News & Events

PhD Defense Marius Schwalbe Junuary 19, 2018

PhD Defense of Marius Schwalbe

Congratulations to Marius Schwalbe from the Image Guided Therapy group on his successful PhD Thesis Defense on January 19, 2018! His research focused on Vascular Image Guidance to Aid Endovascular Treatments.

RetinAi Wins Venture Kick Phase 3!

Congratualtions to the RetinAi team for winning the prestegious 3rd phase of the Venture Kick competition. With this success, the startup won an additional CHF 100’000. For more information visit

Falling Walls 2017 „Alternative Facts Stop Here“

The Falling Walls conference held annually in Berlin took place for the ninth time this year as a unique international platform for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society. It was initiated on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall to ask the question “What is the next wall to fall?”

This year’s Falling Walls motto was affirmative action against the deluge of alternative facts in current public life.  The participants took a stand that went around the world on all social media platforms and news outlets: delegates congregated in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with a banner saying “Alternative Facts Stop Here”.

Prof Stefan Weber was invited to participate as a co-panellist and contribute to the theme of “Breaking the Wall Between People and Machines: How Psychology Builds Empathy Between Humans and Robots”, presented by Prof Leila Takayama, Associate Professor at the University of California.

A discussion between Prof Weber and Prof Sami Haddadin, Director of the Institute of Automatic Control, Leibniz Universität Hannover was hosted by Dr Bart Verberck, Regional Executive Editor Berlin at Springer Nature.  The lively exchange between the academics showcased how robotics research is at the cusp of impacting the “everyday” on healthcare, home care for the elderly and those of varying ability, the professions and manufacturing.  Prof Weber reported on his journey of conceiving the idea of task autonomous robotic, surgical technology for microsurgery that confers “super human” faculties to the surgeon and enables hitherto inconceivable procedures.  The use of robotics and artificial intelligence augments the surgeon’s lived and executive experience by replacing the sight and touch of a human control loop with sensors, data and feedback that aims for zero morbidity surgery.  The HEARO™ ENT Robot exhibited at the event illustrated this application to the attendees.  Prof Haddadin’s work seeks to democratise the use of robots for consumers as well as small to medium enterprises, for whom robotic technology has so far been out of reach.  The PANDA robot is an App controlled out of the box plug and play robot that has the agility, flexibility and accessibility of a consumer electronic product.  By lowering the entry level requirements for cost and operational expertise, the PANDA allows budding ProAms or small scale commercial users to emulate efficiencies and accuracies only seen in high value manufacturing like the automotive industry.  The questions from Dr Verberck and the audience echoed the human element of robotic technology.  Prof Weber recounted the otologist Prof Caversaccio’s first procedure with the HEARO™ ENT Robot in which Prof Caversaccio actually exclaimed “What do I do now?” while the HEARO™ ENT Robot was drilling expertly into the patient.  Prof Weber acknowledged that an ongoing dialogue with the surgical community was part of the clinical adoption process to alleviate fears and establish the advantages of robotic microsurgery.  Prof Haddadin agreed and pointed out that robots for use of everyday tasks did not go beyond the cognitive awareness of a toddler learning to walk and the dystopia of robots usurping mankind is the stuff of movies and not a reality likely to happen.  Both Professors did address the real concerns of jobs and livelihoods taken by robots and set-out how robots would actually create jobs by requiring new professions and skills.  Prof Weber explained that future healthcare systems would routinely employ “clinical biogengineers” as hybrid technical and allied healthcare professionals that would be responsible for technology deployment and act as interventional co-leads in robotic surgery.  Prof Haddadin mentioned his initiative of changing apprenticeships and training in technical professions to include coding, programming and control skills for workers in the automotive, manufacturing and design industries.  By making technical staff native speakers in the language of robotic control and programming their longevity in the workforce could be maintained far into the future.  For more information on Falling Walls and how to get involved see Falling Walls.

Organs-on-chip Seminar: Gut-on-chip with Prof. Paul Wilmes

Prof. Paul Wilmes, from the University of Luxembourg will give a presentation about a gut-on-a chip model.

Prof. Wilmes received a number of research awards and recently published the HuMIX, a microfluidic based human-microbial gastrointestinal interface in-vitro model.

Title: Function First: Systems Ecology of the Human Gut Microbiome

When: Monday November 20th, at 2pm

Where: ARTORG Center, Murtenstrasse 50, 3008 Bern, Room F502

Presentation Gut-on-chip Paul Wilmes.pdf (PDF, 693KB)

KUKA Best Paper Award CURAC 2017

We congratulate Juan Ansó and his co-authors (O. Scheidegger, W. Wimmer, K. Gavaghan, M. Caversaccio, S. Weber) for their best paper award at the 16. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Computer- und Roboterassistierte Chirurgie (Hannover 5.-7.10.2017) for the presentation entitled: ‘Neuromonitoring during Robotic Cochlear Implantation: first patient experiences‘.

