Moves & Milestones

Bridges vol. 40, July 2014 / Moves and Milestones 

BRIDGES presents career steps and other outstanding events in the professional lives of Austrian scientists and scholars in the US and Canada.


Florian Fintelmann   

finished his fellowship in body imaging and interventional radiology and recently became a staff member in the Division of Thoracic Imaging & Intervention at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, with an appointment as instructor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. Before the fellowship, Fintelmann did a focused year on musculoskeletal imaging and intervention, including spine injections as well as on cardiothoracic imaging and intervention. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Ulm in Germany and is on the Membership Committee at the Massachusetts Radiological Society.  




Peter Hosemann   

received the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program award for Developing Ultra-Small Scale Mechanical Testing Methods and Micro-structural Investigation Procedures for Irradiated Materials. This project explored novel methods for mechanical testing of nuclear materials and also received the DOE infrastructure award "Research and Teaching Equipment for Nuclear Materials Characterization." He also received the Kecks Future Initiative Foundation award entitled: A revolutionary method to study radiation damage in novel nanostructured alloys, which explores novel materials that are more tolerant of ionizing radiation.

Hosemann is principal investigator for the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Award for "Acquisition of a Multi-beam (Ga, Ne, He,) Microscope for Nanomaterials Modification and Investigation." This new tool will be delivered in 2014 and is the first one at an academic institution in the US unifying all three ion beam capabilities. It allows ion beam imaging utilizing light ions as well as heavy ions, and also allows high precision nanomanufacturing with unprecedented precision. The instrument will serve a user base ranging from biomaterials to electronic and even nuclear materials.   


Lisa Kaltenegger  

will be a professor at Cornell University in the fall 2014 as director of her own exoplanets institute. On June 13, she received the Christian Doppler Award of the city of Salzburg for physics. She holds a joint position at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, where she works as an Emmy Noether Research Group Leader for the "Super-Earths and Life" Group, and at Harvard University, where she was appointed a lecturer in 2010.Kaltenegger is also a research associate at the CfA (Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). She studied technical physics and astronomy in Graz and researched spectral fingerprints in the atmospheres of extrasolar terrestrial planets to find indications for potential traces of life on other planets.




Andreas Kulovits

joined the ALCOA Technical Center in May 2014 as a staff scientist specializing in transmission electron microscopy. He has been a research associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, focusing on advanced materials and processes using and developing methods for quantitative characterization by electron, ion, and X-ray beam methods. Kulovits earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at the University of Vienna, Austria, in 2007.  





Beate Lanske

received the Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering HGWISE Mentor of the Year Award. She was also promoted to full-time professor at Harvard in Oral Medicine, Infection & Immunity. Originally from Salzburg, Austria, she received her Ph.D. in biology from the University for Natural Sciences. Lanske was awarded a scholarship from the Max-Kade Foundation as a postdoctoral fellow in the Endocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Her field of concentration has been bone research, with special contributions in the study of chondrocyte differentiation and postnatal bone growth.





Peter Mascher  

was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, elected by peers to honorary fellowships due to distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession. Mascher is a professor and William Sinclair Chair in Optoelectronics at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. He first came to McMaster University in 1989 after obtaining a Ph.D. in engineering physics from Austria’s Graz University of Technology in 1984, and completing four years as a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at the University of Winnipeg. One of Canada’s leading researchers in photonics, he leads a research program funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, several federal and provincial Centers of Excellence, and industry partners. He has supervised more than 40 Ph.D. and master’s degree students, and has authored or coauthored more than 200 publications. 



Alexander Neumeister

has been awarded a $6.6 million grant by the Department of Defense to develop the first novel, evidence-based medication treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on a well-developed neurobiological model. Drug development in PTSD has been almost solely built on empirical observations with drugs approved for other indications. His PTSD drug development focuses on mechanism-based discovery and development, capitalizing on a burgeoning understanding of neural systems that mediate fear acquisition, consolidation, and extinction. Neumeister is a professor of psychiatry and radiology at New York University and directs the Molecular Imaging Program for Anxiety & Mood Disorders.




Peter Palese  

was elected a member of the class of 2014 of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his research on the mechanisms of how viruses cause disease. His work is currently leading to vaccines that will help millions of people.  Palese is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the Institute of Medicine. He received the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award and the European Virology Award from the European Society for Virology. He currently is a professor and chair in microbiology at the Icahn School at Mount Sinai. The Palese Laboratory focuses on fundamental questions concerning the genetic make-up and the biology of viruses, particularly on the study of RNA viruses such as influenza and corona (SARS) viruses.




Ruth Pfeiffer  

was elected a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in recognition of her "wide-ranging contributions to statistical methods for modern epidemiologic studies; collaboration in major scientific studies; and service to the profession.” Each year, the Committee on Fellows elects no more than one-third of 1 percent of the total ASA membership as fellows, based on their established reputations in the field and their outstanding contributions to statistical work.  Pfeiffer is the senior investigator in the Biostatistics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She received an M.S. in applied mathematics from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, and Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the University of Maryland.  




Jochen Raimann  

received an award for "Best Abstracts by Young Authors" for consecutive years 2013 and 2014 at the annual meeting of the European Renal Association and European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA). A graduate of the Medical University of Graz, Raimann started in 2007 as a research fellow at the Renal Research Institute in NYC under the guidance of Drs. Peter Kotanko and Nathan W. Levin. Since 2012 he has held a position as research scientist at the institute. Over the years he has published in various highly ranked journals and has been peer-reviewer for various national and international journals (including abstract submissions for Renal Week 2014 of the American Society of Nephrology).



