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Archive All Articles 2015

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  • Review of the Year 2015

    From Mother’s Milk to Rocket Launches

    On an almost daily basis over the course of 2015, UZH News reported the latest news at Switzerland’s largest university. We take leave for this year by passing review on some of the biggest events of the past 12 months. As of January 2016, we will be ready to serve you again with the latest news, interviews, and videos.
  • Empathy with strangers can be learned

    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.
  • 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.
  • Open Access

    Stories Can Wait – Science Can’t

    Systems biologist Lawrence Rajendran has launched the ScienceMatters platform with the aim of revolutionizing science publishing. It’s designed to enable researchers to publish their data more quickly by making it available in phases.
  • Internet is the primary source of information in Switzerland

    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.
  • Wyss Translational Center Zurich

    Bridge to Practice

    On Monday evening the Wyss Translational Center Zurich was inaugurated in an official ceremony. The aim of the new development center, set up by the University and ETH Zurich with a donation from entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss, is to translate innovative ideas from pure research more rapidly into practice.
  • Using “big data” to fight flu

    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.
  • Turning innovation into practical solutions more quickly

    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.
  • Successful launch of LISA Path-finder

    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.
  • Making backup plans can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

    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.
  • Worldwide glacier information system to go

    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.
  • Gravitational Waves

    Countdown to the Experiment of the Century

    LISA Pathfinder is a satellite designed to help detect gravitational waves in space. The countdown to the launch of the rocket carrying the probe has started. UZH physicist Philippe Jetzer is involved at the forefront of this international experiment.
  • 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.
  • Citizen Science

    Research Tapping the Power of Citizen Science

    Citizen science has become a firm feature of established research. The University of Zurich has joined forces with ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva in a call for universally binding guidelines and principles for citizen science.
  • Why mice have longer sperm than elephants

    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. 
  • Physics

    A new detector for dark matter

    The new XENON1T detector in Italy is aimed at making dark matter particles visible. UZH Physics Professor Laura Baudis and her team played a significant role in the development and construction of this detector.
  • Clinical Research Priority Programs (CRPPs)

    Research Initiative Makes the Grade

    External evaluators have given UZH’s Clinical Research Priority Programs the thumbs-up. The program, designed to support efforts at the interface of research and clinical practice, is now entering Phase 2.
  • Faster digestion in kangaroos reduces methane emissions

    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.
  • Personal interests pivotal for identification with Europe

    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.
  • Siberian jays can recognize unfamiliar, distant relatives

    Can animals recognize distantly related, unfamiliar individuals of the same species? Siberian jays possess this ability as evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich recently could demonstrate for the first time. This bird species belongs to the crow family and is able to accurately assess the degree of kinship to unfamiliar individuals. This ability provides advantages when sharing food and other forms of cooperation.
  • 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.
  • Quantitative Biology

    New Trend in the Life Sciences

    Cycler, a program for analyzing biological cells, has earned Gabriele Gut and Prisca Liberali the prestigious honor of publication in Nature Methods. This puts the increasingly important field of quantitative biology firmly in the limelight.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    When Oxygen Levels are Low

    Low levels of oxygen can lead to aggressive tumor growth. Researchers on the Tumor Oxygenation Clinical Research Priority Program (CCRP) are pursuing various promising methodological, clinical, and preclinical approaches in an effort to find out why this is so.
  • 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.
  • swissuniversities

    “We don’t want a mishmash. We want clear profiles.”

    UZH President Michael Hengartner has been elected the new president of swissuniversities, the conference of the rectors of Swiss tier-one universities, universities of applied sciences, and universities of teacher education. In this interview he explains his motivation for accepting this position.
  • Academic Honor

    Michael Hengartner Made Honorary Professor at Tianjin University

    On Saturday, UZH President Michael Hengartner accepted an honorary professorship from Tianjin University in China. He also signed an agreement on student exchanges and a memorandum of understanding.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • North-South Collaboration

    Medicine under the equatorial sky

    A symposium will be held on 24/25 August devoted to the North-South Cooperation between UZH and Uganda. As part of the preparations, journalist Ruedi Küng went along on the trip to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and reports for UZH News on his impressions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    Riding to Success in Tandem

    The Molecular Imaging Network Zurich – “MINZ” for short – has the goal of improving diagnostic and therapeutic imaging techniques. MINZ is one of the University of Zurich’s eleven clinical research priority programs (CRPPs). UZH News is presenting a series of features on these.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alumni

    A New Chapter for the Nation’s Capital

    The University of Zurich has a new alumni group in Washington, D.C. The chapter was inaugurated last week in a ceremony attended by ambassador and UZH alumnus Martin Dahinden and UZH president Michael Hengartner.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    Tracking down Viruses

    The aim of the Viral Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Priority Program is to track down dormant human immunodeficiency viruses, and find unidentified pathogens that plague people with weak immune systems. This is part of a series of UZH News articles featuring the Clinical Research Priority Programs.
  • Nobel Prize Exhibition

    When You Get a Call from Stockholm

    How do you win the Nobel Prize? At a discussion held at Zurich City Hall to mark the “Einstein & Co – Zürich und der Nobelpreis” exhibition, UZH president Michael Hengartner and Nobel laureate Rolf Zinkernagel talked about what makes for good research.
  • 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.
  • Human Lactation Research

    Breastfeeding is Healthy. But Why?

