news from the lab 2017

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Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
21.11.2017
Pneumonia: Treatment with Vaccines instead of Antibiotics
Pneumonia: Treatment with Vaccines instead of Antibiotics
Mycoplasma bacteria are one of the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia in children. It is still unclear how the disease develops.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
20.11.2017
How our forests are adapting to climate change
How our forests are adapting to climate change
How do trees adjust to the effects of global warming? EPFL researchers have studied how beech and spruce trees - two of the most common plant species in Europe - react to changing temperatures. And they discovered that the amount of moisture in the air plays a decisive role. Rising temperatures, increasingly intense rainfall and extended periods of drought are some of the known effects of climate change.
Arts and Design - Life Sciences
10.11.2017
That music playing in your head: a real conundrum for scientists
That music playing in your head: a real conundrum for scientists
Researchers at EPFL can now see what happens in our brains when we hear music in our heads. The researchers hope that in time their findings will be used to help people who have lost the ability to speak. When we listen to music, different parts of our brain process different information - such as high and low frequencies - so that our auditory perception of the sounds matches what we hear.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
02.11.2017
Animals' mitochondria defenses discovered in plants
Animals' mitochondria defenses discovered in plants
Scientists at EPFL have discovered that the mechanism that mitochondria use to defend mammalian cells against protein-damaging stress also exists in plants. The work is published in Molecular Cell. Image: Arabidopsis thaliana plants used in this study. On the left is a plant under normal growth conditions, while on the right is a plant treated with doxycycline, which has significantly stunted its growth but is protected against aging as evidenced by its fresher appearance (credit: J. Auwerx/EPFL).
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
26.10.2017
How
How "sleeper cells" in cancerous tumours can be destroyed
Media releases, information for representatives of the media Media Relations (E) In many metastasised types of cancer, disseminated tumours grow back despite successful chemotherapy. As a research team under the direction of the University of Bern has now discovered, this is because of isolated cancer cells that survive the chemotherapy due to a phase of dormancy.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
26.10.2017
How much does life weigh?
How much does life weigh?
ETH researchers have developed a scale for measuring cells. It allows the weight of individual living cells, and any changes in this weight, to be determined quickly and accurately for the first time. The invention has also aroused significant interest both in and outside the field of biology. From earthworms and sunflowers to human beings, we are all made up of cells, so it's no surprise that researchers are hard at work investigating these building blocks of life.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
24.10.2017
Adhesives and composite materials made from Swiss tree bark
Adhesives and composite materials made from Swiss tree bark
Studies show that tannins extracted from native tree bark can be used to produce adhesives and composite materials. An additional area of application might be 3D printing. The bark of native conifers is known as a waste product in the timber industry. It is mostly burnt or used as garden mulch. A team from the National Research Programme "Resource Wood" (NRP 66) has now developed a new process to extract valuable tannins from tree bark to produce adhesives and composite materials.
Life Sciences
23.10.2017
Sleepwalkers are better at automatic walking
Sleepwalkers who are awake may have a multi-tasking advantage over non-sleepwalkers, according to recent research that uses virtual realilty. Try counting backwards from 200 in steps of 7 while walking en-route to your favourite café. Chances are, you will slow down or even freeze mid-stride, unless you are a sleepwalker.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
18.10.2017
Possible new immune therapy target in lung cancer
Possible new immune therapy target in lung cancer
Media releases, information for representatives of the media Media Relations (E) A study from Bern University Hospital in collaboration with the University of Bern shows that so-called perivascular-like cells from lung tumors behave abnormally. They not only inadequately support vascular structures, but also may actively modulate the inflammatory and immune response.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
18.10.2017
Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
When species interact with each other, they do not evolve separately, but do so together. This process is called coevolution. Natural selection favors predators that are better at capturing prey, and it favors prey with better defenses for escaping predators. Among mutualistic biological communities, where two species mutually benefit from their relationship, natural selection favors, for example, plants that are better at being pollinated by insects as well as insects that are better at extracting pollen and nectar from flowers.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
09.10.2017
The female brain reacts more strongly to prosocial behavior
The female brain reacts more strongly to prosocial behavior
Behavioral experiments have shown that when women share a sum of money more generously than men. To gain a more in-depth understanding of this behavior, neuroscientists from the Department of Economics looked at the areas of the brain that are active when decisions of this kind are made. They are the first to demonstrate that the brains of men and women respond differently to prosocial and selfish behavior.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
02.10.2017
Our muscles measure the time of day
Our muscles measure the time of day
Researchers funded by the SNSF have discovered a biological clock at work in our muscle cells. It could be a factor in regulating our metabolism and play a role in diabetes. Biological clocks are ticking everywhere throughout our body. They trigger the release of the hormone melatonin during sleep, favour the secretion of digestive enzymes at lunchtime or keep us awake at the busiest moments of the day.
