Clinical Neuroscience Bern

Research groups

Research group leaders: Prof. Chris Boesch, Prof. Roland Kreis, Prof. Dr. Peter Vermathen

Our unit „Abteilung Magnetresonanz-Spektroskopie und Methodologie“ (AMSM) has been created in order to support those members of the Medical Faculty, of the Inselspital, and of the University, who would like to apply magnetic resonance (MR) techniques in their research projects. In particular, this includes also clinical users without their own experience with MR techniques and systems. Our unit works mainly on the MR systems of the Inselspital, in particular on systems with hetero-nuclear equipment, but also in collaborations on ultra-highfield systems in Zurich (7T) and Tübingen (9.4T). More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. phil. Franz Moggi

Individuals with substance use disorders challenge the health care system. The Addiction Research Group seeks to contribute to a better understanding of neurophysiological processes in substance use disorders (e.g. alcohol cue reactivity, behavioural inhibition, cortisol levels) and to the improvement of substance use disorder treatment programs by developing add on-interventions designed to lower the risk of relapse. Predictors of treatment outcome such as psychiatric comorbidity (e.g., Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders) or substance use-related self-efficacy are of particular interest. More...

Research group leaders: Prof. Dr. Tobias Nef, Prof. Dr. med. René Müri

The Advanced Neurorehabilitation Technologies group is a joint-effort of the Perception and Eye Movement Laboratory (Prof. René Müri) and the Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation group (Prof. Tobias Nef). The research group develops novel technological systems to study, diagnose and train brain injured patients. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Mauricio Reyes

The Biomedical Neuroimage Analysis group is an interdisciplinary effort between the Support Center of Advanced Neuroimaging (Prof. Dr. Roland Wiest), and the Medical Image Analysis (Prof. Mauricio Reyes). The interdisciplinary research group develops advanced medical image analysis technologies, and related translational biomedical engineering technologies, to quantify, diagnose, and follow-up disorders related to the central nervous system (e.g. glioblastomas, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.). More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Claudio Bassetti

Our research group combines clinical and basic research in order to get a better understanding of neuronal circuits that underlie sleep-wake regulation and to investigate the function of sleep during recovery from stroke and other neurological diseases. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Jean-Marc Burgunder

The group on clinical neurogenetics is interested in diagnosis, genotype-phenotype correlative studies and management of neurogenetic disorders. The major disorders in the focus include Huntington’s disease, hereditary spastic paraplegia, mitochondrial cytopathies and several other, rare neurodegenerative disorders.

A major emphasis is in the context of the Swiss Huntington’s disease centre, which is devoted to investigation, management and patient care throughout the whole course of the disease from neurogenetic counselling of persons at risk, to ambulatory treatment and end of life treatment in a specific division devoted to HD patients. Present research on HD includes phenotype observation in global protocols, studies on neuropsychological aspects of the disease, investigations on treatment modalities, including during the end of life phase. Global collaboration includes centres joined in the European and in the Chinese Huntington’s disease networks. The last one allows cross-cultural and ethnic comparisons along with investigations of genetic modifiers. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. vet. Daniela Schweizer

Veterinary Clinical Neurosciences is a research group of neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiologists at the Vetsuisse-Faculty Bern. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. vet. Torsten Seuberlich

Our research focuses on the surveillance and pathogenesis of viral infections of the central nervous system. We are improving the efficiency of disease surveillance of endemic as well as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in animals, mainly in ruminant livestock. One of the main research directions is virus discovery in animals with viral encephalitis of unknown etiology by metagenomics, i.e., by unbiased next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics. Using this cutting edge methodology we identified novel encephalitis associated bovine astroviruses and other viruses. These viruses are found in a high proportion of neurological diseased cattle. Our aim is to better understand the pathogenesis and epidemiology of viral encephalitis and to ultimately improve the surveillance, prevention and therapy of these diseases. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Claudia Roebers

For one, this group of researchers aims at investigating cross-sectionally, experimentally, and longitudinally the typical development and developmental sequences of so-called higher-order cognitive abilities. Our emphasis is laid thereby on procedural (i.e. online) metacognitive monitoring and control skills and different aspects of cognitive control (or executive functioning). At the same time, we strive to identify driving forces for developmental improvements in these domains by experimentally manipulating tasks and by applying batteries of tasks from other domains and relate them to each other. More...

