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Health - Life Sciences - 20.12.2018
Bacteria rely on classic business model
Bacteria rely on classic business model
The pneumonia causing pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa has developed a twin-track strategy to colonize its host. It generates two different cells - motile spreaders and virulent stickers. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now elucidated how the germ attaches to tissue within seconds and consecutively spreads.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.12.2018
How liquid droplets grow in cells
How liquid droplets grow in cells
For more than 100 years, biologists have known that cells contain various kinds of membraneless organelles and conjectured what organizing principles underlie them. During the past decade, liquid-liquid phase separation has emerged as one of the concepts that can explain these cellular structures. Phase separation has become an increasingly hot topic, as it can be related to pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.12.2018
Enrichment of resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants
Enrichment of resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants
Although wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remove over 95 per cent of human fecal bacteria, many resistant bacteria can still be detected in the final effluent. How is this to be explained? To find out, a group led by microbiologist Helmut Bürgmann investigated the fate and expression of antibacterial resistance genes in the course of treatment at twelve WWTPs.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 11.12.2018
Using water molecules to unlock neurons' secrets
EPFL researchers have developed a method to observe the electrical activity of neurons by analyzing the behavior of surrounding water molecules. This simple and non-invasive method, which could eliminate the need for electrodes and fluorophores, can be used to monitor the activity within a single neuron or potentially on an entire region of the brain.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.12.2018
Whole-brain imaging of mice during behavior
In a study published in Neuron, researchers have demonstrated how functional ultrasound imaging can yield high-resolution, unbiased, brain-wide activity maps of behaving mice. These can lead to a brain-wide understanding of how brain activity relates to specific behavior - in healthy mice and in mouse models of neurologic or psychiatric diseases.

Environment - Life Sciences - 03.12.2018
Surprising discovery of pollutants in gammarids
Surprising discovery of pollutants in gammarids
The water in Swiss streams is contaminated with numerous micropollutants. However, very little research has been carried out to determine how these trace substances affect organisms in bodies of water. An Eawag research group has been able to show for the first time on a large scale that such trace substances accumulate in gammarids and possibly have a negative effect on them.

Life Sciences - 28.11.2018
First Digital 3D Brain Cell Atlas
First Digital 3D Brain Cell Atlas
Like "going from hand-drawn maps to Google Earth," the Blue Brain Cell Atlas allows anyone to visualize every region in the mouse brain, cell-by-cell - and freely download data for new analyses and modelling. The first digital 3D atlas of every cell in the mouse brain provides neuroscientists with previously unavailable information on major cell types, numbers and positions in all 737 brain regions - which will potentially accelerate progress in brain science massively.

Veterinary - Life Sciences - 26.11.2018
Cribbing Horses Can also Solve Complex Tasks
Cribbing Horses Can also Solve Complex Tasks
A study conducted by Agroscope's Swiss National Stud Farm (SNSF) in collaboration with the University of Neuchâtel refuted the assumption that cribbing horses perform less well in complicated learning situations than other horses. All horses in the study were able to recognise symbols as well as solve inverse conclusion exercises, which are difficult for horses.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.11.2018
Immunity connects gut bacteria and aging
EPFL scientists have discovered how a dysfunction in the immune system can cause an overload of a gut bacterium. The bacterium produces excess lactic acid, which in turn triggers the production of reactive oxygen species that cause damage to cells and many age-related pathologies. There is no doubt that gut bacteria have become one of the most important focuses of biological and medical research today.

Environment - Life Sciences - 08.11.2018
Biodiversity: Does the dispersion of species always follow the same rules?
Biodiversity: Does the dispersion of species always follow the same rules?
It is common among many species for individuals to move around during their lifetime in order to settle in better adapted habitats, a process known as dispersion by ecologists. In order to improve scientific predictions of the future of biodiversity in the face of global changes (such as climate change, landscape fragmentation and biological invasions) it is very important to understand the mechanisms of dispersion, which modulates the adaptation of species to their environment.

Life Sciences - Environment - 08.11.2018
Exploiting Epigenetic Variation for Plant Breeding
Exploiting Epigenetic Variation for Plant Breeding
Epigenetic changes can bring about new traits without altering the sequence of genes. This may allow plants to respond quicker to changes in their environment. Plant biologists at the University of Zurich have now demonstrated that epigenetic variation is also subject to selection and can be inherited.

Environment - Life Sciences - 08.11.2018
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
Bits of genetic material in rivers make it possible to detect the organisms living in them - without having to collect these and examine them under the microscope. Researchers at Eawag, the ETH and the EPFL have now developed a computer model that with the help of single DNA measurements even simulates exactly where and how often the species are present in bodies of water.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.11.2018
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
Every living thing leaves behind tiny traces of its genetic material, for example in the form of dead skin cells or excrement. If one now takes water samples and decodes the environmental DNA (also known as eDNA) therein, one knows which species cavort in which waters. One thus discovers rare species that literally fall through the net during normal testing.

Life Sciences - Environment - 05.11.2018
Small Genetic Differences Turn Plants into Better Teams
Small Genetic Differences Turn Plants into Better Teams
Diverse communities of plants and animals typically perform better than monocultures. However, the mechanisms that are responsible for this have so far been a mystery to science. Biologists have now been able to identify the genetic cause of these effects. Their findings might help to improve crop yield.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 05.11.2018
Clues to making drugs for
Clues to making drugs for "undruggable" targets
Nicolas Thomä's group at the FMI has joined forces with the group of Benjamin Ebert at Harvard's Broad Institute to show how thalidomide analogs mediate degradation of many more proteins than previously anticipated. These proteins - zinc finger transcription factors - play a role in cancer and developmental diseases but are difficult drug targets.

Health - Life Sciences - 31.10.2018
Breakthrough neurotechnology for treating paralysis
Three patients with chronic paraplegia were able to walk over ground thanks to precise electrical stimulation of their spinal cords via a wireless implant. Researchers have shown that, after a few months of training, the patients were able to control previously paralyzed leg muscles even in the absence of electrical stimulation.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.10.2018
Dead or alive?
Dead or alive?
Probiotics - live bacteria with beneficial effects on human health - are believed to hold out great promise for certain therapeutic applications. But do these bacteria remain viable when they are frozen or freeze-dried for storage? Eawag's expertise in drinking water microbiology enabled to it provide valuable support for a study of gut microbes carried out in the Food Biotechnology Laboratory at ETH Zurich.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.10.2018
Anti-aging molecule NAD+ gets a boost from blocking an enzyme
Scientists at EPFL have found a new way to boost the famous anti-aging molecule NAD+ in the kidney and liver by blocking an enzyme that limits its production. Publishing in Nature, the researchers have also developed two enzyme blockers that are shown to protect against kidney and liver disease. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a major player in nutrition today.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.10.2018
Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective
Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective
EPFL scientists have developed a miniaturized electronic platform for the stimulation and recording of peripheral nerve fibers on a chip. By modulating and rapidly recording nerve activity with a high signal-to-noise ratio, the platform paves the way to using chips to improve neuroprosthetic designs.  Neuroprosthetics - implants containing multi-contact electrodes that can substitute certain nerve functionalities - have the potential to work wonders.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 22.10.2018
New technique reveals limb control in flies - and maybe robots
New technique reveals limb control in flies - and maybe robots
A new neural recording technique developed by EPFL bioengineers enables for the first time the comprehensive measurement of neural circuits that control limb movement. Tested on the fruit fly, results from the technique may inspire the development of more sophisticated robotic control approaches. One of the major goals of biology, medicine, and robotics is to understand how limbs are controlled by circuits of neurons working together.
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