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Archive All Articles 2016

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  • University of Zurich to become global center for biodiversity research

    From 2017, the University of Zurich will assume the International Project Office of bioDISCOVERY, supporting and coordinating global research projects monitoring, assessing, and better understanding and predicting biodiversity change. UZH was chosen particularly because of the concentration and interdisciplinary nature of the University Research Priority Program “Global Change and Biodiversity”.
  • Sleep Helps Process Traumatic Experiences

    If we sleep in the first 24 hours after a traumatic experience, this helps pigeonhole and process the distressing memories more effectively, as researchers from the University of Zurich and the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich demonstrate in a new study. Sleep could thus be used as an early prevention strategy for posttraumatic stress disorders.
  • Digital Health

    Medicine at a Turning Point

    The digital transformation of healthcare is creating major opportunities to better understand disease and effective therapies. But it also poses ethical and legal challenges. A conference organized by the Health Ethics and Policy Lab at UZH addressed some of the current issues.
  • 2017 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research awarded to Adrian Bird, Guido Kroemer and Laurence Zitvogel

    The 2017 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research is being awarded to three researchers for their outstanding contributions to basic oncological research. Recipient of the first prize of CHF 100,000 is Adrian Bird from the University of Edinburgh, while Guido Kroemer from the Université Paris Descartes and Laurence Zitvogel from the Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Paris are joint recipients of the second prize. The award ceremony will take place on 2 February 2017 at the international Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Symposium in Zurich.
  • Dual Career Couples

    Coming to Zurich as a Couple

    When researchers abroad decide to move to Zurich, their partner often comes with them to Switzerland. UZH has an effective framework in place to help them find a job, including recent membership of the International Dual Career Network (IDCN).
  • Re-emergence of Syphilis Traced to Pandemic Strain Cluster

    Over the last few decades, an age-old infectious disease has been re-emerging globally: Syphilis. Using techniques to analyze low levels of DNA, an international research team headed by the University of Zurich has now shown that all syphilis strains from modern patient samples share a common ancestor from the 1700s. Furthermore, their research demonstrates that strains dominating infections today originate from a pandemic cluster that emerged after 1950, and these strains share a worrying trait: Resistance to the second-line antibiotic azithromycin.
  • Campus

    Discovery Semester for Refugees

    The University of Zurich offers a first discovery semester for 20 refugees. It will be held in the 2017 Spring Semester. Student mentors will support the refugees.
  • An agent used to treat psoriasis may be aimed at the wrong target

    The antibody ustekinumab is being used successfully for the treatment of psoriasis since 2009. It inhibits the underlying inflammation by neutralizing certain messengers of the immune system. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the Center of Allergy and Environment in Munich have now shown that one of these messengers could actually be helpful in battling the disease.
  • 2. Swiss-Kyoto-Symposium

    Research with Japan

    UZH fosters close cooperation with Kyoto University. The topics featured at the second joint symposium at the beginning of November included digital law and Japanese art.
  • The Swiss buy more fair trade products than the Germans as a matter of conviction

    People in Switzerland buy fair trade products more frequently than their German counterparts. A new study by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich states the reasons for this: The Swiss are more convinced ethically by fair trade products than their German neighbors, and there are also more products on offer in Switzerland. By contrast, the purchasing power differential between the Swiss and the Germans does not have any effect.
  • Most Mammals Have a Greater Life Expectancy in Zoos

    Life in the wild harbors the risk of predation, food shortages, harsh climates, and intense competition. Zoo animals, by contrast, are protected from these dangers. UZH researchers were part of an international team that studied over 50 mammalian species to determine whether the animals live longer in zoos than in the wild.
  • Herbivorous mammals have bigger bellies

    As an international study conducted by the University of Zurich based on 3D reconstructions of animal skeletons reveals for the first time: Herbivorous mammals have bigger bellies than their usually slim carnivorous counterparts. In dinosaurs, however, there is no notable difference between carnivores and herbivores.
  • Astrophysics

    How giant planets form

    Young giant planets are born from gas and dust. Researchers of ETH Zürich and UZH simulated different scenarios relying on the computing power of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) to find out how they exactly form and evolve.
  • Ranking

