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SUI: Research on nanoparticles distinguished by the Fondation E. Naef

On January 18, 2014, the Fondation E. Naef pour la Recherche in vitro (FENRIV) awarded its annual price to Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser for developing new alternatives to animal research. The prize has been awarded annually since 2000. The general aim of the Foundation ( is to promote the development of methods to reduce the need for animal experiments. The Foundation is based in Geneva (Switzerland).


Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, from the Adolphe Merkle Institute in the University of Fribourg, has developed and adapted new in vitro methods to study the complex interactions between nanoparticles and lung tissues. For this, she notably assembled in vitro the various cells types found in human lungs, then assessed how nanoparticles interacted with this tissue. Pollution and nanotechnologies release nanoparticles into the atmosphere, and it is critical today to understand how these particles enter the human body and to determine their potential toxic effects. The use of sophisticated in vitro methods allows precise and well-controlled studies of human tissues and represents a promising alternative to animal experiments.


The FENRIV also announced on this occasion a collaboration with the Philanthropia Foundation. For the next three years, the Fonds Carlo hosted by the Philanthropia Foundation will support the research work of scientists previously selected by the FENRIV. Accordingly, in 2014, the Philanthropia Foundation will support financially the 2013 laureate of the FENRIV prize, Dr Luc Stoppini, Haute école du paysage, d’ingénierie et d’architecture de Genève; Hepia/HESSO, for his in vitro studies on neurotoxicity.



Pierre Cosson

Centre Médical Universitaire

Geneva, Switzerland


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