Surface coatings strategies
The Functional Materials Laboratory (FML) of ETH Zürich is a group performing world-class research in a wide variety of fields, from nanoparticle chemistry to chemical device development. We are designing and developing innovative solutions for a wide range of applications with a cost-effective approach and short time-to-result.
Develop a diagnostic biosensor
Develop a low-cost and sensitive diagnostic biosensor. You will work on a new sensor technology applicable for various diseases including cronic diseases, cancer or covid-19. The project is ideal for skilled students who are passionate to work on an interdisciplinary project with immediate impact.
Assay developement for cancer diagnostics
You will develop a diagnostic test for testicular cancer. The focus of the project will be on creating the biochemical protocols for the test. The project is in collaboration with a prelaunch startup and a hospital (USZ). Therefore, it is ideal for motivated students who want to have a direct impact
Closed-loop control of drug delivery
The Langer lab and Traverso lab at MIT currently have several opening positions for students who are interested in interdisciplinary research in translational medicines. We are pushing the frontier of translational medicine by bridging the gap between engineering and clinical medicine.
Polymer GUVs for Studying Compartmentalized Biological Systems
Biological systems use compartmentalization strategies to generate microenvironments with controlled biochemical compositions. They serve as a protective method from undesired influences from outside of the compartment and to keep diffusing elements in close proximity.Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUV
Probing the two-state reactivity of low-valent iron complexes: computational and experimental studies
Spin states play a significant role in defining the structure, reactivity, magnetic and spectroscopic properties of any molecule. Access to multiple spin states opens exciting possibilities in catalysis, the development of electronic devices, and even quantum computing. Metal catalysts may have access to several spin states, thus giving more leverage for reactivity tuning. Two similar reactions can proceed via two distinctively different mechanisms, if they occur on potential energy surfaces with different spin multiplicities. In addition, under certain conditions, a reactant can cross over onto a surface with different spin multiplicity, thereby providing low energy paths for otherwise difficult processes. Such behavior is called two-state reactivity (TSR). Although TSR plays an essential role in organic synthesis and biology, its detailed understanding is limited.
Development of drug delivery systems and drug formulation technologies
In these projects we seek to develop new methods for the production and characterization of polymeric nanoparticles (polymeric NPs) and other nanoscale drug delivery systems that enable the controlled dosing of different classes of active pharmaceutical ingredients.
DNA isolation
The Functional Materials Laboratory (FML) of ETH Zürich is a group performing world-class research in a wide variety of fields, from nanoparticle chemistry to chemical device development. We are designing and developing innovative solutions for a wide range of applications with a cost-effective approach and short time-to-result.
Drug delivery polymers for ingestible medication forms
Here you will join the effort to develop an ingestible drug delivery system that allows for controlled release of drug to treat Malaria, HIV and TC. Chemical synthesis and in vivo work will enable a successful vehicle design that is safe, effective and a platform for a variety of small molecule drug
3D-Printed mini-Bone-Organs
Current tissue engineering strategies fail to recreate the complex bone architecture where a 3D bone cell network resides in the cavities for mechano-regulation of bone remodeling. This project aims to create a 3D printed in vitro model of bone for medicine.
Nanogels for peptide protection and delivery
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) develops when bacteria no longer respond to conventional antimicrobial treatment. The limited treatment options for resistant infections result in a significantly increased medical burden. Antimicrobial peptides offer advantages for treatment of resistant infections, including broad-spectrum activity and lower risk of resistance development. However, sensitivity to proteolytic cleavage often limits their clinical application. Here, a nanogel platform for peptide protection and delivery.
Bone Mechanobiology in patients with diabetes
We use high-resolution patient imaging to monitor bone’s mechanically driven remodelling process. In FIDELIO, we are now working with clinicians at the University of Sheffield and computer scientists at IBM to improve the care of diabetic patients.
Next-Generation DNA-Based Biomedical Sensors
Our goal is to develop paradigm-shifting electronic biosensors to detect neurochemicals released in the brain and biomarkers in clinically relevant human fluids. These novel biosensors will help us answer relevant neuroscience questions and tackle human health concerns.
