Skip to content

Prof. Dr. Sandra Luber

Prof. Dr. Sandra Luber is a distinguished theoretical and computational chemist known for her extensive academic journey and recognition with numerous awards, several of them obtained as first female / theoretical scientist

Sandra Luber studied chemistry at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where she received the Master’s degree (MSc ETH Chemistry) in 2007. She completed her PhD (Dr. sc. ETH Zurich) in (relativistic) quantum chemistry and theoretical spectroscopy under the supervision of Markus Reiher in 2009. After a postdoctoral stay (2010) in the field of bioinformatics with Mihaela Zavolan at Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland, she joined the group of Victor S. Batista (2010-2011) at Yale University, USA, studying, among others, quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics approaches and nature’s photosystem II. After 10 months in industry (2012, no research) at BASF SE, Germany, she became project group leader with Jürg Hutter at University of Zurich. The habilitation thesis was finished in July 2016 and she became SNSF professor in 2017. In 2021 she was appointed as associate professor for computational chemistry.

Besides various awards at music/sport competitions, research awards include the IBM Research Prize for Computer Modelling and Simulations in Chemistry, Biology, and Materials Science, Forschungskredit, and the ETH medal for an outstanding PhD thesis.

Moreover, she has been the first theoretician to receive the Clara Immerwahr Award, the first female scientist to obtain the Hellmann Award of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Theoretische Chemie (awarded annually since 1999) and the first woman who has received the Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Werner Prize 2018 of the Swiss Chemical Society, the OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award 2019, the Jochen Block Prize 2019 of the German Catalysis Society, the Carl Duisberg Memorial Prize 2019 of the German Chemical Society, and the Coblentz Award from the Coblentz Society (2021).

Selected awards

06/2021Coblentz Award from the Coblentz Society
04/2019OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award of the Computer Division of the American Chemical Society
03/2019Carl Duisberg Gedächtnispreis of the German Chemical Society (first awardee from a Swiss research institution)
03/2019Jochen Block Prize of the German Catalysis Society (first theoretician awarded)
05/2018Selected for a special issue about rising stars in Computational Materials Science
04/2018Werner Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society
09/2017Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award (first woman awarded)
08/2017Hans G. A. Hellmann Award of Arbeitsgemeinschaft Theoretische Chemie (established in 1999; first female scientist awarded)
02/2017Clara Immerwahr Award (first theoretical scientist awarded)
01/2012Start-In Program for Young Talents, BASF SE, Germany (no research)
09/2010Selected for ‘Mentoring Deutschschweiz’, Switzerland
05/2010Medal of ETH Zürich for outstanding PhD thesis
10/2007IBM Research Prize for Computer Modelling and Simulations in Chemistry, Biology, and Materials Science for outstanding Master thesis
06/2000Prize of the Fund of the Chemical Industry
1994 – 1998Various prizes at music competitions