news from the lab 2017

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Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 27.12.2017
Bacteria acquire resistance from competitors
Bacteria acquire resistance from competitors
Bacteria not only develop resistance to antibiotics, they also can pick it up from their rivals. In a recent publication in "Cell Reports", Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have demonstrated that some bacteria inject a toxic cocktail into their competitors causing cell lysis and death.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 20.12.2017
Feasibility of Eliminating Rabies in Africa
Feasibility of Eliminating Rabies in Africa
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, together with European and African collaborators, carried out a mass dog vaccination in Chad and determined its effect on human rabies exposure. The study employed a bio-mathematical method for estimating the transmission dynamics of rabies. The researchers conclude that with political will and the necessary funding, elimination of rabies is possible in Africa.

Life Sciences - 20.12.2017
How Plants Form Their Seeds
How Plants Form Their Seeds
Around 80 to 85 percent of our calorie needs is covered through seeds, either directly as food or indirectly through use as feed.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 14.12.2017
The immune cells that help tumors instead of destroying them
The immune cells that help tumors instead of destroying them
EPFL scientists have discovered that neutrophils, a type of immune cell, can actually help lung tumors grow. The work is published in Cell Reports, and has enormous implications for cancer immunotherapy. Neutrophils inside lung adenocarcinoma tumors. On the left, neutrophils inside a mouse tumor are stained brown; on the right, neutrophils inside a human tumor are stained red (credit: E. Meylan/EPFL).

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 13.12.2017
Protein Structure Could Unlock New Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis
Protein Structure Could Unlock New Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a severe hereditary disease of the lung, for which there is currently no cure. The underlying cause of the disease is a malfunction of the chloride channel CFTR, which prevents the secretion of chloride in certain body cells.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 13.12.2017
Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease
Autophagy refers to a fundamental recycling process of cells that occurs in yeast, fungi, plants, as well as animals and humans. This process allows cells to degrade their own components and thus activate energy resources to be able to adapt to nutritional needs. In addition, autophagy plays a central role in steering an organism's immune response.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 11.12.2017
Novartis drug crizanlizumab shown to prolong time to patients’ first sickle cell pain crisis in subgroup analysis of SUSTAIN study
Investigational therapy crizanlizumab (SEG101, formerly SelG1) approximately doubled the time to first on-treatment sickle cell pain crisis, according to new subgroup analysis of Phase II SUSTAIN data Results were consistent across patient subgroups despite differences in disease severity, genotype or background therapy New findings for crizanlizumab, a potential disease-modifying, preventive treatment option for patients with sickle cell diseas

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 11.12.2017
Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
Lipid, also known as fat, is an optimal energy source and an important cell component. Much is required for the rapid and uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and from the University of Geneva have now discovered that the protein mTOR stimulates the production of lipids in liver tumors to satisfy the increased nutrient turnover and energy needs of cancer cells among other functions.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 06.12.2017
Healthy mitochondria could stop Alzheimer's
Healthy mitochondria could stop Alzheimer's
Using a bioinformatics and experimental approach, scientists at EPFL have found that rendering mitochondria resistant to damage can halt diseases caused by amyloid toxicity, such as Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and neurodegeneration worldwide. A major hallmark of the disease is the accumulation of toxic plaques in the brain, formed by the abnormal aggregation of a protein called beta-amyloid inside neurons.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 01.12.2017
3D-printed minifactories
3D-printed minifactories
ETH researchers have developed a biocompatible ink for 3D printing using living bacteria. This makes it possible to produce biological materials capable of breaking down toxic substances or producing high-purity cellulose for biomedical applications. There will soon be nothing that cannot be produced with 3D printing.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 29.11.2017
A Big Data tool begins new era for biology and personalized medicine
A Big Data tool begins new era for biology and personalized medicine
Researchers from EPFL have developed a novel series of systems genetics tools to identify new links between genes and phenotypes. The work, a hallmark of EPFL's endeavors into the advancement of open science, brings biology to the cloud and sets the stage for the development of precision medicine. The study is published in Cell Systems.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 28.11.2017
Maize pest exploits plant defense compounds to protect itself
Maize pest exploits plant defense compounds to protect itself
A new study by the Institute of Plant Sciences of the University of Bern and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology shows how the Western corn rootworm puts the maize plants' defense strategies out of action. The results explain why biological control of the crop pest has not been efficient. The Western corn rootworm continues to be on the rise in Europe.

Life Sciences - 27.11.2017
Tracking Down Genetic Influences on Brain Disorders
Tracking Down Genetic Influences on Brain Disorders
New findings will help to identify the genetic causes of brain disorders: researchers at the Universities of Basel, Bonn and Cologne have presented a systematic catalog of specific variable locations in the genome that influence gene activity in the human hippocampus, as they report Communications. Individual differences in gene regulation contribute to the development of numerous multifactorial disorders.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 22.11.2017
Alzheimer's Tau protein forms toxic complexes with cell membranes
Alzheimer's disease is caused by tangles in the brain made up of malfunctioning aggregated Tau proteins. Scientists at EPFL have discovered a new toxic form of Tau that forms as a result of its interaction with cell membranes. The research is published and provides novel insights into possible mechanisms by which this protein moves in the brain and kills neurons.

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.

Art 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.
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