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Neuroscience Center Zurich

Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Brandeis Daniel


Prof. Dr. Daniel Brandeis
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University
of Zurich, University of Zurich

Research Focus: We focus on mapping brain functions and plasticity in typical development, neurodevelopmental disorders, and treatment with electrical and multimodal imaging (EEG-fMRI, MRS, with S. Brem). Clinical projects cover longitudinal brain mapping in common neurodevelopmental disorders like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), aggression and Dyslexia. We characterize timing, localization and genetics (with E.  Grünblatt) of compromised networks as endophenotypes as state dependent deficits during rest, attention, inhibition, reward processing, or print tuning etc.  For clinical translation we focus on neurofeedback and biofeedback training (with R. Drechsler), and evaluate potential biomarkers using multimodal approaches.

Keywords: ADHD, dyslexia, OCD, conduct disorder, development, plasticity, functional brain mapping, EEG, ERP, fMRI, MRS,  neurofeedback, biofeedback, longitudinal studies, reading, attention, genetics, gene x environment interactions.

Topics: Disorders of the Nervous System, Development and Regeneration, Cognitive Neuroscience, Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: pubmed



Christen Markus


PD Dr. sc. ETH Markus Christen

Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine & UZH Digital Society Initiative, University of Zurich
Research Focus: The Neuro-Ethics-Technology research group of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine investigates research topics at the interfaces of ethics, neuroscience/-psychology and information technology. We use both empirical and normative methodologies in currently nine different research projects. Those research fields are: research on moral intelligence components, family life, health & moral development, brain death and transplantation, serious moral games, ethics of neuromodulation, moral decision making and autonomous systems, Big data ethics, visualizing morally loaded data, cybersecurity and ethics.

Keywords: neuroethics; deep brain stimulation; brain death; big data ethics; moral psychology; ethics of information technology
Topics: Biomedical Technology; Cognitive Neuroscience; Motor Systems




Mohamad El Amki


Dr. Mohamad El Amki, Junior Group Leader

Department of Neurology, University Hospital and University of Zurich

Research Focus: Our goal is to understand how blood flow dynamics are regulated in the complex of the brain vascular network in health and disease.

A human brain is powered by ~650km of blood vessels which are compartmentalized into arteries, capillaries, and veins. This immensely complex network can easily fail during disease such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. In our projects, we focus on the regulation of blood flow through brain capillaries. Furthermore, we maintain an ongoing effort to develop novel in vitro and in vivo tools to study how to resolve obstructions in large vessels as well as in the microvasculature. We strive to find novel approaches to improve macro and microvascular function in order to keep the brain’s circulatory system functional.

Keywords: Cerebral blood flow, Capillary flow, Microvascular failure, Stroke, No-reflow

Topics: Biomedical Technology and Imaging, Disorders of the Nervous System,

Publications: PubMed


Fierstra Jorn


PD Dr. med. Jorn Fierstra, Junior Group Leader

Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Zurich

Research Focus: My research team has developed a pioneering application of blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) MRI using precise vasoactive respiratory challenges in order to interrogate brain blood flow control in patients with cerebrovascular ischemic disease and malignant cerebral glioma.

Since 2013, my team has built up a highly interdisciplinary international network, with special focus on cerebrovascular reactivity measurements to determine hemodynamic failure in ischemic stroke patients and to study novel concepts, such as hemodynamic brain tissue responses in chronic ischemia and stroke epiphenomena (e.g. diaschisis). In addition, for malignant cerebral glioma we are currently developing an additional BOLD contrast technique based on hypoxic tissue reactivity in order to investigate respective tissue responses of (peri-)lesional malignant cerebral glioma.

The main goal is to provide new insights in the current pathophysiological concepts of blood flow control in patients with ischemic stroke and malignant cerebral glioma, thereby aiming for clinical integration of this novel advanced BOLD MRI technique for improved therapy evaluation and efficacy.