    Life Sciences Lead the Way

    The U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings compare the world’s best higher education institutions. The current edition ranks UZH in 70th place – an excellent result and seven ranks higher than in the previous year.
  • Second research flight into zero gravity

    Tomorrow, a parabolic flight is set to take off from Swiss soil for the second time. It will be carrying experiments from various Swiss universities on board to research the effects of zero gravity on biological and physical processes, and test technologies. With this flight, the second from the air force base in Dübendorf within one year, the Swiss Research Station for Zero Gravity initiated by the University of Zurich has got off to a flying start.
  • Overcoming egocentricity increases self-control

    Neurobiological models of self-control usually focus on brain mechanisms involved in impulse control and emotion regulation. Recent research at the University of Zurich shows that the mechanism for overcoming egocentricity also facilitates self-control. This opens up new possibilities for therapeutic interventions.
  • Pension fund

    "I understand the concerns of the employees."

    After careful consideration, the Executive Board of the University has decided to remain with the BVK pension fund. Vice President Christian Schwarzenegger explains this decision in an interview with UZH News.
  • Swiss employees do not hold back on cynical behaviour

    Every fourth employee regards promises made by the company they work for as having been broken and every third is not satisfied with their relationship to their superior and with their co-workers. This is shown by the current results of the Swiss Human Relations Barometer of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich = Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) Although more than half of the employees feel emotional ties to their employer, there is widespread cynicism in the workplace, e.g. in the form of derogatory remarks and ridicule.
  • Changing Cultural Attitudes on Female Genital Cutting through Entertainment

    Female Genital Cutting (FGC) constitutes a serious health risk for millions of girls and women but remains prevalent in many areas of the world. In a recent paper published in «Nature», researchers from the University of Zurich have found a promising approach to change attitudes within cutting communities. In their study they produced fictional movies including a subplot about a family in the process of discussing whether to have their daughters cut. The results show that the movies had a positive influence on attitudes towards uncut girls and therefore repeated exposure to similar movies could be a discreet but effective intervention to reduce female genital cutting.
  • Research Collaboration

    Flagship Project Dedicated to Skin Research

    The research network University Medicine Zurich has launched a new, large-scale interdisciplinary project dedicated to skin research – helping to make Zurich one of the world’s leading centers in the field.
  • Developing brain regions in children hardest hit by sleep deprivation

    A team of researchers from the University of Zurich has studied the effects of acute sleep deprivation in children for the first time. They discovered that the brain in five to 12-year-olds responds differently to sleep deprivation compared to adults: The reduced amount of sleep leads to an increased need for deep sleep in maturing areas of the brain. This affects posterior regions of the brain, which are involved in vision, spatial perception and processing multi-sensorial input.
  • Respiratory tract bacterium uncovered as trigger for serious nervous system disease

    Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute life-threatening disease of the nervous system that leads to sensory disturbances and acute flaccid paralysis. A group of researchers involving the University of Zurich has now shown for the first time that bacteria, which often cause pneumonia, can trigger the autoimmune disease GBS. Antibodies that not only attack the bacteria but also the outer layer of the body’s own nerve cells are a critical step in the pathogenesis of GBS after this respiratory infection.
  • The number of professors of economics at the University of Zurich has increased substantially from 23 to 30, with a corresponding contribution to research and teaching. Due to this growth of about 30 percent, the Department of Economics has gained a decisive advantage in the international competition between universities.
  • Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

    Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by sharp, lancinating pain in the teeth or facial area. The standard treatment for this chronic nerve pain can cause burdening side effects. A novel substance inhibits the pain effectively and is well tolerated, as documented by the initial results of an international study involving the Center of Dental Medicine at the University of Zurich.
  • Broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies pave the way for vaccine

    A small number of people infected with HIV produce antibodies with an amazing effect: Not only are the antibodies directed against the own virus strain, but also against different sub-types of HIV that circulate worldwide. Researchers from the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich now reveal which factors are responsible for the human body forming such broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies, thereby opening new avenues for the development of an HIV vaccine.
  • Europeans favor high-skilled, vulnerable and Christian asylum seekers

