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UZH News

Archive All Articles 2021

180 articles

Article list All Articles

  • Climate and soil determine the distribution of plant traits

    An international research team succeeded in identifying global factors that explain the diversity of form and function in plants. Led by the University of Zurich, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena and the University of Leipzig, the researchers collected and analyzed plant data from around the world. For the first time, they showed for characteristics such as plant size, structure, and life span how strongly these are determined by climate and soil properties. Insights derived from this could be crucial to improving Earth system models with regard to the role of plant diversity.
  • Academic Education Can Positively Affect Aging of the Brain

    The benefits of good education and lifelong learning extend into old age. The initial findings of a long-term study show that certain degenerative processes are reduced in the brains of those with a university education. Their brains are better able to compensate age-related cognitive and neural limitations.
  • Mechanism for DNA Invasion of Adenoviral Covid-19 Vaccines Discovered

    Adenoviruses have a linchpin protein that stabilizes their DNA until it reaches the infected cell’s nucleus. The protein then detaches from the viral genome, and the virus uncoats. Only then are the genes released into the nucleus, which is necessary for the production of new viruses. This process, discovered by researchers at the University of Zurich, is a key for effective functioning of various Covid-19 vaccines.
  • Zoonosis

    Bats and Tiger Mosquitoes

    The potential for new zoonotic diseases worldwide is huge – and continues to grow. In Switzerland too, there are dangerous germs that can spread from animals to humans. Researchers at UZH are tracking them down.
  • Christmas

    Christmas Favorites

    Christmas traditions are as diverse as the people who celebrate them. The UZH News team presents some of the favorite Christmas things of UZH researchers and wishes all readers happy holidays!
  • Astronomy

    How did the peculiar moons of Uranus form?

    The peculiar characteristics of Uranus’ moons have been a topic of debate in astronomy for decades. Using of state-of-the-art supercomputing and interdisciplinary expertise, researchers of the University of Zurich, who are part of the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS, have proposed a detailed answer in a new study.
  • Human Rights

    Putting Human Rights on the Agenda

    Last Friday marked 73 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948. In the intervening decades, says Peter Schaber, professor of applied ethics at the Institute of Philosophy, public awareness of the topic has grown considerably.
  • New University Library

    “Less about books than about people”

    For a year now, Rudolf Mumenthaler has been working behind the scenes and building up the new University Library Zurich. He will be the new library’s director from 2022. We asked him about his professional experiences, his most urgent tasks and his favorite books.
  • Open Science Policy

    An Open Future

    Legal expert Anne Schneuwly and molecular biologist Izaskun Mallona discuss what UZH’s new Open Science Policy means for their respective fields, together with Vice President Research Elisabeth Stark. The three scholars agree that the new policy increases transparency and quality.
  • Embroideries, Appliqués and Pleats as Carriers of Cultural Meaning

    The Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich is showing textiles made by Miao societies in Southwest China for the first time. The new exhibition Hidden Complexities showcases the complex textile skills and knowledge of Miao women based on 400 items of clothing, fabric and tools. And it reveals that there is far more to the stunning colors, patterns and materials than meets the eye.
  • Ein Planet verschiebt die Grenzen des Möglichen

    An international team of researchers with participation of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich has succeeded in capturing an image of a very special planet. No known planet orbits a hotter or more massive star system. Some astronomers even considered it impossible for planets to exist in such an environment.
  • 2,700-Year-Old Leather Armor Proves Technology Transfer Happened in Antiquity

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have investigated a unique leather scale armor found in the tomb of a horse rider in Northwest China. Design and construction details of the armor indicate that it originated in the Neo-Assyrian Empire between the 6th and 8th century BCE before being brought to China.
  • Empathy-based counter speech can reduce hate speech

    Online hate speech can be curbed by inducing empathy for those affected. In contrast, the use of humor or warnings of possible consequences have little effects. A team of social scientists has demonstrated this in a new scientific publication.
  • Digital expertise

    Political Masterclass

    Should Swiss legislators respond to the challenges of artificial intelligence? This year, the Digital Society Initiative offered background information and food for thought on this and other questions in a masterclass for parliamentarians.
  • Studies

