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Soft materials encompass the bulk of living tissues.   Living organisms control the structure and properties of soft materials at a hierachy of length scales. 

Soft materials are widely used as diverse engineered materials, from personal care products to energy-efficient electronic-paper displays.  Due to their accessible length and time scales, soft materials are great model systems for fundamental experiments in condensed matter physics.

Inaugural Lecture

Soft and Living Materials
Auditorium Maximum
11. October 2016

Video of the event

Master's Projects

The Laboratory for Soft and Living Materials is pleased to offer master's projects in the following topics. Each project will be supervised by an experienced researcher and guided by Prof. Eric Dufresne. For more information, contact the scientists listed below.

Wetting on soft solids -  Dr. Qin Xu

Synthesis of soft solids: control and characterization of bulk and surface mechanical properties -  Dr. Katharine Jensen and Dr. Qin Xu

Adhesion: Sticking to soft solids - Dr. Katharine Jensen

Biomimetic phase-separated liquids - Dr. Robert Style

Stability of Soft Composites - Dr. Robert Style

Adhesion and Motility of Cells on Soft Surfaces - Dr. Kathryn Rosowsk

News & Events

The Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials was founded at ETH in January 2016.

We are an interdisciplinary team of physicists, engineers, and biologists.

Open Positions

The Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials at ETH Zürich has multiple openings for Ph.D. students on the general topic of ‘Physical Mechanisms Underlying the Structure and Rheology of Living Materials.’  This research, led by Prof. Eric Dufresne, lies at the boundary between physics, materials science and biology.  Motivated students with a background in any one of these areas and an interest in the others are welcome to apply.  The specific topics for the theses include, but are not limited to,

a) the self-assembly of intrinsically disordered proteins and

b) the folding of lipid bilayers through the self-assembly of adsorbed molecules. 

These positions are funded by a new grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, and work on the thesis can start immediately.  To qualify, students must have a Masters degree in a related field.  To apply, please contact Cornelia Aurelio,


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