Esther Haase

Rock ‘N‘ Old


With Rock ’N’ Old – photographed for the annual calendars of the Berlin care service Jahnke – Esther Haase staged a dream world that could not be more real. Designed as a social project, the elderly act together with film and stage stars in role plays. Vivienne Westwood provided a costume contribution with students from her Berlin fashion class. Experiencing a side of their lives that was previously completely unknown has helped many elderly people discover unusual moments of happiness.

“Working with the elderly is an exciting project. A model can create anything on demand. The feeling that comes across from the photos of non-professionals: real, genuine, undisguised. The old people are very critical and I have to respond to that, but when the time comes, they go all out,“ says Esther Haase, summing up her work with the elderly.

Since 1993, Esther Haase has been working for international clients and magazines. She alternates between the genres of fashion, portrait, reportage and free art projects. She has worked for several magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as implemented advertising campaigns for GUESS and Escada. Her work is represented in international museums and collections.

Curated by Gisela Kayser / Printed by CEWE

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING

Discover here contributions of ETH Zurich to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3:

Safe sanitation for a healthy life

Elizabeth Tilley

Building toilets in Mexico was Professor Elizabeth Tilley’s first job after graduating with a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Waterloo in her native Canada. Having grown up in a small town, Elizabeth is driven by the motivation to make sure that people across the globe have access to the same standard of services and the pristine nature she was privileged to experience. 

Elizabeth believes it is inhumane and an injustice that people are exposed to toxic environments, and lack access to clean sanitation and safe water services. Equipped with both the skills and a determination to address these challenges, she set out to find viable solutions.  

Access to sanitation a path to achieving full potential 

In her research at ETH Zurich, Elizabeth focuses on how to keep people healthy by limiting their exposure to environmental pollutants and microorganisms that can cause disease.  

Simple technologies, which can be deployed to improve the quality of the environment do exist. The question is how these technologies can be made financially feasible and politically attractive.  

Europe was built on safe sanitation. The rest of the world won’t achieve its full potential without it. Today, most people still lack access to ecosystem services such as clean water, clean air and healthy soils. 

Resources to ensure a healthy environment 

Zurich is one of the healthiest places on Earth. It enjoys clean water, sound waste management, and fresh mountain air. Living conditions of the standard we can experience in Zurich are possible because of the availability of resources, good governance, and engaged citizens. It costs a lot of money and collective effort to keep a city and the surrounding environment clean. So next time you might be tempted to complain about your taxes, take a moment to acknowledge the common good you have contributed to through public services and education!

Elizabeth’s vision of a sustainable future relies on much more than using technology or conserving water: it includes an effort to attract all types of disciplines and expertise to the field of global health. This extends to ensuring that data and information are available for researchers and practitioners globally – not hidden behind a paywall.

“My research recognises that everything is connected, and we must think about entire systems when we think about health. At the end of the day, feeling good and knowing your family is healthy is one of the most important things for humankind.”

Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Tilley, Head of the Global Health Engineering Group at ETH Zurich

Practising medicine at the nano-​scale

Simone Schürle

It was a profound moment for Professor Simone Schürle when she first discovered the world through the lens of a microscope. Deeply fascinated by physics and mathematics, she eventually began to explore the realms of nanotechnology.

This opened entirely new dimensions to her work w​​hich explores the unique physical forces that dominate our world at the nano-​scale. Simone’s vision is to develop micro-​nano-scale robots capable of carrying out precise functions within the human body. The purpose: diagnostics and targeted drug delivery.

Micro-​robots that navigate the body

In her research, Simone develops and controls microrobots designed specifically for biomedical applications. These are tiny devices, such as microspheres which can be administered to the body and controlled remotely. After they are administered through a vein for example, they can navigate through the body to detect diseases or deliver drugs more specifically to affected sites, such as tumours. These microrobots can also enable scientists to get a deeper understanding of how the body works on a cellular level.

Simone’s goal is to help advance medicine and healthcare by developing methods that improve current standards in diagnosis. Earlier and more precise detection of disease offers the best chance of successful treatment. Furthermore, directing drugs in a more targeted fashion to affected areas can minimise the required dosage and reduce the systemic burden, paving the way for numerous medications that hold immense potential for patients, but can be only administered in limited tolerable dosages.

Healthy habits for a strong body

Simone is driven by a personal commitment to promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity. She stresses how important it is to make conscious health choices in our everyday lives and to integrate healthy practices into our daily routines. Not least because taking care of our bodies means we are likely to be better prepared to cope with illness.  

“I am deeply involved in working alongside clinicians to bring forth technological innovations for medicine and implement them in a way that positively impacts patient care.”

Prof. Dr. Simone Schürle, Head of the Responsive Biomedical Systems Lab at ETH Zurich

Looking out for meaningful progress in digital health

Effy Vayena

Professor Effy Vayena is fascinated by controversies sparked by the development and use of medical technologies. After studying history in Greece, she developed a passion for bioethics and health policy, subjects she then studied in the UK, USA and Switzerland. What inspires her work is that, although science and technology are rightly credited for so much of our progress, they also pose ethical challenges. They often challenge social norms and they elicit a strong social response. She is driven by a desire to better understand the nature of these interactions between science, technology and society, and her work focuses on developing approaches and frameworks that would allow the development and deployment of technology that is beneficial to society as a whole.

Responsible technology in healthcare

Effy identifies and explores ethical questions that arise from the development and application of technologies in health and healthcare. Alongside the opportunities to benefit society, they challenge many social values, such as our autonomy and justice. Technologies today are developing at a fast pace, allowing little time to weigh the risks before adopting them. Effy aims to develop ways of thinking about risks and benefits in digital health technology and proposes governance approaches that will enable digital health technology to be developed and deployed responsibly and for the benefit of all people.

Remain vigilant and engaged

Effy believes that as society becomes ever more technology dependent, there is an ever greater need to ensure that technology is developed and deployed responsibly. Technology affects everyone: we are all recipients of its benefits and potential risks. Effy urges each of us to remain vigilant and engaged with how our technology is developed and why we use it. Ultimately, we all have the power to steer things in the right direction by taking part in relevant debates, adopting a critical attitude, doing our best to cut through the hype, and taking responsibility for our own use of these technologies.

“My vision for a sustainable future stands on the pillars of respect and meaningful appreciation of our natural environment and its resources. In that future, we humans have taken responsibility for our individual and collective actions, we acknowledged our shortcomings and made some honest and painful decisions about what truly matters for human flourishing.”

Prof. Dr. Effy Vayena, Deputy head of Institute of Translational Medicine at ETH Zurich

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