CURAC Conderence Best Paper Award 2017

Possible new immune therapy target in lung cancer

A study from Bern University Hospital in collaboration with the Organs-on-Chip Technologies Lab of the ARTORG Center of the University of Bern shows that so-called perivascular-like cells from lung tumors behave abnormally. They not only inadequately support vascular structures, but also may actively modulate the inflammatory and immune response. These findings may represent a novel stromal cancer target.

(University of Bern in German):

(Scientific Reports):

Perivascular Cells
Perivascular Cells

Researcher's Night 2017

Also this year the ARTORG Center was again part of the Researcher’s Night, where more than 9000 visitors came to inform themselves about the research projects of the over 800 researchers of the University of Bern.
The next Researcher’s Night will be held in 2020 – we are already looking forward to it.

Zusammenschnitt Bilder Nacht der Forschung 2017

Newly appointed SNSF professor works to improve robot-assisted rehabilitation after stroke

Paralysis after stroke often has a negative impact on mobility and daily activities such as cooking, eating or dressing and undressing. Currently, patients receive physiotherapy or ergotherapy in order to train their mobility. Important factors that indicate the success of a therapeutic intervention are the intensity and duration of the therapy, in addition to how well the difficulty of the therapy is adapted to a patient's skill level. More recently, therapists have increasingly been relying on therapeutic robots in addition to standard therapy.

Robot-assisted therapy allows, for example, to support both arm and hand of a patient in therapy by using the therapeutic robot as a movement guide. Randomised clinical trials have shown positive outcomes when using robot-assisted therapy, but the magnitude of the difference compared to standard therapy is still limited.

The Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF awarded funding for the professorship of Ms. Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo at the ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research of the University of Bern and at the Division for Cognitive and Restorative Neurology of the University Hospital for Neurology, Inselspital.

Laura Marchal-Crespo is an internationally renowned expert in robot-assisted motor learning. Her research will focus on developing and testing new training regimes for existing therapeutic robots. These patient-specific strategies allow the therapeutic device to adapt the training difficulty to the needs of each patient. This is achieved by increasing or decreasing the error of movements in dependence of the abilities and age of the patient and the therapy regime. Laura Marchal-Crespo expects that the amplification of errors will motivate patients to further improve their movements in therapy.

Each year, the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF awards SNSF professorships to excellent young researchers. Funding support for SNSF professorships is available for four years at an average total of 1.46 Million Swiss Francs. The SNSF professorship enables highly qualified young researchers to develop an independent research project with their own team at a Swiss academic institution. Since the instantiation of this instrument in 1999, the SNSF has awarded 609 SNSF professorships. 83% of all persons who have received this funding support were appointed full professorships.


Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo
ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern; +41 31 632 93 44
Prof. Dr. Tobias Nef
ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern; +41 31 632 74 78
Prof. Dr. René Müri
Division for Cognitive and Restorative neurology, University Hospital for Neurology, Inselspital Bern; +41 31 632 30 83
Figure: Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo at work at ETH Zurich. Her task is to develop new training strategies for existing therapeutic robots (Picture by Adrian Moser).

OTL Team wins 2nd place at MICCAI 2017 Challenge!

Congratualtions to Thomas Kurmann and Raphael Sznitman for placing 2nd at this years EndoVision challenge in Quebec City, Canada. The challenge invovled 12 teams from around the world and attempted to segment surgical instruments automatically in endoscopic video sequences. 

RetinAi passes Venture Kick Round 2!

Congratualtions to the RetinAi team for making it to the 3rd phase of the Venture Kick competition. With this success, the startup won CHF 20’000  and must now get ready for the program’s final where they may win CHF 130’000 in total. For more information visit

ISCAS/Olympus Best Paper Award

We congratulate Juan Ansó and his co-authors (O. Scheidegger, L. Perroud, M. Caversaccio, K. Gavaghan, S. Weber) for their best paper award at the International Society for Computer Aided Surgery (June 22 - 24, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain) for the presentation entitled: ‘Facial nerve monitoring during robotic cochlear implantation: first patient experience’

ISCAS Olympus Best Paper Award

PhD Defense of Vanessa Vallejo

We congratulate Vanessa Vallejo for the successful defense of her PhD thesis on June 13, 2017. She conducted research towards Development and evaluation of a new Serious Game based assessment tool for patients with Alzheimer's Disease with the Gerontechnology & Rehabilitation Group (Prof. Tobias Nef).

