Research is increasingly carried out in interdisciplinary networks and in both national and international research associations. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that interdisciplinary approaches are often very helpful or even indispensible for successful research into complex problems. With its interdisciplinary orientation and the intensive cooperation between individual research groups, the Biozentrum is a research network in its own right.
The Biozentrum is currently participating in the following scientific networks:
The Basel Signaling Alliance center of excellence is concerned with the processes involved in signal transmission and how errors in signaling give rise to disease. The Basel Signaling Alliance unites researchers in this field from the University of Basel, the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI), the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, and the local pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
Stem cell research is one of the main focuses of the University of Basel. In the Basel Stem Cell Network (BSCN) center of excellence, basic researchers, pharmaceutical researchers, medical professionals, lawyers, and ethicists work together to answer questions in this fascinating field of research, considered by many to be regenerative medicine and the therapy of the 21st century. Research groups from the Biozentrum, the Department of Biomedicine, the Basel University Hospital, the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI), as well as the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, and the Novartis and Roche pharmaceutical companies, are all involved in the BSCN.
The Neuroscience Network Basel (NNB) center of excellence, which arose from the Basel Neuroscience Program, represents one of the most concentrated neuroscientific networks in the world. It includes more than 400 scientists from more than 40 different research groups working in several faculties at the university, the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI), the University Hospital, the Department of Biosystems and Systems Engineering (D-BSSE) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, and in industry. NEUREX, the three-nation neuroscience network founded in 1999 with centers in Freiburg im Breisgau, Strasburg and Basel, cooperates with this center of excellence. As part of the EUCOR cooperation, NEUREX brings about 1000 researchers in 100 laboratories into the network.
Goals of the NNB are
- coordinating and promoting scientific collaborations in basic, clinical and neuropsychological research
- structuring and supporting inter- and transdisciplinary research and training
- promote knowledge transfer
- mediating between scientists and society as well as governmental institutions to inform about research and increase the understanding of research and scientific findings
TREAT-NMD is a European network initiative, to which the Biozentrum and Santhera Pharmaceuticals contribute, with the aim of accelerating the development of effective treatment for rare but usually fatal neuromuscular diseases (NMDs). At the present time, there is no medication available for many of these conditions.
The Basel Computational Biology Conference [BC]2 offers students and researchers a comprehensive overview of the interface between biology and information technology. The annual conference that focuses on a single topic is organized by the Bioinformatics work group of the University of Basel's Biozentrum and the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics (SIB). The event has become an important European conference in the field of computational biology.
Large-scale projects financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)
The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) comprise the Swiss National Science Foundation's innovative instrument to facilitate research. Researchers across different institutions and disciplines work closely together. Through this specific way of scientific collaboration, the NCCR promotes top quality research and brings clear additional benefits. The Biozentrum is involved in the following NCCR:
The nationwide initiative, SystemsX.ch, developed from a systems biology collaboration initiated by the University of Basel, the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich to provide new information on the molecular organization of different forms of life. The Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology has the goal of combining the new fields of genomics and biomedicine with the classical disciplines of chemistry, physics, and engineering. At the present time, the Biozentrum has been entrusted with managing three Research, Technology and Development (RTD) projects in the SystemsX.ch research association and is also involved in a fourth.
With Sinergia, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) supports scientific network projects of at least three to a maximum of six research groups. A combined approach to research should allow advances into promising new areas of research. An important aspect is the influence of the cooperation on the qualifications of young academics. A Sinergia project runs for four years. At the present time, the Biozentrum has the overall responsibility for six Sinergia projects in progress.
- Mouse and human stem cells: control of self-renewal and neural differentiation (PI Barde)
- Mechanisms of cyclic di-GMP signaling (PI Jenal)
- Transcriptional mechanisms of circuit formation and synapse specification (PI Scheiffele)
- T cell biology in health and disease (PI Pieters)
- Unravelling the structure of the Yersinia Ysc injectisome (PI Cornelis)
- Improving human muscle engineering by PGC‐1α expression and molecular imaging using positron emission tomography (PET) (PI Handschin)
- Regulation of early to late endosomal traffic (PI Spang)
In addition, there are various other ongoing collaborations in EU-Projects, the International Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) and with NIH grants.