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Archive All Articles 2017

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  • Literature

    Bücher fürs Leben

    Some books you forget as soon as you’ve read them, while others remain with you for life. Four members of the UZH community tell us about their “book for life”. Happy holidays from the UZH News editorial team!
  • Real Estate

    Neuer Kredit für geplantes Chemiegebäude

    The Government Council of the Canton of Zurich has applied for a new loan from the Parliament of the Canton of Zurich for the chemistry building, which is currently being built at Irchel Campus. The buildings are of crucial importance for the future development of UZH, as President Michael Hengartner explains in an interview.
  • Physics


    How Erwin Schrödinger revolutionized physics during a Christmas holiday in Arosa in 1925.
  • Astrophysics

    Das Universum tickt anders

    Galaxies drift apart, and time stretches as they do. Astrophysicist Romain Teyssier uses supercomputers to research the evolution of the universe and thinks in cosmic intervals.
  • University of Zurich and Charles University in Prague Join Forces

    The University of Zurich and Charles University in Prague are entering into a strategic partnership. The largest universities of the Czech Republic and Switzerland are stepping up their cooperation in research and teaching, as well as in the area of student mobility.
  • History

    Cinema and Scandal

    UZH historian Martin Bürgin researches films that caused an uproar – and he is bringing them back to the big screen in a special film series.
  • Economics

    Teure Kinder

    Well-to-do couples in developed countries are having fewer and fewer children. While this may be good in terms of global overpopulation, it has unsettling consequences for living together.
  • How Plants Form Their Seeds

    Vegetable, fruit, or grain – the majority of our food results from plant reproduction. Researchers at UZH have now discovered the key to how plants regulate pollen growth and seed formation. In addition to seed formation, knowledge about these signaling pathways can be used to influence plant growth or their defense against pests.
  • Strategic Partnership between the University of Zurich and the University of Geneva

    The Universities of Zurich and Geneva are planning to join forces to tackle the challenges of the digital revolution: With a new strategic partnership, they will work more closely together in the area of digitalization, through teaching, research, and student exchanges.
  • Center of Implant Research

    A Better Bite

    These days Zurich dental specialists can use state-of-the-art technology to make jawbones and gums regenerate, and fit teeth implants that restore much of the patient’s original looks and feeling. Now this research is being coordinated internationally and accelerated by the Center of Implant Research.
  • In the Spotlight

    Christine in Wonderland

    Thrillers, children’s books, TV series: Literary critic Christine Lötscher researches popular characters in books and films. Find out how the UZH graduate got to read novels and watch TV for a living.
  • Psychiatry

    “There is no comprehensive definition of mental illness”

    Fear, sadness, and anger are part of life. But where do everyday feelings cross over into being symptoms of an illness? Paul Hoff, deputy director of the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, explained how psychiatry answers this question in a talk at the Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP).
  • Protein Structure Could Unlock New Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis

    Biochemists at the University of Zurich have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the detailed architecture of the chloride channel TMEM16A. This protein is a promising target for the development of effective drugs to treat cystic fibrosis.
  • Infrastructure

    New Directorate for Real Estate and Facility Management

    From 1 January 2018, the University of Zurich will create a new Directorate for Real Estate and Facility Management to meet the demands of managing the large-scale construction projects over the coming decades. The new directorate will be headed up by Peter Bodmer on an interim basis until a new director is found.
  • Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

    Autophagy allows cells to degrade and recycle their cellular components. Researchers at UZH have now demonstrated that the autophagy machinery in certain immune cells leads to the immune system attacking the central nervous system. The researchers are using these findings as a basis to look into new approaches to treating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • How We See the Wolf

    The wolf has returned to Switzerland, and with it come many positive and negative connotations. The new exhibition “Wolf – Wieder unter uns” (Wolf – among us again) in the Zoological Museum of UZH provides an in-depth look at this wild animal. The exhibition focuses on the return of wolves and presents historical facts and current issues.
  • History

    The Cradle of Western Modernity

    Bernd Roeck has written a major book about a period of major importance – the Renaissance. The historian spoke to us about the turning point that laid the foundation for Western modernity.
  • Churchill Symposium

    Churchill Symposium

    This years’ Churchill Symposium at UZH drew a large audience, with around a thousand visitors in attendance on Monday. Former President of Germany Joachim Gauck spoke on the “Streitfall Europa” (the Europe debate), and Federal Councilor Alain Berset talked about protecting democracy.
  • The Art of Science Photography

    As a scientific photographer, Michelle Aimée Oesch spends her time shooting bones, worms, and embryos.
  • Student Support

    Welcome to the University

    Students at the University of Zurich are volunteering to provide refugees with guidance and support.
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology

    Under the Myanmar Sun

    Violence against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, has thrust the country back into the international spotlight. Anthropologist Georg Winterberger spent time in Myanmar researching the lives of the majority Buddhist population there.
  • LERU Report

    High Added Value of UZH

    UZH last year generated added value of over six billion francs according to a newly published study by the League of European Research Universities (LERU).
  • ERC Consolidator Grant: vier Millionen Euro für UZH-Forscher

