news from the lab 2017


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Medicine / Pharmacology - Social Sciences - 03.04.2017
Society considers people with mental illnesses to be more dangerous than they are
Society considers people with mental illnesses to be more dangerous than they are
How dangerous does the general public consider mentally ill people to be? Scientists at the University of Basel and the University Psychiatric Clinics Basel have investigated the factors that influence social stigma.

Computer Science / Telecom - 03.04.2017
Machine translation: going beyond sentence by sentence
Machine translation: going beyond sentence by sentence
In working sentence by sentence, translation algorithms omit much of the context and make mistakes. A project supported by the SNSF has developed new algorithmic techniques designed to do a better job of taking the entire text into account. Researchers supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have come up with a new approach to improving machine translation tools such as the famous Google Translate, which processes hundreds of billions of words daily.

Life Sciences - Sport Sciences - 03.04.2017
Area of the brain affected by autism detected
Area of the brain affected by autism detected
Brain researchers at ETH Zurich and other universities have shown for the first time that a region of the brain associated with empathy only activates very weakly in autistic people. This knowledge could help to develop new therapies for those affected by autism. Professor Nicole Wenderoth and her senior scientist Joshua Balsters, both researchers at ETH, have used functional MRI images (fMRI) from autistic adolescents to discover unusual activity in a particular region of the brain, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 30.03.2017
Anti-cancer drug gets a boost when combined with antirheumatic
Anti-cancer drug gets a boost when combined with antirheumatic
Scientists at EPFL and NTU have discovered that combining an anticancer drug with an antirheumatic produces improved effects against tumors. The discovery opens a new path for drug-drug synergy. One of the goals in pharmacology is to increase the efficiency of drugs by minimizing their side effects.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 30.03.2017
Nanomagnets for future data storage
Nanomagnets for future data storage
An international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich have developed a method for depositing single magnetisable atoms onto a surface. This is especially interesting for the development of new miniature data storage devices. The idea is intriguing: if only a single atom or small molecule was needed for a single unit of data (a zero or a one in the case of binary digital technology), massive volumes of data could be stored in the tiniest amount of space.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 28.03.2017
Inflammation awakens sleepers
Inflammation awakens sleepers
The inflammatory response that is supposed to ward off pathogens that cause intestinal disease makes this even worse.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 28.03.2017
Cracking the code of Huntington's disease
Cracking the code of Huntington's disease
Huntington's disease is caused by a gene mutation that causes a protein to build up in the brain. In a world first, EPFL scientists have synthesized and studied modified forms of a mutant part of the protein, deepening our understanding of how it contributes to the disease, and pointing to new therapeutic strategies for treating it.

Environment - History / Archeology - 27.03.2017
Sun's impact on climate change quantified for first time
Sun’s impact on climate change quantified for first time
For the first time, model calculations show a plausible way that fluctuations in solar activity could have a tangible impact on the climate. Studies funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation expect human-induced global warming to tail off slightly over the next few decades. A weaker sun could reduce temperatures by half a degree.

Earth Sciences - Media - 24.03.2017
Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
Media releases, information for representatives of the media Media Relations (E) The striking North Face of the Bernese Alps is the result of a steep rise of rocks from the depths following a collision of two tectonic plates.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 23.03.2017
Fighting malaria through metabolism
Fighting malaria through metabolism
EPFL scientists have fully modeled the metabolism of the deadliest malaria parasite. The model offers unprecedented tools for developing a new generation of antimalarial therapies to overcome drug resistance. Image: Computational analysis of the malaria parasites' metabolism aids in the understanding of observed phenotypes.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 22.03.2017
Sunbathing meteoroids
Sunbathing meteoroids
When a meteoroid travels in space, solar radiation leaves distinctive imprints on its outer layer. Together with colleagues, ETH researcher Antoine Roth has developed novel analytical techniques to detect these imprints, allowing the team to reconstruct meteorites' space journeys. The inconspicuous, small stone that was analysed with high-tech equipment is named Jiddat al Harasis 466.

Physics / Materials Science - Business / Economics - 22.03.2017
Camouflage apples
Camouflage apples
On the long journey from the fruit plantation to the retailer's shelf, fruits can quickly perish. In particular, the refrigeration inside the cargo containers is not always guaranteed and existing methods for measuring the temperature are not sufficiently reliable.

Computer Science / Telecom - Medicine / Pharmacology - 22.03.2017
When deep learning mistakes a coffee-maker for a cobra
When deep learning mistakes a coffee-maker for a cobra
‘Is this your sister'' That's the kind of question asked by image-recognition systems, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday devices. They may soon be used for tumor detection and genomics, too. These systems rely on what is known as ‘deep-learning' architectures - an exciting new development in artificial learning.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 21.03.2017
Testing the Efficacy of New Gene Therapies More Efficiently
Testing the Efficacy of New Gene Therapies More Efficiently
Chronic Granulomatous Disease is a hereditary disease of the immune system. Due to a gene defect, phagocytes of affected patients are unable to kill ingested bacteria and fungi.

Social Sciences - Media - 17.03.2017
European teens - especially girls - dream about cars
European teens - especially girls - dream about cars
A study on mobility patterns among young people shows that under-18s have a very positive image of cars. The researchers' approach relied heavily on social media. What is it about cars? ‘They're fast, practical, comfortable and safe.' That's what young people think - and girls more than boys - according to a study by EPFL researchers.

Architecture - Environment - 16.03.2017
Measuring the impact of a city's buildings on the weather
Measuring the impact of a city's buildings on the weather
A new model developed at EPFL can help engineers and meteorologists quickly calculate the effect that city buildings have on local weather patterns. A blinds manufacturer is already interested in it, and climate scientists could be next. The shape of city buildings, how they are arranged, and the heat they generate all affect the local weather.

Electroengineering - Computer Science / Telecom - 15.03.2017
'Instrument Flight' to the Inner Ear
‘Instrument Flight’ to the Inner Ear
A team of surgeons and engineers of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern (Switzerland), have developed a high-precision surgical robot for cochlear implantation.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.03.2017
Flies and bees act like plant cultivators
Flies and bees act like plant cultivators
Not much plant sex happens without pollinator insects: Bees, flies or butterflies transfer the male pollen grains to the stigma of a plant's female style, thereby ensuring its sexual reproduction.

Chemistry - Electroengineering - 14.03.2017
Liquid fuel for future computers
Liquid fuel for future computers
In the future, a new type of tiny redox flow battery will supply tightly packed electronic components with energy, while also dissipating the heat they produce.

Physics / Materials Science - Chemistry - 09.03.2017
Storing data in single-atom magnets
Storing data in single-atom magnets
Scientists at IBM and EPFL have shown for the first time that it is possible to store in and retrieve information from single-atom magnets. The breakthrough can have significant implications for the miniaturization of magnetic memory devices. As memory devices are becoming increasingly smaller, it was hypothesized whether the elementary storage unit could one day be as small as a single atom.
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