News Archives (2006-2014)



Professor Luisa De Cola from the University of Strasbourg delivered a magnificent lecture on her research on hybrid porous nano materials. Dr. Yong Zhang from Sigma-Aldrich (Milwaukee) presented Professor Luisa De Cola with a plaque to mark the event.



to Prof. Nicolai Cramer (Laboratory of Asymmetric Catalysis and Synthesis – LCSA), for his pioneering studies in metal catalyzed C-C and C-H activation reactions and their applications in organic synthesis.


20.12.11 – The 2011 Taiwan Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities by Continent for Chemistry  published at the end of November, puts the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC) at the third  place in the lists of the  most important chemistry academic research centers in Europe.
The Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC), got its high rank despite being much smaller in size than competing chemistry departments. >>> 
30.11.11 – The swirling of wine helps bioreactors to run better. Every wine aficionado knows that wine has to be swirled in a glass in order for it to release its aroma. Applied to biotechnologies over some fifteen years, this ordinary gesture has made it possible to develop more efficient machines for culturing proteins in animal cells. The phenomenon has been studied in detail at EPFL….  >>>

18.11.11 – Schläfli 2011 Award for Prof. Jérôme Waser. The SCNAT awards the “Prix Schläfli 2011” to Prof. J. Waser. From 1866, the A. F. Schläfli prize rewards each year the work of a young Swiss researcher. This year the award has been selected by the Chemistry Platform. Prof. Jérôme Waser (LCSO – Laboratory of Catalysis and Organic Synthesis) has received this prestigious award during the annual meeting of the Académie suisse des sciences naturelles (SCNAT) on November 18…. >>>

10.11.11 – Dye-sensitized solar cells break a new record. Dye-sensitized Grätzel solar cells have just set a new efficiency benchmark. By changing the composition and color of the cells, an EPFL team has increased their efficiency to more than 12%. Their results have just been published in Science…. >>>

04.11.11 – Solar cells which exceed 12 percent efficiency. Porphyrin-Sensitized Solar Cells with Cobalt (II/III)–Based Redox Electrolyte Exceed 12 Percent Efficiency. The iodide/triiodide redox shuttle has limited the efficiencies accessible in dye-sensitized solar cells. Here, the group of Prof. Michaël Grätzel (LPI – Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces), in collaboration with….>>>

“Gutenberg Research Award 2011” to Prof. Michael Grätzel: Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) of Mainz has awarded recently awarded “Gutenberg Research Award 2011” to Prof. Michael Grätzel in a ceremony held on July 7, 2011 at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research.
The award will strengthen his interactions with the Graduate School MAINZ and JGU…..  >>>

EPFL establishes collaborations with Russia in the fight against diabetes.
PARTNERSHIP : A Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry (LCBIM – Prof. Elena Dubikovskaya) and a new international collaboration in the field of diabetes research has been created with the help of Neva foundation at ISIC, EPFL…. >>>

