Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach

Prof. em. Dr. Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach


Head of Society in Science


Professor emerita

Contact Data


ETH Zürich
Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach
Society in Science
HG  E 34.3
Rämistrasse 101
8092 Zürich

Organisations Professor Emeritus at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences
Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach was Full Professor in Biopharmacy from October 1995 until her retirement by the end of July 2012. In addition, she was Rector at ETH Zurich between September 1, 2007 and July 31, 2012.


Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach was born in 1947 near St. Gallen, Switzerland. She took her masters degree in Biology from the ETH Zurich in 1970, and then worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Brain Research at the University of Zurich before she followed the Postgraduate Course in Experimental Medicine and Biology at the University of Zurich. She subsequently did her Ph.D. thesis at the Department of Microbiology at the Biozentrum in Basel. From 1976 to 1978 she was a research associate at the Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham N.C., U.S.A. Between 1978 and 1981 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne, and from 1981 to 1984 at the Institute for Immunology and Virology of the University of Zurich. In 1985 she came back to the ETH Zurich, where she joined the Department of Pharmacy, between 1986 and 1992 as an assistant professor and from 1992 to 1995 as an associate professor in Biopharmacy.


Her research was focused on physicochemical and cell biological aspects of drug absorption, distribution and elimination in the body. Relevant in vitro models for the blood-brain-barrier as well as for epithelial barriers were established in order to study the transport of drugs through and the interaction of drugs and excipients with membranes and cells under standardized conditions.


As a professor Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach assumed various charges in the university management. Among others she was Head of the Department of Pharmacy and later of the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences. Education issues were always at her heart. She was a member of the Swiss Maturitätskommission and Deputy for the Curriculum of Pharmaceutical Sciences (1998 - 2007). During this time the curriculum was redesigned and the Bachelor/Master system was introduced.


From September 1, 2007, to July 31, 2012, Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach was Rector at ETH Zurich and Deputy of the President. She was responsible for all aspects of education from the BSc/MSc level to Ph.D. and continuing education. As a representative of ETH she was a member of the foundation for student housing, for childcare, and of various institutions for the promotion of natural sciences in education (e.g. Technorama, NaTech). Furthermore she was a member of the board of the Zurich University Institute for Education and Didactics. At the Ecole Polytechnique de Paris she was a member of the supervisory board.

Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach is co-director of the "Society in Science: The Branco Weiss Fellowship". Furthermore she is chairwoman of the supervisory board of the Technical University of Darmstadt and member of the SATW platform for education.

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