Invited talk by Prof. Andrew Bastawrous

Assistant Professor and Co-counder of Peek Vision UK, Andrew Bastawrous, will give a presentation on his world changing work in eye care: "From evidence to impact: Peek - Radically Increasing Access to Eye care". Join us on June 15th at 14h45 in room H810 (top floor), Murtenstrasse 35, Bern Switzerland

Two accepted papers at MICCAI 2017

Congratulations to the OTL for two accepted papers at MICCAI 2017 on

Pathological OCT Retinal Layer Segmentation using Branch Residual U-style Networks by Stefanos Apostolopoulos, Sandro De Zanet, Carlos Ciller, Sebastian Wolf and Raphael Sznitman

Simultaneous Recognition and Pose Estimation of Instruments in Minimally Invasive Surgery by Thomas Kurmann, Pablo Marquez Neila, Xeifei Du, Pascal Fua, Dan Stoyanov, Sebastian Wolf and Raphael Sznitman

Lung-on-Chip project finalist of the 2017 CTI Swiss Medtech Award

The Lung-on-chip project of the ARTORG Center is one of the three finalists of the 2017 CTI Swiss Medtech Award that will be given June 13th in Bern. 

The project led by the start-up AlveoliX is aimed at providing pharmaceutical companies and basic research with a lung alveoli model that accurately recapitulates the cellular microenvironment of the lung parenchyma, including the thin alveolar membrane and the cyclic stress induced by the respiration. The Pulmonary Medicine Clinic of the University Hospital of Bern and Creaholic SA (Biel-Bienne) are partners of the project.

“Instrument Flight to the Inner Ear”

Cochlear Implantation is a microsurgical procedure that allows the placement of an electronic prosthesis into the cochlea to restore hearing in a deaf patient. The surgery involves the milling of an opening in the skull bone to reach the cochlea. The current, conventional procedure is carried out manually by the otologists and relies on visual identification of anatomical landmarks through the opening in the skull, to avoid damage to anatomical structures such as the facial nerve.

Here a multidisciplinary team of biomedical engineers, neuroradiologists, neurologists, audiologists, allied health professionals and surgeons of the Hearing Research Laboratory and Image-Guided Therapy Groups at the ARTORG Center together with the Department of Otolaryngology, Inselspital, present their work on robotic cochlear implantation, in the March issue of Science Robotics, Weber et al.  Robotic cochlear implantation is based on the creation of a drill tunnel with a diameter of 1.8mm straight to the cochlea from behind the ear of the patient, without visual or haptic control by the surgeon.

“This publication is a demonstration of the team work that makes research at the ARTORG Center unique among most bioengineering research institutions worldwide. It is the culmination of an 8-year research effort that has resulted in the first RCI in a patient at the Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, performed by Vice Director ARTORG Artificial Hearing Research Prof. Dr. med. Marco Caversaccio in close collaboration with the groups here at the ARTORG. We are encouraged by our findings and excited to see where our research will take us next”, says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Weber, Director ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Further news on the topic can be found here:

PhD Defense of Juan Anso

Congratulations to Juan Anso from the Image Guided Therapy group on his successful PhD Thesis Defense on March 17th, 2017! His research focused on Nerve-Monitoring Approaches for Image-Guided Robotic Surgery in the Lateral Skull Base.

Inaugural Habilitation Presentation

Ophthalmic Technology Laboratory, ARTORG Center, University of Bern
Prof Dr Raphael Sznitman
Bringing meaning to pixels
Computer Vision and Machine Learning in the age of medical image big data

On the occasion of Prof Dr Raphael Sznitman’s Inaugural Lecture, 15 March 2017 entitled “Computer Vision and Machine Learning in the age of medical image big data”, held at the Langerhans Auditorium, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, colleagues and friends gathered to formally welcome Prof Dr Sznitman to the senior faculty at the University of Bern.

Prof Dr Sznitman joined the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering in 2014 as a Lecturer and Group Head, from the Computer Vision Lab at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. At ARTORG he headed the Ophthalmic Technology Laboratory (OTL), which has proceeded to grow and establish itself as a competitive group among global peers in ophthalmic imaging research.

His research areas of interest address the challenge of volume and detail of multimodal medical imaging data for automated interpretation, annotation and use in diagnosis. He looks to apply novel artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches to facilitate and accelerate analysis of large medical imaging datasets. These novel tools could transform automated disease identification and biomarker detection in domains as varied as ophthalmology, robotics, microscopy and radiology.

Aside from research enquiry, the work of Prof Dr Sznitman and the OTL group has led to the formation of the newest member of the ARTORG spin-out portfolio, RetinAI Medical GmbH. RetinAI looks to provide automated analysis tools for ophthalmic data analysis to streamline use in therapeutic clinical trials and eventually in routine, ophthalmic clinical care.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity today to hear about Prof Dr Sznitman’s ongoing and future research interests, including powerful translation applications of artificial intelligence technology. The ARTORG Team joins me in congratulating Prof Dr Sznitman on his appointment”, remarked Prof Dr – Ing Stefan Weber, Director ARTORG Center Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern.

