news from the lab 2014

Life Sciences - Jan 14
Life Sciences
Transposons are foreign DNA elements capable of random insertion into the genome, an event that can be very dangerous for a cell. Their activity must be silenced to maintain genomic integrity, which is primarily achieved by H3K9me3-mediated repression. Researchers from the Gasser group identified two parallel pathways that are essential for H3K9me3- mediated transcriptional repression and thus for protecting the genome from toxic transposon activation.
Chemistry - Jan 14

ETH Zurich researchers conducted an experiment to investigate the initial steps in the formation of aerosols. Their findings are now aiding efforts to better understand and model that process - for example, the formation of clouds in the atmosphere.

Microtechnics - Jan 13
Microtechnics

Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably - even without GPS.

Life Sciences - Jan 14
Life Sciences

Scientists have carried out the first comprehensive study of how genes in the liver perform their metabolic functions in both space and time of day. Monitoring almost 5000 genes at the level of the individual cell across a 24-hour period, the researchers have modelled how the circadian clock and liver functions crosstalk throughout the day in sync with the feeding-fasting cycle.

Environment - Jan 13

They emit must be systematically stored underground. This is the most economical of various approaches that ETH researchers have compared in detail. It is politically agreed and necessary for climate protection reasons that our entire economy becomes climate-neutral in the coming decades - and that applies to air travel, too.


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Results 1 - 20 of 25.


Life Sciences - 25.12.2014
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group
Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group. A research team discovered this behavior as well as the neural circuits which relay this information, opening a new field of research.

Physics - 19.12.2014
Unraveling the light of fireflies
Unraveling the light of fireflies
How do fireflies produce those mesmerizing light flashes? Using cuttingedge imaging techniques, scientists from Switzerland and Taiwan have unraveled the firefly's intricate light-producing system for the first time. Fireflies used rapid light flashes to communicate. This "bioluminescence" is an intriguing phenomenon that has many potential applications, from drug testing and monitoring water contamination, and even lighting up streets using glow-in-dark trees and plants.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.10.2014
Useful for spintronics: Big surprises in a thin surface region
Useful for spintronics: Big surprises in a thin surface region
The need for ever faster and more efficient electronic devices is growing rapidly, and thus the demand for new materials with new properties. Oxides, especially ones based on strontium titanate (SrTiO 3 ), play an important role here. Researchers recently discovered that SrTiO 3 , although actually an insulator, can form a metallic layer on its surface, in which electric current can flow.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 18.09.2014
New territories in the flux of cosmic rays
New territories in the flux of cosmic rays
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS ) collaboration has today presented its latest results. These are based on the analysis of 41 billion particles detected with the space-based AMS detector aboard the International Space Station. The results, presented during a seminar at CERN 2 , provide new insights into the nature of the mysterious excess of positrons observed in the flux of cosmic rays.

Pharmacology - 26.08.2014
Roche acquires InterMune
Roche acquires InterMune
After dementing the romours that Roche would buy all the outstanding shares of Chugai it does not yet own, the pharma giant has after all been involved in some mergers and acquisitions activity with a $8.3 billion offer in cash for InterMune.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 17.07.2014
Mechanism of action of thalidomide elucidated
Mechanism of action of thalidomide elucidated
Scientists have clarified the workings of thalidomide at the molecular level. Their analysis of various structures indicates that the drug can interfere with cellular processes in two different ways-once preventing and once promoting protein degradation-thus explaining its diverse clinical effects. In the early 1960s, thalidomide - a drug widely prescribed at that time as a sedative and for the treatment of morning sickness in pregnancy - became notorious when it was found to cause birth defects.

Physics - Chemistry - 15.07.2014
Smallest Swiss Cross – Made of 20 Single Atoms
Smallest Swiss Cross – Made of 20 Single Atoms
The manipulation of atoms has reached a new level: Physicists were able to place 20 single atoms on a fully insulated surface at room temperature to form the smallest “Swiss cross?, thus taking a big step towards next generation atomic-scale storage devices. Ever since the 1990s, physicists have been able to directly control surface structures by moving and positioning single atoms to certain atomic sites.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.07.2014
Inducing visual function
Inducing visual function
Scientists have resolved the mechanism controlling the maintenance of the light detectors - the cone photoreceptor outer segments - in the retina. With this knowledge, they have been able to induce the formation of functional photoreceptors in cultured retinas derived from embryonic stem cells. This opens up exciting new avenues for the study and treatment of blindness.