Keywords: Advanced Neuroimaging, BOLD MRI, Cerebrovascular Reactivity, Cerebral Blood Flow, Cerebrovascular Autoregulation, Stroke, Cerebral Glioma,

Topics: Biomedical Technology and Imaging; Disorders of the Nervous System




Roger Gassert


Prof. Dr. Roger Gassert
Rehabilitation Engineering Lab, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich

Research Focus: We apply robotics, wearable sensor technology and non-invasive neuroimaging to the exploration, assessment and restoration of sensorimotor function, with the goal of promoting recovery following neurological injury and developing assistive technologies for the compensation of remaining deficits.

Keywords: physical human-machine interaction, rehabilitation robotics, haptics, assistive technology, neural control of movement, neuroimaging, neurofeedback

Topics: Sensory Systems, Motor Systems, Disorders of the Nervous System, Biomedical Technology and Imaging




Alexander Huber


Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Huber
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Zurich

Research Focus: In our laboratory for biomechanics of hearing we develop a comprehensive understanding and a detailed theoretical model of the physiological and pathological processes of the peripheral auditory system (from the pinna to the auditory nerve).

The objectives are 1) Experimental studies of physiological and pathological processes of hearing, 2) The development of a detailed mathematical model of hearing, and 3) The optimization and development of hearing aids and hearing prostheses in collaboration with the industry. We are an interdisciplinary research team of graduates from different specialties, with competence in investigation techniques of acoustics, vibro-mechanics, fluid dynamics, electrophysiology and behavioral audiometry by taking into account the latest measurement technology.

Keywords: Hearing, Biomechanics, Implants

Topics: Sensory Systems, Biomedical Technology and Imaging


Hugelshofer Michael


Dr. med. MSc. Michael Hugelshofer

Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital and University of Zurich

Research Focus: As a neurosurgeon-scientist my research focuses on the complex pathophysiology of secondary brain injury after hemorrhagic stroke with the aim to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Since 2016, we have established an interdisciplinary scientific network to investigate the toxicity of cell-free hemoglobin in the brain. We were able to define delocalization of hemoglobin from the CSF into cerebrovascular vessel walls and the interstitial space of the brain as the pivotal step for hemoglobin’s toxic effects. Further we could proof the concept of intracerebroventricular haptoglobin treatment to compartmentalize and detoxify hemoglobin within the CSF compartment in translational animal models.

Our current projects focus on bench-to-bedside translation of this knowledge to diagnostic and therapeutic clinical applications.

Keywords: hemorrhagic stroke, hemoglobin, haptoglobin, secondary brain injury, neuroprotection, translational neuroscience, neurosurgery

Topics: Disorders of the Nervous System; Biomedical Technology and Imaging    


Jakab Andras


PD Dr. Dr. med. András Jakab
Center for MR-Research, University Children’s Hospital Zurich
Research Focus: Our research focus is studying normal and pathological human brain development using non-invasive medical imaging approaches, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prenatally and in early postnatal life. We aim to understand how common congenital disorders affect brain development, and how these manifest in clinical symptoms. We are interested in utilizing the latest computational image analysis approaches to improve data quality, and to construct models of human development. We also support interdisciplinary clinical research projects that consist of radiologists, neonatologists, neurosurgeons and basic scientists.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, brain development, fetal development, image processing

Topics: Disorders of the Nervous System, Biomedical Technology and Imaging




Jiang Jingjing


Dr. sc. Jingjing Jiang, Junior Group Leader
Department of Neonatology, University Hospital and University of Zurich

Research Focus:  Non-invasive neuroimaging is crucially needed for examining functional brain activities for researchers and clinicians. My research interests lie in the area of biomedical imaging, specifically tomography using near infrared light. This technique detects changes in parameters relevant to brain function non-invasively.

