Michael Schaepman

President of UZH

Michael Schaepman is president of the University of Zurich (Switzerland). He is leading the Remotely Sensing Ecological Genomics project.

Schaepman studied geography, experimental physics and computer science at the University of Zurich (UZH) and earned his PhD in spectroscopy from the Department of Geography at UZH in 1998. Following postdoctoral work at the University of Arizona in Tucson, US, he returned to the UZH Department of Geography in 2000 to lead a research group. In 2003, he became professor of geographic information science at the Department of Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University (Netherlands), where, in 2005, he was appointed academic head of the Center for Geoinformation. He served as dean of science at UZH from 2014-2017. Schaepman has been president of the University of Zurich since August 2020.

His current research seeks to measure and understand the genetic mechanisms underlying the behavior of plants in their natural environment by linking genomics (function and structure of genes), phenomics (physical and biochemical traits) and spectranomics (mapping phylogenies as well as composition and chemistry of plants using light-matter interactions) at different spatial and temporal scales using remote sensing. The approach is a unique combination of new theory, modeling, experiments, observations and big data approaches to create a new integrative research field of remotely sensing ecological genomics.