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Life Sciences - 16.05.2019
The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events. Acute pain, e.g. hitting your leg against a sharp object, causes an abrupt, unpleasant feeling. In this way, we learn from painful experiences to avoid future harmful situations.

Life Sciences - Health - 14.05.2019
Relay station in the brain controls our movements
Relay station in the brain controls our movements
The relay station of the brain, the substantia nigra consists of different types of nerve cells and is responsible for controlling the execution of diverse movements. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now characterized two of these cell populations more precisely and has been able to assign an exact function to each of them.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.05.2019
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
The lakes in the perialpine regions of Europe are home to a particular community of cyanobacteria which Marie-Eve Monchamp investigated in connection with her doctoral thesis at Eawag. "We collected sediment cores from ten lakes in Switzerland, Italy and France, and analysed the cyanobacterial DNA extracted from these cores", she explains.

Life Sciences - 09.05.2019
Back to the sources of neural diversity
Back to the sources of neural diversity
By deciphering the genetic programmes of neurons of the cerebral cortex, Swiss and Belgian researchers unravel the mechanisms controlling the genesis of cells in one of the most essential parts of our brain. The cortex is a complex brain region that allows us to perceive the world and interact with objects and beings around us.

Life Sciences - 09.05.2019
New type of highly sensitive vision discovered in deep-sea fish
New type of highly sensitive vision discovered in deep-sea fish
The deep sea is home to fish species that can detect various wavelengths of light in near-total darkness. Unlike other vertebrates, they have several genes for the light-sensitive photopigment rhodopsin, which likely enables these fish to detect bioluminescent signals from light-emitting organs. The findings were published by an international team of researchers led by evolutionary biologists from the University of Basel.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.05.2019
Cancer cells can communicate over longer distances within the body
Cancer cells can communicate over longer distances within the body
EPFL researchers have discovered that cancer cells use exosomes to communicate with each other and send information through the bloodstream. This breakthrough opens up new possibilities for the use of cancer immunotherapy techniques. "It was a huge surprise, we didn't expect to find so many melanoma cancer cell markers in blood exosomes," explains Hubert Girault, who heads up the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry at EPFL Valais Wallis.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.05.2019
A barrier that keeps cancer at bay
A barrier that keeps cancer at bay
Scientists at EPFL have discovered a biological "barrier" that prevents cancer cells from forming new tumors and more importantly, from metastasizing. The study examines pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and breast cancer. Activins are proteins involved in a number of important biological functions, including the regulation of the menstrual cycle, cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metabolism, homeostasis, immune response, wound repair, and endocrine function.

Life Sciences - Health - 02.05.2019
A model to decipher the complexity of gene regulation
A model to decipher the complexity of gene regulation
Scientist at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland, designed a framework to analyse gene regulation, and offer a model to better understand the role of the non-coding portion of the genome in disease risk. More than genes themselves, how, where and when they are expressed determine our biological traits - our phenotypes.

Life Sciences - 02.05.2019
Spider venom is a dangerous cocktail
Spider venom does not only consist of neurotoxins but also of a multitude of dangerous constituents. Researchers of the University of Bern present a summary of many years of spider venom research in a new study and show how various substances present in spider venom interact with each other and thus effectively render the spider's prey defenseless.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.04.2019
Intestinal organoid development mimics regeneration
Intestinal organoid development mimics regeneration
Intestinal organoids are three-dimensional structures derived from a single intestinal stem cell. They are great tools for applications ranging from fundamental biology to personalized and regenerative medicine. However, despite their relevance in research, it is still unclear how a single cell can give rise to a fully formed organoid.

Life Sciences - 23.04.2019
Stressed, anxious? Ask the brain!
Stressed, anxious? Ask the brain!
Our actions are driven by “internal states” such as anxiety, stress or thirst - which will strongly affect and motivate our behaviors. How such states are represented by complex brain-wide circuits, including sub-cortical structures such as the amygdala, is unknown. In a study recently published in Science, the group of Andreas Lüthi used a deep brain imaging technique to monitor amygdala activity in active mice and revealed the neuronal dynamics encoding behavioral states.

Life Sciences - 18.04.2019
Taming the genome's
Taming the genome's "jumping" sequences
EPFL scientists have discovered how a family of proteins that regulates the activity of transposable elements in the genome allows them to make inheritable changes to the growing fetus. The human genome is fascinating. Once predicted to contain about a hundred thousand protein-coding genes, it now seems that the number is closer to twenty thousand, and maybe less.

Life Sciences - 17.04.2019
Making room for genome regulation
Making room for genome regulation
Chromatin remodelers have the ability to move nucleosomes, which represent a physical barrier for access to DNA. Work by the group of Dirk Schübeler helps to better understand how remodelers orchestrate the global organization of nucleosomes in mammals. In a study published in Nature, the researchers uncovered how two classes of remodelers selectively mediate the binding of distinct transcription factors.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.04.2019
Remarkable biodiversity in Swiss rivers
Remarkable biodiversity in Swiss rivers
Switzerland's rivers harbour a unique biodiversity. From 2013 to 2018 - in order to assess this diversity in more detail for the first time - scientists from the Fish Ecology & Evolution department systematically collected fish samples (in September and October in each case) from hundreds of rivers and streams.

Life Sciences - Environment - 15.04.2019
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
UNIGE researchers have found that bacteria can survive in the sediments of the Dead Sea at a depth of over 400 metres in spite of extreme conditions. Studying organic matter in sediments helps shed light on the distant past. What was the climate like? What organisms populated the Earth? What conditions did they live in? Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the University of Lyon, France, have examined the sediments in the Dead Sea, where the salinity is without compare, making it one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 08.04.2019
New biologically derived metal-organic framework mimics DNA
New biologically derived metal-organic framework mimics DNA
Chemical engineers at EPFL have synthesized a biologically-derived metal-organic framework on which the hydrogen bonding that forms the DNA double helix can be mimicked and studied like never before.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.04.2019
Deep Brain Stimulation Against Movement and Psychiatric Disorders
Deep Brain Stimulation Against Movement and Psychiatric Disorders
A new paper published suggests that recent advances in deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease could lead to treatments for conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and depression. The authors of the paper argue that bi-directional electrodes, which can both stimulate and record from deep brain structures - known as closed-loop DBS, could have applications beyond Parkinson disease.

Life Sciences - 03.04.2019
How understanding animal behavior can support wildlife conservation
How understanding animal behavior can support wildlife conservation
Researchers from EPFL and the University of Zurich have developed a model that uses data from sensors worn by meerkats to gain a more detailed picture of how animals behave in the wild. Advancement in sensor technologies has meant that field biologists are now collecting a growing mass of ever more precise data on animal behaviour.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.04.2019
Excessive levels of plant protection products in small streams
Excessive levels of plant protection products in small streams
Between March and October 2017, samples collected from five small streams with catchment areas subject to a variety of agricultural uses were analysed for plant protection products. The Eawag and Ecotox Centre scientists were assisted by five cantons and the Water Quality Platform of the Swiss Water Association (VSA).

Life Sciences - Health - 28.03.2019
Crime Scene Schizophrenia - 30 Genes under suspicion
Crime Scene Schizophrenia - 30 Genes under suspicion
A research group has identified 30 genes associated with schizophrenia. The team was able to show which pathological changes in the brain and behavioral abnormalities are triggered by these genes. The results of the study have now been published in "Cell". The research team of the Biozentrum, University of Basel investigated a total of 132 genes associated with schizophrenia.
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