Susann Zelger-Paulus

Susann Zelger-Paulus, Dr.

Subgroup Leader smFRET

Phone: +41 44 63 56596

Room number: Y34-F-36

"Seeing is believing": imaging biomolecules is a fascinating and common technique to track, e.g., binding events or folding pathways. Our focus lies on the visualization of the splicing process of a catalytic RNA that takes place during RNA maturation. We are investigating the complex RNA folding of the mitochondrial group II intron Sc.ai5γ from S. cerevisiae and monitor its self-cleavage reaction by single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (smFRET).


  • Metal-Ion-Assisted Folding Pathway of Group II introns
  • Single-Molecule FRET Spectroscopy at Non- and Near-Physiological Conditions
  • Dual-fluorescent Labeling Strategies of large ribozymes



  • Since 2020 Scientific co-worker mentoring the smFRET subgroup
  • 2018 - 2020 Postdoctoral fellow in Roland Sigel's lab
  • 2012 - 2018 PhD Ph.D. thesis in Roland Sigel's lab, self-directed interdisciplinary topic "Combining Single-Molecule with Ensemble Fluorescence Experiments to Disentangle the Interplay of Folding and Activity of a Group II Intron Ribozyme"
  • 2011: Master Thesis (M.Sc.) at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Prof. G. R. Patzke, Topic: "Microscopic Investigations of a Potential Drug Carrier System for Bioactive Polyoxometalates"
  • 2009 - 2011: Master-Studies in Biochemistry, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Zurich
  • 2005: Bachelor-Studies (B.Sc.) in Biotechnology, FH-Lausitz, University of Applied Sciences, Germany, Practical part of the Bachelor thesis at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Zurich, Prof. E.C. Böttger, Topic: "Cloning and Purification of Ribosomal Proteins of Mycobacterium smegmatis "

Research Experiences

  • 2013 – 2017 Administrative assistant for COST action CM1105: Functional metal complexes that bind to biomolecules
  • 2010 – 2012 Research Associate at the biotech company Molecular Partners, Zürich, Field: "Ribosome display selections, Protein screening, expression, purification, and characterization"
  • 2006 – 2010 Research Technician at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Zurich, Prof. Roland K. O. Sigel, Topic: "Metal ion‐RNA‐Interaction"
  • 2005 Research Assistant at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Zurich, Prof. Erick C. Böttger
  • 2003 Employee at the pharmacological company elbion AG, Radebeul, Germany



  • Fall semester 2020: Physical Chemistry, Experiment: Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy CHE211
    Fall semester 2020: Lecture (4SWS) "Metal Ions in Life Sciences" CHE431
    Fall semester 2019: Lecture (4SWS) "Metal Ions in Life Sciences" CHE431
    Fall semester 2019: Lecture (4SWS) "Metal Ions in Life Sciences"
  • Fall semester 2018 and 2019: Teaching assistant in basic chemistry for teachers
  • 2016 April - December: Masterstudent, Besim Fazliji
  • 2015 July -August: BUSS student, Manuela Zimmermann
  • 2015 March – December: Master student, Ilija Vukadin
  • Fall semester 2014: Chemistry lab class for medical students
  • Fall semester 2014: Chemistry lab class for verterinary students
  • 2014 July – August: BUSS student, Besim Fazliji
  • 2013 July – August: BUSS student Cristina Batlle Carreras


  • 2020 Co-applicant SNF-proposal
  • 2016 Chemistry Travel Award
  • 2016 Travel Award of the Graduate School of Chemical and Molecular Sciences Zurich
  • 2013/2015 Forschungskredit [FK-13-095] and Prolongation [FK-15-094]