Peter Rainer  

received a start-up grant from the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to continue working on myocardial remodeling in stressed hearts in Austria. His research has focused on the role of different cell types. Rainer studies single cell types using genetic interventions, particularly the responses of specific versus nonspecific inhibitions of certain signaling molecules. Now back in Austria, Rainer is building a junior group (lab) within the medical university.






Matthias Scheutz

received a substantial Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant for developing moral mechanisms in computational architectures for robots. The project is done in collaboration with the US Navy to explore technology that would allow robots to make moral decisions, such as the difference between right and wrong. He currently is professor of computer science at Tufts School of Engineering and director of the Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory (HRI Lab) at Tufts. Scheutz earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Vienna and a second Ph.D. in the joint cognitive and computer science program at Indiana University. His research has focused on artificial intelligence and human-robot interaction.  




Robert Schiestl

led the study for UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) that recently discovered that specific types of bacteria living in the gut are major contributors to lymphoma, a cancer of white blood cells that are part of the human immune system. This study is the first to show a relationship between intestinal microbiota and the onset of lymphoma, and has the potential to be used to create combined therapies that kill the cancer-causing bacteria. Schiestl is a member of the UCLA’s School of Public Health and the JCCC. He is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, as well as environmental health sciences and radiation oncology.  





Alexander Somek  

(until the end of July 2014) will be a visiting research professor in the Philosophy Department of the University of Vienna, working on a project concerning the relationship of law and morality. He  is a professor of law at the University of Iowa College of Law and in 2013 was a visiting professor at  LSE Department of Law. Before joining the Iowa faculty in 2003, Somek was an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna.His main focuses in research are jurisprudence, comparative constitutional law, European Union law, and public international law.





Marc Streit  

recently received a Fulbright grant for research and lecturing at Harvard from July 1 to September 30, 2014. Streit is assistant professor at the Institute of Computer Graphics at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. He finished his Ph.D. at Graz University of Technology in early 2011 and moved to Linz later that year. As part of his tenure-track position, he spent part of 2012 as a visiting researcher at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. He has won Best Paper Awards at InfoVis 2013, BioVis 2012, InfoVis 2011, GI 2010, and Honorable Mention Awards at CHI 2014 and EuroVis 2012. Streit’s areas of interest include information visualization, visual analytics, and biological data visualization.



Thomas Teo  

published two books in 2014. He edited the international Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology with Springer (New York) in 4 volumes with over 2100 pages and he co-authored (Walsh, Teo, Bayda) the textbook A Critical History and Philosophy of Psychology: Diversity of Context, Thought, and Practice with Cambridge University Press (728 p.)

Thomas received his Mag. rer. nat. and Dr. Phil. in psychology from the University if Vienna. He is a full professor in the History and Theory of Psychology Program at York University (Toronto, Canada) one of the few programs in the world where faculty and students can pursue advanced work in theoretical and historical psychology. Currently, he is also President of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP) and editor of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, the official journal of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. For reprints see  



Elisabeth Vollmann  

was recently appointed a scientist at the biotech company Biogen Idec.  Moving on from her post-doctoral position at Harvard Medical School Immune Disease Institute, she now works as a scientist in Biogen’s Department of Immunology/Discovery. Vollmann conducts exploratory research to advance drug discovery and development for the treatment of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases. Vollmann did her Ph.D. research at theUniversity of Vienna on the visualization of thymocyte and dendritic cell interactions during negative selection, completing this while working as a research scholar at the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research.  




Gernot Wagner

was promoted to lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. In this position at EDF, he co­leads the office of economic policy and analysis to advocate for market­based solutions to a wide range of environmental problems. His particular focus is on climate and energy economics. He also teaches energy economics as adjunct faculty at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and is the author of But Will the Planet Notice? (2011).





Thomas Wallner

has become the manager of Fuels, Engine and Aftertreatment Research at Argonne. His projects include Alternative Fuels, Engine Technology, Fuel Spray Analysis, and working with a wide range of agencies and manufacturers to assess and advance technologies such as emission reduction using catalysts, filters, and enrichment systems that can bring engines into compliance. Wallner has published more than 40 peer­reviewed technical papers and holds a European Patent on hydrogen injection strategies. In 2012 he received the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Meetings Board. Since 2009, he has also been a part of the adjunct faculty at Michigan Technological University in the Mechanical Engineering Department.



Andreas Wendel

received the "Sub Auspiciis" award from President Heinz Fischer. In Austria this is the highest possible honor of achievement, with awardees receiving a gold ring engraved with the words "sub auspiciis praesidentis" and the emblem of Austria. Governor Franz Voves handed Wendel the ring of honor for his research in the fields of computer vision and robotics, which focused on self­driving cars and micro aerial vehicles. Wendel has long pursued an interest in pushing the state­of­the­art in image­based 3D reconstruction, localization, and navigation. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Graz University of Technology, where he was also awarded several recognitions of excellence, including the University Research Award of the Industries (2013) and the Appreciation Award of the Federal Austrian Ministry of Science (2013).

Currently, Wendel is a robotics researcher at Google in California, working on computer vision for self­driving cars. Previously he was the head of the Aerial Vision Group and lecturer at the Institute of Computer Vision and Graphics at Graz University of Technology, Austria. 


Martina Wiltschko

recently completed a monograph on the universal structure of categories towards a formal typology. It is scheduled to come out in July as an e­book and in September in hardcover with Cambridge University Press. To gain access to the book, please see:­linguistics/grammar­and­syntax/universal­structure­categories­towards­formal­typology. Wiltschko is a professor of linguistics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She received her graduate degree at the University of Vienna, focusing in theoretical linguistics with an emphasis on syntactic theory. Her current research focuses on the sources and limits of language variation in grammar, and she now contributes to the integration of linguistic fieldwork and theoretical linguistics at UBC.