Four new members of the University Council


Institutional Communication Service

20 December 2023

The Council of State, as required by the Law on the Università della Svizzera Italiana, the University of Applied Sciences and Research Institutes, reappointed the USI Council for the period from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2027. There are three departures and four new appointments: Prof. Antonio Togni, Prof. Giuseppe Pantaleo and Alberto Petruzzella, having reached the end of his mandate as President of SUPSI; Prof. Günther Dissertori, Rector of ETH Zurich, Prof. Bruno Moretti, former full professor of Italian linguistics and Pro-Rector for teaching at the University of Bern, Professor Solange Peters at the head of the Medical Oncology Service of the University Hospital of Lausanne and Giovanni Merlini, newly named President of SUPSI.

Günther Dissertori has been Rector of the ETH Zurich (Zurich Polytechnic) since February 2022 and is therefore responsible for teaching. The physicist grew up in South Tyrol and studied at the University of Innsbruck. From there he moved to CERN in Geneva as a PhD student, where he began his research career. In 2001 he was appointed assistant professor at ETH Zurich and six years later he became full professor. At CERN he contributed to the creation of the CMS experiment at the large particle accelerator, one of the two experiments that managed to detect the Higgs particle. For their work, Peter Higgs and François Englert received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. Together with ETH colleagues Christophorus Grab, Felicitas Pauss and Rainer Wallny, Dissertori helped pave the way for this achievement. Dissertori and his group have also developed new positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, including an economically advantageous pet brain scanner, which is about to be placed on the market by spin-off company Positrigo AG.His impressive collection of “Golden Owls” demonstrates his enthusiasm for teaching. Students in his department have already awarded him the prize four times for exceptional teaching. Dissertori also received the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching.

Bruno Moretti was a full professor of Italian linguistics at the University of Bern, where he also held the position of Pro-Rector for teaching from 2011 until his retirement in 2021. He is the author of numerous publications in the fields of sociolinguistics and multilingualism. Among his interests, the study of Swiss linguistics in all its aspects occupies a special position. From 1995 to 2019 he directed the Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana (Linguistic Observatory of Italian Switzerland) and since 2019 has chaired the Scientific Committee. From 2002 to 2005 he was president of the Swiss Society for Linguistics and from 2009 to 2011 vice-president of the Italian Linguistics Society. Since 2016 he has been a Corresponding Academician of the Accademia della Crusca.

Solange Peters, MD, PhD, is a full professor and director of medical oncology, as well as the thoracic malignancies program in the Department of Oncology at the University Hospital of Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. She received both her doctorate in medicine and PhD from the University Hospital of Lausanne. After completing her clinical education in medical oncology and molecular biology in Switzerland and Italy, Prof. Peters has specialized in thoracic tumors, lung cancer, and pleural tumors. Her main fields of interest are new biomarkers discovery and validation in preclinical and clinical settings, multimodality strategies for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as well as cancer immunotherapy. Parallel, she acts as the scientific committee chair and Foundation Council member of the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP). She was recently nominated as the Strategic Advisory Board President of Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster, is President of the Swiss Academy of Multidisciplinary Oncology (SAMO) and is Vice Director of the Swiss National Cancer League. Prof. Peters is active in the educational programs of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) - where she created the Women for Oncology Committee and for which she was the youngest President ever for an extended time of 3 years 2020-2022. She is part of the Board of Directors of Galenica SA. Professor Peters has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, acts as Associate Editor of the Annals of Oncology, and of ESMO Open, Co-Editor in Chief of Lung Cancer, and serves on the editorial board of several other oncology journals.

Giovanni Merlini, lawyer and former national councilor, will take office on Jan. 1, 2024, succeeding Alberto Petruzzella, who ends his term after nearly 12 years on the council, 10 of them as president. Born in 1962, Giovanni Merlini earned a License in Law from the University of Bern in 1988, which was followed by obtaining a Cantonal Lawyer's License in 1991 and a Cantonal Notary Public's Patent in 1993. The same year he obtained a Doctorate in Law from the University of Bern. Today he practices as a lawyer and notary public and owns a law and notary firm with offices in Locarno and Lugano.Giovanni Merlini has a long political career at all institutional levels: in the 1990s he first served as a city councilor and then became a municipal councilor in Minusio; from 1995 to 2011 he was a deputy in the Grand Council; and from 2014 to 2019 he served as a national councilor. In Bern he was a member of the Legal Affairs Commission and the Delegation for Relations with the Italian Parliament of the National Council.