From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers via e-mail.

Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Biology (General Courses) Information
Complementary Courses
151-0255-00LEnergy Conversion and Transport in BiosystemsZ Dr4 credits2V + 1UD. Poulikakos, A. Ferrari
AbstractTheory and application of thermodynamics and energy conversion in biological systems with focus on the cellular level.
ObjectiveTheory and application of energy conversion at the cellular level. Understanding of the basic features governing solutes transport in the principal systems of the human cell. Connection of characteristics and patterns from other fields of engineering to biofluidics. Heat and mass transport processes in the cell, generation of forces, work and relation to biomedical technologies.
ContentMass transfer models for the transport of chemical species in the human cell. Organization and function of the cell membrane and of the cell cytoskeleton. The role of molecular motors in cellular force generation and their function in cell migration. Description of the functionality of these systems and of analytical experimental and computational techniques for understanding of their operation. Introduction to cell metabolism, cellular energy transport and cellular thermodynamics.
Lecture notesMaterial in the form of hand-outs will be distributed.
LiteratureLecture notes and references therein.
376-1791-00LIntroductory Course in Neuroscience I (University of Zurich) Information Restricted registration - show details
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: SPV0Y005

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
Z Dr2 credits2VJ.‑M. Fritschy, W. Knecht
AbstractThe course gives an introduction to human and comparative neuroanatomy, molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience.
ObjectiveThe course gives an introduction to human and comparative neuroanatomy, molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience.
Content1) Human Neuroanatomy I&II
2) Comparative Neuroanatomy
3) Development I&II
4) Membran and Action Potential
5) Synaptic Transmission & Plasticity I&II
6) Glia and Blodd-Brain-Barrier
7) Somatosensory and Motor System
8) Visual System
9) Auditory System
10) Circuits underlying Emotion
11) Modeling of Neural Circuits
Prerequisites / NoticeFor doctoral students of the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ).
376-1795-00LAdvanced Course in Neurobiology I (Functional Anatomy of the Rodent Brain) (University of Zurich) Information Restricted registration - show details
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: SPV0Y009

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
Z Dr2 credits2VJ.‑M. Fritschy, H. U. Zeilhofer
AbstractThe goal of this Advanced Course in Neurobiology is to provide students with a broader knowledge in several important areas of neurobiology. The course consists of four parts: Part I deals with various topics in developmental neurobiology. Part II is devoted to aspects of signal transduction. Part III focuses on synaptic transmission. Part IV gives deeper insights into systems neuroscience.
ObjectiveThis credit point course is designed for doctoral students who have successfully completed the Introductory Course in Neuroscience at the Neuroscience Center Zürich. The goal is to provide students with a broader and deeper knowledge in several important areas of neurobiology.
Prerequisites / NoticeFür Doktorierende des Zentrums für Neurowissenschaften Zürich. Nicht für Master-Studierende geeignet.
551-1159-00LMolecular Systems BiologyZ Dr0 credits1KU. Sauer, R. Aebersold
AbstractSeminar series on current research topics in systems biology
ObjectiveAn overview of systesm biology research
ContentSeminar series on current research topics in systems biology
Lecture notesnone
701-0265-00LEcology and Evolution
Information for UZH students:
Enrolment to this course unit only possible at ETH. No enrolment to module BIO608 at UZH.
Please mind the ETH enrolment deadlines for UZH students: Link
Z Dr1 credit2SE. Postma, J. Jokela
AbstractA course dedicated to the reading and discussion of the relevant literature. The actual list of theme papers will be proposed anew for every year. Students then choose a topic and prepare themselves for a general discussion with their colleagues and peers. In the process, current and controversial topics will be discussed and studied.
ObjectiveTo become proficient in reading scientific literature, to understand how to look at publications, to understand them and to be able to put them in context. The course also trains the skills needed for the presentation of scientific contributions and the ability to put things into a broader context. Training in how to participate in a scientific discussion, how to make an argument and how to listen to arguments of others.
ContentAll topics focus on themes from ecology and evolution, notably so on studies on adaptation of organisms, their evolutionary history, or on questions of current methodology.
Lecture notesnone
LiteratureThe actual content, i.e. the theme papers, will be determined and allocated to the participants at the start of the course each year.
Prerequisites / NoticeTakes place at Uni Irchel. Please refer to notes on board or ask secretary Mrs. Rita Jenny (

