The NCCR TransCure farewell ‘fireworks’

Dear readers and colleagues,

The time has come: this is the last newsletter of the NCCR TransCure! Indeed, our research network is heading to a close, which will officially be on 31 October 2022. At this stage, we would like to thank all our readers, authors, and contributors to the newsletters as well as the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Bern, who have supported us throughout our 12 years of research activity.

Before introducing you to the topics of this special issue, it is our pleasure to announce two final NCCR TransCure events that will take place this summer in Bern – our farewell ‘fireworks’! The NCCR TransCure Final Conference, 17-19 August 2022, celebrates the cutting-edge research on membrane transport pursued during our 12 years with an exciting scientific programme and outstanding speakers. Registration and abstract submission are still open! Between mid-August and mid-October, you are also most welcome to visit our exhibition “Vitaport – what our body transports”, a temporary public learning path in the Elfenau Park in Bern. Explanatory panels, graphics and artistic objects will guide you on a multidisciplinary discovery tour of iron and amino acid transport, and transport in the brain.

Besides these events, there are the long-term scientific ‘fireworks’, resulting from the NCCR TransCure scientists’ expertise and hard work. In this issue, we present two of them. The main article reports on Synendos Therapeutics, an NCCR TransCure biopharmaceutical spin-off working on a new drug target in the endocannabinoid system to treat neuropsychiatric disorders. Incorporated in 2019, Synendos is well on its way to success. A further article introduces the “Ion Channels and Membrane Transporters” section recently created within the Life Sciences Switzerland (LS2) network. This section represents the legacy of the NCCRs TransCure and Kidney.CH, and aims to keep the dynamic community of scientists alive that has grown up around these two NCCRs. The “How it works” column provides an overview of a future-oriented research application, namely nanobodies as therapeutics. Roberta de Ceglia, an NCCR TransCure postdoctoral researcher, informs us about the features of these antigen-binding fragments that are suitable candidates for next-generation biodrugs. Like Roberta, many other NCCR TransCure scientists have experienced the lively environment of the network. You are invited to read about four Fellows’ stories in the “Meet the Fellows” section. Finally, as usual, you can get a sneak peek at the latest achievements by looking at the “Publications highlights”.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter over the years and have learned more and more about the exciting science and activities that the NCCR framework has facilitated. We wish all our readers a wonderful summertime and all the best for the future!

Hugues Abriel, NCCR TransCure director
Jean-Louis Reymond, NCCR TransCure deputy director
Valentina Rossetti, NCCR TransCure scientific officer