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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 group has found that the activity of different populations of neurons in the amygdala reflects whether mice interact with their peers, or whether they focus on self-centered behaviors such as grooming. The findings could help to understand how the activity pattern of groups of neurons sets an overall ‘brain state’, and how that influences behavior — including social interaction and other behaviors that are impaired in neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism and social anxiety. More



Different populations of amygdala neurons display opposing activation patterns when mice switch between interacting with their peers or exploring their surroundings and self-centered behaviors such as grooming.

Age-related muscle loss has a huge impact on autonomy and life quality of the elderly. Animal models help us to better understand the ageing process and discover new treatments. The extrapolation of these findings to humans, however, has its limitations. For this reason, researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel investigated the suitability of established rodent models for studying muscle aging in humans. Along with identifying similar mechanisms, they also uncovered new therapeutic targets. More



Muscle section showing the activity of a mitochondrial enzyme involved in cell respiration and energy production.

Coffee, cola or an energy drink: caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance. Researchers from the University of Basel have now shown in a study that regular caffeine intake can change the gray matter of the brain. However, the effect appears to be temporary. More



The daily dose of caffeine is part everyday life for many people. Apparently, however, regular caffeine consumption alters brain structures. (Photo: Nathan Mullet, unsplash

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 Prof. Silvia Arber’s team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research. A map of brainstem circuits reveals which neurons control the fine motor skills of the arm and hand. More



Eating spaghetti requires high level of fine motor skills. (Image: © Ludwig Ruder & Riccardo Schina, Biozentrum, University of Basel)

Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a molecular mechanism that plays a central role in intact long-term memory. This mechanism is also involved in physiological memory loss in old age.

Many life forms, from worms to humans, have differentiated memory functions, such as short-term and long-term memory. Interestingly, at the cell and molecule level, many of these functions are nearly identical from life form to life form. Detecting the molecules involved in memory processes is of great importance to both basic and clinical research, since it can point the way to the development of drugs for memory disorders. More



© At the cell and molecule level, many memory functions are nearly identical from life form to life form. (Symbolic image: Birth Into Being / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The endogenous regulation of a specific gene is associated with a reduced risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder following a terrifying experience. In particular, traumatic memories of the experience are less severe. Researchers from the University of Basel have reported these findings in the scientific journal PNAS. More



The risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder after a horrible experience is linked to a certain gene. (Picture: shutterstock)

A team of researchers at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has discovered a new connection between a genetic alteration and social difficulties related to autism: A mutation in the neuroligin-3 gene reduces the effect of the hormone oxytocin. In the journal “Nature”, the researchers report on a treatment approach that could normalize social behavior in autism. They have already achieved promising results in an animal model.More



A certain gene mutation in autism alters the effect of the "social hormone" oxytocin in the brain. (Symbolic image: shutterstock)

Professor Fiona Doetsch from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has been elected as a new member of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). With this life-long EMBO membership, the neuroscientist and stem cell biologist joins a group of more than 1,800 of the best researchers in Life Sciences in Europe and around the world.More



Prof. Dr. Fiona Doetsch

Botond Roska, Professor at the University of Basel and Director of the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), will receive the Körber European Science Prize for 2020. The award, worth EUR 1 million, is one of the most prestigious science prizes for researchers in Europe.More



Prof. Dr. Botond Roska (Foto: Körber-Stiftung, Friedrun Reinhold)

Der Schweizerische Nationalfonds (SNF) hat das Projekt «Stress» mit dem Preis Optimus Agora ausgezeichnet. Prof. Dr. Dominique de Quervain von der Universität Basel und Prof. Dr. Carmen Sandi von der ETH Lausanne (EPFL) wollen mit diesem vom SNF geförderten Agora-Projekt die Stressforschung in der Öffentlichkeit sichtbarer machen. Mehr



Stress gefährdet die psychische und körperliche Gesundheit. Ein nationales Netzwerk tritt an, die Forschung darüber in der Schweiz zu stärken. (Bild: SIphotography / iStock)

Prof. Dr. Botond Roska von der Medizinischen Fakultät der Universität Basel hat den Sanford und Susan Greenberg Visionary Prize erhalten. Der Direktor des Instituts für molekulare und klinische Augenheilkunde (IOB) wird für seine herausragenden Leistungen im Bereich der Entwicklung neuartiger Ansätze zur Therapie von Blindheit geehrt. Mehr



Prof. Dr. Botond Roska (Bild: IOB)

Prof. Silvia Arber, neurobiologist at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), as well as developmental biologist Prof. Alex Schier, Director of the Biozentrum, University of Basel, have been elected as new members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Joining the ranks of the NAS is one of the greatest honors to be bestowed on a scientist. More



