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Update 06.01.2022: Due to the current high risk of infection by the Covid variant Omicron, the crisis management team of the university has decided that exams will generally take place online from Monday, January 10, 2022. Exceptions are possible in justified cases. Such exceptions must be requested from the crisis management team. All other regulations and recommendations remain in place.
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.
World Bank Grant for Continuing Education Program
Since 2018, the University of Bern has been home to IPDET, the world’s leading International Program For Development Evaluation Training which was founded by the World Bank in 2001. Now, this program can be further expanded for an initial 2 years, thanks to a USD 1.5 million competitive grant from the World Bank.
The battle of the SARS-CoV-2 variants: a winning approach
In order to fight the pandemic in the long term, it is crucial to understand why one variant prevails over another. An international study conducted by the Institute of Virology and Immunology and the University of Bern, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany, has provided important answers by comparing the spread and transmission of different emerging variants in parallel. This approach is now applicable to the comparison of new variants, such as delta and omicron. This unique study has just been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Relationship satisfaction at its lowest point after 10 years
For most people, satisfaction in a relationship changes over time. Researchers at the Institute of Psychology, University of Bern have, for the first time, managed to identify typical developmental trajectories, both over a person’s life span and over the duration of a relationship. The study shows that average satisfaction in a relationship is at its lowest at the age of 40 and after 10 years of being in a relationship.
Shoots and roots respond differently to climate change
A new synthesis conducted by a group of international scientists including Madhav P. Thakur from the University of Bern reveals mismatches between above- and belowground plant phenology due to climate change. These findings are important to understand the consequences of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity.
Greeting from the Rector
"We look back on a demanding, challenging but also successful year" says Christian Leumann in his traditional Christmas greeting to the staff. And he thanks all members of the university for their great commitment and understanding for the exceptional situation.
A virtual hub promoting collaborative data science
The Bern Data Science Initiative, BeDSI, is a recently launched network at the University of Bern aiming to foster data driven research and promote it across disciplinary and faculty boundaries. In the interview, three initiators explain why this network is so important for the future.
New Vice-Rector for Research Elected
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.
Gut bacteria aggravate adhesions after abdominal surgery
A multidisciplinary international research team led by Prof. Daniel Candinas and Prof. Deborah Stroka at Inselspital and the University of Bern has succeeded in providing important evidence: The researchers have been able to identify the initial cells and primary trigger leading to the formation of adhesions in the abdomen after operations contaminated by intestinal bacteria. This provides the first promising starting points for a possible therapy.
Brain study on how to slow down climate change
When it comes to climate-friendly behaviour, there is often a gap between what we want and what we actually do. Although most people want to see climate change slowed down, many do not behave in an appropriately sustainable way. Researchers at the University of Bern have now used brain stimulation to demonstrate that the ability to mentalise with the future victims of climate change encourages sustainable behaviour.
Preventing millions of people from going blind
PeriVision, a University of Bern spin-off, is awarded 1.5 million Euros by the European program EIT Health to market its AI-based portable testing device that wants to revolutionize glaucoma care. Co-founder Dr. Serife Kucur, explains how their solution will improve diagnosis and treatment via VR glasses.
Research with the $10 billion space telescope
Yann Alibert and Matthew Hooton are eagerly awaiting the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on December 22, 2021. In this interview, the two astrophysicists from the University of Bern tell how they managed to get observation time with JWST and what this has to do with CHEOPS.
Two-year launch anniversary of CHEOPS
After two years in orbit, the CHEOPS space telescope has exceeded expectations. By reliably revealing details of some of the most fascinating exoplanets, it has quickly become a key instrument for astronomers in Europe and has led to fruitful collaborations throughout the continent. CHEOPS is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland, under the aegis of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva.
"Neurons have the ability to look into the future"
Mihai A. Petrovici is investigating the brain's remarkably efficient learning mechanisms at the Institute of Physiology. In this interview, he talks about the fascination and progress of modern brain research, but also about the consequences of Switzerland's withdrawal from European research programs.
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.
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
In the "Projet Lac" research project, 35 lakes in the Alpine region were systematically examined for their fish populations for the first time: In Switzerland alone, 106 fish species were detected. With almost 20 percent of all known fish species in Europe, Switzerland is one of the hotspots for fish species diversity. The results are now the basis for measures for sustainable fishing and the protection of this still preserved diversity.
