Nov 24, 2021

Studying the understudied in human biology: a chat with Margherita Yayoi Turco

Margherita Yayoi Turco is FMI’s newest group leader, leading a team of researchers who will investigate how the placenta develops and works together with the mother’s uterus during early pregnancy. She talks about her fascination with conservation biology, why 3D clus...

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Nov 19, 2021

Eccellenza Fellowship for Friedemann Zenke

FMI group leader Friedemann Zenke receives an Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). These recognitions are awarded yearly to outstanding independent researchers who aspire to a permanent professorship....

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Nov 16, 2021

Susan Gasser receives honorary doctorate from the University of Fribourg

Susan Gasser, former FMI director and professor emeritus of molecular biology at the University of Basel, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Fribourg....

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Nov 15, 2021

A histone modification essential for tissue integrity

Chemical modifications of histones, the small proteins around which DNA is wrapped, are known to affect gene expression. In a study conducted in C. elegans, researchers from the Gasser group show that the defining modification of the tightly packed form of DNA called het...

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Nov 08, 2021

Mini-placentas: promising tools for studying early pregnancy and its complications

Despite its crucial role in healthy pregnancies, the placenta is one of the least understood organs in the human body. In a new study, Margherita Yayoi Turco and her colleagues compared the two main experimental models of the human placenta. The findings suggest that 3D clusters ...

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Nov 05, 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the FMI Science Prizes 2021

Our three internal FMI Science Prizes were awarded last week during our Annual Meeting, which took place at the FMI this year. The Ed Fischer Prize, the Max Burger Prize and the Ruth Chiquet Prize recognize respectively the best thesis, the best postdoc study, and an innovative n...

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Nov 01, 2021

FMI research areas

Research themes at the FMI evolve, reflecting our scientific interests and goals. Following an internal review of our strengths and the definition of the most pressing biomedical questions that we aim to address, we have decided to evolve our research areas into: Genome Regulatio...

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Oct 27, 2021

Research grant for Silvia Arber to investigate Parkinson's

Silvia Arber — group leader at the FMI and at the Biozentrum, University of Basel — and a team of international experts receive 8 million Swiss Francs from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson's (ASAP) initiative to investigate Parkinson's. The aim is to uncover how ...

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Oct 05, 2021

Worm atlas could help crack mysteries in animal evolution

Researchers in the Friedrich group have contributed to create an atlas that links subcellular structures to gene expression in each cell of the sea worm Platynereis dumerilii, a key model organism for the study of development and evolution. The atlas will help researcher...

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Aug 29, 2021

Charlotte Soneson wins Bioconductor Award 2021

Charlotte Soneson, a member of the FMI Computational Biology platform, has been awarded the Bioconductor Award 2021 that recognizes outstanding contributions to the Bioconductor project and community. The Bioconductor project is one of the major software collections for bioinform...

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Aug 16, 2021

Spotlight on FMIers: Marco Pregnolato

Spotlight on FMIers showcases the lives, work and passions of the institute’s researchers and support staff. This time, PhD student Marco Pregnolato tells us about his efforts to communicate science to the public and his dream of making a short film about climate change. Read More

Aug 02, 2021

From imaging neurons to measuring their true activity

Neuroscientists often use calcium imaging to analyze neuronal activity in the intact brain. But this method provides only an indirect and slow measure of action potential firing, creating the need to reliably reconstruct action potentials from calcium signals. Peter Rupprecht, a ...

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Jul 26, 2021

More than just walking: a new role for core brain region

For decades, a key brain area called the mesencephalic locomotor region has been thought to merely regulate locomotion. Now, researchers in Silvia Arber’s group have shown that the region is involved in much more than walking, as it contains distinct populations of neurons ...

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Jul 12, 2021

Homing in on how cells keep gene silencing in check

Long considered ‘junk’, non-coding RNAs have emerged as important regulators of diverse cellular processes, including the silencing of genes. Working in yeast, researchers from the Bühler group have identified more than 20 mutations that enable RNA-mediated gene ...

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Jul 07, 2021

Researchers identify missing ‘switch’ that controls essential genes

Proteins known as transcription factors act as switches that regulate the expression of nearby genes, but the identity of some of these genetic levers has so far remained mysterious. Now, researchers from the Schübeler group have pinpointed a new switch that regulates essent...

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Jul 06, 2021

Pico Caroni awarded 2021 Science Prize of the city of Basel

The governing council of Basel awarded this year's Science Prize of the city of Basel to Prof. Dr. Pico Caroni. The neurobiologist, who is a group leader at the FMI and professor of neurobiology at the University of Basel, is being honored for his life's work in basic neuroscienc...

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Jun 29, 2021

How proteins bind “hidden” DNA

How can proteins bind DNA in the cell nucleus, where it is present in form of chromatin, tightly wrapped around histones and therefore mostly inaccessible? Recently, several studies began to uncover the various strategies used by DNA-binding proteins to solve this problem. In a C...

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Jun 21, 2021

Mini-guts reveal crucial forces that shape the intestinal lining

Using miniature guts grown in a dish and 3D biophysical modelling, FMI researchers and their collaborators have uncovered the forces that give the intestinal wall its classic brushlike appearance. The findings can help to understand how the gut takes form during development &mdas...