 

 

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Katharina Henke

The group of K. Henke examines conscious and unconscious information processing and episodic memory formation using fMRI, PET, EEG, and behavioral methods in brain damaged patients and healthy controls. They found that human hippocampus mediates the rapid establishment of new associations in memory, irrespective of whether learning and retrieval were carried out with or without consciousness of learning/retrieving. They study the role of sleep learning and retrieving information. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Sebastian Walther

We examine the basics of disturbed communication in affective disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Our main focus is nonverbal communication, particularly spontaneous movements, gestures, and interpersonal distance. Many patients are misunderstood by their environment due to  altered nonverbal behavior. Furthermore, patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders have difficulties interpreting nonverbal information correctly. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. phil.nat. Walter Senn

Our lab uses mathematical models of synapses, neurons and networks to explain aspects of perception and behaviour. In particular, we consider models for the cortical pyramidal neurons and micro-circuitries which are being experimentally investigated in vivo and in vitro at our Institute1. A further interest is the neuronal substrate of learning and memory. One question we are addressing is how state-action sequences can be learned from an ongoing stream of synaptic inputs and a single delayed feedback signal2. We also develop models of sensory processing and its interaction with cortical top-down signals. These explain experimental recordings from the visual cortex obtained while solving perceptual or classification tasks3,4. Our models try to highlight some key mechanisms by which the interaction of synapses and neurons enables our brains to deal with everyday tasks. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Fred Mast

Our current research focuses on visual perception, mental imagery, multisensory integration and immersion in virtual realities. We are particularly interested in the interface between cognitive processes and elementary processes of perception. Our research shows how higher-level cognitive processes involve early perceptual processes. We apply modern statistical methods and computer simulations and our laboratory infrastructure includes devices for eye tracking, a three-dimensional motion simulator (MOOG) and a virtual reality lab. Our research is regularly supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and we participate in several international collaborations. We also conduct application-oriented research in traffic psychology, diagnostics (medical) and innovative learning research. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Maja Steinlin

Our research focuses on the neurological and neuropsychological sequelae in case of atypical development in childhood (pediatric stroke, traumatic brain injury, prematurity, cerebellar disorders, brain tumors, other oncological diseases). We investigate neural mechanisms of neurorehabilitation after stroke in childhood by means of resting state fMRI and follow very preterm born children by tracking their cerebral and cognitive development (structural and functional MRI) throughout childhood and adolescence. Our research helps to ameliorate prognosis and better consult parents, teachers and therapists in regard to the children´s development. Furthermore, we develop cognitive trainings and test their efficacy scientifically by assessing neural effects (fMRI) and cognitive changes after training. This allows us to support the quality of life, well-being and scholastic achievement of our patients. More...

Research group leaders: Prof. Dr. med. Werner K. Strik, Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Dierks, Prof. Dr. med. Daniela Hubl

The diagnostic categories used in psychiatric diagnostic manuals like ICD and DSM has recently been challenged regarding diagnostic validity and use for prediction and therapy. Various initiatives has been started to focus more on psychopathological phenomena, like hallucinations, delusions or motor symptoms especially in schizophrenia but also cross over the conventional diagnostic entities in psychiatry, e.g. the RDoC of the NIMH in USA. By establishing the neurobiology behind psychopathological phenomena on a systems neuroscience level the aim is to improve diagnosis, prevention, prediction and therapy of mental disorders.
The intention of the Division of Systems Neuroscience of Psychopathology is now to pursue these aims. This is realized by several research groups which focus on specific psychopathological symptoms and their neurobiological etiology. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Claudia Spadavecchia

Our main research interest is pain in animals. We aim at developing objective, valid and reliable tools to evaluate species-specific nociceptive physio-pathological processes and pain behaviour and at refining procedures and techniques to improve pain treatment in domestic and laboratory animals. Our major areas of interest are

  1. neurophysiological characterization of acute and persistent pain to provide evidence in the context of animal welfare; 
  2. optimization of methods to recognize and treat clinical veterinary pain;
  3. development of loco-regional analgesia techniques to be applied in clinical and experimental settings.

