Title: Engineering micro-and nanorobots for medicine

Abstract: My team and I develop diagnostic and therapeutic systems at the nano-and microscale with the aim to tackle a range of challenging problems in health care. The research focus is twofold: we develop tools to study disease mechanisms in vitro at the cellular level, and then use this knowledge to inform the design and fabrication of micro- and nanorobots that help diagnose or treat diseases with minimal invasion. These systems react to locally present signals of the disease environment, such as characteristic pH levels or enzymatic activity. Further, these small-scale robots are engineered to respond to externally applied stimuli including heat, acoustic, mechanical, or electromagnetic signals, resulting in a diagnostic or therapeutic output. For this purpose, strategies derived from chemical synthesis, synthetic biology, and nanofabrication techniques are applied. This interdisciplinary work is based on the convergence of several fields and integrates methods and ideas from chemists, physicists, computer scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Bigraphy: Simone Schuerle, born 1985 in Ulm, Germany, is assistant professor at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where she heads the Responsive Biomedical System Lab. With her team, she develops diagnostic and therapeutic systems at the nano-and microscale with the aim of tackling a range of challenging problems in medicine.

Prior to taking this position, she researched at MIT on nanosensors for in vivo tumor profiling as well methods to wirelessly enhance drug transport (2014-2017). She is recipient of several awards, such as the Prix Zonta in 2019 for Women in Science, and fellowships and grants from the SNSF, DAAD and Branco Weiss foundation, and was honored with the distinction of “Young Scientist” by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for her scientific contributions to society. In 2014 she co-founded the spin-off MagnebotiX that offers electromagnetic control systems for wireless micromanipulation.

She earned her PhD degree with specialization in microrobotics in 2013 at ETHZ and a masters in industrial engineering with specialization on microsystems and nanotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

Affiliation: Responsive Biomedical System Laboratory, Institute for Translational Medicine, Health Science and Technology Department, ETH Zurich


Related events

Micro/Nanorobots for Medicine

Talk: Engineering micro-and nanorobots for medicine
Role: Speaker

29th June 2022, 09.00