Requirements: Knowledge of ecology and evolution, e.g., lectures during basic and advanced study period. The course is meant for advanced and PhD students.
151-0927-00LRate-Controlled Separations in Fine ChemistryZ Dr4 credits3GM. Mazzotti
AbstractThe students are supposed to obtain detailed insight into the fundamentals of separation processes that are frequently applied in modern life sicence processes in particular, fine chemistry and biotechnology.
ObjectiveThe students are supposed to obtain detailed insight into the fundamentals of separation processes that are frequently applied in modern life sicence processes in particular, fine chemistry and biotechnology.
ContentThe class covers separation techniques that are central in the purification and downstream processing of chemicals and bio-pharmaceuticals. Examples from both areas illustrate the utility of the methods: 1) Liquid-liquid extraction; 2) Adsorption and chromatography; 3) Membrane processes; 4) Crystallization and precipitation.
Lecture notesHandouts during the class
LiteratureRecommendations for text books will be covered in the class
Prerequisites / NoticeRequirements: Thermal separation Processes I (151-0926-00) and Modelling and mathematical methods in process and chemical engineering (151-0940-00)
401-0649-00LApplied Statistical Regression Information Z Dr5 credits2V + 1UM. Dettling
AbstractThis course offers a practically oriented introduction into regression modeling methods. The basic concepts and some mathematical background are included, with the emphasis lying in learning "good practice" that can be applied in every student's own projects and daily work life. A special focus will be laid in the use of the statistical software package R for regression analysis.
ObjectiveThe students acquire advanced practical skills in linear regression analysis and are also familiar with its extensions to generalized linear modeling.
ContentThe course starts with the basics of linear modeling, and then proceeds to parameter estimation, tests, confidence intervals, residual analysis, model choice, and prediction. More rarely touched but practically relevant topics that will be covered include variable transformations, multicollinearity problems and model interpretation, as well as general modeling strategies.

The last third of the course is dedicated to an introduction to generalized linear models: this includes the generalized additive model, logistic regression for binary response variables, binomial regression for grouped data and poisson regression for count data.
Lecture notesA script will be available.
LiteratureFaraway (2005): Linear Models with R
Faraway (2006): Extending the Linear Model with R
Draper & Smith (1998): Applied Regression Analysis
Fox (2008): Applied Regression Analysis and GLMs
Montgomery et al. (2006): Introduction to Linear Regression Analysis
Prerequisites / NoticeThe exercises, but also the classes will be based on procedures from the freely available, open-source statistical software package R, for which an introduction will be held.

In the Mathematics Bachelor and Master programmes, the two course units 401-0649-00L "Applied Statistical Regression" and 401-3622-00L "Regression" are mutually exclusive. Registration for the examination of one of these two course units is only allowed if you have not registered for the examination of the other course unit.
551-1615-00LNMR Methods for Studies of Biological Macromolecules Information
Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in biological NMR spectroscopy.
Z Dr1 credit1SG. Wider
AbstractSeminar series on technical aspects of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with biological macromolecules.
ObjectiveIntroduction and discussion of advanced methods for recording and analysis of NMR data with biological macromolecules.
ContentSeminar series on technical aspects of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with biological macromolecules.
551-1619-00LStructural BiologyZ Dr1 credit1KR. Glockshuber, F. Allain, N. Ban, K. Locher, E. Weber-Ban, G. Wider, K. Wüthrich
AbstractThe course consists of a series of research seminars on Structural Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, given by both scientists of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Structural Biology and external speakers. Information on the individual seminars is provided on the following websites:
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is to provide doctoral and postdoctoral students with a broad overview on the most recent developments in biochemistry, structural biology and biophysics.
851-0180-00LResearch Ethics Restricted registration - show details
Particularly suitable for students of D-BIOL, D-CHAB, D-HEST
Z Dr2 credits2GG. Achermann
AbstractThis course has its focus on the responsible conduct of research (RCR) and the ethical dimensions of the biological and biomedical sciences.
ObjectiveThe main goal of this course is to enhance the student's ability to:
- recognize and identify ethical issues and conflicts,
- analyze and develop well-reasoned responses to the kinds of ethical problems a scientist is likely to encounter.