    Two researchers from the University of Zurich have been awarded lucrative Consolidator Grants: The European Research Council has awarded funds to Prof. Daniel Moeckli, whose research focuses on the interplay between people’s sovereignty and the rule of law in direct democracies, and Prof. Markus Seeger, who investigates the transportation of iron in tuberculosis pathogens on a molecular level.
  • Medicine

    Blocked Blood Vessels

    A drug used to treat Alzheimer’s may also be effective in treating a very different type of disease: sickle cell anemia. Researchers at UZH are carrying out a clinical study to test its potential use.
  • Digital Detox

    Ways to Avoid Smartphone Stress

    Always online, always available: Your smartphone can be a major source of stress. Can taking digital breaks enhance wellbeing? As part of the Wissen-Schaf(f)t Wissen lecture series, psychologist Theda Radtke presented some surprising findings of her research.
  • Gender Equality

    Lost in the Career Labyrinth

    Why are there so few women in leadership positions? One reason is our entrenched perception of traditional roles, said Hedi-Fritz-Niggli visiting professor Alice Eagly at a lecture held at UZH last Tuesday.
  • UZH Alumni Founding Party

    A Great Party with Buster Keaton

    The UZH Alumni held a party to celebrate its founding – starring silent film great Buster Keaton and a newly planted Mirabelle de Nancy plum tree.
  • Sports

    Studying for Sports Nuts

    How do elite athletes manage to juggle studying and training? A panel made up of UZH student and professional mountain biker Jolanda Neff, ETH Rector Sarah Springman, and Antonia Erni of the Swiss University Sports Federation (SHSV) tackled this question at an ASVZ event last week.
  • Psychology

    Speedy Swiss

    The pace of life differs depending on where in the world you are – in Switzerland it is the fastest of anywhere. That could be a good thing, but does it also lead us to work too hard? Why are so many workers suffering from stress and burning out? It doesn’t have to be this way.
  • Digital Day 2017

    Living in a Digitalized Society

    Bitcoins, artificial intelligence, privacy, health data, and games to adjust your moral compass – on the occasion of Digital Day at Zurich Main Station, UZH presented the possibilities of digitalization and discussed the implications of the digital revolution for society at large.
  • Gender Equality

    Honoring a Pioneer

    Nadezhda Suslova was the first woman to be awarded a doctorate by the University of Zurich, 150 years ago. An anniversary event was held at UZH this week to honor this remarkable woman. The occasion also saw the presentation of the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize to UZH researcher Mathilde Bouvel.
  • Social Entrepreneurship

    Concrete Solutions for Real Problems

    For the first time, the University of Zurich offered a seminar in which students could acquire first-hand knowledge of what it means to become a Social Entrepreneur and develop a business plan to solve a concrete social problem. In their final pitch last Monday, six teams competed in front of a jury for an award of CHF 10,000 to kick-start their business.
  • UZH Vontobel Award Goes to Three Researchers

    This year’s Vontobel Award for Research on Age(ing) was presented to three academics: Psychologist Stephen Aichele from the University of Geneva and UZH neuroscientist Nathalie Giroud were awarded 12,000 francs each, while Ann Barbara Bauer, business economist at the University of Fribourg, received 6,000 francs.
  • Pneumonia: Treatment with Vaccines instead of Antibiotics

    A properly functioning immune system is key to resolve bacterial pneumonia. Researchers from the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and UZH working with an international team have now found that specific immune cells are crucial for recovery. The researchers’ work paves the way for developing new vaccines, which would also counteract the emerging resistance to antibiotics.
  • UZH Spearheads Largest European Study on Aging

    DO-HEALTH, Europe’s largest study on aging, is researching ways to improve the health of adults age 70 and older. Led by Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Aging Research at the University of Zurich, the study involves 2157 participants from five European countries – and bestselling author Donna Leon as DO-HEALTH ambassador.
  • Medicine

    Where Patients and Statistics Intersect

    The new doctoral program Clinical Science at UZH helps strengthen clinical research in Switzerland. We spoke with Roxane D. Staiger, one of the program’s first candidates.
  • Geography

    digital pathfinders

    GPS and smartphones help us find our way quickly but to the detriment of our own sense of direction. UZH geographer Sara Fabrikant wants to combat this trend.
  • Legal Tech

    “Take dictation please, machine!”

    Digitalization and technology are revolutionizing the practice of law. The legal profession is rapidly changing, and the new technologies also lead to new legal questions. The UZH Faculty of Law has its finger on the pulse of these new developments.
  • When Your Profile Comes Back to Haunt You

    The traces we leave behind each day through our computers and mobile telephones have a very long life. This can lead to unpleasant surprises when data is combined and abused, explains professor of business administration at UZH, René Algesheimer.
  • Marktplatz is UZH’s online marketplace and largest advertising platform, where people can offer and find jobs, apartments, events, and services. A complete redesign has now given it a fresh new look.
  • Marie Heim-Vögtlin-Preis 2017

    All in the Head

    Mathematician Mathilde Bouvel is a brilliant mathematician and analyst... and as a mother of two small children, she also knows how to keep a clear head. Now the researcher at the UZH Institute of Mathematics has been awarded the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize 2017.
  • University Medicine Zurich

    Sleeping Soundly with SleepLoop

    The University Medicine Zurich initiative unveils its new flagship project, SleepLoop, a tool to modulate sleep that could have a wide range of medical applications.
  • Mapping Functional Diversity of Forests with Remote Sensing

