I studied biology at the University of Berne and graduated in 1996 at the ETH Zürich with a thesis on stereotypic behaviour in laboratory mice. Supported by a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, I continued research on stereotypies in mice with Prof. Christine Nicol at the Bristol University School of Veterinary Science. After returning to the ETH Zürich in 1997, I developed my research into a broader research program on developmental plasticity of brain and behaviour in relation to questions of animal husbandry and animal welfare. In 2002, I was appointed Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethology at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen. During my time in Giessen, I was awarded the Hessian Animal Welfare Research Award 2005 and the Felix Wankel Animal Welfare Research Award 2009. Since 2011, I hold the chair of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern.

Selected publications

Bremhorst, A., Bütler, S., Würbel, H., & Riemer, S. (2018). Incentive motivation in pet dogs - Preference for constant vs varied food rewards. Scientific Reports, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28079-5

Frei, D., Würbel, H., Wechsler, B., Gygax, L., Burla, J.-B., & Weber, R. (2018). Can body nosing in artificially reared piglets be reduced by sucking and massaging dummies? Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.02.001

Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., Toscano, M. J., & Würbel, H. (2018). Use of aerial perches and perches on aviary tiers by broiler breeders. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.02.013

Gfrerer, N., Taborsky, M., & Würbel, H. (2018). Benefits of intraspecific social exposure in adult Swiss military dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.12.016

Ruchti, S., Meier, A. R., Würbel, H., Kratzer, G., Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., & Hartnack, S. (2018). Pododermatitis in group housed rabbit does in Switzerland—Prevalence, severity and risk factors. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.06.011

Vollert, J., Schenker, E., Macleod, M., Bespalov, A., Wuerbel, H., Michel, M. C., Dirnagl, U., Potschka, H., E Wever, K., Steckler, T., Altevogt, B., Rice, A. S. C. (2018). Protocol for a systematic review of guidelines for rigour in the design, conduct and analysis of biomedical experiments involving laboratory animals. BMJ Open Science, 2(1). http://openscience.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000004.abstract

Vogt L, Reichlin TS, Nathues C, Würbel H 2016. Authorization of Animal Experiments Is Based on Confidence Rather than Evidence of Scientific Rigor. PLoS Biol 14(12): e2000598. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000598 Abstract

Voelkl, B., & Würbel, H. 2016. Reproducibility Crisis: Are We Ignoring Reaction Norms? Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. Abstract

Richter, S.H., Garner, J.P. and Würbel, H. 2009. Environmental standardization: cure or cause of poor reproducibility in animal experiments? Nat. Meth. 6: 257-261. Abstract 

Wolfer, D.P., Litvin, L., Morf, S., Nitsch, R.M., Lipp, H.P. and Würbel, H. 2004. Laboratory animal welfare: cage enrichment and mouse behaviour. Nature 432: 821-822. Abstract

Würbel, H. 2001. Ideal homes? Housing effects on rodent brain and behaviour. Trends Neurosci., 24: 207-211. Abstract