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Most recent news releases

Feb 10, 2016 Drones Learn To Search Forest Trails for Lost People

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Researchers at the University of Zurich, the Università della Svizzera italiana, and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland have developed software enabling drones to autonomously detect and follow forest paths. With the new drones, missing persons can be found and rescued quickly in forests and mountain areas.

Feb 8, 2016 More detailed analysis of how cells react to stress

Zellstress-ADP-Ribosylierung

Stress in the body’s cells is both the cause and consequence of inflammatory diseases or cancer. The cells react to stress to protect themselves. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now developed a new technique that allows studying a fundamental response to stress in much more detail than previously possible: the ADP-ribosylation of chromatin. In the long term, this method could help finding ways of blocking disease-causing processes.

Feb 1, 2016 Topography shapes biodiversity, and not only through temperature

Topografie-Biodiversität

A warming climate is likely to drive species to higher, cooler altitudes. A new study highlights a less obvious, yet crucial way in which their new habitat could differ from the one they leave behind.

Jan 28, 2016 Improved harvest for small farms thanks to naturally cloned crops

Abstract

As hybrid plants provide a very high agricultural yield for only one generation, new hybrid seeds need to be produced and used every year. However, natural cloning via seeds might enable the efficiency of such plants to be passed on unchanged. For the first time in experi-ments, researchers from the University of Zurich have now demonstrated that this nearly 80-year-old idea actually works. This may open up fresh possibilities for both seed producers and small farms in the Third World.

Jan 26, 2016 Alzheimer-type brain pathology after transplantation of dura mater

Abeta-Plaques Alzheimer

Up to now Alzheimer’s disease has not been recognised as transmissible. Now researchers at the University of Zurich and the Medical University Vienna demonstrated Alzheimer-type pathology in brains of recipients of dura mater grafts who died later from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Jan 12, 2016 Fungus attacks new type of grain thanks to an evolutionary trick

Mehltau

For the past few years, mildew has been able to infect triticale grain, which up to then had been resistant to this fungal disease. So how was the pathogen able to spread to a different host plant? Researchers from the University of Zurich have shown that the new pathogen is a genetic mix of existing mildew forms.

Jan 6, 2016 Last meal reflects spiral-shaped intestine

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A last meal provides new insights: The fossilized food remains of the extinct predatory fish Saurichthys reflect its spiral-shaped intestine. The spiral valve in fossils from Southern Switzerland is similar to that of sharks and rays. Paleontologists from the University of Zurich have thus closed a gap in the knowledge concerning the evolution of the gastrointestinal tract in vertebrates.

Jan 4, 2016 Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet releasing faster

Abstract Firn

The firn layers of the Greenland ice sheet might store less meltwater than previously assumed. Researchers from the USA, Denmark and the University of Zurich fear that this could lead to increased release of the meltwater into the oceans.

Dec 21, 2015 Empathy with strangers can be learned

Empathie

We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which increases empathy. As researchers from the University of Zurich reveal, only a handful of positive learning experiences already suffice for a person to become more empathic.

Dec 18, 2015 UZH scientists predict activity of human genes

Genetically identical sibling cells do not always behave the same way. So far this has been attributed to random molecular reactions. Now systems biologists of the University of Zurich have discovered an overlooked consequence of the spatial separation of cells into a nucleus and a cytoplasm. Building on top of this insight they could predict with supercomputers the activity of genes in individual human cells.

Dec 15, 2015 Internet is the primary source of information in Switzerland

Bild Smartphone

88 out of every 100 people in Switzerland use the internet. Usage time is increasing and accessing the internet from mobile devices is considerably more frequent than before. The internet is now the most important source of information, and lots of applications are a daily routine, but concerns about privacy on the internet are increasing. In addition, users’ confidence in their internet skills has decreased, especially amongst women. These are findings of a survey by the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ) at the University of Zurich.

Dec 9, 2015 Using “big data” to fight flu

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Thanks to “big data”, researchers have identified new molecules that are instrumental in the replication of the flu virus. If these host proteins are blocked, influenza viruses are unable to multiply as effectively. The international study therefore makes a significant contribution towards the development of new treatments and flu drugs.

Dec 8, 2015 Turning innovation into practical solutions more quickly

Wyss_Abstact

Wyss Zurich had its official opening today in the presence of Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann and Hansjörg Wyss, whose donation made the center possible. The aim of the joint development center created by ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich is to take innovative ideas from basic research and apply them in practice as quickly as possible.

Dec 3, 2015 Successful launch of LISA Path-finder

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After the successful lift-off of the Vega rocket in French Guiana, the LISA Pathfinder satellite uncoupled from its booster rocket at approximately 7.00 a.m. this morning. The satellite will spend the next 9 months floating in space. There it will enable scientists to test key measurement techniques for the detection of gravitational waves, which Albert Einstein predicted about 100 years ago in his general theory of relativity.

Dec 1, 2015 Making backup plans can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

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Is having a Plan B always a good idea? Or can these “safety nets” actually make you less likely to achieve your goals? Psychologists from the University of Zurich propose a new theoretical framework for studying the effects of backup plans. According to their model, the more effort people put into making backup plans, the more distracting and harmful those backup plans can become.

Nov 30, 2015 Worldwide glacier information system to go

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A new «wgms Glacier App» of the World Glacier Monitoring Service shows how glaciers have evolved around the globe. Users find out about nearby glaciers and get information about their size, elevation range, and ice loss. Glaciologists of the University of Zurich developed the new app and launched it jointly with UNESCO in the forefront of the UN Climate Conference in Paris. The app is available free of charge for Apple and Android devices.

Nov 24, 2015 Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

Nov 18, 2015 Why mice have longer sperm than elephants

Abstrat Elefant

In the animal world, if several males mate with the same female, their sperm compete to fertilize her limited supply of eggs. Longer sperm often seem to have a competitive advantage. However, a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Stockholm now reveals that the size of the animals also matters. The larger the animal, the more important the number of sperm is relative to sperm length. That’s why elephants have smaller sperm than mice. 

Nov 5, 2015 Faster digestion in kangaroos reduces methane emissions

kangurus

Why does a kangaroo expel less methane than a cow? Researchers from the University of Zurich and Australia decide to investigate – and discovered that the emission of this climate-damaging gas in kangaroos is linked to how long food is digested.

Oct 29, 2015 Personal interests pivotal for identification with Europe

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What is the decisive factor for identification with Europe? Contact with people from European countries plays a more minor role, as a study conducted by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich reveals. Personal interests are far more important: EU citizens living in Switzerland feel more closely linked to Europe than their Swiss counterparts because they benefit from EU citizenship.