    Productivity and stability of forest ecosystems strongly depend on the functional diversity of plant communities. UZH researchers have developed a new method to measure and map functional diversity of forests at different scales – from individual trees to whole communities – using remote sensing by aircraft. Their work paves the way for future airborne and satellite missions to monitor global plant functional diversity.
  • Studies

    Veterinary Medicine Uncovered

    The dream of studying veterinary medicine is often quite different from the reality. The Veterinary Medicine Student Association invited high school students to an info day to give prospective students a taste of what studying veterinary medicine entails.
  • Uni-Poly Rowing Regatta

    UZH Victorious in 66th Uni-Poly Rowing Regatta

    UZH won three of the four races at the 66th edition of the Uni-Poly rowing regatta – with the boats of the alumni, the professors, and women all victorious. The 16-scull race – a world premiere – was also won by the UZH rowing team.
  • Strong Digital Well-Being in Switzerland

    Internet users in Switzerland largely rate their online skills as good. A majority also view digital overconsumption and the feeling of missing out on more important things as a result of internet usage as unproblematic. These are the results of a representative survey on internet usage in Switzerland carried out by the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich.
  • A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

    The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
  • Day of Excellence in Teaching

    At this year’s “Tag der Lehre” (Day of Excellence in Teaching) at UZH, new ideas for interactive teaching methods were discussed. The day was topped off with a closing ceremony at which students were honored for their outstanding work.
  • Zurich City University District

    University Embedded in the Fabric of the City

    With the planning stage for the Zurich City University District (Hochschulgebiet Zürich Zentrum) now closed, the architectural competitions are about to be launched. An update on this major long-term project was given at a media conference on Tuesday.
  • International Relations Office

    Hong Kong

    UZH academics spent a week in Hong Kong as part of the Zürich meets Hong Kong festival, staging their own events as well as networking with local researchers and universities. Topics included FinTech, healthy aging, and literature.
  • Neuroscience

    25 Years of Brain Research

    The Betty and David Koetser Foundation for Brain Research is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The foundation has been supporting neuroscience at the University of Zurich since 1993, donating a total of around three million francs.
  • UZH Anthropologists Describe Third Orangutan Species

    Previously only two species of orangutans were recognized – the Bornean and the Sumatran orangutan. Now, UZH researchers working with an international team have described a new great ape species, the Tapanuli orangutan. It is the great ape species at greatest risk of extinction, with only around 800 remaining individuals occuring in upland forest regions of North Sumatra.
  • How songbirds learn a new song

    As scientists from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have now shown, songbirds are minimalists when it comes to learning a new song. The birds’ learning strategy resembles the methods used by computer scientists for document comparison.
  • Important Mechanism of Epigenetic Gene Regulation Identified

    How can defective gene activity, which can ultimately lead to cancer, be avoided? Researchers at the University of Zurich have now identified a mechanism how cells pass on the regulation of genetic information through epigenetic modifications. These insights open the door to new approaches for future cancer treatments.
  • Ranking

    UZH Moves Up 11 Places

    UZH has moved up 11 places in the global university ranking published by US News & World Report and is now ranked 59th in the world.
  • Literature

    Feminism in the Age of Donald Trump

    Twenty-five years after the publication of Elisabeth Bronfen’s groundbreaking work Over Her Dead Body, Bronfen, Judith Butler, and other international stars of the feminist literary scene met at UZH for a symposium marking the book’s anniversary.
  • International Relations

    UZH meets Hong Kong

    The Zürich meets Hong Kong festival takes place from 21 to 29 October 2017. The University will be taking part in five festival events featuring scientists from UZH and Hong Kong presenting their research and joint projects.
  • Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction

    Interactions between species play a key role in shaping biodiversity. A team of researchers including members of UZH has now shown that the coevolution of species that are embedded in complex networks of interactions is not only influenced directly by their partners but also indirectly by other species. This slows down the ability of complex communities to adapt to environmental change. Rapid climate changes are therefore likely to increase species’ risk of becoming extinct.
  • Psychology

    Overcoming Crises

    Why are some people better at coping with emotional stress than others? This is what resilience research wants to find out. An international group of psychologists has now come together to establish common principles for this fledgling field of research.
  • Banking and Finance

    Sustainable Investing

    The UN Development Program is now working with the University of Zurich. Economist Marc Chesney and his team are helping the United Nations reach its sustainable development goals.
  • Wyss Annual Event

    High-Flying Ideas and Deep-Sea-Diving Robots

    Wyss Zurich, the joint research and development center of UZH and ETH, is going from strength to strength. At its Annual Event on Wednesday evening, guests heard about intelligent robots and the ability of the human body to heal itself.
  • My Alma Mater

    Father Tobias

    Accomplished alumni look back on their studies at UZH. This time it’s the turn of Tobias Brandner, a professor of theology and prison chaplain in Hong Kong.
  • The female brain reacts more strongly to prosocial behavior

    Behavioral Experiments show that women are more generous than men. Now, researchers at the UZH have been able to demonstrate that female and male brains process prosocial and selfish behavior differently. For women, prosocial behavior triggers a stronger reward signal, while male reward systems respond more strongly to selfish behavior.
  • Fintech

