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TransCure - International Fellowship Program on Translational Research

Final Report Summary - IFP TRANSCURE (TransCure - International Fellowship Program on Translational Research)

The COFUND programme IFP TransCure covered years 2012-2017. This program has been fully integrated into the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) TransCure, a research network funded by the Swiss National Foundation dedicated to research in the field of membrane transporters and physiology.
The NCCR TransCure is spread in five major Swiss Universities (University of Bern, University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, University of Lausanne and University of Basel). Out of the total 21 fellows who joined the program during these years, 20 worked in research groups based in Bern and 1 at ETHZ Zurich. All fellows could profit from the many networking opportunities across universities and from the interdisciplinary and international character of the network.
The IFP fellows have been integrated in a vivid research network characterized by a strong interdisciplinary character and specialized training. The involved research groups have outstanding expertise in transport biology and physiology, chemistry and structural biology. Together, they aim to make progress in the understanding of membrane transport biology and chemistry. Importantly, the membrane transporters (~20) studied in the network are all relevant to prevalent human diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart and neurological diseases. The research carried out in these years led to several achievements.

All the 21 participating fellows were integrated in the NCCR TransCure network characterised by an interdisciplinary approach where the structure, function, and/or pharmacology of specific membrane transporters was investigated. Most of the studied transporters were from the SLC superfamily of solute carriers, but also the TRPM4 ion channel and a, thus far, unknown endocannabinoid transport mechanism. Among the research highlights coming from the three approaches one should mention (1) the elucidation of the structure of the human ABCG2 transporter (published in Nature); (2) description of the evolution of old and new endocannabinoids in plants (published in Scientific reports); and (3) the report on the role of the TRPM4 channel in cardiac electrical disorders (published in Int. Journal of Cardiology). Altogether, already more than 20 original research papers were published with the IFP fellows as main or co-author (see attached table). Several manuscripts are in preparation.
The research activity has been complemented by a comprehensive educational offer. Fellows could regularly attend seminars, scientific network events, retreats, specialised and soft skills courses and interdisciplinary project meetings. All these activities have been fostering the acquisition of new scientific and complementary skills. A survey conducted among the fellows towards the end of the program showed a high level of satisfaction about the program in general, since it represented a valuable opportunity to move forward in their scientific career. A summary of this survey is attached to this report.
Further information on the NCCR TransCure network can be found on the website A Twitter account of the program is also active (@NCCR_TransCure).