Theodor Kocher Institute
The Theodor Kocher Institute was originally financed and built with an endowment from Theodor Kocher’s Nobel prize and belonged to the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Bern. Since 2011 the Theodor Kocher Institute is an institute of the Faculty of Medicine. Research at the Theodor Kocher Institute covers the topics of immune cell migration during immunosurvaillance and inflammation, vascular biology with a special focus on the blood-brain barrier and functions of innate immune cells in pulmonary disease with a special focus on the regulation of leukocyte proteases by serpins. The institute is organized in individual research groups closely collaborating with each other. With its technical platform in live cell imaging using in vitro time lapse videomicroscopy, intravital epifluorescence microscopy and 2-photon microscopy the TKI is part of the Microscopy Imaging Center at the University of Bern. Senior researchers at the institute are mainly involved in teaching activities within the Problem Based Learning for medical students, the Master of Biomedical Sciences, Masters in Molecular Life Sciences Program and within the interfaculty Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences.
The TKI is enrolled in the Swiss qualification program BNF and offers temporary participation in research projects for scientists and laboratory technicians.
The Theodor Kocher Institute is headed by Britta Engelhardt. She obtained a degree in Human Biology at the Medical School of the Philipps-University, Marburg in Germany in 1987. She performed her PhD thesis in the laboratory of Hartmut Wekerle (Max-Planck Clinical Research Group for Multiple Sclerosis, Würzburg and Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Germany) and obtained a PhD in Human Biology (Dr.rer.physiol.) in January 1991. After a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Eugene C. Butcher at Stanford University, California, she set up her own research group at the Max-Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany in the department of Werner Risau (†December 13th, 1998) in 1993. In 1998 she obtained the Venia Legendi for Immunology and Cell Biology from the Medical Faculty of the Philipps University Marburg, Germany. From 1999 to 2003 she headed her research group as a senior groupleader at the same institute and the Max-Planck-Institute for Vascular Cell Biology, Münster, Germany. Since November 2003 Britta Engelhardt is Professor for Immunobiology at the University of Bern and the Director of the Theodor Kocher Institute. Her research in the field of neuroimmunology focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in leukocyte migration into the central nervous system. Britta Engelhardt is a member of the Bern Immunology Club and of the scientific advisory board of the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society. Additional activities of hers include mentoring in the "Schweizerische Studienstiftung" and in the Swiss German Mentoring Program for Women.