Development of a fluorescence-based rapid diagnostic tool for the detection of urease-producing causing ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a respiratory infectious disease with high morbidity and mortality. If not properly treated, pneumonia can lead to prolonged hospitalization, acute complication and, long-term consequences. Bac-terial pneumonia represents a particular concern due to antibiotic resistance. Thus, it is fundamental to distinguish bacterial from viral pneumonia to reduce antibiotic misuse. Currently, there are three main approaches available for the etiologic assessment of pneumonia: 1) traditional microbiological culture methods, 2) molecular diagnostics, and 3) serological tests. The common disadvantage of these tech-niques is that they are time-consuming and often require days to finally give a response. In collaboration with the Kantonsspital St.Gallen, we designed a proof-of-concept pilot study, called DOORSTEP. This work aims to develop a fluorescent-based detection approach selective for urease-producing bacteria among whom are some of the leading causes of nosocomial pneumonia such as Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella aerogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Such a detection approach will facilitate the rapid diagnosis of nosocomial bacterial pneumonia, in particular ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).
Atomistic modeling of irradiation-driven chemistry
This computational internship/Master project relies on a strong connection and collaboration between Empa (Switzerland) and MBN Research Center (Germany) in the areas of irradiation-driven chemistry. More details about the project are provided in the attached PDF document. The monthly allocation for an internship is 2000 CHF with a maximum duration of 6 months.
Evaluation of a novel bioadhesive for corneal repair
Did you know that corneal blindness can be prevented but most of the time, blindness results due to lack of treatment? Most of such incidences occur in developing coun-tries, where treatment is too expensive. At Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Ma-terial Science and Technology in St Gallen, with support from the Velux Foundation, we would like to change this.
Double network conductive hydrogels for bio-hybrid robots
Conductive networks based on a conductive polymer network will be developed with the purpose of being integrated in engineered tissues for bio-hybrid robots during the biofrabrication process. The conductive hydrogels need to combine good piezoresistive properties, biocompatibility and rheological behavior that allows them to be printed with a bio-printer
Digital printing of photo-polymers for watch industry
The project aims to replace the manual application of protective coatings within the watch manufacturing cycle with a digital printing process. This will be realized by pursuing three main objectives that reflect industry needs: (i) develop a printable resin to ensure the desired protective function (ii) identify a digital printing technology with the requested spatial definition down to 10 μm (iii) ensure traceless removal of the protection, either by dissolution or preferably by peeling off or delamination. By developing a printable ink based on a reversible photo-polymer that can be cured (hardened) with light and removed later via irradiation with a second wavelength of light without leaving traces.
On the fundamentals of electrode-electrolyte interface aging
Electrochemical capacitors (ECs) are energy storage devices that fill the gap between batteries and conventional dielectric capacitors. However, sustainable aqueous-based ECs face the problem of performance deterioration over a time, affecting their limited application on the market. This projects aims unraveling the mechanism fade at the electrode/electrolyte interface from engineering and applied point of view.
Acoustic Droplet Vaporization of Endoskeletal Droplets
Acoustic Droplet Vaporization (ADV) of perfluorocarbon (PFC) droplets has shown promising results in generating in-situ microbubbles which can then be used for various biomedical applications such as contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging, blood brain barrier opening and targeted drug delivery. For this process, ease of acoustic vaporization and tunability in the acoustic thresholds required for vaporization of droplets is crucial for in-vivo applications. Endoskeletal droplets could help solve this issue as they have been shown to reduce the vaporization temperature of PFC. This project aims to use this known attribute of endoskeletal droplets to reduce and/or tune the acoustic thresholds required to acoustically vaporize PFC droplets.
Transparent flexible gas sensor based on ionic liquid towards environmental monitoring
Smart sensors for real-time detecting gas phase substances are essential for a lot of potential application such as wearable electronics, intelligent diagnosis, environmental monitoring, etc. at the coming era of internet of things (IoTs). Flexible, transparent sensing devices will enable easier and more comfortable integration with other consumer electronics in our daily life. Ionic liquid, as an emerging sensing material, exhibits potentials with thier high sensitivity, excellent transparency, and intrinsic flexibility. Yet their poor selectivity towards various components hinders the wide application of those devices, where, therefore, research focus is desired.
Design and optimization of Oxyle’s nanoporous catalysts for wastewater treatment
In this project, novel catalysts will be developed for advanced wastewater treatment. New fabrication techniques will be tested to optimize nanoporous catalysts for enhanced wastewater treatment performance, cost-effectiveness, and energy use. Micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, PFAS etc. will be removed from water using our advanced catalyst.