    A new Master's degree in brain sciences

    The University of Zurich and ETH Zurich are jointly offering a new interdisciplinary Master's degree in brain sciences starting in the fall of 2022. The program combines biology, neuroscience and clinical methods.
  • Quantitative Biomedicine

    Bridging the Gap to Patients

    This week, the University of Zurich held a symposium to mark the newly established Department of Quantitative Biomedicine. The research institute strengthens UZH’s standing in the field of precision medicine. We met with its director Bernd Bodenmiller to discuss how the department’s methods can be used to benefit patients.
  • Global Science Film Festival

    The shortest distance between science and society is cinema

    Who benefits from a functioning ecological infrastructure? What do turtles have to do with human communication? Can protons and Indian classical dance be brought together? Answers to these and many other questions can be found at the Global Science Film Festival in Zurich's Filmpodium.
  • One Health

    When Resistant Germs Travel

    Resistance to antibiotics is increasing and can be found all over – in humans, animals, plants and the environment. To stop the spread of antibiotic resistance, we need to understand how it is transmitted and how we can prevent this from happening.
  • Appointment Procedures

    Appointing the Most Suitable Candidates

    Landing a professorship at UZH requires excellent qualifications in research and teaching. But professorial appointment committees also take into account candidates’ leadership and management skills. A pilot project on this topic has been ongoing at UZH for three years.
  • Sustainability

    Less Flying for UZH

    The University of Zurich wants its members to reduce air travel by at least 53 percent by 2030. Environmental psychologist and sustainability expert Somara Gantenbein on the background, significance and implementation of the goals.
  • Exposure to Harmless Coronaviruses Boosts SARS-CoV-2 Immunity

    Infections with the novel coronavirus and vaccination lead to strong antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2. Immune responses to other human coronaviruses, which mostly only cause harmless colds, also provide some protection against SARS-CoV-2. This cross-reactive immune response is an important piece of the puzzle of how to achieve comprehensive coronavirus immunity, researchers at the University of Zurich have shown.
  • Covid-19 Leads to Short-Term and Long-Term Push in Digitalization

    The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of everyday life. Especially when it comes to working and shopping, Swiss people want to see most of these changes remain in the long run. These are results of a representative survey conducted by the University of Zurich on internet use in Switzerland.
  • Hochschulmedizin Zürich

    When Stress Makes You Sick

    Chronic stress can decrease the quality of our lives, and have long-term negative effects on our health that may be irreversible. The new Hochschulmedizin Zürich (HMZ) flagship project STRESS aims to explore the causes of stress and highlight possible treatments.
  • Antibiotics Research

    Artificial Bacteria Devourers

    Eliminating harmful bacteria with targeted viruses and novel antibiotics: Researchers at UZH are developing new weapons in the fight against multi-resistant bugs.
  • One Health

    Bird Flu and Juicy Steaks

    Physicians and veterinarians need to increase cooperation in order to better understand zoonoses and antibiotic resistance, say Roger Stephan and Flurin Condrau. The food hygiene expert and the medical historian talk One Health, pandemic planning and prevention.
  • New Insights into Kidney Disease with Tropical Frog Models

    Using cutting-edge genetic engineering, UZH researchers have developed a model to study hereditary kidney disease with the help of tropical frogs. The method allows them to collect large amounts of data on anomalies, which can then be analyzed using artificial intelligence. The research opens up new opportunities in the search for new treatment approaches for the hitherto incurable disease.
  • IT Services

    Seamless Communication

    The University of Zurich is switching its mail and calendar system to Microsoft 365, bringing all communication and collaboration tools together onto a single platform. The university-wide migration will start in mid-November and is expected to be completed in around six months.
  • Nature’s Masterpieces on Display

    From November, visitors to the University of Zurich’s Zoological and Paleontological Museum will be able to marvel at 50 incredible fossil specimens. These naturally created masterpieces will be beautifully presented in a brand new, specially designed “Schatzkammer”. The exhibits are a long-term loan from the Aathal Dinosaur Museum.
  • Neuroscience

