Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Field of research
|Director||Silvia Arber & Dirk Schübeler|
|Affiliations||University of Basel|
The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) is a world-class biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding the molecular mechanisms of health and disease, based in Basel, Switzerland. The FMI is affiliated with the University of Basel and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).
The FMI is devoted to the pursuit of fundamental biomedical research. Areas of expertise are:
In these fields the FMI has gained international recognition as a center of excellence in innovative biomedical research.
Research is carried out in 23 independent but highly interactive research groups. In addition, six cutting-edge technology platforms, ranging from functional genomics to microscopy & imaging, support the research activities.
In 2019, the FMI counts 340 collaborators of which 80 are postgraduate students participating in the FMI International PhD Program, 100 are postdoctoral collaborators and 23 are research group leaders. The FMI is co-directed by Prof. Dr. Silvia Arber and Prof.Dr. Dirk Schübeler.
In chronological order.
- Development of Western blotting technique to detect proteins.
- Publication of two protocols for plant transgenesis, which were widely used in the 1980s.
- Discovery that the gene for the human growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB2) is amplified in around 25% of primary breast tumors and dissection of its role in the pathogenesis and prognosis of breast cancer.
- Discovery of the key signaling kinase PKB (Akt) and demonstration of its central role in cancer cell signaling.
- First use of green fluorescent protein-tagged proteins in transfected cells and for live imaging in neurons.
- Description of method of action of everolimus on the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and provision of rational for its application in cancer.
- Isolation and characterization of human Dicer, the key enzyme in RNA interference and miRNA pathways.
- Development of MeDIP: a technique for monitoring DNA methylation genome-wide.
- New approach to restore vision in retinitis pigmentosa.
Teaching and training
The FMI is an affiliated institute of the University of Basel. It provides biomedical research and career training for over 90 PhD students. FMI selects its highly international student body during a twice-yearly interview-based selection program. 12 FMI scientists have adjunct or full professorships at the University of Basel in the Natural Sciences Faculty. In particular, the FMI participates actively in the teaching program of the Biozentrum of the University of Basel.
The FMI also offers training in biomedical research to postdoctoral fellows. It was designated by a survey of The Scientist in 2012, as the “best place for postdoctoral training” outside of the US.
Patents and translational implementation
The FMI has as a major goal the patenting of its discoveries and implementation of its basic research into pharmaceutical development.
The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research is named after the Basel scientist Friedrich Miescher who discovered nucleic acids in the mid-19th century.
The FMI was created in 1970, a hundred years after Miescher’s discovery, as a collaborative effort of two Basel-based pharmaceutical companies, Ciba Aktiengesellschaft and J. R. Geigy Ltd. The founding charter describes the aims of the institute as to “pursue and promote basic research in the fields of biochemistry and medicine…“ and “…to provide young scientists from all over the world with an opportunity to participate in scientific research.”  The Founding Director was Professor Hubert Bloch (died 1974) who had been Director of Research at Ciba Aktiengesellschaft, and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Basel. He was an expert in tuberculosis and was also instrumental in the founding of the Institut Suisse pour les Recherches Experimentales sur la Cancer (ISREC), Epalinges, Switzerland. Between 1997 and 2012, the FMI was part of the Novartis Research Foundation. Since 2012 the FMI is an independent foundation.
List of the successive directors of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research:
- 1970-1974: Hubert Bloch
- 1974-1974: Denis Monard
- 1974-1976: Matthys Staehelin
- 1976-1981: co-directorship of four-member Executive Committee
- 1982-1984: Edward Reich
- 1984-1987: Karl Heusler
- 1987-2001: Max M. Burger
- 2001-2002: Yves Alain Barde
- 2002-2004: Denis Monard
- 2004-2019: Susan M. Gasser.
- 2019-: Silvia Arber & Dirk Schübeler
Friedrich Miescher Award
The Friedrich Miescher Award is Switzerland's highest honor for up-and-coming biochemical researchers. The award is granted every year by the Swiss Society for Biochemistry to the best scientific contribution in this field. Prize winners must be under 40 and must either be Swiss citizens or have conducted the prize-winning research in this country. The award was instituted in 1970, proposed and donated by the FMI. It is named after the Basel scientist who discovered DNA, Friedrich Miescher.
