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University of Basel
Neuroscience Network Basel

INSTITUTIONS

The Neuroscience Network consists of a wide variety of research groups affiliated to different institutes and organizations of the Basel region:

Biozentrum (Focal Area Neurobiology)
Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI; Neurobiology group)
The Department Biomedicine (Focal Area Neuroscience)
Clinical Medicine ( Neurology, Neuroradiology, Neuropathology, Neurosurgery)
Clinical Medicine (Psychiatry)
Psychology (Molecular Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science)
Futhermore

 

The Biozentrum (Focal Area Neurobiology)

Neuroscience research at the Biozentrum is represented by a strong group forming the Focal Area Neurobiology with a focus on Developmental Neurobiology. The group aims at understanding the pathways controlling the development of neuronal processes and synaptogenesis, including synaptic function and plasticity. The mouse is the primary model system, not least because of its high relevance to the understanding of human diseases and the excellent genetic accessibility. In addition, mouse embryonic stem cells offer the possibility to generate homogeneous populations of neurons, a research field also exploited by this focal area. The members of this group publish their work regularly in such highest-rank journals as Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Development, and the Journal of Neuroscience.

The focal area Neurobiology integrates perfectly with the activities of the NNB. It takes a very active part in this community that has, as a whole, achieved a strong international visibility. Its research overlaps, and is complementary with, Neuroscience research at the FMI with its strong focus on “Assembly and Function of Neuronal Circuits”. The focal area Neurobiology also complements efforts of the Basel Medical Faculty and Department Biomedicine to study diseases with state-of-the-art molecular approaches and animal model systems.

The group members are actively involved in teaching of Neurobiology and Animal Biology at the undergraduate and graduate level (e.g. introductory lectures to Biology and Pharmacy, block-courses for biology students, lectures for Biology, Nanoscience, and Geoscience students, Aufbaustufe Zyklus Neurobiologie, a.o.). Individual members of the focal area Neurobiology are also involved in additional lectures series in Cell Biology. Teaching duties at the undergraduate and graduate level will be coordinated within the NNB with major contributions by scientists from a number of partner institutions including the FMI, the Department Biomedicine, the Neurology and Psychiatry Departments, Psychology, D-BSSE as well as Novartis and Roche.
Funding: Group members are supported by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU).


 

The Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI; Neurobiology group)

The Neuroscience research at the FMI is represented by the strong Neurobiology group. Using cutting-edge approaches and such different methodologies as animal research (rodents, zebrafish), single-cell studies, in silico computations), the group members are dedicated to the understanding of the formation, function and stability of synapses and neuronal circuits and of the cellular mechanisms of learning and memory. The work of this internationally renowned group is regularly published in Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Methods, Neuron, Development, PLoS Biology, and other top journals of highest visibility.

The FMI group integrates perfectly with the activities of the NNB. Many of the neuroscience researchers at the FMI are faculty members at the University of Basel and interact with other strong neuroscience group in the Basel-based pharmaceutical industry. The research activities of this group complement the corresponding activities of the Biozentrum and the Department Biomedicine and are an ideal foundation for the translational and clinical research carried out by researchers of the Medical Faculty and the Faculty of Psychology.

The group members are also actively involved in teaching of Neurobiology and Animal Biology at the University of Basel. The FMI will also play a central part in the organization of a weekly neuroscience seminar series (Thursday seminars in neurobiology), which will be the main integrative educational series for the entire NNB.ing duties at the undergraduate and graduate level
Funding: Group members are primarily supported by the Novartis Research Foundation, but also by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU).


 

The Department Biomedicine (Focal Area Neuroscience)

Neuroscience research at the Department Biomedicine of the Medical Faculty has a strong focus on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, especially on the mechanisms of synaptic formation and plasticity, neural repair and regeneration, neurobiology and neuroimmunology. By including both basic researchers and clinical scientists, this focal area performs outstanding research with major translational potential for future medical applications. The members of this focal area publish their work regularly in highly respected journals such as Science, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Methods, PNAS, and the Journal of Neuroscience. This focal area integrates perfectly with the activities of the NNB and interacts with other strong neuroscience group in the Basel-based pharmaceutical industry. The research activities of this focal area complement the corresponding activities of the Biozentrum and the FMI and are an ideal institution for translational and clinical research. The members of this focal area are actively involved in teaching, primarily Neuroanatomy, physiology, and -pharmacology to medical students and are thereby instrumental for the integration of young medical researchers in the NNB. Further, they participate in the postgraduate teaching program at the Biozentrum.
Funding: Group members are supported by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU).).


