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Wilfried Weber Profile Page
Wilfried Weber


Lab: Prof. Dr. Wilfried Weber
Department: BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies
Address: Institute of Biology II
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
79108 Freiburg, Germany
Phone: +49 761 203 97654
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lab homepage:
BIOSS Excellence Cluster : Member
PhD positions available: YES
Research Area: Synthetic Biology and Signalling


Education & Training: 2000 - 2003: Ph.D. degree (Dr. sc. nat.) from ETH Zurich with Prof. Dr. Martin
Fussenegger and Prof. Dr. James E. Bailey: “Engineering of prokaryotic
transcription regulators for mammalian cell biotechnology”
2002/2003: Postgraduate management studies for start-up companies (Fast Track
Program, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland).
02/00 - 09/00: Diploma thesis work at Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland:
“Optimization of protein expression in the baculovirus system and
establishment of the Wave bioreactor for Sf-9 insect cell culture”.
1997 - 2000: Diploma in biotechnology at the Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnologie de
Strasbourg (European School for Biotechnology Strasbourg (ESBS),
supported by the universities Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Freiburg and Basel).
Employment & Experience: 2009 - ongoing: Appointed as W3 Professor for Synthetic Biology at the Centre for Biological
Signalling Studies (bioss) / Institute of Biology II at the University of
Freiburg, Germany.
02/09: “Venia Legendi” (postdoctoral lecture qualification) at the Department of
Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich.
2008-2009: Group Leader at Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH
2006 - 2009: Lecturer (Dozent) at ETH Zurich.
2006 - 2008: Group Leader at the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich.
2003 - 2005: Postdoc at the ETH Institute of Biotechnology (Group Prof. Fussenegger).
Scientific Activities: - Co-founder and scientific advisor of BioVersys GmbH (Brugg, Switzerland),
- Co-founder and scientific advisor of Cistronics Anti-infectives AG (Brugg, Switzerland).
- Scientific advisor of Cistronics Cell Technology GmbH (Zurich, Switzerland).
- Member of the scientific advisory board of Redbiotec AG (

- Member of the ESACT (European Society of Animal Cell Technology,
- Member of the DECHEMA ( study group “Systems and Synthetic Biology”.
- Member of the International Advisory Board of Molecular BioSystems (

Reviewing activities:
Peer reviewing manuscripts for Nature Materials, PLOS Biology, Molecular BioSystems,
Metabolic Engineering, Journal of Biotechnology, Biotechnology and Bioengineering,
Biotechnology Letters, BMC Biotechnology. Reviewing of research grant applications.


Honors and Awards:

2014    “Innovation Award” of the German Bioregions for the most innovative patent-protected invention in life sciences LINK

2013    Election as “Young Scientist” by the World Economic Forum (WEF). 40 scientists below 40 are selected every year based on the following criteria: „The World Economic Forum identifies the best scientific minds who play a transformational role in integrating scientific knowledge and technological innovation to improve the state of the world.“ LINK

2013    “Writer’s Award” for the highest publication output (impact factor-based) of the Research Cluster BIOSS - Centre for Biological Signalling Studies LINK

2012    A survey on the global synthetic biology scientific landscape ranked Wilfried Weber at position 4 in the list of the leading authors based on the number of publications: “Ranking authors purely by the number of publications revealed the leading authors to be Fussenegger, Benner, Keasling, Weber, Chen, Collins, Silver, Weiss…“). According to the same criteria, Wilfried Weber is ranked at position 1 among German scientists in this field. See Figure 7 in PLoS ONE 7(4): e34368 LINK

2012    Best synthetic biology project in the competition for ideas (Ideenwettbewerb) from the Ministry of Science Baden-Württemberg (together with Rolf Backofen).

2010: ERC Starting Grant

2009: SwissTB Award for achievements in anti-tuberculosis research LINK

2003: W.A. de Vigier Award together with Prof. Martin Fussenegger ( Most renowned Swiss price for young entrepreneurs.

2001: Biotechnica Student Award for performance during diploma thesis work at Novartis Pharma AG (Biotechnica Trade Fair, Hannover, Germany).

