news 2018

Life Sciences - Sep 25
Life Sciences
Many wild and cultivated plants arise through the combination of two different species. The genome of these so-called polyploid species often consists of a quadruple set of chromosomes - a double set for each parental species - and thus has about twice as many genes as the original species. About 50 years ago, evolutionary biologists postulated that this process drives evolution, leading to new species.
Physics - Sep 24

EPFL's SolAce pilot unit was inaugurated today at the NEST R&D center on the Empa campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Astronomy - Sep 21
Astronomy

In the future, astronauts on long missions in space will have to take care of their own farming. But will that even work? An unusual experiment by Eawag researcher was designed to find some of the answers.

Innovation - Sep 24
Innovation

Anyone who spends most of their day indoors knows the importance of a comfortable atmosphere to work and live in.

Life Sciences - Sep 21
Life Sciences

Researchers stimulated the nerves of the amputated arm with signals very similar to the natural ones, succeeding in "imitating the colors" of the evoked sensations of the various types of receptors and related nerve fibers present in the fingertips of the hand.


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Life Sciences - Environment - 25.09.2018
Genome Duplication Drives Evolution of Species
Genome Duplication Drives Evolution of Species
Many wild and cultivated plants arise through the combination of two different species. The genome of these so-called polyploid species often consists of a quadruple set of chromosomes - a double set for each parental species - and thus has about twice as many genes as the original species. About 50 years ago, evolutionary biologists postulated that this process drives evolution, leading to new species.

Physics / Materials Science - Innovation / Technology - 24.09.2018
EPFL unveils SolAce, a solar-powered pilot unit in Dübendorf
EPFL's SolAce pilot unit was inaugurated today at the NEST R&D center on the Empa campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Researchers at this solar-powered unit will test out new technology designed to make buildings energy positive and carbon neutral - while providing maximum comfort for their occupants.

Innovation / Technology - Physics / Materials Science - 24.09.2018
A facade that is a power plant and a guarantee of wellbeing
A facade that is a power plant and a guarantee of wellbeing
Anyone who spends most of their day indoors knows the importance of a comfortable atmosphere to work and live in. Researchers from EPFL's Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory are searching for ways to maximize the energy gain from a building's envelope while also optimizing interior comfort in an environmentally friendly way.

Astronomy / Space Science - 21.09.2018
Space research: What happens to soils in weightlessness?
Space research: What happens to soils in weightlessness?
In the future, astronauts on long missions in space will have to take care of their own farming. But will that even work? An unusual experiment by Eawag researcher was designed to find some of the answers. Life on our planet has always been under the influence of gravity. But how would soils, plants and other organisms react in a zero-gravity situation? Scientists have been puzzling over this question since last decades until now, and Eawag hydrologist and soil physicist, Joaquin Jimenez-Martinez and his colleagues are also keen to understand how zero gravity affects soil processes.

Life Sciences - 21.09.2018
Another step towards the hand prosthesis of the future
Another step towards the hand prosthesis of the future
Researchers stimulated the nerves of the amputated arm with signals very similar to the natural ones, succeeding in "imitating the colors" of the evoked sensations of the various types of receptors and related nerve fibers present in the fingertips of the hand. This has brought greater realism and greater functionality of the feelings experienced by patients.

Life Sciences - 21.09.2018
The gene code of growing limbs
The gene code of growing limbs
Scientists from EPFL and the University of Geneva have discovered a "code" of architect genes that are expressed in specific combinations during the development of hands and fingers. The study decrypts developmental gene expression at the level of the single cell in developing limbs and expands our understanding of the genetics behind growing limbs.

Environment - 20.09.2018
Preserving Chile's water with solar-powered robots
Preserving Chile's water with solar-powered robots
EPFL researchers have developed floating, solar-powered robots to help protect Chile's water reservoirs. These low-cost robots can be assembled together in a variety of ways on the water surface to prevent the water from evaporating - thereby preserving a precious resource in this arid country and one that's crucial to its biggest industry: winemaking.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 19.09.2018
Narcolepsy, scientists unmask the culprit of an enigmatic disease
Narcolepsy, scientists unmask the culprit of an enigmatic disease
Patients with a rare disease, called narcolepsy, suffer of excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. A study published in the renowned scientific journal Nature reports the cause of the disease, which has previously been a mystery. The study is the result of a close collaboration between researchers from the University Sleep-Wake-Epilepsy-Centre Bern at the University Hospital (Inselspital), the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona and ETH Zurich.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 17.09.2018
World’s largest Alzheimer’s survey reveals most adults believe a cure will be developed in their lifetime
From a sample of over 10,000 adults, 62% are worried that they may develop Alzheimer's disease and 91% believe the solution to tackling diseases lies in medical research   79% are willing to take part in medical research but three-quarters (75%) have no idea how to get involved   This World Alzheimer's Month, in association with Alzheimer's Disease International, Novartis, Amgen and Banner Alzheimer's Institute are raising awareness about how to