    What types of asylum seekers are Europeans willing to accept? As a large-scale international survey conducted among 18,000 people and co-headed by the University of Zurich reveals: Citizens from 15 European countries are more likely to accept asylum seekers who have a higher employability, were persecuted or tortured in their homeland, and are Christians rather than Muslims.
  • Switzerland and Europe

    "let’s do it"

    The festivities marking Winston Churchill’s famous Zurich speech provided a platform for a politically charged meeting between Swiss Federal President Johann Schneider-Ammann and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. With expectations running high, the main hall at UZH was filled to capacity to hear the two presidents’ addresses – in which they talked about the future of Europe and Switzerland’s involvement in the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation.
  • Churchill Colloquium


    On 19 September 1946, Winston Churchill gave his globally acclaimed speech at the University of Zurich. To mark the 70-year anniversary of the event, academics, publicists, and politicians gathered in the main UZH lecture hall on Monday to discuss the significance of his address.
  • UZH Digital Society Initiative

    «This child is going to make us very proud.»

    Prominent figures from business and politics gathered in the main lecture hall to kick off the UZH Digital Society Initiative. It’s designed as a vehicle to enable the University to take a leading role in digital transformation.
  • University Sports

    Stimulus für Körper und Geist

    The Academic Sports Association (ASVZ) isn’t just popular with students. The latest university survey shows that staff and alumni also make regular use of its diverse, low-cost sports and exercise program. One of the reasons it’s so popular is the dedication of ASVZ instructors. We’d like to present three of them and the findings of the survey.
  • University of Zurich launches initiative for the Digital Society

    The digitization of our society is all around us. In order to approach the challenges this entails, the University of Zurich is launching the UZH Digital Society Initiative. The research initiative is aimed at pooling and building on UZH’s expertise for critical, interdisciplinary reflection and innovation across the board in the digitization of society and science. Consequently, UZH is assuming a pioneering international role and looking to develop new research fields in the next few years.
  • Ground squirrels use the sun to hide food

    Ground squirrels use information on the position of the sun when hiding their food and reuse this information to find their food stash again. The position of the sun serves as a reference point for the animals, which live in southern Africa, to orient themselves and adjust the direction they are traveling in. A study published by researchers from the University of Zurich sheds new light on the old question as to how animals find their bearings within their environment.
  • G20 Summit

    How to green Finance

    G20 Leaders welcomed “Green Finance” at their meeting on September 4-5 in China. The call for increasing investment in green finance was supported by a report by Kern Alexander, Professor at the Faculty of Law at UZH.
  • First gravitational waves form after 10 million years

    If two galaxies collide, the merging of their central black holes triggers gravitational waves, which ripple throughout space. An international research team involving the University of Zurich has now calculated that this occurs around 10 million years after the two galaxies merge – much faster than previously assumed.
  • Antibody Reduces Harmful Brain Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer's Patients

    Aducanumab, an antibody developed by the University of Zurich, has been shown to trigger a meaningful reduction of harmful beta-amyloid plaques in patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. These protein deposits in the brain are a classic sign of Alzheimer's disease and contribute to the progressive degeneration of brain cells. The researchers furthermore demonstrated in an early stage clinical study that, after one year of treatment with Aducanumab, cognitive decline could be significantly slowed in antibody-treated patients as opposed to the placebo group.
  • Continuing Education

    Swiss-Chinese Academic Axis

    UZH and New Huadu Business School in China are offering a joint continuing education program for students from Europe and China. Last week the MAS was officially launched at the University of Zurich.
  • Sustainability

    Into a Greener Future

    Reducing flying to a minimum and not printing out documents: The UZH Sustainability Team has published two factsheets on business travel and media use, encouraging UZH members to make economical use of resources.
  • Sick animals limit disease transmission by isolating themselves from their peers

    Sick wild house mice spend time away from their social groups, leading to a decrease in their potential for disease transmission according to a new study by evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich in collaboration with the ETH Zurich. The results can improve models focused on predicting the spread of infectious diseases like influenza or Ebola in humans.
  • Origin of the turtle shell lies in digging