    Anxiety, breathing, and the brain

    Using novel technologies, researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich advance our understanding of anxiety and its connection to brain-body interactions.
  • UZH Magazin

    Healthy People, Healthy Animals

    Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and pathogens that spread from animals to humans are posing major problems for medicine. To combat them, researchers from various fields need to work hand in hand. This approach has become known as One Health, and the latest issue of the UZH Magazin offers an in-depth look at the topic.
  • Rising Approval of Regulation among Swiss Population

    The majority of Swiss people approve of how their government is regulating the economy. However, the idea of increased regulation, for example in healthcare or the financial industry, has been gaining favor, according to a survey among 2,350 Swiss voters conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich in 2020.
  • Journalism Increasingly Important in Combatting Disinformation

    Professional quality media, particularly in times of crisis, help to put facts and numbers in context and stem the tide of false information. Still, the economic situation for journalism continues to deteriorate. For the first time, revenues from online advertising also declined. In Switzerland, there is relatively high public support for media subsidies for private media. These are some of the main findings of the Yearbook Quality of the Media 2021 produced by the Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society (fög) at the University of Zurich.
  • Mechanism Behind Ineffective Psoriasis Drugs Identified

    Interleukin-12 – a messenger molecule of immune cells – was long considered to trigger the development of psoriasis. Now, researchers at the University of Zurich have shown that interleukin-12 does not actually cause the skin disease but protects against it. This also explains why common psoriasis drugs that block the messenger show insufficient treatment efficacy.
  • Towards Precision Medicine for Dialysis Patients

    A common gene variant for the protein Aquaporin-1 lowers the amount of water channels in the cell membranes. This reduces water transport and leads to a higher risk of death in patients with kidney failure treated with peritoneal dialysis. In such cases, specific osmotic solutions should be used, as an international research team led by the University of Zurich has shown.
  • 80 Percent of People in Switzerland Feel Fully Integrated into Society

    Only very few people in Switzerland feel highly excluded – including mostly foreigners, less educated people, young people as well as older people. Some in the French- and Italian-speaking regions do not feel fully integrated into society either, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich.
  • Appreciation of Jordi Bascompte

    Prestigious award für UZH researcher

    Ecologist Jordi Bascompte at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies has been awarded the prestigious Ramon Margalef Prize. Bascompte was recognized for his mathematical work on the description of biological networks.
  • Astrophysics

    The planet does not fall far from the star

    A compositional link between planets and their respective host star has long been assumed in astronomy. For the first time now, a team of scientists, with the participation of researchers of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS from the University of Zurich and the University of Bern, have delivered empirical evidence to support the assumption – and partly contradict it at the same time.
  • Innovathon 2021

    Transforming Travel

    What will the transport of tomorrow look like? How will digitalization change the way we get around? In a new module run by the UZH Innovation Hub and the Digital Society Initiative, students from the University of Zurich examined the interdisciplinary challenges of digitalization and mobility. Over the course of a 48-hour “Innovathon”, they came up with creative ideas to solve real-world problems.
  • Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new approach to autonomously fly quadrotors through unknown, complex environments at high speeds using only on-board sensing and computation. The new approach could be useful in emergencies, on construction sites or for security applications.
  • New Office Concept

    More Flexibility

    Future UZH offices will be more flexible to better take into account the various tasks of employees. A new multispace office concept provides a framework for designing future office space, with a primary focus on new buildings, newly rented space and fully restored buildings.
  • Move to West Park

    Under One Roof

    Starting next year, many administrative UZH employees will gradually move into the modern West Park office building in Zurich’s district 5. An appealing and versatile office environment awaits them.
  • URRP Human Reproduction Reloaded

    Genetic Scissors and the Future of Humanity

    The CRISPR genetic scissors enable the genetic material of living organisms to be modified in a targeted manner. The discovery has enormous implications for science and society. The kick-off event of the University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Human Reproduction Reloaded | H2R” focused on the potential and dangers of CRISPR.
  • Policy Approved

    A Step Forward for Open Science

    The Executive Board of the University has approved the Open Science Policy. The guidelines are a further step toward establishing an open science culture as standard practice at UZH.
  • Linguistics

