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Pharmacology - Chemistry - 07.07.2021
Harnessing AI to discover new drugs inspired by nature
Artificial intelligence (AI) is able to recognise the biological activity of natural products in a targeted manner, as researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated. Moreover, AI helps to find molecules that have the same effect as a natural substance but are easier to manufacture. This opens up huge possibilities for drug discovery, which also have potential to rewrite the rulebook for pharmaceutical research.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.07.2021
Researchers identify missing 'switch' that controls essential genes
Researchers identify missing ’switch’ that controls essential genes
Proteins known as transcription factors act as switches that regulate the expression of nearby genes, but the identity of some of these genetic levers has so far remained mysterious. Now, researchers from the Schübeler group have pinpointed a new switch that regulates essential genes in the mouse and the human genome.

Life Sciences - 06.07.2021
Inherited memories of a chromosomal site
Inherited memories of a chromosomal site
Two UNIGE teams have discovered that the location of a specific chromosomal site is transmitted between two generations, even if the part of the protein that initially defines that site is absent in the offspring. Most biological traits are inherited through genes, but there are exceptions to this rule.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.07.2021
Early detection of dementia
Early detection of dementia
Alzheimer's and other dementias are among the most widespread diseases today. Diagnosis is complex and can often only be established with certainty late in the course of the disease. A team of researchers, together with clinical partners, is now developing a new diagnostic tool that can detect the first signs of neurodegenerative changes using a sensor belt.

Health - Pharmacology - 06.07.2021
Covid long affects four out of ten people
Covid long affects four out of ten people
More than seven months after contracting the virus, nearly 40% of symptomatic people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 still have symptoms, reveals a study by the UNIGE and the HUG. A study by Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the University of Geneva on the long-term follow-up of symptomatic individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 has revealed that 39% of patients report residual symptoms seven to nine months after contracting the virus.

Materials Science - Environment - 05.07.2021
A jacket from a jacket from a jacket
A jacket from a jacket from a jacket
Manufacture, wear, wash, incinerate: This typical life cycle of garments, which pollutes the environment, is to be changed in the future - towards principles of circular economy with recycling at its core. Using an outdoor jacket made from PET bottles and recycled materials, researchers have investigated whether the product actually delivers what the idea promises.

Chemistry - Physics - 05.07.2021
Machine learning cracks the oxidation states of crystal structures
Machine learning cracks the oxidation states of crystal structures
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a machine-learning model that can predict a compound's oxidation state, a property that is so essential that many chemists argue it must be included in the periodic table. Chemical elements make up pretty much everything in the physical world. As of 2016, we know of 118 elements, all of which can be found categorized in the famous periodic table that hangs in every chemistry lab and classroom.

Health - Pharmacology - 02.07.2021
Cancer: immunotherapies without side effects?
Cancer: immunotherapies without side effects?
By identifying the mechanism of toxicity induced by immunotherapies, scientists from the University of Geneva and from the Harvard Medical School are paving the way for cancer treatments with fewer side effects. In recent years, immunotherapy has revolutionised the field of cancer treatment. However, inflammatory reactions in healthy tissues frequently trigger side effects that can be serious and lead to the permanent discontinuation of treatment.

Civil Engineering - Environment - 02.07.2021
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
In his PhD thesis, EPFL researcher Martí Bosch proposes a method for spatially quantifying the impact of mitigation measures - planting green spaces and using different building materials - on the urban heat island effect. During hot weather, cities are warmer than the surrounding rural areas. This well-known phenomenon - known as the urban heat island effect - is particularly acute at night when concrete and asphalt release the heat stored up during the day.

Physics - 01.07.2021
A crystal made of electrons
A crystal made of electrons
Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in observing a crystal that consists only of electrons. Such Wigner crystals were already predicted almost ninety years ago but could only now be observed directly in a semiconductor material. Crystals have fascinated people through the ages. Who hasn't admired the complex patterns of a snowflake at some point, or the perfectly symmetrical surfaces of a rock crystal? The magic doesn't stop even if one knows that all this results from a simple interplay of attraction and repulsion between atoms and electrons.

Computer Science - Physics - 01.07.2021
A new collaboration points to the future of data
EPFL and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) join forces to establish a new PSI research division: Scientific Computing, Theory, and Data. In collaboration with EPFL, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is officially expanding its own focus areas and establishing a new research division: Scientific Computing, Theory, and Data.

Physics - 01.07.2021
Scalable manufacturing of integrated optical frequency combs
Scalable manufacturing of integrated optical frequency combs
A collaboration between EPFL and UCSB has developed a long-anticipated breakthrough, and demonstrated CMOS technology - used for building microprocessors and memory chips - that allows wafer-scale manufacturing of chip-scale optical frequency combs. Optical frequency combs consist of light frequencies made of equidistant laser lines.

Materials Science - 30.06.2021
Prestressed plasters for old buildings
Prestressed plasters for old buildings
The technology of stabilizing concrete structures with carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, thus helping them to last longer, was developed decades ago; among others at Empa. Today, researchers in Dübendorf are working on a new variant with prestressed lamellas - with good prospects for practical application.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.06.2021
Unlocking the power of the microbiome
Unlocking the power of the microbiome
Not only animals and humans host a complex community of microorganisms - plants do this as well. Researchers at ETH Zurich have recently published two new studies that shed light on fundamental aspects of these close - and often overlooked - relationships. Hundreds of different bacterial species live in and on leaves and roots of plants.

Electroengineering - Physics - 29.06.2021
Stretching changes the electronic properties of graphene
Stretching changes the electronic properties of graphene
The electronic properties of graphene can be specifically modified by stretching the material evenly, say researchers at the University of Basel. These results open the door to the development of new types of electronic components. Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
Aquatic life underground
Aquatic life underground
Groundwater is also an ecosystem, but little is known about the biodiversity underground. researchers have now documented the diversity of life in Swiss groundwater in a pilot study - and discovered previously unknown species of amphipods in the process. Here they relied on a citizen science approach.

Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
How proteins bind 'hidden' DNA
How proteins bind ’hidden’ DNA
How can proteins bind DNA in the cell nucleus, where it is present in form of chromatin, tightly wrapped around histones and therefore mostly inaccessible? Recently, several studies began to uncover the various strategies used by DNA-binding proteins to solve this problem. In a Cell "Leading Edge review", Alicia Michael and Nico Thomä look at these findings and highlight general principles that aim to help predict how a protein recognizes a specific stretch of DNA, even when "hidden" in chromatin.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.06.2021
Managing attention deficit disorder by training the brain
Managing attention deficit disorder by training the brain
A team from the UNIGE and the HUG has found that a special type of brain training based on the principle of 'neurofeedback' enables people with attention deficit disorder to improve their ability to concentrate. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects about 7% of children, with a two out of three chance of persisting into adulthood.

Life Sciences - 28.06.2021
Unusual prey: spiders eating snakes
Unusual prey: spiders eating snakes
There are spiders that eat snakes. Observations of snake-eating spiders have been reported around the world. Two researchers from Basel and the US consolidated and analyzed over 300 reports of this unusual predation strategy. Spiders are primarily insectivores, but they occasionally expand their menu by catching and eating small snakes.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 28.06.2021
Optimising nature
Optimising nature
Today, molecular genetic methods can be used to breed sustainable crops - such as multinutrient rice. Researchers are calling for the risk of new plant varieties to be assessed not on the basis of the breeding method, but on the basis of their characteristics. When it comes to food, many people yearn for nature in its most pristine state.
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