Board of directors

“NOMIS is all about enabling outstanding talent to take on high-risk research.”

Georg Heinrich Thyssen

Chairman of the Board

Georg Heinrich Thyssen
Georg Heinrich Thyssen has been the Chairman of the NOMIS Foundation since its establishment in 2008. He studied mathematics at the University of Munich and received a law degree from the University of Zurich. For 35 years, he has held a series of key executive positions within the Thyssen-Bornemisza Group (TBG) and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of TBG AG.
Ernst Fehr
Ernst Fehr has been Professor of Microeconomics and Experimental Economics at the University of Zürich since 1994 and has served as Director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich from 1999 until 2015. He also serves as Director of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society and has been a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University since 2011. His research focuses on the patterns and evolution of human altruism, competition and cooperation, drawing on research in many fields for a better understanding of human social behavior.
Ernst studied Economics at the University of Vienna and was an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Economics at M.I.T. from 2003 to 2011. He is a former president of the Economic Science Association and of the European Economics Association, an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Ernst was awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize in 2008 and the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2013, and his papers and research have been published in leading international journals, including Science, Nature, Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, Neuron, Neuroscience, and Psychological Science.
David Freedberg
David Freedberg is currently the Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art at Columbia University as well as Director of its Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, which he has turned into one of the world’s most versatile centers for advanced cross-disciplinary work in the humanities and sciences. In 2015, he was appointed Director of the Warburg Institute of the University of London. David is best known for his work on psychological responses to art, iconoclasm and censorship and has long studied the intersection of art and science in the age of Galileo.
After growing up in South Africa, David studied Classical Philology at Yale and Cultural and Art History at both Oxford and the Warburg Institute in London. He taught at the University of London from 1973 to 1984 and pioneered the application of the new cognitive neurosciences in the study of art and its history. David is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Accademia Nazionale di Agricultura and of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti.
Nilüfer Göle
Nilüfer Göle is currently Professor of Sociology at the Έcole des Hautes Έtudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and author of the books: Islam in Europe – The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism, The Forbidden Modern – Civilization and Veiling, and Musulmans au quotidien: une enquête européenne sur les controverses autour de l’islam. Her work focuses on European perceptions of Islam, on issues of gender and secularism, and on intercultural conflict in various European societies.
Born and raised in Turkey, before teaching in Paris Nilüfer was a faculty member at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, where she taught Sociology from 1986 to 2001. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has also edited Islam and Public Controversy in Europe (2014) and in 2015 published Islam and Secularity, Europe’s Public Sphere. Her latest research focuses on Maidan protest movements and democracy in the international public sphere. Nilüfer was the Director of EuropeanPublicIslam at the European Research Council Project from 2008 to 2012 and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Istanbul Seminars.
Christian Haass
Christian Haass has been a Professor of Biochemistry and the Head of the Department of Metabolic Biochemistry at the Biomedical Research Center at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich since 1999. He has also served as the spokesman of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders (DZNE) in Munich since 2009. His research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of dementia, with special emphasis on Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.
Christian received his Ph.D. in Biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg and completed his postdoctoral work at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School. He joined the Harvard Medical School faculty as an Assistant Professor of Neurology before being named Professor of Molecular Biology at the Central Institute of Mental Health (University of Heidelberg) in Mannheim in 1995. Christian has received several prestigious awards, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Award of the ‘Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft’; the Potamkin Award of the American Academy of Neurology; an Honorary Degree from the University of Zürich and the 2015 MedLife Foundation Award for Medical Research.
Martin Hetzer
Martin W. Hetzer is the Jesse and Caryl Philips Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Director of the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. His research focuses on fundamental aspects of organismal aging with special emphasis on the heart and central nervous system. His laboratory has also made important contributions to the field of cancer research and cell differentiation.
Martin received his PhD in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Vienna, and completed postdoctoral work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. He joined the faculty at the Salk Institute in 2004 and became a full Professor in 2011. Martin has received numerous awards, including a Pew Scholar Award, an Early Life Scientist Award from the American Society of Cell Biology, a Senior Scholar Award for Aging from the Ellison Medical Foundation, a Senior Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society, a Royal Society Research Merit Award and the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging.
Manuel Liatowitsch
Manuel Liatowitsch, the Secretary of the NOMIS Foundation, is a Partner in the Zurich office of Schellenberg Wittmer, one of Switzerland’s leading business law firms. He represents clients in commercial disputes in Swiss courts and international arbitrations and also acts as an arbitrator. He further specializes in complex estate disputes and provides counsel on governance and succession in family businesses, estate planning and philanthropy. He is a member of the firm’s Management Committee.
Manuel graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel in 1997. Prior to joining Schellenberg Wittmer as an associate in 2003, he served as a legal officer at the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland, was a Visiting Fellow with Yale University’s International Security Studies, received a doctorate summa cum laude from the University of Basel and worked as a foreign associate with a leading law firm in New York. Manuel has authored numerous articles on international law and litigation and is currently a lecturer at the University of Zurich.
Catharina Kahane
Catharina Kahane is an expert on the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder as well as on the theory and practice of Contemporary Art. Catharina teaches Art History at the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Vienna, at the Academy for Fine Arts and at the University for Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. She also teaches at the Institute of Aesthetics and Philosophy at the Catholic-Theological University in Linz, Austria.
Catharina studied Art History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna and has published in both research areas, most recently on Klaus Mosettig’s Withdrawal in 2015; soon to be published „Ornament und … Über die Ränder ästhetischer Theorien und Praktiken“ and her Doctoral Thesis, „Sammlung und Zerstreuung. Zur Kunst Pieter Bruegel des Älteren”. She has also served as a member of the Board of the Austrian Association of Art Historians.