2000: Special gratification at Novartis Pharma AG for achieving process cost reduction by >80 %.

1997: One year fellowship from Gerhard Rösch Foundation (Tübingen, Germany) for achievements in Prof. Schott’s group at Tübingen University.

1994: Winner of the second round of the German Federal Informatics Competition “Bundeswettbewerb Informatik” (best 2 % of participants).


Selected Publications:

Konrad Müller, Matias D. Zurbriggen and Wilfried Weber (2014). Controlling gene expression using a red/far-red light-responsive bi-stable toggle switch. Nature Protocols 9, 622-632. Abstract

Raphael J. Gübeli, Désirée Hövermann, Hanna Seitz, Balder Rebmann, Ronald G. Schoenmakers, Martin Ehrbar, Ghislaine Charpin-El Hamri, Marie Daoud-El Baba, Martin Werner, Martin Müller and Wilfried Weber (2013). Remote-Controlled Hydrogel Depots for Time-Scheduled Vaccination. Advanced Functional Materials 23, 5355-5362. Front Cover Image of Issue 23(43). Abstract

Konrad Mueller, Raphael Engesser, Stephanie Metzger, Simon Schulz, Michael M. Kaempf, Moritz Busacker, Thorsten Steinberg, Pascal Tomakidi, Martin Ehrbar, Ferenc Nagy, Jens Timmer, Matthias D. Zurbriggen and Wilfried Weber (2013). A red/far-red light-responsive bi-stable toggle switch to control gene expression in mammalian cells. Nucleic Acids Research 41, e77. Abstract

Konrad Mueller, Raphael Engesser, Simon Schulz, Thorsten Steinberg, Pascal Tomakidi, Cornelia C. Weber, Roman Ulm, Jens Timmer, Matias D. Zurbriggen and Wilfried Weber (2013). Multi-chromatic control of mammalian gene expression and signaling. Nucleic Acids Research 41, e124. Abstract

William Bacchus, Moritz Lang, Marie Daoud-El Baba, Wilfried Weber, Jörg Stelling and Martin Fussenegger (2012). Synthetic two-way communication between mammalian cells. Nature Biotechnology 30, 991-996. Abstract

Kathrin Jakobus, Sabrina Wend and Wilfried Weber (2012). Synthetic mammalian gene networks as a blueprint for the design of interactive biohybrid materials. Chemical Society Reviews, 41, 1000-1018. Abstract

Wilfried Weber and Martin Fussenegger (2011). Emerging biomedical applications of synthetic biology. Nature Reviews Genetics, 13, 21-35. Abstract

Erik H. Christen, Maria Karlsson, Michael M. Kämpf, Ronald Schoenmakers, Raphael J. Gübeli, Hanna M. Wischhusen, Christian Friedrich, Martin Fussenegger and Wilfried Weber (2011). Conditional DNA-protein interactions confer stimulus-sensing properties to biohybrid materials. Advanced Functional Materials, 21, 2861-2867. Abstract

Michael M. Kämpf, Erik H. Christen, Martin Ehrbar, Marie Daoud-El Baba, Ghislaine Charpin-El Hamri, Martin Fussenegger and Wilfried Weber (2010). A gene therapy technology-based biomaterial for the trigger-inducible release of biopharmaceuticals in mice. Advanced Functional Materials, 20, 2534-2538. Abstract

Martin Ehrbar, Ronald Schoenmakers, Erik H. Christen, Martin Fussenegger and Wilfried Weber (2008). Drug-sensing hydrogels for the inducible release of biopharmaceuticals. Nature Materials, 7, 800-804. Abstract

SGBM PhD students

SGBM PhD students:

Track 1:

Oliver Thomas (since January 2017)

Track 2:

Hanna Wagner (since April 2014)



Track 1:

Maximilian Hörner (06/2011 - 08/2017)

Natascha Hotz (04/2011 - 07/2015)


Track 2:

Sophia Samodelov (10/2013-02/2018)

Hannes Beyer (01/2013 - 06/2016)

Raphael Gübeli (10/2009 - 05/2013)

Sabrina Wend (01/2011 - 06/2014)

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