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Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, EPFL


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Environment - 23.05.2023
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Everything we do has a carbon footprint but are our perceptions of the emissions we generate on a daily basis aligned with reality? To find out, two researchers have launched Climpact a new tool to help separate fact from fiction. Whilst the environment, including our climate, came out as the main concern for Swiss people in 2022 , a global survey by the market research firm IPSOS has found that misconceptions are rife about the most effective climate solutions.

Innovation - 19.05.2023
Amputees feel warmth in their missing hand
Amputees feel warmth in their missing hand
An unexpected discovery about temperature feedback has led to new bionic technology that allows amputees to sense the temperature of objects - both hot and cold - directly in the phantom hand. The technology opens up new avenues for non-invasive prosthetics. "When I touch the stump with my hand, I feel tingling in my missing hand, my phantom hand.

Pharmacology - 17.05.2023
Diagnosing inflammatory diseases with synthetic peptides
Diagnosing inflammatory diseases with synthetic peptides
Scientists have developed a peptide that binds to the protein calprotectin, a marker of major inflammatory disorders, and shown that it is suitable for diagnostic tests. The use of synthetic peptides for sensing disease markers is of great interest as they are more precise, robust, and cheaper than antibodies commonly used in diagnostic tests.

Life Sciences - 11.05.2023
Deployable electrodes for minimally invasive craniosurgery
Deployable electrodes for minimally invasive craniosurgery
Scientists have developed electrode arrays that can be funneled through a small hole in the skull and deployed over a relatively large surface over the brain's cortex. The technology may be particularly useful for providing minimally invasive solutions for epileptic patients. Stephanie Lacour's specialty is the development of flexible electrodes that adapt to a moving body, providing more reliable connections with the nervous system.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 10.05.2023
PeSTo: a new AI tool for predicting protein interactions
PeSTo: a new AI tool for predicting protein interactions
Scientists at EPFL have developed PeSTo, an AI model for predicting protein binding interfaces with proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, ions, and small molecules with high confidence. The model's low computational cost enables the processing large amounts of structural data, opening up opportunities for discovering new biology.

Physics - Materials Science - 09.05.2023
Closer to next-generation electronics
Closer to next-generation electronics
EPFL engineers have found a way to control the interactions between excitons - quasiparticles that may one day transport data and replace the electrons in electronic devices. The engineers' method involves applying an electric field to a two-dimensional (2D) semiconducting material. Electronic devices have become an essential feature of just about all aspects of modern society.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 04.05.2023
Predict what a mouse sees by decoding brain signals
Predict what a mouse sees by decoding brain signals
A research team from EPFL has developed a novel machine-learning algorithm that can reveal the hidden structure in data recorded from the brain, predicting complex information such as what mice see. Is it possible to reconstruct what someone sees based on brain signals alone? The answer is no, not yet.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.05.2023
Engineering molecular interactions with machine learning
Engineering molecular interactions with machine learning
By using deep learning-generated 'fingerprints' to characterize millions of protein fragments, researchers have computationally designed novel protein binders that attach seamlessly to key targets, including the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. In 2019, scientists in the joint School of Engineering and School of Life Sciences Laboratory of Protein Design and Immunoengineering ( LPDI ) led by Bruno Correia developed MaSIF: a machine learning-driven method for scanning millions of protein surfaces within minutes to analyze their structure and functional properties.

Astronomy / Space - Life Sciences - 28.04.2023
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
The search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations has yet to yield evidence of alien technological activity. Research carried out at EPFL suggests we continue searching while optimizing the use of available resources. For over sixty years, amateur and professional astronomers have been monitoring the sky in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Health - Pharmacology - 25.04.2023
Testing antibiotic resistance with a fast, cheap, and easy method
Testing antibiotic resistance with a fast, cheap, and easy method
Researchers at EPFL and Vrije Universiteit Brussel have developed a novel and highly efficient method for rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing using optical microscopy. The technique, called Optical Nanomotion Detection, is extremely rapid, single-cell sensitive, label-free, and requires only a basic traditional optical microscope, equipped with a camera or a mobile phone.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 24.04.2023
Cryo-imaging lifts the lid on fuel cell catalyst layers
Thanks to a novel combination of cryogenic transmission electron tomography and deep learning, researchers have provided a first look at the nanostructure of platinum catalyst layers, revealing how they could be optimized for fuel cell efficiency. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), which are being developed for use in electric vehicles, rely on nanoparticles called catalysts to trigger electricity-producing reactions between hydrogen and oxygen.

