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Environment - Life Sciences - 27.01.2023
The wondrous world beneath our feet - researching groundwater fauna
The wondrous world beneath our feet - researching groundwater fauna
Switzerland's groundwater is home to a multitude of hitherto unknown organisms. An Eawag research project is shining a light into the darkness and revealing this habitat's exceptional biodiversity. Switzerland has plentiful groundwater reserves. Found in cavities under the earth, groundwater is almost ubiquitously present, and is the country's biggest source of drinking water.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.01.2023
Hope for patients with a severe rare disease
Hope for patients with a severe rare disease
New research offers potential benefits for those affected by the hereditary metabolic disease methylmalonic aciduria. By combining the results of multiple molecular analyses, scientists can better diagnose this rare and severe disease. In the future, an improved understanding of the disease might also improve treatment options.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.01.2023
Molecular clock that helps some animals shed their skin identified
Molecular clock that helps some animals shed their skin identified
Shrimps, flies and other animals shed their outer body covering at specific times of the year or at specific points in their life cycles through a process called molting. Working in worms, FMI researchers identified the mechanisms underlying a molecular 'molting clock' — as well as several of the clock's components.

Environment - Life Sciences - 19.01.2023
Tracing the flow of water with DNA
Tracing the flow of water with DNA
Environmental DNA analysis of microbial communities can help us understand how a particular region's water cycle works. Basel hydrogeologist Oliver Schilling recently used this method to examine the water cycle on Mount Fuji. His results have implications for Switzerland as well. Where does the water come from that provides drinking water to people in a particular region? What feeds these sources and how long does it take for groundwater to make its way back up to the surface? This hydrological cycle is a complex interplay of various factors.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 18.01.2023
From molecules to organisms
From molecules to organisms
How did life on Earth first emerge? And how was it able to prosper and evolve? researchers are involved in the quest to find answers to these fundamental questions. Since time immemorial, humanity has pondered the question of how life on Earth first began. Ancient cultures declared the creation of the world and the origin of life to be the work of gods and other divine beings.

Microtechnics - Life Sciences - 13.01.2023
A precision arm for miniature robots
A precision arm for miniature robots
Until now, microscopic robotic systems have had to make do without arms. Now researchers at ETH Zurich have developed an ultrasonically actuated glass needle that can be attached to a robotic arm. This lets them pump and mix minuscule amounts of liquid and trap particles. We are all familiar with robots equipped with moving arms.

Life Sciences - 11.01.2023
How grasses avoid inbreeding
How grasses avoid inbreeding
Researchers have been able to show which genes inhibit self-fertilisation in grasses. Plant scientists can now use this mechanism in a more targeted way to breed new varieties of forage grasses as well as rice or barley. 'This breakthrough was enabled by technological advances in genome analysis. It's only in recent years that these have made it possible to efficiently sequence the entire genome of an individual organism.' Studer has devoted over 15 years to this subject, together with collaborators from Denmark, Wales and the USA.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.01.2023
New oxytocin sensor: novel applications in psychiatry
New oxytocin sensor: novel applications in psychiatry
A recent study from the University of Lausanne unveils a new method to measure oxytocin in the brain using a bioengineered fluorescent sensor. The applications of this sensor are novel and promising for psychiatry . Oxytocin Oxytocin is a neuropeptide produced by the hypothalamus, an area at the base of the brain that regulates many of the body's physiological processes as well as instinctive brain behaviors.

Life Sciences - 09.01.2023
How fungi promote bacterial diversity
How fungi promote bacterial diversity
In theory, the genetic diversity of populations should decrease as they expand across space. But this is not true for bacteria. Researchers at Eawag are now showing that fungi play an important role in this context. They make it easier for bacteria to spread and thus also promote genetic exchange between different bacteria.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 09.01.2023
A robotic microsurgeon reveals how embryos grow
Combining biology and robotics, scientists at EPFL have built a robotic microsurgery platform that can perform high-precision, micrometer-resolution dissections to advance our understanding of how the vertebrate body forms during embryonic development. Understanding the biology behind an embryo's development is crucial not only from a basic science perspective, but also from a medical one.

Life Sciences - 05.01.2023
How to turn a tentacle into a foot
How to turn a tentacle into a foot
By identifying a key regulator of cell identity, a team from the University of Geneva and the FMI has succeeded in modifying the structure and function of tentacle cells in hydra. Humans, animals, plants: all multicellular organisms are made up of specialized cells called differentiated cells. Thus, the cells that make up the epidermis do not have the same identity - nor the same function - as those that line the digestive system, for example.

Psychology - Life Sciences - 05.01.2023
Managing emotions better could prevent pathological ageing
Managing emotions better could prevent pathological ageing
A team from the University of Geneva deciphers how negative emotions durably modify brain activity in the older adults . Negative emotions, anxiety and depression are thought to promote the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. But what is their impact on the brain and can their deleterious effects be limited? Neuroscientists at the University of Geneva observed the activation of the brains of young and older adults when confronted with the psychological suffering of others.

Life Sciences - 04.01.2023
How cells choose between two fates
How cells choose between two fates
Our body is made of billions of cells that have the same overall genome but play specialized roles to create different tissues and organs. Working in a freshwater invertebrate, FMI researchers found that a protein called Zic4 drives the formation and maintenance of the tentacles that surround the animal's mouth.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.01.2023
Donated Livers, Dolphin Apothecaries and Dangerous Dishwashers
Donated Livers, Dolphin Apothecaries and Dangerous Dishwashers
Evolution, health, and animal and human behavior were among the topics of the most popular 10 media releases from the University of Zurich in 2022. The communiqué with the greatest reach was about a damaged liver successfully treated outside of the human body and then used in a donor organ transplant.