Moves & Milestones

bridges vol. 17, April 2008 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

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.

Angelika Amon
Angelika AmonAngelika Amon was honored with a National Academy of Sciences Award in molecular biology in January 2008.

Amon is an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and professor at the department of biology and David Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The prize was awarded "for groundbreaking studies that have provided insight into the mechanism of the central process of chromosome segregation and the regulation of segregation".

To learn more about Angelika Amon and her research please visit or read the in-depth portrait of Angelika Amon, published in bridges vol. 9 at volume-9-april-19-2006/volume-9-april-19-2006-news-from-the-network-austrian-researchers-abroad/introducing-angelika-amon-exploring-the-genesis-of-life-itself.

Thomas Bugnyar
Thomas Bugnyaran associate researcher at the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna, recently won the Young Scientist Award 2007.

His research focuses on social intelligence in animals, with a special interest in the possibility of convergent cognitive evolution between primates and ravens. Previously, an Erwin Schroedinger grant allowed him to spend some time researching this topic at the University of Vermont and he also worked temporarily as a lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Please visit for more information on Thomas Bugnyar. A German press-release regarding the young scientist award is available at

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Wolfgang Jank
Wolfgang Jankassociate professor of Decisions, Operations & Information Technologies at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, has co-authored a new study on "Consumer Surplus in Online Auctions."

The study, which was recently published in the journal Information Systems Research, quantifies the benefit of online auction transactions to the consumer. By measuring the difference between a bidder's willingness to pay and the actual price paid, the study finds that consumers save billions of dollars annually by buying goods through the online auction site eBay: ˜... over $7 billion in 2003 and possibly even more today." Curiously, Jank's study, which was recently featured by The New York Times and Reuters comes at a time when new eBay management is thinking of abandoning the auction mechanism altogether.

For more information about Wolfgang Jank and his research, please visit

Michael Waibel
Michael WaibelLL.M. student at Harvard Law School recently won the American Society for International Law's Francis Deák Prize for his article, "Opening Pandora's Box: Sovereign Bonds in International Arbitration."

He also co-organized the conference "The Backlash Against Investment Arbitration" at Harvard Law School on April 19.

More information about Michael Waibel is available at

Daniel Pressl
Daniel PresslPh.D. student in the Department of Materials Science And Engineering at MIT, donated 15 prints from his "2fast4u" high-speed photography series to the Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, North Carolina. His prints are being shown at a high-speed photography exhibition there.

In April 2007 "2fast4u" brought the biggest high-speed photography exhibition ever presented to both Austria and MIT. In addition, Pressl is working with students from the HTL Wolfsberg, overseeing their theses, and the Montanuniversität Leoben, which has already allowed two students to spend some time in his lab at MIT.

For more information about Daniel Pressl's "2fast4u," please visit

Heinz Busta
Heinz Bustaadjunct professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and founder of Prairie Prototypes, recently edited a "Topical Session" for the Journal for Vacuum Science and Technology B. The April/May Issue 2008 contains approximately 40 articles from the International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference (IVNC) in Chicago in July 2007, which Busta had organized.

The April 14, 2008, issue of Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology contains an article titled "Evidence of electronic cooling from resonance states of nanocrystalline graphite field emitters," which Busta co-authored with Kevin Tao (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) and Prof. Alan Feinerman (UIC).  It was chosen for inclusion in the virtual journal from the original article in JVST B 26, 720 (2008).

Please visit for more information about Heinz Busta.

Wolfgang Leitner
Wolfgang Leitnerrecently joined NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) as a program officer in charge of planning the research focus and overseeing the grants in the field of Innate Immunity.

Before joining NIAID, Leitner worked as a staff scientist at the National Cancer Institute and at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He received his doctorate in immunology from the University of Salzburg.

To learn more about Wolfgang Leitner please visit Further information about NIAID can be found at

Elisabeth Maurer-Spurej
Elisabeth Maurer-Spureja Canadian Blood Services scientist and clinical associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia, was recently awarded a patent for a "method for determination of platelets quality."