Keywords: Near infrared optical tomography, brain imaging, time of flight imaging

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: Google Scholar


Vartan Kurtcuoglu


Prof. Dr. Vartan Kurtcuoglu
The Interface Group, Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich

Research Focus: My group’s goal is to address clinical needs through the convergence of engineering, biological and medical research. Within the neuroscience field, we focus on transport processes in the fluid spaces of the brain, namely in the cerebrospinal, interstitial and perivascular fluids. By combining computational techniques with experimental methods, we aim to understand the dynamics of cerebral fluid motion, the driving forces behind these and how they, along with the associated transport processes of metabolites and other substances, are involved in the pathogenesis of CNS disorders

Keywords: volume transmission, fluid dynamics, hydrocephalus, astrocyte network, mechanosensing

Topic: Computation and Modeling, Biomedical Technology and Imaging, Disorders of the Nervous System




Mu Linjing


Dr. Linjing Mu
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Zurich
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ETH Zurich

Research Focus:  Our group focuses on non-invasive positron emission tomography (PET) tracer development for imaging neurodegenerative diseases. We are working on several targets including the glutamate receptors, cannabinoid and endocannabinoid systems and ATP Synthase. To characterize the target, murine and post-mortem human tissues will be used to analyze the target in various diseases by qPCR, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry; in vitro autoradiography will be employed to understand the tracer’s specificity and selectivity. Depends on the target, different animal models will be used for in vivo PET imaging. In our GMP lab, several CNS PET ligands are routinely synthesized and applied for drug development and studying brain functions.

Keywords: PET tracer development, non-invasive PET imaging, drug development, Alzheimer’s disease, neuroinflammation.

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5354-1546


Ruiqing Ni


Dr. Ruiqing Ni
Institute for Biomedical Engineering

Research Focus: My research goal is to understand the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease, with a focus on detecting aberrant brain network activity, Aβ, tau and neurodegeneration by using multiscale high-resolution neuroimaging techniques (MRI, Optoacoustic tomography, PET).
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, Neuroimaging, transgenic mouse models

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging, Disorders of the Nervous System
Publications: pubmed

Patriarchi Tommaso


Prof. Dr. Tommaso Patriarchi
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich

Research Focus:  The sheer complexity of neural communication relies on the production and secretion of various neurochemicals. A central question in neuroscience is to understand how precise fluctuations of these molecules relate to behavioral and/or disease states. Yet, technologies capable of addressing this question in living animals with the required spatiotemporal resolution and molecular specificity are largely lacking.

Our Group focuses on developing novel genetically encoded fluorescent sensors based on combined engineering of fluorescent proteins and endogenous receptor molecules (e.g. G-protein coupled receptors) to enable specific and high-resolution optical dissection of neurochemical dynamics in living animals. We aim to combine these molecular tools with state of the art in vivo imaging techniques (fiber photometry, two-photon imaging, optoacoustics) for investigating how neurochemicals orchestrate complex behavioral functions.

Keywords: genetically encoded sensors, GPCRs, fluorescent proteins, neuromodulators, neuropeptides, neuroimaging.

Topics: Biomedical Technology, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Publications:Google Scholar

Klaas Prüssmann


Prof. Dr. Klaas Prüssmann
Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich


Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging



Daniel Razansky


Prof. Dr. Daniel Razansky
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH Zurich

Research Focus: Neuroscience has an urgent need for new large-scale neural recording technologies to ensure rapid progress in the understanding of brain function, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. At present, real-time visualization of large-scale neural dynamics is hindered with the existing neuroimaging methods due to lack of capacity for direct imaging of neural activity in large tissue volumes and at high speeds. We develop novel functional neuroimaging tools based on optoacoustics, optical microscopy, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging to volumetrically monitor activity of large distributed neuronal populations in whole mammalian brains with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.

