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Life Sciences - Health - 27.07.2021
More than just walking: a new role for core brain region
More than just walking: a new role for core brain region
For decades, a key brain area has been thought to merely regulate locomotion. Now, a research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and the Friedrich Miescher Institut for Biomedical Research (FMI) has shown that the region is involved in much more than walking, as it contains distinct populations of neurons that control different body movements.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.07.2021
Brain fingerprints help doctors detect neurological disease
Brain fingerprints help doctors detect neurological disease
An EPFL scientist has found that brain fingerprints - or maps of the neural connections within our brain - can be used to detect a decline in cognitive ability. That's because the fingerprints are harder to detect in people who already have mild cognitive impairment. Just like our fingertips, our brains contain an embedded pattern that's different for every individual.

Life Sciences - 22.07.2021
Brain 'noise' keeps nerve connections young
Brain ’noise' keeps nerve connections young
Researchers have found that a form of neuron-to-neuron communication that has long been dismissed as 'background noise' is required to keep nerve junctions intact as animals age. The finding suggests that defects in this type of neural communication could contribute to neurodegenerative disorders and other brain conditions.

Life Sciences - 21.07.2021
Chromosomes separation under focus
Chromosomes separation under focus
A team from the University of Geneva has identified important regulatory mechanisms of the protein responsible for chromosome separation during cell division. During cell division, chromosomes are duplicated and separated so that one copy of each chromosome is inherited by each of the two emerging daughter cells.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 21.07.2021
Toxicity testing on the placenta and embryo
Toxicity testing on the placenta and embryo
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a cell culture test to detect substances that are directly or indirectly harmful to embryos. Based on an existing test used for developing new drugs and chemicals, the augmented version is designed to help reduce the number of animal experiments. Drugs must be safe not just for the patients; in the case of pregnant patients, drugs must also be safe for the unborn children still in the womb.

Health - Life Sciences - 19.07.2021
In vitro Zoo helps in understanding SARS-CoV-2
In vitro Zoo helps in understanding SARS-CoV-2
A team of researchers from the Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have used a unique collection of advanced cell culture models of cells lining the airways from various domesticated and wildlife animals to determine which animals are susceptibly to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 16.07.2021
How micro-circuits in the brain regulate fear
How micro-circuits in the brain regulate fear
The brain mechanisms underlying the suppression of fear responses have attracted a lot of attention as they are relevant for therapy of human anxiety disorders. Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during the experience of fear, how fear responses can be suppressed remains largely elusive.

Life Sciences - 14.07.2021
What does the sleeping brain think about?
What does the sleeping brain think about?
Thanks to a unique system that decodes brain activity during sleep, a team from the University of Geneva is deciphering the neuronal mechanisms of memory consolidation. We sleep on average one third of our time. But what does the brain do during these long hours? Using an artificial intelligence approach capable of decoding brain activity during sleep, scientists at the University of Geneva , Switzerland, were able to glimpse what we think about when we are asleep.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.07.2021
New blood test measures immunity against SARS-CoV-2
New blood test measures immunity against SARS-CoV-2
The Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and EPFL teamed up to develop a new test that's sensitive enough to measure the amount of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies present in the bloodstream. The scientists' discovery, published in the prestigious Science Translational Medicine , opens promising new avenues for tracking immunity acquired by infection or vaccination.

Life Sciences - 13.07.2021
DNA reveals the evolutionary history of museum specimens
DNA reveals the evolutionary history of museum specimens
An international team, led by UNIGE and MHN, has optimized a method for analyzing the genomes of specimens from natural history collections making possible to identify their placement along the evolutionary timeline. Museum specimens held in natural history collections around the world represent a wealth of underutilized genetic information due to the poor state of preservation of the DNA, which often makes it difficult to sequence.

Life Sciences - 12.07.2021
Homing in on how cells keep gene silencing in check
Homing in on how cells keep gene silencing in check
Long considered 'junk', non-coding RNAs have emerged as important regulators of diverse cellular processes, including the silencing of genes. Working in yeast, researchers from the Bühler group have identified more than 20 mutations that enable RNA-mediated gene silencing. The findings could improve our understanding of the factors that keep gene silencing in check.

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.
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