news 2020

Life Sciences - Jul 13
Life Sciences
People with schizophrenia and their healthy siblings share patterns of brain activity that are different from those seen in individuals with no family history of the disorder, scientists from EPFL have found. Because the siblings do not show schizophrenia symptoms, this brain 'signature' could serve as a marker for the early diagnosis of the disorder.
Physics - Jul 13
Physics

Metal-based nanoparticles are a promising tool in medicine - as a contrast agent, transporter of active substances, or to thermally kill tumor cells. Up to now, it has been hardly possible to study their distribution inside an organism. Researchers at the University of Basel have used a three-dimensional imaging method to take high-resolution captures inside zebrafish embryos.

Life Sciences - Jul 10
Life Sciences

Venus flytraps are known for the fact that their catching leaves close in a flash when unsuspecting prey touch highly sensitive trigger hairs twice in a row. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich has now discovered a new snap mechanism.

Health - Jul 13
Health

By demonstrating the key role of Vav3 protein, UNIGE researchers highlight how the protein Vav3 creates bacterial docking stations to facilitate lung infections in cystic fibrosis.

Physics - Jul 10
Physics

Topological materials are a new class of materials that could enable completely new types of electronic components and superconductors. In topological materials, electrons can behave differently than in conventional materials. The extent of these "exotic" phenomena depends on the so-called Chern number. New experiments have now shown that the theoretically predicted maximum value of the Chern number can be reached and even controlled in a real material.


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Life Sciences - Health - 13.07.2020
Brain 'signature' could help to diagnose schizophrenia
Brain ’signature' could help to diagnose schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia and their healthy siblings share patterns of brain activity that are different from those seen in individuals with no family history of the disorder, scientists from EPFL have found. Because the siblings do not show schizophrenia symptoms, this brain 'signature' could serve as a marker for the early diagnosis of the disorder.

Physics - Life Sciences - 13.07.2020
Tiny fish under a giant camera
Tiny fish under a giant camera
Metal-based nanoparticles are a promising tool in medicine - as a contrast agent, transporter of active substances, or to thermally kill tumor cells. Up to now, it has been hardly possible to study their distribution inside an organism. Researchers at the University of Basel have used a three-dimensional imaging method to take high-resolution captures inside zebrafish embryos.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.07.2020
Cystic fibrosis: why so many respiratory complications?
Cystic fibrosis: why so many respiratory complications?
By demonstrating the key role of Vav3 protein, UNIGE researchers highlight how the protein Vav3 creates bacterial docking stations to facilitate lung infections in cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis, one of the most common genetic diseases in Switzerland, causes severe respiratory and digestive disorders.

Life Sciences - 10.07.2020
How Venus Flytraps also Snap
How Venus Flytraps also Snap
Venus flytraps are known for the fact that their catching leaves close in a flash when unsuspecting prey touch highly sensitive trigger hairs twice in a row. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich has now discovered a new snap mechanism. The Venus flytrap ( Dionaea muscipula ) is perhaps the most well-known carnivorous plant.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.07.2020
Cherned up to the maximum
Cherned up to the maximum
Topological materials are a new class of materials that could enable completely new types of electronic components and superconductors. In topological materials, electrons can behave differently than in conventional materials. The extent of these "exotic" phenomena depends on the so-called Chern number.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.07.2020
Transplantable lab-grown organs move a step closer
Transplantable lab-grown organs move a step closer
A liver organoid developed at EPFL offers new promise in transplantation and the study of liver disease. Biologists and bioengineers at EPFL have designed a new method for growing simplified human mini-livers. Their process is a potentially important breakthrough in the quest for transplantable lab-grown tissues.

Health - Pharmacology - 10.07.2020
Basel study: Why lopinavir and lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine do not work on Covid-19
Basel study: Why lopinavir and lopinavir and hydroxychloroquine do not work on Covid-19
Lopinavir is a drug against HIV, hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and rheumatism. Until recently, both drugs were regarded as potential agents in the fight against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. A research group from the University of Basel and the University Hospital has now discovered that the concentration of the two drugs in the lungs of Covid-19 patients is not sufficient to fight the virus.