    Digital Change in the Financial Sector

    With algorithms providing investment advice and private individuals giving loans, digital transformation is sweeping the financial sector. The Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich is looking into the potential of new technologies for financial services and insurance.
  • More Positions for Doctoral Students in Neuroeconomics

    The ‘Marlene Porsche Foundation’ enables 14 students to obtain a PhD in the field of Neuroeconomics at the University of Zurich over the next decade. The young researchers will contribute to a better understanding of the brain’s influence on human behavior. The first students have already started their studies.
  • Emerging infectious disease threatens Darwin’s frog with extinction

    Iconic species likely to be wiped-out by amphibian fungus, despite lack of obvious short-term evidence
  • Global Change and Biodiversity

    Biodiversity protects

    The latest publication from the Global Change and Biodiversity University Research Priority Program shows that biodiverse tropical forests are better equipped to cope with periods of drought than monocultures. Team member Michael O’Brien investigated the situation in Malaysia.
  • Drones can almost see in the dark

    UZH researchers have taught drones how to fly using an eye-inspired camera, opening the door to them performing fast, agile maneuvers and flying in low-light environments. Possible applications could include supporting rescue teams with search missions at dusk or dawn.
  • Ig Nobel Prize

    Prestigious Award for Curious Research

    Researchers led by UZH professor Milo Puhan discovered that playing the didgeridoo helps stop snoring. Now they’ve been awarded the prestigious Ig Nobel Prize.
  • Sports Law and Arbitration

    Addressing the Olympic Crisis

    To help ensure that the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 are conducted fairly, UZH jurists want to provide Japanese sports scientists and institutions with support in matters of sports law and arbitration. At the beginning of September 2017 an international symposium was held to discuss the issues.
  • Slightly More Students – Thanks to Human Medicine

    A total of 26,400 students have enrolled at the University of Zurich for Fall Semester 2017. For the first time, the University of Zurich is offering 372 places for Bachelor’s degrees in human medicine – more than ever before.
  • How liver cancer develops

    Researchers at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have discovered a major mechanism in the development of liver cancer. In chronic liver diseases, damaged cells die off and are replaced by new ones over a period of years. As time goes on, DNA damage accumulates, furthering the development of cancer. The caspase-8 enzyme plays an important dual role in this process.
  • Trigger for a Fatty Liver in Obesity

    Morbid obesity affects the liver: Almost one-third of all adults suffer from chronic fatty liver disease, which can lead to infections and even trigger cancer. Researchers at the University Children's Hospital Zurich and the University of Zurich have now found a signaling pathway in cells that play an important role in the development of fatty liver disease.
  • Detailed Decoding of Complex Finger Millet Genome for the First Time

    Finger millet has two important properties: The grain is rich in important minerals and resistant towards drought and heat. Thanks to a novel combination of state-of-the-art technologies, researchers at the University of Zurich were able to decode the large and extremely complex genome of finger millet in high quality for the first time. This represents a fundamental basis for improving food security in countries like India and parts of Africa.
  • Diverse Landscapes Are More Productive and Adapt better to Climate Change

    Ecosystems with high biodiversity are more productive and stable towards annual fluctuations in environmental conditions than those with a low diversity of species. They also adapt better to climate-driven environmental changes. These are the key findings environmental scientists at the University of Zurich made in a study of about 450 landscapes harbouring 2,200 plants and animal species.
  • Huge interest in the world of data

    The fifth Scientifica at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich was a huge success with the public. More than 30'000 visitors came to find out exactly what data can reveal, and around 300 researchers from both universities were there to answer their questions.
  • Men's studies

    Healthy Optimists

    Psychologist Ulrike Ehlert is looking into what keeps men over 40 healthy, fit, and satisfied. What’s important, she’s found, is an optimistic outlook on life and regular physical exercise.
  • Digitalization Transformation

    “Global Brain”

    Digitalization is accelerating the economy and transforming research. Abraham Bernstein and Michael Hengartner talk about the digital revolution and the role of UZH.
  • Artists Target Ibexes

    Art meets science at the UZH Zoological Museum: Students from Zurich University of the Arts present their interpretations of genetic and ecological research on the ibex. In close dialogue with researchers at UZH and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, they have created a wide variety of works, all waiting to be discovered at a special exhibition entitled “Displacements – Art, Science and the DNA of the Ibex.”
  • UZH Life Sciences Fund Invests in First Spin-off

    The recently created UZH Life Sciences Fund is making its first investment, putting one million CHF into CUTISS, a young company aiming to bring bioengineered skin grafts to market. The fund will be investing in further spin-offs with the goal of accelerating the transfer of UZH research findings into practice. The UZH Life Sciences Fund is financed by equal contributions from the UZH Foundation and the Novartis Venture Fund.
  • Chronic Lack of Sleep Increases Risk-Seeking

    Sleepiness, reduced concentration and performance – more and more people are suffering from the consequences of a chronic lack of sleep. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now demonstrated a further consequence: the people affected are subject to more intensive risk-seeking behavior without even noticing. The scientists advocate for sufficient sleep.
  • Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