The University of Bern cancels Dies academicus 2021
In view of the rising number of infections and hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19, the University of Bern will cancel its foundation celebration, the Dies academicus, on Saturday, December 4. For the time being, courses and, in particular, examinations can continue to be held in person, in accordance with federal and cantonal requirements.
Developing Tools to Help Cancer Treatment
The 2021 Hans Sigrist Prize will be awarded to Professor Garry Nolan for his work in single cell analysis, which enables a better understanding of cancer development and helps to create individualized forms of therapy for patients.
Dangers of silent atrial fibrillation in diabetes
In a major study, a research group at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern found that patients with diabetes were found to have significantly more frequent, silent atrial fibrillation. Because of the more frequent, asymptomatic atrial fibrillation and more severe concomitant diseases, the researchers raise the question of whether patients with diabetes should be systematically screened for atrial fibrillation.
Covid-19: Preventive measures for healthcare workers
A research team at Inselspital, the University of Bern and the University of Trieste (It) has investigated the effectiveness and economic efficiency of in-hospital preventive measures to protect healthcare workers. For this purpose, a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission was developed, incorporating factors both inside and outside the hospital. Regular, broad-based, real-time PCR testing was found to be the most economical and effective method for screening and thereby maintaining hospital infrastructure.
Discovering exoplanets using artificial intelligence
By implementing artificial intelligence techniques similar to those used in autonomous cars, a team from the UNIGE and the UniBE, in partnership with the company Disaitek, has discovered a new method for detecting exoplanets.
«Networking is essential for young scientists»
Aline Bornet is writing her PhD thesis in chemistry as part of a project that aims to enable sustainable energy storage in the future. In the interview, she talks about how she found a one-month stay this summer at one of the partner institutions in Denmark scientifically and personally enriching.
Symposium: 50 years of the ISPM
The Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Bern (ISPM) celebrates 50 years of cutting-edge research for Public Health with a symposium. The event will take place in the Langhans auditorium on the Insel Campus and on Zoom.
New system developed for rapid SARS-CoV-2 variant characterization and facilitated drug development
Researchers led by the Nobel Laureate Charles Rice of The Rockefeller University and Volker Thiel of the University of Bern and Institute of Virology and Immunology have developed a non-contagious model of SARS-CoV-2 that makes it easier, faster and safer to study the virus and new variants. In addition, the realistic model can be used to better test drugs.
Mental patients suffer more from climate change
A new study by the Oeschger Center for Climate Research (OCCR) draws attention to a previously neglected group that suffers particularly from climate change: psychiatric patients. Three OCCR researchers explain why mentally ill people are particularly sensitive.
The planet does not fall far from the star
A compositional link between planets and their respective host star has long been assumed in astronomy. For the first time now, a team of scientists, with the participation of researchers of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS from the University of Bern and the University of Zürich, deliver empirical evidence to support the assumption – and partly contradict it at the same time.
swissuniversities warns of a medicine and research ban
The adoption of the initiative for a ban on animal and human experimentation would prevent biomedical research and new medical treatments in particular. The high quality of healthcare and responsible research in Switzerland to the benefit of the population and the environment are at stake.
Online-Event "New frontiers of digital inequality"
The series "Critical Perspectives on Digitalization" of the Vice Rectorate Quality takes a critical look at digitalization. On Monday, October 18, an online event of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) on the topic of digital inequality will take place in this context from 2:00 to 6:00 pm. A keynote lecture by Dr. Jamie Woodcock (Open University London) and a case study from a CDE project will provide insight into ongoing research. In a panel discussion solutions for minimizing digital inequalities will be discussed.
“We must not displace patients from the center or care”
Claudio Bassetti, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bern, talks in an interview about the opportunities and challenges of digitalized medicine - and what lessons can be learned from the Corona pandemic for the medicine of the future.
"We Are Stardust" – Presentation by Kathrin Altwegg
Kathrin Altwegg is a professor emerita in space research and planetology at the University of Bern. Her research interests are focused on cometary science using mass spectrometry. In a presentation at the sitem-insel School, she provides a new universal perspective to the processes on Earth and how relative it all is. An astronomical contribution with a twinkle in the eye for the assessment of the terresterial situation. Tuesday, 12 October 2021 from 16:00 until 18:00 at the Felix Frey Auditorium, Freiburgstrasse 3, Bern. Zoom participation is possible.
