news 2020

Environment - May 22
Environment
When pollen is in short supply, bumblebees damage plant leaves in a way that accelerates flower production, as an ETH research team headed up by Consuelo De Moraes and Mark Mescher has demonstrated. Spring has sprung earlier than ever before this year, accompanied by temperatures more typical of early summertime.
Environment - May 21
Environment

Today, one third of the world's population obtains its drinking water and water for irrigation from groundwater reserves.

Health - May 20

An alternating cycle of suppression interventions and relaxation could offer a pragmatic strategy - particularly for developing countries - to prevent health systems from being overloaded while reducing the economical and societal burden.

Life Sciences - May 20
Life Sciences

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have succeeded for the first time in recording, in action, a light-driven sodium pump from bacterial cells.

Architecture - May 20
Architecture

In a new book, researchers from EPFL examine the history of organic architecture, complete with telling examples of the genre, from its emergence in the early 20th century to the present day.


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Environment - 22.05.2020
Bumblebees speed up flowering
Bumblebees speed up flowering
When pollen is in short supply, bumblebees damage plant leaves in a way that accelerates flower production, as an ETH research team headed up by Consuelo De Moraes and Mark Mescher has demonstrated. Spring has sprung earlier than ever before this year, accompanied by temperatures more typical of early summertime.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.05.2020
Millions of people drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic
Millions of people drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic
Today, one third of the world's population obtains its drinking water and water for irrigation from groundwater reserves. Global population growth and water scarcity due to climate change mean that the pressure on this resource is continually increasing. However, many wells are contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic.

Life Sciences - Physics - 20.05.2020
Elucidating the mechanism of a light-driven sodium pump
Elucidating the mechanism of a light-driven sodium pump
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have succeeded for the first time in recording, in action, a light-driven sodium pump from bacterial cells.  The findings promise progress in the development of new methods in neurobiology. The researchers used the new X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL for their investigations.

Health - Social Sciences - 20.05.2020
Dynamic measures against the coronavirus examined
An alternating cycle of suppression interventions and relaxation could offer a pragmatic strategy - particularly for developing countries - to prevent health systems from being overloaded while reducing the economical and societal burden. The coronavirus pandemic has imposed an unprecedented challenge to global healthcare systems, societies and governments.

Architecture - 20.05.2020
How organic architecture can shape dense, diverse cityscapes
How organic architecture can shape dense, diverse cityscapes
In a new book, researchers from EPFL examine the history of organic architecture, complete with telling examples of the genre, from its emergence in the early 20th century to the present day.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 20.05.2020
Prehistoric Giant Fish Was a Suspension Feeder
Prehistoric Giant Fish Was a Suspension Feeder
Scientists from the University of Zurich and the University of Bristol have investigated the jaw mechanics of Titanichthys, a giant armored fish that roamed the seas and oceans of the late Devonian period 380 million years ago. New findings suggest that it fed by swimming through water slowly with its mouth open wide to capture high concentrations of plankton - similar to modern-day basking sharks.

Mechanical Engineering - Health - 19.05.2020
Testing ventilator systems
Testing ventilator systems
ETH researchers have set up a test rig to put newly developed ventilator systems through their paces. Around the world, the coronavirus crisis has seen the demand for ventilators soar. Many manufacturers are therefore working at full speed to develop new ventilator systems, primarily for those countries that cannot afford expensive high-tech equipment.

Environment - Health - 19.05.2020
How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?
How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?
The "PaNDiv" experiment, established by researchers of the University of Bern on a 3000 m2 field site, is the largest biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment in Switzerland and aims to better understand how increases in nitrogen affect grasslands. The first article from this experiment has just been published in the scientific journal Functional Ecology after more than four years of work.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.05.2020
A deeper connection to hyaline fibromatosis syndrome
EPFL scientists have uncovered the molecular biology behind Hyaline Fibromatosis Syndrome, a severe genetic disease. Hyaline Fibromatosis Syndrome (HFS) is a rare but severe genetic disease that affects babies, children, and adults. Hyaline, a glassy substance, accumulates in the skin and various organs, and causes painful deformities that can lead to an early death.

