Research at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (IBMM) focuses on the structure (Fotiadis, Kukulski, Lemmin), function (Abriel, Albrecht, Fotiadis, Gertsch, Peinelt, Lemmin) and pharmacology (Abriel, Gertsch) of membrane proteins such as transporters, ion channels, and membrane receptors. A strong emphasis is put on the roles of these membrane proteins in human disease. We combine chemical synthesis (Lochner), chemical biology/analytics (Gertsch) with electrophysiology (Abriel, Peinelt), structural biology (Fotiadis, Kukulski) and computational biology (Lemmin). Both human ex vivo (Albrecht) and genetically-modified mouse models ( Abriel, Gertsch) serve to study these transporters in different diseases like cancer (Peinelt), cardiac disorders (Abriel), preeclampsia (Albrecht) and neuropsychiatric disorders (Gertsch).
The IBMM directorate is composed of Dimitrios Fotiadis (Managing Director and Co-Director Finances), Jürg Gertsch (Deputy Managing Director and Co-Director Infrastructure and Research), Christine Peinelt (Co-Director Teaching) and Wanda Kukulski (Co-Director Safety, Quality, and Equal Opportunities).
To apply excellence in membrane transporter research to the treatment of human diseases, the National Center of Competence in Research, NCCR TransCure, was established in 2010 and is currently led by Hugues Abriel and Jean-Louis Reymond. The IBMM is hosting most of the NCCR TransCure research groups from the University of Bern, which is the Leading House. For details see www.nccr-transcure.ch.
The specific focus areas of the individual research groups of the IBMM is shown in the section "Research"
The IBMM warmly welcomes
Ass. Prof. Thomas Lemmin.
Thomas is a recipient of the prestigious Eccellenza professorial fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). His expertise lies at the intersection of molecular dynamics simulations, protein modeling and design, and artificial intelligence.
We wish Thomas all the best at the IBMM and look forward to working with you.
The IBMM has collected money to help a project by the Polish Ukrainian Foundation for the Development of Medicine to support newly established Kindergartens and work places for Ukrainian women who fled from the war in Ukraine to Lublin. Krystyna Skalicka-Wozniak from the Medical University of Lublin is the sponsor of this project. She has a long-standing collaboration with our institute through research and teaching activities. You can still donate money to the ongoing project: https://ga-society.org/a-humanitarian-appeal-help-ukrainian-refugees-in-poland/
The Cantonal Government has elected a new Vice-Rector to the Executive Board of the University. As of 1st January 2022, Prof. Dr. Hugues Abriel will take over the Vice-Rectorate Research.
Sieben Forschende kommen dieses Jahr als Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows an die Universität Bern. Die jährlich von der Europäischen Kommission vergebenen «Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships» sind für erfahrene Forschende eine Gelegenheit, ihre Karriere durch einen Auslandaufenthalt voranzutreiben.
Am Wochenende des 1. Mai 2021 werden die Telefonnummern aller Mitarbeitenden, die über die Rufnummer +41 31 631 xx xx kommunizieren, geändert zu +41 31 684 xx xx. Die letzten 4 Ziffern bleiben für alle identisch. Die interne Wahl wird zudem von 4 auf 5 Stellen erweitert. Alle Mitarbeitenden sind für Anrufe aus dem öffentlichen Telefonnetz über die bisherige Rufnummer während 24 Monaten weiterhin erreichbar. Die Änderung wird vorgenommen, weil der bisherige Rufnummernbereich nicht mehr ausreicht.
We congratulate our colleague Prof. Dimitrios Fotiadis for his promotion to Ordinarius per 1st of February 2021. Prof. Fotiadis received his PhD and habilitated in biophysics at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He was tenured as Extraordinarius at the University of Bern in 2013. Currently, he is the PI of different research projects related to structure biology and structure-function relationships of different transmembrane transporters (NCCR TransCure, Synergia, SNSF projects). Prof. Fotiadis is Co-Director of finances and Managing Director of the IBMM.
Vier von insgesamt fünfzehn Pfizer-Forschungspreisen gehen dieses Jahr an Berner Medizinerinnen und Mediziner der Universität Bern und des Inselspitals, Universitätsspital Bern. Die ausgezeichneten Arbeiten befassen sich mit Leukämie, Herzrhythmusstörungen und der Fiebergrenze bei krebskranken Kindern und Jugendlichen.