More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr.med.Dr.sc.nat. Kaspar Schindler

The main goal of our research is to quantitatively characterize peri-seizure and state-specific changes of intracranially recorded EEG signals (iEEG) in order to derive diagnostically and therapeutically helpful information that is complementary to classical visual EEG interpretation by clinical experts. Specifically, we apply single- and multi-variate time series analysis techniques from information theory, random matrix and graph theory and Bayesian inference to better understand how human epileptic seizures emerge, propagate and terminate. We expect the results of our studies to potentially be key to better plan current resective epilepsy surgeries and better predict their outcome. In addition, they may also provide guidance for future minimally invasive neuromodulatory therapies, by helping to improve target selection. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Benoît Zuber

Neurons communicate at specialized neuron-neuron contacts : the synapse. There, small membrane spheres, called synaptic vesicles, which are contained in one of the neurons, fuse with the cell membrane of this neuron by a process termed exocytosis. Thereby, the chemicals contained in the vesicles are released out this neuron and can be detected by the second neuron. The latter neuron can then integrate this chemical message with messages coming from hundreds of other neurons. The molecular mechanism of exocytosis has not yet been described in detail. We therefore want to visualize and understand this process using cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography. The investigations will clarify open questions about exocytosis in neurons and lead to a better understanding of brain function. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Antoine Adamantidis

Sleep is a primary an essential biological need for higher vertebrates and “sleep-like” states have been demonstrated in lower vertebrates. Although the function of sleep is still a mystery, it may include memory consolidation, energy replenishment and brain plasticity. The neural underpinnings of sleep-wake states involve interactions between sleep-promoting areas such as the anterior hypothalamus, and wake-promoting areas located in the posterior hypothalamus, the basal forebrain and the brainstem. Multiple sleep stages, including slow wave sleep (non rapid eye movement or NREM) and paradoxal sleep (rapid eye movement or REM), have been identified in mammals. The occurence and maintenance of those sleep stages depend on a complex interaction between highly specialized neural circuits that remain to be elucidated. Research projects in the lab aim at understanding, dissecting and probing the dynamics of neural circuits that control the sleep-wake cycle in the mammalian brain. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Enzmann Volker

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the industrialized world for people over 65 years old. Although the pathogenesis of AMD is still unclear, it likely has multifactorial causes. It is known that, in AMD, the retinal pigment layer that lies directly beneath the retina, displays major alterations. In addition, oxidative changes can be detected in photoreceptors.

Therefore, the experimental research at the Dept. of Ophthalmology focuses on developing new therapeutic strategies. Both the stem cell-based cell replacement therapy and endogenous neuroregeneration are of particular interest. In animal models with pharmacologically or laser induced retinal degeneration, specific restoration of visual functions are investigated. In order to quantify the outcome of the experimental manipulations electrophysiological and behavioral tests are employed. The long-term goal is to replace damaged retinal cells with new ones, thus preserving eyesight or, at minimum, slowing the disease progression. More...

Research group leader: Dr. Erwin Sigel

The GABAA receptor is the most important inhibitory receptor in the central nervous system. It is the site of action of many clinically and experimentally used drugs like benzodiazepines, barbiturates and anaesthetics like propofol and etomidate. Different isoforms of the receptor are located either in the synapse or extra-synaptically. Current projects aim at the characterisation of the architecture of extra-synaptic receptors and at the identification of novel modulators with use as anaesthetics. More...

