Prof. Dr. Simone Schürle-Finke
Dep. of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich


Engineering micro-and nanorobots for drug delivery and local detection of pathological signals


Site specific diagnostics and effective, localized therapy delivery remain challenge tasks in today’s medicine. To address this need, my laboratory develops micro- and nanosystems that respond to disease-specific biochemical cues or non-invasive external stimuli like magnetic fields such that they focus their action at the site of disease. In this talk, I describe synthetically engineered systems that are activated or detected via magnetic or acoustic fields and can give information about a local molecular activity at a disease site. Moreover, I will show how swarms of living magnetic microrobots can help to locally enhance transport of nanodrug shuttles to tumor tissues and how they can be further engineered to function as controllable therapeutic vectors.


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 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.