ETH Zurich

Project Coordinator

Prof. Salvador Pané i Vidal​

Prof. Dr. Salvador Pané i Vidal (Barcelona, 1980) is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) at ETH Zürich. He received a B.S. (2003), M.S (2004) and a PhD in Chemistry (2008) from the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) in the field of the electrodeposition of magnetic composites and magnetoresistive alloys. He became a postdoctoral researcher at IRIS in August 2008 and Senior Research Scientist in 2012. He has authored or co-​authored more than 100 articles in international peer-​reviewed journals and books for education in science.

 

Prof. Pané is currently working on bridging chemistry and electrochemistry with robotics at small scales. In the field of micro-​ and nanororobotics, his major focus has been the miniaturization of magnetic materials and conductive polymers and hydrogels for targeted drug delivery. He is the head of the IRIS electrochemistry laboratory at ETH, which he established in 2010. At present, he teaches a course on nanorobotics and supervises several on-​going PhD theses. He has established successful international collaborations with several research groups (Autonomous University of Barcelona, University of Barcelona, University of Würzburg, Boğaziçi University, University of Orléans, Michigan State University, University of Hamburg) and companies and institutions (Hirtenberger AG, IGS Research, EMPA, Steiger AG).

Prof. Pané has been also the coordinator for the FET Open project (Magnetic Nanoactuators for Quantitative Analysis), funded by the EU commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-​2013). In June 2013, Prof. Pané was awarded the highly competitive Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The grant provides 1.5 million euros over five years to investigate composite nanomaterials with magnetoelectric properties for chemical and biomedical applications. From 2015 to 2019, he was the Chair of the COST Action “e-​MINDS: Electrochemical processing methodologies and corrosion protection for device and systems miniaturization”, which brings together more than 40 European academic and industrial participants related to the areas of electrochemical manufacturing and corrosion science. Since 2016, he has served on the board of editors in the journal Applied Materials Today (Elsevier). He represents Switzerland in the European Academy of Surface Technology. He is also co-​founder of the startup Magnes AG. He was awarded a Consolidator Grant (ERC) in November 2017. The Grant provides 2.0 million euros over five years to develop gated porous nanorobots that can be remotely instructed to produce electrical fields. In future, these nanorobots could be used in the spinal cord or the optical nerve.

Supervisor

Prof. Bradley Nelson

Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002, where his research focuses on microrobotics and nanorobotics. Fundamentally, he is interested in how to make tiny intelligent machines that are millimeters to nanometers in size.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota, worked as a computer vision researcher at Honeywell and a software engineer at Motorola, served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, and then obtained a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota before moving to ETH.

Prof. Nelson has over thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards for his work in robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. He received the Grand Hamdan International Award for AI in Healthcare and was named to the “Scientific American 50”, Scientific American magazine’s annual list recognizing fifty outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology. His lab is the undefeated international champion in Robocup’s Nanogram Soccer League, and he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Most Advanced Mini Robot for Medical Use.” His research group has won more than a dozen best paper awards at various international conferences and in international journals.

Prof. Nelson is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering (SATW) and serves on the advisory boards of a number of academic departments and research institutes across North America, Europe, and Asia. He is on the editorial boards of several academic journals, including the founding editorial boards of Science Robotics and Annual Review of Controls, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems. He has been the Department Head of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH twice, Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center, and a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Researcher

Fabian Landers

Fabian was born and raised in the beautiful northern German city of Hamburg. Curious about the country of chocolate and mountains, he attended ETH Zurich, where he received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mechanical engineering. During this time, he did a six-month internship at Evonik in the field of semiconductors in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

During his studies, he developed a keen interest in scaling phenomena and small-scale robots. For his Master’s thesis, he joined the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, where he developed electroadhesive devices that enable small-scale robots to walk and climb on inclined and vertical surfaces.

Trading the Boston clam chowder for Swiss Raclette, he joined MSRL as a doctoral student in August 2019. His research puts a spotlight on the development, fabrication, and manipulation of small-scale robots for minimally invasive surgery and drug delivery. Within ANGIE, Fabian coordinates the development and manufacture of the drug delivery platform.

Outside the lab, he enjoys road biking, exploring the Swiss mountains, and the occasional glass of wine.

Lukas Hertle

Lukas Hertle (1994) grew up in Germany, he graduated from high school in Scotland where he received an academic scholarship. He moved to Switzerland in 2014 to study mechanical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). During his bachelor studies, his primary focus was on micro-​ and nano-​systems and he undertook research studies on the synthesis of biodegradable polymer-​nanoparticle composites, completing his studies with a bachelor thesis on the usage of hydrogel-​magnetic nanoparticle composites in microrobots.

After finishing his bachelor’s degree, he continued studying at ETH Zurich concentrating on the field of robotics and nano-​systems for biomedical applications. He started working at the MSRL during his semester thesis, which was on the fabrication of biocompatible magnetic nanoparticles, proceeding later in this field by writing his master’s thesis on the synthesis and functionalization of high-​performance magnetic nanoparticles for use in microrobotic devices.

In August 2021, he joined the Multi-​Scale Robotics Lab as a PhD student and is currently working on the development of microfluidic-​assisted fabrication of novel soft microrobots for biomedical applications.

Research Assistant

Vitaly Pustovalov