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Coronavirus - current measures
Update 14.4.2021: The Corona pandemic continues to have Switzerland in its grip, but there is a slightly positive development: The Federal Council today communicated an easing of various restrictions, which also partly affect the university. However, the situation is fragile and compliance with the measures, especially the social distancing rules and hygiene recommendations, remain central. The crisis management team is now examining the concrete effects and possibilities for the university and will provide further information as soon as possible.
How microbes influenced the Earth's atmosphere three billion years ago
For a long time, climate researchers could not explain the high concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere around three billion years ago. Now an international research team with the participation of Hendrik Vogel from the Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern has solved the mystery. Sediment analyses revealed the surprising result that under the conditions at that time, microbes mainly produced the highly effective greenhouse gas methane for their metabolism.
"The guidelines on scientific information and expressing opinions provide an outline and are not prohibitions"
In the past few days, the media and Twitter have reported on and discussed the University of Bern's guidelines on providing information and expressing opinions on social media. There, the violation of academic freedom was also criticized. What is this actually about? Rector Christian Leumann explains the context in an interview.
Why SARS-CoV-2 replicates better in the upper respiratory tract
A team of researchers from the Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have assessed virus growth and activation of the cellular defense mechanisms in the respiratory tract. They have shown that natural temperature differences that exist in the upper and lower respiratory tract have a profound influence on SARS-CoV-2 replication and subsequent innate immune activation in human cells. The findings can help to develop antiviral drugs and preventive measures.
Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CAIM) opens
The Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CAIM) of the University of Bern and the Insel Gruppe with the partners sitem-insel and the Bern University Psychiatry Services UPD is officially inaugurated today. The virtual opening event offers insights into controversial topics and current research projects on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. 500 participants will connect online.
When sparks and grit bring AI to the patient
Raphael Sznitman, Director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CAIM), is a leading expert at the interface between medicine, artificial intelligence (AI), and engineering. On the eve of the CAIM Opening, he talks about his motivation to research AI.
How the habitability of exoplanets is influenced by their rocks
The weathering of silicate rocks plays an important role to keep the climate on Earth clement. Scientists led by the University of Bern and the Swiss national center of competence in research (NCCR) PlanetS, investigated the general principles of this process. Their results could influence how we interpret the signals from distant worlds – including such that may hint towards life.
Predicting success in therapy with individualized cancer models
Scientists at Urology Research Laboratory of the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR), University of Bern and Urology Department of the Inselspital of Bern, have established organoid culture models from prostate tumor biopsies. These are small clusters of cells which can be used to test the efficacy of various drugs. In this way, it is possible to test which treatment will most likely benefit individual patients.
"Our efforts are devoted to convert cancer from a lethal to a chronic disease"
Marianna Kruithof-de Julio and her team are developing methods to grow small clusters of cells from tumor biopsies. In this way, the researchers hope to customize treatment for each individual patient. Their goal is perhaps still five to ten years away, the expert estimates.
Controlling adhesions in the abdomen
Adhesions are scars in the abdomen, which can occur after surgery, often have serious consequences. Now, researchers from the University of Bern and Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, in collaboration with Canadian researchers, have discovered how such adhesions form. The findings may help to develop a drug to prevent adhesions in the future. The study was published as the cover story of Science magazine.
Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this planet
Until now, researchers have found no evidence of global tectonic activity on planets outside our solar system. Under the leadership of the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS, scientists have now found that the material inside planet LHS 3844b flows from one hemisphere to the other and could be responsible for numerous volcanic eruptions on one side of the planet.
How to track the variants of the pandemic faster
In a comment piece in the journal Nature, an international collaboration of specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and Prof. Christophe Dessimoz at University of Lausanne, lay out the ‘bioinformatics bottlenecks’ that are hindering response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and propose ways to ‘clear the road’ for better tools and approaches.
SARS-CoV-2 mutations in competition
How dangerous are new mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus? An international team involving researchers from Bern has developed an approach that can accurately assess the transmissibility of new virus mutants.
«Work, work, and work harder»
With the life-saving drug CAL02, Combioxin SA is revolutionizing the field of severe infections such as pneumonia. Managing Director Samareh Azeredo da Silveira Lajaunias explains how the spin-off successfully transforms the invention made at the Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, to a market-ready pharmaceutical product.
Targeted elimination of leukemic stem cells
Cancer research in Bern has discovered a further mechanism to combat leukemia: a research team at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern has succeeded in identifying an important signaling pathway for regulating leukemic stem cells. With this discovery, the researchers are expanding the arsenal of potentially highly effective drugs against leukemias (“blood cancers”).
Know the GAP!
