• Berta's Saloon


    Our new Art of Molecule lounge Berta's Saloon has been opened in the new chemistry building (BPR 1096), Rosental areal in Basel. > Read more

New approach to terpene syntheses

Terpenes are natural products that are often very difficult to synthesize in the laboratory. Chemists from NCCR MSE working in the Tiefenbacher group have now developed a synthesis method that mimics nature. The decisive step takes place inside a molecular capsule, which enables the reaction. > Read more

Contact to molecules established for the first time on silicon chip

Electrical circuits are constantly being scaled down and extended with specific functions. A new method developed by researchers from the NCCR MSE now allows electrical contact to be established with simple molecules on a conventional silicon chip. The technique promises to bring advances in sensor technology and medicine. > Read more

Could coffee replace insulin injections for diabetics?

NCCR MSE researchers working in the Fussenegger group have developed an implant which releases diabetes medication when it senses caffeine in the blood. The future of diabetes treatment might not be a shot in the arm after a meal, but a shot of espresso instead. > Read more

An artificial enzyme regulates a synthetic gene-switch in engineered mammalian cells

Scientists from the NCCR MSE have designed a mammalian cell with a synthetic gene switch that responds to a cell-penetrating artificial metalloenzyme. The new-to-nature reaction catalyzed by the artificial metalloenzyme promotes a cellular function as the result of turning-on a gene switch. The marriage of synthetic biology and organometallic chemistry opens the door to exploiting new-to-nature chemistry within a living organism. > Read more

Biomedical tattoo as an early warning sign for cancer

NCCR MSE researchers working in the Fussenegger group have developed a synthetic gene network that serves as an early warning system for the four most common types of cancer. Should a tumour develop, a visible mole will appear on the skin. > Read more

Novel method for reductive amination with unprecedented spatial and temporal control

Chemists of the NCCR MSE developed a method for reductive amination that relies on the use of visible light and vitamin C. Reductive amination is an important reaction leading to many pharmaceutically relevant products. The new light-driven method developed at University of Basel permits unprecedented spatial and temporal control. The overall reaction involves a two-electron reduction, and light-driven multi-electron transfer is a key research focus in the group of Oliver Wenger. > Read more

Engineering non-immune cells to kill cancer cells

NCCR MSE researchers have reprogrammed normal human cells to create designer immune cells capable of detecting and destroying cancer cells. > Read more

How much does life weigh?

NCCR MSE researchers have developed a scale for measuring cells. It allows the weight of individual living cells, and any changes in this weight, to be determined quickly and accurately for the first time. The invention has also aroused significant interest both in and outside the field of biology. > Read more

Artificial Molecular Doors Controlling Nanofactories

Researchers at the NCCR MSE succeeded in modifying membrane proteins to switch catalytic nano-compartments on and off depending on the pH. The results have been published in the scientific journal ACS Nano Letters. > Read more

The lab as a bridge

Together with the library, the lab is one of the places of knowledge par excellence: in the former, knowledge is stored and made accessible, in the latter, created. But what if you make labs more open and accessible? A conversation with Head Ethics Ralf Stutzki.
> Read more (in German)

Why I am not a woman – Ralf's corner

Sorry about that, but sometimes you just have to use a catchy headline to get the reader’s attention. It’s an old journalism trick, I know. But apparently it still works: you are reading this. > Read more

NCCR MSE sets up ethics think tank with PAL in Rome

Rev. Renzo Pegorara, chancellor of the PAL, during the ICMSE ethics debate in Basel.

Following our acclaimed ethics panel held during the 1st ICMSE in August 2017, the NCCR MSE teams up together with the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) in Rome to build a think tank focusing on the ethical implications of synthetic biology and molecular systems engineering. This think tank will

  • analyze and debate current and/or emerging ethical conflicts which may arise in the course of our research and
  • organize seminars and lectures aimed to train NCCR MSE fellows and PIs in participating responsibly in the ethical communication process.

Since our research in phase II will increase its focus on the therapeutic potential of molecular systems engineering (e.g. vision restoration; metabolic disorders; systems immunooncology), we are convinced that the PAL as a leading global networker and contributor to the academic field of bioethics will be an inspiring and challenging partner in our ethical discourse. As the agreement about this cooperation on a co-leading level has just been signed, a first meeting will be held in Rome in summer 2018 to set up a concept, strategy and timetable for this exceptional platform for ethical discourse.

Best science images of 2017

© M. Oeggerli / Micronaut 2017, supported by Prof. D. J. Müller and D. Martinez-Martin, ETH Zurich, and D. Mathys, Nano Imaging Lab, SNI, University Basel.

The image accompanying a recent paper from the Müller group got selected by Nature as one of the best science images of 2017! The image shows a cantilever scale designed to detect minute fluctuations in a living cell’s mass. > Read more

New Institute for Eye Research headed by two NCCR MSE members

The University of Basel, the University Hospital Basel and Novartis announced the launch of IOB, the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel. This new research institute will be led by two world renowned experts in the field of ophthalmic research and ophthalmology, and members of NCCR MSE, Prof. Dr. Botond Roska and Prof. Dr. Hendrik Scholl. > Read more (in german).

African and Asian policy-makers visit NCCR MSE

Thirty policy-makers from African and Asian countries with a mandate to implement changes relevant for intellectual property and innovation in relation to genetic resources recently visited our NCCR in Basel. > Read more

Talking Science

Workshops and competitions in science communication


Science Slam Basel

Upcoming Events MSE

Various dates/events 

NCCR Flexibility Grants

New NCCR Flexibility Grants are available to postdocs and doctoral students who have to look after children at an important stage in their career and are in need of more flexibility. > Read more

SRF Interview with Ralf Stutzki

Ralf Stutzki, Head Ethics, on scientific misconduct and integrity in research (in German).

SRF Interview with Benjamin Gaub

Watch the interview with NCCR MSE fellow Benjamin Gaub from the Müller Group talking about vision restoration in the SRF 1 show gesundheitheute.

Sound of Molecules – I. fiddle (with)

This audio-visual production represents a milestone in the on-going cooperation between NCCR MSE and argovia philharmonic and a most unusual communication tool meant to stimulate the societal debate about the ethical challenges of synthetic biology. > Read more

Premiere on August 27, 2017 in Basel with argovia philharmonic

Lynn Hershman Leeson visits the NCCR MSE

American artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has long studied the relationship between technological innovation and human identity. For her latest project she visited the NCCR MSE on October 27 to discuss art and its role in bridging the gap between science and the public. > Read more

Art of Molecule

Take a look at the projects of NCCR fellows and students of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) exploring new horizons at the interface between science and art.

What is Molecular Systems Engineering?

Combining the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics with bioinformatics and engineering, the goal is to engineer and to combine molecular modules to design “molecular factories”. > more in English / > mehr auf Deutsch