 

The Clinical Medicine (Neurology, Neuroradiology, Neuropathology, Neurosurgery)

Basel is proud to offer excellent medical care and medical services for the entire spectrum of neurological diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors). Clinical research in Basel covers almost every neurological discipline. Moreover, a strong and internationally highly competitive research focus on neuroinflammation and brain imaging has resulted in clinical research at highest level. Members of this group are dedicated to the understanding of the mechanisms leading to neurological disease and to the development of better therapies. The intelligent integration of different neuroscience techniques (such as structural and functional brain imaging, genomics, proteomics) and carefully characterized patient populations has already led to a dramatic increase in knowledge and to improved treatments. This fact is mirrored by the excellent scientific output in such outstanding journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, the Lancet, and the Journal of Neuroscience.
The inclusion of this group to the NNB is key, because of its excellence and its potential for translational research and for the development of better treatments in the near future. This group brings together biology and medicine and has tremendous integrative capacity.
The members of this group are actively involved in teaching of all Neurology-related disciplines and in the clinical training of medical personnel. It has the unique ability to make research attractive also for clinically oriented MDs.
Funding: Group members are supported by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU) as well as local and international corporate funding in the context of international diagnostic projects and treatment trials.


 

Clinical Medicine (Psychiatry) for adults |forensic | children

Outstanding medical care for psychiatric patients has a long-standing tradition in Basel and covers the entire spectrum of psychiatric disease. Clinical research focuses on schizophrenia, depression, stress-related diseases, neurodegeneration and chronobiology. Members of this group are dedicated to the understanding of the mechanisms leading to psychiatric manifestation by adopting a biologically-oriented approach and by integrating cutting-edge neuroscience techniques (e.g. brain imaging, molecular biology) with carefully characterized patient populations suitable for clinical-epidemiological research. Although the development of better treatments is always a central part of the research efforts, early identification of diseased individuals and prevention programs are of increasing interest to this research group, which regularly publishes its scientific work in high-profile journals such as Nature, the Lancet, and the Journal of Neuroscience.
The inclusion also of this group to the NNB is key, because of its clinical excellence and its potential for translational research. The members of this group are actively involved in teaching of all Psychiatry-related disciplines and in the clinical training of medical personnel. It has the unique ability to make research attractive also for clinically oriented psychiatrists.
Funding: Group members are supported by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU).


 

Psychology (Molecular Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science)

The Faculty of Psychology has the distinction of being the youngest of the University of Basel’s seven faculties and has quickly developed into a thriving hub for psychological research. Its research program focuses on such neuroscience-related aspects as the molecular and genetic mechanisms of human cognition, the mechanisms promoting mental health or leading to mental disease, the neural mechanisms leading to decision-making, dementia, and cognitive neuroscience. The faculty has committed itself to a truly translational and integrative research approach, mirrored by the fact that faculty members are also embedded within the Biozentrum and the Medical Faculty. Research methods include cutting-edge genomics and transcriptomics, state-of-the-art electrophysiology and virtual reality laboratories, as well as modern facilities for behavioral observation and cognitive testing. This research plan has been already extremely fruitful and has put Basel’s psychology research already at a top level of international competition and visibility, as shown by its publications in Science, Nature Neuroscience and PNAS, among others.
The need for the inclusion of this group in the NNB is obvious, as it provides the missing link between molecular neurobiology and clinically-oriented, medical research in diseased human populations. All members of the faculty are actively involved in teaching at under-, graduate, and postgraduate level. The faculty offers four Master of Science and four Master of Advanced Studies Programs and has thereby the unique ability to make neuroscience research attractive for psychologists.
Funding: Group members are supported by peer-reviewed, competitive grants (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation, EU).

 

Furthermore the NNB is in close collaboration and benefits from synergies with the trinational neuroscience network NEUREX, the Neuroscience network ofthe upper Rhine valey between Basel, Strasbourg und Freiburg i. Br.

The Neuroscience Upper Rhine Network (NEUREX) developed itself through the vitality of cross-border cooperation between Switzerland (Basel), France (Strasbourg), and Germany (Freiburg i. Br.) and aims to maintain and develop a pole of excellence in neuroscience by stimulating multiple interactions over the Rhine. Thus, NEUREX organizes high-level annual meetings (1) to the intent of the network researchers, as well as seminars (2) which allow to present the progress of research and to initiate collaborations between laboratories. Moreover, symposia (3) are proposed to the scientific and medical community, which is interested by the perspectives of applied sciences and of fundamental research in neuroscience. In order to encourage collaborations between laboratories, NEUREX attributes, after expertise of its cross-border scientific board, research grants to the laboratories working on scientific bi- and tri-national projects.

One of the priorities in NEUREX is training. Because of its trinational structure, which brings together around one thousand neuroscientists in a hundred laboratories, NEUREX offers to students, researchers, engineers and technicians a remarkable potential of resources and of sharing expertise. The NNB will capitalize on the experience, expertise and structure of NEUREX particularly in the area of training and public awareness by including a NEUREX representative in NNB’s steering committee (see below). This fact will enable the permanent and fruitful exchange of ideas and expertise between Basel and the entire upper Rhine region.