News Archive

Architecture of cellular control center mTORC2 elucidated

The protein complex mTORC2 plays a crucial role in the regulation of cellular metabolism. It stimulates, for example, the production of lipids and fatty acids, but it also controls carbohydrate metabolism. In the past, studies... more

Marek Basler receives renowned Friedrich Miescher Award

This year, the Life Sciences Society LS2 honors the infection biologist Prof. Marek Basler from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, for his fundamental work on the structure and function of a bacterial injection apparatus - the... more

T3 Pharma qualifies for BaseLaunch funding program

The BaseLaunch program was launched in 2017 as an initiative of, the office for business promotion for Northwestern Switzerland, with the aim of strengthening the start-up scene in the Basel region and supporting... more

The Biozentrum welcomes new Director Alex Schier

Since 2005, Prof. Alexander F. Schier has been a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge (USA). He has received several academic awards, among them the Merit Award and the... more

Lab-on-a-chip for tracking single bacterial cells

It is hardly bigger than a matchbox and yet there is a laboratory en miniature on this chip. Single bacterial cells grow in about 2000 channels of a thousandth of a millimeter in diameter and can be individually studied in detail... more

Pradel Research Award 2018 for Silvia Arber

Silvia Arber, one of the world’s most prominent neurobiologists, is a leading figure in the study of neuronal circuitry controlling motor behavior. Her research on the assembly, structure and function of motor circuits has... more

Nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Biozentrum on 24 January 2018

The kick off for this year’s “Biozentrum Lectures” series will be presented by the distinguished developmental biologist and Nobel laureate Prof. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology... more

kids@science 2018 – very young researchers at the Biozentrum

Soon children's voices will fill the Biozentrum. Again this year, for the third time, school children will become young research scientists. Wearing white coats, armed with pipettes, pens and notebooks, they will eagerly flit... more

Survival strategy of messenger RNAs during cellular sugar shortage

If a cell encounters a stress situation, whether it is due to nutrient restriction or osmotic shock, the cell reacts immediately to ensure its survival. Prof. Anne Spang’s research group at the Biozentrum of the University of... more

Bacteria acquire resistance from competitors

The frequent and sometimes careless use of antibiotics leads to an increasingly rapid spread of resistance. Hospitals are a particular hot spot for this. Patients not only introduce a wide variety of pathogens, which may already... more

Liver cancer: Lipid synthesis promotes tumor formation

In Switzerland, about 650 new cases of liver cancer are diagnosed every year. The incidence of the malignant and aggressive liver cell carcinoma has doubled in the last 20 years, especially in developed countries. One possible... more

Acrobatic duo in the cells

Misfolded proteins are non-functional and cause cell damage. In order to prevent this, there is a whole arsenal of proteins – called chaperones – that assist with folding and carry out quality control. In the bacterium... more

Bacteria have a sense of touch

Be it through mucosa or the intestinal lining, different tissues and surfaces of our body are entry gates for bacterial pathogens. The first few seconds - the moment of touch - are often critical for successful infections. Some... more

Alex Schier appointed new Director of the Biozentrum

Since 2005, Prof. Alexander F. Schier has been a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge (USA). He has received several academic awards, among them the Merit Award and the... more

New Professor appointed to the Biozentrum

At their meeting on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, the University Council nominated Susan Mango to become a new Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Biozentrum. Since 2009, Susan Mango has been Professor of Molecular... more

High-Speed Locomotion Neurons Found in the Brainstem

Think of you either taking a casual stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon or running at full speed to catch a bus for work on Monday morning as two extremes. Both forms of locomotion entail a perfect interplay between arms and legs,... more

Nobel Prize for Chemistry – Molecules in 3D

"From 1971 to 1978 Jacques carried out research at the Biozentrum and in 1974 he received his PhD from Eduard Kellenberger, one of the founders of the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. To the very last, the two had a... more

Bacterial nanosized speargun works like a power drill

Millions of tiny microbes on leaves, stones or our skin jostle for space. And almost everywhere they have to compete for resources and nutrients. In the course of evolution, some bacteria have therefore developed a weapon to... more

Biozentrum Lecture: Small blood vessels – big secrets

In the upcoming Biozentrum Lecture, Prof. Christer Betsholtz from the University of Uppsala and the “Karolinska Institutet Stockholm” will talk about the challenges of identifying and characterizing a very inhomogeneous cell type... more

A protein that extends life of yeast cells

For about one hundred years it has been known that nutrient restriction and moderate stress can significantly prolong life. The researchers led by Prof. Mihaela Zavolan and Prof. Anne Spang, both at the Biozentrum of the... more

Lasker Award for Michael N. Hall

The American Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation honors Michael N. Hall for his fundamental discoveries in cell growth that have opened up a new field of biomedical science. “Michael Hall showed that TOR proteins control cell... more

Like a revolving door: How shuttling proteins operate nuclear pores

Genetic information is protected in the cell nucleus by a membrane that contains numerous nuclear pores. These pores facilitate the traffic of proteins known as importins that deliver molecular cargoes between the nucleus and the... more

RNA molecules live short lives

RNA molecules are individual transcripts of the cell’s DNA. They transfer the genetic information of the DNA and provide a template for the production of proteins that regulate all the cell’s processes. The small carriers of... more

Synapses in the brain mirror the structure of the visual world

Individual visual stimuli are not processed independently by our brain. Rather neurons exchange incoming information to form a coherent perceptual image from the myriad of visual details impinging on our eyes. How our visual... more

Anatole Abragam Prize for Prof. Björn Burmann

On July 23, 2017, Prof. Björn Burmann, a recent member of the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has received the Anatole Abragam Prize at the ISMAR Conference 2017 in Canada, together with Dr. Loren Andreas from the Max Planck... more

