Did you know that globally, health care expenditure has increased at a faster annual rate than economy growth? Did you know that postoperative surgical complications remain the strongest indicators of in-hospital costs? What if we could develop an implant which allows for noninvasive low-cost and quasi continuous monitoring of the surgical wound sites, allowing for unprecedented early-stage detection of postoperative surgical complications? Such technology is paramount for not only rendering surgical practice safer, but also for managing the ever-rising coasts of the modern-day healthcare system.

Keywords: Smart implants, biomaterials, material science, chemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, sustainability, surgery, innovation

Description: Postoperative surgical complications such as surgical site infection (SSI) or anastomotic leaks are notoriously hard to diagnose and often rely on clinical symptoms such as overall deterioration of patient wellbeing indicative of a fully develop complication. Early diagnosis of such complications is the principal indicator for a rapid and successful treatment, alleviating patients and the healthcare system from prolonged hospital stays. This project aims to improve the diagnosis of postoperative surgical complications by designing a smart implant capable of quasi-continuous noninvasive wound site monitoring with state-of-the-art low-cost medical imaging. The ideal student is motivated and an independent thinker. Preferably, the candidate has previous experience working in a research laboratory with a background in chemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, material science engineering or similar, and can communicate well with people from different backgrounds. If selected, the candidate would work in a highly interdisciplinary team, developing new materials, testing those materials under relevant conditions while having the opportunity to closely collaborate with surgeons and medical personnel in designing a clinically relevant and tangible solution to the problem.

Goal: Design a smart material solution for the noninvasive monitoring of surgical wound sites.

Contact Details: Please feel free to contact us for more information! Benjamin Suter –, Prof. Inge K. Herrmann –, Nanoparticle Systems Engineering Laboratory –

About Nanoparticle Systems Engineering Laboratory –

Welcome to the Nanoparticle Systems Engineering Laboratory (NSEL) at the Institue of Energy and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich. We design and develop conceptionally novel nanotechnology-​enabled solutions for precision medicine based on an interdisciplinary design-​thinking approach. The lab leverages materials engineering, cutting-​edge analytics and simulations to obtain a holistic understanding of the interplay of engineered materials with the living across scales, enabling data-​driven materials and device designs, which offer a direct route to unparalleled diagnostic and therapeutic performance.

We work in highly interdisciplinary teams, including theoreticians and frontline clinicians, to bring our design approaches to clinical application. Diversity is our strongest asset. We created a enviroment of respect and creativity where we want you to be successful and reach your goals! Our students and postdocs have won prestigious awards (incl. ETH Medal, MaP Awards, SCS DPCI Best Thesis Award, Hilti Award, AIChE Gradudate Student Award, Forbes 30 under 30, etc.) and secured high-​level positions in industry and academia, or have started their own company (anavo and veltist).