    Malaria was already widespread on Sardinia by the Roman period, long before the Middle Ages, as indicated by research at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine of the University of Zurich with the help of a Roman who died 2,000 years ago.
  • Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

    The food chains recovered more rapidly than previously assumed after Earth’s most devastating mass extinction event about 252 million years ago as demonstrated by the fossilized skull of a large predatory fish called Birgeria americana discovered by paleontologists from the University of Zurich in the desert of Nevada.
  • Shedding Light on Cause of Resistance to Tumor Immunotherapy

    In tumor immunotherapy, the body’s own defense system is activated against the tumor cells. However, for the majority of patients, the tumor cells become resistant to the treatments used. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have now found in skin cutaneous melanoma that an epigenetic control protein is key to the development of this resistance.
  • Innate Reaction of Hematopoietic Stem Cells to Severe Infections

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have shown for the first time that hematopoietic stem cells detect infectious agents themselves and begin to divide – that is, without signals from growth factors. This direct production of defensive cells damages hematopoiesis in the long term, however, which could lead to malignant hematopoietic stem cell diseases at advanced age.
  • Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Can Exacerbate Colitis

    Titanium dioxide, one of the most-produced nanoparticles worldwide, is being used increasingly in foodstuffs. When intestinal cells absorb titanium dioxide particles, this leads to increased inflammation and damage to the intestinal mucosa in mice with colitis. Researchers at the University of Zurich recommend that patients with colitis should avoid food containing titanium dioxide particles.
  • New bacterial defense mechanism of the CRISPR-Cas system uncovered

    Researchers led by Martin Jinek of the University of Zurich have found an unprecedented defense mechanism by which bacteria defend themselves against invading viruses. When the bacterial immune system gets overwhelmed, the CRISPR-Cas system produces a chemical signal that activates a second enzyme which helps in degrading the invaders’ genetic material. This process is very similar to an antiviral mechanism of the human innate immune system.
  • Graduate Campus

    Friendly Wake-up Calls and Fine Tomatoes

    Gold rush fever in citizen science: yesterday participants at the LERU Doctoral Summer School 2017, organized by UZH’s Graduate Campus, presented a whole variety of ideas for future participatory research projects.
  • Generous people live happier lives

    Generosity makes people happier, even if they are only a little generous. People who act solely out of self-interest are less happy. Merely promising to be more generous is enough to trigger a change in our brains that makes us happier. This is what UZH neuroeconomists found in a recent study.
  • A Molecule Found in Cats and Cows Protect Farm Children from Asthma

    It is a known fact that microbes on farms protect children from asthma and allergies. But even non-microbial molecules can have a protective effect: Immunologists from the University of Zurich have shown that a sialic acid found in farm animals is effective against inflammation of lung tissue. This study opens up a wide variety of perspectives for the prevention of allergies.
  • Ancient Swiss Reptile Shows Its Bizarre Scale Armor for the First Time

    Grisons, 241 million years ago – Instead of amidst high mountains, a small reptile suns itself on an island beach in a warm shallow sea, where many fish and marine reptiles frolic. This is the story told by an excellently preserved new discovery of the reptile Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi studied by paleontologists from the University of Zurich.
  • Overactive Scavenger Cells May Cause Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's

    For the first time, researchers from the University of Zurich demonstrate a surprising effect of microglia, the scavenger cells of the brain: If these cells lack the TDP-43 protein, they not only remove Alzheimer’s plaques, but also synapses. This removal of synapses by these cells presumably leads to neurodegeneration observed in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
  • What Makes Stem Cells into Perfect Allrounders

    Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have discovered the protein that enables natural embryonic stem cells to form all body cells. In the case of embryonic stem cells maintained in cell cultures, this allrounder potential is limited. Scientists want to use this knowledge to treat large bone fractures with stem cells.
  • Previously Unknown Extinction of Marine Megafauna Discovered

    Over two million years ago, a third of the largest marine animals like sharks, whales, sea birds and sea turtles disappeared. This previously unknown extinction event not only had a considerable impact on the earth’s historical biodiversity but also on the functioning of ecosystems. This has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Zurich.
  • Lessons from whale population collapse could help future species at risk

    A study of historic whaling records has revealed there were warning signs that populations of commercially harvested whales were heading for global collapse up to 40 years before the event.
  • Legend of Prince Vessantara Told on 50 Meters of Cloth

    For more than 2,000 years, it has been the source of Asian literature and art: the story of Prince Vessantara, who renounced everything to become the Buddha. Cotton scroll paintings containing this story, up to 50 meters in length, are now available for viewing at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich. Starting on 20 June 2017, a new exhibition will show how village festivals in Northeast Thailand use such painted scrolls.
  • New "WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity and Health"

    The University of Zurich is launching a new "WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity and Health": The Physical Activity and Health Unit and other groups of the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute will support the Physical Activity Strategy for the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region.
  • The Creation of the Most Complex Virtual Cosmos to Date

    Researchers from the University of Zurich have simulated the formation of our entire Universe with a large supercomputer. A gigantic catalogue of about 25 billion virtual galaxies has been generated from 2 trillion digital particles. This catalogue is being used to calibrate the experiments on board the Euclid satellite, that will be launched in 2020 with the objective of investigating the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
  • International Relations