    A turtle’s shell protects it from its enemies. It evolved from broadened ribs, which gradually grew together. Together with international colleagues, paleontologists from the University of Zurich now reveal that the early forms of the shell did not actually serve a protective function: The ribs broadened to enable the animal to dig more effectively.
  • Impact of prion proteins on the nerves revealed for the first time

    When prion proteins mutate, they trigger mad cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Although they are found in virtually every organism, the function of these proteins remained unclear. Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich now demonstrate that prion proteins, coupled with a particular receptor, are responsible for nerve health. The discovery could yield novel treatments for chronic nerve diseases.
  • Melting ice sheet could release frozen Cold War-era waste

    In the 1960s, a military camp situated beneath the ice in Greenland was abandoned. Now, an international study in collaboration with the University of Zurich has revealed: Climate change could remobilize the abandoned hazardous waste believed to be buried forever beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • New approach for environmental test on livestock drugs

    Drugs for livestock can harm beneficial organisms that break down dung. Therefore newly developed medical substances need to be tested on single species in the lab. An international research group including evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich have been scrutinizing the reliability of such laboratory tests, evaluating the implementation of a field test based on the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin at four climatically different locations. The scientists thus presented a novel approach for more advanced environmental compatibility tests.
  • Severity of enzyme deficiency central to favism

    The congenital disease favism causes sickness and even jaundice in patients after they consume beans. The culprit is a particular enzyme deficiency, which destroys the red blood cells. Scientists from the University Children’s Hospital Zurich have now discovered that, in the event of a severe or complete enzyme deficiency, patients can also suffer from an immunodeficiency. Patients need to be treated differently depending on the severity of their deficiency.
  • Trolls often waive their anonymity online

    Hate speech in social media can damage or even destroy the reputation of an individual or a company very quickly. Widespread opinion blames the fact that individuals generally write these things anonymously online as the reason for these posts. A research project by the University of Zurich has now shown, however, that trolls are increasingly using their full name online. As a result, a ban on anonymity will likely fail to prevent the feared firestorms but possibly aggravate them even more.
  • Medals Awarded to Physics Talent at the International Physics Olympiad

    Today, a grand ceremony in Zurich brought the 47th International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) to a close. Of the roughly 400 young participants from 84 nations, more than half will return to their homes with a gold, silver, or bronze medal, with the ten top results achieved by students from China, South Korea, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore. The organizers of the IPhO 2016 are pleased to look back on a successful event.
  • Environmental DNA uncovers biodiversity in rivers

    Researchers from UZH and Eawag have used “environmental DNA” to determine the biodiversity of a river. Previously, this involved collecting and identifying all the organisms living in it. Using environmental DNA, however, not only is it possible to characterize the river’s biodiversity, but also that of the surrounding landscape.
  • University of Zurich Hosts the 2016 International Physics Olympiad

    From 11 to 17 July, over 400 talented young students from 84 different countries will go head to head at the 2016 International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) at the University of Zurich. But the IPhO 2016 is not only an intellectual contest: It is also a great opportunity for the competitors to meet peers from all over the world. During the event, some 950 science enthusiasts will transform Irchel Campus into a global epicenter of physics.
  • A drop of water as a model for the interplay of adhesion and stiction

    Physicists at the University of Zurich have developed a system that enables them to switch back and forth the adhesion and stiction (static friction) of a water drop on a solid surface. The change in voltage is expressed macroscopically in the contact angle between the drop and the surface. This effect can be attributed to the change in the surface properties on the nanometer scale.
  • Previously unknown global ecological disaster discovered

    There have been several mass distinctions in the history of the earth with adverse consequences for the environment. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now uncovered another disaster that took place around 250 million years ago and completely changed the prevalent vegetation during the Lower Triassic.
  • Faster detection of pathogens in the lungs

    What used to take several weeks is now possible in two days: Thanks to new molecular-based methods, mycobacterial pathogens that cause pulmonary infections or tuberculosis can now be detected much more quickly. Time-consuming bacteria cultures no longer need to be taken from the patient samples, meaning that a suitable therapy can be started quickly.
  • Energy from Sunlight: Further Steps towards Artificial Photosynthesis

