International Conference on Molecular Systems Engineering (ICMSE 2017)

The first International Conference on Molecular Systems Engineering (ICMSE 2017) in Basel focuses on the emerging field of molecular systems engineering and will feature speakers and participants from leading international research institutions.

From 27 - 29 August 2017, the NCCR MSE is organizing the first biennial International Conference on Molecular Systems Engineering (ICMSE 2017) in Basel. The ICMSE is a unique event in the emerging field of molecular systems engineering, and has the potential of leading to a long-term paradigm shift in molecular sciences. The three-day conference will be held at the University of Basel (Kollegienhaus, Petersplatz 1).

Find the most important general information for participants and a map here.

Read more below about the program, the speakers and the science, the opening and the ethics debate, and the conference dinner.

Register now for the ICMSE 2017!

  • All PhD/postdocs: CHF 290
  • Regular participants: CHF 490

Click here to register. For more info click here.

Program and Speakers

Stefan W. Hell: © Peter Badge
Frances H. Arnold
Martin Fussenegger
Bert Meijer
Hagan Bayley
Ivan Martin
Joachim Spatz
Lee Cronin
Andreas Plueckthun
Wilhelm T.S. Huck
David Tirrell
Erik Winfree

Download the program for the ICMSE 2017 with all speakers here (pdf).

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Stefan W. Hell, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014
  • Ben L. Feringa, University of Groningen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016
  • Frances H. Arnold, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
  • Lee Cronin, University of Glasgow
  • Hagan Bayley, University of Oxford
  • David Tirrell, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
  • Bert Meijer, Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Andreas Plueckthun, University of Zurich
  • Joachim Spatz, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Stuttgart
  • Erik Winfree, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
  • Krzysztof Palczewski, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
  • Martin Fussenegger, ETH Zurich, D-BSSE
  • Ivan Martin, University Hospital Basel
  • Wilhelm T.S. Huck, Radboud University Nijmegen

and many more.

Scientific program 2017

Tinguely Museum, Basel (CRE).

The scientific program of the ICMSE 2017 is divided into four sessions/modules:

Monday, 28 August 2017: 8.30am - 4pm, followed by the Conference Dinner (open end, see below)

Session/Module 1 discusses functional molecular modules having a chemical or biological origin and which are fundamental to the successful assembly of molecular factories for the control of cellular systems. Examples include the control of molecular transport proteins and complexes, GPCRs, membrane proteins and channels. Other examples include light initiated processes to build up chemical gradients between molecular compartments in vitro and in vivo and new synthetic modules for the production of chemical compounds.

Session/Module 2 overviews how to guide principles of supramolecular chemistry that allow the assembly of molecular modules having chemical (synthesis) and/or biological origin (receptors, enzymes etc). This session also aims introducing basic design principles of molecular systems that result from the hierarchical assembly of (supra)-molecular modules.

Keynote talk with Stefan W. Hell, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014, followed by an Apéro and the Conference Dinner (more information below).

Tuesday, 29 August 2017: 8.30am - 7pm

Session/Module 3 focusses on the integration of functional bio- and synthetic molecular modules into multifunctional synthetic systems to address novel structures, properties and functionalities.

Session/Module 4 introduces various approaches use bio- and synthetic molecular modules and systems to guide cellular systems for health control or to be applied biotechnologically for the benefit of mankind. The contributions redefine ways medical diagnosis and therapy can be conducted and chemical substances will be produced more efficiently in the future.

There will be plenty of networking opportunities such as the opening of the ICMSE 2017 on Sunday evening, and the keynote talk with Stefan Hell on Monday, followed by an Apéro and the conference dinner.

ICMSE 2017 Poster Prize: The ICMSE 2017 will end around 7pm, with conclusions by NCCR MSE Director Thomas R. Ward, and the winners of the ICMSE 2017 Poster Prize. Read more about the poster session and the poster prizes at the ICMSE 2017 and the pre-Conference here.

Read more about the NCCR MSE here.

Opening of ICMSE 2017: Sunday 27 August 2017, 6pm

Ben L. Feringa
  • Registration for participants opens at 3.30 pm.
  • Welcome by Conradin Cramer representing the City of Basel (Regierungsrat), and Thomas Ward, Director of the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering.
  • Opening Concert / Premiere: argovia philharmonic
    “In C”, composer: Terry Riley
    “Sound of Molecules: I. fiddle (with)”
    An Art of Molecule project for video, string orchestra, rhodes piano and playback.
  • Keynote: Ben L. Feringa, University of Groningen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016.
  • Apéro and networking
  • Poster Session
  • "Side Effects”, an Art of Molecule exhibition in cooperation with Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich University of the Arts).
  • Ends 9 pm

ICMSE 2017 Ethics Debate: Open to the public!

"Ethical challenges of synthetic biology"

Sunday 27 August 2017, 4.10pm
Hörsaal HS 118, Kollegienhaus Uni Basel, in English 

  • Kai Kupferschmid, host and contributing correspondent for Science Magazine, Berlin
  • Prof. Renzo Pegoraro, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita at the Vatican in Rome
  • Joyce Tait, Innogen Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • Randall Platt, project leader, NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering. 

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will be at the new Roche tower in Basel.

A special treat will be the talk by the internationally renowned scientist Stefan Hell, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry. His lecture is part of the ICMSE and will be hosted by the "Roche Innovation Lectures"-Serie" at their new "tower" in Basel.

This talk will be opened by our hosts from Roche: Severin Schwan (CEO) and John Reed (Head pRed).

An Apéro will be offered by Roche and selected ICMSE 2017 posters will be on display, followed by the ICMSE Conference Dinner (incl. in the registration fee) in the tower, a landmark designed by the local architects Herzog & de Meuron. With 41 office-floors and a height of 178 meters, this is currently the tallest building in Switzerland and usually not accessible to the public.

Details about the program at Roche and the transfer by bus/foot here. There is a marked meeting point in front of the entrance to the Roche Tower. Please wait there, we will be guided into the building starting 4.30 pm. Please be seated by 4.45 pm. Important: Bring your ICMSE badge. Roche security will check the badge and deny access to people without it. There is no smoking allowed inside the building.

ICMSE 2017 at the University of Basel

The three-day ICMSE 2017 conference will be held at the “Kollegienhaus” of the University of Basel. This remarkable main building features a large auditorium for the conferene (Aula) and a wonderful courtyard for socializing.

Kollegienhaus (main building) at Petersplatz, Basel.
The courtyard of the main building: Ideal for socializing.


Prior to the ICMSE, a pre-conference will be held on August 26 to 27, 2017. The pre-conference is for members only of the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering, the Research Training Group GRK2062 "Molecular Principles of Synthetic Biology" (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich) and FMS Research Center (Research Center for Functional Molecular Systems; University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Eindhoven University of Technology). More details here.

ICMSE is organised by

Presenting Partner

Gold Partner

Silver Partner

Bronze Partner


Other supporters

Partners Poster Prize

Partners Art of Molecule

ICMSE: August 27-29, 2017

ICMSE Pre-conference

for selected students and postdocs > more info here.

ICMSE 2019

Safe the date now: Sunday 25 - Tuesday 27 August 2019.