21.10.11 – Hydrogen generation and storage. “Efficient Dehydrogenation of Formic Acid Using an Iron Catalyst”. Hydrogen is one of the essential reactants in the chemical industry, though its generation from renewable sources and storage in a safe and reversible manner remain challenging. Formic acid (FA) is a promising source and storage material in this respect. Prof. Gabor Laurenczy ….. >>>
21.10.11 – Generation of cell-surface-targeted fluorescent sensor proteins. “Semisynthesis of Fluorescent Metabolite Sensors on Cell Surfaces”.
Progress in understanding signal transduction and metabolic pathways is hampered by a shortage of suitable sensors for tracking metabolites, second messengers, and neurotransmitters in living cells. The groups of Prof. Kai Johnsson and Prof. Horst Vogel …. >>>
18.10.11 – A molecule worth its weight in gold to fight cancer. EPFL scientists (Angela Casini-LCOM and Yury Tsybin-LSMB) have shown that inorganic, metal-containing molecules can be used to fight cancer. The discovery has opened up a whole new area of research….  >>>
15.10.2011 – Kevin Sivula wins Prix Zeno Karl Schindler/EPFL
The award is presented to Prof. Kevin Sivula for his outstanding research on the use of mesoscopic oxides for the direct generation of hydrogen from water by sunlight.
“Enabling materials for a new paradigm in solar energy conversion”….  >>>
30.09.2011 – Kevin Sivula has been appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the School of Basic Sciences (SB). Originally from the United States, Kevin Sivula studied at the University of Minnesota (USA), where he obtained a Bachelor degree in chemical engineering. He continued his studies in this field at the University of California, Berkeley (USA), where he gained his doctorate in 2007…. >>>
8.07.2011 – César Pulgarin, Senior Scientist, has been promoted to Adjunct Professor in EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences. He is a recognized expert in the area of chemistry of advanced oxidation processes such as photochemistry, ultrasound and their combination. He has significantly contribution to the understanding of how these processes operate on chemical and bacterial pollutants in the air and water… >>>
10.06.11 – The EPFL Doctorate Award puts chemistry in the spotlight. Bruce Yoder, a former member of EPFL’s Molecular Physical Chemistry Laboratory, has won an award for his doctoral research. The EPFL Doctoral Award recognizes PhD work of exceptional quality and aims to encourage careers in research. Mission accomplished with this chemist.  >>  more
20.05.11 – Elena Dubikovskaya has been appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor of bio-organic chemistry at the School of Basic Sciences (FSB). She is an advocate of an interdisciplinary approach, combining synthetic chemistry, optical imaging, and an understanding of cellular functions at molecular level to find solutions to fundamental problems in biology and the medical sciences…. >>>
 13.05.11 – EFMC Prize for Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia. The Selection Committee is proud to announce the names of the winner and the most meritorious runners-up of the EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia.
Christian HEINIS, Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland; Constance CHOLLET, University of Leipzig, Germany; Silvia ORTEGA-GUTIERREZ, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. >> more
12.05.11 – New technique improves artificial photosynthesis. Transforming solar energy into a usable form is a real challenge. One technique is to use semiconductors to store the energy as hydrogen. Unfortunately, the most efficient semiconductors are not the most stable. An EPFL team (ISIC-LPI) has just discovered that it is possible to protect the semiconductor with a uniform layer just a few nanometers thick.  >>  more
19.04.11 – Using yeast to uncover a common drug’s secrets. An anti-inflammation drug’s well-kept secrets have finally been uncovered thanks to a type of yeast; a discovery that will impact treatments for other diseases and limit side effects. A team from ISIC Laboratory of Protein Engineering (LPI) has now been able to elucidate this mystery.  >>  more
15.04.11A chance discovery may revolutionize hydrogen production. Producing hydrogen in a sustainable way is a challenge and production cost is too high. A team led by EPFL Professor Xile Hu (Laboratoire de synthèse et de catalyse inorganique) l has discovered that a molybdenum based catalyst is produced at room temperature, inexpensive and efficient. An international patent based on this discovery has just been filled.  >>  more
23.03.11The drop that makes helium overflow. Helium droplets measuring just a few nanometers that have been associated with a highly excited atom have recently been observed for the first time. These nanodroplets, the theoretical existence of which was predicted around fifteen years ago, are the object of a new field of study and experimentation for basic research. Marcel Drabbels (Laboratory of Molecular Physical Chemistry – LCPM) and his colleagues are taking part in this research by associating the drops with sodium, which they excite with a laser to form a stable system.  >>  more
16.03.11Michaël Grätzel and Shaik M. Zakeruddin, are mentionned in the  “Top 100 Chemists, 2000-2010” and “Top 100 Materials Scientists” lists. Michaël Grätzel and Shaik M. Zakeruddin, researchers at our Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces (LPI) are quoted in the list compiled by Thomson Reuters of the top 100 chemists of the last decade as ranked by the impact of their published research, they are the only scientists in this list working at a Swiss institution; they are also saluted in the list of the top 100 materials scientists.
08.03.11EPFL moves into 21st-century academic teaching. “Young people and their world have changed, and we must adapt our methods of teaching accordingly.” This is the message from Philippe Gillet, Vice-President of EPFL for academic affairs, who has announced the nomination of two new Deans, the professors Hubert Girault for the Bachelor and Master programs, and Stephan Morgenthaler for international relations.  >> more
17.02.11A breakthrough in our understanding of ionic liquids. Electrolytes are usually conducting media, in which charged ions move freely in a solvent. Now an experiment led by Professor Jacques-E. Moser has revealed a new mechanism for electrical conduction in ionic liquid electrolytes. >>  more
31.01.11Christos Comninellis honored in the Journal of Applied Electrochemist. On the occasion of his 65th birthday and his 40 years at EPFL, the Journal of Applied Electrochemistry is honoring Professor Christos Comninellis. >>  more
12.01.11Majed Chergui honored in Kuwait. Professor Majed Chergui has just received an award from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences for his work on ultra-rapid chemical reactions. >>  more
11.01.11Thomas Rizzo – Fellow of the AAAS. Thomas Rizzo receives the title of Fellow of the AAAS, the publisher of the magazine Science. >> more


