2011 News Highlights - Life Sciences

Stem cells, infectious diseases or genetic quirks are some of the subjects explored by students at the School of Life Sciences. Here is a selection of this year’s headlines.

FEBRUARY - Reprogrammed stem cells hit a roadblock

Is there a future for stem cell therapies that don’t use embryonic stem cells? An international study involving EPFL has raised doubts by showing that “reprogramming” adult stem cells leads to genetic aberrations.

MARS - New evidence for innate knowledge

Do we have innate knowledge? Neuroscientists from Henry Markram’s team have discovered neurons making connections independently of a subject’s experience.

APRIL – Study finds indigenous cases of leprosy in the Southern United States

Study confirms human contamination through with armadillos.

OCTOBER - From whales to earthworms, the mechanism that gives shape to life

Mice don’t have tails on their backs, and their ribs don’t grow from lumbar vertebrae. And for a good reason. EPFL scientists have discovered the mechanism that determines the shape that many animals take – including humans, blue whales, and insects.

OCTOBER - Bisphenol A: mothers’ exposure increases cancer risk for children

Researches find link between increased risk of breast cancer in children when mothers are exposed to Bisphenol A during pregnancy or while breast feeding. This important discovery comes on the heels of an international debate about eliminating Bisphenol A in order to protect small children.

NOVEMBER - Better muscles thanks to a genetic knock-out

A team of researchers at EPFL has improved the muscle structure and stamina of mice and nematodes by reducing the function of a natural inhibitor. Treatment for age-related or genetically caused muscle degeneration are within reach.