Designed proteins to treat muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a term used to describe many different muscular diseases caused by genetic defects. To date, there are no treatments available to stop disease progression. In their study, the scientists led by Prof. Markus... more

Bacteria free themselves with molecular “speargun”

Tularemia is an infectious disease that mostly affects rabbits and rodents, but also humans can become infected. The cause of this serious disease is the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The infection biologists led by Prof.... more

Distant brain regions selectively recruit stem cells

Our brain generates new neurons throughout life. A diversity of stimuli promotes stem cells in their niche to form neurons that migrate to their place of action. In an animal model Prof. Fiona Doetsch’s team at the Biozentrum of... more

Gene transfer keeps bacteria fit

Bartonella are bacteria that can cause diverse infectious diseases in man, such as cat-scratch disease. In order to prevent the accumulation of mutations during the infection cycle, pathogens require efficient DNA repair... more

Resistant cancer cells: 3D structure of a drug transporter decoded

In the course of evolution, the human body has developed diverse strategies to protect itself from harmful substances. In the intestine, the placenta and also in the blood-brain barrier are tiny transport proteins, which prevent... more

Award ceremony: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Silvia Arber

The neurobiologist Prof. Silvia Arber is awarded the 2017 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine for her contributions to our understanding of how movement is controlled in mammals. The Louis-Jeantet Foundation grants the sum of CHF... more

Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool

The research group of Markus Affolter is investigating the growth of the wings of the fruit fly Drosophila to understand which processes control organ development and growth. Proteins that control such growth processes are the... more

Richard Neher wins the Open Science Prize

Prof. Richard Neher, who was just recently appointed to the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, and Prof. Trevor Bedford competed successfully with their open access website “” against two other teams in the... more

Michael N. Hall awarded Cancer Research Prize

With the Szent-Györgyi Prize, the American National Foundation for Cancer Research honors Prof. Michael N. Hall at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of critical life... more

Not necessarily harmful: Protein aggregates in the brain

In the past, amyloids have mainly been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. These solid, insoluble protein clumps damage the nerve cells. The research group led by Prof. Martin Spiess at the Biozentrum of the University of... more

A Pfizer Research Prize for the Biozentrum

The Pfizer Research Prize is one of the most prestigious research awards in the field of medicine in Switzerland. This year, the Pfizer Research Prize Foundation has honored 25 researchers with awards. Maria Soledad Esposito and... more

Silvia Arber receives the 2017 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

The neurobiologist Prof. Silvia Arber is awarded the 2017 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine for her contributions to our understanding of how movement is controlled in mammals. The Louis-Jeantet Foundation grants the sum of CHF... more

Christian Lori awarded Gottfried Schatz Prize 2016

At the Biozentrum Symposium 2017, Christian Lori, postdoc in the group of Prof. Urs Jenal, received the Gottfried Schatz PhD Student Prize 2016 of the Biozentrum endowed with 3,000 Swiss Francs. He was awarded for his PhD thesis... more

Immune defense without collateral damage

In the human body’s fight against bacterial pathogens, white blood cells are in the front line. They identify and ingest the invaders, and render them harmless using highly toxic substances. It is important that these substances... more

Not too young to be a researcher - kids@science at the Biozentrum

The kids@science study week at the University of Basel, introduced in 2008, is very popular among the young researchers. This year, some 120 school children have applied to participate. At the end of January, 81 will receive an... more

Treating cancer with drugs for diabetes and hypertension

Metformin is the most widely prescribed drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Besides its blood sugar lowering effect, it also displays anti-cancer properties. The usual therapeutic dose, however, is too low to effectively... more

Antje Hempel awarded Marie Heim-Vögtlin Fellowship

Antje Hempel, a postdoc in the lab of Urs Jenal, has recently been awarded a Marie Heim-Vögtlin Fellowship (MHV) by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She is one of 42 highly qualified women scientists, who will be... more

Store and supply – how the brain saves time

Our brain is not only the most complex organ of the human body, it is also the most flexible. But how do neurons in the brain adapt their function in response to stimuli within a very short time frame? The research group of Prof.... more

Successful application NRP72: Antibiotic resistance

Six of these SNSF supported research projects are being carried out at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel and are being funded with 2.79 million Swiss francs. At the Biozentrum, the two research groups led... more

Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature“

Proteins are the building blocks of life. They are produced by molecular machines, called ribosomes. A human ribosome contains some eighty ribosomal proteins. Prof. Mihaela Zavolan’s research group at the Biozentrum of the... more

Walking is bound hand and foot: How long projecting neurons couple the movement of our limbs

The locomotor pattern consists of a highly controlled sequence of muscle contractions, which are controlled by neuronal circuits in the spinal cord and the brain. The research group of Prof. Silvia Arber at the Biozentrum of the... more

Calcium induces chronic lung infections

One of the most serious pathogens is the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which frequently causes hospital infections and is notoriously difficult to treat owing to its multi-resistance to antibiotics. Although P. aeruginosa is... more

Michael N. Hall awarded honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva

At a formal ceremony on Dies academicus, the “Day of the Academics” celebrated annually, Prof. Michael N. Hall received the highest distinction from the University of Geneva: Doctor honoris causa. The honorary doctorate is... more

Bacterial second messenger switches enzyme into “reverse gear”

All cells including bacteria in order to propagate need to continuously progress through the cell cycle, a strictly controlled succession of cell growth and division. In bacteria, cell cycle progression is controlled by histidine... more

Bacteria supply their allies with munitions

Many bacteria possess molecular spear guns, which they fire at enemies and rivals, thus putting them out of action. The tips of these nano-spear guns, known as Type VI secretion system (T6SS), are loaded with toxic molecules that... more