Notes and references
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- Pietrzak M, Shillito R, Hohn T, Potrykus I (July 1986). "Expression in plants of two bacterial antibiotic resistance genes after protoplast transformation with a new plant expressionvector". Nucleic Acids Res. 14 (14): 5857–5867. doi:10.1093/nar/14.14.5857. PMC 311596. PMID 3016666.
- Grimsley N, Hohn T, Davies JW, Hohn B (1987). "Transformation of maize plants by Agrobacterium tumefaciens". Nature. 325 (6100): 177–179. doi:10.1038/325177a0.
- Berger MS, Locher GW, Saurer S, Gullick WJ, Waterfield MD, Groner B, Hynes NE (March 1988). "Correlation of c-erbB-2 gene amplification and protein expression in human breast carcinoma with nodal status and nuclear grading". Cancer Research. 48 (5): 1238–1243. ISSN 0008-5472. PMID 2893663.
- Cross DA, Alessi DR, Cohen P, Andjelkovich M, Hemmings BA (December 1995). "Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 by insulin mediated by protein kinase B.". Nature. 378 (6559): 785–789. doi:10.1038/378785a0. PMID 8524413.
- Ludin B, Doll T, Meili R, Kaech S, Matus A (1996). "Application of novel vectors for GFP-tagging of proteins to study microtubule-associated proteins". Gene. 173: 107–111. doi:10.1016/0378-1119(95)00899-3. PMID 8707048.
- Kaech S, Ludin B, Matus A (1996). "Cytoskeletal plasticity in cells expressing neuronal microtubule-associated proteins". Neuron. 17: 1189–1199. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(00)80249-4. PMID 8982165.
- Saitoh M, Pullen N, Brennan P, Cantrell D, Dennis PB, Thomas G (May 2002). "Regulation of an activated S6 kinase 1 variant reveals a novel mammalian target of rapamycin phosphorylation site". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 277 (22): 20104–20112. doi:10.1074/jbc.M201745200. PMID 11914378.
- Zhang H, Kolb FA, Brondani V, Billy E, Filipowicz W (November 2002). "Human Dicer preferentially cleaves dsRNAs at their termini without a requirement for ATP". The EMBO Journal. 21 (21): 5875–5885. doi:10.1093/emboj/cdf582. PMC 131079. PMID 12411505.
- Weber M, Davies JJ, Wittig D, Oakeley EJ, Haase M, Lam WL, Schübeler D (August 2005). "Chromosome-wide and promoter-specific analyses identify sites of differential DNA methylation in normal and transformed human cells". Nature Genetics. 37 (8): 853–862. doi:10.1038/ng1598. PMID 16007088.
- Busskamp V, Duebel J, Balya D, Fradot M, Viney TJ, Siegert S, Groner AC, Cabuy E, Forster V, Seeliger M, Biel M, Humphries P, Paques M, Mohand-Said S, Trono D, Deisseroth K, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Roska B (July 2010). "Genetic reactivation of cone photoreceptors restores visual responses in retinitis pigmentosa". Science. 329 (5990): 413–417. doi:10.1126/science.1190897. PMID 20576849.
- "Stärkere Zusammenarbeit zwischen Universität Basel und Friedrich Miescher Institut". University of Basel. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- http://www.fmi.ch/Training/PhD/ The FMI International PhD Program
- "Best Places to Work 2006: Postdocs". The Scientist. 1 March 2006.
- "Switzerland: High Standards and Quality Science". The Scientist. 1 March 2006.
- http://www.fmi.ch/Collaboration/Licensing/ Licensing Opportunities at the FMI
- Stefen Dickman (November 1988). "Friedrich Miescher Institute: Plans for rejuvenation". Nature. 336 (5990): 337. doi:10.1038/336337a0.
- Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Founding charter, signed on April 10, 1970
- Bloch H. (June 1948). "The effect of chick embryo extract on the growth and morphology of tubercle bacilli". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 88 (3): 355–360. doi:10.1084/jem.88.3.355. PMC 2135819.
- Bloch H. (1960). "Biochemical properties of virulent and avirulent strains of mycobacterium-tuberculosis". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 88 (5): 1075–1086. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1960.tb20097.x.
- King, Patrick J. “FMI – 40 Years On”, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel. ISBN 978-3-033-02820-3
- "Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research". Moneyhouse. 2 April 2012.
- "Announcements: Friedrich Miescher-Award 1991". Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 46 (8): 878. 1990. doi:10.1007/BF01935546.