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Environment - Life Sciences - 16.11.2018
Flows of carbon between ecosystems
Flows of carbon between ecosystems
The scene may be familiar from natural history documentaries - a migrating herd of wildebeest attempt to cross a raging river, with many of the creatures drowning in the process - but what viewers do not generally notice is that large amounts of carbon are thereby transported from a grassland to an aquatic ecosystem.

Life Sciences - Health - 14.11.2018
Insect Antibiotic Provides New Way to Eliminate Bacteria
Insect Antibiotic Provides New Way to Eliminate Bacteria
An antibiotic called thanatin attacks the way the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria is built. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now found out that this happens through a previously unknown mechanism. Thanatin, produced naturally by the spined soldier bug, can therefore be used to develop new classes of antibiotics.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.11.2018
Immunity connects gut bacteria and aging
EPFL scientists have discovered how a dysfunction in the immune system can cause an overload of a gut bacterium. The bacterium produces excess lactic acid, which in turn triggers the production of reactive oxygen species that cause damage to cells and many age-related pathologies. There is no doubt that gut bacteria have become one of the most important focuses of biological and medical research today.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.11.2018
Hidden estrogen receptors in the breast epithelium
Hidden estrogen receptors in the breast epithelium
Scientists have uncovered that next to estrogen receptor positive and negative there are cells with very low amounts of the receptor protein. The discovery has significant implications for the role of the receptor in the growth and development of the breast and breast cancer development. Estrogens are hormones that play central roles in the development and the physiology of the breast, but also are involved in breast cancer.

Environment - Life Sciences - 08.11.2018
Biodiversity: Does the dispersion of species always follow the same rules?
Biodiversity: Does the dispersion of species always follow the same rules?
It is common among many species for individuals to move around during their lifetime in order to settle in better adapted habitats, a process known as dispersion by ecologists. In order to improve scientific predictions of the future of biodiversity in the face of global changes (such as climate change, landscape fragmentation and biological invasions) it is very important to understand the mechanisms of dispersion, which modulates the adaptation of species to their environment.

Life Sciences - Environment - 08.11.2018
Exploiting Epigenetic Variation for Plant Breeding
Exploiting Epigenetic Variation for Plant Breeding
Epigenetic changes can bring about new traits without altering the sequence of genes. This may allow plants to respond quicker to changes in their environment. Plant biologists at the University of Zurich have now demonstrated that epigenetic variation is also subject to selection and can be inherited.

Environment - Life Sciences - 08.11.2018
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
DNA fragments reveal the variety of species in rivers
Bits of genetic material in rivers make it possible to detect the organisms living in them - without having to collect these and examine them under the microscope. Researchers at Eawag, the ETH and the EPFL have now developed a computer model that with the help of single DNA measurements even simulates exactly where and how often the species are present in bodies of water.

Life Sciences - Environment - 05.11.2018
Small Genetic Differences Turn Plants into Better Teams
Small Genetic Differences Turn Plants into Better Teams
Diverse communities of plants and animals typically perform better than monocultures. However, the mechanisms that are responsible for this have so far been a mystery to science. Biologists have now been able to identify the genetic cause of these effects. Their findings might help to improve crop yield.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.11.2018
Clues to making drugs for
Clues to making drugs for "undruggable" targets
Nicolas Thomä's group at the FMI has joined forces with the group of Benjamin Ebert at Harvard's Broad Institute to show how thalidomide analogs mediate degradation of many more proteins than previously anticipated. These proteins - zinc finger transcription factors - play a role in cancer and developmental diseases but are difficult drug targets.