Lithium-Sulfur Batteries with Solid-State Sulfur Conversion
The ever-growing need to store energy in the mobility and power grids sector demands sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to current Li-ion batteries. Metal-sulfur (Me-S) batteries would in many respects be game-changers: a theoretical energy amongst the highest of all batteries paired with abundant, low-cost, and sustainable materials. In addition, Li-S batteries open up battery-powered wearables in environments, where magnetic materials are prohibited. While Li-ion battery materials transform in the solid-state, sulfur converts to metal sulfides typically in a solid-liquid-solid process. This causes poor cycle life and insufficient energy densities. Alternative solid-state sulfur conversion in the confinement of nanoporous carbons can fundamentally solve these issues.
Protease Responsive Interconnected Magnetic Assemblies
We are developing an innovative biosensor for proteolytic activity with a magnetic readout. ETH students with chemistry background interested in a master’s thesis are especially encouraged to contact us.
PhD position in University of Zurich, Switzerland
This PhD project aims to develop technologies to overcome the gap between on-chip and rodent pharmacokinetics and improve in vitro to in vivo extrapolation. We will use an integrated deep learning approach to recapitulate pharmacokinetics from hybrid dynamic imaging of rodent-on-chip.
Multiphysics modeling of reactive joining processes
The Advanced Joining Technologies group (https://www.empa.ch/en/web/s202/advanced_joining) of the Laboratory for Joining Technologies & Corrosion (https://www.empa.ch/web/s202) is developing novel joining processes based on reactive nanomaterials, e.g. reactive nanomultilayers (RNMLs). These materials can undergo a strongly exothermal, self-sustaining reaction, and can therefore be utilized as a local heat source for soldering or brazing ("reactive joining"). The challenge with respect to practical application in joining is balancing (i) the dynamic heat production by the RNML with (ii) the (temporary) heat absorption by the solder material, and (iii) the heat dissipation into the adjacent joining partners (and into the environment): If too much heat is produced by the RNML, the joining partners may be damaged. If too little heat is produced, the exothermal reaction can be quenched, or the soldering material is not completely melted, and no joint is formed. Successful reactive joining for a given set of joining partners therefore requires careful selection of the RNML and solder type and thickness.
Conductive polymer deposition for textile strain sensors
The goal of the project is to develop and optimize polymer deposition procedures to obtain elastic and conductive textile components. Developed procedures can then be further used in wearable electronics for biomedical applications, such as capacitive strain sensors.
Development of Novel Lateral Flow Assay Compatible with Electrochemical Readout
You will optimize a lateral flow assay (LFA) to make it compatible with our novel highly sensitive electrochemical readout that will form a cornerstone for the ground-breaking point-of-need diagnostics device. You will be working on assay development with a focus, amongst others, on decreasing the non-specific binding of analyte and detection nanoparticles to the LFA membrane matrix, increasing sensitivity by optimizing the chemical environment of the immune-sandwich formation, nanoparticle/receptor conjugation or capillary flow optimization. You will work on an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with ETH spin-off Hemetron (https://www.hemetron.com/, https://www.linkedin.com/company/hemetron/). This fast pace project is ideal for highly motivated students.
Global Development Summer School "Rethinking Waste"
Organised in collaboration between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Ghana and ETH Zurich, the summer school offers a unique learning experience. A diverse programme with workshops & group work based on design thinking, expert interviews, knowledge fair & exhibition, several excursions and street interviews, will set you on the course to finding your favourite problem in solid waste management and thinking of solutions together with your teammates of diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. 31 August - 15 September 2022. Application Deadline: 30 June 2022
Development of microfluidic technology for microvascular disease
In this project, microfluidics is leveraged for the study in-vitro of (coronary) microvascular disease. Biocompatible materials are used to microfabricate the platforms used for cytocompatibility and hemorheological assays.
Internship Opportunity in Microfluidics and Organ-On-A-Chip
We are looking for an intern to join our Life Sciences team in Microfluidics and Organ-On-A-Chip
Smart implant for disease monitoring - Engineers, Chemists, Nanotech.
What if an implant could give cues about a patient's rehabilitation? This project aims to create materials that allow doctors to make smarter decisions easily and without needing complicated gadgets. We aim to do that using material science, nanotechnology, biomedical engineering and chemistry, all in a very interdisciplinary team that strives for innovation and tangible solutions.
Advanced Hydrogels for 3D Bone Bioprinting
This student project will focus on the development of advanced hydrogel systems for emerging applications in 3D bioprinting and complex tissue engineering.

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