December Grätzel cells now incorporate a new electrode made from titanium oxide nano-wires – three times more efficient.  >> more
  Do ants hold the key to the fuel of the future? Formic acid provides more efficient and safer storage of hydrogen. It is an ideal way to store energy from renewable sources or to power 21st century cars (Prof. Gabor Laurenczy).  >>  more
November EPFL’s Lioubov Kiwi and her group are developing new reactors by using micro- et nano-technologies.  >>  more

Prof. Xile Hu (ISIC-EPFL) shares with Dr. Reto Dorta (University of Zurich) the 2011 Swiss Chemical Society’s Werner Prize.

  Prof. Nicolai Cramer receives the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2010 in the chemistry category for his in-depth developments and research into new catalytic organometallic reactions for activation of carbon-hydrogen and carbon-carbon bonds
October Honoring Professor Christos Comninellis on his 65th birthday.
A special issue of Journal of Applied Electrochemistry is dedicated to Professor Christos Comninellis on the occasion of his 65th birthday.
September Professor Liuobov Kiwi has been awarded Doctor Honoris Causa of Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology M.V. Lomonosov.
  Professor Jieping Zhu wins the SCF-DCO 2010 Prize in Organic Division (Société Chimique de France).
  Professor Nicolai Cramer won the gold medal and Professor Clémence Corminboeuf the silver one at the “European Young Chemists Award 2010” at the 3rd EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Nürnberg (Nuremberg). Professor Xile Hu was also in the shortlist of the 13 finalists.
June At its meeting on July 28-29, the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology has named the following professors:
  • Jieping Zhu has been appointed Full Professor
  • Nicolai Cramer has been appointed Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
  • Gábor Laurenczy has been appointed Adjunct Professor
  Professor Michael Grätzel wins the 2010 Millenium Technology Grand Prize for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. (press release).
Instituted in 2004, the Millennium Technology Prize is one of the most widely-followed award in the field.
  Professor Hubert Girault has been appointed Associate Editor of Chemical Science.
  FDA approval of CysviewTM last Saturday. CysviewTM corresponds to the formulation we have developed (Photomedicine Group, Dr Georges Wagnières), in collaboration with the CHUV, to detect early bladder cancers by fluorescence imaging.
  Professor Michael Grätzel awarded Doctor Honoris Causa title from the Univ of Nova Gorica.
April Professor Hubert Girault has been appointed Member of the Ertl center for Electrochemistry and Catalysis, GIST, Gwangju, Korea.
  Professor Michael Grätzel receives the “City of Florence Award 2010” of the Italian Chemical Society.
January Professor Majed Cherghui awarded a 2010 Humboldt Research Award.


