Biozentrum / University of Basel

Biozentrum / University of Basel

The University of Basel has a long history of excellence in Life Sciences. In particular, the Biozentrum, founded in 1971, was among the first institutions world-wide dedicated to molecular biology and is currently an interdisciplinary institute working in fields from fundamental to applied research. It is the founding institute for MyoContract (now Santhera Pharmaceuticals Ltd) and hosted the company at its early stages (until 2002).


Work on neuromuscular junction and neuromuscular diseases has a long tradition at the University of Basel, the University Hospital and nearby institutes of NGO. Research focuses on the mechanisms important for neuromuscular function with a particular emphasis on mouse models. Some groups are concerned with mechanisms important for muscular dystrophies and for neuron degeneration. In particular, the laboratory of Markus A. Ruegg is engaged in developing therapeutic approaches for the treatment of congenital muscular dystrophy. Important achievements in his group related to muscular dystrophy are “proof-of-concept” studies in mice that might open new possibilities for the treatment of congential muscular dystrophies.


The Biozentrum is the leader of Workpackage 7.2 (Select appropriate mammalian animal models). The main objective of WP 7.2 is to help overcome the fragmentation currently hindering preclinical drug therapy tests. Pre-clinical research is the first step in the identification and development of new therapeuticals. These have to be tested in animal models that reflect the human disease as closely as possible before they can be tested in patients (clinical trials) and finally become approved for general medical use. However, several species with different genotypes are currently in use and these animal models do not always show the exact same symptoms of disease and responses to therapy as humans. The goal of this workpackage is to select those mammalian models that best represent the human disease and that are most promising for the identification of effective therapies, thereby setting a first step in the harmonization and comparability of pre-clinical results.


Website www.biozentrum.unibas.ch

 

Markus A. Rüegg Markus A. Rüegg

Dr. Markus Rüegg is Professor for Neurobiology at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland. He studied Biochemistry and Neurobiology in Zurich and Stanford and was co-founder and member of the management of MyoContract, now called Santhera Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company that dedicated to develop therapies for neuromuscular diseases.

Dr. Rüegg is an internationally recognized expert in neuromuscular research and has published numerous scientific papers in the field of neuromuscular research. In recent years, his work has also been devoted to the study of therapeutic interventions in mouse models for congenital muscular dystrophy. Dr. Rüegg is also partner of the network TREAT-NMD.

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Perrine Castets

In her post-doctoral research project, Dr. Perrine Castets focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying muscle wasting, in order to identify new therapeutic targets for disorders affecting skeletal muscle.

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Sarina Meinen Sarina Meinen

Currently, Dr. Sarina Meinen studies the role of nNOS in an actively induced mouse model of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatigability. Former studies included several promising approaches concerning the development and evaluation of treatment options for MDC1A, a severe hereditary muscular dystrophy.

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Shuo Lin Shuo Lin

Dr. Shuo Lin, has a long-standing interest in muscular dystrophies.

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Filippo Oliveri

Filippo Oliveri is a technician and helps in the execution of projects that require a molecular biological approach.

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Klaas Romanino Klaas Romanino

Klaas Romanino’s main focus is on the role of the mTOR pathway in skeletal muscle. This pathway was shown to play a crucial role for the regulation of muscle mass. Currently he is working on the crosstalk between mTOR and PGC1alpha, the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis.

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Manuela von Arx Manuela von Arx

Manuela von Arx is a technician and takes care of our mouse colony.

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