Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Understanding the mechanisms of diseaseThe 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
- Growth control
Training young scientists
In a comprehensive study, researchers from the Rijli group found that a single Hox transcription factor expressed in a group of neurons of the pontine nucleus - the cerebral cortex most important brainstem relay to the cerebellum - determines the wiring onto these neurons of somatosensory cortical neurons, while avoiding visual cortical neurons.
While the first genome-wide DNA methylation map in mammalian cells was established over 10 years ago, such maps only provide snapshots and do not inform about the actual dynamics of this epigenetic mark. Researchers from the Schübeler group now quantified actual rates of methylation and demethylation for 860,404 individual CpGs in mouse embryonic stem cells. Their study reveals highly variable and context-specific activity for the DNA methylation machinery.
The Gasser group discovered that silencing of heterochromatic regions - and more specifically of hundreds of Polycomb-target genes enriched for H3K27me3 - can occur through selective RNA degradation, and not only through transcriptional repression. The study links the epigenetics state of a gene with the fate of its RNA transcript. It is the first time that this is shown in higher eukaryotes.
Genes that time the transition to adulthood are well-studied in the roundworm C. elegans, and at least partially conserved in mammals, where they regulate the onset of puberty. Juvenile worms turn into adults when a protein called LIN-29 accumulates in sufficient amounts. By studying two variants of LIN-29, the group of Helge Grosshans reveals that temporal coordination of events during the transition to adulthood involves a branched pathway rather than a linear chain of events.
Mutations in the nuclear structural protein lamin A produce rare, tissue-specific diseases called laminopathies. To study these diseases, researchers from the Gasser group introduced a mutation inducing a human laminopathy in C. elegans and monitored its effect on chromatin. Not only did they understand the molecular basis of the disease, they found a way to counteract the dominant defects of the mutation, suggesting a novel therapeutic pathway.
The selection of research projects to be funded by the European Research Council (ERC) is highly competitive; therefore, the funding of a project by the ERC is a key indicator for research excellence. In the latest data provided by the ERC covering the years 2015-2018, the FMI achieved a remarkable success rate of 75%, ranking first of 172 institutes.
In a video (5'35'') combining interviews and figures, the team behind the latest collaboration from the Thomä and Schübeler labs - Alicia Michael, Ralph Grand and Luke Isbel - explain how they developed an assay identifying where the preferable sites for the transcription factor-DNA binding motif on the nucleosome were, so that they could build transcription factor-nucleosome complexes.
This year, the biennial Swiss Brain League Research Prize endowed with 20,000 CHF is awarded to the research group of Andreas Lüthi and Jan Gründemann from the FMI. 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.
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.
RNA decay plays a fundamental role in gene expression by controlling the quality and quantity of messenger RNAs. However, it has proved difficult to study and is still shrouded in mystery. Scientists from the Bühler group now uncovered key targets, components and functions of mammalian RNA decay pathways, and found that RNA decay is tightly connected to another crucial stage of gene expression: protein synthesis (translation).
Last job offers
- Psychology - 10.7
Full Professor of Psychology/Head of the Psychology Department (f/m/d)
- Art and Design - 9.7
Leiterin / Leiter Master of Arts in Design (60-80%)
- Life Sciences - 9.7
PhD Thesis - Novel Approaches for Human Brain Monitoring with Electroencephalography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Innovation - 8.7
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/ Doktorand (m/w/d) "Ländliche Energieversorgung der Zukunft"
- Electroengineering - 8.7
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/ Doktorand (m/w/d) „Direktmethanisierung von Wasserstoff in Biogasanlagen“
- Pedagogy - 7.7
Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in 60 %
- Environment - 9.7
Postdoctoral Research Fellow / Research Fellow in Cosmology
- Economics/Business - 9.7
Post-Doctoral Fellowships: Digital Twins in the Energy Industry