Woche des Gehirns Bern 13. - 16. März 2017

Die Woche des Gehirns Bern findet im 2017 bereits zum 20. Mal statt. Eine gute Gelegenheit, um einen Blick zurückzuwerfen und die Errungenschaften und Fortschritte der letzten 20 Jahre in der Behandlung von Hirnschlag, Multipler Sklerose, bipolaren Störungen und Parkinson aufzuzeigen. Ein weiteres Abendforum widmet sich den Fragestellungen rund um das Leben mit einer Hirnverletzung und der Filmabend im Kino Rex thematisiert die Alzheimer-Krankheit. Mit dem CNB Science Slam wird in diesem Jahr auch erstmals eine Veranstaltung für junge Forschende ins Programm eingebunden.

Der Eintritt zu allen Veranstaltungen ist frei. Um eine Anmeldung für den Filmabend und den CNB Science Slam wird gebeten.

Registrationsformulare sowie weitere Programmdetails zu den Vortragsthemen und den jeweiligen Rednern finden Sie unter

Programm Woche des Gehirns Bern 2017 (PDF, 990KB)

Flyer CNB Science Slam (PDF, 1.7 MB)

PhD Defense of Joachim Dehais

Congratulations to Joachim Dehais from the Diabetes Technology Research group on his successful PhD Thesis Defense on January 20th, 2017! His research focused on segmentation and 3D reconstruction of food from two images for carbohydrate content estimation.

ARTORG's Cardiovascular Engineering group collaborates with ReFlow Therapeutics

ReFlow Therapeutics and a academic research team headed by Prof. D. Obrist has been awarded a grant by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) for the development of a novel diagnostic and therapeutic approach to treat microvascular obstructions in heart attack patients.

This week’s most popular Springer article: «Energy Harvesting by Subcutaneous Solar Cells: A Long-Term Study on Achievable Energy Output»

In this study, we report the first real-life validation data of energy harvesting by subcutaneous solar cells to power electronic implants such as pacemakers. 

by Bereuter et al, Cardiovascular Engineering Group.


Publication in Cerebral Cortex entitled “The Influence of Alertness on the Spatial Deployment of Visual Attention is Mediated by the Excitability of the Posterior Parietal Cortices” by members of the GER Group

Non-spatial attentional aspects such as alertness (i.e., the general wakefulness level) have been shown to influence how visual attention is deployed in space. In particular, low alertness is typically associated with a rightward bias in spatial attentional deployment. However, the neural underpinnings of these interactions between different attentional aspects are poorly understood.

In our study, recently published in Cerebral Cortex, we manipulated the alertness level of healthy individuals (by means of a (mis)match between their chronotype and the time of the day) and measured the effects on spatial attentional deployment, both on the behavioral and the neurophysiological level.

On a behavioral level, the participants showed a rightward shift and a narrowing of their field of visual exploration during low alertness. On the neurophysiological level, the posterior parietal cortex (a brain region that controls how visual attention is directed in space) showed differential excitability patterns during low and high alertness in the two cerebral hemispheres.

These results further clarify how different aspects of attention interact and, critically, shed light on the neural underpinnings of these interactions. In fact, the study is the first to directly assess changes in the excitability of key cortical areas guiding spatial attention, as triggered by varying alertness, and to link these physiological correlates to changes in behavior. The results of the study are of relevance not only for healthy individuals, but also for patients with acquired attentional disorders, e.g., after a stroke.

Kick-Off meeting for the EU ITN project „HiPerNav“ in Oslo

The official Kick-Off meeting for the EU ITN project „HiPerNav“ took place this November 16-17, 2016 at the Intervention Center in Oslo, Norway. HiPerNav is committed to improving the treatment of primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC, fifth most common cancer worldwide) through training of early stage researchers (biomedical engineers and medical doctors) to become international leaders in key areas of expertise through an innovative coordinated plan of individual research projects addressing specific bottlenecks in soft tissue navigation for improved treatment of liver cancer. The multi-disciplinary dialogue and work between clinicians and biomedical engineers is crucial to address these bottlenecks. Led by the Intervention Center Oslo, the ARTORG Center together with the Department of visceral surgery and medicine (Prof. Guido Beldi and Dr. Pascale Tinguely) is proud to commit to this highly prestigious network including SINTEF (Norway), Inria (France), CAScination AG (Switzerland), Siemens and the universities of Delft, Cordoba and Paris 13.   

