Raffaele Mezzenga,ETH Zurich, received his master degree (Summa Cum Laude) from University of Perugia, Italy, in Materials Science and Engineering, while actively working for the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, and NASA, Houston, in problems related to the interaction between elementary particles and polymer-based structures (NASA Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS91).
In 2001, he obtained a PhD in the field of Polymer Physics (with honors), from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), focusing on the thermodynamics of thermoset-hyperbranched polymer reactive blends. He then spent 2001-2002 as a postdoctoral scientist at University of California, Santa Barbara, working on self-assembly of polymer colloids for the design of new semiconductive organic materials.
In 2003 he joined the Nestlé Research Center, in Lausanne as a research scientist, working on self-assembly of surfactants, natural amphiphiles and lyotropic liquid crystals. In 2005 he was hired as an Associate Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Fribourg, where he has been a board and founding member of the Fribourg Center for Nanomaterials (Frimat).
He was appointed Full Professor at ETH Zurich in September 2009, starting the new Food and Soft Materials group. He also is an Affiliated Professor of the Materials Department since 2010. His research focuses on the fundamental understanding of self-assembly processes in liquid crystalline polymers, supramolecular polymers, lyotropic liquid crystals, food and biological colloidal systems. Prof. Mezzenga has been a visiting Professor at Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) and a Nestlé Distinguished Scientist.
He is a board member of the Polymer and Colloid Division of the Swiss Chemical Society, and winner of the 2004 Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship Award. The value of his contribution has been recognized internationally by several reputed awards, among which the 2011 AOCS Young Scientist Research Award “For his pioneering work on polymers, colloids and liquid crystals”; the 2013 John H. Dillon Medal (American Physical Society), “For exceptional contributions to the understanding of self-assembly principles and their use to design and control materials with targeted functionalities” and the 2013 Biomacromolecules / Macromolecules Young Investigator Award (American Chemical Society) “in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of self-assembly processes in polymers and biological colloidal systems”.