Prof. Alex Schier and Prof. Silvia Arber. © Biozentrum

Der Europäische Forschungsrat (ERC) zeichnet vier Basler Wissenschaftler mit hoch dotierten Förderbeiträgen aus. Ihre Projekte werden an drei assoziierten Instituten der Universität Basel durchgeführt: dem Institut für Molekulare und Klinische Ophthalmologie Basel (IOB), dem Schweizerischen Tropen- und Public Health-Institut (Swiss TPH) sowie dem Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI). Die Forschenden erhalten insgesamt rund 9,5 Millionen Euro über fünf Jahre. Mehr



© ERC

This year, the biennial Swiss Brain League Research Prize, which is endowed with 20,000 CHF, is awarded to the research group of Andreas Lüthi from the FMI and Jan Gründemann. The researchers have investigated how "internal states" such as anxiety, stress, hunger or thirst are coded in the brain of active mice. In the long term, their results may help to better treat diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder. More



© FMI; Jan Gründemann and Andreas Lüthi holding their check (before the rules of social distancing were put in place!)

Prof. Christian Cajochen wins the award of the German Sleep Foundation 2020 in the category “Science and Innovation”.Prof. Christian Cajochen, head of the Center for Chronobiology at the UPK Basel, received the German Foundation for Sleep Award in the category ” Science and Innovation” for research into the effects of light on the circadian rhythm and sleep. The prize was awarded for the first time this year. The laudatio emphasizes Prof. Christian Cajochen’s outstanding publications in the research areas Influences of Light on Cognition and Influences of Sleep on Psychiatric Disorders. More



Prof. Christian Cajochen

Scientists from the Friedrich group have developed a new virtual reality system that allows them to manipulate the sensory environment of adult zebrafish at will, while simultaneously analyzing neural activity. This approach can be used to explore how the brain processes complex sensory inputs and how it uses internal models of the world to control behaviors. More



© FMI / Rainer Friedrich

The CANDY project investigates the biological links between neurodevelopmental disorders and co-occurring somatic illnesses and how treatment of affected patients can be improved. The team led by Prof. Peter Scheiffele from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, is part of this research consortium, coordinated by Radboud University in the Netherlands. More



CANDY - Investigating Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Somatic Co-Morbidities.

Prof. Peter Scheiffele at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel is a newly elected member of the National Research Council in the field of cellular and molecular neurobiology at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Scheiffele will take up his new office on October 1, 2019. More



Prof. Peter Scheiffele

The Prof. Dr. Max Cloëtta Foundation is awarding its well-known prize for med-ical research for the 46th time.
This year, the awards go to a neuroscientist and a rheumatologist. Prof. Dr. Botond Roska, Professor at the University of Basel and Di-rector of the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), and Prof. Dr. Oliver Distler, Professor at the University of Zurich and Director of the Rheumatology Clinic at the University Hospital Zurich (USZ), will be honoured for their outstanding research work. More



Prof. Dr. Botond Roska

Protein variations that result from the process of alternative splicing control the identity and function of nerve cells in the brain. This allows organisms to build a highly complex neuronal network with only a limited number of genes. The study describing a detailed map of neuronal splicing conducted by Prof. Peter Scheiffele's team at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has now been published in "Nature Neuroscience". More



Protein variants shape wiring of nerve cells in the brain.

After nerve injury, the protein complex mTORC1 takes over an important function in skeletal muscle to maintain the neuromuscular junction, the synapse between the nerve and muscle fiber. The team led by Prof. Markus Rüegg at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now shown that the activation of mTORC1 must be tightly balanced for a proper response of the muscle to nerve injury. The study published in «Nature Communications» opens new insights into muscle weakness related to neuromuscular diseases or caused by ageing. More



Proper neuromuscular junction: The nerve (blue) and its presynaptic nerve terminal (red) with the postsynaptic receptors in the skeletal muscle (green).

When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Prof. Kelly Tan's research team at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has discovered this group of nerve cells in the red nucleus. They have also shown how fine motor tasks promote plastic reorganization of this brain region. The results of the study have been published recently in "Nature Communications".. More



Our fine motor skills such as grasping are steered by the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain.

Prof. Silvia Arber, neurobiologist at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and new co-director of the FMI, has been awarded the International Prize 2018 of the Fyssen Foundation. Arber has received this recognition for her investigations on the development and function of neuronal circuits involved in motor control. More



Prof. Silvia Arber received the prize in the National Museum of Natural History, Paris.