    Chemists from the Universities of Zurich and Basle have come one step closer to generating energy from sunlight: for the first time, they were able to reproduce one of the crucial phases of natural photosynthesis with artificial molecules. Their results have been published by the journal “Angewandte Chemie”.
  • Not only trauma but also the reversal of trauma is inherited

    Behaviors caused by traumatic experiences in early life are reversible. Researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich could demonstrate that environmental enrichment allows trauma-related symptoms in mice to be reversed. This is the first evidence that positive environmental factors can correct behavioral alterations which would otherwise be transmitted to the offspring. The symptoms and their reversal are associated with epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene.
  • New Course Catalogue

    Practical, easy-to-read, and in different languages

    Students can now put together their timetable for the coming semester on a new platform. Thanks to improved search functionality and a clear user interface, it’s easier to navigate.
  • Innovation

    University of Zurich Makes the Top Ten

    An outstanding tenth place in the new rankings of Europe’s most innovative universities underscores the University of Zurich’s excellence in research and innovation.
  • UZH becomes experimental hub for art and science

    How does science address social issues? How do artists tackle them? The University of Zurich is to bring both worlds together at the largest Parallel Event of the art biennial Manifesta11 from June 11 to July 10: the exhibition Transactions, where international art meets current research. Panel discussions, children’s entertainment, concerts and catering will also add to the atmosphere on the terrace at Künstlergasse 12.
  • Promising treatment prospects for invasive breast cancer

    Scientists from the University of Zurich have been able to understand for the first time why many cancer cells adapt relatively quickly to the treatment with therapeutic antibodies in invasive forms of breast cancer. Instead of dying off, they are merely rendered inactive. The researchers have now developed an active substance that kills the cancer cells very effectively without harming healthy cells.
  • Why fruit fly sperm are giant

    The fruit fly Drosophila bifurca is only a few millimeters in size but produces sperm that are almost six centimeters long. An international team of researchers lead by the University of Zurich now provides the first conclusive explanation for the evolution of such giant sperm. On the one hand, larger sperm are able to displace their smaller competitors from the female reproductive tract, generating a competitive advantage in fertilizing the eggs. On the other hand, female promiscuity increases the success of fertilization by larger males, which can afford to produce more of the longer sperm than their smaller counterparts.
  • Zürich meets London: Day 3

    Festival Finishes with a Feast

    UZH’s last day at Zürich meets London revolved around business and the law. The program included a podium discussion on financial market regulation. The day finished with a dinner for UZH alumni in London.
  • Zürich meets London: Day 2

    Meetings of Minds

    Yesterday the main themes of the Zürich meets London festival were financial services and neuroscience. Here’s our report on the day’s events, including statements from UZH President Michael Hengartner and Mayor Corine Mauch.
  • Zürich meets London: Day 1

    From Russell Square to Oxford Circus

    The Zürich meets London festival is in full swing. It kicked off yesterday, Tuesday. Scientists from the University of Zurich and their cooperation partners at London universities met up to report on their work in trauma research and tissue engineering. Here’s an account of Day 1.
  • Doppelter Angriff auf Chemotherapie-resistente Leukämiezellen

    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer in Switzerland. Despite intensive chemotherapy, one fifth of the patients suffer a relapse, which usually goes hand in hand with a poor prognosis. Researchers from the University of Zurich and the Children’s Hospital Zurich have now found a way to kill off resistant leukemia cells: via necroptosis.
  • Zürich meets London

    Dada Meets Finance Eats Cervelat

    From 17 to 21 May 2016, London hosts the Zürich meets London festival. The University of Zurich will also be there, taking the opportunity to intensify its contact with London universities.
  • Mice cooperate if they benefit

    House mice often raise their offspring in a communal nest. A new study conducted by biologists from the University of Zurich reveals that females tend to be more willing to raise their offspring cooperatively if they have similar litter sizes so that the investment is shared equally. As soon as the litter sizes differ, there are fewer communal nests. The mice therefore adjust their willingness to cooperate to the expected benefits.
  • The Institute of Archaeology of the University of Zurich restitutes two Egyptian mummy portraits