Research group leaders: Dr. Barbara Studer, Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Znoj

We aim to investigate the interaction of emotional and cognitive abilities by developing and implementing novel interventions. The interventions aim at improving cognitive flexibility and emotional regulation capacities. Most interventions are planned to be implemented as online tools for self-instructed and implicit learning. A special focus is on interindividual moderators, such as personality, situational life circumstances, and psychological or somatic disorders. In future, a prevention research project on heart-brain interaction is planned within an interdisciplinary research group. More...

Research group leaders: Dr. Marta Roccio, PD Dr. Pascal Senn

Sound perception relies on the function of specialized sensory cells in the cochlea, the so-called hair cells, transducing sound waves to the auditory nerve and further to the brain. Loss of functional sensory cells is the leading cause of deafness worldwide. The current treatments for hearing loss consist of conventional hearing aids, for mild to moderate forms of hearing impairment, and cochlear implants (CIs), for severe forms and deafness. These devices enable to improve hearing in the majority of recipients, however are not a causal therapy and not suitable for all hearing impaired individuals. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Jan Gralla

The INRG has developed an in-vivo animal model for the pre-clinical evaluation and development of mechanical thrombectomy devices for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Further research involves the development of in-vitro aneurysm models, in collaboration with the ARTORG Center, for measurements of different aspects of flow dynamics and their role in aneurysm formation and growth, as well as for hands-on training for endovascular aneurysm treatment. Neuroimaging and accurate post-processing are further prerequisites for appropriate decision making ahead of endovascular therapy. The most important prognostic factors associated with prolonged survival of hypoxic neurons are excellent collateral flow, small infarct cores and successful recanalization.  In cooperation with the SCAN workgroup research on automated prediction of tissue evolution in acute ischemic stroke is performed, based on a large dataset of vascular disorders. Beyond clinical studies, the research encompasses advanced computer simulation analysis of flow in the cerebral vascular tree to better understand the vascular flow dynamics and relate them to clinical indications, e.g. wall shear stresses in aneurysms. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Klöppel

Our current research primarily addresses cognitive decline attributed to healthy aging as well as neurodegenerative diseases. We apply cognitive training and non-invasive brain stimulation methods (tDCS and TMS) in order to counteract the loss of cognitive abilities. To date, a more wide-spread clinical application of these methods is prevented by the observed high response heterogeneity in patients. Hence, we employ neuroimaging techniques first in order to explore the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms of learning processes and further to identify biological markers that allow an improved prognosis of the therapeutic success. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Jürgen Beck

Intracranial hemorrhages are a heterogeneous group of diseases that are associated with high mortality, morbidity and constraints. The causes, treatments and courses of the disease show a high variability and may also be affected by preexisting illnesses. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Raabe

Computer-assisted navigated surgeries are part of the daily routine. Integrating functional information requires special imaging techniques and time-consuming individual planning. In the future, postoperative imaging will become rare. Instead, the imaging that confirms the surgical result will be performed during the operation. This change is of great value for the patient: suboptimal results can be corrected in real-time during surgery. The surgical procedure is surveyed more carefully and frequently. In neurosurgery, different procedures are used (high-field MRI, CT, angiography, ultrasound, and fluorescence diagnosis) to gather information, and these should be implemented in the navigation of an integrated operating room. Advances in intraoperative imaging and monitoring have been shown in several prospective, multicentric studies. Some of them being the microscope-integrated Blue 400 (5-ALA), the infrared technology 800, and the ICG angiography. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Jürg Gertsch

We are interested in designing novel chemical tools to better understand biochemical processes related to the endocannabinoid system in the CNS. A focus of our group is to understand the role of peptide endocannabinoids and the elucidation of endocannabinoid membrane transport mechanisms. We use our knowledge on investigational small molecules to alter behavior and for drug discovery. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Beat Meier

We investigate the interplay between automatic and controlled processes in different areas of human information processing. One current line of research focuses on optimizing prospective memory, the ability to form an intention, maintain it over time and execute it at the appropriate occasion. Another line focuses on the investigation of the ability to learn, without awareness, regularities in tasks, stimuli, and responses (i.e., implicit learning). A third line focuses on basic processes involved when switching between simple cognitive activities. Another research interest is on the causes and effects of synaesthesia, a condition in which ordinary stimuli (e.g. numbers) trigger extra-ordinary experiences (e.g. colours). More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. med. Asparouh Iliev