PD Dr. med. Jin Li, Institut für Biochemie und Molekulare Medizin (IBMM) und PD Dr. Ange Maguy, Institut für Physiologie der Universität Bern, erhalten je einen Preis im Bereich Herzkreislauf, Urologie und Nephrologie.
Synendos Therapeutics (Synendos), a University of Bern NCCR TransCure spin-off biopharmaceutical company announces it has raised CHF 20 million in a Series A financing. Synendos is developing a new class of small molecules aimed at restoring the natural functioning of the endocannabinoid system in the brain with the potential for treating a wide range of Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders.
Prof. Christiane Albrecht at the University of Bern's Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (IBMM) and colleagues at Charles University in the Czech Republic and Curio Biotech SA, will engineer a cell-based model to screen if drugs can pass from the mother to the child during pregnancy. The researchers will develop and validate a three-dimensional system consisting of cells of the mother's placenta and the child's umbilical vein. The cells harvested directly from the patients are more relevant to the human body than reused cells, and the method will be a cheap and fast way to safely screen if new drugs reach the foetus and have toxic effects on the unborn child.
Today, May 1st, 2020, the IBMM is extremely happy to announce the start of Prof. Wanda Kukulski as a new Professor of Biochemistry. Wanda Kukulski studied Biology II at the University of Basel and obtained her Ph.D. in biophysics at the Biozentrum in Basel. In 2015, she was hired as a group leader at the prestigious MRC-LMB (Cambridge, U.K.), where she started her research on how the architecture of cellular membranes is linked to their function. Wanda Kukulski is well known for combining fluorescence microscopy with electron tomography to obtain novel insights into molecular membrane biology.
As a new group leader at the IBMM, Prof. Kukulski will also be one of the principal investigators of the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded NCCR TransCure. We wish Prof. Kukulski the best of luck with her projects. We are happy to count on her expertise for the development of cryo-electron microscopy capacities at the University of Bern.
We congratulate our colleague Prof. Jürg Gertsch for his nomination as Professor (Ordinarius) of Pharmaceutical Biology since August 1st, 2019. Jürg Gertsch studied Neuroscience and Biochemistry at the Biocentre Basel and in the UK and obtained his Ph.D. in 2002 at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (ETH Zürich). Since 2009, he is a faculty member at the IBMM, where he obtained a tenured Professorship (Extraordinarius) in 2013. He is one of the co-directors of the IBMM since 2014. The research of Prof. Gertsch focuses on the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids. This endocannabinoid system is recognized as a promising drug target and is currently investigated by numerous research groups and companies, among others, the start-up Synendos Therapeutics, co-founded by Prof. Gertsch. Some of the basic science projects of the Gertsch's group are parts of the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded NCCR TransCure. The new nomination of Prof. Gertsch is part of the new full curriculum in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Bern.
In December 2018, the BaseLaunch accelerator program for healthcare startups has selected four projects among over 100 applications received from Switzerland and Europe to receive non-dilutive funding in a competitive two-phase selection process. Among them, was the project by Andrea Chicca and Jürg Gertsch from the IBMM on the development of selective endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitors (SERIs) for neuropsychiatric disorders. The project was initiated by the NCCR TransCure research project “cellular endocannabinoid transport.” Over the last years, they and their collaborators have successfully identified a new drug target and generated solid IP protection on first and second generation SERIs and their medical uses. Their startup Synendos Therapeutics now aims to bring the lead SERI into a phase I clinical trial and the spin-off company will be incorporated at the Swiss Innovation Park in Allschwil in Basel. BaseLaunch is managed and operated by BaselArea.swiss and provides non-dilutive funding, access to Healthcare Partners and knowledge from highly experienced advisors. BaseLaunch is supported by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novartis Venture Fund, Pfizer, Roche and Roivant Sciences as well as by other public and private partners.
Synendos has recently also won the Venture Kick Stage I.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has granted a Sinergia Project to Dimitrios Fotiadis (University of Bern, Medical Faculty) together with the laboratories of Philippe Plattet (University of Bern, Vetsuisse Faculty) and Rainer Riedl (Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften - ZHAW) entitled “Morbillivirus cell entry machinery: mechanisms, structures and drug discovery”.
The research team in Switzerland, led by Professor Jurg Gertsch, have been exploring the medical uses of "perrottetinene" found in the rare liverwort, which only grows in Japan, New Zealand and Costa Rica.