    The Institute of Archaeology of the University of Zurich restituted two Egyptian mummy portraits from the 1st to 2nd century A.D. to the heirs of Berlin publisher Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920). Erna Felicia and Hans Lachmann-Mosse, Mosse’s daughter and son-in-law, were unlawfully deprived of the two objects shortly after the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933.
  • The Female Pelvis Adjusts for Childbearing Years

    Mother Nature has the answer: With the onset of puberty, the female pelvis expands; with the onset of menopause, it contracts again. In contrast, the male pelvis remains on the same developmental trajectory throughout a lifetime. The striking results of a study by the University of Zurich suggest that the morphology of the female pelvis is influenced by hormonal changes in puberty and during menopause.
  • Mortality rate of poor children in the US is in decline

    Wealthier individuals have a lower mortality rate than poorer people. The common assumption that this effect has intensified in recent years is rebutted by a current study from the University of Zurich. Instead of examining life expectancy at birth, the study looks at the mortality rates by age group in different counties in the USA. The study finds that the mortality rates of disadvantaged children and young adults are falling and are approaching the mortality rates in wealthy areas, while the differences among older people continue to be pronounced.
  • UZH Growing in the Fields of Medicine and the Natural Sciences

    Medicine and natural sciences at the University of Zurich have become more attractive, as demonstrated by the significant increase in the number of students in the related disciplines. Also announced at the University's annual media conference is the need to cut spending in the face of reductions in public funding. Between 2017 and 2020, UZH has planned annual savings of 13 million francs. These measures serve to strengthen UZH's ability to act flexibly and independently.
  • EuroScholars Meeting

    A unique opportunity

    This week, 16 participants in the EuroScholars Program will meet at the University of Zurich. One of them is Chinese student Sophia Xiao, who thanks to the research program has been able to come to UZH and live out her passion for particle physics and exotic sports.
  • Psilocybin lindert psychischen Schmerz

    Social problems are key characteristics in psychiatric disorders and are insufficiently targeted by current treatment approaches. By applying brain imaging methods, researchers at the University of Zurich now show that a small amount of psilocybin changes the processing of social conflicts in the brain. As a result, participants experienced social exclusion and social pain as less stressful. This could help to improve therapy of social problems.
  • Pflanzen zwingen Pilzpartner zu fairem Verhalten

    Plants react intelligently to their environment: If they can choose between more cooperative and less cooperative fungal partners, they supply the latter with fewer nutrients and thus force them to cooperate more. Based on these findings, scientists believe that plants could also be used to test market and behavioral theories.
  • Manifesta 11 and UZH – Transactions between Art and Research

    From 11 June through 10 July, the University of Zurich (UZH) will open its doors for Manifesta 11, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. UZH is hosting its own parallel event, “Transactions,” which explores the complex interrelationships between art and research. The University is also offering other institutions and artists space to present their Manifesta 11 projects.
  • Prey scarcity and competition led to extinction of ancient monster shark

    It lived millions of years ago and was three times as large as the great white shark: the megalodon. So far its extinction has been explained with the onset of an ice age. However, researchers at the University of Zurich have now come to the conclusion that responsibility for the decline of the monster shark lays not with the climate, but with other species.
  • Scaling mental resilience more effectively

    Many people get on with their lives after traumatic experiences without any psychological suffering. This is because, in spite of all the trauma, they manage to pigeonhole what they have experienced. Although this sense of coherence was first described in the 1970s, measuring it has remained problematic to this day. Psychologists from the University of Zurich have now developed a questionnaire that renders the sense of coherence in overcoming trauma tangible in a more appropriate way.
  • Made in Zurich: The World’s First Animal Encyclopedia

    In the 16th century, Conrad Gessner set about the remarkable task of cataloging all animals of the then-known continents. Although zoology was largely unexplored, the scholar and city physician of Zurich amassed a prodigious encyclopedia describing over 1,000 animals in words and pictures. In a special exhibition entitled “Creatures from A to Z – The Animal Kingdom of Conrad Gessner (1516-1565),” the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich shows how Gessner combined contemporary and classical knowledge, and profoundly influenced the development of modern zoology.
  • Data Analysis