Physics - 22.06.2014
CERN experiments report new Higgs boson measurements
CERN experiments report new Higgs boson measurements
The CMS experiment at CERN reports new results on an important property of the Higgs particle, whose discovery was announced by the ATLAS and CMS experiments on 4 July 2012. The CMS result follows preliminary results from both experiments, which both reported strong evidence for the fermionic decay late in 2013.

Life Sciences - Health - 19.05.2014
Our brain is flexible and adaptable
Our brain is flexible and adaptable
The brains of bilingual people do not differ in their structure, but are capable of developing differentiated strategies according to the demands placed on them by particular contexts.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 16.05.2014
Detaching glue with light: possible thanks to a supramolecular adhesive
Detaching glue with light: possible thanks to a supramolecular adhesive
Something went wrong when gluing something? No problem. Researchers have developed a polymer structure which is capable of reversibly gluing materials together using nothing but light.

Environment - Chemistry - 16.05.2014
Experiment sheds new light on cloud formation
Experiment sheds new light on cloud formation
CERN 's CLOUD experiment has shown that biogenic vapours emitted by trees and oxidised in the atmosphere have a significant impact on the formation of clouds, thus helping to cool the planet. These biogenic aerosols are what give forests seen from afar their characteristic blue haze. The CLOUD study shows that the oxidised biogenic vapours bind with sulphuric acid to form embryonic particles which can then grow to become the seeds on which cloud droplets can form.

Chemistry - Environment - 28.04.2014
Sunlight to jet fuel
Sunlight to jet fuel
In the framework of the EU-project Solarjet, scientists demonstrate for the first time the entire production path to liquid hydrocarbon fuels from water, CO2 and solar energy. The key technological component is a solar reactor developed at ETH Zurich. By playing this video, you agree to the use of cookies by YouTube This may include analytics, personalization, and ads.

Environment - Transport - 28.04.2014
The entire production path of
The entire production path of "solar" kerosene
With the first ever production of synthesized "solar" jet fuel, the EU-funded SOLAR-JET project has successfully demonstrated the entire production chain for renewable kerosene obtained directly from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2), therein potentially revolutionizing the future of aviation.

Life Sciences - 10.04.2014
A brain area responsible for grasping
A brain area responsible for grasping
A research has shown that limb motor control is regulated by a selective synaptic connectivity matrix between the brainstem and the spinal cord. In particular, the researchers have pinpointed a brainstem area responsible for the control of grasping. This is the first time it has been possible to link defined neuronal circuit elements unequivocally to a specific phase of movement.

Mechanical Engineering - 25.03.2014
X-rays film inside live flying insects – in 3D
X-rays film inside live flying insects – in 3D
Scientists have used a particle accelerator to obtain high-speed 3D X-ray visualizations of the flight muscles of flies. The team developed a groundbreaking new CT scanning technique at the PSI's Swiss Light Source to allow them to film inside live flying insects. 3D movies of the blowfly flight motor offer a glimpse into the inner workings of one of nature's most complex mechanisms, showing that structural deformations are the key to understanding how a fly controls its wingbeat.

Physics - Electroengineering - 06.03.2014
Observed live with x-ray laser: electricity controls magnetism
Observed live with x-ray laser: electricity controls magnetism
Data on a hard drive is stored by flipping small magnetic domains. Researchers have now changed the magnetic arrangement in a material much faster than is possible with today's hard drives. The researchers used a new technique where an electric field triggers these changes, in contrast to the magnetic fields commonly used in consumer devices.

Health - Materials Science - 13.02.2014
When chemists invent new rattles
When chemists invent new rattles
Chemists have developed a one-pot synthesis process to encapsulate nanoparticles. This type of particle could improve the antimicrobial coating of implants.

Earth Sciences - 13.02.2014
Glacier simulation sheds light on accident after 88 years
Glacier simulation sheds light on accident after 88 years
In March 1926, four young men failed to return from their ski tour on Aletschgletscher. Working on the basis of where their remains were found, a mathematician and a glaciologist are now attempting to reconstruct what happened. At midday on a March day in 1926, four men, three of whom were brothers, met at Hollandiahütte above Aletschgletscher.