news from the lab 2017


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Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
23.05.2017
A New T-cell Population for Cancer Immunotherapy
A New T-cell Population for Cancer Immunotherapy
Scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have, for the first time, described a new T'cell population that can recognize and kill tumor cells.
Mathematics - Chemistry
23.05.2017
A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
EPFL scientists have developed a mathematical ‘face-recognition' method for identifying and discovering nanoporous materials based on their pore size. Image: Topological differences of top-performing materials for methane storage. Topological data analysis reveals the similarity between structures; each node represents a family of similar materials, while a network between two nodes indicates that they share at least one material.
Life Sciences - Environment/Sustainable Development
23.05.2017
‘Pregnant' Housefly Males Demonstrate the Evolution of Sex Determination
‘Pregnant’ Housefly Males Demonstrate the Evolution of Sex Determination
Sex is one of the most essential characteristics of an individual – not only for humans, but also for animals and plants.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
22.05.2017
Deep Sleep Maintains the Learning Efficiency of the Brain
Deep Sleep Maintains the Learning Efficiency of the Brain
Most people know from their own experience that just a single sleepless night can lead to difficulty in mastering mental tasks the next day. Researchers assume that deep sleep is essential for maintaining the learning efficiency of the human brain in the long term. While we are awake, we constantly receive impressions from our environment, whereby numerous connections between the nerve cells – so-called synapses – are excited and intensified at times.
Astronomy
19.05.2017
Software developed at EPFL used to control a flotilla of satellites
Software developed at EPFL used to control a flotilla of satellites
This past week, 28 CubeSats were released from the International Space Station (ISS). Eight of them are running EPFL software that was originally developed for SwissCube.
Astronomy - Physics/Materials Science
19.05.2017
Astronomers make the largest map of the Universe yet
Astronomers make the largest map of the Universe yet
Astronomers of the extended Baryonic Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, led by EPFL Professor Jean-Paul Kneib, used the Sloan telescope to create the first map of the Universe based entirely on quasars.  Quasars are incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by supermassive black holes. As matter and energy fall into the black hole, they heat up to incredible temperatures and begin to glow with excessive brightness.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
18.05.2017
A tool for monitoring the biodiversity of Swiss livestock
A tool for monitoring the biodiversity of Swiss livestock
EPFL researchers have created an online platform for monitoring the genetic diversity of livestock and the sustainability of animal farming in Switzerland. This project, which was developed in partnership with the Federal Office for Agriculture, could serve as a model for other countries. "With the GenMon platform, our aim was to develop a practical tool for automating the process of monitoring livestock in Switzerland," explains Solange Duruz, a PhD student in the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG) and lead author of the article, which appeared in the journal PLOS One .
Computer Science/Telecom - Business/Economics
17.05.2017
City model created from images alone
City model created from images alone
ETH scientists have combined millions of images and videos into a three-dimensional, living model of the city of Zurich.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Chemistry
16.05.2017
Antibody biosensor offers unlimited point-of-care drug monitoring
Antibody biosensor offers unlimited point-of-care drug monitoring
A team of EPFL scientists has developed several antibody-based biosensors that have the potential to help healthcare centers in developing countries or even patients in their own homes keep track of drug concentration in the blood. Being able to monitor drug concentration in the blood of a patient is an important aspect of any pharmaceutical treatment.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
16.05.2017
Coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba may survive global warming
Coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba may survive global warming
Coral reefs in the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba can resist rising water temperatures. If they survive local pollution, these corals may one day be used to re-seed parts of the world where reefs are dying.
Physics/Materials Science - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
15.05.2017
Quantum reservoir for microwaves
Quantum reservoir for microwaves
EPFL researchers use a mechanical micrometer-size drum cooled close to the quantum ground state to amplify microwaves in a superconducting circuit. Image: Photograph of the chip used in the experiment to couple a microwave cavity to a micrometer-size drum (the sharp purple pencil tip is placed as a scale).
Environment/Sustainable Development
15.05.2017
Understanding changes in extreme precipitation
Understanding changes in extreme precipitation
An ETH study explores why the increase in extreme precipitation is not the same across every region. This paves the way toward improved regional climate projections. Most climate scientists agree that heavy rainfall will become even more extreme and frequent in a warmer climate. This is because warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, resulting in heavier rainfall.
Physics/Materials Science - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
12.05.2017
One laser is enough
One laser is enough
Gases in the environment can be spectroscopically probed fast and precisely using so-called dual frequency combs. Researchers at ETH have now developed a method by which such frequency combs can be created much more simply and cheaply than before. In contrast to the light emitted by a simple lamp, laser light has a very precisely defined frequency.
Computer Science/Telecom - Microtechnics/Electroengineering
11.05.2017
A powered exoskeleton prevents the elderly from falling
The first smart exoskeleton that recognizes the loss of balance - and prevents falling - has been developed by researchers at Scuola Sant'Anna in Italy, EPFL in Switzerland, and tested at the Rehabilitation Center ‘Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi' in Florence.
Earth Sciences
10.05.2017
Continental crust thanks to the right mixture
Continental crust thanks to the right mixture
For the first time, ETH scientists have successfully recreated the formation of continental crust in the Archean using a computer simulation. The model helps us to better understand processes that took place three to four billion years ago. The present-day formation of continental crust can be investigated in the framework of plate tectonics; however, it is unclear how continental crust could have formed in the Archean, a period three to four billion years ago, when there was no plate tectonics.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
10.05.2017
A possible way to new antibiotics
A possible way to new antibiotics
Two research teams from the University of Bern and the ETH Zurich have developed a new method to shed light onto a mostly unknown process of bacterial protein production. Their results could be used for the design of new antibiotics. Ribosomes are the factories of the cell and, as such, are responsible for the fabrication of proteins.
Medicine/Pharmacology
09.05.2017
Stroke patients take the lead in their rehabilitation
Stroke patients take the lead in their rehabilitation
EPFL spin-off Intento has developed a patient-controlled electrical-stimulation device that helps stroke victims regain mobility in paralyzed arms. The promising results of the first clinical study are published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Every year, 17 million people worldwide suffer strokes, and a third are left paralyzed on one side of their body.
Life Sciences - Media
09.05.2017
Closing the Gate to Mitochondria
Closing the Gate to Mitochondria
A team of researchers have developed a new method that enables the identification of proteins imported into mitochondria. This leads to a better understanding of disease mechanisms linked to defective cellular functions. Eukaryotic cells contain thousands of proteins, which are distributed to different cellular compartments with specific functions.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
09.05.2017
With Stem Cells to New Intervertebral Discs
With Stem Cells to New Intervertebral Discs
It is the “shock absorber” between the vertebrae of the spine, cushioning every step, bend and jump: the intervertebral disc. If the fibrocartilage tissue in the spine degenerates over time, an intervertebral disc can “slip” – pinching the medulla or nerves. The consequences include intense pain or even paralysis.
Mechanical Engineering/Mechanics
08.05.2017
Fabrication technology in the fourth dimension
Fabrication technology in the fourth dimension
Scientists use the term 4D printing to refer to the simple production of objects that can transform their shape at different times.
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