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Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering

From Mathematical Theory to Human Cell Biology

Life science research is one of the keys to answering the grand challenges of our future. The magnitude of these challenges such as ageing societies or globally spreading diseases calls for paradigm shift to holistic, systems-based and interdisciplinary approaches.

On these grounds, in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering scientists from different biological and engineering disciplines collaborate to change the way we do research, understand, apply and teach biology and biotechnology. This interdisciplinary effort towards a comprehensive analysis and rational programming of complex cellular systems advances biological sciences and stimulates new technologies and products in pharmaceutical and chemical industry. The Department’s translational research applies findings to enhance human health and well-being. To maximize the impact of this forward-thinking endeavour, it all takes place in Basel - Europe’s capital of the life science industry.  

Since the inception of D-BSSE its researchers have made multiple contributions to science, engineering and business development - as evident from top-notch publications, new technologies originating from our laboratories and the launching of several successful spin-off companies.



Prof. Karsten Borgwardt is “Top 40 under 40”

The business journal Capital ranks Karsten Borgwardt as one of the “Top 40 under 40” in the category “State and Society”. Every year the journal publishes a “Top 40 under 40” ranking within different categories – the main goal is to identify Germans younger than 40 with high potential. Read more 


Award for innovative cell culture technology

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new cell culture method, which may very well enable to forgo certain tests on animals in the future. The scientists were awarded an international prize for more humane treatment of laboratory animals. Read more 


First cyborg bacteria developed

ETH scientists have constructed bacteria in which growth can be controlled fully automatically by a computer. The interface between computer and bacteria is based on red and green light. The approach could help to optimise the biotechnological production of molecules. Read more 


Swiss OphthAward for D-BSSE Postdoc Michele Fiscella

Michele Fiscella (Bio Engineering Laboratory) received the Swiss OphthAward in the category „Best Experimental Work“. The Swiss OphthAward is endowed with CHF 10'000 and granted to young scientists doing basic research in the field of ophthalmology. Read more 


Bringing Artificial Enzymes Closer to Nature

An artificial enzyme is compartmentalised and evolved in vivo for olefin metathesis – a reaction without equivalent in nature. In a joint effort, the groups of Tom Ward (University of Basel) and Sven Panke (ETH Zurich) have developed an artificial metalloenzyme that could be a prime example for creating new non-natural metabolic pathways inside living cells. Read more 

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