December Professor Michael Grätzel makes the list of “Top Ten (most cited) Chemists” of the last decade (Thomson Reuters).
November MER Dr Sandrine Gerber (Laboratory of Glycochemistry and Asymmetric Synthesis) will receive the Werner Prize 2010 of the Swiss Chemical Society. The Werner Prize is awarded annually to a promising young Swiss scientist or scientist working in Switzerland for outstanding independent chemical research ( The Award Ceremony will be held at the occasion of the Spring Meeting 2010 of the Swiss Chemical Society on February 10, 2010 at the University of Bern.
  The Ruzicka Prize 2009 is awarded to Prof. Karl Gademann, head of the Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis at the EFPL, who is rewarded for his achievements in the field of the chemistry of natural substances. The prize, named after the Nobel Laureate, Leopold Ruzicka, has been awarded to outstanding young scientists in chemistry since 1957.
September Prof. Michael Grätzel (Laboratory of Photonic and Interface) has been awarded the prestigious 2009 Balzan Prize.
August Prof. Jean-Claude Bünzli (Laboratory of Lanthanides Supramolecular Chemistry) has received an research award during the last International Conference on f-Element hold in Cologne, Germany. In addition, the front cover page of the next issue of The Analyst will feature our results on cancerous tissue imaging.
July Prof. Hubert Girault (Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry) has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
May Ms Mélanie Abonnenc (LEPA) receives the 2009 Dimitris N. Chorafas Award for her outstanding PhD Thesis”. For her remarkable PhD thesis dedicated to the development of miniaturized analytical systems for mass spectrometry based protein studies.
  Les biopuces primées:
La société DiagnoSwiss, spin off de l’EPFL basée à Monthey, a reçu le 25 mai le “Prix Debiopharm Valais 2009”. Fondée en 1999, elle est spécialisée dans les instruments de diagnostic reposant sur des puces microfluidiques et compte aujourd’hui dix employés. C’est l’appareil qu’elle commercialisera d’ici trois mois qui a séduit le jury: il permettra de réduire le temps de diagnostic ainsi que les besoins en produits réactifs et donc le coût des tests. Un chèque de 20’000 francs récompense les deux fondateurs de la société: Joël Rossier et Frédéric Reymond. “C’est surtout la fierté d’être reconnus dans notre fief”, notent-ils dans “24 Heures”. A lire également dans “Le Temps”.
April  ♦ Agnieszka Kapalka-Cieciwa (Group of Electrochemical Engineering – GGEC) has been awarded one of the two EPFL Doctorate Prizes for her PhD thesis (2008) entitled: “Reactivity of electrogenerated free hydroxyl radicals and activation of dioxygen on boron-doped diamond electrodes”.
March At its meeting on March 10-11, the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology appointed Paul Dyson a full professor of inorganic chemistry, Kai Johnsson a full professor of organic chemistry, Ursula Röthlisberger a full professor of computational chemistry and Kay Severin a full professor of inorganic chemistry at the School of Basic Sciences.
  Professor Michael Grätzel has been awarded Honorary Doctor Degree by University of Hasselt, Belgium.


December At its meeting on December 10-11, the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology appointed Lioubov Kiwi-Minsker -a research and teaching associate- an adjunct professor at the EPFL. Press releases.
  Professor Majed Chergui (ISIC – Laboratory of Ultrafast Spectroscopy) is appointed Editor of Chemical Physics as from January 1st, 2009.
  Bourke Award 2009 Winner. Prof. Thomas Rizzo (ISIC – Laboratory of Molecular Physical Chemistry) has been awarded for his seminal contributions to experimental chemical physics, particularly multiple-laser spectroscopy of biological molecules in the gas-phase.
  Professor Ursula Röthlisberger (ISIC – Laboratory of Computational Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been recently appointed by ACS (Americna Chemical Society) as Associate Editor of Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, effective from October 1, 2008.
October Professor Geoffrey Bodenhausen (ISIC – Laboratory of Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance) has been elected Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR). Among the other members there are prestigious researchers, included five Nobel Prizes. Fellows are elected on the basis of their contributions to the field of magnetic resonance.
July Professor Graetzel has contributed to the Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcastsGlobal Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is a series of podcasts describing some of the 21st Century’s most daunting problems, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. This sweeping panorama of global challenges includes dilemmas such as providing a hungry, thirsty world with ample supplies of safe food and clean water; developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel society; preserving the environment and assuring a sustainable future for our children; and improving human health. An ongoing saga of chemistry for life – chemistry that truly matters- Global Challenges debuts in June and continues through December. Prof. Michael Grätzel (ISIC- LPI) has contributed to this important Podcasts along with several other distinguished scientists like Prof. Harry B. Gray of California Institute of Technology. Subscribe at iTunes or listen and access other resources from the ACS’s Global Challenges web site
  The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology appointed Christian Heinis tenure-track Assistant Professor of bio-organic chemistry. Press releases.
  Professor Kay Severin (ISIC – Laboratory of Supramolecular Chemistry) has just received the 2008 Dalton Transactions European Lectureship Award. This prestigious award is given to recognize the achievements of an emerging European inorganic chemist. Kay Severin has been selected in recognition of his important contributions to a broad range of research areas and the applications of his fundamental studies to catalysis and diagnostics. Professor Severin will present the Dalton Transactions European lecture at three locations within Europe.
May Professor Christos Comninellis (ISIC – Group of Electrochemical Engineering) has just be named ISE (International Society of Electrochemistry) Fellow; more than 2000 academic people are members of this society.
ISE confers this honour to scientists in recognition of their notable contributions to electrochemistry. The number of ISE Fellows is maintained to a small fraction of the number of members.