    UZH-Delegation reist nach Boston

    At the end of May, the executive board and UZH researchers spent two days in Boston. The trip was designed to foster relationships and build new cooperation arrangements with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other institutions in the Greater Boston Area.
  • Dogs Help in Breast Carcinoma Research

    Cancer of the mammary glands in dogs is very similar to human breast carcinoma. For this reason, treatment methods from human medicine are often used for dogs. Conversely, scientific knowledge gained from canine mammary tumors may also be important to human medicine. Researchers from the University of Zurich were able to show how similar these tumors are in both dogs and humans.
  • Campus

    UZH collaborating with Asia Society

    The global non-governmental organization Asia Society has opened a European Center in Zurich and works together with the University of Zurich. A joint event held yesterday was attended by Japanese art historian Princess Akiko of Mikasa.
  • Horses masticate similarly to ruminants

    In contrast to ruminants, horses chew their food only once – but with the same regu-lar, rhythmic movements as cows, who ruminate their food after eating, as demon-strated by researchers at the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich. They assume that ruminants chew their food less intensively during initial eating to protect their teeth.
  • Better Treatment for Kidney Cancer Thanks to New Mouse Model

    Research in the field of kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, is vital, because many patients with this disease still cannot be cured today. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now identified some of the gene mutations that contribute to the development of carcinomas in the kidneys. They also developed a mouse model that will contribute to progress in the research and treatment of this type of cancer.
  • International Relations

    Interpol President Visits UZH

    Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, supporting police forces all over the globe. Last week its president, Meng Hongwei, visited UZH and met president Michael Hengartner. Their discussion revolved around ways UZH and Interpol could cooperate.
  • Too Much Stress for the Mother Affects the Baby through Amniotic Fluid

    If the mother is stressed over a longer period of time during pregnancy, the concentration of stress hormones in amniotic fluid rises, as proven by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Zurich. Short-term stress situations, however, do not seem to have an unfavorable effect on the development of the fetus.
  • Ranking

    UZH ranked as one of the most innovative universities in Europe

    The spirit of invention is flourishing at the University of Zurich, which places ninth in the latest Reuters ranking of the hundred most innovative universities in Europe.
  • “Pregnant” Housefly Males Demonstrate the Evolution of Sex Determination

    An international team headed up by researchers from the University of Zurich has discovered the gene that determines the male sex in houseflies. Surprisingly, the sex-determining mechanisms are not the same for all houseflies – they depend on where the insects live. This knowledge not only helps us better understand the evolution of sex determination, but also aids in the control of agricultural pests or carriers of disease.
  • Physics

    Hunting the Invisible

    In mid-May a new accelerator was inaugurated at CERN. It’s designed to enable considerably more particle collisions. Physicists Florencia Canelli and Lea Caminada hope to use it to hunt down dark matter.
  • Deep Sleep Maintains the Learning Efficiency of the Brain

    For the first time, researchers of the University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have demonstrated the causal context of why deep sleep is important to the learning efficiency of the human brain. They have developed a new, non-invasive method for modulating deep sleep in humans in a targeted region of the brain.
  • New Vice President Elected

    “The Future Is Interdisciplinary”

    The Board of the University has named Professor Michael Schaepman Vice President for Veterinary Medicine and Natural Sciences. Professor Schaepman has a lot of ideas for his new office. And he can cook. Below, he shares one of his favorite recipes.
  • Engineering heart valves for the many

    Harvard’s Wyss Institute and the University of Zurich partner to create a next-generation heart valve that accurately functions upon implantation and regenerates into long-lasting heart-like tissue.
  • XENON1T: the most sensitive detector on Earth

    “The best result on dark matter so far and we only started!”. This is how scientists behind XENON1T, now the most sensitive dark matter experiment world-wide, commented on their first result from a short 30-day run presented today to the scientific community.
  • International Relations

    Ayse Dayi as Scholar at Risk

    The Turkish government brooks no criticism from academics. That’s why psychologist Ayse Dayi fled the country. This week she talked at UZH about the repression of universities and scholars. Researchers under threat receive support from the international Scholars at Risk network.
  • Ernst Fehr is named foreign honorary member of the American Economic Association

    The most important organization of economists in the world, the American Economic Association, has named the economist Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich as a foreign honorary member. He is thus the first scientist who conducts research at a Swiss university to receive this honor.
  • Universitas 21

    UZH Joins Global Network of Universities

    Last Friday, UZH joined “Universitas 21”, a global network of research universities made up of research-intensive universities from six continents. UZH President Michael Hengartner welcomes the membership as a major step toward realizing the University's internationalization strategy.
  • Senat

    Michael Schaepman Nominated Vice President

    Yesterday, the University Senate nominated Professor Michael Schaepman as Vice President for Veterinary Medicine and Natural Sciences. The Board of the University votes on the appointment on 17 May.
  • With Stem Cells to New Intervertebral Discs

    Slipped discs are the most common reason to go to the doctor in Switzerland. Not only people, but also dogs frequently suffer from this problem. An operation cures the painful consequences of a slipped disc, but the disc remains degenerated. Help is on its way: In a study with German shepherds, researchers at the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich have shown that stem cells may change this situation.
  • Extinction of Alpine Plants May Remain Undetectable for a Long Time

