Founded the Particle Technology Laboratory at ETH Zurich
Sotiris E. Pratsinis is a Professor of Process Engineering at ETH Zurich.
Professor Pratsinis was born on March 21, 1955 in Chania, Crete, Greece. After receiving his Diploma in Chemical Engineering in 1977 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, he served as Ensign at the Greek Navy until 1980 when he joined the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his M.S. in 1982 and Ph.D. in 1985. That year he was appointed in the Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio where he was promoted to full professor in 1994 and served as Interim Head of Chemical Engineering in 1998. That year he was elected Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich where he founded the Particle Technology Laboratory and teaches Mass Transfer, Particle Technology, Nanoscale Engineering and Combustion Synthesis of Materials.
He has lectured also at Harvard Univ. and Univ. of New Mexico (USA), Univ. of Queensland (Australia), TU Delft (Netherlands), TU Karlsruhe (Germany), Univ. of Hiroshima (Japan) and Chulalongkorn Univ. (Thailand).
Prof. Pratsinis’ current research focuses on particle science and engineering with emphasis on flame synthesis of metal and ceramic nanoparticles, catalysis, dental materials and simulators for aerosol reactors.
He and his colleagues at ETH Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have developed a breath sensor that can detect when the body is burning fat. In particular, they have developed a method for the highly convenient, real-time monitoring of lipolysis by testing a person’s exhalations during exercise. In the future, the procedure will not just be used by police checking for alcohol intoxication, but also for testing the condition of athletes and for people who want to lose that extra bit of weight.
The scientists are also working on developing gas sensors for other medically relevant molecules in exhalations, including ammonia to test kidney function, isoprene to test cholesterol metabolism and various aldehydes for the early detection of lung cancer.
His results are documented in over 200 refereed articles in scientific journals and book chapters while he has received six U.S. and European patents licensed to Dow Chemical, Degussa and Hosokawa-Micron. Prof. Pratsinis’ program has been funded by the U.S. and Swiss National Science Foundations, the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation as well as by DuPont, Nestle, Toyota, Ivoclar-Vivadent and others.