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Life Sciences - Health - 14.04.2020
A new approach to improve biological control agents of agricultural pests
A new approach to improve biological control agents of agricultural pests
In a new study, researchers from the University of Bern developed an experimental approach that may be used to improve a wide range of organisms that rely on microbial symbionts to control insect pests. This approach opens up a new avenue for the improvement of biological control strategies towards a more sustainable, pesticide-free agriculture.

Environment - Chemistry - 14.04.2020
Computer modelling deciphers the important role of the river-groundwater interface as a hot spot for arsenic release
Computer modelling deciphers the important role of the river-groundwater interface as a hot spot for arsenic release
Naturally occurring (geogenic) arsenic contamination in groundwater is a problem of global significance, with noteworthy occurrences in large parts of the alluvial and deltaic aquifers in South and Southeast Asia. Computer models are necessary to analyse field observations, to unravel which chemical and physical processes play a role, and to predict the behaviour of arsenic within aquifers - namely where and when pollution may occur in the future.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 14.04.2020
Cleaner air with geothermal energy
Cleaner air with geothermal energy
The use of dirty coal as a heat source makes life tough in the Mongolian winter. ETH geophysicists are helping to develop geothermal energy as a clean alternative. Many Europeans have an idyllic view of Mongolia as a land of wide, empty spaces and pristine nature. But the truth is more complicated, especially in winter.

Environment - Social Sciences - 14.04.2020
Evaluates the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on well-being
A new nationwide study being conducted jointly by EPFL, the Idiap Research Institute and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) aims to understand the emotional effects of the lockdown on Swiss residents and what steps they are taking to cope with it. The findings will be used to develop better support strategies for the future.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 10.04.2020
How artificial intelligence can help to design new drugs
How artificial intelligence can help to design new drugs
Traditional methods for predicting interactions between proteins and other molecules rely on complex supercomputer simulations. Instead, a group of researchers from EPFL and USI developed a new artificial intelligence system that analyzes the 3D structure of protein surfaces. The new method MaSIF (Molecular Surface Interaction Fingerprinting) is a collaboration between the EPFL Protein Design & Immunoengineering lab (headed by Prof. Bruno Correia) and the group of Michael Bronstein , professor at USI and Imperial College of London, and head of research in Graph Learning at Twitter.

Environment - 08.04.2020
Agriculture began in the Amazon 10'000 years ago
Agriculture began in the Amazon 10’000 years ago
As a new study shows, more than 10,000 years ago, people in the southwest of the Amazon began growing manioc and squash, 8,000 years earlier than previously thought. The area is thus one of the early Holocene centres of plant domestication in the world. People also changed the landscape by creating thousands of so-called forest islands.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.04.2020
A novel molecular target for particularly aggressive cancers
A novel molecular target for particularly aggressive cancers
By deciphering how the FKBP10 protein facilitates lung cancer progression, UNIGE scientists are proposing an original therapeutic strategy.   Three-dimensional lung (green) and tumors (red) and corresponding X-ray scans (black and white) at weeks 0, 6, and 12 after tumour onset (left: mouse with intact FKBP10; right: mouse with inhibition of FKBP10).

Health - 08.04.2020
Measures are having an impact
Measures are having an impact
The "lockdown light" decreed by the Swiss Federal Council has led to each person infected with Sars-CoV-2 going on to infect only one person on average instead of two or three prior to the lockdown, as calculations by a team from ETH Zurich have shown. This means the situation is stable, but the epidemic has yet to be contained.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 07.04.2020
How wallflowers evolved a complementary pair of plant defenses
How wallflowers evolved a complementary pair of plant defenses
A new study led by Tobias Züst from the Institute of Plant Sciences of the University of Bern shows that a pair of complementary chemical defenses evolved independently in wallflowers, shaped by co-evolution with local insects. A pair of chemicals used by wallflowers and their kin to ward off predators have evolved to complement each other, with one targeting generalist herbivores and the other targeting specialized herbivores that have become resistant to the generalist defense.

Environment - 07.04.2020
Provision of adequate space for surface waters is essential
Provision of adequate space for surface waters is essential
A recent publication by Florian Altermatt, a research group leader at Eawag and Professor of Aquatic Ecology at the University of Zurich, began as an address to a gathering of legal experts.

Chemistry - Environment - 06.04.2020
How the chemical industry can meet the climate goals
How the chemical industry can meet the climate goals
ETH researchers analysed various possibilities for reducing the net CO2 emissions of the chemical industry to zero. Their conclusion? The chemical industry can in fact have a carbon-neutral future. Switzerland's Federal Council has decided that the country should become carbon-neutral by 2050. This may be challenging as far as car traffic and the entire power sector are concerned, but not impossible - with systematic electrification and the exclusive use of carbon-neutral energy sources, for example.

Philosophy - Computer Science - 05.04.2020
Ethical challenges in the age of digitisation
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung recently published a paper on the ethical challenges of digitisation written by Peter Seele, economist, philosopher and professor of business ethics at USI Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society and Dirk Helbing, professor of Computational Social Science at ETH Zurich.

Health - Environment - 03.04.2020
Wastewater testing as a potential early warning system for waves of coronavirus
Wastewater testing as a potential early warning system for waves of coronavirus
You were already collecting wastewater samples in Ticino weeks ago - why? Christoph Ort (environmental engineer): We have many years of experience in the measurement of illicit drugs in wastewater.

Health - Computer Science - 02.04.2020
Software to enable secure data-sharing for hospitals
Software to enable secure data-sharing for hospitals
The MedCo system aims to facilitate medical research on pathologies - such as cancer and infectious diseases - by enabling secure computations on decentralized data. The unique software has recently been deployed at three Swiss hospitals. MedCo was first released in 2019 as the first operational system to protect sensitive patient data so that it can be used collectively for medical research.

Physics - 01.04.2020
Shortage of certain products explained by quantum physics
Shortage of certain products explained by quantum physics
All the media talk about the lack of certain products in the stores in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Life Sciences - Environment - 01.04.2020
About the distribution of biodiversity on our planet
About the distribution of biodiversity on our planet
Large open-water fish predators such as tunas or sharks hunt for prey more intensively in the temperate zone than near the equator. With this result, a study headed by Marius Roesti of the University of Bern is challenging a long-standing explanation for the distribution of biodiversity on our planet.

Health - Life Sciences - 01.04.2020
Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis
Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.

Media - Health - 30.03.2020
Four keywords to understand journalism during a pandemic
From newspapers to television, from the internet to social media, we experience an overload of information on the Covid-19 pandemic. Science journalism has become an important source to help individuals understand what is true and what is false. In this video Philip Di Salvo, a post-doc researcher at USI Institute of Media and Journalism, proposes four key words to comprehend what is happening to the media.

Health - 27.03.2020
A device for the early detection of certain eyesight problems
A device for the early detection of certain eyesight problems
EPFL researchers have developed a device that can zoom in on previously invisible cells at the back of the eye. The technology could be extremely useful for ophthalmologists, in particular for detecting age-related macular degeneration early and assessing new treatment options. There is renewed hope for people with eyesight problems such as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

Physics - Electroengineering - 25.03.2020
A nanoscale device that can see through walls
A nanoscale device that can see through walls
Researchers at EPFL have developed a nanodevice that operates more than 10 times faster than today's fastest transistors, and about 100 times faster than the transistors you have on your computers. This new device enables the generation of high-power terahertz waves. These waves, which are notoriously difficult to produce, are useful in a rich variety of applications ranging from imaging and sensing to high-speed wireless communications.