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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.



Programmable Manipulation of Cells

A team led by ETH Zurich Professor Yaakov Benenson has developed a Synthetic Biology platform that senses intracellular activities of mammalian transcription factors. This platform opens the way to precise sensing of and responding to diverse cell states and activities. Read more 


An Old Technology Brought into Modern Days

ETH Professor and scientist Sai Reddy and members of his research group have engineered a hybridoma platform for reprogramming the antibody specificity of immune cells. This new platform - so-called plug-and-(dis)play hybridomas - enables researchers to easily generate new cell lines that secrete any antibody of interest. Read more 


SNF Ambizione Grant for Felix Franke

Felix Franke (Bio Engineering Laboratory) received an Ambizione grant of CHF 583 000 for three years from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Read more 


Monitoring cell fates

An international team of researchers led by ETH scientists has been studying the factors influencing the development of different blood cells. Their research shows that certain molecular mechanisms are not as relevant as previously assumed. This finding helps to improve our understanding of diseases such as leukaemia and anaemia. Read more 


How Molecules Can Do Statistics

Researchers of the ETH Zurich have shown how noise filters can be realised using biochemical reactions. This could help improve the reliability of synthetic biological circuits and play an important role in the development of new medical therapies. Read more 

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