- Media Relation University of Bern- Scientific American - Science Daily - Inverse - The Telegraph
Research equipment is expensive and often unaffordable by teaching labs in African countries.
The IBMM has shipped more than 100 functional Gilson-type research pipettes to Nigeria.
The NCCR TransCure thankfully acknowledges the retiring Professors Matthias Hediger, Wilhelm Hofstetter and Bruno Stieger for their work. For this event, the three honoured professors and their guests will give talks on their latest research. Join us on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018. Registration at email@example.com by October 8th, 2018.
Proteins called GABAA receptors have a pivotal role in neuronal inhibition, and are targets of several drugs. Structures of the most abundant GABAA receptor in humans are now reported. Erwin Sigel has worked for decades on questions related to structure-function of GABAA receptors and functionally elucidated the benzodiazepine binding site. Read Erwin Sigels commentary in News and Views in Nature.
We are pleased to announce that for the two-year term of April 2018 until March 2020 Dimitrios Fotiadis will serve as Managing Director and Jürg Gertsch as Deputy Managing Director of the IBMM.
Christine Peinelt has been elected as Co-Director Teaching and Hugues Abriel will serve as Co-Director in charge of Safety, Quality and Equal Opportunities. Congratulations and all the best for the new and important tasks!
Erwin Sigel hat in seiner langen Forschungskarriere hauptsächlich an GABAA Rezeptoren gearbeitet und sich insbesondere für die Funktion von allosterischen Modulatoren interessiert. So war er bei der Aufklärung der molekularen Mechanismen von Benzodiazepinen beteiligt. Erwin Sigel hat durch seine Lehr- und Forschungstätigkeit an der Universität Bern mehrere Generationen von Nachwuchsforschern nachhaltig beeinflusst.
Anlässlich seiner Pensionierung lädt das IBMM zum Minisymposium mit Gästen aus dem In- und Ausland.
Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) play an important role in the brain and immune system. Bern researchers from the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) "TransCure" have now found a new way to influence the endocannabinoid system. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic as well as anxiolytic effects could be achieved in an animal model.
Anlässlich des «UN Day of Women and Girls in Science» am 11. Februar lud der NCCR TransCure Mädchen im Alter von fünf bis zehn Jahren dazu ein, Laborluft zu schnuppern. Wissenschaftliche Experimente brachten die jungen Forscherinnen zum Staunen und Strahlen.
We are pleased to announce the seamless transition in leadership of the IBMM directorate from Matthias A. Hediger to Hugues Abriel. The change in management has been planned for some time, as Matthias Hediger has served as director of the IBMM since 2005. In 2010 Matthias Hediger established the NCCR TransCure, an interdisciplinary research network of 19 research groups affiliated at Universities in Bern, Zurich, Lausanne and Basel. This network is now being led by Hugues Abriel. The appointment of Prof. Abriel as the Managing Director of the IBMM will warrant the future commitment of the institute toward the success of NCCR TransCure. Prof. Hediger will continue to be an active member of both the IBMM and NCCR TransCure until his retirement in 2019.
Krankheitserregende Darmbakterien aktivieren Schutzmechanismen, um im sauren Milieu des Magens zu überleben. Berner Forscher des Nationalen Forschungsschwer-
punktes (NFS) «TransCure» haben nun die Struktur des zentralen Proteins eines bakteriellen Säure-Resistenz-Systems entschlüsseln können. Dadurch werden wichtige Einblicke in die «Überlebenstricks» von Darmbakterien gewonnen.
Synthetic biology is an emerging and rapidly evolving engineering discipline. Within the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering, Bernese scientists have engineered a chemically switchable version of the light-driven proton pump proteorhodopsin – an essential tool for efficiently powering molecular factories and synthetic cells.
On July 1, 2016 Prof. Christine Peinelt starts working as full Professor (Extraordinarius). Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of store-operated calcium channels (ORAIs/STIM) in non-excitable cells. She will greatly contribute to the research programs at NCCR TransCure and IBMM.
Die Struktur von Membranproteinen hoch aufzulösen und in 3D darzustellen, ist für Strukturbiologen eine grosse Herausforderung. In Bern ist dies nun zum ersten Mal gelungen.
Matthias A. Hediger forscht an Transportproteinen, um neue Therapieansätze gegen Krankheiten wie Krebs oder Diabetes zu entwickeln. Er erklärt im Interview das grosse Potenzial dieser Proteine und warum interdisziplinäre Forschungsnetzwerke so wichtig sind.
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