The major focus of our group is to clarify the mechanisms of the CDC toxin effects on cells and tissues with special interest on brain tissue – specifically the astrocytes, synapses and blood-brain barrier. We are also interested in studying how the CDC toxins of meningitis-inducing bacteria (S. pneumoniae and L. monocytogenes) orchestrate the effects of the rest of the bacterial pathogenic factors (e.g. cell-wall components, bacterial DNA, etc.) during disease progression. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Gregor Hasler

All conventional antidepressant drugs affect the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. However, recent studies show that drugs affecting the messenger glutamate demonstrate a stronger and faster effect compared to conventional drugs. In a series of studies, we have demonstrated that the glutamate system is changed in patients with depression. These changes are believed to be the reason for the strong effect of glutamate drugs. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo

There is increasing interest in using robotic devices to provide rehabilitation therapy following stroke. Robotic guidance is generally used in motor training to reduce performance errors while practicing. However, up to date, the functional gains obtained after robotic rehabilitation are limited. A possible explanation for this limited benefit is the inability of the controllers to adapt to the subjects’ special needs. Research on motor learning has emphasized that movement errors are fundamental signals that drive motor adaptation. Thereby, robotic algorithms that augment errors rather than decrease them have a great potential to provoke better motor learning and neurorehabilitation outcomes, especially in initially more skilled subjects. The aim of our group is to improve robotic neurorehabilitation, developing novel robotic training strategies that augment or reduce movement errors based on subjects’ skill (disability) level, age and characteristics of the trained motor task. More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. med. Michael Schüpbach

Our research efforts aim at a better understanding of the clinical manifestations of movement disorders and at improving their treatment. A focus of our research is deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. The new directional stimulation has been used in Bern since 10/2015 and is currently under clinical evaluation. More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. phil. Andreas Altorfer

We investigate the interplay between music as well as musical performance in the context of expectancy violations and physiological variables of listeners. The main goal is to find musical aspects in harmony, melody and rhythm that have the power to elicit emotions. Different physiological systems (neurophysiology as well as peripheral physiology) are use to get an indication of bodily reactions that covariate with musical concepts. There relevance is found in music theory that serves as an objective quantification of everyday aspects of sound conceptionalized in western music. Current lines of research focus on the listeners’ involvement to sound that may be seen as artistic variant of prosody in speech. Emotional message through sound are the key features that guide our experimental work. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Andrew Chan

The recently founded research group “Neuroimmunology/MS” combines basic research with translational and clinical approaches. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms of the autoimmune inflammatory responses of the nervous system in vitro, in animal models and in human biological samples with a special focus on glial and T-cell biology. The identification of potential molecular and clinical markers for detection of disease progression and the assessment of the benefit-risk profile under immunotherapy also follows a translational approach with biological samples from different clinical studies. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Stephen Leib, Co-research group leader: Dr. phil. nat. Denis Grandgirard

The research efforts of the team are focused on infectious diseases of the brain with an emphasis on processes of neuronal injury and brain tissue repair in bacterial meningitis and in the development of viral encephalitis models. An expertise of the group is the complementary work in vitro and – when necessary - in vivo disease models of CNS infections, assessment of parameters of brain inflammation and brain damage and the pre-clinical evaluation of molecular therapeutics.
The clinical outcome of central nervous system infections is determined by the brain’s response to the pathogen. How infection leads to brain injury remains largely unresolved. An impediment to progress is the complexity of pathophysiologic processes, which involve a variety of microbial pathogens and spatially and temporally distinct mechanisms of brain damage, with the involvement of multiple mediators, immune cell types, target cells and pathways. Being a complex multifactorial disease, that is modulated by the interaction of the different brain cells with the microbial pathogens, infectious diseases of the CNS are prime targets for multidisciplinary efforts using integrative technologies including new disease models, functional genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. Based on the knowledge gained from the basic research the group translationally develops and evaluates interventions that protect the brain from acute damage and support restorative functions of the brain e.g. neurogenesis. Novel therapeutic concepts that attenuate brain damage and support brain repair are further evaluated for their potential to preserve neuro-integrative function e.g. learning and hearing capacity in long term survivors of bacterial meningitis and other infectious diseases of the brain. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. rer. physiol. Britta Engelhardt