Equal participation, representation and women’s empowerment are this year’s topics of the virtual Gender Lecture Series organized by the World Trade Institute. On the 17th of February, Prof. Marilisa D’Amico from the University of Milan will talk about «The Ambivalent Parity – The Constitution and Women’s Rights».
Bernese researchers create sophisticated lung-on-chip
In collaboration with clinical partners from the Inselspital, researchers from the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Research of the University of Bern have developed a second-generation lung-on-chip model with life-size dimension alveoli in a stretchable membrane, made of purely biological material. The new model reproduces key aspects of the lung tissue architecture not found in previous lungs-on-chip. This opens up new possibilities for basic pneumological research, understanding lung pathologies, drug screening and precision medicine.
Well on the way to a permanent professorship
The funding scheme Eccellenza of the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF enables highly qualified researchers to implement their projects as an assistant professor at a Swiss university. Here, we present four award-winning researchers and their projects at the University of Bern.
Four Bernese researchers receive Pfizer Prize
This year, four of a total of fifteen Pfizer Research Prizes have been awarded to physicians from the University of Bern and the Inselspital, University Hospital Bern. The award-winning work deals with leukemia, cardiac arrhythmias and the fever threshold in children and adolescents with cancer.
TRAPPIST-1's 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
The TRAPPIST-1 star is home to the largest batch of roughly Earth-size planets ever found outside our solar system. An international study involving researchers from the Universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich now shows that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.
Thomas Sauter receives an endowed professorship in emergency telemedicine
Thomas Sauter, Head of Education, eHealth and Emergency Telemedicine at Bern University Hospital's emergency center has been appointed by the University Executive Board for an endowed professorship in emergency telemedicine. The assistant professorship was established thanks to the support of the Touring Club Switzerland (TCS). It deals with "eHealth" in the field of emergency medicine and is one of the very few of its kind in the world.
4D-Simulator breakthrough in brain surgery
Aneurysm operations in the brain rank among the most delicate procedures in neurosurgery. A new training technology co-developed between Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and ARTORG Center of the University of Bern, will further improve patient safety during future procedures: a new 4D simulator enables the planning, testing and optimization of the procedure on an exact 4D model, which also emulates the blood, blood vessels and pulse.
Persistent lung damage after Covid-19
The nationwide study published today was initiated by Inselspital, Bern University Hospital with the collaboration of the University of Bern and has established for the first time: severe Covid-19 can result in prolonged impairment of oxygen uptake in the lungs even after four months. Long-term monitoring and treatment of these patients is urgent and important .
A novel therapy for anxiety and stress disorders
Synendos Therapeutics, a spin-off of the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) TransCure, develops a therapy to treat anxiety- and stress related disorders. For the first clinical trials, Synendos received 20 Million Francs from international investors. An interview with co-founder Jürg Gertsch.
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun.
AI X-ray analysis detects Covid-19 more reliably
A team of researchers at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Research at the University of Bern has developed a new chest radiography image analysis for the detection of Covid-19. In the process, they taught a computer algorithm various diagnoses based on 8000 X-ray images. The researchers compared this artificial intelligence (AI) with standard, diagnostic annotation by radiologists. Especially for distinguishing Covid-19 from non-Covid-19 lung disease, AI provided significantly more reliable results.
Cancer Research in Bern: Analysing and finding solutions to treatment resistance
A number of types of cancer are prone to adapt to targeted treatment, enabling resistance. Prof. Mark Rubin, Department for BioMedical Research and Bern Center for Precision Medicine, together with colleagues from the Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of Manchester have now published a ‘Perspective’ in the journal Molecular Cell. Using two different types of cancer as examples, they explore the challenges of a resistance with the goal of diminishing the most aggressive forms of cancer.
EU-funded research grants for two researchers from Bern
Two researchers from the University of Bern will receive an ERC Consolidator Grant this year. The coveted European Research Council (ERC) grants go to physicist Akitaka Ariga and geographer Chinwe Ifejika Speranza.
What shapes our health very early on
Examining the communication between mother and fetus and showing the influence it has on the lives of mothers and children long after birth, Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri was awarded the 100,000 CHF Hans Sigrist Prize from the Hans Sigrist Foundation at the University of Bern.
Swiss Alps continue to rise
An international team of geologists, headed by members of the University of Bern, has shown for the first time that the Swiss Alps are being lifted faster than they are being lowered through erosion – and are thus growing even higher. To do this, the researchers quantified the erosion of the Alps with the help of isotopes measured in the sand of more than 350 rivers throughout the European Alps. These isotopes are formed by cosmic rays and bear information on the Earth’s surface erosion.
