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Life Sciences - 16.01.2019
A robot recreates the walk of a 300-million-year-old animal
A robot recreates the walk of a 300-million-year-old animal
Using the fossil and fossilized footprints of a 300-million-year-old animal, an interdisciplinary team that includes scientists from EPFL and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have developed a method for identifying the most likely gaits of extinct animals and designed a robot that can recreate their walk.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.01.2019
Engineered'T cells promote long-term organ transplant acceptance
Engineered’T cells promote long-term organ transplant acceptance
Organ transplant rejection is a major problem in transplantation medicine. Suppressing the immune system to prevent organ rejection, however, opens the door to life-threatening infections. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now discovered a molecular approach preventing rejection of the transplanted graft while simultaneously maintaining the ability to fight against infections.

Life Sciences - 14.01.2019
Potential for risky behavior is also in your genes
As part of an international research project, a group of scientists from the University of Zurich found genetic variants associated with risk tolerance and risky behaviors. It is one of the first studies to link genetic variants with behavioral outcomes, which are relevant to social science research.

Life Sciences - 14.01.2019
A metabolic checkpoint for embryonic stem cell differentiation
Upon exit from self-renewal, embryonic cell stems differentiate into different types of tissues - a process regulated by various complex mechanisms. Recent work published by the Betschinger group shows the importance of the lysosome - which is directly associated with cellular metabolism and nutrition - in developmental progression.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 10.01.2019
Turbocharger for the cell machinery
Turbocharger for the cell machinery
Researchers of the University of Bern have discovered a new molecular regulatory mechanism in unicellular parasites which has never before been observed. RNA fragments do not act as brakes in the cell apparatus, but on the contrary as "stimulants": they boost protein production after periods of stress.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.01.2019
Speeding up genetic diagnosis of Huntington’s disease
Elongated segments of DNA cause Huntington's disease and certain other disorders of the brain. Researchers have developed a method to determine the length of the mutated genes quickly and easily. People with Huntington's disease suffer from jerky body movements and decreasing mental abilities. The condition usually leads to death 15-20 years after diagnosis.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 10.01.2019
How Drugs Can Minimize the Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Researchers at the University of Zurich have determined the three-dimensional structure of the receptor that causes nausea and vomiting as a result of cancer chemotherapy. The study explains for the first time why some drugs work particularly well in ameliorating these side effects. The results also provide important insights into how to develop compounds to effectively tackle other disorders.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.12.2018
Bacteria rely on classic business model
Bacteria rely on classic business model
The pneumonia causing pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa has developed a twin-track strategy to colonize its host. It generates two different cells - motile spreaders and virulent stickers. Researchers at the University of Basel's Biozentrum have now elucidated how the germ attaches to tissue within seconds and consecutively spreads.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.12.2018
How liquid droplets grow in cells
How liquid droplets grow in cells
For more than 100 years, biologists have known that cells contain various kinds of membraneless organelles and conjectured what organizing principles underlie them. During the past decade, liquid-liquid phase separation has emerged as one of the concepts that can explain these cellular structures. Phase separation has become an increasingly hot topic, as it can be related to pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.12.2018
Enrichment of resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants
Enrichment of resistance genes in wastewater treatment plants
Although wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remove over 95 per cent of human fecal bacteria, many resistant bacteria can still be detected in the final effluent. How is this to be explained? To find out, a group led by microbiologist Helmut Bürgmann investigated the fate and expression of antibacterial resistance genes in the course of treatment at twelve WWTPs.

Life Sciences - Physics - 11.12.2018
Using water molecules to unlock neurons' secrets
EPFL researchers have developed a method to observe the electrical activity of neurons by analyzing the behavior of surrounding water molecules. This simple and non-invasive method, which could eliminate the need for electrodes and fluorophores, can be used to monitor the activity within a single neuron or potentially on an entire region of the brain.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.12.2018
Whole-brain imaging of mice during behavior
In a study published in Neuron, researchers have demonstrated how functional ultrasound imaging can yield high-resolution, unbiased, brain-wide activity maps of behaving mice. These can lead to a brain-wide understanding of how brain activity relates to specific behavior - in healthy mice and in mouse models of neurologic or psychiatric diseases.

Environment - Life Sciences - 03.12.2018
Surprising discovery of pollutants in gammarids
Surprising discovery of pollutants in gammarids
The water in Swiss streams is contaminated with numerous micropollutants. However, very little research has been carried out to determine how these trace substances affect organisms in bodies of water. An Eawag research group has been able to show for the first time on a large scale that such trace substances accumulate in gammarids and possibly have a negative effect on them.

Life Sciences - 28.11.2018
First Digital 3D Brain Cell Atlas
First Digital 3D Brain Cell Atlas
Like "going from hand-drawn maps to Google Earth," the Blue Brain Cell Atlas allows anyone to visualize every region in the mouse brain, cell-by-cell - and freely download data for new analyses and modelling. The first digital 3D atlas of every cell in the mouse brain provides neuroscientists with previously unavailable information on major cell types, numbers and positions in all 737 brain regions - which will potentially accelerate progress in brain science massively.

Veterinary Science - Life Sciences - 26.11.2018
Cribbing Horses Can also Solve Complex Tasks
Cribbing Horses Can also Solve Complex Tasks
A study conducted by Agroscope's Swiss National Stud Farm (SNSF) in collaboration with the University of Neuchâtel refuted the assumption that cribbing horses perform less well in complicated learning situations than other horses. All horses in the study were able to recognise symbols as well as solve inverse conclusion exercises, which are difficult for horses.

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.
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