news 2020

Life Sciences - Jan 14
Life Sciences
Transposons are foreign DNA elements capable of random insertion into the genome, an event that can be very dangerous for a cell. Their activity must be silenced to maintain genomic integrity, which is primarily achieved by H3K9me3-mediated repression. Researchers from the Gasser group identified two parallel pathways that are essential for H3K9me3- mediated transcriptional repression and thus for protecting the genome from toxic transposon activation.
Chemistry - Jan 14

ETH Zurich researchers conducted an experiment to investigate the initial steps in the formation of aerosols. Their findings are now aiding efforts to better understand and model that process - for example, the formation of clouds in the atmosphere.

Microtechnics - Jan 13
Microtechnics

Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably - even without GPS.

Life Sciences - Jan 14
Life Sciences

Scientists have carried out the first comprehensive study of how genes in the liver perform their metabolic functions in both space and time of day. Monitoring almost 5000 genes at the level of the individual cell across a 24-hour period, the researchers have modelled how the circadian clock and liver functions crosstalk throughout the day in sync with the feeding-fasting cycle.

Environment - Jan 13

They emit must be systematically stored underground. This is the most economical of various approaches that ETH researchers have compared in detail. It is politically agreed and necessary for climate protection reasons that our entire economy becomes climate-neutral in the coming decades - and that applies to air travel, too.


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Health - Life Sciences - 30.12.2020
Moving towards new cancer therapies with computer simulations at IDSIA USI-SUPSI
Moving towards new cancer therapies with computer simulations at IDSIA USI-SUPSI
From a research hypothesis in experimental biology to the possible application in the field of anticancer therapies, through computer simulations. This is the essential course of an interdisciplinary and international research project that has identified the mechanisms by which particular peptides can penetrate cell membranes and contribute to the elimination of tumors.

Social Sciences - 30.12.2020
Couple life: dating apps don't destroy love
Couple life: dating apps don’t destroy love
Contrary to earlier concerns, a UNIGE study has shown that people who met their partners on dating applications have often stronger long-term relationship goals, and that these new ways of meeting people encourage socio-educational and geographical mixing. Mobile apps have revolutionised the way people meet in Switzerland and elsewhere in recent years.

Life Sciences - 23.12.2020
The first endovascular technology that can explore capillaries
The first endovascular technology that can explore capillaries
Scientists have invented a technique to navigate electronic devices that are smaller than human hair inside blood vessels and reach arterioles. The next step will be conducting in vivo tests. The cardiovascular system is astonishing. It uses the blood that circulates in our veins and arteries to transport oxygen and nutrients to every tissue in the body.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 23.12.2020
Genetic Engineering without Unwanted Side-Effects Helps Fight Parasites
Genetic Engineering without Unwanted Side-Effects Helps Fight Parasites
Modified CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing scissors are enabling researchers at UZH to make alterations to the genetic material of single-cell organisms that are indistinguishable from natural mutations. This method is making it possible to develop a (harmless) experimental live vaccine for the widespread parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 22.12.2020
How Nearby Galaxies Form Their Stars
How Nearby Galaxies Form Their Stars
How stars form in galaxies remains a major open question in astrophysics. A new UZH study sheds new light on this topic with the help of a data-driven re-analysis of observational measurements. The star-formation activity of typical, nearby galaxies is found to scale proportionally with the amount of gas present in these galaxies.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2020
How a large protein complex assembles in a cell
How a large protein complex assembles in a cell
A team of ETH researchers led by Karsten Weis has developed a method that allows them to study the assembly process for large protein complexes in detail for the first time. As their case study, the biologists chose one of the largest cellular complexes: the nuclear pore complex in yeast cells. Cells produce a great number of different protein complexes, each of which is made up of many individual proteins.

Physics - 21.12.2020
When light and atoms share a common vibe
Scientists from EPFL, MIT, and CEA Saclay demonstrate a state of vibration that exists simultaneously at two different times. They evidence this quantum superposition by measuring the strongest class of quantum correlations between light beams that interact with the vibration. An especially counter-intuitive feature of quantum mechanics is that a single event can exist in a state of superposition - happening bothhere andthere , or bothtoday andtomorrow .

