Prof. Sebastian Maerkl

Associate Professor

Prof. Maerkl received two bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in 2001. Maerkl then joined Caltech where he pursued his PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Quake. During his PhD, Maerkl implemented the first highly-integrated microfluidic device. He later applied this technology to systems biology. His PhD research resulted in two Science, a Nature Biotechnology, and a Nature Method publication. Maerkl achieved 1st place in the I-Challenge in 2005, a joint technology contest between Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Caltech. He was also awarded the DTK prize, which honors annually the best Caltech PhD thesis in Biotechnology. Sebastian Maerkl joined EPFL in 2008 where he established a rapidly expanding group. Sebastian Maerkl is currently the lead PI of the RTD DynamiX, which brings together 5 PIs to work on yeast systems biology, as well as a Nano-Tera NTF.


Research Area

 The Maerkl lab conducts research at the interface of engineering and biology and we are active in the areas of systems biology, synthetic biology and molecular diagnostics. We are driven by our desire to learn how to rationally design and engineer biological systems. Unfortunately, despite a vast foundation of fundamental knowledge biologists have accumulated over the last century, it remains difficult to engineer biological systems, indicating that basic biological research alone is not sufficient to enable biological engineering. We believe that injecting engineering concepts into biology such as reverse engineering, quantitative analysis, and computational/biophysical modeling will enable biological engineering and fundamentally change how the scientific community and the general public uses biological systems in the 21st century. Our specific biological interests lie primarily in reverse engineering gene regulatory networks, transcriptional regulation, transcription factor biophysics, protein engineering, and in developing next-generation molecular diagnostics. Progress in biological engineering is also heavily dependent on technological and methodological innovation. To address these requirements we are constantly developing novel, state-of-the-art microfluidic technology and molecular methods to address current limitations in biological engineering and other fields.


Sebastian MAERKL
BM 5130 (Bâtiment BM)
Station 17
CH-1015 Lausanne