Urs Frey

Prof. Dr. med. 
Urs Frey

Medical Director of the Hospital
Member of the Executive Board
Chief Physician Pediatrics

University Children's Hospital Basel

Phone +41 61 704 12 12



Research Focus

Critical Care & Respiratory Medicine

Area of Research

Developmental physiology of newborns with asthma.
Influence of environmental factors on lung development and lung growth.
Development of non-invasive pulmonary function tests in children.
System physiology and bioinformatics: mathematical modeling of temporal behavior of chronic asthma

Approved Research Projects

Swiss National Science Foundation
Air Pollution and Effects on Lung Functional Development and Respiratory Morbidity in At-Risk Infants—the BILD project.
Ongoing research grants received since 1994. This current grant is funded until October 2025.
Grant number 320030_204717


National Collaborations

  • Prof Philipp Latzin, Chair of Pediatric Pulmonology, Inselspital, Bern. Prof Latzin is a long-standing collaborator and PI at the Bern site of the BILD cohort. He has an excellent track record in developmental lung physiology, infectiology, and epidemiology.
  • PD Dr. Loretta Müller, the University of Bern. Dr Müller has expertise in cell response to air pollution and and assists with cell-based research work.
  • Prof. Dr. Sven Schulzke, Professor of Neonatology at the University of Basel and UKBB. Prof. Schulzke is a well-recognized international expert in neonatology, trial and cohort design, epidemiology, and data-driven medicine.
  • Prof. Primo Schär, University of Basel. Prof Schär is an expert in (epi)genome dynamics in development, aging, and disease, including oxidative stress response, autophagy, and cellular senescence. He supervises the cell-based research work and the gene expression work in cord blood.
  • Prof Dr. Martin Röösli and Dr Kees de Hoogh, Unit for Environmental Exposures and Health, Swiss TPH, University of Basel.  Prof Röösli and Dr de Hoogh are long-standing collaborators. Both are international experts in environmental epidemiology with a background in atmospheric physics. They have a strong background in air pollution exposure assessment as well as other complexly distributed environmental exposures.
  • Prof. Dr. Pablo Sinues, Professor for Pediatric Environmental Medicine at the University of Basel and UKBB. Prof Sinues is a well-recognized international expert in metabolomics, exhalomics, oxidative stress response, and biomarker modeling.

International Collaborations

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Kabesch, the University of Regensburg, Germany. Prof. Kabesch is a leading expert in gene–environment interaction in asthma. He also contributes with data from the GINIplus study (second cohort). His group performs the chip-based analysis of our probes, ascertains the quality control, and provides the biostatistical support for the data.
  • Prof Dr. Jörg Mattes, Chair of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Newcastle, School of Medicine and Public Health, Australia. Prof Mattes is a long-standing collaborator with the Basel team. He contributes with data from the Breathing for Life Trial (BLT) validation cohort (second cohort).
  • Prof. Bianca Schaub and Prof. Erika von Mutius , University Children's Hospital, Munich, Germany and Dr von Haunersches Kinderspital, Pediatric Pulmonary Division, LMU Munich, Germany, respectively. Prof Schaub and Prof von Mutius contribute with data from the PASTURE validation cohort.
  • Dr. Sven Schuchardt, Department of Analytics, Frauenhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), Hannover, Germany. Dr Schuchardt is a chemist and biologist performing the cord blood metabolomics analysis together with Prof. Pablo Sinues (UKBB). His expertise combines long-term analytical experience in the field of GC-MS, LC-MS, and NMR spectroscopy. His current focus is on toxicity studies, workplace measurements, and metabolome research.

Ongoing Research Projects

The Basel Bern Infant Lung Development (BILD) Cohort
The BILD cohort was established in 1999 in Bern, and 2011 in Basel. The longitudinal study has recruited almost 1000 infants since its inception, whose lung growth and development are then studied throughout childhood.
The goal of the study is a better understanding of infant and child lung growth and development in relation to lung diseases such as asthma. The researchers are interested in understanding the effects of genetics and the environment (air pollution, in particular) on children's developing airways.

Research Team

Mana Okada

Study nurse

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Carla da Silva Sena, PhD 

Research Fellow

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Fiona Beck

Research Officer 

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Katrin Gerber-Windisch

Lead Study nurse

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Olga Gorlanova, MD

Statistician, PhD candidate

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Noemi Künstle

Study doctor, MD-PhD candidate

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Sandra Marti Pasqual

Study nurse

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Uri Nahum, PhD


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Céline Rüttimann, MD

Study doctor

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