Adriano Aguzzi MD PhD DVM
Professor and Chair
The Institute of Neuropathology mainly addresses the diagnosis of diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system and the skeletal muscles. The research projects focus on the fields of neurodegeneration, neuro-oncology and immunology. The institute is also the national reference centre for human prion diseases and is responsible for the diagnosis of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Switzerland.
The Institute of Neuropathology provides diagnostic services for patients with disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system and the muscle system, and the institute also performs autopsies. The institute has an international reputation for the elucidation of prion pathogenesis, the BSE pathogen. The present research projects focus on the multiplication and spreading of prion strains, which are potentially dangerous for humans in organs outside of the brain, and also on the examination of the factors responsible for the horizontal spreading of prions in sheep herds and on new methods for prion detection. Currently, about 35 researchers work with 10 diagnosticians and administrative personnel in the Institute. Professor Andriano Aguzzi, Director of the Institute, has received several awards for his prion research: the Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Medicine, Stockholm 2001; the German Academy of Science (Leopoldina) Prize, Halle 2001; the Robert Koch Prize, Berlin 2003; and the Marcel Benoist Prize, Zurich 2004.
Areas of Specialization:
- The Institute acts as the Swiss National Reference Centre for human prion diseases of behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
- The main scientific mission of the Institute is to foster the basic understanding of how prions arise and propagate.
- The Institute of Neuropathology has developed novel methods for extremely sensitive diagnosis of prion infections, which are now used worldwide by academic and industrial centers.
- Several experimental therapeutic and prophylactic approaches to prion diseases, including vaccination and immunotherapy, were invented at the Institute and are currently evaluated for clinical applicability.