Life Sciences - History/Archeology
29.09.2017
Two items of anthology now stored for eternity in DNA
Two items of anthology now stored for eternity in DNA
Thanks to an innovative technology for encoding data in DNA strands, two items of world heritage - songs recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival and digitized by EPFL - have been safeguarded for eternity.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
27.09.2017
Emerging infectious disease threatens Darwin's frog with extinction
Emerging infectious disease threatens Darwin’s frog with extinction
The Darwin's frog ( Rhinoderma darwinii ) is the latest amphibian species to face extinction due to the global chytridiomycosis pandemic, according to an international study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. The study has found that Darwin's frogs are infected with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ( Bd ), and despite an absence of obvious mortality researchers have noted population declines, leading them to believe that these infected populations are at a serious risk of extinction within 15 years of contracting the disease.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
25.09.2017
Bacterial Nanosized Speargun Works Like a Power Drill
Bacterial Nanosized Speargun Works Like a Power Drill
In order to get rid of unpleasant competitors, some bacteria use a sophisticated weapon - a nanosized speargun.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
21.09.2017
Tumor metabolism helps classify hepatoblastoma
Tumor metabolism helps classify hepatoblastoma
Looking at cell metabolism instead of histology, EPFL scientists have identified new biomarkers that could help more accurately classify the two main subtypes of hepatoblastoma, a liver cancer in children. Hepatoblastoma is a rare pediatric liver cancer, usually diagnosed in the first three years of life.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
18.09.2017
A new approach to high insulin levels
A new approach to high insulin levels
Congenital hyperinsulinism is a serious yet poorly understood condition. Research funded by the SNSF has discovered how it is caused by a genetic mutation. Diabetes is characterised by a deficiency of insulin. The opposite is the case in congenital hyperinsulinism: patients produce the hormone too frequently and in excessive quantities, even if they haven't eaten any carbohydrates.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
14.09.2017
Unexpected facets of Antarctica emerge from the labs
Unexpected facets of Antarctica emerge from the labs
Six months after the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition ended, the teams that ran the 22 scientific projects are hard at work sorting through the many samples they collected. Some preliminary findings were announced during a conference in Crans Montana organized by the Swiss Polar Institute, who just appointed Konrad Steffen as new academic director.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
11.09.2017
How Liver Cancer Develops
How Liver Cancer Develops
Liver cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death and represents the fastest rising cancer worldwide. In most cases, the tumor develops in patients with chronic liver disease. Such diseases include chronic infections with hepatitis viruses or a so-called fatty liver due to nutritional or genetically caused lipometabolic disorders or an excessive consumption of alcohol.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
07.09.2017
Trigger for Fatty Liver in Obesity
Trigger for Fatty Liver in Obesity
In Switzerland, about every tenth adult suffers from morbid obesity. Such corpulence can not only lead to diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but also to fat accumulation in the liver. Worldwide, about 25 to 30 percent of all adults and increasingly children are affected by such steatosis - becoming the most frequent liver disease in recent years.
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