Environment - Life Sciences - 20.04.2023
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Coral reefs are under a growing threat from climate change and human activity, making it more important than ever to understand their strengths and vulnerabilities. A team of scientists has now taken an important step in this direction with the new RECIFS open-access database on reef environments. The Reef Environment Centralized InFormation System ( RECIFS ) is a web application that provides a single repository of all datasets currently available on reef environments worldwide.

Chemistry - Physics - 17.04.2023
A solar hydrogen system that co-generates heat and oxygen
A solar hydrogen system that co-generates heat and oxygen
Researchers have built a pilot-scale solar reactor that produces usable heat and oxygen, in addition to generating hydrogen with unprecedented efficiency for its size. A parabolic dish on the EPFL campus is easily overlooked, resembling a satellite dish or other telecommunications infrastructure. But this dish is special, because it works like an artificial tree.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.04.2023
Fungi's beneficial effects on coral are not yet fully understood
Fungi's beneficial effects on coral are not yet fully understood
Until now, most studies of fungi have focused on their role in marine disease. But according to research done at EPFL, these fungi may also help protect coral reefs against climate change. Tropical coral reefs are a crucial element in the diversity of marine ecosystems. They help prevent coastal erosion and are home to numerous micro-organisms whose complex interactions have been fascinating scientists for decades.

Pharmacology - Health - 11.04.2023
Nanoplasmonic imaging reveals real-time protein secretion
Nanoplasmonic imaging reveals real-time protein secretion
Researchers have used a nanoplasmonics approach to observe the real-time production of cell secretions, including proteins and antibodies; an advancement that could aid in the development of cancer treatments, vaccines, and other therapies. Cell secretions like proteins, antibodies, and neurotransmitters play an essential role in immune response, metabolism, and communication between cells.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.04.2023
New Circuit Model Offers Insights into Brain Function
Scientists at EPFL have developed a computational model of the thalamic microcircuit in the mouse brain, offering new insights into the role this region plays in brain function and dysfunction. The thalamus and thalamic reticular nucleus are situated at the heart of the mammalian brain and are known to play a key role in a wide range of functions, including the transmission of sensory information to the cortex and the transition between brain states such as sleep and wakefulness.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 04.04.2023
A new measurement could change our understanding of the Universe
A new measurement could change our understanding of the Universe
When it comes to measuring how fast the Universe is expanding, the result depends on which side of the Universe you start from. A recent EPFL study has calibrated the best cosmic yardsticks to unprecedented accuracy, shedding new light on what's known as the Hubble tension. The Universe is expanding - but how fast exactly? The answer appears to depend on whether you estimate the cosmic expansion rate - referred to as the Hubble's constant, or H0 - based on the echo of the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) or you measure H0 directly based on today's stars and galaxies.

Innovation - Materials Science - 31.03.2023
Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes
Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes
Researchers have developed fiber-like pumps that allow high-pressure fluidic circuits to be woven into textiles without an external pump. Soft supportive exoskeletons, thermoregulatory clothing, and immersive haptics can therefore be powered from pumps sewn into the fabric of the devices themselves.

Sport - Health - 31.03.2023
Smart helmets to prevent head trauma
Smart helmets to prevent head trauma
Players may not be aware of the severity of head impacts suffered during a game. Bearmind, an EPFL spin-off, has developed smart helmets that provide a series of metrics enabling coaches to monitor the neurological effects of head impacts suffered by their players.

Health - Pharmacology - 30.03.2023
New drug types can help counter antibiotic resistance
New drug types can help counter antibiotic resistance
Scientists are developing a new approach that can help stem the tide of antibiotic resistance. "Antibiotic-resistant infections are responsible for over one million deaths every year, including 250,000 children under the age of five," says Prof. Alexandre Persat, the head of EPFL's Microbial Mechanics Lab.
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