November Kay Severin will receive the ‘Academy Award in Chemistry 2007’ of the Academy of Sciences, Göttingen, for his work in the area of organometallic synthesis and catalysis.  The Academy Award is given annually for outstanding work in the area of organic, inorganic, or physical chemistry to researchers below the age of 40.
Le Professeur Girault est nommé Fellow de l’International Society of Electrochemistry.Durant son congrès annuel au Canada, l’ISE (International Society of Electrochemistry) a décerné au Professeur Hubert Girault (Directeur de l’ISIC) le titre de Fellow. Cet honneur est attribué à des chercheurs en reconnaissance de leurs travaux exceptionnels dans le domaine de l’électrochimie. Le nombre de fellows de l’ISE reste toujours limité à une petite fraction des membres (env. 5%).
August Le Professeur Kay Severin reçoit le Dalton Transactions European Lectureship 2008. Le Professeur Kay Severin (ISIC – Laboratoire de chimie supramoléculaire) vient d’être choisi pour recevoir le Dalton Transactions European Lectureship 2008. Cette prestigieuse récompense honore un jeune chimiste inorganique européen. Kay Severin a été choisi pour ses contributions importantes dans plusieurs domaines de recherche et les applications découlant de ses travaux théoriques. Le Professeur Severin donnera le séminaire Dalton Transactions European lecture dans trois lieux différents en Europe.
July Prof. Karl Gademann will receive the European Young Investigator Award from the European Science Foundation in September 2007. The European Young Investigator Awards (EURYI) scheme was designed to attract outstanding young scientists in all research domains, including the humanities, from any country in the world to create their own research teams at European research centres. These Awards were designed to create a high-profile incentive for the best and brightest researchers to build careers in Europe.
  Xile Hu nommé professeur assistant tenure track de chimie inorganique et de coordination. Communiqué de presse.
  Jiri Vanicek est nommé professeur assistant tenure track de chimie théorique et computationnelle. Communiqué de presse.
  Jérôme Waser nommé professeur assistant tenure track de chimie organique. Communiqué de presse.
May Anne-Clémence Corminboeuf nommée professeure assistante tenure track de chimie théorique et computationnelle. Communiqué de presse.
March Paul J. Dyson (LCOM) est nommé professeur associé de chimie inorganique. Communiqué de presse.
February Une nouvelle “caméra” ultrarapide pour scruter les phénomènes moléculaires. Profs. Majed Chergui & Christian Bressler. Laboratoire de spectroscopie ultrarapide (LSU).
Professor Graetzel Laurea Honoris Causa of University of Delft.


November PhD. students Charles Vidoudez and Matt Welling have won the second prize in the EPFL photo contest “La beauté de la science”.
  Michael Grätzel remporte l’Oscar de la technologie. Et le gagnant du World Technology Award 2006 est… Michael Grätzel, du Laboratoire de photonique et interfaces. Le professeur de chimie a reçu ce prix équivalent à “l’Oscar de la technologie”, dans la catégorie matériaux, le 3 novembre à San Francisco. Une récompense de plus qui reconnaît la qualité des recherches de Michael Grätzel dans le domaine des cellules solaires.
October Karl Gademann lauréat du Prix Schläfli 2006. Plus d’informations: Actualités EPFL et l’Académie suisse des sciences naturelles (SCNAT).

Professor Bodenhausen will be awarded the Catalan-Sabatier Prize et est nommé Président du Board of Trustees, Euromar.

Le Professeur Bunzli (ISIC – LCSL) a reçu le prix LeCoq de Boisbaudran.