What exoplanets have to do with the coronavirus
Astrophysicist Kevin Heng and epidemiologist Christian Althaus have just published a joint study. In an interview with "uniaktuell", the two researchers explain what the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 has to do with exoplanetary chemistry and what they hope to gain from INPUT, a newly founded interfaculty platform.
How Particulate Matter injures airways and promotes exacerbation of pulmonary diseases
An international study led by the University of Bern has investigated the effects of ambient Particulate Matter (PM) from human and natural sources on human lung cells. Thereby, the researchers found damage to the cellular defense system of the lungs, which furthers the aggravation of pre-existing lung diseases like asthma or Cystic Fibrosis. Man-made PM components, among them from wood-burning fires and road traffic are mainly responsible for the investigated health damaging effects.
CHEOPS had to avoid space debris
Space debris increasingly threatens rockets, the international space station and satellites. At the beginning of October, the CHEOPS space telescope had to make an evasive manoeuvre due to a piece of Chinese space debris.
Research Award for project on Prostate cancer
This year's Johanna Dürmüller-Bol DBMR Research Award of the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR) of the University of Bern goes to Joanna Triscott. It will be awarded today on the “Day of BioMedical Research”. Joanna Triscott receives the award, which is endowed with CHF 30,000, for her research on metabolic vulnerabilities in advanced prostate cancer.
Significant vulnerability in prostate cancer detected
Researchers at the University of Bern led an international team that has identified a novel vulnerability in advanced prostate cancer that is no longer responding to hormonal therapy. These findings could lead to the development of new treatment approaches for men suffering from the most aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Successful network research is extended
Sleep, religious conflicts and the health of the environment, plants, humans and animals: these are the topics of the three Interfaculty Research Cooperations at the University of Bern. The innovative network projects, which started in 2018, were very successful and will therefore be extended for two years.
Bern researchers identify sleep as possible target to improve recovery after ischemic stroke
Until today neurorehabilitation is the only approach that promotes recovery after stroke. Researchers at the Neurology Department of the University of Bern and Inselspital have provided first evidence that sleep could be targeted to improve post-stroke recovery.
Land management in forest and grasslands: how much can we intensify?
High land-use intensity reduces the beneficial effects of biodiversity on ecosystem services. This is the main result of a study conducted by an international team with participation of the University of Bern. The study assessed, for the first time, the effects of land management on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. It identified thresholds of management intensity, where these relationships change dramatically, which species groups were most important in driving services, and the ecosystem services that are at risk when management is intensified.
Coronavirus - Video from Rector Leumann
Rector Leumann appeals to everyone to take responsibility and follow the measures that have been taken to contain the pandemic.
How is gender diversity achieved in working life?
A new European research project led by the University of Bern is investigating the factors influencing the educational and professional careers of women and men, including members of gender and sexual minorities. "G-VERSITY" will receive EUR 4.1 million from the EU "Horizon 2020" funding program. The project is being coordinated by Prof. Sabine Sczesny from the Institute of Psychology.
Two planets around a red dwarf
The "SAINT-EX" Observatory, led by scientists from the National Centre of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, has detected two exoplanets orbiting the star TOI-1266. The Mexico-based telescope thus demonstrates its high precision and takes an important step in the quest of finding potentially habitable worlds.
Venus flyby on the way to Mercury
The space probe BepiColombo, which is on its way to Mercury, will fly past Venus on October 15, 2020 – one of the deceleration maneuvers to bring the probe into orbit in front of Mercury. BepiColombo has instruments on board which were designed and built at the Physics Institute of the University of Bern. Data is now being collected on Venus on the way to Mercury using other instruments that the Bern researchers are involved in.
Vaporised metal in the air of an exoplanet
An international team of researchers led by the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva studied the atmosphere of the ultra-hot exoplanet WASP-121b. In it, they found a number of gaseous metals. The results are a next step in the search for potentially habitable worlds.
Marine heatwaves are human made
Heatwaves in the world’s oceans have become over 20 times more frequent due to human influence. This is what researchers from the Oeschger Centre for Climate Research at the University of Bern are now able to prove. Marine heatwaves destroy ecosystems and damage fisheries.
Most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms
While some people who contract SARS-CoV-2 infections never experience any symptoms, there remains disagreement about what proportion of total infections these cases comprise. A study by researchers of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Bern suggests that true asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 comprise a minority of infections.
Comet Chury's ultraviolet aurora
On Earth, auroras, also called northern lights, have always fascinated people. An international consortium involving the University of Bern has now discovered such auroras in the ultraviolet wavelength range at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Chury for short. This phenomenon was detected thanks to the analysis of data from the European Space Agency ESA's Rosetta mission.
Increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy against skin cancer
Researchers at the University of Bern have discovered a mechanism in the body’s own immune system which is responsible for the maturation and activation of immune cells. In the fight against skin cancer, the results have the potential to help immunotherapies succeed, even in patients for whom they have so far been ineffective.
Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
Traces of violence on 1700 year old skeletons allow researchers to reconstruct warfare and sacrifices of nomads in Siberia. An international and interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists and specialists in forensic sciences led by Marco Milella from the University of Bern performed a detailed and revealing analysis of the traumas found on the skeletal remains.
Mechanism discovered how the coronavirus hijacks the cell
Researchers at the University of Bern and ETH Zurich have discovered a mechanism by which the corona virus manipulates human cells to ensure its own replication. This knowledge will help to develop drugs and vaccines against the corona virus.
Coronavirus leads to a push towards digitalization and a raised media profile
Even in the emergency situation between March and June 2020, the teaching activities at the University of Bern continued on a very good basis – and numerous research successes surrounding Sars-CoV-2 gave it a pleasingly high and positive media presence. The teaching at the University was digitalized within a very short period of time. However, the new semester is getting underway again with as much classroom teaching as possible. 19,000 students are now enrolled.
Four ERC Starting Grants for researchers from Bern
Four researchers from the University of Bern will receive the coveted Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Plant researcher Christelle Robert wants to use the grant to understand the interactions between plants and the natural enemies of pests, while economist Christoph Oberlack is investigating new ways of establishing environmental justice. Physiopathologist Ziad Al Nabhani is investigating the influence of early childhood nutrition on the immune system, and chemist Tomás Solomek is exploring new ways to better understand and use a material of the future.
The Limitation Initiative is harmful to education, research and innovation
The Swiss universities and organisations that support the promotion of research and innovation are opposed to the popular initiative “For moderate immigration”. The initiative jeopardises some of the basic parameters that favour Switzerland’s role as a centre for science and enterprise. Adopting the initiative would halt the free movement of persons and thus bring the research agreement with the EU to an end. In order to deliver outstanding performance, Switzerland’s education, research and innovation (ERI) sector relies on the free movement of persons and close cooperation with other countries.
Explosive diversification explained by network analysis
Using genomic analyses of 100 cichlid species, scientists from Eawag and the University Bern, together with co-workers in Australia, the UK, Tanzania, Uganda and the US, have investigated the striking variation observed in cichlid fish speciation rates. Their findings show that exchanges of genetic variants between existing species dramatically accelerate the development of new species – given favourable ecological conditions.
Discovery of new genes that influence the success of cancer treatment
One of the great mysteries of cancer research is why certain patients respond better to radiation therapy than others. Researchers at the University of Bern have now discovered which genes play an important role in this. This results in new findings for cancer treatment.
Fuel cells for hydrogen vehicles are becoming longer lasting
An international research team led by the University of Bern has succeeded in developing an electrocatalyst for hydrogen fuel cells which, in contrast to the catalysts commonly used today, does not require a carbon carrier and is therefore much more stable. The new process is industrially applicable and can be used to further optimize fuel cell powered vehicles without CO₂ emissions.
A duo in search of life in space
Andreas Riedo and Niels Ligterink are searching for life in space. A portrait of two space explorers who are already eagerly awaiting how mankind will react to this, should their instrument ORIGIN find extraterrestrial life one day.
“Pressure for sustainable universities is increasing”
Universities that want to stay competitive in the future must integrate sustainability values, says Anne Zimmermann, researcher at the University of Bern and President of the COPERNICUS Alliance, a network of universities committed to transformational learning for sustainable development. How this transformation can be anchored and qualitatively secured at universities will be discussed at the Higher Education Summit, held virtually from 31 August to 2 September 2020 and co-organized by the University of Bern.
REM sleep tunes eating behaviour
Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Inselspital have now discovered that the activation of neurons in the hypothalamus during REM sleep regulates eating behaviour: suppressing this activity in mice decreases appetite.
Gut microbes shape our antibodies before we are infected by pathogens
Colonization with intestinal microbes is known to shape many body systems, especially the white blood cells that produce antibodies. Because the microbiota is so complex, containing hundreds of different bacterial species, it is not known how the presence of microbes in the intestine shaped the antibodies that are present even before we are challenged by an infection. Researchers at the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR) of the University of Bern and the Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, have now shown how these beneficial microbes reprogram the repertoire of white blood B cells that produce antibodies and how this helps counter infections.
Rapid test for the determination of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
A Swiss-German team presents a test that determines the amount of neutralising antibodies within a short period of time. The test was developed at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) of the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Office for Food Safety and Animal Health, and evaluated in cooperation with colleagues from the Ruhr-University Bochum using serum samples from COVID-19 patients.