Carnegie Mellon University
December 14, 2020

Ulrike Endesfelder Receives Cooper-Siegel Development Chair

By Ben Panko

Associate Professor of Physics Ulrike Endesfelder has received the Cooper-Siegel Career Development Professorship. The professorship, which alternates between Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Physics and School of Computer Science, supports an early career faculty member.

Endesfelder is a leading researcher in the field of single-molecule biophysics, which seeks to understand the physics behind the complex biological processes taking place in cells. Her research group makes use of a technique called Single Molecule Localization Microscopy to image the tiny structures within fluorescent molecules. This allows them to localize single molecules in living cells, in contrast to traditional biochemistry techniques that required purifying cellular components to study them in detail.

After a delay caused by COVID-19-related travel restrictions, Endesfelder joined the faculty of the Department of Physics' Biological Physics group in September 2020. She is a contributing researcher to Carnegie Mellon's National Science Foundation-supported work toward creating a National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in Physics. In addition to her research, Endesfelder has helped found the movement #StopPandemicBias to bring attention to the harmful effects of COVID-19 on the careers of scientific researchers.

Endesfelder came to Carnegie Mellon from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany. She received her Ph.D. from Bielefeld University and completed postdoctoral work at Würzberg and Frankfurt universities and research scholarships at Japan's Waseda University and Stony Brook University in New York.

The Cooper-Siegel Professorships were established by Carnegie Mellon trustee Eric Cooper and his wife Naomi Weisberg Siegel to recognize outstanding junior faculty. The professorships have a three-year term and can be renewed once.

Cooper was a faculty member in Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science from 1985 to 1991, leaving to co-found FORE Systems, one of Pittsburgh's most successful technology companies. He was appointed Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science in 1999 and has served the university as a trustee, guest lecturer and adviser to a number of university committees and boards. Siegel has had a life-long connection to the university. Her father, the late Robert Ted Siegel, earned three degrees in physics, including his Ph.D., from Carnegie Tech by the time he was 23. He then worked as a research associate and a physics professor at Carnegie Tech. Siegel's mother, the late Rebecca Weisberg Siegel, earned two bachelor's degrees from Carnegie Tech in music and music education.