Müller, Daniel J., Prof. Dr.

Prof. Dr.  Daniel J. Müller


ETH Zürich, D-BSSE

Dep. of Biosystems Science and Eng. 

Prof. Dr. Daniel J. Müller

Professur für Biophysik 

BSA  M 714 

Mattenstrasse 26

4058 Basel


  • phone +41 61 387 33 07 
  • fax +41 61 387 39 94 
  • phone (Sec.) +41 61 387 33 55 
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  • vcard www.bsse.ethz.ch/biophysics
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Daniel Müller has been a full Professor of Biophysics at the ETH Zurich since 1. April 2010.

Prof. Müller was born on March 22, 1965 in Bad Wimpfen, Germany and studied physics at the University of Technology of Berlin and the Hahn-Meitner-Institute in Berlin, Germany. After finishing his studies he started his Ph.D. in Biophysics at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, with Georg Büldt and at the Biozentrum Basel, Switzerland with Andreas Engel. In 1997 he finished his Ph.D. and received the Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in Life Sciences of the University of Basel. In 2000 Daniel Müller received his habilitation ‘venia legendi’ in Biophysics from the University of Basel. In 2000 Daniel Müller continued his career as a group leader at the newly founded Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany. In 2002 Daniel Müller accepted a full professorship of Cellular Machines at the Biotechnology Center of the University of Technology, Dresden. He acted as a director of the Center from 2003-2005. In 2006 Müller co-funded one of the largest Bionanotechnology Spin-Offs in Germany. The company developing and manufacturing the world’s first robot that fully automatically conducts single-molecule experiments was sold in 2008. In 2008 Daniel Müller in a team with Carsten Werner and Ulrich Nienhaus launched a new BMBF research center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE, www.bcube-dresden.de) at the TU Dresden. In December 2010 Müller accepted the Chair of Bionanotechnology at the ETH Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel. Together with Wolfgang Meier (Uni Basel) Daniel Müller in 2014 launched and co-directs the Swiss National Competence Center of Research (NCCR) Molecular Systems Engineering at Basel (www.nccr-mse.ch).

Group website


Molecular interactions drive all processes in life. Because of this enormous importance it is one pertinent demand in life sciences, systems biology and synthetic biology to characterize how these interactions drive biological processes and thus to decipher fundamentals of the biological language. The research group of Daniel Müller develops bionanotechnological methods that allow quantifying inter- and intramolecular interactions of biological processes. Currently these methods allow to image cells at nanometer resolution, to quantify and localize cellular interactions at molecular resolution and to observe how individual receptors of living cells communicate. Furthermore, recent developments of multiparametric nanoscopic tools allow to image cells, cellular membranes or membrane proteins and to simultaneously quantify and map multiple of their physical, chemical and biological properties. The continuous development of single-molecule force spectroscopy assays opens the possibility to quantify and structurally localize interactions that fold, stabilize and control the functional state of membrane proteins at physiological relevant conditions in lipid or cellular membranes.

Further we develop and apply nanotechnological tools to quantify the mechanical properties of animal cells in fundamental processes including adhesion, sorting, growth and mitosis. Whereas some of these tools allow to measure the adhesion of cells from the cellular to the molecular scale, others enable to characterize processes and mechanisms determining cell shape. Recently, these methods could be for example applied to discover new genes/proteins in regulating shape changes of mitotic cells or to mechanically control mitosis. Other examples include quantifying how membrane receptors regulate cell adhesion moelcules and which genes/proteins are key to this regulation. Very recently we developed, together with the group of Botond Roska, very efficient tools to genetically reprogram single neuronal cells in vitro and in vivo.


Spring Semester 

Autumn Semester 

Curriculum Vitae

Year(s) Activity
Since 2010 Chair of Biophysics, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
2002-2010 Full professor for Cellular Machines (C4-position) at the Biotechnology Center, University of Technology Dresden, Germany.
2003-2005 Director of the Biotechnology Center, Dresden, Germany.
2000-2002 Groupleader (C3-position) at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.
2000 Habilitation (Venia docendi) in Biophysics, University of Basel.
1998-2000 Research assistant at the Biozentrum, University of Basel.
1997-1998 Postdoc with Prof. Andreas Engel, Biozentrum, University of Basel.
1994-1997 PhD in Biophysics, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland. Prof. Andreas Engel (Biozentrum) and Prof. Georg Büldt (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany).
1993 Physics Diploma (MSc), University of Technology (TU) Berlin.
1992 Study work, TU Berlin and Hahn-Meitner-Institute Berlin. Dr. H.-J. Lewerenz, Prof. Ferenc Mezei.
1989-1990 Visiting student at Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Year(s) Award
2016 EMBO member.
2011 Fellow of the Center of Advanced Studies of the Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich, Germany.
2009-2010 Honorary Senior Lecturer at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), University College London (UCL), UK.
2000 Molecular Imaging Young SPM Investigator Award in Biological Research. Presented at Biophysical Conference, New Orleans, USA.
1998 University prize for the best PhD thesis in life sciences, University of Basel.
1997 PhD (Dr. phil nat.). Summa cum laude, University of Basel.
1994-1997 Scholarship by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany.
1989-1990 Scholarship by Weizmann Institute Fonds (Israel) and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, Germany).

Advisory Boards

Year(s) Function
2016- Member of the Board of Trusties, Klaus-Tschira-Foundation Heidelberg (www.klaus-tschira-stiftung.de), Germany.
2015- Scientific Advisory Board Member of the Max-Planck Research Network in Synthetic Biology (MaxSynBio, www.maxsynbio.mpg.de), Germany.
2014- Scientific Advisory Board Member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR, www.cifar.ca), Canada.
2012- Scientific Advisory Board Member of the Center for Molecular Bioengineering (BCUBE, www.bcube-dresden.de), Dresden, Germany.
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