Cross-Disciplinary Research and Development in Medicine and Engineering (CRDME)

Cross-disciplinary collaboration between engineers and medical doctors is indispensable for innovation in health care. This course will bring together engineering students from ETH Zurich and medical students from the University of Zurich to experience the rewards and challenges of such interdisciplinary work in a project based learning environment.

The main goal of this course is to demonstrate the differences in communication between the fields of medicine and engineering. Since such differences become the most evident during actual collaborative work, the course is based on a current project in biomedical research that combines medicine and engineering.

The specific aims of the course are to

  1. For the engineering students: Acquire a working understanding of the investigated biological system
    For the medical students: Acquire a working understanding of the engineering methodologies required for the project
  2. Develop and implement a solution strategy together
  3. Present the found solution to a cross-disciplinary audience

Projects evolve year after year to push students to find innovative solutions and properly unveil the benefits and difficulties of interdisciplinary team work.


2015 Project Description

The project is to develop a tool and process for point-of-care diagnostic of infectious diseases with high sensitivity, high specificity and rapid turn-around.

To set the bounds of the projects, we will use DNA diagnostics (for example PCR) and a lab-on-a-disc approach. Lab-on-a-disk is a derivative of the of the lab-on-a-chip concept, wherein one uses a series of channels and wells to direct the fluid form one chamber to the next and thereby perform, for example, immuno-assays.


For Engineering Master Students and Medical Students between their 2nd and 4th year. A maximum of 12 medical degree students and 12 (biomedical) engineering degree students can be admitted, their number should be equal.

Lecturers: V. Kurtcuoglu, D. de Zelicourt, M. Meboldt, M. Schmid Daners, O. Ullrich

The course is offered in the Fall semester