The central nervous system (CNS) is an immunologically privileged site, where entry of circulating immune cells is tightly controlled by the endothelial blood-brain barrier (BBB) at the level of CNS microvessels and by the epithelial blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB) at the level of the choroid plexus epithelial cells. In our opinion the neuroanatomy setting the stage for the immune privilege of the CNS is a historic concept as it resembles the architecture of a medieval castle. Due to the specialized structure of the CNS barriers, immune cell entry into the CNS parenchyma obeys special mechanisms.  More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Anna Oevermann

The neurolisteriosis research group is part of the Neuropathology unit. The main interest of the neurolisteriosis group is to investigate the neuropathogenesis of the encephalitic form of listeriosis (neurolisteriosis) in ruminants, which is a frequently fatal complication of Listeria monocytogenes infection. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Thomas Nevian

Nerve cells possess the fascinating ability to modify their electrical properties and connections in neuronal networks in response to environmental influences. This neuronal plasticity is the basis for learning and memory. Our group studies the cellular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon and examines its influence on the development of chronic pain. More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. Philippe Plattet

Most cancer patients are treated with non-specific chemotherapies that have devastating side effects and only limited efficacy. Consequently, there is an urgent need to establish novel biological systems allowing specific targeting and delivery of weapons within the tumor microenvironment. We are currently developing a cutting-edge platform to design synthetic oncolytic RNA viruses (attenuated strain of measles and canine distemper) with integrated nanobody-delivery technologies and pharmacological control of virological functions. This approach will offer the unique opportunity to combine the high power of rationally bioengineered oncolytic viruses with the most recent immunotherapy strategies. More...

Research group leader: Dr. Raphael Sznitman

The Ophthalmic Technology Laboratory is a concerned with scientific and engineering challenges in the automatic assessment, understanding and analysis of image data in medical settings. Our work focuses on a variety of medical applications and related biomedical fields, but have traditionally been focused on clinical challenges in ophthalmology.

At the heart of our work, we are interested in automatic processing and analysis of image data, be it 2D, 3D or temporal in nature. To this end, we focus on the development of new algorithmic solutions that can be combined to current practices found in clinics to yield more efficient and safer treatment solutions. Our work hence focuses greatly on the topics of computer vision and machine learning from a computer science perspective. More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. Pascal Escher

Current research focuses on inherited retinal diseases, retinal development, photoreceptor-specific gene transcription and nuclear receptor-related ocular pathologies. More...

Research group leader: Dr. Sonja Kleinlogel

The aim of our laboratory is the implementation of optogenetics into regenerative medicine. Our group tailors optogenetic tools biotechnologically for specific therapeutic approaches. We presently focus on the development of optogenetic treatments for blindness. For this we biotechnologically engineer custom-made "next-generation" optogenetic tools, which are membrane proteins equipped with a rhodopsin-based light antenna. In order to introduce the proteins into the cells of interest we use lenti- and recombinant Adeno-associated viral shuttle vectors, the latter of which are admitted to the clinic for gene therapy. Through viral capsid modifications we aim to improve cell specific targeting and infectivity. The tools are tested in cell cultures, ex vivo mouse and human preparations and finally in the living animal. More...

Research group leader: Dr. phil. nat. Lucy Hathaway

We aim to understand the behaviour of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria during colonization and disease. By creating mutants of clinical isolates we investigate communication between pneumococci and other bacterial species as well as determining the importance of virulence factors during pneumococcal meningitis, in collaboration with the Neuroinfection Laboratory at IFIK. We also study antibiotic resistance in S. pneumoniae and also Neisseria gonorrhoeae where pharmacodynamic functions of different antibiotics are being evaluated. More...

