Universitaet Bern

Universitaet Bern

The University of Bern is a comprehensive university with 8 faculties, 17'000 students and 4000 staff. The University Children's Hospital Bern is Switzerland’s second largest Children's Hospital. It is a recognized tertiary referral centre of excellence for education and research. Prof. Christoph Aebi is the Head of the Department of Paediatrics. The hospital covers a population area of approximately 2 million inhabitants of central Switzerland. 

The team in the University Children`s Hospital Bern has a long standing research focus on the role of innate immunity in severe infections in pediatric patients, epidemiology, mucosal immunity and host-pathogen interaction and sepsis markers.

The University of Bern is the leading university for the Swiss Pediatric Sepsis Study and became a member of the EUCLIDS consortium in 2014. The Swiss Pediatric Sepsis Study (Swiss National Science Foundation grant no 342730_153158/1) is a Swiss nationwide prospective multicenter observational cohort study coordinated by the University of Bern, Switzerland. This cohort study prospectively enrols children with severe infections, which remains one of the leading causes of childhood mortality. The study has been running since 2011 in all 5 Swiss University Hospitals and in all 10 A-level Swiss pediatric hospitals recruiting over 1000 children with sepsis, and has established a biobank of approximately 750 cases of confirmed bloodculture-positive sepsis in children to date. The Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) of the University of Bern provides support for the clinical database (webspirit), performs data export into European databases, and is responsible data monitoring. The biobank established through this study will be further extended into PERFORM.

The Paediatric Infectious Diseases Group Switzerland (PIGS) is a subgroup of the Swiss Society of Infectious Diseases and maintains a professional network between the major paediatric hospitals in Switzerland to coordinate research, establish guidelines, and audit practice. PIGS has officially endorsed the Swiss Pediatric Sepsis Study and the study is run by PIGS members. The Swiss Pediatric Sepsis Study is guided by the Steering Board, consisting of Prof Dr. L. Schlapbach, Prof. C. Aebi, Prof. C. Berger, and Dr. P. Agyeman.

Lead PI – Dr. Luregn Schlapbach / Dr. Christoph Aebi

Main tasks under the Project:

  • The Swiss group will provide biological samples for genomic and transcriptomic analyses, including N=750 children aged 0-17 years with bloodculture-confirmed infection with DNA, RNA, serum and pathogens available. This cohort includes ca. 400 previously healthy children who developed confirmed bacterial septicemia which will be used as the gold standard group to test and validate new markers. In addition, this cohort includes over 300 children with diagnostically challenging severe infections, including immunosuppressed, postoperative, and PICU patients
  • Through PIGS, the Swiss group will be available to recruit prospectively children with fever in specialized paediatric A&E departments for the present proposal
  • The Fellay lab will perform sequencing of host DNA (exomes) of selected phenotype groups, and of pathogen DNA of selected pathogens (pneumococcal and staphylococcal). Overall management of project and consortium