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Corona virus - return to normal situation
Update 31.03.22 The Federal Council has ended the special situation under the COVID-19 regulation as of April 1st, 2022. This means that the last measures on the national level will also be lifted: the obligation for infected persons to self-isolate as well as the mask obligation in public transport. For the University of Bern, the return to the normal situation means that the University's COVID crisis management team will cease its operations.
When art conveys science
Researchers from the University of Bern, with students from the School of Visual Arts Bern and Biel, have created a nature trail called "Vitaport" which is open to the public and is about transport routes in the body. As a way of communicating science, art and design have a lot of potential, think scientist Valentina Rossetti and designer Juliane Wolski.
Further pledges of EU funding for the University of Bern
Astrophysicist Jonas Kühn’s and philosopher Benjamin Matheson’s proposals for European Research Council (ERC) grants have been approved retroactively. As they will carry out their research projects at the University of Bern, instead of receiving funding from the EU, they will be funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation, SERI.
Improved COVID-19 vector vaccine candidate
Scientists at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) and the University of Bern report on a Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)-vectored COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Their work shows that intramuscular immunization of mice with VSV-vectored COVID-19 vaccines is inducing strong antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein if the vector has been complemented with a specific protein.
Novel medical device provides early recognition of brain diseases
Dominic Senn appreciates the challenge of starting and creating something new. Together with Mathias Abegg and three colleagues, he founded machineMD, a spin-off from the University of Bern, with the goal of radically improving the early detection of brain diseases through a combination of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and making reliable diagnostic data accessible anywhere in the world.
Israeli academic leadership delegation visits Bern
At the beginning of July, the executive board of the University of Bern welcomed a leadership delegation from several universities in Israel. The aim of their visit was to discuss topics at the interface between research and management.
Two Bernese researchers receive SNSF Advanced Grant
Neuropsychologist Katharina Henke and evolutionary biologist Katie Peichel are each receiving a highly endowed SNSF Advanced Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Their research projects deal with the ability to remember despite amnesia and the predictability of evolution.
UniBE Foundation establishes endowed professorship in tissue histology
An endowed professorship in tissue histology has been established at the University of Bern thanks to the support of Dr. h.c. Thomas Straumann, entrepreneur and founder of the Straumann Group. The professorship will be named after the renowned anatomist and bone specialist Robert K. Schenk and based at the Robert K. Schenk Laboratory of Oral Histology at the School of Dental Medicine, University of Bern. The professorship, endowed with CHF 10 million, is the first donation that the newly established UniBE Foundation is entitled to receive.
Major funding award to enhance breeding of laying hens
Open Philanthropy, a foundation based in California, USA, will support animal welfare scientist Michael J Toscano of the University of Bern and industrial collaborators. The funding of $2.7 million will be used to promote cage-free housing for laying hens and improve their welfare and health through new breeding programs.
Bernese researchers simulate defense of the earth
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test against potential asteroid impacts on Earth. Researchers of the University of Bern and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS now show that instead of leaving behind a relatively small crater, the impact of the DART spacecraft on its target could leave the asteroid near unrecognizable.
The University of Bern on the front lines of HIV research
The Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) has been making important contributions to research on the prevention and treatment of HIV infection since 2007. The University of Bern and the University of Cape Town are assigned to the severely affected southern Africa as part of the international research consortium, "International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS" (IeDEA). The research was recently awarded a highly competitive grant and approved for another five years.
Ground-breaking number of brown dwarfs discovered
Brown dwarfs, mysterious objects that straddle the line between stars and planets, are essential to our understanding of both stellar and planetary populations. However, only 40 brown dwarfs could be imaged around stars in almost three decades of searches. An international team led by researchers from the Open University and the University of Bern directly imaged a remarkable four new brown dwarfs thanks to a new innovative search method.
The advocate for puzzling astronomical objects
Brown dwarfs are puzzling astronomical objects that are heavier and hotter than planets, but lighter and colder than stars. A research team led by Clémence Fontanive from the University of Bern has recently directly imaged four new of these mysterious celestial bodies. In this interview, the astrophysicist explains why brown dwarfs are important to our understanding of stars and planets.