Research group leaders: Prof. Dr. med. Daniel Surbek, PD Dr. Andreina Schoeberlein

Preterm delivery is a major cause of severe neonatal morbidity and mortality: about 1% of newborns are affected by neurological injuries leading to significant learning disabilities, cerebral palsy or mental retardation. Brain lesions observed in newborns later developing cerebral are mainly caused by ischemia due to maturation-dependent reduced cerebral blood flow and maternal/fetal infection and inflammation which are usually present in early preterm delivery. While several potential neuroprotective measures have shown little success in vivo, studies in animal models have suggested that transplantation of stem cells could lead to the regeneration and/or repair of injured neural tissues. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Thomas Koenig

Description of neurobiological equivalents of higher cognitive functions at the system level and in a psychiatrically relevant context. Understanding of psychiatric symptoms as a disturbance of adaptive biological brain functions and their interaction with the environment. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. phil.nat. Andrea Federspiel

The Psychiatric Neuroimaging working group focuses on scientific questions related to the structure and function of the human brain of healthy subjects and of patients. Therefore, it includes studies and projects in the field of clinical- and basic neuroscience. The main goal of this working group is to develop of novel MRI-based methods that eventually contributes to increase the insights of basic mechanisms that may lead to pathologies. It is therefore a methodological working group composed of experts of different scientific disciplines like: medicine, psychology, biology, mathematics and physics. This enthusiastic young team uses all state of the art MR technologies to acquire the required information of the human brain: no matter if these are functional or structural methods. Own scripts written in R or Matlab are the tools for these novel technologies. The open-mind of all members which is reflected in national and international relationship and collaborations ascertain the spreading of all possible tools to other scientists and physicians in order to trigger and boost novel endeavors to understand neurobiological mechanisms of pathologies. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Müller

Our research group investigates the causes and treatment options of aggressive behavior in different psychiatric disorders such as psychosis. More...

Research group leader: PD Dr. phil. Zeno Kupper

Psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapies, psychosocial rehabilitation programs and social interventions are a mainstay for most severe mental disorders, as these interventions have proven efficacy and effectiveness. However, not all patients and conditions respond equally favorable. Interventions were often developed mainly from clinical experience, with a lack of theoretical and empirical background in more basic research. The focus of our research group is the examination of novel psychosocial interventions for severe mental disorders with a special focus on methods which allow for a closer analysis of basic social-interactional, cognitive and neurocognitive processes. An increased understanding of the key processes underlying the impacts of psychosocial interventions can improve the benefits from these interventions for patients. More...

Research group leaders: Prof. Dr. phil. Martin grosse Holtforth, Dr. med. Niklaus Egloff

Research of the Psychosomatic Competence Center has a clinical focus and strives to foster the understanding and optimization of interventions of so-called „psychosomatic disorders.“ Patients with psychosomatic disorders present with somatic symptoms, which cannot be reduced to a diagnosable organic pathology. Psychosomatic symptoms can better be understood neurofunctionally, i.e., they can be explained by dysfunctional perceptive processes (e.g. pain disorders), or dysfunctional regulatory processes (e.g. stress disorders). Whereas peripheral processes such as somatosensory, endocrine or inflammatory processes, always influence psychological processes, the CNS is regarded as primary. The earlier dualistic mind-body concept needs to be extended towards a spectral model, in which biographical experiences (learning) and biological processes (symptom etiology) are no longer opposites but are aspects of the same subject matter, i.e., the human being. More...

Research group leader: Hans-Rudolf Widmer, PhD

Our research efforts are focused on the development and improvement of therapeutical strategies for neuropathological disorders. Particularly, we study cell transplantation approaches for Parkinson’s disease and the potential of growth factors to interfere with the differentiation and survival of dopaminergic neurons. In a second attempt we investigate on the regenerative potential of soluble factors secreted by circulating precursors of endothelial cells. So we have recently shown that the secretome of these progenitor cells considerably enhanced the survival and function of rat brain microvascular cells. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Jürg Streit

Neurons in the spinal cord form neuronal networks that generate rhythmic electrical activity patterns, which are then distributed via moto-neurons to the skeletal muscles. Such networks are involved in the development of rhythmic movement patterns such as locomotion. In recent years, the research group has studied the development of this rhythmic electrical activity in spinal-cord networks in cell cultures. More...

