AO Research Institute Davos scientist earns venia docendi from University of Bern

The University of Bern has granted Dr Peter Varga of the AO Research Institute Davos' (ARI) Biomedical Development group his habilitation, enabling him to independently teach as Privatdozent for Biomedical Engineering at its Medical Faculty.

Dr Peter Varga holding his habilitation certificate

Dr Peter Varga, leader of the Biomechanics and Modeling focus area at the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), has received his habilitation from the University of Bern's Faculty of Medicine. The qualification is a recognition of Peter's contributions to teaching and research in the field of biomedical engineering. It also allows him to teach at the university independently as a private lecturer.

Peter was granted his habilitation on the basis of his academic achievements as well as his research activity. Proof of previous collaboration with the University of Bern was also a prerequisite.

Apart from having acted as responsible lecturer for the Tissue Biomechanics Lab course since 2018 within the university's Biomedical Engineering master's program, Peter also engaged in several joint projects with Prof Philippe Zysset's research group at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research in recent years. Thus far, the collaboration has yielded a total of five scientific papers with several others underway.

"My habilitation will enable us to further extend the ongoing collaboration between our two institutions", Peter says. "It will also allow me to supervise PhD students who conduct their research study at ARI and register with the University of Bern for their doctorate." In a similar manner, Peter will also supervise MSc students. Beyond that, he is hoping to initiate further joint projects and to eventually extend the overall scope of the two institutions' collaboration to other departments of the university's Medical Faculty.

Prof Zysset acted as Peter's principal habilitation promotor, and his application was supported by Prof Dr Raphael Sznitman, Director of the ARTORG Center as well as Prof Dr Klaus A Sieben rock, Director of the Clinic for Orthopedic Surgery at University Hospital Bern.

"Research is never a one-man-show and obtaining my habilitation was not purely my own achievement", Peter says. "I would like to thank everyone on my research team for helping me produce consistently good results, all collaborators including Prof Zysset's team, as well as ARI Director Prof Geoff Richards and Prof Boyko Gueorguiev-Rüegg, leader of the AR l's Biomedical Development group, for their continuing support."

A staff member with the ARl's Biomedical Development group since 2014, Peter currently heads the institute's Biomechanics and Modeling focus area, where his team investigates the biomechanics of bone fractures and their implant-based fixation. Combining experimental testing with computer simulation and image analysis tools, they study the stability and failure of fracture fixations in order to improve treatment methods and outcomes.