Welcome to the Institute for Biomechanics (IfB)


ISBM Young Investigator Award ...

Dr. Xiang Li - Venture Leaders Prize 2015 ...

Election as EAMBES Fellow ...


Enhancing tissue healing by engineering growth factors for super-affinity to extracellular matrix


Science, 343:885-888, 2014.

In this paper, novel growth factors were engineered to bind strongly to extracellular matrix proteins. These super-affinity growth factors were able to induce superior tissue repair in bone and chronic wounds with less side effects, demonstrating that this approach may be useful in several regenerative medicine applications.

Local mechanical stimuli regulate bone formation and resorption in mice at the tissue level


PLoS ONE, 8(4): e62172, 2013.

In this paper, we show for the first time that bone forming and resorbing cells are controlled by the local mechanical environment and that formation occurs more likely at highly and resorption at lowly strained areas, respectively. Such knowledge is of central importance to understand and predict the bone response to diseases and medications.

Ptychographic X-ray computed tomography at the nanoscale


Nature. 2010; 467:436-9.

In this letter, a novel X-ray computed tomography technique at the nanoscale is described, which was successfully applied to quantitatively assess the local bone density and to resolve the osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network (see picture) at a resolution below 100 nm.


ETH Life

Hierarchical microimaging of bone structure and function


Nature Rev Rheumatol. 2009 Jul;5(7):373-81.

In this review, strategies for new three-dimensional approaches for functional imaging in the study of micro- and ultrastructural bone are presented. The focus is on hierarchical assessment of bone failure using combined experimental and computational approaches.


The Institute for Biomechanics is a multidisciplinary research unit dedicated to the biomechanical investigation of the human body. The four professorships, totalling over one hundred employees and students, investigate the mechanics and material properties of the musculoskeletal system, as well as movement control, from a macroscopic (body/organ) scale to a microscopic (cell) scale.

Many diseases reduce functionality of this system. Additionally, the growth and aging processes demand adaptation of the system as a response to function, as do the requirements of daily life; i.e. work, leisure, and even, in peak performance, sports activities.

The Institute’s interests lie in characterizing the material properties of the tissues, the quantification of their adaptation from birth to death, with disease, and due to mechanical demands, as well as comparing the kinetics and kinematics of the functional and dysfunctional system. To be able to monitor risk at an early stage of pathological development, and to quantify the optimal treatment and rehabilitation are crucial for the health and welfare of society.

With this aim, the Institute develops, refines and uses biomechanical engineering tools and concepts to explore and understand musculoskeletal organisation, while maintaining a philosophy of respect and compassion for all human and animal life.


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© 2015 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 21 November 2013