The Nano Imaging Lab Team

Evi Bieler trained as an academic technical assistant under Professor Guggenheim in the REM Lab, and studied English and German. She has been on Markus Dürrenberger’s team for 9 years, and is primarily responsible for SEM analyses. 

Her specialist field is cryo-scanning electron microscopy, a technique that she helped develop in collaboration with industry. She has also become a valued contact for all other issues relating to scanning electron microscopy. In this context, she focusses not only on the precise imaging of details but also on analyzing the chemical composition of specimens, for example, using energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDX).

Evi Bieler is fascinated by this technology’s potential, and has a gift for inspiring the same enthusiasm in students and clients. She is also involved in the NI Lab’s public outreach activities, offering children and other visitors a taste of the marvels the microworld has to offer.



Susanne Erpel trained as a biology technical assistant, and has a degree in technical biology. She first became familiar with electron microscopy as part of her degree thesis. After finishing her studies, she began work at the University of California, San Francisco, in charge of microscopy services. Over five years in the role, she performed all of the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging for the research associates and assisted in interpreting the data.

Following a period of family leave, Susanne Erpel joined C-CINA in 2014, and has been a part of the NI Lab since March 2016. Her time is mostly occupied with SEM analyses – particularly in the field of life sciences. 

Alongside other members of the NI Lab, Susanne Erpel is involved in training students as part of block courses. She is also fascinated by the ability to make the invisible visible.




Daniel Mathys trained as a biology lab technician in Bern before working in the chemical industry in Basel for 3 years. He then joined the University of Basel’s Biozentrum as a member of Professor U. A. Meyer’s research group, switching to the Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory (as it was then called) in 1987. In collaboration with industry partners, he made a decisive contribution to the development and establishment of the cryo-SEM method.

Nowadays, he is primarily occupied with the focused ion beam microscope, which uses electron and ion beams to cut and modify samples or create entirely new structures. With 30 years of experience in electron microscopy under his belt, Daniel Mathys is the go-to expert for a wide range of research issues. He readily and enthusiastically shares his knowledge with all who show an interest, and has a unique gift for colorizing the lab’s breathtaking images of the nanoworld.




Dr. Monica Schönenberger studied pharmacy in Basel, gaining her first experience with atomic force microscopy during her doctorate at Hoffmann-La Roche under the supervision of Professor Hans-Joachim Güntherodt. After completing her doctoral thesis she took a job as a project leader at Mepha AG, before joining Professor Ernst Meyer’s group at the Department of Physics. After a year at Nanosurf she took charge of the SNI’s newly founded Nanotech Service Lab in 2010.

In the intervening years, Monica Schönenberger has built up a versatile and professional service unit for atomic force microscopy. She also trains post-graduate students in the use of the various different atomic force microscopes, and always takes great pleasure in getting to grips with exciting new research projects.




Dr. Markus Dürrenberger is the leader of the NI Lab and the first port of call for clients and prospective projects. He studied power engineering in Muttenz and molecular biology at the Biozentrum in Basel. Early on in his career, he specialized in a variety of different forms of microscopy including TEM, SEM, optical and confocal. He no longer spends much time at the microscope himself, but is always on hand for repairs or adaptations. He finds just as much motivation in his dealings with machines and processes as in his interactions with students, unreservedly sharing with them the joy he takes in his work and the wealth of experience he has accumulated over the years.

Throughout his career, Markus Dürrenberger has contributed to several major innovations in the field, such as the widely used embedding resin Lowicryl developed in collaboration with several colleagues, and a cryo procedure for plunge-freezing samples for electron, transmission electron and scanning electron microscopy used by a number of leading manufacturers.