    Language Untangled

    Last Friday saw the launch of a cutting-edge linguistics laboratory at UZH, the LiRILab on Andreastrasse. The brand-new lab, part of the Linguistic Research Infrastructure (LiRI) platform, is equipped with the latest technologies to facilitate innovative experimental research in the areas of phonetics, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics.
  • Antidepressants Inhibit Cancer Growth in Mice

    Classic antidepressants could help improve modern cancer treatments. They slowed the growth of pancreatic and colon cancers in mice, and when combined with immunotherapy, they even stopped the cancer growth long-term. In some cases the tumors disappeared completely, researchers at UZH and USZ have found. Their findings will now be tested in human clinical trials.
  • Covid certificate

    Basic Right to Education Is Maintained

    As of the Fall Semester, students at the University of Zurich are required to have a Covid certificate if they want to attend classes on site. Felix Uhlmann, UZH professor of constitutional and administrative law, discusses some of the legal aspects surrounding this significant measure to combat the pandemic.
  • Koetser Award

    Building and repairing the brain

    For her groundbreaking discoveries related to the functions of neurons in the brain, Professor Magdalena Götz received the 2021 Prize of the Betty and David Koetser Foundation for Brain Research. The award was presented at the annual symposium of the Center for Neuroscience Zurich (ZNZ) on 16 September.
  • 29,400 students return to UZH

    Nach drei Online-Semestern in Folge findet die Lehre an der Universität Zürich erstmals wieder weitgehend in Präsenz statt. Knapp 29'400 Studierende haben sich für das Herbstsemester 2021 eingeschrieben – 750 Personen mehr als im Vorjahr. Wesentliche Veränderungen erwarten die Studierenden insbesondere in den Rechtswissenschaften und in der Veterinärmedizin.
  • Learning to Read

    Tuning the brain

    Reading is one of the basic skills we acquire as children. But for some, it is more difficult than others. Neuroscientist Silvia Brem explains why and describes the promising therapies she is working on.
  • Employee Assistance Office

    Advice center

    Facing a difficult situation at work? The team from the Employee Assistance Office (MBS) supports UZH staff in stressful situations or with psychological or legal problems. The service is confidential, neutral and accessible.
  • Natural Killer Cells Coordinate Wound Healing

    Natural killer cells do not just kill cancer cells or cells infected with viruses, they also mediate a trade-off between wound healing and bacterial defense in skin wounds. If the healing process is accelerated, the immune defense is weakened, researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown. This has relevance in treating skin injuries and in tackling antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Language Evolution

    Humans and chimps

    Human communication is much more complex than all other forms of animal communication. And yet, monkeys and meerkats are also able to use language. Research into animal languages can help us understand how human language evolved.
  • Science Festival

    Successful Scientifica 2021

    Over the weekend, Scientifica took place around the topic “Synthetic naturally”. The science festival's program was greater than ever before, and thousands of visitors flocked to the various campuses of UZH and ETH to experience science up close.
  • On artificial skin and natural packaging

    The seventh edition of Scientifica, the science festival held by the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, had a new format this year: for the first time, the Hönggerberg and Irchel campuses were also open to visitors, offering them the chance to experience up close recent scientific developments around the topic “Synthetic – naturally”. The large numbers of visitors demonstrated the huge public appetite that exists for direct interaction with researchers.
  • Gerontology

    “The appetite for education in later life is greater than expected”

    Older people in Switzerland would like to have far more educational opportunities than are currently available, a new national study carried out by senior citizens universities, adult education institutions and the UZH Center for Gerontology has found. In an interview with UZH News, gerontologist Mike Martin explains why education is so important for older people.
  • Linguistics

    Tapping into people's thoughts

    Machines that read our thoughts and translate them into spoken language – what sounds like science fiction could be a real possibility in the future, says linguist Balthasar Bickel. Scientists in the NCCR Evolving Language are researching mind-reading, both to gain a better understanding of it and to warn of the dangers.
  • UZH and Airbus to Grow Miniature Human Tissue on the International Space Station (ISS)

