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Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.06.2021
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Geologists have reviewed the internal and external mechanisms that trigger volcanic eruptions to better anticipate the potential signs of a future eruption. What causes an eruption? Why do some volcanoes erupt regularly, while others remain dormant for thousands of years? A team of geologists and geophysicists, led by the University of Geneva , Switzerland, has reviewed the literature on the internal and external mechanisms that lead to a volcanic eruption.

Chemistry - Environment - 22.06.2021
Worrying insights into the chemicals in plastics
Researchers examined chemicals in plastics worldwide. They found an unexpectedly high number of substances of potential concern intentionally used in everyday plastic products. A lack of transparency limits management of these chemicals. Plastic is practical, cheap and incredibly popular. Every year, more than 350 million tonnes are produced worldwide.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.06.2021
Microscopy Deep Learning Predicts Viral Infections
Microscopy Deep Learning Predicts Viral Infections
When viruses infect cells, changes in the cell nucleus occur, and these can be observed through fluorescence microscopy. Using fluoresence images from live cells, researchers at the University of Zurich have trained an artificial neural network to reliably recognize cells that are infected by adenoviruses or herpes viruses.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.06.2021
Pathogenic bacteria rendered almost harmless
Pathogenic bacteria rendered almost harmless
By identifying one of the mechanisms regulating the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a team from the University of Geneva is proposing a new strategy to combat this bacterium, which is resistant to many common antibiotics. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogenic bacterium present in many ecological niches, such as plant roots, stagnant water or even the pipes of our homes.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 21.06.2021
A check-up for the ground
A check-up for the ground
Intense agricultural use is causing soil degradation in many areas. Now researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a rapid test for measuring soil quality on site. This should allow farmers to monitor the health of their land themselves in the future. Many of us pay hardly any attention to the ground and simply stride across it unseeing.

Life Sciences - 21.06.2021
’On your marks. Get set. Go!’ Mapping delayed responses in the brain
Neuroscientists at EPFL identify the brain mechanism that we use to prepare a timely action while suppressing premature execution. In some ways, we can think of the brain as an input/output machine; it receives signals from the environment and the body through peripheral and sends back appropriate responses.

Life Sciences - 21.06.2021
Mini-guts reveal crucial forces that shape the intestinal lining
Mini-guts reveal crucial forces that shape the intestinal lining
Using miniature guts grown in a dish and 3D biophysical modelling, FMI researchers and their collaborators have uncovered the forces that give the intestinal wall its classic brushlike appearance. The findings can help to understand how the gut takes form during development — and how this process goes awry in disease.

Campus - 18.06.2021
The secret to acquiring professional skills
The secret to acquiring professional skills
While it is important for students to work in groups during their studies, that is not enough for them to acquire many of the transversal skills needed in the professional world. A recent EPFL study highlights the need for engineering courses to explicitly address professional skills through a combination of theory and feedback.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 18.06.2021
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
It could be a milestone on the path to detecting life on other planets: Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bern and of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS detect a key molecular property of all living organisms from a helicopter flying several kilometers above ground.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.06.2021
Silent witnesses
Silent witnesses
Once of interest only to enthusiasts, ETH Zurich's Entomological Collection now offers researchers a treasure trove of hidden knowledge.   Four tightly closed doors protect the Entomological Collection of ETH Zurich from heat and daylight. The cold, dry air is the perfect environment for the two million insects that call these specimen drawers home - although it's not particularly comfortable for their human keepers.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.06.2021
Next-generation implants will be biodegradable and non-invasive
Next-generation implants will be biodegradable and non-invasive
EPFL engineers have developed a neural interface that disappears harmlessly in the body after several months and allows natural tissue to grow back. What's more, it can be implanted in a patient's blood vessel rather than inside the brain, thereby avoiding the need for invasive surgery. Some implants like pacemakers can last for years, while others wear out quickly due to technical weaknesses.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.06.2021
Slowed cell division causes microcephaly
Slowed cell division causes microcephaly
Scientists from the University of Geneva demonstrate how the mutation of a single gene can slow down cell division and lead to an abnormally small brain. The birth of a human being requires billions of cell divisions to go from a fertilised egg to a baby. At each of these divisions, the genetic material of the mother cell duplicates itself to be equally distributed between the two new cells.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.06.2021
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Empa and Eawag used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.06.2021
Excess nitrogen puts butterflies at risk
Excess nitrogen puts butterflies at risk
Nitrogen from agriculture, vehicle emissions and industry is endangering butterflies in Switzerland. The element is deposited in the soil via the air and has an impact on vegetation - to the detriment of the butterflies, as researchers at the University of Basel have discovered. More than half of butterfly species in Switzerland are considered to be at risk or potentially at risk.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.06.2021
Tailored optical stimulation for the blind
Tailored optical stimulation for the blind
Scientists in a European collaboration propose a personalized protocol for optimizing stimulation of optic nerve fibers, for the blind, which takes into account feedback from the viewer's brain. The protocol has been tested on artificial neural networks known to simulate the physiology of the entire visual system, from the eye to the visual cortex.

Health - Pharmacology - 16.06.2021
Immune defense: How immune cells are activated
Immune defense: How immune cells are activated
Immune cells protect our body against invading pathogens. The chemokine receptor CCR5 on the surface of T cells plays an important role in this process. However, CCR5 also is used by the HI-Virus as entrance gate into T cells. A research consortium led by the University of Basel has now deciphered the mechanism of CCR5 receptor activation.

Mathematics - 14.06.2021
Modeling the friction between pages in a book
Modeling the friction between pages in a book
Engineers at EPFL and École Polytechnique in France analyzed the friction between pages in a book and the mechanical force needed to bend them. Drawing on their experiments, they developed a new theoretical model for predicting the elasto-frictional behavior of stacked layers. It all started with a shaky washing machine.

Environment - 14.06.2021
When hydropower plants emit carbon dioxide
When hydropower plants emit carbon dioxide
Hydropower is considered to be CO2-neutral, but certain power plants in tropical regions produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Researchers at Eawag have now studied how much carbon dioxide escapes into the atmosphere below the Kariba Dam in southern Africa. Such previously ignored emissions must be taken into account by future carbon budgets.

Life Sciences - Health - 11.06.2021
New glial cells discovered in the brain: Implications for brain repair
New glial cells discovered in the brain: Implications for brain repair
Neurons, nerve cells in the brain, are central players in brain function. However, a key role for glia, long considered support cells, is emerging. A research group at the University of Basel has now discovered two new types of glial cells in the brain, by unleashing adult stem cells from their quiescent state.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 11.06.2021
Understanding the evolution of viruses
Understanding the evolution of viruses
Researchers at ETH Zurich have recreated a key step in the evolutionary history of viruses in a laboratory experiment. They succeeded in remodeling a natural protein to create capsids capable of storing genetic material. Viruses have always had a major influence on life. They emerged a few billion years ago, precisely when is difficult to estimate.
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