Life Sciences - Health - 31.10.2018
Breakthrough neurotechnology for treating paralysis
Three patients with chronic paraplegia were able to walk over ground thanks to precise electrical stimulation of their spinal cords via a wireless implant. Researchers have shown that, after a few months of training, the patients were able to control previously paralyzed leg muscles even in the absence of electrical stimulation.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.10.2018
Dead or alive?
Dead or alive?
Probiotics - live bacteria with beneficial effects on human health - are believed to hold out great promise for certain therapeutic applications. But do these bacteria remain viable when they are frozen or freeze-dried for storage? Eawag's expertise in drinking water microbiology enabled to it provide valuable support for a study of gut microbes carried out in the Food Biotechnology Laboratory at ETH Zurich.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.10.2018
Anti-aging molecule NAD+ gets a boost from blocking an enzyme
Scientists at EPFL have found a new way to boost the famous anti-aging molecule NAD+ in the kidney and liver by blocking an enzyme that limits its production. Publishing in Nature, the researchers have also developed two enzyme blockers that are shown to protect against kidney and liver disease. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a major player in nutrition today.

Life Sciences - 23.10.2018
Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective
Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective
EPFL scientists have developed a miniaturized electronic platform for the stimulation and recording of peripheral nerve fibers on a chip. By modulating and rapidly recording nerve activity with a high signal-to-noise ratio, the platform paves the way to using chips to improve neuroprosthetic designs.  Neuroprosthetics - implants containing multi-contact electrodes that can substitute certain nerve functionalities - have the potential to work wonders.

Life Sciences - 22.10.2018
New technique reveals limb control in flies - and maybe robots
New technique reveals limb control in flies - and maybe robots
A new neural recording technique developed by EPFL bioengineers enables for the first time the comprehensive measurement of neural circuits that control limb movement. Tested on the fruit fly, results from the technique may inspire the development of more sophisticated robotic control approaches. One of the major goals of biology, medicine, and robotics is to understand how limbs are controlled by circuits of neurons working together.

Life Sciences - Environment - 22.10.2018
Facilitating handwashing where water is scarce
Facilitating handwashing where water is scarce
Even though the water we've used for washing our hands is barely contaminated, it usually disappears down the drain, never to be used again. A newly developed system allows handwashing water to be recycled, thus not only saving water, but also helping to prevent infectious diseases in developing countries.

Life Sciences - Physics / Materials Science - 18.10.2018
What does graphene do in our lungs?
What does graphene do in our lungs?
Graphene has been hailed as the material of the future. As yet, however, little is known about whether and how graphene affects our health if it gets into the body. A team of researchers from Empa and the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) in Fribourg have now conducted the first studies on a three-dimensional lung model to examine the behavior of graphene and graphene-like materials once they have been inhaled.

Life Sciences - 16.10.2018
A Selfish Gene Makes Mice into Migrants
A Selfish Gene Makes Mice into Migrants
House mice carrying a specific selfish supergene move from one population to another much more frequently than their peers. This finding of a study shows for the first time that a gene of this type can influence animal migratory behavior. It could help in dealing with invasive plagues of mice. Usually the cooperation of genes helps an organism to grow and flourish.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.10.2018
Roche launches NGS AVENIO Tumor Tissue Analysis Kits for oncology research
Ready-to-use kits determine genomic characteristics of solid tumours Optimized workflow to generate results in house Software analysis allows correlation to AVENIO ctDNA NGS kits Roche today announced the global commercial launch of three new next-generation sequencing (NGS) AVENIO Tumor Tissue Analysis Kits - the AVENIO Tumor Tissue Targeted Kit, Expanded Kit and Surveillance Kit.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.10.2018
Link between Gut Flora and Multiple Sclerosis Discovered
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks and damages the protective coating around nerve cells. This coating is made up of myelin - a biological membrane of protein and fatty substances - which is why research efforts to find the disease's target antigen have so far focused on the myelin membrane's components.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 11.10.2018
Sediment bypass tunnels and biodiversity
Sediment bypass tunnels and biodiversity
Mountain rivers swollen by heavy rainfall deposit large amounts of sediment in reservoirs. To prevent the loss of storage capacity, some reservoirs are equipped with bypass tunnels which convey sediment-laden waters to downstream reaches. The fact that such tunnels offer ecological benefits as well as economic advantages was shown, for example, by a study carried out on the Solis reservoir in Graubünden.
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