Materials Science - May 23
Materials Science
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy - a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.
Media - May 23

Researchers at the Institute of Psychology show how news about immigrants and language describing immigrants shape prejudice against immigrants and other social minorities, as part of the project «Immigrants in the Media».

Life Sciences - May 22
Life Sciences

From yeast to man, the genome is partitioned into subnuclear compartments, with active euchromatin spatially separated from silent heterochromatin, which is often found at the nuclear periphery.

Environment - May 23
Environment

Since 2013, annual emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11 have increased by around 7,000 metric tons from eastern China, according to a new study by an international team of scientists including Empa researchers, published in «Nature» today.

Physics - May 22
Physics

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom.


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Materials Science - Physics - 23.05.2019
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy - a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.

Media - 23.05.2019
Information and language in news impact prejudice against minorities
Researchers at the Institute of Psychology show how news about immigrants and language describing immigrants shape prejudice against immigrants and other social minorities, as part of the project «Immigrants in the Media». For instance, nouns used for describing the ethnicity of immigrants enhance prejudice against immigrants more than adjectives.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.05.2019
Source of new CFC emissions discovered
Source of new CFC emissions discovered
Since 2013, annual emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11 have increased by around 7,000 metric tons from eastern China, according to a new study by an international team of scientists including Empa researchers, published in «Nature» today. The new discovery follows a finding in 2018 that emissions of this very important ozone-depleting substance had increased.

Life Sciences - 22.05.2019
A role for gene activators in 3D nuclear organization
A role for gene activators in 3D nuclear organization
From yeast to man, the genome is partitioned into subnuclear compartments, with active euchromatin spatially separated from silent heterochromatin, which is often found at the nuclear periphery. This spatial distribution correlates with gene expression and contributes to cell-type integrity. In a study published in Nature, the Gasser group showed that the sequestration of a strong gene activator, CBP/p300, regulates the spatial organization of inactive domains.

Physics - 22.05.2019
The geometry of an electron determined for the first time
The geometry of an electron determined for the first time
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer.

Health - Chemistry - 22.05.2019
Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence
Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence
Cancerous tumors can be made to bioluminesce, like fireflies, according to the level of their glucose uptake, giving rise to a technique for quantifying metabolite absorption. The firefly imaging technique for sugar can be translated from cancer to many other metabolic diseases. EPFL scientists have invented a new way to quantify - in real-time - glucose metabolism of cancerous tumors by making them bioluminesce.

Health - Social Sciences - 22.05.2019
Poor semen quality in Switzerland
Poor semen quality in Switzerland
Researchers at UNIGE have carried out the first nationwide study on semen quality of young Swiss men. And their verdict? Only 38% of men have semen parameter values above the norms set by World Health Organization for fertile men. Over the last fifty years, a marked decrease in sperm count has been observed in the Western World.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.05.2019
The insulin under the influence of light
The insulin under the influence of light
By understanding how day-night alternation affects the effect of insulin in tissues, researchers at UNIGE are highlighting the role of circadian rhythms in diabetes. The disruption of our internal clocks seems to play a significant role in the explosion of metabolic diseases observed in recent decades, and particularly of diabetes.

Pharmacology - Health - 21.05.2019
Using 3D to test personalised treatments in five days
Using 3D to test personalised treatments in five days
UNIGE researchers have developed a cell co-culture platform that can reproduce a patient's tumour in 3D and test the best treatment combinations for its specific case in just five days. Why doesn't the same treatment work in the same way for every patient? How can a drug's performance be optimised without causing side effects due to an excessive dosage? In an attempt to answer these questions, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have devised a cell co-culture platform that reproduces a patient's tumour structure in 3D.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.05.2019
A new non-invasive therapy for people with paraplegia
A new non-invasive therapy for people with paraplegia
Researchers from the Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Research Support (AASDAP) in Brazil, in collaboration with EPFL, have developed a non-invasive strategy that combines functional electrostimulation and a brain-machine interface to help people with paraplegia walk again. This rehabilitation approach was tested on two patients, who showed an improvement in their motor skills and a partial neurological recovery.

Health - 17.05.2019
New Findings on Malaria Vaccine
New Findings on Malaria Vaccine
Protection by the malaria vaccine RTS,S is not only a matter of antibody quantity but also of quality. These are the findings of a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in collaboration with Swiss TPH and other partners. The research show for the first time that the higher the avidity of antibodies induced by the RTS,S vaccine, the greater the protection.

Life Sciences - 16.05.2019
The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events. Acute pain, e.g. hitting your leg against a sharp object, causes an abrupt, unpleasant feeling. In this way, we learn from painful experiences to avoid future harmful situations.

Health - Transport - 16.05.2019
Particles from aircraft engines affect airways
Particles from aircraft engines affect airways
In a unique experimental setup, Swiss researchers have investigated the effect of exhaust particles from aircraft turbine engines on human lung cells. The cells reacted most strongly to particles emitted during ground idling. The study also showed that the cytotoxic effect is only to some extent comparable to that of particles from gasoline and diesel engines.

Health - Environment - 15.05.2019
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
Researchers have taken a critical look at how much we really know about our exposure to particles and chemicals transported by our clothing. His study concludes that further research is needed and opens up new areas of investigation. There is growing evidence that our clothing exposes us to particles and chemicals on a daily basis - and that this exposure could carry significant health risks.

Life Sciences - Health - 14.05.2019
Relay station in the brain controls our movements
Relay station in the brain controls our movements
The relay station of the brain, the substantia nigra consists of different types of nerve cells and is responsible for controlling the execution of diverse movements. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now characterized two of these cell populations more precisely and has been able to assign an exact function to each of them.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.05.2019
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
The lakes in the perialpine regions of Europe are home to a particular community of cyanobacteria which Marie-Eve Monchamp investigated in connection with her doctoral thesis at Eawag. "We collected sediment cores from ten lakes in Switzerland, Italy and France, and analysed the cyanobacterial DNA extracted from these cores", she explains.

Environment - Materials Science - 13.05.2019
Microplastics in freshwaters
Microplastics in freshwaters
Sea birds dying in agony with a belly full of plastic garbage; plastic accumulations as big as islands: Virtually everyone has seen pictures like these today. But there are also plastic particles that are barely visible to the eye - microplastics. The danger posed by these tiny particles has hardly been researched to date.

Health - Environment - 13.05.2019
Daily doses of vitamin D are unreachable during Swiss winter
Daily doses of vitamin D are unreachable during Swiss winter
A study funded by the SNSF shows that in winter, weak sunlight prevents the Swiss population from producing sufficient levels of vitamin D. Too much sun increases the risk of skin cancer. But moderate exposure is required to produce vitamin D. This substance is essential for bone health and may also play a role in preventing respiratory infections, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer.

Life Sciences - 09.05.2019
Back to the sources of neural diversity
Back to the sources of neural diversity
By deciphering the genetic programmes of neurons of the cerebral cortex, Swiss and Belgian researchers unravel the mechanisms controlling the genesis of cells in one of the most essential parts of our brain. The cortex is a complex brain region that allows us to perceive the world and interact with objects and beings around us.

Life Sciences - 09.05.2019
New type of highly sensitive vision discovered in deep-sea fish
New type of highly sensitive vision discovered in deep-sea fish
The deep sea is home to fish species that can detect various wavelengths of light in near-total darkness. Unlike other vertebrates, they have several genes for the light-sensitive photopigment rhodopsin, which likely enables these fish to detect bioluminescent signals from light-emitting organs. The findings were published by an international team of researchers led by evolutionary biologists from the University of Basel.
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