Viola Vogel Ph.D.

Vogel, Viola
Position Department / Business Unit
Professor Institute for Biologically Oriented Materials Department of Materials
Institution Disciplines
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Chemistry Nanoparticles Physics
City State / Provence
Country Website
Switzerland link

Dr. Viola Vogel is a Professor in the Department of Materials heading the Laboratory for Biologically Oriented Materials at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich.

After completing her graduate research at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, she received her Ph. D. in Physics at Frankfurt University, followed by two years as postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley. As faculty member, she joined the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington in 1990 with an adjunct appointment in the Physics. She was the Founding Director of the Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Washington (‘97-‘03) prior to her move to Switzerland in 2004.

Her interdisciplinary research program centers in bionanotechnology where she deciphers engineering principles of biological nanosystems for the development of new technologies. Her interests range from physical sciences to medicine and include bottom-up molecular self-assembly, single molecule mechanics, how cells sense and respond to force, bacterial adhesion, biominerals, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Career Highlights

Viola Vogel broadly served the national and international community in many capacities which includes selection committees for the British Marshall Fund Fellowships (‘93-‘95), the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF) (‘98), and as US Representative on the Council of Scientists of the Human Frontier Science Program (‘03-‘04). She was involved in Nanotech program and technology assessments for NIH, the National Research Council (“NASA’s Microgravity Research” & “Reshape the Education in Lifesciences”), as PCAST panel member preparing Clinton’s “Presidential National Nanotechnology Initiative” (‘99) and for the European Academy (‘03-present). She organized and chaired many international meetings including the German-American Frontiers of Science Meetings (‘98-‘01), the National Nanotech Initiative Workshop on “Nanobiotechnology” (‘03) coorganized by NSF&NIH, and Co-Chairs the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco (‘06). She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and an elected member of the Gordon Research Conference Selection and Scheduling Committee.


Her Awards include the Otto-Hahn Medal from the Max-Planck Society in 1988, the “FIRST” Award from the National Institutes of Health (General Medicine) in 1993, the Research Award 2005 from the Philip Morris Foundation, and the Julius Springer Award 2006 for Applied Physics.

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