Additionally, students will become familiar with regulations and ethical guidelines relevant for their research field on the international, governmental, institutional and professional level.

To achieve these objectives, teaching methods will include lectures, discussions, case study work (alone and in groups), moral games, paper work and exercises.
ContentI. Ethics & the Process of Ethical Inquiry

Introduction in Ethics and Research Ethics
- What is ethics? What ethics is not...;
- Awareness: what constitutes an ethical question? Distinguishing ethical questions from other kinds of questions; Science & ethics: a comparison;
- The ethics movement in the biological and health sciences;
- What is research ethics and why is it important?
- Values (personal, cultural & ethical) in science & principles for ethical conduct in research;
- Professional codes of conduct: functions and limitations

Ethical approaches in the conduct of research (Normative Ethics)
- Overview over important theories for research ethics: virtue theories, duty-based theories (rights theory, categorical imperative, prima facie duties), consequentialist theories, other theories);
- The plurality of ethical theories and its consequences;
- The concept of dignity

Moral reasoning I: Arguments
- Why arguments? What is a good argument? The structure of (moral) arguments;
- Deductive and inductive arguments; Validity and soundness;
- Assessing moral arguments

Moral reasoning II: Decision-making
- How (not) to approach ethical issues...; Is there a correct method for answering moral questions?
- Models of method in Applied Ethics: a) Top-down approaches; b) the reflective equilibrium; c) a bottom-up approach: casuistry (or reasoning-by-analogy);
- Is there a right answer?

II. Research Ethics / Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Integrity in Research & Research Misconduct
- What is "integrity" in scientific research? What is research misconduct (falsification, fabrication, plagiarism - FFP) and questionable research practices (QRP)?
- Factors leading to misconduct; Procedure for responding to allegations of research misconduct;
- The confidant of ETH Zurich

Data Management
- Data collection and recordkeeping; Analysis and selection of data;
- Ownership of data; retention and sharing of data;
- Falsification and fabrication of data

Research involving animals
- The moral status of animals; Ethical approaches to animal experimentation: Animal welfare (Peter Singer) and Animal rights (Tom Regan);
- The 3 R's (replacement, reduction, refinement);
- Ethical assessment of conflicting issues in animal experimentation;
- The dignity of animals in the Swiss constitution;

Research involving human subjects
- History & guidelines (Nuremberg Code; Declaration of Helsinki; Belmont Report; International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects (CIOMS Guidelines); Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Oviedo Convention);
- Informed consent; confidentiality and anonymity; research risks and benefits; vulnerable subjects;
- Clinical trials;
- Biobanks
- Ethics Committees / Institutional Review Boards (IRB)

Authorship & Peer review
- Criteria for authorship;
- Plagiarism;
- Challenges to openness and freedom in scientific publication;
- Open access
- Peer review

Social responsibility
- What is social responsibility? Social responsibility: whose obligation?
- Public advocacy by researchers
Lecture notesCourse material (handouts, case studies, exercises, surveys and papers) will be available during the lectures and on the course homepage.
LiteratureRecommended literature:

- Bulger R.E., Heitman E. & Reiser S.J. (2002) "The Ethical Dimensions of the Biological and Health Sciences" 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press
- Shamoo A.E. & Resnik D.B. (2003) "Responsible Conduct of Research", New York, Oxford University Press
- "On Being a Scientist. Responsible Conduct in Research (2009)" 3rd ed.,;
- "Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research" (

