Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Maulbeerstrasse 66, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research   link
Discipline: Health

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 - Chemistry - Jul 6
Life Sciences - Chemistry
The cytosolic iron sulfur assembly (CIA) pathway is required for the insertion of Fe-S clusters into proteins, including many DNA replication and repair factors. Despite its essential cellular function, this pathway remains enigmatic. A new integrative structural and biochemical study from the Thomä group now provides detailed insights into the mechanisms of Fe-S protein biogenesis.
Life Sciences - Jun 22
Life Sciences

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.

Life Sciences - Jun 2

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.

Life Sciences - Apr 24
Life Sciences

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.

Life Sciences - Apr 5
Life Sciences

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.

Life Sciences - Health - Mar 16
Life Sciences - Health

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.

Administration - Life Sciences - Feb 25

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.

Life Sciences - Jun 11
Life Sciences

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.

Life Sciences - May 12
Life Sciences

The Peters group studies chromatin formation and regulation in mammalian germ cells and during early embryonic development. Now researchers from the group identified a novel pathway that is essential for maintaining the integrity of heterochromatin, and therefore for securing chromosome stability.

Life Sciences - Health - Apr 8
Life Sciences - Health

April 8, 2020 On April 8, 1970, the founding charter of the FMI was signed. For 50 years, the FMI has stayed true to its initial mission: To promote basic research in the fields of biochemistry and medicine, and to train young scientists.

Life Sciences - Health - Mar 24
Life Sciences - Health

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.

Life Sciences - Mar 3
Life Sciences

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.

Life Sciences - Health - Feb 11
Life Sciences - Health

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).




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