The History of the Departement of Research

The Department of Research of the University Hospital Basel had been conceived in the early 1970s, when its founding fathers planned a new building right in the heart of the hospital grounds to serve as Centre for Teaching and Research (Zentrum für Lehre und Forschung, ZLF), housing the DF as well as teaching facilities and the medical library.

The concept of a joint medical research facility for all laboratory-based research carried out by the different university clinics was novel for our country and far beyond and remained so ever since. The advantages of such a platform were manifold, most notably cost-effective sharing of expensive equipment and specialized laboratories as well as animal facilities; an increase in quality and impact through intensified scientific exchange and a marked broadening of experimental expertise; easy initiation of joint research projects and collaboration across the clinical boundaries; opportunities for young clinicians to get training in basic research and for young scientists to become exposed to biomedical projects and to collaborate with clinicians; joint continued education (lectures, seminars, project meetings), and last but not least a single administration for all research laboratories. The success of the DF is well illustrated by its steady growth in staff and scientific output over the past 25 years and also by the fact that various planning committees from other universities came to study the concept of the DF before founding similar research facilities. And finally, an increasing number of young PhD students and postdocs have been attracted by the research carried out at the DF.

When in the late 1990s, the medical faculties in Switzerland were urged to specialize in research and high-tech services in order to avoid too much overlap, the idea was born to integrate the DF and the preclinical institutes of the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel into one large department. This finally led to the foundation of the Department of Clinical-Biological Sciences (Departement für Klinisch-Biologische Wisschenschaften, DKBW) in the year 2000. The formation of the DKBW was also the moment to alter the research structure and to form four so-called Schwerpunkte (focal groups) in the areas of immunology, oncology/genetis, cell plasticity/tissue repair, and neurosciences. With the opening of the new Biomedical Sciences building of the DKBW at the Mattenstrasse, some research groups left and new groups joined the DF at the beginning of 2005.

At the 1st December of 2007, the DKBW changed ist name to «Department of Biomedicine», which is more consistent with the international environment the scientists are associated with. 

At the end of 2007, the Department of Biomedicine comprised 58 research groups and 521 members working in five different locations. More than 60% of the members are paid by third party funds. But the success of research is not only reflected by the recruitment of third party funds, but also by many publications in peer reviewed journals.

  • Prof. Alfred Pletscher Founding Chairman 1978 - 88
  • Prof. Fritz R. Bühler Second Chairman 1988 - 91/92
  • Prof. Alex N. Eberle Deputy Chairman 1986 - 91/92 and 1995 - 97
  • Chairman 1991/92 - 95 and 1997 - 2000
  • Prof. Werner Stauffacher Chairman 1995 - 97
  • Prof. Regine Landmann Deputy Chairwoman 1997 - 2000 and 2002 - 04
  • Chairwoman 2000 - 02
  • Prof. Radek Skoda Chairman since 2002