    We still don’t know why breastfeeding protects children from illness and infection. But that’s about to change. Thanks to funding from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation, the world’s first medical professorship for human lactation research is to be set up at UZH.
  • Sociology

    Global Nomads

    So-called transnational mobiles live in more and more places around the globe. For her research, sociologist Claudia Vorheyer has interviewed people who have made being on the move a fundamental way of life.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    Rare Diseases: Not as Rare as You Think

    The Rare Disease Initiative Zurich (radiz) is a CCRP revolving around developing improved treatments for patients with rare diseases. It’s one of the University of Zurich’s eleven clinical research priority programs. UZH News is presenting a series of features on these programs.
  • Remote Sensing

    “We’re very excited!”

    It’s a big day for the team headed by Michael Schaepman, Professor of Remote Sensing at the UZH Department of Geography: This morning a Vega rocket was launched from French Guiana carrying Sentinel-2A, a satellite their team helped to develop.
  • 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.
  • Startup-Competition

    First Prize for “Cutiss”

    Last week the prizewinners in the Swiss startup competition “venture” were announced. First prize went to “Cutiss,” a new company that aims to bring customized skin grafts to market using lab-grown skin developed at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.
  • Clinical Research Priority Programs

    Getting to Grips with the Blood and Immune System

    The Human Hemato-Lymphatic Diseases Clinical Research Priority Program (CRPP) is all about finding better therapies for serious blood disorders and infections. The CRPP is one of the University of Zurich’s eleven clinical research priority programs. UZH News is presenting a series of features on these programs.
  • Vetsuisse Faculty

    The Agrovet-Strickhof construction project is underway

    UZH, ETH Zurich and the Canton of Zurich have permission to build the Agrovet-Strickhof, a jointly operated agricultural education and research centre in Eschikon Lindau.
  • Cardiology

    Broken Hearts

    A ventricle that looks like a Japanese octopus trap, and symptoms resembling a coronary: Zurich cardiologists are researching the mysterious and dangerous “broken heart syndrome”.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    The Heterogeneity of Multiple Sclerosis

    There are many different types of multiple sclerosis. The University of Zurich’s Clinical Research Priority Program on Multiple Sclerosis is trying to identify the different forms the disease takes as a basis for developing new treatments. 
  • Language Center

    Learn German at turbo speed

    The Language Center of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich has developed a new, nine-month intensive German course. This highly practical course aims to open the way for better integration of doctoral students from outside Switzerland. The graduates of the first course have plenty of success stories to share.
  • EU supports three University of Zurich researchers with 7.9 million Euro

    Three leading researchers at the University of Zurich have been awarded the European Union’s top research award, the “Advanced Grant” of the European Research Council (ERC). The EU will support University of Zurich research projects with a total of approximately 7.9 million Euro.
  • Alpine Groundwater

    Exploring the Tiefen Glacier

    In a project funded under the University of Zurich’s “Forschungskredit,” hydrologist Philipp Schneider and his team are looking into the quality, quantity, distribution, and storage patterns of alpine groundwater.
  • Cancer Research

    Outwitting the Immune System

    An American biotech firm is developing a new antibody to combat cancer that also improves the patient’s feeling of well-being. Its work is based on research done by Zurich dermatologist Thomas Kündig.
  • QS Rankings 2015: UZH’s medical disciplines climb the table

    Eleven subjects in the Top 100, three in the Top 50 and, for the first time, one in the Top 20 in the world: the University of Zurich performed well in the latest subject-specific QS Rankings.
  • University Children’s Hospital Zurich

    The Burning Issue of Poverty

    The University Children’s Hospital Zurich is helping a hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul improve care for children with burn injuries. The premises have been renovated, and now it’s time to train the staff.
  • Evolution makes invading species spread even faster

    Today, invasive animals and plants spread all around the globe. Predicting the dynamics of these invasions is of great ecological and socio-economical interest. Yet studying them is fundamentally challenging because of the large spatial and temporal scales involved. Scientists at Eawag and University of Zurich are now using computer simulations and small artificial laboratory worlds, to study how rapid evolution makes invaders spread even faster.
  • RNA-Research

