Dear readers and colleagues,
The NCCR TransCure, now in its third and last phase (2018-2022), started its 11th year on 1 November 2020. The pandemic still occupies our daily lives, and we get more and more used to masks, disinfection, distancing and online meetings. Nevertheless, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Bern, we continue to carry out innovative research in the field of membrane transport research.
In this issue, you can learn about some examples of ongoing ‘TransCure-made’ innovations. In the main research article, Christiane Albrecht (NCCR TransCure PI) illustrates a new method that will allow her to study maternal-foetal transport without the use of animal models. This represents a concrete application of the 3Rs principle (Replace, Reduce, Refine) in the context of animal experimentation. In the “How it works” column, Christoph von Ballmoos (NCCR TransCure Associated PI) presents a method used in his lab, namely liposome-based transport assays. This procedure makes use of liposomes to monitor the activity of membrane proteins under different conditions. With the article of Jürg Gertsch (NCCR TransCure PI), we move into the field of drug design, learning about the progress of the Screening, Profiling and Analytical Facility (SPAF). The SPAF has developed into a fundamental service platform for many projects and is a unique environment that fosters innovation and translational science at the University of Bern.
The NCCR TransCure network, thanks to its strong interdisciplinarity, favours innovation, from basic research to translational applications – see our “Publication highlights” and “Meet the fellows” sections for recent progress in this area. An example of a successful step from bench to business is the first NCCR TransCure spin-off “Synendos Therapeutics”, which is developing a novel approach to safe and effective therapies for unmet needs in neuropsychiatric disorders. Synenedos Therapeutics has just raised CHF 20 million in Series A financing (see press release).
Finally, we would like to inform you that Hugues Abriel, NCCR TransCure Director, is on sabbatical leave until summer 2021, working on the sequencing of various transporters using nanopore technology (innovation knows no borders!) During this time, Jean-Louis Reymond and Christine Peinelt are the NCCR TransCure Director and Co-director ad interim, respectively.
The NCCR TransCure Directorate thanks you for reading this newsletter and wishes you a pleasant holiday season and a heathy, happy new year!
Jean-Louis Reymond, NCCR TransCure Director ad interim
Valentina Rossetti, NCCR TransCure Scientific Officer