Ursula Röthlisberger

A professor of computational chemistry and biochemistry at the Institute of Chemical Science and Engineering and the head of the Laboratory of Computational Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Ursula Röthlisberger was born in Solothurn (Switzerland). She began her work in chemistry at the University of Bern, where she acquired a degree in physical chemistry in the group of Prof. Ernst Schumacher. She continued in her studies as a doctoral student and, of special note, completed her PhD project in collaboration with Dr. Wanda Andreoni at the IBM Zürich Research Laboratory in Rüschlikon. After finishing her PhD in 1991, she spent three years as a postdoctoral research assistant in the group of Prof. Michael L. Klein at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and another year in the group of Prof. Michele Parrinello at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics in Stuttgart (Germany).

In 1996, she moved to ETH Zürich as a Profile-2 Fellow, hosted by the group of prof. Wilfred F. van Gunsteren and became an assistant professor of computer-aided inorganic chemistry the following year. Apart from her time at ETH, she spent a year as a visiting professor at SISSA in Italy, until finally, her group relocated to EPFL in 2002, where she became an associate professor. Shortly after she joined EPFL, Ursula was appointed a director of the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Section at the Faculty of Basic Sciences, with her term lasting for three years. As of 2009, she has been a full professor at EPFL.

She currently holds a position of an associate editor of JCTC and is an elected member of several scientific organizations. Her scientific achievements are recognized within Switzerland (Ruzicka Prize, Doron Prize) as well as on an international scale (Dirac Medal of the WATOC).


On-going collaborations

Michael Grätzel (EPFL)
Development of  new materials and techniques for improving solar cell performance. 

Jovanna V. Milić (UniFr)
Investigation of 2D perovskites for perovskite-based solar cells.

Paul Dyson (EPFL), Curtis A. Davey (NTU Singapore)
Search for transition-metal-based anticancer drugs.

Paolo Carloni (FZ Jülich, DE), Raimund Dutzler (UZH), Alessandra Magistrato (SISSA, IT)
Simulations of transmembrane ion and lipid transport in cellular membranes.

MiMiC Consortium
Paolo Carloni (FZ Jülich, DE), Jógvan Magnus Haugaard Olsen (DTU, DK), Simone Meloni (UniFe, IT)
Development of flexible QM/MM framework for multiscale chemical modelling.

SNSF Sinergia Project
Shi-Xia Liu (UniBe), Thomas Feurer (UniBe), Bong-Joo Kang (UniBe), Ernst Meyer (UniBas) and Thilo Glatzel (UniBas)
Exploring charged and excited states of molecules on surfaces as new building blocks for molecular electronics.

Professional appointments
since 2009

Full professor of computational chemistry
and biochemistry

2004—2007 Director of the chemistry and chemical engineering section EPFL
2002—2008 Associate professor of computational chemistry and biochemistry EPFL
1999 Visiting professor SISSA (IT)
1997—2002 Assistant professor of computational inorganic chemistry ETHZ
1996—1997 Profile-2 Fellow of the SNSF ETHZ
Education and early career

Postdoctoral researcher
with prof. Michele Parinello

1992—1995 Postdoctoral researcher
with prof. Michael Klein
UPenn (USA)
1991—1992 Postdoctoral researcher IBM Zürich
1988—1991 PhD UniBe & IBM Zürich
1987—1988 Master in physical chemistry UniBe
Awards and Honors
2018 Fellow of the AAAS
2017 Ron Hides award of the ASMS for the paper
2016 Doron Prize
2015 Lecture award of the EuCheMS
2015 Elected member of the IAQMS 
2014 Board member of the WATOC
2004 Dirac Medal of the WATOC
2001 Ruzicka Prize
Board and panel memberships
Associate editor
since 2008 Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (ACS)
Editorial advisory board
2013—2015 The Journal of Physical Chemistry (ACS)
2013—2015 Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (IOP)
2012—2015 Chemical Physics Letters (Elsevier)
2001—2006 International Journal of Quantum Chemistry (Wiley)
Scientific advisory board
since 2015 Max Born Institute for nonlinear optics and short pulse spectroscopy, Germany
2012—2020 Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire, Switzerland
2009—2013 Cluster of excellence UniCat, Germany
Evaluation panels
2012—2020 PE4 Evaluation panel, ERC Starting grants
2012—2016 PRACE Prioritization panel
2004—2007 Research Council of the SNSF, Division IV