Secure national online platforms, diagnostic tools, international endeavours to combat a range of health conditions and nationwide initiatives to empower data-driven research: discover the flagship projects our teams are working on.

Advancing pathogen monitoring: the Swiss Pathogen Surveillance Platform (SPSP)

The Swiss Pathogen Surveillance Platform (SPSP) is a shared secure surveillance platform between human and veterinary medicine and following the One Health approach. Co-managed by SIB in collaboration with the University Hospitals of Basel, Lausanne and Geneva, as well as the Universities of Bern and Zurich, it aims to improve international coordination and research efficiency as well as variant surveillance and pandemic preparedness. It enables rapid and detailed transmission monitoring and outbreak surveillance of pathogens using whole genome sequencing data and associated metadata. It features controlled data access, complex dynamic queries, dedicated dashboards and automated data sharing with international repositories (read more).

This national genomic surveillance platform has the potential to welcome any sequences from a pathogen of public health interest (e.g. flu, legionellosis or antibiotic-resistant bacteria). It was also recently mandated by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) for the surveillance of bronchiolitis (RSV) and influenza. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform acted as the Swiss SARS-CoV-2 Data Hub. It centralized all genetic sequences of the virus in Switzerland, offering a nationwide vision of the circulation of variants to the FOPH. SPSP also feeds international databases to boost research on the virus. Building on this experience, SIB now also co-leads the European efforts to facilitate the open sharing of viral genomic sequences from SARS-CoV-2 in other countries. 

About the EU public-private partnership funding health research and innovation

The goal of the Innovative Health Initiative, and of the Innovative Medicines Initiative which preceded it, is to translate health research and innovation into tangible benefits for patients and society. It also aims to ensure that Europe remains at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary, sustainable, patient-centric health research. To this end, they bring together industrial associations representing sectors involved in healthcare as well as universities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patients, regulators and others.

Enabling European public-private partnerships

To tackle major public health issues, researchers and clinicians need safe and efficient access to large numbers of datasets from clinical studies, which often span multiple countries. This critical mass of data enables them to detect signals that would otherwise be hard to find and that could be more efficiently actionable in practice, and thus benefit patients. This is the aim of several European endeavours, such as the Innovative Health Initiative - which builds on the success of the Innovative Medicines Initiative

SIB has a central role in a dozen of these initiatives as Data Coordination Centre, where it orchestrates data management, designs innovative solutions to share sensitive data (e.g. federated analysis)and implements FAIR principles (e.g. FAIRplus project). The institute also provides its bioinformatics expertise in multi-omics data analysis to integrate complex and heterogeneous data and to support disease prevention, progression monitoring and personalized treatments (e.g. new insights in Type 2 diabetes). It thus enables these large-scale projects to tackle conditions such as diabetes, obesity, myopathy, arthritis and cancer.

Explore the European projects we enable 


Accelerating cancer diagnosis and precision medicine with Oncobench®

Oncobench® is a cancer diagnostics platform established through a collaboration between SIB and the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG). It is designed to enhance cancer diagnosis by integrating advanced bioinformatics tools and technologies. The platform is dedicated to analyzing genomic data from cancer patients, and fosters reproducibility, scalability and automation in the laboratory. Utilizing state-of-the-art bioinformatics algorithms, it interprets large-scale genomic data to allow healthcare professionals and researchers to gain valuable insights into cancer biology and personalized treatment options.

Oncobench® aims to improve precision medicine by providing oncologists with an in-depth understanding of the genomic alterations in individual cancer patients. This information helps in tailoring treatment strategies based on the unique genetic profile of each patient's tumour, potentially leading to more effective and targeted therapies.

Fostering personalized health research with BioMedIT, the national secure IT network

BioMedIT, an ambitious collaboration coordinated by SIB, involving ETH Zurich, and the Universities of Basel and Lausanne connects researchers from all over Switzerland with biomedical data. This innovative network has been established as part of the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) initiative. It hosts over 60 national and international health-related research projects, ranging from infection prediction to precision oncology. 

Read the press release

This setup was made possible thanks to SIB’s technical skills, building on decades of expertise in bioinformatics infrastructure as well as its nationwide capacity in coordination, bringing together the various actors involved, such as hospitals which gather patient data and researchers who test the development of the infrastructure and various groups of experts. 

The BioMedIT network represents a significant stride in advancing personalized health research in Switzerland.

Visit the BioMedIT website

A vision for the future of data-driven life science research in Switzerland with the SwissBioData ecosystem (SBDe)

Scaling up SIB’s expertise to all Switzerland through partnerships

SBDe is the result of a reflection over the last three years with 17 other institutions. It has been submitted to SERI’s Roadmap for Research Infrastructures 2023 for consideration. 

More about the project

Imagine a national decentralized laboratory in which data, methods, software tools and workflows can be shared and reused… for the greater good. The SwissBioData ecosystem (SBDe) would boost Switzerland’s capacity to convert research data into knowledge and innovation.

SBDe gains further traction

SBDe aims to support life science researchers from all Swiss schools of higher education and research institutes, from data generation all the way to their analysis and sharing for reuse. It would, for instance, harmonize the computing environment across multiple institutions for data-intensive projects, such as those that are AI-driven. It would also foster the long-term availability of datasets of different types produced in Swiss labs. All this would be possible by building on the existing outstanding expertise and resources.

Ultimately, SBDe would boost the ability of Swiss researchers to transform data into knowledge and reinforce Switzerland's international competitiveness and standing in data infrastructure for life sciences.