Simultaneous optical and electrical tracking of heart activity
It is still elusive to what extent interactions between different cell types of the heart influence the normal heart rhythm and possibly trigger life-threatening arrhythmias. A new measurement method developed at the University of Bern combines for the first time optical and electrical recording of cardiac ventricular activation which, in conjunction with optogenetics, will permit finding comprehensive answers to these questions.
Decrease in mortality from rare side effect
A large-scale international study co-led by Inselspital and the University of Bern investigated the very rare adverse cerebral venous occlusion (sinus venous thrombosis) after administration of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson&Johnson vaccines. Neither vaccine has been used in Switzerland to date. The mortality rate due to this complication decreased from 61% to 42% after the mechanism of its onset was clarified in spring 2021.
“Land deals are a risk factor for pandemics”
Large-scale agricultural land deals continue to destroy rainforests and natural habitats. So concludes the latest analytical report of the Land Matrix Initiative, an independent network that documents and monitors around the globe. They warn of a potential post-Covid boom – and an increasing risk of new pandemics. Uniaktuell talked to Markus Giger, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, one of the main authors of the report.
“Welcome back” to the University of Bern
The University of Bern has also coped well with the second year of coronavirus and is welcoming students back in full in-person mode at the start of the semester. The certificate requirement will be extended to all courses at bachelor’s and master’s level from September 20, 2021. There are currently around 18,400 students enrolled, which represents a slight decrease compared to the previous year. New challenges arise from the construction situation of university buildings and Switzerland’s exclusion from the Horizon Europe research program.
The first farmers of Europe
A research team from the University of Bern has managed to precisely date pile dwellings on the banks of Lake Ohrid in the south-western Balkans for the first time: they came into being in the middle of the 5th millennium BC. The region around the oldest lake in Europe played a key role in the proliferation of agriculture.
New Mathematical Solutions to An Old Problem in Astronomy
The Bernese theoretical astrophysicist Kevin Heng has achieved a rare feat: On paper, he has derived novel solutions to an old mathematical problem needed to calculate light reflections from planets and moons. Now, data can be interpreted in a simple way to understand planetary atmospheres, for example. The new formulae will likely be incorporated into future textbooks.
The astrophysicist who achieved a rare feat
As a child, Kevin Heng wanted to become an astronaut. Today, he is the director of the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) and has recently discovered new mathematical solutions that help solve a century-old problem in astronomy. In this interview, the astrophysicist talks about his career and what motivates him.
Creation of a detailed "catalogue" of degradation products in cells
Cells have their own quality control to prevent the production and accumulation of harmful proteins. This quality control is essential for correct embryonic development in all mammals and plays an important role in tumors and genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. A group of researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Basel have now made visible and cataloged for the first time, "blueprints" that give rise to defective proteins and are normally recognized and rapidly degraded in cells. This leads to a better understanding of this degradation mechanism and helps in the development of new therapeutic approaches.
In-person courses will continue
At the University of Bern, the upcoming fall semester will continue to be planned in in-person mode. There is no longer a restriction on the number of people for events at universities and the room capacities can be fully utilized. Masks are mandatory in indoor spaces. The University of Bern recommends that all students and employees be vaccinated, but no certificates are required.
Genetic enigma solved: Inheritance of coat color patterns in dogs
An international team of researchers including scientists from the Institute of Genetics of the University of Bern has unraveled the enigma of inheritance of coat color patterns in dogs. The researchers discovered that a genetic variant responsible for a very light coat in dogs and wolves originated more than two million years ago in a now extinct relative of the modern wolf.
How micro-circuits in the brain regulate fear
The brain mechanisms underlying the suppression of fear responses have attracted a lot of attention as they are relevant for therapy of human anxiety disorders. Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during the experience of fear, how fear responses can be suppressed remains largely elusive. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel have now discovered that the activation of identified central amygdala neurons can suppress fear responses.
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.
Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award 2019 goes to a bioinformatician
The Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award for 2019, endowed with €900,000 and originally referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Cancer Research", is going to Prof. Serena Nik-Zainal of the University of Cambridge. Thanks to her research, mutations in cancerous tumors can be analyzed using new bioinformatic methods, which makes new targeted therapy approaches possible. The prize is being awarded today at the University of Bern.