Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

Ulrich Schwarz

Picture Ulrich Schwarz

I am a theoretical physicist by training and work on different subjects in the fields of soft matter and biological physics. In particular, I am interested in concepts and methods to understand the adhesion and mechanics of cells. My interest on the cellular level also branches out to the sub-cellular level (assembly of supra-molecular complexes in cells) and to the multi-cellular context (model tissue, collective migration). My group uses methods from statistical physics, computational physics, continuum mechanics, non-linear dynamics and stochastic dynamics.


Vordiplom in physics, Freiburg University
1990/91 Fulbright year, Johns Hopkins University, MD, USA
1994 Diplom in physics, LMU Munich (with Gerhard Gompper and Herbert Wagner)

Scientific Career

1998 PhD, MPI Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam (with Gerhard Gompper and Reinhard Lipowsky)
1998-2000 Minerva Postdoc, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (with Sam Safran)
2000-05 Group leader, MPI Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam
Emmy Noether fellow of the DFG
Visiting Professor, Leipzig University
Habilitation in Theoretical Physics, Potsdam University (mentor Reinhard Lipowsky)
Group leader, Center for Modelling and Simulation in the Biosciences (BIOMS), Heidelberg
Member, Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), Heidelberg
Umhabilitation, Privatdozent, Physics Department, Heidelberg University
Full professor (W3) for Theoretical Biophysics at the University of Karlsruhe; chair in the Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Chemistry and Biosciences; member of the Faculty of Physics, guest at the Institute of Theoretical Solid State Physics
member of the Scientific Board of the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef.
Full professor (W3) for the Physics of Complex Systems at the University of Heidelberg; chair in the Institute for Theoretical Physics; member of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy as well as of the Faculty of Life Sciences (Kooption); member of BioQuant, CellNetworks, IWR, HGS MathComp, HGSFP and HBIGS.
Speaker of the section Biological Physics of the German Physical Society
Member of Steering Committee CellNetworks
Associate editor for BMC Biophysics
Managing director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics
Member editorial board New Journal of Physics
Member Research Grant Review Committee Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)
Recognition as Outstanding Referee of the American Physical Society
Member of the senate of Heidelberg University
Member editorial board Physical Review E
Vize Dean of the Faculty for Physics and Astronomy

ISI Citation Report (July 2015)

  • 92 publications
  • including 1 x NCB, 4 x PNAS, 8 x PRL
  • sum of the times cited: > 4.000
  • Hirsch index: 30
  • Most cited paper (> 1.000 citations): Balaban NQ, Schwarz US et al., Force and focal adhesion assembly: a close relationship studied using elastic micropatterned substrate, Nature Cell Biology 3 (5): 466-472 MAY 2001