Honorary Appointments Brunel University London
Prof Marco Caversaccio and Prof Stefan Weber

September 2016 saw Professors Caversaccio and Weber being made Honorary Professors at Brunel University London (“BUL”). The nomination by BUL’s Professor Peter Brett, Director of the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering was ratified by the BUL Institute of the Environment, Health and Societies (IEHS), the College of Health and Life Sciences (“CHLS”) and the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences (“CDEPS”) and the Professorships were awarded with the beginning of the academic year 2016/2017. Profs Caversaccio and Weber were “delighted to accept their appointments” and will be situated together in IEHS, and in the CHLS and the CDEPS respectively. They were welcomed by BUL’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Prof Geoff Rodgers, who considered the appointments “a strategic move to add deep clinical and translation expertise to the select team of BUL Honorary Professors”. The aim of the appointment is to support closer ties and built stronger collaborative projects with complementary research skills and interests between the ARTORG Centre, University Bern and BUL. Going forward the hope is to strengthen existing connections and forge new partnerships between the institutions to leverage research expertise and resources for mutual benefit. 
For more information, please see the links below or contact

Congratulations to Andreas Stucki on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Andreas Stucki from the Organs-on Chip Technologies Group on his successful thesis defense on September 16th, 2016! His PhD research progress focused on a breathing Lung-on-a-Chip.

PhD Defense of Janick Stucki

We congratulate Janick Stucki for the successful defense of his PhD thesis. He conducted research towards Development of a breathing lung-on-a-chip with the Organs-on Chip Technologies Group (Prof. Dr. Olivier Guenat).

Newspaper Der Bund reports about "Hightech für das Ohr"

Read more here

 SRF Report - Übungsorgane aus dem 3D-Drucker

Innovation Grant 2016

Congratulations to Pascale Tinguely for being awarded the first Innovation Grant 2016 of the Swiss Association for Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery (SALTC) for the project entitled ‘Local Tumour Control with Laparosopic Image-guided Navigation based on Electromagnetic Tracking’. Pascale is a surgeon at the Department for Visceral Surgery and Medicine at the University Hospital of Bern and is part of the Image-Guided Therapy team of our Institution, with focus on the development of minimally-invasive navigation technology in liver surgery.


Prize for the best video

Furthermore we congratulate Pascale Tinguely and her co-authors (Martin Maurer, Guido Beldi, Daniel Candinas and Anja Lachanmayer) for winning the prize for the best video at the annual congress of the Swiss Surgical Society SGC (June 1 - 13, 2016 in Lugano, Switzerland) for the contribution entitled ‘Stereotactic image-guided navigation for percutaneous local ablation of liver lesions’.

Congratulations to Colette Bichsel on her PhD defense!

Congratulations to Colette Bichsel from the Organs-on-Chip Group on her successful thesis defense on July 1st, 2016! Her thesis presents the development and validation of functional and long-lived in vitro human lung microvessels.

IJCARS 2016 Best Paper Award

Congratulations to Marius Schwalbe (from the Chair of Image Guided Therapy), Axel Haine, Marc Schindewolf, Hendrik von Tengg-Kobligk, Tom Williamson, Stefan Weber, Iris Baumgartner and Torsten Fuss for winning the 2nd Price at the KUKA IJCARS Best Paper Award during the CARS 2016 congress (June 21 – 25, 2016 in Heidelberg, Germany) for the contribution entitled Feasibility of stereotactic MRI-based image guidance for the treatment of vascular malformations: a phantom study.

PASC16 Best Poster Award

Congratulations to Hadi Zolfaghari, Barna Becsek, Maria Nestola, Rolf Krause and Dominik Obrist for winning the Best Poster Award (domain: Life Science) at the PASC Conference (Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing). Hadi works in the CVE's AV-FLOW project team and presented his work on GPU-acceleration of fluid-structure interaction in aortic heart valve simulations.

Organs-on-Chip Technologies Newsletter

We would like to present the newsletter of the AlveoliX AG - a spin-off company of the ARTORG Center. Read more....

The ARTORG Center at the Swiss parliament

The ARTORG Center and one of its spin-off companies CAScination participated in a networking event at the Swiss parliament on Monday, May 30th 2016. On the invitation of the Swiss interest group “Netzwerk Future”, selected researchers of Swiss universities, federal engineering schools and universities of applied sciences officially met with parliamentarians to present and discuss their scientific work, working situation and future challenges. The event was organized to highlight the importance of science and research for the Swiss economy and society in the light of the ongoing debate on the federal budget towards education, research and innovation as well as the association of Switzerland to the European research program H2020. Among researchers and members of the parliament and the science, education and culture committee SECC, Prof. Lino Guzzella (president of ETH Zürich), and Prof. Michael Hengartner (president of swissunviersities) were present.