Major US award for Bern and Geneva researchers
A prestigious grant from the USA goes to the biomedical scientist Sven Rottenberg, University of Bern, and the clinical scientist Intidhar Labidi-Galy, University of Geneva and University Hospital of Geneva. They received a joint grant from the "Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs" for their project on ovarian cancer. This underlines the high quality of the collaborative research on ovarian cancer in Bern and Geneva.
How animals reach their correct size
Adults of the same species usually differ very little in their size. A team from the University of Bern and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) in Basel has now discovered a mechanism that ensures such size uniformity. The research using nematodes showed that the speed of growth determines the speed of a genetic clock that times development. Thereby, individuals that grow slowly are given more time to grow and can reach the same adult body size.
What do we know about ignorance?
Knowledge is commonly taken to be one of the most important values. But how is it related to its counterpart ignorance? This is the topic of the 2nd edition of the interdisciplinary "CSH Science, Philosophy and Religion Forum" which will take place from June 7 to June 9. Vera Matarese, co-organizer of the event, explains what visitors can expect and what fascinates her about the topic.
Unselfish behavior has evolutionary reasons
Altruistic behavior is often seen as an exclusively human characteristic. However, behavioral research has uncovered numerous examples of altruistic behavior in the animal kingdom. In a new study, researchers at the University of Bern show that animals that help others “selflessly” to raise their young generate an evolutionary advantage.
European programmes - Time is pressing for the universities
Swiss universities have been hard hit by the breakdown of negotiations for a framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU, and thus the classification as a third country in the European research and education programmes. At the moment, there are no signals from the European Commission for a quick association. This drastically reduces the chances of association in this period.
How sleep helps to process emotions
Researchers at the Department of Neurology of the University of Bern and University Hospital Bern identified how the brain triages emotions during dream sleep to consolidate the storage of positive emotions while dampening the consolidation of negative ones. The work expands the importance of sleep in mental health and opens new ways of therapeutic strategies.
The genetic origins of the world’s first farmers clarified
The genetic origins of the first agriculturalists in the Neolithic period long seemed to lie in the Near East. A new study published in the journal Cell shows that the first farmers actually represented a mixture of Ice Age hunter-gatherer groups, spread from the Near East all the way to south-eastern Europe. Researchers from the University of Bern and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics as well as from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the University of Fribourg were involved in the study.
Diversity for AI in Medicine: Launch Event & Keynote
The Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CAIM) launches an initiative for diversity and inclusion in AI research for healthcare with a keynote lecture by Prof. Franziska Mathis-Ullrich, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, co-founder of Ophthorobotics AG and specialist in robot-assisted surgery and AI in medical interventions. Please register for the free hybrid event on Friday, May 13, 2022, at 12.30 p.m., hosted at the ARTORG Center.
Precision oncology helps prostate cancer patients
Researchers at the University of Bern and University Hospital Bern have achieved a breakthrough in a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer. In tissue samples from advanced brain metastases, they were able to establish the genetic profile of the cancer cells. These findings show for the first time that affected patients could benefit from target treatment, from which they have so far not been eligible.
Making the scientific community more inclusive
Since the beginning of the year, Hugues Abriel has been the new Vice Rector for Research at the University of Bern. One of his goals is to bring about a cultural change at the University of Bern. He explains what this means to him in an interview.
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
Can iron-rich dust fertilize the ocean, stimulate algae growth there, and thereby capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? An international research team involving the University of Bern and led by the University of Bonn used deep-sea sediment cores from the Scotia Sea to investigate whether this hypothetical greenhouse gas sink had an effect during ice ages. Although dust input was high during ice ages, no evidence of a fertilization effect could be found in the Antarctic Ocean.
Symposium: 100 Years Nobel Prize for Albert Einstein
To mark the 100th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize to Albert Einstein, a symposium is being held at the University of Bern. It first recalls the historical background and then presents modern developments in photonics. The all day event, jointly organized by the Albert Einstein Society, the Swiss Physical Society and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT), will take place on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 10.15 a.m., UniS, lecture hall S003. Attendance is free and registration is not required.
Lecture about Brain, mind and free will
Are traditional notions of free choice, personal responsibility, and religious faith compatible with a neuroscientific understanding of the brain and cognition? Am I in control of my own life - or do my neurons ultimately determine who I am and what I do? Lecture by Prof. William Newsome (Stanford University) at the UniS on Wednesday, April 6, at 6.15 p.m.
