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Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, EPFL


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Life Sciences - Health - 05.04.2023
New Circuit Model Offers Insights into Brain Function
Scientists at EPFL have developed a computational model of the thalamic microcircuit in the mouse brain, offering new insights into the role this region plays in brain function and dysfunction. The thalamus and thalamic reticular nucleus are situated at the heart of the mammalian brain and are known to play a key role in a wide range of functions, including the transmission of sensory information to the cortex and the transition between brain states such as sleep and wakefulness.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 04.04.2023
A new measurement could change our understanding of the Universe
A new measurement could change our understanding of the Universe
When it comes to measuring how fast the Universe is expanding, the result depends on which side of the Universe you start from. A recent EPFL study has calibrated the best cosmic yardsticks to unprecedented accuracy, shedding new light on what's known as the Hubble tension. The Universe is expanding - but how fast exactly? The answer appears to depend on whether you estimate the cosmic expansion rate - referred to as the Hubble's constant, or H0 - based on the echo of the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) or you measure H0 directly based on today's stars and galaxies.

Innovation - Materials Science - 31.03.2023
Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes
Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes
Researchers have developed fiber-like pumps that allow high-pressure fluidic circuits to be woven into textiles without an external pump. Soft supportive exoskeletons, thermoregulatory clothing, and immersive haptics can therefore be powered from pumps sewn into the fabric of the devices themselves.

Sport - Health - 31.03.2023
Smart helmets to prevent head trauma
Smart helmets to prevent head trauma
Players may not be aware of the severity of head impacts suffered during a game. Bearmind, an EPFL spin-off, has developed smart helmets that provide a series of metrics enabling coaches to monitor the neurological effects of head impacts suffered by their players.

Health - Pharmacology - 30.03.2023
New drug types can help counter antibiotic resistance
New drug types can help counter antibiotic resistance
Scientists are developing a new approach that can help stem the tide of antibiotic resistance. "Antibiotic-resistant infections are responsible for over one million deaths every year, including 250,000 children under the age of five," says Prof. Alexandre Persat, the head of EPFL's Microbial Mechanics Lab.

Physics - Electroengineering - 29.03.2023
Magnon-based computation could signal computing paradigm shift
Thanks to a breakthrough in the field of magnonics, researchers have sent and stored data using charge-free magnetic waves, rather than traditional electron flows. The discovery could solve the dilemma of energy-hungry computing technology in the age of big data. Like electronics or photonics, magnonics is an engineering subfield that aims to advance information technologies when it comes to speed, device architecture, and energy consumption.

Life Sciences - 28.03.2023
How genome doubling helps cancer develop
How genome doubling helps cancer develop
Researchers at EPFL and UNIL have uncovered a new way in which cancer can develop: whole genome doubling (WGD) changes the way DNA is organized in the 3D space, leading to the activation of oncogenes that drive cancer growth. A single cell contains 2-3 meters of DNA, meaning that the only way to store it is to package it into tight coils.

Microtechnics - 23.03.2023
Robotic system offers hidden window into collective bee behavior
Robotic system offers hidden window into collective bee behavior
Researchers have developed a temperature-modulating robotic system that can be seamlessly integrated into notoriously sensitive honeybee hives, providing both a never-before-seen view of honeybee behavior and a means to influence it. Honeybees are famously finicky when it comes to being studied. Research instruments and conditions and even unfamiliar smells can disrupt a colony's behavior.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.03.2023
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
Researchers have studied Vernier, a city in the canton of Geneva, as the pilot site for an interactive map that explores our relationship with the built and natural environments. "Vernier is an odd place. You pass by oil storage tanks, an Ikea, and an airport - and then suddenly you're walking by cows, the Rhône, and little boats." That's how one resident describes what he sees on his daily walking commute.

Health - Innovation - 15.03.2023
Smart ring offers a simple way to monitor your health
Smart ring offers a simple way to monitor your health
Senbiosys, an EPFL spin-off, has unveiled a jewelry-like smart ring that incorporates all the health-monitoring features currently available in smart watches. The company's notable achievement in miniaturization - made possible thanks to the world's smallest sensor, developed at EPFL - appears to have major market potential, as its recent crowdfunding campaign raised five times more capital than expected.

