Apl. Prof. Felix von Stetten in interview

TF uncovered – Part 5

In our series "Technische Fakultät Uncovered", we introduce a professor of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Fribourg every week. The professors provide exciting insights into their work as scientists and teachers and even reveal one or two secrets about themselves.

Felix von Stetten is associate professor for Molecular Diagnostics at the Department of Microsystems Engineering and director of the Hahn-Schickard Institute for Microanalysis Systems.

  1. What do you associate with microsystems engineering?

Microsystems engineering captivates me with its creative approach to engineering, operating on the smallest scales to tackle everyday challenges in diverse fields such as food analysis, health, and energy technology.

  1. What is your main field of research and why is it so exciting for you?

Currently, my focus lies in molecular diagnostics. This captivating field involves detecting molecules of physiological or pathological significance and deciphering their valuable information. It encompasses the identification of DNA or protein sequences and employs diagnostic procedures ranging from sample collection to data evaluation, often enhanced by artificial intelligence. Automation, facilitated by robotics or microfluidics, plays a crucial role. What truly excites me about my research is the opportunity to utilize intelligent approaches to simplify testing procedures and enhance the information content of diagnostic tests, ultimately benefiting society.

  1. What do the students learn from you and which aspects are particularly important to you?

Through my teaching, I offer the elective module "Biotechnology for Engineers" in the master's program. This module provides an application-oriented lecture accompanied by a one-week laboratory practical course, where students gain hands-on experience in micro- and molecular biology techniques. To enhance practical relevance, I also organize a one-week excursion, during which we visit seven biotechnology companies in Freiburg, Mannheim, and Basel.

  1. What advice would you give to students at the beginning of their studies?

Based on my own experiences, I believe it is crucial to remain authentic and choose a path that aligns with your current interests. This approach positively impacts motivation and makes it easier to tackle challenging tasks and navigate through demanding periods.

  1. What are the career prospects for graduates?

Graduates in biotechnology and medical diagnostics currently enjoy highly favorable career prospects in rapidly growing markets. The chances of securing excellent employment opportunities are very promising.

  1. What is your motto for teaching and research?

In my research, I concentrate on a few, strongly interdisciplinary topics with a clear practical focus. I collaborate extensively with partners to delve into these subjects. Regarding teaching, I think it is essential to cover a broad range of topics in biotechnology, even if it is not very detailed.

  1. What do you like best about the Faculty of Engineering?

The Faculty of Engineering impresses me with its successful composition of professorships and the inclusion of various study profiles highly relevant to real-world applications. It is also internationally renowned for its cutting-edge research in trending areas. Moreover, the faculty's strong network, including collaborations with the medical faculty and the Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, enhances its practical relevance. Partnerships with non-university research institutions like Fraunhofer and Hahn-Schickard Institutes provide extended opportunities for application-oriented student research projects and theses.

  1. What you think students should know about you?

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to immerse myself deeply in areas of interest professionally and pursue a vision. I have come to realize that external circumstances, combined with genuine enthusiasm for a subject, can profoundly shape one's career trajectory, often surpassing the initial focus of one's education.


Apl. Prof. Dr. Felix von Stetten
Department of Microsystems Engineering – IMTEK
Laboratory for MEMS Applications
E-Mail: vstetten@imtek.de

Kerstin Steiger-Merx
Representative PR/Marketing
Faculty of Engineering
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-8056
E-Mail: steiger-merx@tf.uni-freiburg.de