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Life Sciences - Health - 09.07.2021
Machine-learning improves the prediction of stroke recovery
Machine-learning improves the prediction of stroke recovery
An international team of scientists led by EPFL has developed a system that combines information from the brain's connectome - the "wiring" between neurons - and machine learning to assess and predict the outcome of stroke victims. When blood flow to the brain is somehow reduced or restricted, a person can suffer what we know as a stroke (from "ischemic stroke" in medical jargon).

Health - Life Sciences - 08.07.2021
A 'molecular switch' turns on the unfavorable evolution of prostate tumors
A ’molecular switch’ turns on the unfavorable evolution of prostate tumors
Researchers from the Prostate Cancer Biology laboratory, directed by Giuseppina Carbone, M.D., at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR, affiliated to USI) in Bellinzona, have discovered an unexpected mechanism that drives the largest group of prostate tumors' evolution, the ERG fusion-positive prostate cancers.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.07.2021
Researchers identify missing 'switch' that controls essential genes
Researchers identify missing ’switch’ that controls essential genes
Proteins known as transcription factors act as switches that regulate the expression of nearby genes, but the identity of some of these genetic levers has so far remained mysterious. Now, researchers from the Schübeler group have pinpointed a new switch that regulates essential genes in the mouse and the human genome.

Life Sciences - 06.07.2021
Inherited memories of a chromosomal site
Inherited memories of a chromosomal site
Two UNIGE teams have discovered that the location of a specific chromosomal site is transmitted between two generations, even if the part of the protein that initially defines that site is absent in the offspring. Most biological traits are inherited through genes, but there are exceptions to this rule.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.07.2021
Early detection of dementia
Early detection of dementia
Alzheimer's and other dementias are among the most widespread diseases today. Diagnosis is complex and can often only be established with certainty late in the course of the disease. A team of researchers, together with clinical partners, is now developing a new diagnostic tool that can detect the first signs of neurodegenerative changes using a sensor belt.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.06.2021
Unlocking the power of the microbiome
Unlocking the power of the microbiome
Not only animals and humans host a complex community of microorganisms - plants do this as well. Researchers at ETH Zurich have recently published two new studies that shed light on fundamental aspects of these close - and often overlooked - relationships. Hundreds of different bacterial species live in and on leaves and roots of plants.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
Aquatic life underground
Aquatic life underground
Groundwater is also an ecosystem, but little is known about the biodiversity underground. researchers have now documented the diversity of life in Swiss groundwater in a pilot study - and discovered previously unknown species of amphipods in the process. Here they relied on a citizen science approach.

Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
How proteins bind 'hidden' DNA
How proteins bind ’hidden’ DNA
How can proteins bind DNA in the cell nucleus, where it is present in form of chromatin, tightly wrapped around histones and therefore mostly inaccessible? Recently, several studies began to uncover the various strategies used by DNA-binding proteins to solve this problem. In a Cell "Leading Edge review", Alicia Michael and Nico Thomä look at these findings and highlight general principles that aim to help predict how a protein recognizes a specific stretch of DNA, even when "hidden" in chromatin.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.06.2021
Managing attention deficit disorder by training the brain
Managing attention deficit disorder by training the brain
A team from the UNIGE and the HUG has found that a special type of brain training based on the principle of 'neurofeedback' enables people with attention deficit disorder to improve their ability to concentrate. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects about 7% of children, with a two out of three chance of persisting into adulthood.

Life Sciences - 28.06.2021
Unusual prey: spiders eating snakes
Unusual prey: spiders eating snakes
There are spiders that eat snakes. Observations of snake-eating spiders have been reported around the world. Two researchers from Basel and the US consolidated and analyzed over 300 reports of this unusual predation strategy. Spiders are primarily insectivores, but they occasionally expand their menu by catching and eating small snakes.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 28.06.2021
Optimising nature
Optimising nature
Today, molecular genetic methods can be used to breed sustainable crops - such as multinutrient rice. Researchers are calling for the risk of new plant varieties to be assessed not on the basis of the breeding method, but on the basis of their characteristics. When it comes to food, many people yearn for nature in its most pristine state.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.06.2021
Preventing the break-in of the toxoplasmosis parasite
Preventing the break-in of the toxoplasmosis parasite
Scientists from the universities of Geneva and Zurich and the PSI have identified the structure and functions of RON13, an enzyme of the toxoplasmosis parasite that is essential for the infectious mechanism in humans. Toxoplasma gondii , the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis, is capable of infecting almost all cell types.

Life Sciences - Environment - 24.06.2021
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
The OECD gives the green light to the fish cell line assay developed at Eawag. This paves the way for companies and authorities around the world to determine the environmental toxicology of chemicals without having to resort to animal testing. A large number of chemicals are used in everyday products, in agriculture or in industry.

Life Sciences - 24.06.2021
A virus to identify small peptide mimics of antifreeze proteins
A virus to identify small peptide mimics of antifreeze proteins
Scientists at EPFL and the University of Warwick have used a virus to identify a peptide that can serve the same function as antifreeze proteins. By preventing ice formation, the compound could play a key role in preserving cells and organ transplants and in food conservation. Some organisms have developed special "antifreeze" proteins that let them survive in sub-zero temperatures.

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.

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.