news from the lab 2016
Results 21 - 40 of 90.
Health - Life Sciences - 24.10.2016
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a life-threatening pathogen in hospitals. About ten percent of all nosocomial infections, in particular pneumonia, are caused by this pathogen. Researchers from the University of Basel's Biozentrum, have now discovered that calcium induces the switch from acute to chronic infection.
Life Sciences - Environment - 24.10.2016
Researching phytoplankton in zero gravity
Swiss researchers have used a parabolic flight to investigate the effects of weightlessness on biological and physical processes. On board was an experiment from ETH Zurich designed to understand the influence of gravity on the migratory behaviour of aquatic microorganisms. A high-flying and unusual experiment: 'We were able to test an important hypothesis: changes in relative gravity, which routinely occur in aquatic environments due to turbulence, have a significant impact on the behaviour of microorganisms,' reports Roman Stocker after the second Swiss zero-g research flight.
Life Sciences - Health - 20.10.2016
First cyborg bacteria developed
ETH scientists have constructed bacteria in which growth can be controlled fully automatically by a computer.
Life Sciences - 19.10.2016
Overcoming egocentricity increases self-control
Should I buy a new car now or save the money for retirement? Such situations require self-control in order to resist the immediately tempting offer for the sake of more important outcomes in the future. It is widely accepted that self-control is regulated by mechanisms in the brain area called the "prefrontal cortex", with the ability to keep oneself at bay when tempted by immediately appealing offers.
Health - Life Sciences - 19.10.2016
A vitamin could help treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Researchers are working on a new strategy to combat one of the most severe forms of muscular dystrophy. Rather than acting on the defective gene, they are using large doses of a vitamin. Duchenne is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy. Because of this genetic disease, one out of every 3,500 children spends their 12th birthday in a wheelchair.
Life Sciences - Physics - 14.10.2016
Bacteria can make underground nuclear waste repositories safer
Naturally occurring bacteria could consume pent-up hydrogen gas in nuclear waste repositories to prevent radioactive leaks, say researchers at EPFL. Scientists may have found an unexpected ally in the long-term disposal of nuclear waste: bacteria. In a recent study, a research team led by EPFL discovered a microbial community made up of seven species of bacteria that live naturally hundreds of meters underground in the very rock layers that have been chosen to host Swiss nuclear waste.
Life Sciences - Environment - 05.10.2016
Hydraulics is a key driver of microbial life in streams and rivers
A new study has found that hydraulics determines microbial lifestyles along streams and rivers, with important implications for river health, biodiversity, and water quality. In streams and rivers, bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms form tight-knit communities that feed the ecosystem, drive its biodiversity, and purify its water.
Health - Life Sciences - 04.10.2016
Developing brain regions in children hardest hit by sleep deprivation
Sleep is vital for humans. If adults remain awake for longer than usual, the brain responds with an increased need for deep sleep. This is measured in the form of "slow wave activity" using electroencephalography (EEG). In adults, these deep-sleep waves are most pronounced in the prefrontal cortex - the brain region which plans and controls actions, solves problems and is involved in the working memory.
Physics - Life Sciences - 29.09.2016
Cellular test of strength
Biological cells can expand, contract and interact with neighbouring cells. With an advancement in a microscopy technique, ETH Zurich researchers can now readily, directly, and accurately determine which forces are at work during cell motion and where. The technique is used in areas such as cancer research.
Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 27.09.2016
Vigilin, the lock keeper
ETH researchers have discovered a molecule in liver cells that controls the release of fat into the bloodstream. This 'lock keeper? is present in large quantities in overweight people and leads indirectly to vascular narrowing. Anyone attending Munich's famous Oktoberfest will know it can leave physical traces; fatty foods and plenty of alcohol cause the liver to work overtime.
Health - Life Sciences - 26.09.2016
Broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies pave the way for vaccine
We know from HIV research that around one percent of people infected with HIV form antibodies that combat different virus strains.
Life Sciences - 21.09.2016
The first genomic history of Australia’s peopling
Australia has one of the longest histories of continuous human occupation outside Africa. But who exactly were the first people to settle there? Such a question has obvious political implications and has been hotly debated for decades. The first comprehensive genomic study of Aboriginal Australians reveals that they are indeed the direct descendants of Australia's earliest settlers and diverged from their Papuan neighbours about 37'000 years ago (y.a.
Life Sciences - Environment - 20.09.2016
Fish Against Monster Worms
Eunice aphroditois, also known as the Bobbit worm, buries its long body deep in the sand, leaving only its powerful jaws protruding above the surface. It uses these to grab hold of unsuspecting prey and drag it down into its burrow within a fraction of a second. Biologists from Basel University have taken a closer look at the gruesome hunter and its prey and noticed a fascinating behavioral pattern: prey fish defend themselves against the monstrous worm by attacking it with water jets and forcing it to retreat.
Life Sciences - Environment - 12.09.2016
Ground squirrels use the sun to hide food
Jamie Samson and Marta Manser from the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental 1Studies at UZH studied colonies of Cape ground squirrels ( Xerus inauris ) in the wild at the Kalahari Research Center in South Africa. The diurnal rodents temporarily store their food reserves in several hiding places.
Chemistry - Life Sciences - 12.09.2016
Protein-like structures from the primordial soup
Experiments performed by ETH scientists have shown that it is remarkably easy for protein-like, two-dimensional structures - amyloids - to form from basic building blocks. This discovery supports the researchers? hypothesis that primal life could have evolved from amyloids such as these. The story starts at least four billion years ago, when there was no living matter on the planet.
Health - Life Sciences - 05.09.2016
Stretching cells to learn more about them
05. A tool developed at EPFL can stretch and compress cells, mimicking what happens in the body. The aim: to study the role played by these mechanical forces in cases of cancer or lymphatic diseases.
Health - Life Sciences - 31.08.2016
Antibody Reduces Harmful Brain Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer’s Patients
Although the causes of Alzheimer's disease are still unknown, it is clear that the disease commences with progressive amyloid deposition in the brains of affected persons between ten and fifteen years before the emergence of initial clinical symptoms such as memory loss. Researchers have now been able to show that Aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody, selectively binds brain amyloid plaques, thus enabling microglial cells to remove the plaques.
Chemistry - Life Sciences - 29.08.2016
Bringing artificial enzymes closer to nature
Scientists at the University of Basel, ETH Zurich in Basel, and NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering have developed an artificial metalloenzyme that catalyses a reaction inside of cells without equivalent in nature. This could be a prime example for creating new non-natural metabolic pathways inside living cells, as reported today in Nature.
Life Sciences - Health - 23.08.2016
Genetic Regulation of the Thymus Function Identified
Researchers at the universities of Basel and Oxford have for the first time identified all genes regulated by the protein Foxn1. The results show that Foxn1 not only plays a crucial role in development of the thymus in the embryo, but it also regulates vital functions in the developed, postnatal organ.
Life Sciences - Physics - 22.08.2016
Catching proteins in the act
Some of the fastest processes in our body run their course in proteins activated by light. The protein rhodopsin sees to it that our eyes can rapidly take in their ever-changing surroundings. Free-electron X-ray lasers such as SwissFEL at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI now make it possible for the first time to catch such processes in flagranti.