Institute for Research in Biomedicine Bellinzona

Founded in 2000, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB; is affiliated to the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) and is internationally recognized as a centre of competence in human immunology. It is structured into 9 research groups and is equipped with state-of-the-art core facilities.

Emphasis of the research in our institute

files/Home/Key Aspects of Project Groups/IRB/image-irb-bellinzona-1-small.pngThe IRB scientists perform basic fundamental research with activities ranging from transcriptional regulation and protein folding to receptor-ligand interaction and signaling, from leukocyte migration to regulation of the immune response. Particular emphasis is given to studies in the human system, since these may lead to a better understanding of pathophysiology and to novel therapeutic approaches to infectious, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

The IRB has an extended network of collaborations with leading institutions worldwide and offers a unique scientific environment with access to state-of-the-art core facilities including: i) a facility for flow cytometry, cell sorting, and advanced microscopy and ii) a gene expression and protein production facility; iii) an animal facility with established animal models for chronic inflammatory diseases.

The IRB research activities have been punctuated by the discovery and development of original models and techniques attested by several patents and by a large number of high impact articles published in international scientific journals.

Contribution of our institute to iAR project since 2009 until today and in the future

files/Home/Key Aspects of Project Groups/IRB/image-irb-bellinzona-2-small.pngThe crosstalk between immune cells and the osteoarticular system is at the center of an emerging interdisciplinary field. Since 2009, the IRB team has contributed to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that underline the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The IRB scientists have discovered that IL-1 acts as a switch that determines the inflammatory activity of CD4 T cells and have developed new methods to investigate the origin of autoantibodies. Moreover, they have found that different combinations of inflammatory mediators can interact with each other to modulate cell migration and inflammatory responses in inflamed tissues. The IRB team will continue to investigate fundamental aspects of innate and adaptive immunity in order to understand the cellular and molecular bases of chronic inflammatory diseases. 

Our team working for iAR

Researchers at the IRB study the interactions between the innate and adaptive immune system and the osteoarticular system with the aim of contributing to the development of novel and more efficient therapies for rheumatic and degenerative diseases.

Using new high throughput cellular screening platforms, the Lanzavecchia and Sallusto laboratories dissect the T and B cells immune responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and investigate the mechanisms that lead to generation of inflammatory CD4 T cells and autoantibodies. The Uguccioni laboratory studies the role of chemokines and inflammatory mediators in rheumatoid arthritis. These studies are expected to provide a rationale basis for a better diagnosis and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.