Basil Preisig received early postdoc mobility fellowship sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation

We congratulate Basil Preisig. He just received the early postdoc mobility fellowship sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for his project entitled “The modulation of signal transduction during language processing by means of frequency-specific neuromodulation”. For his postdoctoral fellowship, he will join the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen (the Netherlands).

Organs-on-Chip Presented to the Swiss Confederation President

Great honor today for the ARTORG Center! The President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann visited the ARTORG laboratories, where a novel generation of in-vitro models, called “organs-on-chip” was presented. Those models enable to accurately mimic fundamental parameters of the cellular environment found in the body and that currently cannot be reproduced in-vitro in standard Petri dishes. The team around Prof. Dr. Olivier Guenat succeeded to develop an in-vitro model of the lung alveoli that both mimics the ultra-thin alveolar barrier, where the gas exchange takes place, and the cyclic movements of the respiration. This development is the result of a close collaboration with the clinicians of the Pulmonary Medicine (Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Geiser) and of the Thoracic Surgery (Prof. Dr. med. Ralph Schmid) Departments of the University Hospital of Bern. The mechanical stress that is exerted on lung cells has a profound impact on their behavior and plays a key role in the progression of a number of lung diseases. This advanced in-vitro model will be commercialized by the start-up AlveoliX that recently signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Bern about the rights to use and commercialize this technology. Those organs-on-chip systems are expected to better predict the effects of new drugs in humans than standard Petri dishes and are thus of great interest for pharmaceutical companies.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. med. R. Schmid, director of the Thoracic Surgery Division, Prof. Dr. O. Guenat, Head of the Organs-on-Chip Technologies Group at the ARTORG Center, who holds a lung-on-chip system, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. J. Schneider-Ammann and Prof. Dr. med. Th. Geiser, director of the Pulmonary Medicine Division of the University Hospital of Bern.

Medical Rapid Prototyping Core Facility

On the 14th of April 2016, the inauguration event of the Medical Rapid Prototyping Core Facility of the ARTORG Center and the Inselspital was held. To an audience of clinicians and biomedical engineers, the departments of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Neurosurgery, Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology and Cardiac surgery from the Inselspital, University Hospital of Bern, presented their diverse experiences in utilising the 3D printing facilities for patient treatment, surgical training and clinical research. The core facility which includes state of the art additive manufacturing and 3D bioprinting systems has already facilitated many ground breaking projects including customised patient specific skull implant molds, models for perioperative planning of complex aortic arch surgery, liver resection planning models and aneurysm models for surgical coiling and surgical clipping.

PhD Defense of Jittima Saengsuwan

We congratulate Jittima Saengsuwan for the successful defense of her PhD thesis. She conducted research towards Investigation of robotics-assisted tilt table technology for cardiopulmonary exercise testing in stroke patients with the Gerontechnology & Rehabilitation Group (Prof. Tobias Nef).

Congratulations to Reto Stucki on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Reto Stucki from the Gerontechnology & Rehabilitation Group on his successful thesis defense on February 1st, 2016! His PhD research progress focused on development and evaluation of a novel sensor system to quantify behaviour and performance in activities of daily living in the older adults.

Congratulations to Giuseppe Zito on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Giuseppe Zito from the Gerontechnology & Rehabilitation Group on his successful thesis defense on January 22nd, 2016! His PhD research progress focused on Development and evaluation of a new instrument to measure higher visual functions.

Poster Award GHS Symposium

Rebecca Paladini from the Gerontechnology & Rehabilitation Group has received the Best Poster Award during the GHS Symposium 2015 (December 2nd-3rd 2015 in Münchenwiler FR) for her contribution entitled “Impact of Chronotypical Variations in Alertness on the Spatial Deployment of Visual Attention”.

Congratulations to Wilhelm Wimmer on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Wilhelm Wimmer from the Artifical Hearing Research group on his successful thesis defense on December 8th, 2015! His PhD research progress focused on ‘Multidisciplinary Approaches toward an Improved Efficacy of Cochlear Implants’.

Press Release of the BBME day of November 23, 2015 in Bern (in German)

1st place at MICCAI 2105 Endovision Challenge; Instrument segmentation track

Congratulations to Thomas Kurmann of the Ophthalmic Technology Laboratory for winning the open challenge. 

Congratulations to Adrian Zurbuchen on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Adrian Zurbuchen from the Cardiovascular Engineering group on his successful thesis defense on November 9th, 2015! His PhD research progress focused on ‘Intracorporeal Energy Harvesting from the Beating Heart by a Mass-Imbalance Oscillation Generator’.

Congratulations to Pascal Dufour on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Pascal Dufour from the Ophthalmic Technology Laboratory on his successful thesis defense on November 9th, 2015! His PhD research progress focused on maximizing prior information for the automatic evaluation
of retinal OCT scans of pathologies.