Keywords: molecular imaging, functional neuroimaging, optoacoustics, microscopy, ultrasound, fMRI

Topics: Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: Google Scholar



Robert Riener


Prof. Dr. Ing. Robert Riener
Sensory Motors Systems Lab, Dept of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich and Paraplegic Center, University Hospital Balgrist Zurich

Research Focus: Robert Riener and the members of his Sensory-Motor Systems (SMS) Lab investigate the sensory-motor actions in and interactions between humans and machines. The research focuses on the study of human sensory-motor control, the design of novel mechatronic machines, and the investigation and optimisation of human-machine interaction. Riener’s Lab has developed famous rehabilitation robots (such as the ARMin) and virtual reality technologies applied to the area of neurorehabilitation. Main application areas are the fields of neuro-rehabilitation and sports. R. Riener is also the initiator and organiser of the Cybathlon 2016 in Kloten, Zurich.

Keywords: Neurorehabilitation, rehabilitaiton robotics, motor learning, control of motion, biomechatronics
Topic: Motor Systems, Biomedical Technology and Imaging


saab aiman


Prof. Dr. Aiman Saab
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich

Research Focus: Myelinating oligodendrocytes and astrocytes are suggested to play an important role in maintaining neuronal functions and long-term integrity. In white matter tracts, axons are almost completely ensheathed by myelin and the axonal compartment may receive metabolic support from surrounding glial cells. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing neuron-glial interactions and metabolic cooperation. How do myelinating oligodendrocytes and astrocytes sense neuronal activity and how are these signals translated into maintaining neuronal functions in the young and aging brain? Could perturbations in glial metabolic support to axons impact the etiology and pathogenesis of age-related neuropsychiatric and degenerative diseases? To address these questions we combine molecular genetics, electrophysiology, in vivo and ex vivo two-photon imaging, histology, electron microscopy and behavioural studies in various transgenic and knockout mouse models to investigate cellular mechanisms regulating intercellular communication, brain energy homeostasis and cellular integrity.
Keywords: white matter, axon-glial interactions, myelinated axons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, axonal integrity and energy metabolism, neurodegeneration
Topics: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Disorders of the Nervous Systems, Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: pubmed

Johannes Sarnthein


Prof. Johannes Sarnthein
Dept of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Zurich

Research Focus: Establish neurophysiological biomarkers to improve the outcome of neurosurgical interventions. We correlate intraoperative measurements with postoperative outcome to optimize the neurophysiological guidance of the surgeon. We analyze data obtained during surgery to investigate the physiological mechanisms involved. For example, high-frequency oscillations (HFO) are a promising new marker for epileptogenic brain tissue in intracranial recordings in epilepsy patients, both before and after resection of the epileptogenic zone.

Keywords: intraoperative neuromonitoring; patient registry; tumor; epilepsy

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: pubmed


Schmid Daners Marianne


Dr. Marianne Schmid Daners
Product Development Group Zurich, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich

Research Focus: At the interdisciplinary interface of clinical research and engineering my research focuses on the modelling, control and testing of biomedical systems as well as on the development and control of devices for the treatment of hydrocephalus. One particular focus is to gain fundamental insights into the physiologic dynamics within and adjacent to the cerebrospinal fluid spaces and to develop a pathologic hydrocephalus model. In addition, my research on the cardiovascular system contributes to the understanding of intracranial and spinal dynamics and may support further work on brain perfusion.

Keywords: pressure interaction, testing, sensors, physiologic control, gait analysis, hydrocephalus

Topic: Computation and Modeling, Biomedical Technology and Imaging, Disorders of the Nervous System

Publications: Web of Science Researcher ID E-1800-2013



Seif Maryam


Dr. Maryam Seif, Junior Group Leader
Spinal Cord Injury Center, Neuroimaging Group, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich

Research Focus: Our vision is to develop and apply neuroimaging biomarkers in human CNS following spinal cord injury (SCI) to better understand the SCI-induced neurodegeneration and predict the functional outcome. We use novel quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) in the brain and spinal cord. qMRI is expected to provide sensitive biomarkers of (micro-) structural changes of CNS due to trauma or neurodegeneration. Neuroimaging biomarkers hold promises to improve clinical trial design and efficiency through better SCI patient stratification.