    How do alpine plants react to warmer climatic conditions? Due to their longevity, the plants may survive longer than expected in their habitats, but produce offspring that are increasingly maladapted. Population size may decrease faster than the contraction of the species range, as UZH researchers show using computer models. Scientists who wish to track the precise extinction risk of plant species must not only measure their dispersal, but also the densities of the local populations.
  • Comprehensive Atlas of Immune Cells in Renal Cancer

    Researchers from the University of Zurich have individually analyzed millions of immune cells in tumor samples from patients with renal cell carcinoma. They are now presenting an immunological atlas of the tumor environment for the first time, leading to possible further developments of immunotherapies.
  • Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals

    Elephants have species-specific herpesviruses, which frequently lead to death, especially in the young. Researchers at the University of Zurich have traced the infection transmission route of different elephant calves, recognizing the following in the process: Some animals do not shed the virus or shed it only rarely, while other do so frequently. In the process, these super-shedders and their offspring are only mildly affected by the virus, but endanger the juveniles of non-shedders in particular.
  • BVK Board of Trustees

    Two UZH Employees Standing for Election

    Elections to the board of trustees of the BVK pension fund will be held in May. The candidates include two employees of the University of Zurich. In this interview, they explain how they see the future of BVK.
  • Press Release

    Action Required: Invasive Fungus Is Killing European Salamanders

    A new fungal disease brought in from Asia is threatening European salamanders. Once the amphibians become infected, they die within a brief period of time, as biologists of the Universities of Zurich and Ghent have shown. Because saving the infected populations is still not possible, Switzerland has preventively imposed an import ban for salamanders and newts.
  • EGMO 2017

    Shining Young Math Talents

    At the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO), young women from many different countries had to solve tricky math problems. Yesterday evening the closing ceremony took place on UZH's Irchel Campus.
  • Mercator Awards 2017

    Mercator Awards 2017

    Irene Garonna, Timo Mennle and Stefan Leins have all won 2017 Mercator Awards for their PhD theses – on shifting seasons, markets without money, and financial analysts.
  • Assessing the impact of climate risks on the financial system

    Climate change brings new risks for financial investments, in particular for pension funds. An international research team coordinated by the University of Zurich has developed a “climate stress-test” for financial institutions. Results suggest that while better disclosure of climate-relevant financial information can improve risk estimation, the early introduction of stable climate policies is needed to mitigate risk.
  • Brain stimulation influences honest behavior

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have identified the brain mechanism that governs decisions between honesty and self-interest. Using non-invasive brain stimulation, they could even increase honest behavior.
  • Parasitology

    More mosquito species that transmit Zika?

    The European Union is pushing research into Zika. UZH insect researcher Eva Veronesi heads a project funded by Horizon 2020 investigating whether an exotic species of mosquito living in Switzerland might also transmit Zika virus.
  • European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

    Getting Young People Excited About Math

    This week the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) starts at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Anna Beliakova, Professor of Mathematics at UZH, has been working to promote math for years. In this interview with UZH News she explains why events like the Olympiad are important to get young women excited about math.
  • EUA 2018 Annual Conference

    University Leaders to meet at UZH

    UZH has been chosen to host the European University Association’s annual conference in 2018: Next year, some 400 university rectors and presidents from all over Europe will meet in Zurich to discuss the challenges and opportunities in higher education and research.
  • Using drugs to weaken traumatic memories

    A potential new approach to treat posttraumatic stress disorder: After taking the antibiotic doxycycline, study participants remembered an unpleasant event considerably less, as experiments conducted by a team of researchers from the University Psychiatric Hospital and the University of Zurich reveal.
  • Elections to the BVK Board of Trustees

    Fair Arrangements for All Generations

    Thorsten Hens wants to ensure that any new returns generated by BVK are distributed equitably to the various age groups to avoid injustices. In an interview with UZH News, he explains why this is a good solution.
  • Elections to the BVK Board of Trustees

    “Women Are Particularly Hard Hit by Reductions in Benefits.”

    Among other things, Calista Fischer wants to ensure that the interests of women and part-time staff are represented on the BVK board of trustees and management.
  • Teaching Fund

    Teaching Fund

    The competitive Teaching Fund is designed to promote innovative teaching formats at UZH and stimulate even more effective, varied, and vibrant instruction. Here we present four of the fifteen projects that have been awarded funding.
  • Testing the Efficacy of New Gene Therapies More Efficiently

    Using a new cellular model, innovative gene therapy approaches for the hereditary immunodeficiency Chronic Granulomatous Disease can be tested faster and cost-effectively in the lab for their efficacy. A team of researchers from the University of Zurich and the Children’s Hospital Zurich successfully achieved this using the ‘gene-scissor’ CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The aim is to treat severely affected patients in the near future using novel approaches.
  • Flies and bees act like plant cultivators

    Pollinator insects accelerate plant evolution, but a plant changes in different ways depending on the pollinator. After only nine generations, the same plant is larger and more fragrant if pollinated by bumblebees rather than flies, as a study conducted by evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich reveals.
  • Rankings