Detailed literature lists for the different topics of the course will be provided in the script/handout or on the course work space.
376-1581-00LCancer: Fundamentals, Origin and TherapyZ2 credits2GH. Nägeli
AbstractGeneral aspects and etiology of cancer. Epidemiology of cancer risks. Impact of food, physical activity and infectious diseases. Genetic predispositions. Molecular basis of cancer development. Concept of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Cancer stem cells. Interactions between chemicals and DNA. Test systems to recognize mutagenic chemicals. Conventional and new therapeutic strategies.
ObjectiveStudents are able to describe selected chemicals, biological and molecular processes that occur in cells spontaneously or after physical or chemical exposure and resulting in a tumor. They are able to list important cancer-inducing agents and explain the respective mechanism of action. They have knowledge of significant risk factors for cancer diseases. They are confronted with the basics of toxicology and they can explain the principle of the most common therapeutic strategies.
ContentThe lecture deals with problems of tumor epidemiology (causes, mortality, incidence). Cancer is delineated as a multi-step process. Classes of chemical compounds that induce cancer are discussed as well as the reactive metabolites that may be built from. Covalent binding to DNA is discussed and different types of mutations resulting therof. A selection of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes is presented. Their function will be discussed as well as the changes which are found in these genes in tumor cells, starting from single nucleotide exchanges up to large deletions.
The reason for genetic predisposition to cancer will be discussed as well as cancer relevant aspects of cell cycle regulation. Phenomenons like angiogenesis and metastasis are presented as well as the mechanisms that protect the genome from mutagenic damage. Further subjects address old and new strategies of cancer treatment. Personalised cancer treatment.
Lecture notesHandouts with reproductions of all presented transparencies will be distributed.
Literature- Weinberg, Robert: The biology of Cancer. 2014. 876 S.; ISBN 978-0-8153-4220-5, Garland Science, New York, USA

additional informations are given during the lecture
Prerequisites / NoticeThe lecture requires an active participation of the students. All students will participate in individual or group work focussing on specific subject of the lecture. Students will have ample time for preparation during lecture time.
551-0530-00LRepair, Recombination, ReplicationZ0 credits1KJ. Fernandes de Matos
AbstractSeveral research groups from University, ETH, Basel, Bern and Konstanz meet once per month and present their work related to DNA-repair, recombination, replication, and cancer.
ObjectiveDiscussion of current topics in DNA-repair, recombination, replication, and cancer.
ContentDiscussion of current topics in DNA-repair, recombination, replication, and cancer.
Lecture notesno script
401-5640-00LZüKoSt: Seminar on Applied Statistics Information Z Dr0 credits1KM. Kalisch, P. L. Bühlmann, R. Furrer, L. Held, T. Hothorn, M. H. Maathuis, M. Mächler, L. Meier, N. Meinshausen, M. Robinson, C. Strobl
AbstractAbout 5 talks on applied statistics.
ObjectiveSee how statistical methods are applied in practice.
ContentThere will be about 5 talks on how statistical methods are applied in practice.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis is no lecture. There is no exam and no credit points will be awarded. The current program can be found on the web:
Course language is English or German and may depend on the speaker.
551-1109-00LSeminars in MicrobiologyZ Dr0 credits2KM. Aebi, H.‑M. Fischer, W.‑D. Hardt, J. Piel, J. Vorholt-Zambelli
AbstractSeminars by invited speakers covering selected microbiology themes.
ObjectiveDiscussion of selected microbiology themes presented by invited speakers.
401-0620-00LStatistical ConsultingZ Dr0 credits0.1KM. Kalisch, L. Meier
AbstractThe Statistical Consulting service is open for all members of ETH, including students, and partly also to other persons.
ObjectiveAdvice for analyzing data by statistical methods.
ContentStudents and researchers can get advice for analyzing scientific data, often for a thesis.
We highly recommend to contact the consulting service when planning a project, not only towards the end of analyzing the resulting data!
Prerequisites / NoticeThis is not a course, but a consulting service. There are no exams nor credits.