    Cracking the Prion Puzzle

    A multidisciplinary team around prion researcher Adriano Aguzzi is using small RNA molecules to gain deeper insights into disease processes. “Small RNAs” is one of the University of Zurich’s eleven clinical research priority programs (CRPPs). UZH News is presenting a series of features on these programs.
  • New Technology Making Drones Safer and Smarter

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have unveiled new technology enabling drones to recover stable flight from any position and land autonomously in failure situations. It will even be possible to launch drones by simply tossing them into the air like a baseball or recover stable flight after a system failure. Drones will be safer and smarter, with the ability to identify safe landing sites and land automatically when necessary.
  • Central signaling pathway in lymphoma can be blocked successfully

    Cancer researchers from the University of Zurich have identified a key signaling pathway in B-cell lymphoma, a malignant type of blood cancer. They demonstrate that the signaling path-way can be blocked using compounds that are already in clinical development. This finding might be extremely important for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of this disease in the future.
  • Poses of power are less powerful than we thought

    Legs apart, chest thrust forward, shoulders back: these “power poses” are supposed to influence hormone production and willingness to take on risk in accordance with a study that attained global attention. Scientists from the University of Zurich, however, found no support for these assumptions in a large study. “Power poses” do not influence behavior, but they might allow someone to feel more secure.
  • Discovery of two new species of primitive fishes

    Working with an international team, palaeontologists at the University of Zurich have discovered two new species of Saurichthys. The ~242 million year old predatory fishes were found in the fossil Lagerstätte Monte San Giorgio, in Ticino. They are distinct from previously known Saurichthys species in the shape of the head and body, suggesting different habitats and diet.
  • Cooperation with Japan

    Technology for Aging

    Last week researchers from Japan and Switzerland met at a workshop in Tokyo to discuss ways modern technology could facilitate healthy aging. The co-organizer of the workshop, UZH gerontologist Mike Martin, talked to us about the background to the meeting.
  • Hult Prize

    Early Education for Kids in Urban Slums

    Fully committed on all fronts: In the rare moments when they’re not busy with their research, Zurich PhD students Shan Krishnan, Nina Stojeva, and Marta Morawska are working hard to win a million dollars to help the poorest of the poor through early education in urban slums. In the video they explain how they’re going about it.
  • Leadership: Ten Tips for Choosing an Academic Chair

    Clear and realistic expectations are key to successfully hiring heads of departments, say Professor Pierre-Alain Clavien, University of Zurich, and Joseph Deiss, former President of the Swiss Confederation, in a commentary in Nature magazine. 
  • Spinal cord neurons that control pain and itch

    The spinal cord transmits pain signals to the brain, where they are consciously perceived. But not all the impulses arrive at their destination: Certain neurons act as checkpoints and determine whether a pain signal is relayed or not. Researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich identified these neurons and their connections. Moreover, they developed means to specifically activate these neurons, which reduces not only pain – but astonishingly also alleviates itch.
  • Neurorehabilitation

    Doctor on Your Wrist

    It’s in the wake of paraplegia, a stroke or multiple sclerosis that the strengths of the brain really come into play: To some extent it can compensate for deficiencies. Physicians and engineers on the Neuro-Rehab Clinical Research Priority Program (CRPP) at UZH are investigating the brain’s plasticity and working on tailored training programs for the patients affected.
  • Proteomics

    Personalising medicine with proteins

    Ruedi Aebersold, Professor of Systems Biology has developed the proteomics method together with a team of international researchers to such an extent that doctors and clinical researchers can now use this technique as a tool. In a conversation, the professor at ETH and the University of Zurich explains how information from proteins can advance personalised medicine.
  • Robotics

    Flying with Drones

    Davide Scaramuzza is Assistant Professor of Robotics at UZH. He develops software enabling spaces and objects to be captured in three dimensions. The idea is to be able to teach drones to fly autonomously. His research will soon also be used by the game industry.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    New Therapies for Liver Cancer

    The liver is the only organ in the human body that can regrow. The Liver Tumors Clinical Research Priority Program is looking into how this ability can be used to cure liver cancer. This is one of a series of UZH News articles featuring the eleven Clinical Research Priority Programs.
  • Clinical Research Priority Program

    Skin from the Petri Dish

    UZH researchers are attempting to create skin substitutes that can be transplanted from the petri dish to people with burns and skin conditions. Their endeavors are bearing fruit, with the first usable skin grafts currently undergoing clinical trials. Skin Grafts for Zurich is one of the University of Zurich’s eleven clinical research priority programs (CRPPs). UZH News will be presenting a series of features on these programs.
  • Playful adults preferred in choice of partner

