Health and Performance

Empa's task is to support with advanced material research technological innovations needed for the growing population in the areas of energy, environment and personal health. In the Research Focus Area "Health and Performance", we focus on material-based health care innovations addressing the growing needs of our ageing society.

We develop novel materials for medical applications in and on the human body, and carry out research on new materials and systems that support and protect the human body and its function under different environmental conditions and health states.

For this, we need to understand materials-biology (proteins, bacteria’s, cells, etc.) interactions down to the nanoscale using cutting-edge and specifically designed analytical equipment. Based on the improved understanding we produce systems providing enhanced properties and performance using state-of-the art fabrication tools and working in teams of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers devoted to excellence.

In short: We combine our expertise in materials science, materials processing, imaging technologies, computational modeling, life science, bioinformatics and technology to generate innovative solutions in close collaboration with our clinical partners.


Synthesis, processing, analytics and simulation as the cycles of materials research allow a targeted and solution-oriented development of materials for the health sector. In combination with pre-clinical research, "state-of-the-art" in vitro technologies and simulations, innovative solutions become applicable with industrial and clinical partners.

Some of the questions we address:

  • Which materials are suitable to maintain human health or even restore it?
  • Which products improve the quality of life or safety for elderly people?
  • How can we reduce animal testing?
  • How can we develop multi-scale and multi-layer data integration for digital pathology?
  • How can we design, synthesize and functionalize nanomaterials for health?
  • How can we improve performance in sport or under extreme conditions?
  • How can we functionalize fibers and textiles to give them specific properties?
  • How can we ensure the safety of new materials in future?
Prof. Dr. Alex Dommann

Prof. Dr. Alex Dommann
Head of Department

Phone: +41 58 765 7401