Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research   link
Location: Basel

Discipline: Health
Affiliation: Novartis

Understanding the mechanisms of disease

The Friedrich Miescher Institute is devoted to fundamental biomedical research aimed at understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of health and disease. We communicate and patent our findings to enable their translation into medical application. The FMI focuses on the fields of
  • Epigenetics
  • Growth control
  • Neurobiology
In these fields, the FMI has gained international recognition as a center of excellence in innovative biomedical research.

Training young scientists

Life Sciences - Jan 14
Life Sciences
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 group identified two parallel pathways that are essential for H3K9me3- mediated transcriptional repression and thus for protecting the genome from toxic transposon activation.
Life Sciences - Chemistry - Dec 14, 2020
Life Sciences - Chemistry

Just like people, cells get stressed too. A sudden drop in oxygen, overheating, or toxins can trigger a cascade of molecular changes that lead cells to stop growing, produce stress-protective factors, and form stress granules - proteins and RNA molecules huddled together into membrane-less organelles. Although the function of stress granules remains largely unknown, it is assumed that they contain only RNAs that are not translated into proteins. Now, a study upends this longstanding idea, showing that messenger RNAs (mRNAs) within stress granules can indeed make proteins.

Life Sciences - Health - Nov 26, 2020

How do molecules involved in activating our immune system discriminate between our own DNA and foreign pathogens? Researchers from the Thomä group, in collaboration with the EPFL, deciphered the structural and functional basis of a DNA-sensing molecule when it comes in contact with the cell's own DNA, providing crucial insights into the recognition of self vs. non-self DNA.

Life Sciences - Oct 21, 2020
Life Sciences

The Keller group had previously shown that the coupling of sensory and motor experience was critical for normal sensorimotor processing. The researchers have now identified the particular subset of cortical neurons responsible for computing mismatches between what we expect to see based on movement and what we actually see, and are likely essential for helping us distinguish between self-generated and externally generated sensations.

Life Sciences - Sep 24, 2020
Life Sciences

DNA damage can occur anywhere in the genome, but most DNA is wrapped around nucleosomes making it inaccessible to the repair machinery. Researchers from the Gasser group now show that DNA damage induces histone depletion, which increases the accessibility and flexibility of the DNA fiber and enhances the rate of homology search during repair by homologous recombination.

Life Sciences - Event - Sep 14, 2020
Life Sciences - Event

Due the covid-19 situation, we could not hold our FMI 50th Anniversary Symposium as planned. Instead, we organized a short video conference - for FMI members and our Scientific Advisory Board - to celebrate science virtually. The Award ceremonies for our three annual internal science prizes were at the heart of the meeting.

Career - Life Sciences - Dec 7, 2020

Susan Gasser is a world-leading scientist in the field of genome biology and has been involved in guiding science policy and institutes across Europe. She was the FMI Director for 15 years, from 2004 until 2019.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - Nov 2, 2020
Life Sciences - Computer Science

The requirements of real biological neural networks are modest compared to the complex deep neural networks used in machine learning, which come with substantial memory and energy demands. The Zenke group have developed a new method in machine learning called Neural Tangent Transfer to make a sparse neural network which performs almost as well as densely connected deep neural network on various learning tasks, but at a heavily reduced computing cost.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - Oct 8, 2020
Chemistry - Life Sciences

Intestinal organoids recapitulate not only the structure of intestinal epithelium but also its ability to regenerate following damage. Using this research tool, the group of Prisca Liberali unraveled mechanisms orchestrating organoid formation and intestinal regeneration with a unique image-based screening approach. The researchers identified a compound that improves the regeneration of the intestine in vivo .

Life Sciences - Chemistry - Sep 21, 2020
Life Sciences - Chemistry

Loading of replicative helicases onto DNA is a key event during the initiation of chromosomal DNA replication. It takes place at specific chromosomal regions termed origins and is facilitated by the ORC protein complex. By resolving the cryo-EM structures of DNA-bound ORC, researchers from the Bleichert group (now at Yale) broaden our understanding of how DNA replication is initiated in animals.

Health - Life Sciences - Sep 8, 2020
Health - Life Sciences

The FMI is a partner of the pan-European LifeTime initiative. In two publications, researchers involved with the initiative - including FMI group leader Susan Gasser - present a detailed roadmap of how to leverage the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies over the next decade, to track, understand and treat human cells throughout an individual's lifetime.