Research Prize Alumni MedBern for the ARTORG Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation Group

Eleanore Young from the Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation group has received the Alumni MedBern Award (2000 CHF) during the Day of Clinical Research 2015 of the DCR for her contribution entitled “Discreet In-­Home Monitoring of Activities of Daily Living of Dementia Patients Based on Embedded Sensors”.

Bern Biomedical Engineering Network (BBME)
November 23, 2015

Over a year ago, we all worked to put together a booklet which for the first time summarized the tremendous power of all institutions working in the field of biomedical engineering in the canton of Bern. The proximity as well as the existing tights links between engineers and clinicians at the Inselspital drive interdisciplinary research and deliver novel treatment opportunities of the future!

We plan to further strengthen this research platform for biomedical engineering, exchange novel ideas, learn about on-going projects in our field (e.g. SITEM-Insel Bern, InnoCampus Biel) and to network with your peers.

You are invited to this event and we may ask you to reserve the date of November 23, 2015 from 14:00 to 17:30, Haus der Universität Bern.

Please pre-register to let us know if you plan to attend and who from your group may accompany you. This will help our planning. Feel free to contact Diana Bethge: (Tel. +41 31 632 7478) for any questions. 


Swiss Medical Image Computing Day 2015

The Swiss Medical Image Computing Day aims at bringing together Swiss researchers working on topics related to medical image computing. 

The workshop will take place at the ARTORG Center, University of Bern on November 24th, 2015.

For more information...

Poster Award Swiss ENT Congress Lugano

Cilgia Dür from the ENT department (Bern University Hospital) in collaboration with the surgical robotics group (Image Guided Therapy) at ARTORG Center, have received the Best Poster Award (1000 CHF) during the Otorhinolaryngology Congress 2015 of the Swiss Society (SGORL, June 4th-5th 2015 in Lugano) for their contribution entitled “A New Developed Facial Nerve Stimulating Probe For Minimally Invasive Tunnel Operations In The Petrosal Bone”.

Cligia Dür

Former Start-Up CAScination nominated for Swiss Economic Award

Bern, June 10th 2015: CAScination AG, the pioneer in image guided soft tissue surgery and interventions and former start-up from our center has been nominated for the the Swiss Economic Award in the category HighTech/Biotech. The ceremony will take place on June 15th during the Forum itself. Congratulations

Janine Ruppen

Congratulations to Janine Ruppen on her PhD defense!

Congratulations to Janine Ruppen from the Lung Regeneration Technologies Group on her successful thesis defense on June 10th, 2015! Her PhD thesis focused on the development of microfluidic platforms for personalised oncology.

Marcel Felder

Congratulations to Marcel Felder on his PhD defense!

Congratulations to Marcel Felder from the Lung Regeneration Technologies Group on his successful thesis defense on May 13th, 2015! His PhD research progress focused on the development of microfluidic cell-based platforms for the investigation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Lung-on-Chip featured in Global Medical Discovery

The recently developed lung-on-chip array that mimics the pulmonary parenchymal environment, including the three-dimensional cyclic strain induced by breathing movements was featured in Global Medical Discovery. Primary human lung cells were tested for the first time on such a device, which is a major step in view of personalised medicine assays carried out in an environment that mimics the human lung.

Lung microvasculature mimicked on chip for the first time

A perfusable in vitro lung microvascular model that closely mimics the human pulmonary microvasculature was reported by the ARTORG LRT Team, the Pulmonary Medicine and the Thoracic Surgery Divisions of the Inselspital. Patent microvessels made of primary endothelial and primary lung pericytes formed within 3-5 days and were stable for up to 14 days. Upon phenylephrine administration, vasoconstriction was observed in microvessels. This biomimetic platform opens new possibilities to test functions of patient-derived cells in a physiologically relevant setting.

Lung microvasculature

ARTORG Lung-on-Chip in Schweizer Familie

The ARTORG Lung-on-Chip in the news, in an article published in "Schweizer Familie" about the research carried out by the Lung Regeneration Technologies team led by Prof. Guenat.

Ypsomed Prize for the ARTORG Lung-on-Chip Team

The second Ypsomed Prize was awarded to Prof. Olivier Guenat and his team for their work on the bioartificial mini-lungs that are aimed for drug discovery and toxicology applications. The prize was awarded January 13th 2015 at the New Year's Networking event organized by the co-sponsor Pricewaterhouse Coopers at the Palace Hotel in Berne. The Ypsomed Innovation Prize supports start-ups and translational research which show commercial promise.

Ypsomed Presiverleihung

ARTORG Lung-on-chip in the News

On January 5th 2015, Prof. Olivier Guenat gave an interview at the Swiss French Radio (RTS) about the potential of organs-on-chip technologies and in particular about the newly developped ARTORG lung-on-chip, expected to improve the drug discovery process. Listen here!

