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Life Sciences - Physics - 20.03.2019
How our body «listens» to vibrations
How our body «listens» to vibrations
UNIGE researchers show that, for the brain, sounds and vibrations are ultimately quite similar. This would explain why vibrations are sometimes as unpleasant as noise pollution. We all know the feeling of a mobile phone vibrating in our hands when announcing an incoming call. If we perceive these vibrations so clearly, it is due to specialized receptors that transduce them into neural signals sent to our brain.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 19.03.2019
A distinct form of epigenetic memory
A distinct form of epigenetic memory
Epigenetic memory of transcriptional gene silencing has been observed in several organisms. However, it was not known whether mechanisms exist that convey transgenerational memory of a silencing “experience”, without silencing the gene permanently. The Bühler group has now found such a phenomenon in a unicellular organism.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.03.2019
New test method: Simulating in vitro what happens with proteins in vivo
New test method: Simulating in vitro what happens with proteins in vivo
Take protein - for instance, in the form of skimmed-milk powder - and put a pinch of it in a test tube. To determine how efficiently this dietary protein is converted into endogenous protein, follow the recipe described in the online science step-by-step in the laboratory. And voilà, the value of the protein, i.e. its benefit for humans, is revealed.

Life Sciences - 19.03.2019
Evolutionary nightmare: Parasites pass on their manipulatory characteristics
Evolutionary nightmare: Parasites pass on their manipulatory characteristics
In order to move from one host to another, certain parasites change their behaviour. The more effectively a parasite can manipulate its host, the greater its evolutionary advantage. It therefore passes on its characteristics to its descendants, as a new Eawag study has shown. Many parasites move from host to host several times during their life cycle, including the parasitic tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus , which infects three hosts altogether.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.03.2019
New Potential Approach to Treat Atopic Dermatitis
How does the immune system respond to fungi on our skin? Researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that the same immune cells that protect us against skin fungi also encourage the inflammatory symptoms of atopic dermatitis. An antibody therapy could alleviate this chronic inflammatory skin disease.

Innovation / Technology - Life Sciences - 14.03.2019
Two EPFL spin-offs reach the finals of an international competition
Two EPFL spin-offs reach the finals of an international competition
EPFL spinoffs Lumendo and Gliapharm are among 80 deep-tech startups from around the world that have qualified for the finals of the Hello Tomorrow Challenge in Paris tomorrow. The finalists will pitch their company to a jury of technology specialists and investors. In addition to vying for cash prizes, the startups are gaining valuable visibility.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 14.03.2019
Keeping track of fragrances
Keeping track of fragrances
Fragrances are added in a wide variety of consumer products - cosmetics, detergents, cleaning agents, and air fresheners. If incompletely eliminated in wastewater treatment plants, they can end up in rivers and lakes. Companies are therefore required to perform an environmental risk assessment before fragrance compounds are used in final products.

Psychology - Life Sciences - 13.03.2019
Negative Emotions Can Reduce Our Capacity to Trust
It is no secret that a bad mood can negatively affect how we treat others. But can it also make us more distrustful? Yes, according to a new study, which shows that negative emotions reduce how much we trust others, even if these emotions were triggered by events that have nothing to do with the decision to trust.

Health - Life Sciences - 07.03.2019
Vitamin B3 analogue boosts production of blood cells
Scientists from EPFL and the UNIL/Ludwig Cancer Research have found that supplementing diet with nicotinamide riboside, an analogue of vitamin B3, boosts the production of blood cells by improving the function of their stem cells. This can help overcome problems in stem cell-based therapies that treat leukemia and aggressive lymphomas.  Stem cell-based therapies are becoming more and more common, especially in the treatment of blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia.

