NCCR RNA & Disease

2014 series

Home institution: University of Berne, ETH Zurich

The NCCR “RNA & Disease – The Role of RNA Biology in Disease Mechanisms” studies a class of molecules that has long been neglected: RNA (ribonucleic acid) is pivotal for many vital processes and much more complex than initially assumed. For instance, RNA defines the conditions, in a given cell, under which a given gene is or is not activated. If any part of this process of genetic regulation breaks down or does not run smoothly, this can cause heart disease, cancer, brain disease and metabolic disorders.

The NCCR brings together Swiss research groups studying different aspects of RNA biology in various organisms such as yeast, plants, roundworms, mice and human cells. By identifying the regulatory mechanisms that go off course during an illness, the NCCR will also be able to point out new therapeutic targets and help counter the biggest causes of death.

Further information on the NCCR:

  • Contact details

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    NCCR Management

    NCCR Director

    Prof. Oliver Mühlemann
    Director, NCCR RNA & Disease
    Departement für Chemie & Biochemie
    Universität Bern
    Freiestrasse 3
    CH-3012 Bern
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 631 46 27
    oliver.muehlemann@dcb.unibe.chExternal Link Icon


    Prof. Frédéric Allain
    Co-Director, NCCR RNA & Disease
    Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics
    ETH Zürich
    ETH-Hönggerberg, HPP L15
    Otto-Stern-Weg 5
    CH-8093 Zürich
    Phone: +41 (0) 44 633 39 40
    allain@mol.biol.ethz.chExternal Link Icon

    Management / Coordination

    Dr. Dominik Theler
    ETH Zürich
    Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics
    ETH-Hönggerberg, HPP L14
    Otto-Stern-Weg 5
    CH-8093 Zürich
    Phone: +41 (0) 44 633 07 18
    dominik.theler@mol.biol.ethz.chExternal Link Icon

  • Funding

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    NCCRs are financed through grants awarded by the SNSF, but also from other sources. The home institutions involved in the NCCR also contribute a substantial amount of money. The available overall budget of the NCCR is further increased by monetary contributions from the project participants and third-party funds, which are generally invested by industrial companies.

    The SNSF is financing the NCCR RNA & Disease in its second funding period.

    Financing 2014 – 2021 (Swiss francs)

    Funding source




    SNSF grant*



    Funds of Berne University*



    Funds of ETH Zurich*



    Group funds of the project participants



    External funds



    * contractually agreed funding

  • Evaluation / Review Panel

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    For each NCCR, the SNSF appoints a Review Panel composed of renowned experts whose task it is to evaluate scientific quality and the progress made in NCCR projects. The Review Panel of the NCCR RNA & Disease consists of the following experts:

    Contact person at the SNSF:

    Dr Laura Mariotti
    NCCR Team
    Swiss National Science Foundation
    Wildhainweg 3
    CH-3001 Bern
    Phone: +41 (0) 31 308 23 14
    laura.mariotti@snf.chExternal Link Icon

  • Research structures

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    National Centres of Competence in Research leave their mark on the research landscape well beyond the SNSF funding period. They help to define key topics and sustainably change Swiss research structures. Thus NCCRs can lead to the creation of new professorships and courses of study as well as new infrastructures or platforms at the universities involved.

    NCCRs operate as a network in which a large number of scientific partners are active. Working within these networks has borne fruit in the form of new research approaches and excellent scientific contributions.

    Structures created by this NCCR until now:

  • Contributions to society and the economy

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    The National Centres of Competence in Research not only engage in cutting-edge research, they also play an important role in transferring knowledge and new technologies to the economy and to society at large. They lead to the formation of start-ups, and the new insights have the potential to awaken the interest of politicians, globally active companies and the public at large.

    Communication and knowledge transfer of the NCCR RNA & Disease:

  • Promotion of academic careers and equal opportunities

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    The National Centres of Competence in Research consciously promote promising young researchers and are committed to equal opportunities for men and women in research.

    Measures taken by the NCCR RNA & Disease to promote young researchers and gender equality.