Congratulations to Anja Kurz on her PhD defense

Congratulations to Anja Kurz on her successful thesis defense on December 8, 2014. Her dissertation research focused on Osseointegrated auditory implants: Investigations of factors enhancing speech perception. Anja worked as a PhD student in the Research Group Artificial Hearing.

Bioartificial mini-lungs to replace standard in-vitro models

A revolutionary array of bioartificial mini-lungs is reported in the journal Lab Chip by the ARTORG Lung Regeneration Technologies, the Pulmonary Medicine and the Thoracic Surgery Divisions of the University Hospital of Bern. These mini-lungs mimic the ultra-thin alveolar barrier in humans as well as the mechanical stress induced by the respiratory movements. This bio-inspired model is expected to better predict the humans response to drugs than standard two-dimensional in-vitro models and thus to enable substantial savings in the drug discovery process.

bioartificial mini-lungs

Organs-on-Chip Seminar brings 50 scientists together

Organized by the ARTORG Lung Regeneration Technologies Lab in the frame of the TEDD network events, the Organs-on-Chip hands-on and seminar was a successful event which brought 50 scientists from Switzerland and Europe together. Several presentations about lung-on-chip, heart-on-chip, vascularisation-on-chip, liver-on-chip and tumor-on-chip were presented. Organs-on-chip that were connected to each other in view to create body-on-chip systems were also discussed and presented. Such systems that better mimic the in-vivo environment are thought to become key tools in the drug development process.

Organs-on-Chip Seminar

Congratulations to Michael Jäger on his PhD defense

Congratulations to Michael Jäger on his successful thesis defense on November 11, 2014. His dissertation research focused on development and evaluation of technical systems to quantify driving performance in the elderly. Michael worked as a PhD student in the Research Group Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation.

Michael Jäger

Congratulations to Nicole Gruber on her PhD defense

Congratulations to Nicole Gruber on her successful thesis defense on October 24, 2014. Her dissertation research focused on the age-dependent effect of mesopic visual conditions on visual exploration behavior and on driving performance.

Nicole worked as a PhD student in the Research Group Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation.

PhD Defense of Thomas Niederhauser

We congratulate Thomas Niederhauser for the successful defense of his PhD thesis. He conducted research towards Oesophageal ECG signal processing algorithms for energy- and space-optimized long-term recording systems with the Cardiovascular Engineering Group (Prof. Dominik Obrist).

Pictured are Thomas Niederhauser with his supervisors Prof. Rolf Vogel (Kardiologie Solothurner Spitäler AG) and Prof. Frank Stübner (Universitätsklinik für Anästhesiologie und Schmerztherapie).

Defense of Thomas Niederhauser

Towards in vivo-like lung alveolar microinjuries induced by gastro-oesophageal reflux

The ARTORG Lung Regeneration Technologies Lab with the Pulmonary Medicine Division of the Inselspital report in an article published in Integrative Biology a lung epithelial wounding model based on flow focusing of acidic solutions similar to gastric esophageal reflux. With this model, the team provided evidence that alveolar microinjuries, a typical hallmark of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), can occur due to gastric microaspirations, confirming epidemiologic studies suggesting a causal relation between IPF and frequent episodes of gastric refluxes.

lung alveolar microinjuries

Best Poster Award from Swedish Society for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care

Karolina Galmén, Jennie Engstrand, Piotr Harbut from Karolinska Institutet and the Danderyd Hospital Stockholm together with Grzegorz Toporek from the ARTORG Centers IGT group won the Prize of the 2014 Annual meeting of the Swedish Society for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care's annual meeting for their work to reduce breathing-related liver movements during navigated liver ablations by utilizing high frequency jet ventilation (HFJV).

Best Poster Award

Cardiovascular Engineering - Adrian Zurbuchen unveils a revolutionary pacemaker

Adrian Zurbuchen from the ARTORG Center unveils a revolutionary pacemaker. The machine doesn't require a battery. It is powerd by a clockwork which is directly sewn to the heart.

Quelle: SRF vom 13.10.2014.

Chemosensitive tests of mini-tumors perfused on a microfluidic platform

The ARTORG Lung Regeneration Technologies team with the Thoracic Surgery Division of the University Hospital of Bern recently reported in Lab Chip about the development of a microfluidic platform on which mini-tumors, called spheroids, can be cultured and tested. In contrast to standard tests performed in Petri dishes, the microfluidic platform allows to mimic the continuous supply of nutrients and oxygen that takes place in tumors. The chemoresistance to cisplatin of the perfused spheroids was twice as high in perfused spheroids than in unperfused spheroids.