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Most recent news releases

Oct 6, 2015 Sugar governs how antibodies work in the immune system


Antibodies protect the body against diseases – but can also harm their own organism if the reactions are misdirected. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now discovered that a particular sugar in the antibodies determines whether one of the body’s own cells is destroyed or not. This result could lead to new treatment possibilities for patients with autoimmune diseases.

Sep 24, 2015 Female genital cutting is largely a family matter and not an all-pervasive social norm

A new study by researchers at the University of Zurich challenges the prevailing view that female genital cutting is predominantly a norm based on all families trying to be alike. According to the study, published in Science, families actually vary tremendously in matters related to cutting. This indicates that heterogeneous motives at the family level play a crucial role when parents decide whether to cut their daughters. The results question the assumptions behind many programs that attempt to reduce cutting.

Sep 24, 2015 Vaccination on the horizon for severe viral infection of the brain


Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease. Thanks to their discovery that specific antibodies play a key role in combating the viral infection, a vaccine against the disease «progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy» could now be developed.

Sep 17, 2015 A barrier against brain stem cell aging


Neural stem cells generate new neurons throughout life in the mammalian brain. However, with advancing age the potential for regeneration in the brain dramatically declines. Scientists of the University of Zurich now identified a novel mechanism of how neural stem cells stay relatively free of aging-induced damage. A diffusion barrier regulates the sorting of damaged proteins during cell division.

Sep 11, 2015 Universities plan innovative programme for medical studies

The University of Basel, the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich will together launch a new course of study in medicine. An additional 100 new student places could be available by autumn 2017.

Aug 25, 2015 Flu remedies help combat E. coli bacteria

If the intestinal bacteria level becomes unbalanced, it can cause diseases. Physiologists from the University of Zurich reveal how a specific carbohydrate in the intestinal mucosa heavily multiplies certain E. coli bacteria and thus causes inflammations. These could be treated with flu remedies, which opens up new therapeutic possibilities.

Aug 20, 2015 XENON Experiment: no evidence (yet) for dark matter


Dark matter has never been directly observed in the laboratory. The international XENON collaboration, that includes researchers from the Universities of Bern and Zurich, has not found evidence for it either. However, its latest results solve a long-standing scientific controversy in the field.

Aug 20, 2015 Brain waves behind indecisiveness


Some people find it difficult to make decisions. In a new study, neuroeconomists from the University of Zurich now reveal that the intensity of the communication between different regions of the brain dictates whether we are indecisive or not.

Aug 18, 2015 High-precision control of nanoparticles for digital applications


For the first time ever, researchers have succeeded in creating arrangements of colloids – tiny particles suspended in a solution – and, importantly, they have managed to control their motion with high precision and speed. Thanks to this new technique developed by scientists at the University of Zurich, colloidal nanoparticles may play a role in digital technologies of the future. Nanoparticles can be rapidly displaced, require little energy and their small footprint offers large storage capacity – all these attributes make them well suited to new data storage applications or high-resolution displays.

Aug 17, 2015 Up to 30 percent less precipitation in the Central Andes in future


Seasonal water shortages already occur in the Central Andes of Peru and Bolivia. By the end of the century, precipitation could fall by up to 30% according to an international team of researchers led by the University of Zurich. In a first for this region, the team compared current climate data with future climate scenarios and data extending back to pre-Inca times.

Aug 13, 2015 Grammar: eventually the brain opts for the easy route

Languages are constantly evolving – and grammar is no exception. The way in which the brain processes language triggers adjustments. If the brain has to exert itself too much to cope with difficult case constructions, it usually simplifies them over time, as linguists from the University of Zurich demonstrate in a study on languages all over the world.

Aug 6, 2015 Martin Jinek wins Vallee Young Investigator Award


Martin Jinek, a professor at the University of Zurich’s Department of Biochemistry, was presented with the 2015 Vallee Young Investigator Award. The international prize is awarded to young researchers for outstanding achievements in biomedicine and carries USD 250,000 in prize money. 

Aug 3, 2015 Glaciers melt faster than ever


Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Jul 29, 2015 Alcohol laws have a preventive effect on young men


Young men are at risk from alcohol consumption. Regulations such as the minimum legal drinking age can protect them. As a national study headed by UZH scientists reveals: The more legal measures for alcohol prevention are enforced in a canton, the less young men drink excessively. However, this is not effective for high-risk consumers such as young men with a tendency towards sensation seeking or antisocial behavior.

Jul 27, 2015 New treatment options for a fatal leukemia

In industrialized countries like Switzerland acute lymphoblastic leukemia represents the most frequent type of cancer in children. Together with international researchers, a pediatric oncologist from the University of Zurich has now succeeded in decoding a rare but always fatal subtype of this leukemia and in obtaining pointers for new therapeutic possibilities.

Jul 9, 2015 Cells help viruses during cell entry

Adenoviruses cause numerous diseases, such as eye or respiratory infections, and they are widely used in gene therapy. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now discovered how these viruses penetrate the cells, a key step for infection and gene delivery The cell unwillingly supports virus entry and infection by providing lipids that are normally used to repair damaged membranes.

Jul 7, 2015 Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Endows First Professorship Worldwide for Human Lactation Research


The world’s first medical professorship for human lactation research is set to be established at the University of Zurich. Initiated and funded by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation through an endowment of 20 million Swiss francs, the aim of the professorship is to gain new insights into the composition of human milk and its functional properties.

Jun 30, 2015 Monitoring volcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions. In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of the Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides.

Jun 26, 2015 High-performance microscope displays pores in the cell nucleus with greater precision


The transportation of certain molecules into and out of the cell nucleus takes place via nuclear pores. For some time, detailed research has been conducted into how these pores embedded in the nuclear envelope are structured. Now, for the first time, biochemists from the University of Zurich have succeeded in elucidating the structure of the transportation channel inside the nuclear pores in high resolution using high-performance electron microscopes.

Jun 22, 2015 Corporate social responsibility doesn’t pay


For decades, researchers have asserted that corporate social responsibility is financially worthwhile. A sociologist from the University of Zurich now reveals that this positive correlation between corporate social responsibility and a company’s financial success cannot be taken for granted. Instead, it is fueled by the biased publication of positive results.