The patent is part of a technology which could lead to significant improvements in transfusion medicine and was co-developed by Maurer-Spurej and her colleague Keddie Brown. It enables a thorough analysis of blood quality to determine whether blood transfusions are still of sufficient quality even when the regular date of expiration has already been reached.

For more information on Elisabeth Maurer-Spurej, please visit her biosketch at

Franz Szabo
Franz Szabodirector of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, has recently published a new book entitled The Seven Years War in Europe.

The book is based on a thorough rereading of primary sources and new research in the Austrian State Archives. In it, Professor Szabo challenges the well-established myth that the Seven Years War was won through the military skill and tenacity of the King of Prussia, often styled "Frederick the Great." Instead, he argues that Prussia did not win, but merely survived the Seven Years War, and did so despite and not because of the actions and decisions of its king.

With balanced attention to all the major participants and to all conflict zones on the European continent, the book describes the strategies and tactics of the military leaders on all sides, analyzes the major battles of the war, and illuminates the diplomatic, political, and financial aspects of the conflict.

For further information on Franz Szabo please visit More information about The Seven Years War in Europe can be found at


Stefan Dollinger
Stefan DollingerDr. Dollinger, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, is director of the Canadian English Laboratory at UBC and has recently published a ground-breaking contribution on Canadian English.

The book, titled New-Dialect Formation in Canada, details the development of eleven modal auxiliaries in late 18th- and 19th-century Canadian English in a framework of new-dialect formation. It offers a socio-historical perspective on a still understudied variety of North American English by combining language-internal features with settlement history in this first monograph-length, diachronic treatment of Canadian English.

For further information on Stefan Dollinger please visit More details about New-Dialect Formation in Canada can be found at

Sebastian Fischmeister
Sebastian FischmeisterSebastian Fischmeister joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer
Engineering of the University of Waterloo, Canada, in February 2008.

Dr. Fischmeister had studied computer science at the Technical University of Vienna and received his Ph.D. at the University of Salzburg in 2002. He was awarded the APART fellowship in 2005 and stayed as postdoctoral research associate at the University of Pennsylvania. His research concentrates on distributed and embedded software systems, with special consideration of non-functional requirements such as timing and resource constraints.

Further information can be found at:

Harald Ott
Harald Ottclinical fellow in surgery in the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, co-authored a study on research carried out with the goal of generating a bioartificial heart, which was published in the February 2008 edition of Nature Medicine.

The study, titled "Perfusion-decellularized matrix: using nature's platform to engineer a bioartificial heart," reports on progress made by Dr. Ott's research group in engineering aspects such as the cardiac architecture and pump function of a bioartificial heart. Though far from clinical application, the study's results show that tissue and organ engineering based on natural matrixes may lead to bioartificial organs.

An abstract of the study is available at The full article can be found at (registration required).

Barbara Soukup
Barbara SoukupBarbara Soukup has graduated with a Ph.D. in sociolinguistics from the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Her dissertation, which she defended in December 2007, is entitled "The Strategic Use of Austrian Dialect in Interaction." She is now looking forward to entering the academic job market in Europe, where she is currently working as a consultant for the UNESCO Endangered Languages Program.

Please visit for more information about Barabara Soukup and her research.

Alexander Somek
Alexander Somekholds the Charles E. Floete Chair in Law, University of Iowa, and is currently a visiting fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin. His most recent book, Individualism: An Essay on the Authority of the European Union, was published in March 2008 by Oxford University Press.

The book reconstructs the authority constituting the European Union. It suggests that this authority is congruent with citizens who, rather than relying on their own power to bring about change through common action, are confident that they will benefit from entrusting "problem-solving" to international networks of expertise. Citizens of this kind exhibit a strong commitment to individualism. The book shows how individualism is reflected in the regulatory authority that the Union claims for itself, in particular with regard to the regulation of the internal market.


To learn more about Alexander Somek, please visit Further information on Individualism: An Essay on the Authority of the European Union can be found at