Environment - Life Sciences - 18.05.2020
Environmental disturbances affect large species the most
Environmental disturbances affect large species the most
A fundamental characteristic of ecological communities is that small animals are more abundant than large ones. These "ecological pyramids" are found in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. Depending on the position of the organisms in the pyramid, their ecological functions differ and they react differently to human impact.

Earth Sciences - 15.05.2020
Monitoring glaciers with optical fibres
Monitoring glaciers with optical fibres
Seismic monitoring of glaciers is essential to improving our understanding of their development and to predicting risks. SNSF Professor Fabian Walter has come up with a new monitoring tool in the form of optical fibres. The fibres are capable of monitoring entire glaciers. Glaciers are constantly moving and they therefore need monitoring.

Life Sciences - Health - 15.05.2020
Designing vaccines from artificial proteins
Designing vaccines from artificial proteins
EPFL scientists have developed a new computational approach to create artificial proteins, which showed promising results in vivo as functional vaccines. This approach opens the possibility to engineer safer and more effective vaccines. Vaccines are one of the most effective interventions to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases.

Environment - Transport - 15.05.2020
Life cycle assessment of cars - new web tool helps consumers and researchers
Life cycle assessment of cars - new web tool helps consumers and researchers
Decision support for car buyers: Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have developed a web tool called the Carculator that can be used to compare the environmental performance of passenger cars in detail. The program determines the environmental balance of vehicles with different size classes and powertrains, and presents the results in comparative graphics.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.05.2020
Geography of childhood cancer in Switzerland studied
Geography of childhood cancer in Switzerland studied
A research group under the direction of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University Bern has investigated the spatial distribution of childhood cancer risks in Switzerland for the period 1985-2015. The group found evidence of increased risks in certain areas, particularly for brain tumors.

Health - Pharmacology - 14.05.2020
Molecular Signatures can Predict the Efficacy of Malaria Vaccines
Molecular Signatures can Predict the Efficacy of Malaria Vaccines
A new study reveals that it is possible to identify those individuals that will be protected by the malaria vaccine before its administration. The researchers also found that boosting the immune system before vaccination could potentially improve vaccine efficacy. The study was published yesterday in Science Translational Medicine by ISGlobal in partnership with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and other partners.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 14.05.2020
Observing how fissure systems are formed - thanks to the
Observing how fissure systems are formed - thanks to the "gas sniffer"
The rock laboratory on the Grimsel Pass in the Bernese Oberland lies 400 metres deep in the mountain. There, geophysicists from the ETH Zurich have installed an experimental setup with which they agitate the rock, thereby systematically causing it to break. They want to find out how geothermal energy projects in Switzerland, for example, can be implemented safely in the future.

Physics - 13.05.2020
Speeding up long-range coherent LiDAR
Speeding up long-range coherent LiDAR
LiDAR is a technique used for measuring distances with laser light. In a study published in Nature, researchers at EPFL show a new way to speed up a type of LiDAR engine by using photonic circuits. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) comprised an array of techniques using laser light to measure distances by multiplying the time delay between transmitted and received optical signals with the speed of light.

Life Sciences - 12.05.2020
A novel pathway ensuring chromosome stability in early mice embryo
A novel pathway ensuring chromosome stability in early mice embryo
The Peters group studies chromatin formation and regulation in mammalian germ cells and during early embryonic development. Now researchers from the group identified a novel pathway that is essential for maintaining the integrity of heterochromatin, and therefore for securing chromosome stability. Chromatin - made up of DNA wrapped up around histone proteins - plays a major role in gene regulation by modulating the accessibility of transcription factors to their target sequences in the genome.

Physics - 12.05.2020
Transistor sets a new standard for energy efficiency
Transistor sets a new standard for energy efficiency
Researchers at EPFL's Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (Nanolab), working under Professor Adrian Ionescu, have designed and demonstrated a new type of technology based on 2D semiconducting materials that's almost as energy-efficient as the human brain. Smartphones, laptops and smartwatches consume vast quantities of energy, yet only around half of this energy is actually used to power important functions.

Health - Environment - 11.05.2020
From STI to Swiss TPH: 2009-2019
From STI to Swiss TPH: 2009-2019
Ten years ago, the former Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) within the University of Basel's Faculty of Medicine was integrated into the Swiss Tropical Institute (STI). Since then, topics such as air pollution, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes have been high on the agenda at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), as it is called today.
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