Collegium Helveticum

Sebastian Bonhoeffer


+41 44 632 23 07

Mo–Fr afternoons

Sebastian Bonhoeffer is professor of theoretical biology at the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich and has served as the director of the Collegium Helveticum since January 2021.

Born and raised in Tübingen (DE), Sebastian studied music in Basel and physics in Munich (DE) and Vienna (AT). In 1995, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford (GB) on the population dynamics and evolution of viral diseases. After a post-doctoral stay at the Rockefeller University (US), he came to Switzerland in 1998, where he was first junior group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and then held a research professorship of the Swiss National Science Foundation at ETH Zurich.

Sebastian’s teaching and research focus on the evolution and population biology of bacteria and viruses. The focus of his research is on the development and analysis of mathematical or computer-oriented models that describe the dynamics of infectious diseases. For example, he developed population-dynamic models of viral infections, which allowed important insights into the pathogenesis of HIV infection in particular. More recently, his research group has been particularly concerned with the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

From 2010 to 2018, Sebastian was a research councilor for the Swiss National Science Foundation. Since 2014, he has been an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Association. In 2019, he was elected as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy for Arts and Science. Sebastian is married to the musician Hanna Weinmeister and has two children.