Exploring frontiers

On November 1st, 2019, the NCCR TransCure started its 10th year, progressing through the third phase of the program (2018-2022). Thanks to the continuous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the TransCure researchers can continue to explore the frontiers of membrane transport research all over Switzerland this year. 

Major achievements in the field of membrane transport have been the focus of the 10th Biomedical Transporters Conference (Aug 4th-8th, 2019). This international event, host in the beautiful landscape of Lucerne, has been an excellent platform for scientific exchange among leading experts, and the speaker list included industry representatives. Exploring new frontiers towards the private sector and investigating possible collaborations with companies is part of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) strategy of the NCCR TransCure. To this end, a delegation of TransCure researchers recently met Novartis scientists during a “Science Day” workshop (Nov 14th, 2019) to discuss common interests and future joint projects.  To expand on this topic, an interesting analysis of the factors influencing the success of academia-industry collaboration is provided in the article by Guido Koch, industry representative in the TransCure KTT committee.

In addition to public institutions outside the university, Industry may also provide the future workplaces of TransCure fellows who want to go beyond the frontiers of academia (read for example about Ruud van Deursen, TransCure Alumni, in the “Meet the Fellows” section). During the first Fellow Symposium, held on Oct 21st, 2019 at the University of Bern, “career” was one of the topics presented by the invited speakers, as documented in the report of the event. The symposium was launched and coordinated by the newly formed “fellows committee”. This group of enthusiastic PhD students is all ears for the needs of the peers and organizes activities that try to provide answers and solutions to those in needs.

The editorial team is also all ears for interesting contributions from the TransCure labs: in this issue, we include an article from Roberta de Ceglia, postdoctoral researcher in Lausanne, who explains the electroencephalogram (EEG) recording technique and its relevance in the study of epilepsy (see “How it works”). Moreover, we highlight the recent publications from the group of D. Fotiadis (Nat. Comm.) and the teams of K.-H. Altmann and J. Gertsch (ChemMedChem), focusing on the structure of L-lactate transport and on the endocannabinoid uptake inhibitor guineensine, respectively. 

Before letting you scroll through the newsletter, we would like to inform you that Prof. Wanda Kukulski will be part of the NCCR TransCure as of May 2020. Wanda, who is an outstanding scientist in the field of structural and molecular biology, will be a new Professor of the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine of the University of Bern. We look forward to welcoming her and to the scientific interactions that her presence will trigger in the network.

Winter has come, the holiday season is approaching: we take this occasion to wish you a joyful and relaxing time, and a successful new year!


H. Abriel, NCCR TransCure Director
J.-R. Reymond, NCCR TransCure deputy director