New strategy adopted by the University of Bern
With its new Strategy 2030, the University of Bern aims to build on its successes while responding to new challenges. The topics of digitalization and infrastructure are important driving forces for development and are now included as sub-strategies.
AI enables personalized treatment of heart muscle inflammation
A research team from the University of Bern and Inselspital, University Hospital Bern is investigating and developing innovative approaches that will enable personalized diagnosis and treatment of myocarditis. Artificial intelligence will allow individual risk assessment and progression prognosis in the future. The project has received funding from the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (CAIM) of the University of Bern and Insel Gruppe.
"Technology? - Absolutely!"
In emergency medicine, all members of the treatment team are crucial to the health and survival of patients. Training routines ensure that the decisive moves are made correctly – and virtual reality is a great tool for this. Tanja Birrenbach explains how she plans and researches VR trainings for emergency teams.
Our sleep shows how risk-seeking we are
Each person has their own individual sleep profile which can be identified by the electrical brain activity during sleep. Researchers at the University of Bern have now demonstrated that the brain waves during periods of deep sleep in a specific area of the brain can be used to determine the extent of an individual’s propensity for risk during their everyday life.
First UniBE Venture Fellowships have been granted
For the first time, the University of Bern has awarded four "UniBE Venture Fellowships" to support entrepreneurial young researchers and their promising innovation projects: two are dedicated to combating antibiotic resistance, one to liver disease therapy and the fourth to improved psychotherapies.
3Rs Awards 2021 go to researchers at the University of Bern
The Swiss 3RCC has awarded Bernhard Voelkl from the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Bern the 2021 3Rs Award in recognition of his work supporting researchers to better design animal studies to improve research quality and reduce animal use. The 2021 3Rs Young Investigator Award went to Pauline Zamprogno from the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, also at the University of Bern, for her contribution to a lung-on-chip model, which aim at replacing animals testing.
Fjords in the Swiss Plateau
A team of researchers of the University of Bern supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation drilled a borehole into the Bernese subsoil. Their discoveries have now been published: a few hundred thousand years ago, fjords shaped the face of the Central Plateau.
Bernese Innovation for the Pathology of the Future
Alessandro Lugli and Miryam Blassnigg from the Institute of Pathology at the University of Bern have developed a medical cockpit, called the Pathojet, which is the first of its kind in the world. In an interview, they explain the advantages the device offers for their field and their patients.
Three Bernese researchers receive Pfizer Prize
Three immunologists from the University of Bern and Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, have been awarded a Pfizer Research Prize for their work. The researchers have shown how our gut microbes influence the formation of antibodies.
"Stick to Science"
The Europe-wide campaign "Stick to Science" was launched by universities and researchers. They are calling on politicians to ensure the association of the UK and Switzerland with Horizon Europe. In a video, Rector Christian Leumann explains why he is also getting involved on behalf of the University of Bern. Sign the initiative: https://stick-to-science.eu.
Black cardamom – a way out of poverty?
In the fight against poverty in the Global South, agricultural exports with high added value are expected to generate higher incomes, tax revenues and foreign exchange. For rural women, they could create new opportunities. An international research team led by the University of Bern has put this idea to the test by analysing Nepal’s cardamom value chain.
The last ice age widened the Aare and Gürbe valleys
A team led by the University of Bern was able to proof that the glaciers of the penultimate ice age ('Riss' glaciation) mainly eroded the bedrock between Thun and Bern, but that during the last glaciation (' Würm'- glaciation) glacial carving resulted in a widening and not in a further deepening of the valleys. The researchers reconstructed the geometry of the bedrock using gravity measurements to reach their conclusions.
Extreme exoplanet has a complex and exotic atmosphere
An international team including researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva as well as the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS analyzed the atmosphere of one of the most extreme known planets in great detail. The results from this hot, Jupiter-like planet that was first characterized with the help of the CHEOPS space telescope, may help astronomers understand the complexities of many other exoplanets – including Earth-like planets.
German courses for employees
You are an employee of the UniBE and would like to learn German or improve it? Would you like to better integrate? Sign up for a German course for employees and get to know new colleagues! The Language Center offers two semi-intensive German courses to support your integration into the professional context. More information about the courses is available at the Language Center.
