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Life Sciences - Health - 10.08.2020
Fireflies shed light on the function of mitochondria
The mitochondria provide energy for our cells, yet their role in many diseases is still poorly understood. Thanks to a bioluminescent molecule, scientists at EPFL can observe them at work in living mammals Tiny factories float inside our cells and provide them with almost all the energy they need: the mitochondria.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 06.08.2020
Long Neck Helped Reptile Hunt Underwater
Long Neck Helped Reptile Hunt Underwater
Its neck was three times as long as its torso, but had only thirteen extremely elongated vertebrae: "Tanystropheus", a bizarre giraffe-necked reptile which lived 242 million years ago, is a paleontological absurdity. A new study led by the University of Zurich has now shown that the creature lived in water and was surprisingly adaptable.

Life Sciences - Health - 06.08.2020
REM sleep tunes eating behaviour
REM sleep tunes eating behaviour
Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Inselspital have now discovered that the activation of neurons in the hypothalamus during REM sleep regulates eating behaviour: suppressing this activity in mice decreases appetite.

Life Sciences - 05.08.2020
Autism: How a gene alteration modifies social behavior
Autism: How a gene alteration modifies social behavior
A team of researchers at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has discovered a new connection between a genetic alteration and social difficulties related to autism: A mutation in the neuroligin-3 gene reduces the effect of the hormone oxytocin. In the journal -Nature-, the researchers report on a treatment approach that could normalize social behavior in autism.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.08.2020
Discovery shows promise for treating Huntington's Disease
Scientists at EPFL's Brain Mind Institute have identified an enzyme that can play a central role in developing a new route of treatment for Huntington's Disease. Huntington disease is a progressive and aggressively debilitating brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, psychological problems, and loss of cognition.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 04.08.2020
Blood-thinner with no bleeding side-effects is here
Blood-thinner with no bleeding side-effects is here
In a study led by EPFL, scientists have developed a synthetic blood-thinner that, unlike all others, doesn't cause bleeding side-effects. The highly potent, highly selective, and highly stable molecule can suppress thrombosis while letting blood clot normally following injury. Patients who suffer from thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or stroke are usually put on drugs that help their blood flow more smoothly through their body.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 04.08.2020
Cells relax their membrane to control protein sorting
Cells relax their membrane to control protein sorting
Researchers have succeeded in measuring the tension of the membrane of an organelle forming inside a cell. The tension in the outer membrane of cells plays an important role in a number of biological processes. A localised drop in tension, for example, makes it easier for the surface to be bending inward and form invaginations that will become free vesicles inside the cell.

Health - Life Sciences - 30.07.2020
Rapid test for the determination of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
Rapid test for the determination of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
A Swiss-German team presents a test that determines the amount of neutralising antibodies within a short period of time. The test was developed at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) of the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Office for Food Safety and Animal Health, and evaluated in cooperation with colleagues from the Ruhr-University Bochum using serum samples from COVID-19 patients.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 27.07.2020
The amazing travels of small RNAs
Biologists have known for some time that RNA interference can silence genes in far-off cells. They suspected that a messenger substance "transmits" RNA interference. Now, ETH researchers have definitively shown that these messengers in plants are short double-stranded RNA fragments. In most organisms, small bits of RNA play a key role in gene regulation by silencing gene expression.

Life Sciences - 24.07.2020
Big Brains and Dexterous Hands
Big Brains and Dexterous Hands
Primates with large brains can master more complex hand movements than those with smaller brains. However, fine motor skills such as using tools can take time to learn, and humans take the longest of all. Large-brained species such as humans and great apes do not actually learn more slowly than other primates but instead start later, researchers at the University of Zurich have shown.

Life Sciences - 21.07.2020
A developmental clock with a checkpoint function
A developmental clock with a checkpoint function
The group of Helge Grosshans characterized the " C. elegans oscillator", over 3,700 genes that are rhythmically expressed during the larval development of C. elegans . They demonstrated the coupling of the oscillator with molting and got insights into how it is wired. Their findings suggest that the oscillator functions as a developmental clock with a developmental checkpoint function.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.07.2020
Restoring mobility by identifying the neurons that make it possible
Restoring mobility by identifying the neurons that make it possible
Partial mobility can be restored in rodents with impaired spinal cords. Using AI, scientists can now determine the ­cellular mechanisms responsible - a technique that may be applicable to many biomedical problems. Researchers at EPFL are able to get paralyzed rodents walking again by stimulating the animals' damaged spinal cords.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.07.2020
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Biodiversity and thus the state of river ecosystems can now be predicted by combining environmental DNA with hydrological methods, researchers from the University of Zurich and Eawag have found. Using the river Thur as an example, the approach allows areas requiring conservation to be identified in order to initiate protective measures.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 17.07.2020
Using brain imaging to pierce the mystery of human behavior
Using brain imaging to pierce the mystery of human behavior
In the Medical Image Processing Lab, Dimitri Van De Ville and Thomas Bolton have studied the impact that computational imaging has on cognitive and clinical neuroscience by reviewing more than one hundred articles. How are human behavior and brain activity linked? That question has been eating away at Thomas Bolton ever since he started his PhD.

Life Sciences - Innovation - 15.07.2020
Data-driven resistance training against muscular atrophy
Data-driven resistance training against muscular atrophy
Researchers at ETH Zurich and ZHAW present a simple method to precisely map resistance exercise on machines and record missing comparative figures. This could help to develop optimised training strategies in the future, such as for age-associated muscular atrophy. Muscles play a critical role in life.

Environment - Life Sciences - 14.07.2020
Bird Diversity in the Swiss Alps in Decline
Bird Diversity in the Swiss Alps in Decline
The diversity of bird communities in the Swiss Alps is declining more and more, a joint study of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Ornithological Institute has found. An analysis of data from the past two decades has revealed a loss of functional and compositional diversity in Alpine bird communities.

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.
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