Phase 3 has started!

The NCCR TransCure was successfully funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for the last two phases (2010-2014 and 2014-2018). On 1 November 2018, we entered the third and last funding phase (2018-2022) and we are glad that we can again count on the support of the SNSF and the University of Bern as leading house.

The transition to the third phase was celebrated with the recent “End of Phase 2 Symposium” (24 October 2018, University of Bern). The focus of this event was on past achievements and on acknowledging the outstanding contributions of three retiring principal investigators – Matthias Hediger, Willy Hofstetter and Bruno Stieger (read more in the University of Bern press release). Although they will not be part of the NCCR TransCure in phase 3, the knowledge that they have shared during the years will be invaluable for our future research and results.

At the organisational level, Phase 3 welcomes Christine Peinelt in the new role as Delegate for Gender Equality. In addition, C. Peinelt has become a member of the NCCR TransCure Management Committee, ensuring that equal opportunity themes take pole position in the strategic decisions of the network. C. Peinelt is already putting a substantial effort into the development of gender equality strategies. In this issue, we provide an overview of our accomplishments and perspectives in this area.

Other than these changes, the main aim for phase 3 is the same as in the past, namely to perform excellent research in the field of membrane transport. The network is confident that this can be achieved, with passion, dedication and perseverance. At the last site visit (9-10 October 2018), the SNSF review panel expressed very positive and encouraging comments on the current results and plans for the future, saying that – to use their words – we do “great stuff”! The spectrum of TransCure research remains highly interdisciplinary. In the article about chemoinformatics, you can learn about futuristic projects at the boundary between informatics and chemistry. Jean-Louis Reymond, co-author of the article and NCCR TransCure Deputy Director, is a pioneer in this field and navigates his team through the universe of molecules like an experienced captain. The network also includes medical doctors, such as Daniel Fuster, who works with patients every day and is involved in clinical studies. In this newsletter, D. Fuster explains what kidney stones are. The TransCure publications also show how the research of the network can be applied in the medical field. The latest paper of Paola Bezzi and team leads to a deeper understanding of psychiatric disorders, while the recent publication of Roch-Philippe Charles and collaborators gives hope for new treatments for thyroid cancers (see Publication highlights). All these results are the cooperative effort of group leaders and fellows (Meet the fellows!), who are trained in an interdisciplinary and dynamic research environment.

As you can see, the NCCR TransCure is ready to tackle new challenges in phase 3. Keep following us via the e-newsletter, website and YouTube video gallery.

And since winter has now arrived, the NCCR TransCure wishes you a joyful holiday season and an excellent start to the new year!


H. Abriel, NCCR TransCure Director
V. Rossetti, NCCR TransCure Scientific Officer