Susan M. Gasser

Susan Gasser, FMI Director

Welcome to the Friedrich Miescher Institute.

For over 40 years the FMI has been an internationally recognized center for fundamental biomedical research. Why do scientists continue to explore the molecular mechanisms that differentiate health from disease? The answer is simple. Despite an ever-expanding understanding of the genetic blueprint and constituents of living cells, we do not know enough about the basis of human health to stave off the perils of disease. Biomedical research aims to describe the molecular mechanisms at work within living cells to enable an effective development of new therapeutics.

As an affiliated institute of the University of Basel and affiliated with the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, the FMI is situated at the interface of academic research and biomedical application. We make use of genetic approaches in model organisms, detailed proteomic and genomic analyses, as well as live fluorescence imaging and structure determination in our studies of the mechanisms of cancer, epigenetics and neurobiology. The FMI has established cutting-edge technology support platforms that develop and exploit new tools for research, placing its scientists at the forefront of biomedical discovery. Our findings are published and presented to the scientific community, contributing to the collective understanding of human disease. Through collaborative efforts with Novartis, we also contribute to the development of both diagnostics and medicine.

The FMI is dedicated to the training of young scientists. As an important component of our institute we count ~180 students and postdocs pursuing PhDs or postgraduate training. Graduate students are selected competitively from countries the world over. Our students and postdoctoral fellows are not only exposed to the latest in molecular and genetic approaches, but are constantly encouraged to examine their biomedical application. From a detailed understanding of model organisms, we hope to uncover new means to combat cancer, correct degenerative states, or suppress diseases correlated with physiological dysfunction. Now more than ever, it is clear that biological research has a major impact on the quality of life of each and every one of us.

Finally, we provide at the FMI an open, collegial environment for research. We encourage the exploration of novel areas with intellectually daring approaches. We aim to continually push back the horizons of knowledge with innovation and ideas. Interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-feeding from one field to another occurs daily at the FMI. It is this tradition that allows us to play a leading role amongst the many institutes engaged in biomedical research.

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