Prof. Nadia Magnenat Thalmann

Founder and Director, MIRALab, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann has pioneered research into virtual humans over the last 30 years. She obtained several Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in various disciplines (Psychology, Biology and Biochemistry) and a PhD in Quantum Physics from the University of Geneva in 1977. From 1977 to 1989, she was a Professor at the University of Montreal in Canada and then Professor at the University of Geneva.

In 1989, she founded the interdisciplinary research group MIRALab at the University of Geneva. Her global domain of research is Virtual Humans and Social Robots. She has acquired a great experience of collaborative research through her strong participation to more than 50 European Research Projects. She has coordinated several projects, the most recent one is the Marie Curie Project MULTISCALE HUMAN.

She is Editor-in-Chief of The Visual Computer Journal published by Springer Verlag, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds published by Wiley and Associate Editor of many other scientific journals.

Together with her Ph.D. students, she has published more than 500 papers and books on Virtual Humans and Social Robots with research topics such as 3D clothes, hair, body gestures, emotions modeling, and medical simulation.

She has been invited to give more than 300 keynote lectures in various institutions and organisations, among them the World Economic Forum in Davos. She was Vice-Rector at the University of Geneva from 2003-2006. She is a Member and President of high level international evaluation committees, among the recent ones the Jury of the Vienna Science and Technology Fund, the Advisory Board for Computer Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Review Panel in Ottawa and the European Research Council (ERC).

During her Career, she has received more than 30 Awards such as “Woman in the Year”, the early recognition in Montreal in 1987. Among the recent ones, she was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa in Natural Sciences from the Leibniz University of Hanover in Germany in 2009, the Distinguished Career Award from the European Association for Computer Graphics in Norrkoping, Sweden and an Honorary Doctorate of the University in Ottawa in 2010, a Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society in Toronto in 2012, and the Humboldt Research Award in Germany.

Besides directing her research group MIRALab in Switzerland, she is presently Visiting Professor and Director of the Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.