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Jun 07, 2021

"Mentor matching" helps new PhD students get started during the pandemic

Starting a PhD can be daunting, especially during a pandemic, when uncertainty and social isolation can cause some extra emotional and logistical upheavals. That’s why the FMI launched a ‘mentor matching’ initiative. By pairing senior PhD students with students ...

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May 26, 2021

‘Tug of war’ between neurons tells the brain when to fear — and when not to be afraid

Fear protects us by making us alert to danger, but the persistence of fearful memories can lead to serious mental conditions. Now, an international team of researchers co-led by Andreas Lüthi has found that the activity of different cells in the brain’s threat-detector...

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May 05, 2021

Spotlight on FMIers: Gergely Tihanyi

Spotlight on FMIers showcases the lives, work and passions of the institute’s researchers and support staff. This time, graduate student Gergely Tihanyi tells us about his love for food and cooking, and he shares his insights on the FMI Master Chef series — virtual ev...

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Apr 28, 2021

In remembrance of Andrew Matus

It is with great sadness that we learned that Andrew Matus passed away on April 26 after a short illness, at the age of 79. Andrew was a group leader at the FMI for nearly 30 years and Titular Professor at the University of Basel. He made pioneering contributions to the field of ...

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Apr 22, 2021

ERC Advanced Grant for Silvia Arber

This year’s recipients of the prestigious Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) have been announced today. The neurobiologist Prof. Silvia Arber, research group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute and the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, is a...

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Apr 19, 2021

The architect of genome folding

The spatial organization of the genome is fundamental for the regulation of our genes and has to be established de novo during early embryogenesis. By combining powerful Drosophila genetics with 3D chromosome modelling, a collaboration between the Giorgetti group at the ...

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Apr 13, 2021

When two worlds meet: a protease that controls small RNA activity

The protection of genome integrity of germ cells is essential for animal fertility. Researchers from the Grosshans group characterized a defense mechanism against selfish genetic elements in the C. elegans germline. They identified a protein processing mechanism that con...

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Apr 06, 2021

Congratulations to our fellowship winners

We are pleased to announce the latest FMI winners of prestigious research fellowships, including EMBO, Maria Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) and Boehringer Ingelheim Funds (BIF). These grants, targeted at postdocs (and students for BIF), are...

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Mar 17, 2021

Spotlight on FMIers: Esther Griesbach

Spotlight on FMIers is a new series that showcases the lives, work and passions of the institute’s researchers and support staff. In the first interview of the series, Esther Griesbach, a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Jeffrey Chao, tells us about herself, the fascinat...

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Mar 03, 2021

'Brain state' behind social interaction uncovered

The brain’s emotion-processing center — the amygdala — is one of several brain regions involved in social behavior. But the exact role that this almond-shaped structure plays in the so-called ‘social brain’ remains mysterious. Now, the Lüthi gro...

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Feb 18, 2021

New-found molecular signature keeps key genes ready for action

During development, scores of molecular signals prod cells to take on specialized identities and functions. In response to some of these signals, the cellular machinery awakens specific genes called ‘immediate early genes’ within minutes. The Rijli group has now ident...

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Feb 16, 2021

Extensive remodeling of chromatin after DNA damage

In eukaryotes, histones are often modified and evicted at site of DNA double-strand breaks in order to facilitate end-resection and break repair. Together with the protein analysis facility of the FMI, the Gasser group has quantified massive changes in the chromatin associated pr...

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Feb 08, 2021

Chromatin remodelers never rest to keep our genome open

Chromatin remodelers are needed to take nucleosomes away from DNA in order to make room for transcription factors to bind, and regulate the activity of our genes. It has been unclear how dynamic this process is. Researchers from the Schübeler group now revealed that active r...

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Feb 01, 2021

A key regulator for humoral immunity and B lymphoma

The generation of antibodies in B-cells takes place in a dynamic structure that forms during infections, the germinal center (GC). The formation of GCs lays at the heart of the immune response; this process is highly regulated and not fully understood yet. The Matthias group now ...

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Jan 28, 2021

Susan Gasser elected director of the ISREC Foundation

FMI Director Emeritus and Group Leader Emeritus, Susan Gasser, has been elected director of the Foundation of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer (ISREC) by the Foundation Council. The ISREC Foundation has contributed to significant discoveries in oncology, and actively a...

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Jan 25, 2021

Prisca Liberali awarded prestigious Friedrich Miescher Award

FMI group leader Prisca Liberali, who is also a Professor at the University of Basel, receives the Friedrich Miescher Award 2021 for her research on design principles of tissue organization. The Friedrich Miescher Award is awarded yearly to a young scientist based in Switzerland ...

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Jan 14, 2021

Protecting the genome from transposon activation

Transposons are foreign DNA elements capable of random insertion into the genome, an event that can be very dangerous for a cell. Their activity must be silenced to maintain genomic integrity, which is primarily achieved by H3K9me3-mediated repression. Researchers from the Gasser...

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Jan 06, 2021

Neuronal circuits for fine motor skills

Writing, driving a screw or throwing darts are only some of the activities that demand a high level of skill. How the brain masters such exquisite movements has now been described in Nature by the group of Silvia Arber. The researchers revealed the existence of a map of brainstem...

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