Keywords: quantitative MRI, neuroimaging biomarker, spinal cord injury

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Disorders of the Nervous System



Jae Hoon Sim


PD Dr. Jae Hoon Sim
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Zurich

Research Focus: We have performed both basic science and clinical researches on middle-ear mechanics and middle-ear surgeries. The researches on the middle mechanics have been focused on anatomical characteristics of middle ears in mammals, sound transmission through the middle ear, protective and adaptive functions of the human middle ear whereas the researches on middle-ear surgeries explore stability and reliability of middle-ear implants, assessment of expected surgical outcomes, optimization of prostheses and surgical conditions for the best performance, and surgical flexibility under anatomical variation across subjects.

Our team has established and used novel and unique techniques to perform the researches. The methodological approaches include 1) measurements of quasi-static and vibrational motions of the middle-ear ossicular chain and protheses in 3D space, 2) micro-imaging of the middle-ear structures, and 3) development of comprehensive biomechanical models of the intact and surgically-reconstructed middle ears.

Keywords: middle-ear mechanics, middle-ear reconstruction

Topic: Sensory Systems, Biomedical Technology and Imaging

Publications: pubmed


Janos Vörös


Prof. Dr. Janos Vörös
Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, University and ETH Zurich


Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging


Bruno Weber


Prof. Dr. Bruno Weber
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich

Research Focus: Our group uses a wide range of imaging tools to study the cell-to-cell communication pathways involved in energy metabolism and information processing in cerebral cortex. Furthermore, we are working on dissecting the interaction of neurons and astrocytes with the vascular system, which is responsible for maintaining adequate delivery of oxygen and energy substrates to the brain. As well as studying these systems, the development of imaging systems for in vivo research is an additional research focus of the group.

Keywords: Brain energy metabolism, glia, astrocyte-neuron-interaction, lactate

Topics: Biomedical Technology and Imaging, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience




Martin Wolf


Prof. Dr. Martin Wolf
Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL), Dept. of Neonatology, University Hopital Zurich
Research Focus: BORL focuses on the development of diagnostic tools using light and their research or clinical application. The wide field of expertise and research includes quantitative near-infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS) and imaging (NIRI), i.e. non-invasive, continuous, techniques at the bedside, which use light to quantify and image hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation of tissue. We develop NIRS instrumentation (sensors, electronics, spectrometers, chip design), software (drivers, graphic user interfaces, and post-processing) and algorithms (signal analysis, physiological parameter extraction). BORL successfully invented, developed and clinically applied optical technology to study brain, muscle, cervix, breast oxygenation, perfusion and function. One major focus is the assessment of t brain function, perfusion and oxygenation in healthy subjects and patients in the hospital during clinical studies.

Keywords: Near-infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS), Near-infrared imaging (NIRI), cerebral oxygenation

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging



Bernd Wollscheid


Prof. Dr. Bernd Wollscheid
Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Institute of Molecular Biology, ETH Zürich
Research Focus: The Wollscheid laboratory is focusing on biomedical research bridging the gap in understanding the genotype to phenotype transition via detailed analysis of the proteotype. In order to gain a systems biology understanding of the surfaceome as a cellular signaling gateway we develop and apply chemoproteomic technologies which ultimately enable the quantitative assessment of dynamic protein-protein interactions towards the molecular understanding signaling processes.

Keywords: Chemical & Systems Biology, Cellular Signaling, BioMedical Proteomics

Topic: Biomedical Technology and Imaging




Mehmet Fatih Yanik


Prof. Dr. Mehmet Fatih Yanik
High-throughput Neurotechnology Laboratory, Institute for Biomedical Engineering,  ETH Zurich


Topic: Biomedical Technology