    Cool Calculation

    Marcin Chrząszcz, a physicist who does research into exotic elementary particles at CERN, organized a competition for data scientists. The best solutions were recently presented at the UZH Department of Physics.
  • Bird communication: chirping with syntax

    People communicate meaning by combining words according to syntactic rules. But this ability is not limited solely to humans: A group of evolutionary biologists from Tokyo, Uppsala and the University of Zurich have discovered that Japanese great tits, like humans, have also evolved syntax. By combining their various calls using specific rules, these songbirds can communicate specific messages and engage in complex interactions.
  • Brain connectivity reveals hidden motives

    Often, it is hard to understand why people behave the way they do, because their true motives remain hidden. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown how peoples’ motives can be identified as they are characterized by a specific interplay between different brain regions. They also show how empathy motives increase altruistic behavior in selfish people.
  • Memorandum of Understanding

    Strengthening Cooperation with Iran

    At the end of February, swissuniversities president Michael Hengartner traveled with the delegation of Federal Councilor Schneider-Ammann to Iran. During this time he signed, as President of UZH, an agreement on cooperation with the University of Tehran.
  • New Publication Platform

    Galileo Would Have Loved It!

    It often takes years before individual discoveries are published. A new publication platform called Matters, developed at UZH, enables researchers to publish interim findings more quickly than used to be possible. The new platform was presented yesterday.
  • New substance specifically blocks Alzheimer’s enzyme

    For the first time, an international team headed by scientists from the University of Zurich has found a way to specifically inhibit an enzyme that is partly responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. The method involves blocking only harmful processes, while other important functions remain intact. This paves the way for new drugs to be developed that don’t cause any severe side effects.
  • International Scholars Center

    Welcome to the Scholars Center

    The University of Zurich is delighted to welcome new PhD candidates, postdocs, and academic guests from abroad to its new International Scholars Center. Evi Fountoulakis heads the offices at the Irchel and City Campuses.
  • Pharmacology

    Breaking the vicious circle of heart failure

    In patients with heart failure, the pumping power of the heart decreases in a fatal downward spiral. Pharmacologists at the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich have now succeeded in breaking this vicious circle in the mouse model. Their approach could one day also benefit humans.
  • Highly Cited UZH Research

    Top Grades for UZH Researchers

    The current list of the most frequently cited researchers features UZH academics Beat Keller, Enrico Martinoia, Ernst Fehr, Christian von Mering, Jordi Bascompte, and Torsten Hothorn. UZH News found out more about the work underlying these rankings.
  • Physics

    Research into Gravitational Waves Gets a Boost

    Last week researchers on the LIGO project were able to detect the gravitational waves predicted by Einstein. Philippe Jetzer, Professor of Physics at UZH, is involved in LISA, the European project that aims to measure gravitational waves in space. UZH News asked him about the significance of this discovery.
  • Drones Learn To Search Forest Trails for Lost People

    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.
  • Alumni

    G'day Sydney!

    The 12th international association for UZH alumni will be established today in Sydney. The inspiration for this came from UZH alumnus Mario Bassi, a well-traveled legal scholar who previously set up an alumni chapter in Singapore.
  • More detailed analysis of how cells react to stress

    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.
  • Topography shapes biodiversity, and not only through temperature

    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.
  • Improved harvest for small farms thanks to naturally cloned crops

    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.
  • Alzheimer-type brain pathology after transplantation of dura mater

    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.
  • Joseph Stiglitz at UZH

    “We’ve only got this one planet”

    People flocked to UZH to hear Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz talk about climate change and the implications for the global economy, filling the main lecture hall and various other lecture theaters where his talk was broadcast.
  • Globalization

    Middle Classes under Threat

    Globalization and technology are destroying jobs, and creating new ones. Economist David Dorn is looking into the impact this is having in the U.S. and Europe, and what jobs and professions have a future.
  • Fungus attacks new type of grain thanks to an evolutionary trick

    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.
  • Last meal reflects spiral-shaped intestine

    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.
  • Microbiology

    Promising agents against tuberculosis

    Microbiologist Peter Sander and his team are tracking down new active agents against tuberculosis. From a library of several hundred thousand substances, the researchers have identified some very promising compounds.
  • Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet releasing faster

    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.


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