Environment - Computer Science - 10.07.2020
Counting wheat heads for more ecology
Counting wheat heads for more ecology
To Achim Walter it's clear: the budding artificial intelligence will decisively advance agroecology. But before we can harvest the fruits of AI, computers still have a lot to learn. Over-fertilised fields, compacted soils, greenhouse gases and insect death - the list of problems in agroecology is both old and long.

Life Sciences - 10.07.2020
How Venus Flytraps Snap
How Venus Flytraps Snap
Venus flytraps catch spiders and insects by snapping their trap leaves. This mechanism is activated when unsuspecting prey touch highly sensitive trigger hairs twice within 30 seconds. A study led by researchers at the University of Zurich has now shown that a single slow touch also triggers trap closure - probably to catch slow-moving larvae and snails.

Physics - Chemistry - 08.07.2020
Porous nitrogen-doped graphene ribbons for future electronics
Porous nitrogen-doped graphene ribbons for future electronics
A team of physicists and chemists has produced the first porous graphene ribbons in which specific carbon atoms in the crystal lattice are replaced with nitrogen atoms. These ribbons have semiconducting properties that make them attractive for applications in electronics and quantum computing, as reported by researchers from the Universities of Basel, Bern, Lancaster and Warwick in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.07.2020
The IRB discovers the activation mechanism of the "police patrol" cells of our immune system
Nearly 200 billion naïve T cells continuously patrol the human body in a dormant state, prepared to respond to potential threats. An international group of researchers, led by Dr. Roger Geiger of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to USI), demonstrated how these cells sustain a constant state of preparedness.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.07.2020
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
Global water consumption has increased almost fourfold in the past 100 years, and many regions can only meet their water demand thanks to essential contributions from mountain regions.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.07.2020
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Organisms exposed to challenging environments face evolutionary pressure to adapt, which could lead to modifications in a variety of traits, such as morphology, physiology and behaviour. Katja Räsänen from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag holds a deep interest in mechanisms of adaptation in natural populations.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.07.2020
Age-related impairments reversed in animal model
Age-related impairments reversed in animal model
Frailty and immune decline are two main features of old age. Researchers from the University of Bern and the University Hospital Bern now demonstrate in an animal model that these two age-related impairments can be halted and even partially reversed using a novel cell-based therapeutic approach. Elderly people are more prone to infectious diseases as the function of their immune system continuously declines with progression of age.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 06.07.2020
Structural insights into Fe-S protein biogenesis
Structural insights into Fe-S protein biogenesis
The cytosolic iron sulfur assembly (CIA) pathway is required for the insertion of Fe-S clusters into proteins, including many DNA replication and repair factors. Despite its essential cellular function, this pathway remains enigmatic. A new integrative structural and biochemical study from the Thomä group now provides detailed insights into the mechanisms of Fe-S protein biogenesis.

Materials Science - 06.07.2020
Outsmarting self-organization
Outsmarting self-organization
Researchers at ETH Zurich have coaxed tiny spheres made of polymer gels into forming complex patterns by themselves through a two-step process. Surfaces with tailor-made optical and mechanical properties could be realized in this way. When retiling the bathroom or the terrace using, for instance, square, rectangular or hexagonal tiles, the result will be a simple and regular pattern - assuming one doesn't make any mistakes.

Electroengineering - 03.07.2020
A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light
A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light
Researchers have built an ultrafast chip that can speed up data transmission in fibre optic networks. The chip combines several innovations at the same time and, given the growing demand for streaming and online services, represents a significant development.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.07.2020
How the body fights off urinary tract infections
How the body fights off urinary tract infections
Some people are better protected than others against urinary tract infections. This may be because their bodies produce more of a protein called uromodulin. An interdisciplinary research team has now found out how this helper protein brings relief when nature calls and how this knowledge might benefit the treatment and prevention of these painful inflammations.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 02.07.2020
The lightest shielding material in the world
The lightest shielding material in the world
Researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range - and they are unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic components or the transmission of signals.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.07.2020
First exposed planetary core discovered
First exposed planetary core discovered
Researchers led by the University of Warwick have discovered the first exposed core of an exoplanet, which provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the interior of a planet. Christoph Mordasini from the University of Bern is leading the theoretical interpretation of this discovery. The newly discovered exoplanet TOI 849 b offers the unique opportunity to peer inside the interior of a planet and learn about its composition.
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