    Which characteristics do young adults value in a potential partner for long-term relationships? A new study by researchers at the UZH reveals that, besides friendliness, intelligence and a sense of humor, playfulness is also important – regardless of gender. Playful people also deem humor, a fun tendency, a laid-back attitude and creativity more important in partners than their non-playful counterparts.
  • Swiss National Science Foundation

    Four Consolidator Grants for Junior Researchers at UZH

    Junior researchers at UZH have been awarded four of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s 21 Consolidator Grants. One of these researchers is microbiologist Anne Müller. She is investigating Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can trigger gastric cancer, but also protects against allergies.
  • One in five suicides is associated with unemployment

    Every year, around 45,000 people take their own lives because they are out of work or someone close to them is affected by unemployment, as a study by the University of Zurich now reveals. It includes data of 63 countries and demonstrates that during the 2008 economic crisis the number of all suicides associated with unemployment was nine times higher than previously believed.
  • Chimpanzees learn «food calls»

    Chimpanzees living in captivity are capable of learning calls that refer to specific food items. This was shown by an evolutionary biologist from the University of Zurich together with English researchers. They now published a behavioral study suggesting, that great apes are capable of referring to objects and socially learn meaningful calls.
  • Microbiology

    Secret Weapon: Garlic

    With bacteria developing resistance, it’s become harder and harder for antibiotics to penetrate their defenses. This is why microbiologists like Leo Eberl are looking for ways to trick the microorganisms, disrupting them as they speak and eat. 
  • Antibodies in the lab: higher quality through DNA technology

    Antibodies are now established as therapeutics and indispensable in the research lab. In con-trast to high-quality therapeutics, commercial antibodies used in research often do not proper-ly function, as an international group of authors around Andreas Plückthun of UZH have warned. They demand that antibodies used in research should be made by recombinant DNA technology — just like therapeutic antibodies.
  • Irving L. Weissman and Joan Massagué win Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research

    Researchers Irving L. Weissman and Joan Massagué have won this year’s Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research: Weissman, from Stanford University, for his work on healthy and sick stem cells; Massagué, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, for his research on metastatic spread. The award, which carries CHF 100,000 each in prize money, is to be presented on January 29 during the international symposium on “Breakthroughs in Cancer Research and Therapy” in Zurich.
  • UZH researcher Martin Jinek wins prestigious Friedrich Miescher Prize

    Martin Jinek from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Zurich has won the Friedrich Miescher Prize, which carries CHF 20,000 in prize money. The award is the highest accolade for budding researchers in biochemistry in Switzerland.
  • Key factor discovered in the formation of metastases in melanoma

    Melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancer strains, is often fatal for patients due to the pronounced formation of metastases. Until now, a melanoma’s rampant growth was mainly attributed to genetic causes, such as mutations in certain genes. However, researchers from the University of Zurich now reveal that so-called epigenetic factors play a role in the formation of metastases in malignant skin cancer. This opens up new possibilities for future cancer treatments.
  • Citizens Science

    Citizens create knowledge

    Search for asteroids, observe birds or make the computing power of your own computer available: through ‘citizen science’, citizens can participate in various research projects. At a workshop hosted by ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, scientists and other interested parties will discuss the conditions under which it can be achieved.
  • Clinical Research Priority Programs

    A Boost for Sleep Research

    A hectic lifestyle has lead to sleep problems and a chronic sleep deficit for many people. Under its Sleep and Health Clinical Research Priority Program (CRPP), the University of Zurich is seeking more effective therapies for sleep disorders and trying to gain a deeper understanding of the functions of sleep.
  • Neurosciences

    Teach Them Young

    Learning English can be child’s play for primary school kids, provided the teaching is intensive enough. Neuroscientists are now looking into how learning foreign languages affects the brain.
  • Geography

    Babies to Order

    Surrogate mothers dream of a better life, while the prospective parents dream of a happy family. But the people who profit most from this business are the lawyers and the surrogate parenting agencies.
  • Sophisticated system prevents self-fertilization in petunias

    Plants use genetic mechanisms to prevent inbreeding by recognizing self and non-self pollen. Researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich have now found evidence that a group of 18 male proteins recognize 40 female proteins between them – in contrast to one-to-one relationships studied to date. The self-recognition mechanism in petunia shows similarities to the immune defense in vertebrates.
  • Virology

    Globetrotting Quick-Change Artist

    Flu viruses mutate constantly, and can be very dangerous for humans. Virologist Lars Hangartner is working on a vaccine giving long-term protection against all potential flu viruses.
  • Two brain regions join forces for absolute pitch

    People who have “absolute pitch” can identify notes immediately without relying on a reference tone. Intensive research is being conducted into the neuronal basis of this extraordinary ability at the University of Zurich’s Department of Neuropsychology. The researchers have now detected a close functional link between the auditory cortex in the brain and the frontal lobe in these extraordinary people – a discovery that is not only important in theory, but also in practice.


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