Chemistry - 14.03.2023
New AI model transforms research on metal-organic frameworks
New AI model transforms research on metal-organic frameworks
Researchers at EPFL and KAIST have developed a new AI model that significantly improves the understanding of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), promising materials for hydrogen storage and other applications. How does an iPhone predict the next word you're going to type in your messages? The technology behind this, and also at the core of many AI applications, is called a transformer; a deep-learning algorithm that detects patterns in datasets.

Life Sciences - Innovation - 09.03.2023
A new tool for protein sequence generation and design
Researchers have developed a new technique that uses a protein language model for generating protein sequences with comparable properties to natural sequences. The method outperforms traditional models and offers promising potential for protein design. Designing new proteins with specific structure and function is a highly important goal of bioengineering, but the vast size of protein sequence space makes the search for new proteins difficult.

Art and Design - 03.03.2023
Lausanne museum unveils the secrets of the first color photographs
An exhibition on Gabriel Lippmann, the inventor of one of the first methods for color photography, opens today at the Photo Elysée museum in Lausanne and will run until 21 May. The exhibition provides a unique glimpse into Lippmann's multispectral imaging technique - for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize - by presenting his original color plates in an entirely novel way, thanks to a joint project with EPFL.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.03.2023
Scientists monitor wildlife to boost preservation efforts
Scientists monitor wildlife to boost preservation efforts
To mark the tenth annual UN World Wildlife Day, we compiled a sample of EPFL research projects that are using technology to protect and preserve wildlife. Everywhere you look, biodiversity is under threat. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), wildlife populations have plummeted by 69% since 1970.

Environment - 01.03.2023
Scientists improve the accuracy of weather and climate models
Scientists from EPFL and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF have developed a program that improves the accuracy of a widely used weather forecasting model by incorporating surface phenomena that weren't previously taken into account. Given the challenges associated with climate change and the energy transition, it's essential for weather and climate forecasters to be able to accurately predict what happens to snowfall.

Materials Science - Innovation - 23.02.2023
3D printing with bacteria-loaded ink produces bone-like composites
3D printing with bacteria-loaded ink produces bone-like composites
Researchers have published a method for 3D-printing an ink that contains calcium carbonate-producing bacteria. The 3D-printed mineralized bio-composite is unprecedently strong, light, and environmentally friendly, with a range of applications from art to biomedicine. Nature has an extraordinary knack for producing composite materials that are simultaneously light and strong, porous and rigid - like mollusk shells or bone.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.02.2023
Modeling liver and kidney disease
In two separate studies, researchers at EPFL have carried out extensive tests to develop the best mouse models for studying kidney and liver diseases. The findings provide crucial insights into both conditions, and are expected to open up new avenues of research and treatment. "In these two studies we investigated how the mouse's genetic background affects the susceptibility to fatty liver disease and the transition from acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease," says Professor Johan Auwerx at EPFL.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.02.2023
Oral bacteria may increase heart disease risk
Oral bacteria may increase heart disease risk
Researchers at EPFL have found that infection with a common bacterium that is linked to periodontal disease, oral cancers, and bad breath may cause a small increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. A combination of genetic and environmental risk factors contributes to heart disease, which is responsible for about a third of all deaths worldwide.

Electroengineering - Physics - 17.02.2023
Electronic metadevices break barriers to ultra-fast communications
Electronic metadevices break barriers to ultra-fast communications
Researchers have come up with a new approach to electronics that involves engineering metastructures at the sub-wavelength scale. It could launch the next generation of ultra-fast devices for exchanging massive amounts of data, with applications in 6G communications and beyond. Until now, the ability to make electronic devices faster has come down to a simple principle: scaling down transistors and other components.

Environment - Architecture - 16.02.2023
EPFL architects rethink the city-river balance within neighborhoods
EPFL architects rethink the city-river balance within neighborhoods
Architects at EPFL have developed a new, multi-criteria evaluation method to support better decision-making for the redevelopment of brownfield sites in Geneva, Sion and elsewhere along the Rhone.
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