    UZH places among the top 50 in four subjects in the current QS World University Rankings by Subject. In Anatomy & Physiology, which is new in the 2017 survey, it is ranked 20th in the world – UZH’s best result. Johannes Loffing, head of the Institute of Anatomy, and Carsten Wagner at the Institute of Physiology, are delighted with the results.
  • From heroin addiction to alcohol-related problems

    Methadone programs and long-term therapy using other opioids evidently work. People addicted to heroin consume less heroin, cocaine and even alcohol at the beginning of the treatment. As a long-term study conducted by the University Psychiatric Hospital and the University of Zurich reveals, however, the alcohol consumption among these patients has increased considerably since the 1990s.
  • Molecular structure of the cell nucleoskeleton revealed for the first time

    Using 3D electron microscopy, structural biologists from the University of Zurich succeeded in elucidating the architecture of the lamina of the cell nucleus at molecular resolution for the first time. This scaffold stabilizes the cell nucleus in higher eukaryotes and is involved in organizing, activating and duplicating the genetic material. Diseases such as muscular dystrophy and premature aging, caused by mutations in the lamin gene, the major constituent of the lamina, can now be studied more effectively.
  • Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity

    Mammalian cells fully adapt to zero gravity in less than a minute. Real-time readings on the International Space Station (ISS) reveal that cells compensate ultra-rapidly for changes in gravitational conditions. This new discovery was achieved by an international team headed by scientists at the University of Zurich.
  • Economics and IT

    “What’s happening here with us affects everyone.”

    For almost five years the UZH Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics has been headed by Harald Gall. In this interview he explains how the faculty is sharpening its profile, why last year the offering of degree programs was redesigned, and why economics and IT make such a powerful combination.
  • Start-up

    Owls Taking Fledgling Companies Under Their Wing

    A group of Executive MBA alumni from the University of Zurich have set up the Owl Business Angels GmbH, investing capital in young companies and giving them the benefit of their experience. One of the beneficiaries is the start-up firm Piavita, which is developing a medical diagnosis device for horses.
  • 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.
  • A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats in human-dominated landscapes

    About one third of the Swiss landscape offers suitable wolf habitat. Nonetheless, there is only a small fraction thereof where the wolf is tolerated by local communities. Those regions – characterized by both favourable environmental conditions and a positive attitude towards the wolf – are identified as candidate regions for the successful short to medium-term wolf expansion, according to a study conducted at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies of the University of Zurich
  • Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

    Understanding Biodiversity

    Biodiversity is the topic of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) by the Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. It starts on February 27.
  • Horizon 2020

    “Making the Most of the Remaining Four Years”

    Peter Erni is director of the Swiss research and advisory network Euresearch. Currently, Erni is encouraging Swiss researchers to take part in Horizon 2020, the world’s largest funding program for research and innovation.
  • Architecture of Biomolecules

    Putting the Finer Detail into the Bigger Picture

    Leading structural biologists from across the globe gathered at UZH to discuss their latest findings and experiments. Zurich continues to enjoy an excellent standing in this specialist field, which provides the basis for developing new medicines.
  • Grand Challenge Award

    Tumors as Walkable 3D Models

    UZH Professor Bernd Bodenmiller is part of an international research team that has won a Grand Challenge Award of Cancer Research UK. The goal of this new and important research award is to generate high-definition, interactive 3D maps of entire tumors, so opening up new avenues for cancer research and medicine.
  • Genetic defects in tooth enamel conducive to development of caries

    Bacteria are not the sole cause of caries; tooth resistance also plays an instrumental role. Researchers from the University of Zurich demonstrate that mutated genes lead to defects in the tooth enamel and can therefore encourage the development of caries.
  • Psychotherapy normalizes the brain in social phobia

    Psychotherapy is a central treatment for social anxiety disorder. Due to this treatment, changes in key brain structures involved in emotion processing and regulation are normalized, as researchers from the University of Zurich, Zurich University Hospital and the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich demonstrate in a new study.
  • Political Science

    “Withdrawing into a shell of nationalism”

    New US president Donald Trump is preaching national egotism, and all over Europe nationalist parties are gaining ground. In this interview political scientist Stefanie Walter explains what this means for the future of world trade and the post-war world order.
  • Early onset of winter leads to smaller snow voles in Graubünden

    Researchers from the University of Zurich have succeeded in documenting an extremely rare case of evolutionary adaptation “in action” among wild snow voles near Chur. The selective pressure triggered by several consecutive winters with early snowfall resulted in a genetic decrease in body weight. The reason: Smaller voles are fully grown by the time the weather conditions deteriorate.
  • LSD alters perception via serotonin receptors

    Researchers from UZH have discovered how the perception of meaning changes in the brain under the influence of LSD. The serotonin 2A receptors are responsible for altered perception. This finding will help develop new courses of pharmacotherapy for psychiatric disorders such as depression, addictions or phobias.
  • FINEXUS Conference

    “We need to talk about values, not prices”

    How can the financial system operate more sustainably? This question was the focus of a conference that took place last week at UZH. Those attending included Nobel Laureate Joseph. E. Stiglitz.
  • Neurosciences

    More Blood Vessels in the Brain

    Nogo-A is a signal molecule that is known to inhibit nerve cell growth. Now brain researcher and budding neurosurgeon Thomas Wälchli has managed to show how it suppresses the formation of fine blood vessels in the brain.


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