Life Sciences - Physics - 04.03.2019
Directed evolution builds nanoparticles
Directed evolution builds nanoparticles
Directed evolution is a powerful technique for engineering proteins. EPFL scientists now show that it can also be used to engineer synthetic nanoparticles as optical biosensors, which are used widely in biology, drug development, and even medical diagnostics such as real-time monitoring of glucose. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists who developed the method that forever changed protein engineering: directed evolution.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.02.2019
A gentle method for unlocking the mysteries of the deep brain
A gentle method for unlocking the mysteries of the deep brain
Researchers at UNIGE have successfully demonstrated that electroencephalography can be used to accurately study activity in the deep areas of the brain. The way is now open to understanding how these regions  interact with other parts of the brain for developing appropriate treatments following dysfunction.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.02.2019
Oncogenic risk arising from the loss of repeat silencing
Oncogenic risk arising from the loss of repeat silencing
The heterochromatin of eukaryotes contains repetitive DNA, which can lead to genome instability when transcribed. These sequences are normally silenced through the methylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 (H3K9me). Researchers from the Gasser group explored the role and importance of H3K9me. In two recent publications, they shed light on how the process is regulated and how loss of H3K9me renders cells sensitive to the loss of the breast tumor suppressor, BRCA1.

Health - Life Sciences - 26.02.2019
CRISPR reveals the secret life of antimicrobial peptides
CRISPR reveals the secret life of antimicrobial peptides
Using CRISPR, scientists at EPFL have carried out extensive work on a little-known yet effective weapon of the innate immune system, antimicrobial peptides. When it comes to the immune system, we usually think about lymphocytes like B and T cells or macrophages going on constant seek-and-destroy missions against invading pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.02.2019
Evolution and the tipping points of ecosystems
Evolution and the tipping points of ecosystems
Since the 20th century, observations have been made all over the world of shallow lakes which remain clear for years despite increasing nutrient inputs, but then abruptly transition to being turbid - and remain in this state for years beyond when nutrient inputs are reduced. Clear lake becomes turbid "Shallow lakes are a textbook example of tipping points in ecosystems", says Blake Matthews from the Department of Fish Ecology and Evolution at the aquatic research institute Eawag.

Health - Life Sciences - 25.02.2019
Neanderthals Walked Upright just like the Humans of Today
Neanderthals Walked Upright just like the Humans of Today
Neanderthals are often depicted as having straight spines and poor posture. However, these prehistoric humans were more similar to us than many assume. University of Zurich researchers have shown that Neanderthals walked upright just like modern humans ' thanks to a virtual reconstruction of the pelvis and spine of a very well-preserved Neanderthal skeleton found in France.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.02.2019
Bacteria walk (a bit) like we do
Bacteria walk (a bit) like we do
EPFL biophysicists have been able to directly study the way bacteria move on surfaces, revealing a molecular machinery reminiscent of motor reflexes. Do bacteria control their "walks" like we do? It might sound strange, but it's a fundamental question. Understanding bacteria motility would not only expand our understanding of their behavior, but would also help us fight certain aggressive pathogens.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.02.2019
Why a blow to the chest can kill or save you
Why a blow to the chest can kill or save you
It is still a mystery why a blow to the chest can kill some people yet save others. We may be one step closer to an answer, however, thanks to a device developed by researchers at EPFL and the University of Bern that can replicate the experience in the laboratory. A blow to the chest can have highly contrasting effects.

Agronomy / Food Science - Life Sciences - 21.02.2019
New Method Discovered: the Secrets of Lactose Digestion Revealed
New Method Discovered: the Secrets of Lactose Digestion Revealed
Around two-thirds of the global adult population cannot digest lactose - milk sugar - due to a deficiency in lactase, the enzyme that is required for lactose digestion in humans. Generally, consumers are unaware of whether they are able to digest the lactose contained in dairy products. However, Agroscope and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) researchers have now discovered a new method to measure the presence of lactase in the human body, and consequently determine an individual's ability to digest lactose.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.02.2019
Bat Influenza Viruses Could Infect Humans
Bat Influenza Viruses Could Infect Humans
Bats don't only carry the deadly Ebola virus, but are also a reservoir for a new type of influenza virus. These newly discovered flu viruses could potentially also attack the cells of humans and livestock, researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown. Seasonal outbreaks of the flu are caused by influenza viruses that can only infect people.

Life Sciences - 20.02.2019
A prosthetic that restores the sense of where your hand is
A prosthetic that restores the sense of where your hand is
Researchers have developed a next-generation bionic hand that allows amputees to regain their proprioception. The results of the study, which have been published in Science Robotics, are the culmination of ten years of robotics research. The next-generation bionic hand, developed by researchers from EPFL, the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa and the A. Gemelli University Polyclinic in Rome, enables amputees to regain a very subtle, close-to-natural sense of touch.
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