Research group leader: Dr. Shankar Sachidhanandam

The cognitive process of attention and sensory perception is vital for our everyday interaction with the surrounding environment. We strive to understand the local cortical circuit dynamics that underlie these processes, using a combination of electrophysiological and imaging approaches at the single cell and population level. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. Daria Knoch

Through an interdisciplinary research approach, we explore the cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying human social behavior. More...

Research group leaders: Prof. Dr. med. Marcel Arnold, Prof. Dr. med. Urs Fischer, PD Dr. med. Simon Jung

Development of new management approaches in acute stroke therapy has been the main focus of the Stroke Research Group (SRG) for the last 20 years. Currently the main challenges in the field of acute ischemic stroke therapy are the improvement of patient management and patient selection, the optimization of multimodal brain and vessel neuroimaging, and the increase of patients who can benefit from reperfusion therapies. Several ongoing and planned research projects aim at improving patient selection, acute stroke management and predicting prognosis and complications. The use of multimodal imaging including penumbra imaging, analysis of collaterals, visualisation of small thrombi and analyses of intravenous and intra-arterial biomarkers using a proteomics approach are promising tools to reach these goals. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Reisch

Restriction of means is an important method in suicide prevention and the main focus of our research group. Several studies have been carried out focusing this topic. More specifically we investigated: restrictions of firearms in Switzerland, railway suicides in Switzerland, securing bridges. Beside other methods interrupted time series and similar methods were engaged. Gaining a better understanding of suicide is another focus of our research group. Why do subjects choose one suicide method and not another is one example of the current research. Here qualitative interviews are applied. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Roland Wiest

The Support Center for Advanced Neuroimaging (SCAN) is a multidisciplinary imaging laboratory, where physicists, mathematicians, computer engineers, neuroradiologists, neurologists, and psychologists investigate new applications for advanced neuroimaging. Main focus of research is the development of computer-assisted post-processing techniques for clinical applications in neuromedicine and neuroscience (in close collaboration with the neurocenter at the Inselspital, the ISTB, the UPD translational research center, our international research, and industrial partners). We aim to improve quantification of lesion load, monitoring of regional brain plasticity, and tissue-at-risk estimation in frequent neurological disorders, e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and epilepsy. In addition, we translate novel sequence technologies as neuronal current imaging, advanced MR spectroscopy, model-based magnetization, and chemical exchange saturation transfer and multiband functional MRI into clinical practice. More...

Research group leader: Dr. Stéphane Ciocchi

Neuronal diversity is a hallmark of cortical networks. In the hippocampus, distinct neuronal cell-types interact together by selective synaptic contacts and neural activity patterns. We investigate how different forms of emotional and cognitive behaviours emerge within intricate neuronal circuits of the ventral CA1 hippocampus, a brain region instrumental for context-specific emotional memories, anxiety and goal-directed actions. We hypothesize that distinct behavioural programs are implemented by the selective recruitment of micro- and large-scale neural circuits of the ventral CA1 hippocampus. To identify these circuit motifs, we are combining single-unit recordings of ventral CA1 GABAergic interneurons and projection neurons, selective optogenetic strategies, cell-type specific viral tracing and behavioural paradigms in rodents. The results of our experimental approaches will determine fundamental neural computations underlying learning and memory within higher cortical brain regions. More...

Research group leader: Prof. Dr. med. Johannes Mathis

An accurate and precise assessment of the complex construct of sleepiness, incl. the judgement of fitness-to-drive, is still missing. The diagnostic criteria are poorly defined and differential diagnosis remains ambiguous. An improved accuracy in diagnosis and quantification of sleepiness as well as optimal treatment are important prerequisites for driving rehabilitation. More...