Directed by Pr Philippe Ryvlin, the CHUV's Department of Clinical Neuroscience (DNC) enjoys an exceptional research environment. The DNC contributes significantly to the reputation of the Lake Geneva region as a global leader in neuroscience research.
Over the last decade or so, neuroscience has witnessed remarkable development in the Geneva-Lausanne area, now considered one of the top European centres in the field. Professor Pierre Magistretti, another figure at the forefront of neuroscience research in Lausanne, considers the discipline “one of the final frontiers of biology”. Not only does it address numerous debilitating illnesses, it also deals with aspects of our being such as the workings of the mind and personal identity, often disordered by diseases of the brain.
The Lake Geneva region's strength in this area also lies in its diversity with a broad range of research into numerous themes:
There is also a healthy private business sector with a well developed innovation culture, that focuses more specifically on the ageing of the population and associated disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
While each research site and institution in the Lake Geneva area has its own strategically chosen themes, cross- and multidisciplinarity are the new key words in our research. We have passed from working in silos, to working in a network based on common research themes. Collaboration between research labs and institutions and partnership with the industrial sector have become standard.
Collaboration is facilitated by joint appointments – many researchers have ties to several institutions. Affiliation to both a faculty of science, biology or medicine and to a university hospital is frequent. This arrangement allows excellent scientists in basic and clinical research to work together to make new discoveries and to translate them into clinical practice.
Many high-end facilities, created for large projects, are also shared amongst different research centres and groups. One notable example is the Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), which focuses on three disciplines: neuroscience and degenerative illnesses, metabolic disorders and oncology. Distributed throughout the Lake Geneva area with a coordinating centre at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), it uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with other imaging methods (e.g.phase-contrast tomography, radioactive isotope imaging, positron emission tomography and electroencephalograpahy (EEG)).