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The BEARS Medical Research Foundation

The acronym BEARS stands for Bernese Aesthetic Reconstructive Surgery. 

BEARS is a unique CHARITY that was established for the sole purpose of raising funds to improve Reconstructive Plastic surgery research and education as well as patient information regarding reconstructive surgical procedures.


This Research Foundation is an initiative of the Department of Plastic & Hand Surgery, Insel University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland. 

The Aare river in Bern runs around the city

Purpose of the Foundation 

The world of medical research relies on funding from organizations and individuals. Reconstructive Plastic surgery is not always on top of the list as many other courses are deemed more worthwhile. However, reconstructive surgery involves many fields from tissue engineering, skin cancer, nerve reconstruction, breast reconstruction after cancer or congenital deformities, burns to cleft lip & palate, facial palsy and many more. These physical deformities have severe psychological and social impact on the patients, to such a degree that they are unable to live normal lives. Our aim is to push the boundaries of Reconstructive Plastic surgery, make new discoveries and find alternative, innovative ways to enhance and improve treatments in our fields of expertise.  Our primary priority is to save lives and provide thousands of people across the globe the opportunity to live normal, healthy lives.  Join our journey to successful innovation, new discoveries and improved modern technologic treatments.

(Dr. A.O Grobbelaar - Chairman of the Board of Trustees of BEARS)

Different fields of Research


In our Department, we always aim to refine and improve the treatment options for our patients. Medical research is a slow and costly process, but we are concentrating on translational research, meaning improvements that will progress from the petri-dish in the laboratory to the bedside of the patient in the most cost-effective way. Funding for medical research is competitive. Therefore we initiated the BEARS charity to involve companies, businesses, and the general public in our pursuit of innovative excellence in the field of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to address physical deformities. 

(Head of Plastic Surgery: Prof Dr. med. M. Constantinescu)

The hand is one of the most important structures to allow individuals to function normally in everyday life. Imagine if you have a problem with your dominant hand, for example, you cannot feed, clothe or attend to your personal hygiene easily. Hand injuries occur in around 28% of all injuries to the musculoskeletal system and constitute 30% of all injuries at work. Not only do hand injuries often require intricate surgery but with extensive injuries, a long period of rehabilitation is often necessary and it leads to many lost working hours. At the Department of Hand Surgery at the Inselspital University of Bern, we always strive to provide excellent, state-of-the-art service. Of course, progress in the treatment of all hand conditions cannot improve without research in the field. Research cannot take place without the support of the public and organizations

(Head of Hand Surgery: Prof. Dr. med. E. Vögelin)

Plastic Surgery

Hand Surgery

Test tubes used in the  research laboratory.

Research Focus Areas

Reseach Projects

Imagine, if only for a second, a life - not being able to use your hands or being too self-conscious to appear in the public eye due to severe facial disfiguration…. Is that a life worth living?


Hand and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery research address physical deformities and provide the opportunity to change lives – making living worthwhile! Your financial support in our endeavors can make that happen for so many unlucky people across the globe.  A number of research projects are explained to provide an understanding of the fundamental importance of ongoing, relevant research. 



Other research focus areas include:

• Facial paralysis

• Facial deformities

• Tendon Healing

• Squamous cell carcinoma

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Melanoma

• Fetal wound healing

• Dupuytren's disease

• Translational research activities


Click here for detailed information on the current Research Position advertised.

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