Universities pay a high price for Switzerland's sidelining in the European Union's research and education projects
Swiss higher education institutions can no longer participate as full partners in Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. This has serious consequences for the universities, as projects cannot be realised or can only be realised to a limited extent. The recruitment of researchers is made considerably more difficult, and there is a risk of top researchers migrating to other countries. In addition, millions will be missing from the budgets of the universities.
Tracking tsunamis in Switzerland
Katrina Kremer is studying underwater landslides in lake deltas to draw conclusions about the processes that can lead to tsunamis even in Swiss lakes. As the processes are similar to those of marine systems, the findings could also be applied to coastal warning systems.
Magnesium is essential for the immune system, including in the fight against cancer
The level of magnesium in the blood is an important factor in the immune system’s ability to tackle pathogens and cancer cells. Writing in the journal Cell, a research group from the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel with Bernese participation have reported that T cells need a sufficient quantity of magnesium in order to operate efficiently. Their findings may have important implications for cancer patients.
Tracking pesticides in the environment
Chemist Aurea C. Chiaia-Hernández's research tracks the transport of pesticides in the environment to study their effects and impacts on aquatic ecosystems and identify threats to human health.
A leap forward in epilepsy research
Can days with increased risk of epileptic seizures be predicted? Dr. Maxime Baud is researching this question as an SNSF Eccellenza Professor at the University of Bern. For people suffering from epilepsy, his project holds hope.
CHEOPS reveals a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet
With the help of the CHEOPS space telescope, an international team including researchers from the Universities of Bern and Geneva as well as the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, was able to detect the deformation of an exoplanet for the first time. Due to strong tidal forces, the appearance of the planet WASP-103b resembles a rugby ball rather than a sphere.
When "God plays dice", he does not roll infinity
Physicist Valentin Hirschi's research explores a new approach to quantum field theory calculations. More accurate predictions for experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN should help to better understand the inner workings of the universe.
Eccentric exoplanet discovered
Led by the University of Bern, an international research team has discovered a sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star. The discovery was also made thanks to observations performed by the SAINT-EX observatory in Mexico. SAINT-EX is run by a consortium including the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS.
The marine scientist and climate change
Charlotte Laufkötter is researching what is known as the biological pump, a mechanism that transports large amounts of carbon from the ocean surface into the deep sea driven by tiny plankton organisms. Her research project BioCycle aims to contribute to a better understanding of the world’s oceans and climate change.
New European master’s degree program on stroke
Stroke is the second most common cause of death in Europe, affecting around 16,000 people in Switzerland every year. For this reason, the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern and the Stroke Center of the Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, in collaboration with the European Stroke Organisation, are launching the MAS Stroke Medicine continuing education program: It will train the next generation of specialists in stroke medicine throughout Europe starting in spring 2022.
Adapting to the rise in temperature of our planet
Biochemist Rodrigo Siqueira Reis studies how RNA structures function in the adaptation of plants to higher temperatures. The aim is to gain a better basic understanding of how plants adapt to the circumstances of climate change.
Fast information processing with slow neurons
Bernese researchers have developed a theory that shows how the brain can efficiently learn extremely fast sequences of sensory stimuli. Their work was selected for presentation from among nearly ten thousand submitted papers at the world's most important conference on artificial intelligence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Geography of childhood cancer in Switzerland studied
A research group under the direction of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University Bern has investigated the spatial distribution of childhood cancer risks in Switzerland for the period 1985-2015. The group found evidence of increased risks in certain areas, particularly for brain tumors. The researchers demand that the search for the causes of brain tumors in children be intensified.
How wallflowers evolved a complementary pair of plant defenses
A new study led by Tobias Züst from the Institute of Plant Sciences of the University of Bern shows that a pair of complementary chemical defenses evolved independently in wallflowers, shaped by co-evolution with local insects.
Bern and Fribourg researchers identify neurons responsible for rapid eye movements (REM) during sleep
Why do we move our eyes fast in the paradoxical sleep - in that sleep phase, in which most dreams take place? The secret is not yet fully aired, but we are on his track: A team at the University of Bern, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg, has identified the nerve cells behind this curious phenomenon.