New strategic infectious disease research collaboration between the IRB and The Rockefeller University

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona and The Rockefeller University in New York announced the beginning of an important strategic collaboration to advance infectious disease research. As demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, scientific research is increasingly interdisciplinary and international collaborations between leading centers facilitate significant discoveries that help scientists better understand disease and design countermeasures.

Bellinzona, May 31, 2023 - The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), affiliated with the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), and The Rockefeller University announced that they have finalized a scientific collaboration agreement for studies of infectious diseases, including those with epidemic potential. The agreement will make it possible to strengthen collaboration between the two institutions on specific projects, while promoting the exchange of knowledge and academic staff between Bellinzona and New York.

Rockefeller University ( is considered one of the world’s leading centers for biomedical research and education. Despite its small size, Rockefeller currently counts five Nobel Prize recipients among its faculty, including Prof. Charles M. Rice, who directs the university’s new Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Institute for Global Infectious Disease Research. Dr. Rice also now serves as a member of the IRB Scientific Advisory Board.

The IRB's focus is the study of the body's immunological defense mechanisms and the pathophysiological basis of infectious, inflammatory, degenerative and cancer diseases in order to identify new therapeutic strategies.

"The agreement between the IRB and The Rockefeller University represents a significant step forward in the development of the IRB and its position in the Swiss and international academic scene," says IRB Foundation President Atty. Gabriele Gendotti. "It is particularly important, given the uncertainties of the current relationship in scientific cooperation between Switzerland and the European Union."

"The strategic value for our Institute is remarkable,” notes IRB Director Prof. Davide Robbiani. "Global challenges, such as emerging diseases, require team efforts. We collaborated effectively with colleagues at Rockefeller during the Covid-19 pandemic; we are pleased to now be able to strengthen this existing relationship."

Dr. Rice adds that "the scientific research activities carried out in Bellinzona meet the highest standards. This was readily apparent during a recent evaluation by the Scientific Advisory Board, an external group of experts of which I am a member. I welcome this opportunity to work closely with the IRB in the years to come."


Photo by Halkin Mason Photography