I studied Biochemistry (M.Sc., 1991) and then Theoretical Physics (M.Sc., 1996) at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), where I also obtained my Ph.D. in 1999. In 2000, I received a Marie Curie Fellowship to work in the group of Prof. Michiel Sprik at Cambridge University (UK). I then moved back to Switzerland to join the group of Prof. Ursula Roethlisberger, first at ETHZ (2002–2003) and later at the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL, 2003-2014). In 2010, I earned the title of Maître d’Enseignement et de Recherche (MER) at EPFL. Finally in December 2014 I joined the IBM Research-Zurich laboratory in Rueschlikon, Swirzerland.
In the field of quantum-classical dynamics, I have developed and implemented in the CPMD software package a novel theoretical framework to combine electronic structure techniques based on density (DFT and TDDFT) with the calculation of nonadiabatic quantum and classical trajectories. My research interests in this field comprise adiabatic and nonadiabatic molecular dynamics (Ehrenfest dynamics, trajectory surface hopping, and Bohmian dynamics) for the study of photochemical and photo-physical processes in molecules, condensed phase, and biological systems.
More recently, I extended my research activities in the field of material design, focusing on the combination of ab-initio and machine learning techniques together with big-data analysis for the design of new materials with improved properties. This project is carried out within the swiss NCCR (National Centers of Competence in Research) project MARVEL.
In 2015, I also joined the quantum computing team at ZRL working on superconducting qubits architectures. My main focus is in the development of quantum algorithms for the simulation of fermionic systems (correlated electrons in molecules and solids) in both adiabatic and digital quantum computers.
At present, I am technical leader of the group on theoretical quantum computing at IBM Zurich.