Botond Roska, who has a research group at the FMI and is co-director of the Institute of Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), is awarded the 2019 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, as announced yesterday. As one of the best-endowed awards in Europe, the Prize fosters scientific excellence and supports fundamental biological research that is of considerable significance for medicine. Roska is recognized for the discovery of basic principles of visual information processing and the development of therapeutic strategies, such as gene therapy, to restore vision in retinal disorders.  More



Image: © IOB, Claude Giger

August 29th, 2018. Silvia Arber and Botond Roska have been selected as co-recipients of the 2018 W. Alden Spencer Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to understanding developmental and functional mechanisms of motor and visual system circuitry respectively. More



Image: © IOB; Universität Basel, Biozentrum/Geri Born

August 23rd, 2018. NNB Member from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have demonstrated that the motor cortex is necessary for the execution of corrective movements in response to unexpected changes of sensory input but not when the same movements are executed spontaneously. Signatures of differential neuronal usage in the cortex accompany these two phenomena. The study has recently been published in “Neuron”. More


Image: © FMI. Warning - unexpected sensory feedback can have devastating consequences if not adequately corrected.

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded professor Jan Gründemann one of the coveted ERC Starting Grants. The neuroscientist from the University of Basel will receive approx. 1.5 million euros over the next five years for his research project in the fields of neurophysiology and brain research. More



Image: © University of Basel

June 18th, 2018. The neurobiologist Peter Scheiffele from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has received a grant of 1.2 million euros to study autism. He is a partner in the EU research grant "Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials", awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and supported with a total of 115 million euros. More



Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

June 20th, 2018. Silvia Arber has been awarded the FENS EJN Award 2018 of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) for her excellent contributions to the understanding of mechanisms involved in function, assembly and plasticity of neuronal circuits controlling motor behaviour. The Award is given every other year to scientists in recognition of their outstanding work in all areas of neuroscience. Silvia Arber will give an Award Lecture at the FENS Forum 2018 in Berlin.


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

April 11, 2018. The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded the neuroscientist and stem cell biologist Prof. Fiona Doetsch at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, a highly endowed “ERC Advanced Grant”. In the project, funded with about 2.5 million euros for five years, Doetsch will investigate how physiological conditions modulate the maturation and the behavior of stem cells in the adult brain. More



Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

March 8, 2018. Botond Roska from the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology in Basel is the recipient of the 2018 Bressler Prize. Lighthouse Guild, a US not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, honors with the award his scientific achievements that are "powerful, precedent-setting and establish a new standard for retinal research." More


Image: © FMI Basel

January 18, 2018. Silvia Arber, Biozentrum of the University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, receivse the 2018 Pradel Research Award. The award is presented annually by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States to recognize neuroscientists whose work is making major contributions to our understanding of the nervous system.
The neurobiologist Silvia Arber receives the award for her "research on the assembly, structure and function of motor circuits, which resulted in fundamental contributions to our understanding of the organizational principles of the motor system including the spinal cord and the brainstem". More


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

Unter dem Titel «Hirnforschung für alle» präsentiert das Netzwerk Neuroscience Network Basel der Universität Basel seine Aktivitäten neu auch in Liestal. In einer öffentlichen Freilichtausstellung zeigen vom 21. September 2017 bis am 1. Oktober 2017 Forschende aus Basel faszinierende Bilder aus ihrer Arbeit. Zudem vermitteln an zwei Vortragsabenden Wissenschaftler aus Liestal und Basel die aktuellen Erkenntnisse aus ihrer Forschung. Der Eintritt zu den Veranstaltungen ist frei. Weitere Informationen.


Image: © NNB
The research team of Prof. Sonja Hofer at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has discovered why our brain might be so good at perceiving edges and contours. Neurons that respond to different parts of elongated edges are connected and thus exchange information. This can make it easier for the brain to identify contours of objects. The results of the study are now published in the journal “Nature”. News Biozentrum, University of Basel


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum
The cell scaffolding holds muscle fibers together and protects them from damage. Individuals who suffer from muscular dystrophy often lack essential components in this cell scaffold. As a result, their muscles lack strength and become progressively weaker. The research team of Prof. Markus Rüegg at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has now designed two proteins that stabilize the cell scaffolding link it to the muscle fiber and thereby restore muscle structure and function. Their findings are published in the current issue of “Science Translational Medicine”. News University of Basel


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum
The 2017 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine is awarded to Silvia Arber, Professor of Neurobiology at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and senior group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel, and to the immunologist Caetano Reis e Sousa, senior group leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London. News University of Basel


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum
We humans walk with our feet. This is true, but not entirely. Walking, as part of locomotion, is a coordinated whole-body movement that involves both the arms and legs. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified different subpopulations of neurons in the spinal cord with long projections. Published in “Neuron”, the results show that these neurons coordinate movement of arms and legs and ensure a stable body posture during locomotion. News University of Basel


