Prof. Dr. Werner Zimmerli

Prof. Dr. Werner Zimmerli studied Medicine at the Basel University, Switzerland, and obtained the MD in 1974. After clinical fellowships in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, he worked in a research project at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases in Geneva. The project aimed to explain the high susceptibility of implants to infection, i.e. the pathogenesis of implant-associated infections. Afterwards, he worked as Senior Physician in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Consultant at the University Hospital Basel. From 1984-85, he trained as Research Fellow in the field of granulocyte physiology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda/USA under the guidance of John I. Gallin. After this research stay, he completed his habilitation in Internal Medicine and became a Professor at the University of Basel in 1992. From 1991-99 he led the newly established Clinic of Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital Basel. From 1997-99 he was President of the Swiss Society of Infectious Diseases. From 1999-2013 he had a position as Professor and Head of Internal Medicine at the Medical University Clinic Liestal.

Since 1979 his research focus was pathophysiology and treatment of implant-associated infections. A major breakthrough in the treatment of such infections was the proof of the effectiveness of rifampicin against biofilm infections. Together with Prof. Dr. Peter Ochsner, who worked in the same hospital as Head of Orthopedic Surgery, and with Assist. Prof. Dr. Andrej Trampuz (Infectious Diseases specialist), he developed a treatment algorithm for patients with periprosthetic infections, which was published in N Engl J Med. In 1996, Prof. Dr. Werner Zimmerli was appointed as “Corresponding Fellow” of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). He was a member of the IDSA-Guideline committee for diagnosis and treatment of prosthetic joint infections. The guidelines are based on the mentioned treatment algorithm, and apply today as an international standard.

Since his retirement as Head of the Medical University Clinic Liestal, Werner Zimmerli continues to work as a Consultant in the Interdisciplinary Unit for Orthopaedic Infections at the Kantonsspital Baselland.