Contact: . Tel. 044 632 2223. See also

Requirements: Knowledge of the basic concepts of statistics is desirable.
551-0512-00LCurrent Topics in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 8.
Z Dr2 credits1SU. Suter
AbstractThe course is a literature seminar or "journal club". Each Friday a student, or a member of the Suter Lab in the Institute of Molecular Health Sciences, will present a paper from the recent literature.
ObjectiveThe course introduces you to recent developments in the fields of cellular and molecular neurobiology. It also supports you to develop your skills in critically reading the scientific literature. You should be able to grasp what the authors wanted to learn i.e. their goals, why the authors chose the experimental approach they used, the strengths and weaknesses of the experiments and the data presented, and how the work fits into the wider literature in the field. You will present one paper yourself, which provides you with practice in public speaking.
ContentYou will present one paper yourself. Give an introduction to the field of the paper, then show and comment on the main results (all the papers we present are available online, so you can show original figures with a beamer). Finish with a summary of the main points and a discussion of their significance.
You are expected to take part in the discussion and to ask questions. To prepare for this you should read all the papers beforehand (they will be announced a week in advance of the presentation).
Lecture notesPresentations will be made available after the seminars.
Prerequisites / NoticeYou must attend at least 80% of the journal clubs, and give a presentation of your own. At the end of the semester there will be a 30 minute oral exam on the material presented during the semester. The grade will be based on the exam (45%), your presentation (45%), and a contribution based on your active participation in discussion of other presentations (10%).
551-0737-00LExperimental Ecology: Evolution and Ecology Information Restricted registration - show details Z2 credits2SS. Bonhoeffer
AbstractInteraction seminar. Student-mediated presentations, guests and discussions on current themes in ecology, evolutionary and population biology.
ObjectiveGetting familiar with scientific arguments and discussions. Overview of current research topics. Making contacts with fellow students in other groups.
ContentScientific talks and discussions on changing subjects.
Lecture notesNone
Prerequisites / NoticeFor information and details:
or contact:
551-0509-00LCurrent Immunological Research in ZürichZ Dr0 credits1KR. Spörri, M. Detmar, C. Halin Winter, W.‑D. Hardt, M. Kopf, A. Lanzavecchia, S. R. Leibundgut, A. Oxenius, University lecturers
AbstractThis monthly meeting is a platform for Zurich-based immunology research groups to present and discuss their ongoing research projects. At each meeting three PhD students or Postdocs from the participating research groups present an ongoing research project in a 30 min seminar followed by a plenary discussion.
ObjectiveThe aim of this monthly meeting is to provide further education for master and doctoral students as well as Postdocs in diverse topics of immunology and to give an insight in the related research. Furthermore, this platform fosters the establishment of science- and technology-based interactions between the participating research groups.
ContentPresentation and discussion of current research projects carried out by various immunology-oriented research groups in Zurich.
Lecture notesnone
551-1405-00LElectron Cryomicroscopy Seminar Information Z Dr0 credits0.5SM. Pilhofer, further lecturers
AbstractIntergroup seminar for scientists and students interested in electron cryomicroscopy
ObjectiveThe goal of the seminar is to provide an exchange forum for anyone interested in electron cryomicroscopy (tomography and single particle).
The first ~10 minutes are used for exchange on instrument status and technical issues, followed by a ~30 min presentation and discussion of a specific project.
The seminar can also be used to discuss current literature and report from conferences.
Prerequisites / NoticePresented project data are confidential. Sign-up for seminar announcements by emailing
551-1106-00LProgress Reports in Microbiology and Immunology
Students must sign up via
Dr0 credits5SJ. Piel, M. Aebi, H.‑M. Fischer, W.‑D. Hardt, A. Oxenius, J. Vorholt-Zambelli
AbstractPresentation and discussion of current research results in the field of Microbiology and Infection Immunology
ObjectivePrecise and transparent presentation of research findings in relation to the current literature, critical discussion of experimental data and their interpretation, development and presentation of future research aims
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