University has identified necessary conditions under which division of labor is favored by natural selection. The results of the study, in collaboration with theoretical biologists Claus Rueffler and Joachim Hermisson from Vienna University, were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). According to Wagner, division of labor is not only a defining feature of human societies but is also ubiquitous among the building blocks of biological organisms and is considered a major theme of evolution. Wagner has been the recipient of numerous awards (MacArthur Prize,1992; Humboldt Prize, 2005) and is also a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After his undergraduate education in chemical engineering, Wagner studied zoology and mathematical logic at the University of Vienna, where he received his Ph.D. in 1979.

For more information, visit: http://info.med.yale.edu/bbs/faculty/wag_gu.html
Publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): Claus Rueffler, Joachim Hermisson, Günter P. Wagner (Yale University). "Evolution of functional specialization and division of labor." January 2012. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1110521109. Further information: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/6/E326.abstract
Personal Web site: http://www.yale.edu/eeb/wagner/


Ruth M. Tinnacher

Ruth M. Tinnacherjoined the Earth Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a project scientist. Berkeley Lab is a multidisciplinary national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division (ESD) conducts fundamental research in hydrogeology and reservoir engineering, geophysics and geomechanics, geochemistry, and microbial ecology. Tinnacher is involved in studies focusing on the mobility of metal contaminants in subsurface environments. Her research is motivated by the environmental risks associated with the long-term storage of nuclear waste and the potential impacts of subsurface CO2 sequestration. Tinnacher holds a master's degree in chemical process engineering in industrial environmental protection from the University of Leoben, Austria, and a doctorate in environmental science and engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

For further information, please visit: http://esd.lbl.gov/home/


Philip Walther

Philip Waltherrecently published in Science magazine, with his colleagues, the experimental demonstration of blind quantum computing that combines the power of quantum computing with the security of quantum cryptography. This experiment shows that computers using quantum mechanical principles not only can be more efficient than conventional ones, but also can enable the client to preserve the privacy of his/her processed data. The researchers have performed a delegated quantum computation in which the client's input, the data processing, and the output remain unknown to the quantum computer. This demonstration is crucial for unconditionally secure quantum cloud computing and might become a key ingredient for real-life applications. Walther received the M.Sc. in chemistry from Vienna University of Technology, Austria, and the Ph.D. in physics from the University of Vienna, Austria.

Further information: Stefanie Barz, Elham Kashefi, Anne Broadbent, Joseph F. Fitzsimons, Anton Zeilinger, and Philip Walther. "Demonstration of Blind Quantum Computing." Science 20 January 2012; 335, no. 6066: 303-8. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6066/294.summary


Gerald Zamponi

Gerald Zamponiis the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Science Award. Zamponi is an internationally renowned neuroscientist and holds a Canada Research Chair position at the University of Calgary, where he heads the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. In studying Alzheimer's disease, he and Peter Stys found how cells are being killed off as the result of a malfunctioning receptor for the neurotransmitter called NMDA, which is responsible for memory and learning. The discovery may open doors for the development of treatments for the neurodegenerative disease.

Further Information: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/01/19/study-adds-piece-to-the-alzheimers-puzzle

Personal Web site: http://www.ucalgary.ca/pp/faculty/primary-members/gerald-w-zamponi


Gerd Brunner

Gerd Brunnerreceived the 2012 Collaborative Research Travel Grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, USA, for the project entitled "Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Atherosclerotic Plaques." The grant, which provides up to $15,000 in support for researchers, will facilitate collaborative research between Dr. Christie Ballantyne's and Dr. Joel Morrisett's groups at Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Zahi Fayad's group at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Brunner is a postdoctoral fellow who focuses on cardiovascular imaging under the guidance of Dr. Ballantyne and Dr. Morrisett at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Brunner also recently received the "Fellow Award" at the John S. Dunn, Sr. Gulf Coast Consortium for Magnetic Resonance 2011 Conference. Brunner holds an M.S. from the Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria, and a Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany.

More information can be found at: http://www.bwfund.org


Florian Müller

Florian Müllerpublished a paper in Nature in April 2012, titled "Genome-wide protein-DNA binding dynamics suggest a molecular clutch for transcription factor function." The paper, also featured in the News & Views section of the journal, reports the results of a collaborative project with the lab of Jason Lieb (UNC Chapel Hill). Müller conducted the research in the lab of Jim McNally (National Institutes of Health), where he worked during his Ph.D. studies and as a postdoc. Florian Mueller is currently a postdoc at ENS Paris (Department of Biology). He received his M.S. in physics from the Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (2005) and his Ph.D. from the Graz University of Technology (2008).

For further information on Florian Mueller's research, please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/muellerfresearch
Link to paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7393/full/nature10985.html
Link to News & Views: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7393/full/484171a.html


Martina Proell

Martina Pröllis a postdoctoral researcher in the labs of Dr. Stefan Riedl and Dr. John Reed at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and was awarded one of the five annual Fishman Fund Awards, worth $5,000 each. Each September, the Fishman Fund awards grants to five exceptional postdoctoral research fellows at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to recognize their commitment to basic biomedical research. The award seeks to support young scientists to further their professional and career development. Proell is interested in understanding how dysfunction of the immune system can contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's Disease. She holds a master's degree and a Ph.D. in genetics and biochemistry from the University of Salzburg, Austria.

For further information, please visit: http://www.fishmanfund.org/, http://www.sanfordburnham.org/Pages/Splash.aspx, and


Eva Maria Fast

Eva Maria Fastis a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Frydman lab in the Department of Biology at Boston University and recently coauthored a paper that has been published in Science magazine. The Frydman lab is studying Wolbachia, maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria, in Drosophila and mosquitoes. The lab had previously discovered that stem cell niches in the ovary play an important part in Wolbachia transmission, and found a novel role for Wolbachia in the stem cell niche affecting cell division of the adjacent stem cells.

Further information: Profile of Eva Maria Fast: http://www.bu.edu/biology/graduate/profiles/
Link to paper: E.M. Fast, M.E. Toomey, K. Panaram, D. Desjardins, E.D. Kolaczyk, H.M. Frydman. "Wolbachia enhance Drosophila stem cell proliferation and target the germline stem cell niche." Science 18 November 2011; 334, no. 6058: 990-2. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6058/990.abstract


Wolfgang Leitner

Wolfgang Leitnerorganized a workshop entitled "Immunologic Consequences of Vector-Derived Factors," with his colleagues of the Divisions of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) and Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation (DAIT) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services. The Meeting Report was published in the European Journal of Immunology (Wolfgang W. Leitner, Adriana Costero-Saint Denis, and Tonu Wali. Eur J Immunol. 2011 Dec;41(12):3396-400.). Leitner is planning a follow-up conference for May 2012 dealing with "The Role of Immune-Cell Subsets in the Establishment of Vector-Borne Infections."

Further information: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vector/Pages/Default.aspx

Markus Seidl

Markus Seidlhas joined the group of Mark D. Ediger at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) in the Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for six months. Seidl was awarded the Marietta Blau-Fellowship by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, which allows him to study crystallization processes in organic glasses in Madison. He has already done detailed study of the crystallization behavior of glassy water, especially high-density amorphous ice, at the University of Innsbruck.

For further information, visit: http://www.streichfassung.at/


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