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum
A research team of the Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences at the University of Basel has been working on combining psychological and genetic factors and using neuroimaging to get a deeper understanding of memory processes and emotional arousal in humans. SCI FIVE, Projects at the University of Basel


Image: © Dr. David Coynel
Andreas Lüthi, Senior group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and Professor at the University of Basel, has been awarded the 2016 Cloëtta Prize for medical research. The Prize, worth CHF 50,000, honors scientists who have made outstanding contributions to medical research.News FMI Basel


Image: © FMI
Learning leaves its mark on the brain. The recently identified ‘learning protein’ Copine-6 plays a crucial role in this process. Scientists from the Biozentrum at the University of Basel have now discovered that this protein strengthens the connections between nerve cells, accelerating the flow of information and thereby forming the basis for learning and memory. The absence of this protein leads to learning deficits. The study has recently been published in “Nature Communications”. News University of Basel | Telebasel (German)


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum
The ERC Advanced Grants rank among the most renowned funding contributions in Europe: In this competition the ERC received 1,953 grant applications – 277 were successful. This year, 20 scientists in Switzerland have been awarded a grant, eight of which are going to the University of Basel and the FMI. News University of Basel | News Friedrich Miescher Institute

The Institute of Neurosciences of the Miguel Hernández University of Elche and the Spanish National Research Council presented Silvia Arber with the 7th Caro Almela Prize in Developmental Neurobiology on October 30th, 2015. The prize was awarded in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of developmental neurobiology. The distinguished Remedios Caro Almela Prize, endowed with 20 000 euro, is awarded every second year to a European scientist by the Institute of Neurosciences (IN) of the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) in Alicante, Spain, and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Silvia Arber has been honored for her discoveries in the area of neuronal networks. The jury specifically recognized Arber‘s work on molecular mechanisms involved in the establishment of networks for motor behavior and on mechanisms allowing the recovery of such networks upon injury. They emphasized the novelty and quality of the research as well as the high productivity of her research group. The Remedios Caro Almela Chair of Developmental Neurobiology was established in 2000 by Fernando Martinez Ramos and his family to honor the memory of his deceased wife Remedios Caro Almela. The Remedios Caro Almela Prize in Developmental Neurobiology was created in 2006 as part of the activities of this Chair. Link youtube 

Prof. Ludwig Kappos, Professor für Neurologie an der Universität Basel und Chefarzt der Neurologischen Klinik und Poliklinik am Universitätsspital Basel, wurde von der Fakultät für Gesundheitswissenschaften der Universität Thessalien in Griechenland die Ehrendoktorwürde verliehen.  

Mit der Auszeichnung würdigt die Fakultät für Gesundheitswissenschaften der Universität Thessalien Prof. Ludwig Kappos' Verdienste als Arzt, akademischer Lehrer und Forscher in der Neurologie sowie insbesondere seine Beiträge zur Entwicklung neuer Therapien zur Behandlung der Multiplen Sklerose. Die Verleihung des Ehrendoktortitels fand im Rahmen einer akademischen Feier am 12. November 2015 in Larissa (Griechenland) statt. Details

Andreas and Barbara Steck have published their new book. Andreas and Barbara Steck have published their new book "Brain and Mind, Subjective Experience and Scientific Objectivity" by Springer. It is available as e-book or hard copy. Details Details

This year’s City of Basel Science Award will be presented to Prof. Silvia Arber. The neurobiologist who works at both the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel will receive this special honor for her outstanding work in neuroscience. This prize is awarded annually to a researcher or scholar who has excelled through outstanding academic achievements at one of seven faculties of the University of Basel, and is endowed with 20’000 Swiss francs. Basel’s Executive Council honors the 1968-born neurobiologist for her exceptional research contributions on function and development of neuronal circuits controlling movement. Official information (German) Details


Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

Die Schweizerische Akademie der Medizinischen Wissenschaften (SAMW) vergibt alle zwei Jahre den Robert-Bing-Preis für herausragende Leistungen an jüngere Forschende «...welche Erkennung, Behandlung und Heilung der Nervenkrankheiten gefördert haben». Die Preisträger 2014 sind: Prof. Peter Scheiffele (oben) vom Biozentrum der Universität Basel und Prof. Denis Jabaudon (unten) vom Département des Neurosciences Fondamentales der Université de Genève. Die beiden Forscher erhalten je CHF 30'000.-. Die Verleihung des Robert-Bing-Preises 2014 findet am 20. November 2014 im Rahmen der SAMW-Senatssitzung statt. 
Details

Peter Scheiffele

Image: © University of Basel, Biozentrum

Denis Jabaudon