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Environment - Life Sciences - 17.12.2020
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
When it gets warmer, organisms rise higher from the lowlands. Researchers from ETH and WSL investigated what could happen to plant communities on alpine grasslands if grasshoppers from lower elevations settled there. The world is getting warmer and warmer - and many organisms native to lower latitudes or elevations are moving higher.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 14.12.2020
Thinking afresh about how cells respond to stress
Thinking afresh about how cells respond to stress
Just like people, cells get stressed too. A sudden drop in oxygen, overheating, or toxins can trigger a cascade of molecular changes that lead cells to stop growing, produce stress-protective factors, and form stress granules - proteins and RNA molecules huddled together into membrane-less organelles.

Life Sciences - Physics - 14.12.2020
Bacterial nanopores open the future of data storage
Bioengineers at EPFL have developed a nanopore-based system that can read data encoded into synthetic macromolecules with higher accuracy and resolution than similar methods on the market. The system is also potentially cheaper and longer-lasting, and overcomes limitations that prevent us from moving away from conventional data storage devices that are rapidly maxing out in capacity and endurance.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 10.12.2020
DeepLabCut-Live! real-time marker-less motion capture for animals
DeepLabCut-Live! real-time marker-less motion capture for animals
Behavioral scientists at EPFL introduce DeepLabCut-Live!, a deep-learning tool that can enable real-time feedback studies on animal movement and posture. The software features "maker-less" real-time motion capture, can interface with lab hardware for neurological analysis, and is now available open source for use by researchers.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.12.2020
Cancer Research in Bern: Analysing and finding solutions to treatment resistance
Cancer Research in Bern: Analysing and finding solutions to treatment resistance
A number of types of cancer are prone to adapt to targeted treatment, enabling resistance. Prof. Mark Rubin, Department for BioMedical Research and Bern Center for Precision Medicine, together with colleagues from the Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of Manchester have now published a 'Perspective' in the journal Molecular Cell.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.12.2020
Lung bacteria defend against pneumonia
Lung bacteria defend against pneumonia
Commensal bacteria confer a prominent protective role against invading bacterial in mucosal surfaces, the major entry port for microbial pathogens. A research team of UNIGE shows that probiotics could be an alternative to antibiotics for treating respiratory illnesses. In healthy organisms, commensal bacteria, which live inside the host without harming it, provide a competitive barrier against invading bacterial pathogens.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.12.2020
Magnetic bacteria as micropumps
Magnetic bacteria as micropumps
Scientists use magnetic bacteria to control liquids at the micro level. They are already thinking about using them in the human bloodstream for precision delivery of cancer drugs to a tumour. Cancer drugs have side effects, so for many years, scientists have been exploring ways to transport the active substances to a tumour in the body as precisely as possible.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.12.2020
Seventeen genetic abnormalities that cause brain aneurysms
Seventeen genetic abnormalities that cause brain aneurysms
By studying the genomes of hundreds of thousands of people, scientists from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Utrecht discovered the genetic basis of intracranial aneurysms.  Nearly three percent of the world's population is at risk of developing an intracranial aneurysm, a localized dilation of a blood vessel forming a fragile pocket.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.12.2020
Quick and sensitive identification of multidrug-resistant germs
Quick and sensitive identification of multidrug-resistant germs
Researchers from the University of Basel have developed a sensitive testing system that allows the rapid and reliable detection of resistance in bacteria. The system is based on tiny, functionalized cantilevers that bend due to binding of sample material. In the analyses, the system was able to detect resistance in a sample quantity equivalent to 1-10 bacteria.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 04.12.2020
Using a video game to understand the origin of emotions
Using a video game to understand the origin of emotions
Characterising our emotions is the subject of much debate, as is the identification of their neural substrates. A team from the University of Geneva has been examining the brain components of emotions, confirming that they are the brain's synchronised response to events. Emotions are complex phenomena that influence our minds, bodies and behaviour.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 03.12.2020
The same visual system for all primates
The same visual system for all primates
The world's smallest primate reveals the incredible preservation of our visual system through millions of years of evolution. Primates process visual information in front of their eyes, similar to pixels in a digital camera, using small computing units located in the visual cortex of their brains.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.12.2020
Lung-on-chip provides new insight on response to early TB infection
Developing a "lung-on-chip" model, EPFL scientists have uncovered new insights on the body's response to early tuberculosis infections. The findings reveal the early events that take place during tuberculosis infection, and provide a model for future research into respiratory and other infections. Scientists have developed a lung-on-chip model to study how the body responds to early tuberculosis (TB) infection, according to findings published in eLife.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 30.11.2020
Molecular mechanism of long-term memory discovered
Molecular mechanism of long-term memory discovered
Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a molecular mechanism that plays a central role in intact long-term memory. This mechanism is also involved in physiological memory loss in old age. Many life forms, from worms to humans, have differentiated memory functions, such as short-term and long-term memory.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Sprawling carpets of floating plants are the result of too many nutrients. However, they could become part of solution strategies, Eawag researchers show. They are a beautiful sight to behold: carpets of floating plants such as the water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) in the Zambezi catchment. However, they are also an indicator of inadequate wastewater management in urban and industrial regions of tropical developing countries.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.11.2020
Foreign vs. own DNA: How an innate immune sensor tells friend from foe
How do molecules involved in activating our immune system discriminate between our own DNA and foreign pathogens? Researchers from the Thomä group, in collaboration with the EPFL, deciphered the structural and functional basis of a DNA-sensing molecule when it comes in contact with the cell's own DNA, providing crucial insights into the recognition of self vs.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.11.2020
Foreign vs own DNA: How an innate immune sensor tells the difference
Scientists at EPFL and the Friedrich Miescher Institute have used cryo-electron microscopy to explain how a DNA-sensing biomolecule that is key to our innate immunity response is inactivated when it comes in contact with the cell's own DNA. A biomolecule that gained considerable attention over the past few years is cGAS, a "DNA sensor" that is involved in kickstarting immune responses in the body.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.11.2020
Gut-brain axis influences multiple sclerosis
Gut-brain axis influences multiple sclerosis
A Basel-led international research team has discovered a connection between the intestinal flora and sites of inflammation in the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis. A specific class of immune cell plays a central role in this newly identified gut-brain axis. The discovery could pave the way for new treatments for MS that target the intestinal flora.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 20.11.2020
A biochemical random number
A biochemical random number
Scientists have generated a huge true random number using DNA synthesis. It is the first time that a number of this magnitude has been created by biochemical means. True random numbers are required in fields as diverse as slot machines and data encryption. These numbers need to be truly random, such that they cannot even be predicted by people with detailed knowledge of the method used to generate them.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.11.2020
Cichlid fishes from African Lake Tanganyika shed light on how organismal diversity arises
Cichlid fishes from African Lake Tanganyika shed light on how organismal diversity arises
Lake Tanganyika in Africa is a true hotspot of organismal diversity. Approximately 240 species of cichlid fishes have evolved in this lake in less than 10 million years. A research team from the University of Basel has investigated this phenomenon of -explosive speciation- and provides new insights into the origins of biological diversity, as they report in the journal -Nature-.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 18.11.2020
Prehistoric Shark Hid Its Largest Teeth
Prehistoric Shark Hid Its Largest Teeth
Some, if not all, early sharks that lived 300 to 400 million years ago not only dropped their lower jaws downward but rotated them outwards when opening their mouths. This enabled them to make the best of their largest, sharpest and inward-facing teeth when catching prey, paleontologists at the Universities of Zurich and Chicago have now shown using CT scanning and 3D printing.