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2020
Brain Stem Cells Divide over Months
Brain Stem Cells Divide over Months
For the first time, scientists at the University of Zurich have been able to observe stem cells in the adult mouse brain that divide over the course of several months to create new nerve cells. The study shows that brain stem cells are active over a long period, and thus provides new insights for stem cell research.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.12.2020
A weather station for epilepsy
A weather station for epilepsy
To do this, Baud collaborated with Vikram Rao, neurologist at UCSF, to obtain neuronal activity data collected over several years using devices implanted long-term in the brains of patients with epilepsy. After confirming that there were indeed cycles of cerebral epileptic activity, the scientists turned their attention to statistical analysis.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.12.2020
Downstream passage facilities with signals that are understood by fish
Downstream passage facilities with signals that are understood by fish
Europe still has barely any downstream passage facilities that guide fish past the turbines of run-of-river power stations unharmed. Now, an interdisciplinary team of engineers from ETH Zurich and fish biologists from Eawag have developed a rack that uses pressure and flow differences to guide fish out of the main flow and into the safe fish passage.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.12.2020
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
When it gets warmer, organisms rise higher from the lowlands. Researchers from ETH and WSL investigated what could happen to plant communities on alpine grasslands if grasshoppers from lower elevations settled there. The world is getting warmer and warmer - and many organisms native to lower latitudes or elevations are moving higher.

Health - Pharmacology - 16.12.2020
Digipredict digital twin will predict the evolution of Covid-19
Digipredict digital twin will predict the evolution of Covid-19
Under a cross-disciplinary program spearheaded by EPFL, scientists will develop an AI-based system that can predict whether Covid-19 patients will develop severe cardiovascular complications and, in the longer term, detect the likely onset of inflammatory disease. Covid-19 comes with a range of symptoms - from a sore throat and the loss of taste to more serious ones like lung failure.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 16.12.2020
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 14.12.2020
Thinking afresh about how cells respond to stress
Thinking afresh about how cells respond to stress
Just like people, cells get stressed too. A sudden drop in oxygen, overheating, or toxins can trigger a cascade of molecular changes that lead cells to stop growing, produce stress-protective factors, and form stress granules - proteins and RNA molecules huddled together into membrane-less organelles.

Life Sciences - Physics - 14.12.2020
Bacterial nanopores open the future of data storage
Bioengineers at EPFL have developed a nanopore-based system that can read data encoded into synthetic macromolecules with higher accuracy and resolution than similar methods on the market. The system is also potentially cheaper and longer-lasting, and overcomes limitations that prevent us from moving away from conventional data storage devices that are rapidly maxing out in capacity and endurance.

Health - Pharmacology - 11.12.2020
A data-driven approach to identify risk profiles and protective drugs in COVID-19
A study performed in Ticino between Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC), USI Università della Svizzera italiana and Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele (UniSR, Milan, Italy) has shown how drugs against hypertension can reduce by more than 60% the risk of mortality in COVID-19 patients. The multidisciplinary study concerned 576 patients admitted to the EOC during the first wave of the epidemic, and was published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 10.12.2020
DeepLabCut-Live! real-time marker-less motion capture for animals
DeepLabCut-Live! real-time marker-less motion capture for animals
Behavioral scientists at EPFL introduce DeepLabCut-Live!, a deep-learning tool that can enable real-time feedback studies on animal movement and posture. The software features "maker-less" real-time motion capture, can interface with lab hardware for neurological analysis, and is now available open source for use by researchers.

Health - Economics / Business - 09.12.2020
Grasping exponential growth
Grasping exponential growth
Most people underestimate exponential growth, including when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus. The ability to grasp the magnitude of exponential growth depends on the way in which it is communicated. Using the right framing helps to understand the benefit of mitigation measures. The coronavirus outbreak offered the public a crash course in statistics, with terms like doubling time, logarithmic scales, R factor, rolling averages, and excess mortality now on everyone's tongue.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.12.2020
Cancer Research in Bern: Analysing and finding solutions to treatment resistance
Cancer Research in Bern: Analysing and finding solutions to treatment resistance
A number of types of cancer are prone to adapt to targeted treatment, enabling resistance. Prof. Mark Rubin, Department for BioMedical Research and Bern Center for Precision Medicine, together with colleagues from the Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of Manchester have now published a 'Perspective' in the journal Molecular Cell.

Physics - Materials Science - 09.12.2020
"Game changer" perovskite can detect gamma rays
Scientists at EPFL have developed a game-changing perovskite material that can be used as a cheaper and highly efficient alternative to gamma-ray detectors. Perovskites are materials made up of organic compounds bound to a metal. Propelled into the forefront of materials' research because of their structure and properties, perovskites are earmarked for a wide range of applications, including in solar cells, LED lights, lasers, and photodetectors.
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