Chemistry - 17.09.2018
New method more than doubles sugar production from plants
New method more than doubles sugar production from plants
EPFL chemists have developed a method that can significantly increase the yield of sugars from plants, improving the production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. Producing fuels and chemicals from biomass (wood, grasses, etc.) is one of the most promising solutions for building a renewable economy.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 14.09.2018
A very special protein synthesis machinery
A very special protein synthesis machinery
Sleeping sickness-causing parasites contain an unusual protein synthesis machinery. A team of researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Bern resolved its very special structure for the first time. Ribosomes are among the most important molecular machines within the cell that hardly changed in the course of evolution.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 14.09.2018
Facilitating diagnosis with a new type of biosensor
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute and EPFL have developed a new type of biosensor able to precisely quantify metabolites using a single drop of blood. The accuracy and simplicity of the procedure could make it a tool of choice for diagnosing and monitoring several diseases. Diseases or injuries can result in dramatic changes in the blood levels of metabolites, which are chemical compounds produced by the body's metabolism.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.09.2018
New fish species discovered in the Bernese Oberland
New fish species discovered in the Bernese Oberland
In Lakes Thun and Brienz, evolutionary biologists from Eawag and Bern University have discovered a new whitefish species. The species, provisionally named "Balchen2", is clearly differentiated - morphologically, ecologically and genetically - from the five Lake Thun whitefish species previously described.

Physics / Materials Science - 12.09.2018
Probing individual edge states with unprecedented precision
Probing individual edge states with unprecedented precision
A new technique makes it possible to obtain an individual fingerprint of the current-carrying edge states occurring in novel materials such as topological insulators or 2D materials. Physicists of the University of Basel present the new method together with American scientists in ‘Nature Communications.' While insulators do not conduct electrical currents, some special materials exhibit peculiar electrical properties: though not conducting

Medicine / Pharmacology - 12.09.2018
Scent of a woman: what makes it attractive?
Scent of a woman: what makes it attractive?
Reproductive hormones control a woman's monthly cycle and regulate fertility. Reproductive hormones are also related to how attractive a woman smells a study now shows. Researchers at the University of Bern demonstrate that some women smell better to men than others. Namely those who are "fittest" for reproduction.

Environment - 11.09.2018
Wastewater recycling instead of disposal
Wastewater recycling instead of disposal
Wastewater smells foul and is full of pathogens. For these reasons it is usually removed and disposed of quickly.

Medicine / Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 10.09.2018
Special Antibodies Could Lead to HIV Vaccine
Special Antibodies Could Lead to HIV Vaccine
Around one percent of people infected with HIV produce antibodies that block most strains of the virus. These broadly acting antibodies provide the key to developing an effective vaccine against HIV. Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have now shown that the genome of the HI virus is a decisive factor in determining which antibodies are formed.

Astronomy / Space Science - Innovation / Technology - 07.09.2018
Scientists sketch out the foundations of a colony on Mars
Scientists sketch out the foundations of a colony on Mars
EPFL scientists have mapped out the steps required to build a self-sustaining research base on Mars that would be habitable for the long term. Their work can help researchers set priorities for space programs exploring Mars as well as the solar system as a whole. If there was ever life on Mars, its traces are most likely to be found at the planet's poles.

Life Sciences - Medicine / Pharmacology - 07.09.2018
Using biosensors to deliver personalized doses of antibiotics
A team of eight EPFL students has come up with a portable biosensor that can measure the amount of vancomycin in a patient's blood stream, enabling doctors to better control the dosage and reduce harmful side effects.

Environment - 05.09.2018
Impacts of anthropogenic temperature changes underresearched
Impacts of anthropogenic temperature changes underresearched
Climate warming is not the only cause of temperature changes in lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. The use of waterbodies for heating and cooling also leads to increases or decreases in water temperature. There has been little research to date, however, on how this affects aquatic ecosystems. This lack of understanding has been highlighted by a recent literature review carried out at Eawag and the University of Bern.
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