    UZH Space Hub and Airbus Defence and Space are sending an experiment into space on the next resupply flight to the International Space Station (ISS) with the aim of advancing the industrial production of human tissue in microgravity. The ISS will thus function as a workshop to produce miniature human tissues for terrestrial use in research and medicine. Initial preparatory tests on the ISS 18 months ago were successful.
  • Vaccination Bus

    “We wanted to come to the people”

    Thanks to Céline Moser and her team, anyone can drop by the UZH vaccination bus this week and get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19. We asked the head of nursing at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute what it took to bring the vaccination bus to UZH.
  • Tailoring Treatment of Patients with the Lung Disease COPD

    Patients with COPD are treated with drugs to improve the breathing ability in combination with inhaled corticosteroids to reduce the risk of acute worsening of the lung conditions. But the balance between reduced exacerbations and increased adverse effects of the drugs depends on the dose and on patient characteristics. Researchers from the University of Zurich now show how to personalize treatments to optimally balance benefits and side effects.
  • Astronomy

    Like star, like planet

    One of the patterns emerging from the thousands of exoplanets that astronomers have discovered to date, is that the larger planets often orbit more massive stars. The reason behind it was unknown. A new study led by scientists at the University of Zurich, and members associated with the National Center of Competence in Researc (NCCR) PlanetS offers an answer to this cosmic mystery.
  • Corona

    Five Reasons to Get Vaccinated

    Vaccinations literally get under your skin. Each and every one of us has to decide for ourselves whether we want to get vaccinated or not. But there are good reasons to do so, says Christoph Berger, pediatrician and infectious diseases expert at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.
  • What If Our History Was Written In Our Grammar?

    Humans have been always on the move, creating a complex history of languages and cultural traditions dispersed over the globe. An international team under UZH’s lead has now traced families of related languages over more than 10,000 years by combining data from genetics, linguistics and musicology using novel digital methods. Their findings: grammar reflects best the common prehistory of a population and therefore mirrors genetics more than any other cultural feature.
  • Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development

    “Research isn’t a one-man-show”

    Developmental psychologist Moritz Daum took the reins of the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development at the beginning of August. With the center now fully developed and having reached its target size, the incoming executive director wants to continue to step up cooperation in the fields of sociology, economics and psychology with the aim of generating new insights for the benefit of children and young people.
  • Seat of Power

    Chairs, benches, sofas or stools – seats are more than just somewhere to rest our legs: They are also used to display power. UZH art historian Sabine Sommerer researches the phenomenon – from thrones of old to the recent “sofagate” and Putin on horseback.
  • Ethical behavior

    Doing Good Effectively

    Stefan Riedener has pledged to donate 10 percent of his income to charity – for as long as he lives. We spoke with the ethicist about leading a good, ethical life and finding joy in restraint.
  • Coronavirus

    Data for flexible pandemic management

    Coronavirus-relevant data can help those in charge of pandemic management at UZH gain a better overview of the situation during the Fall Semester. In order to achieve this, students and staff are being asked to make their data available in anonymized form. The information will be evaluated as part of a scientific pilot project.
  • UZH Summer Quiz Solution

    Did You Know?

    The summer quiz has attracted a lot of interest. The correct solution word is: SUMMERQUIZ. Congratulations to the winners.
  • Scientifica

    two days of scientific research at first hand

    Scientifica will be held over the weekend of 4 and 5 September on the theme of “Synthetic naturally”. This year’s science festival of the University of Zurich (UZH) and ETH Zurich offers a more comprehensive program than ever before, and will now also include the Irchel and Hönggerberg campuses.
  • Generous with Individuals and Selfish to the Masses

    Financial scandals or just normal human behaviour? Neuroeconomists at the University of Zurich have shown in an experimental setting that most people are willing to steal half of the earnings of a large group if their personal gain exceeds 100 euro, even though the very same people are generous towards individuals.
  • Astronomy

    Advancing to the core thanks to marsquakes

    Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have been able to use seismic data to look inside Mars for the first time. Marsquakes recorded by NASA’s InSight lander provided information about the structure of the planet’s crust, mantle and core.
  • New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots

    For the first time an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones’ limitations.
  • Leading Xenon Researchers Unite to Build Next-generation Dark Matter Detector

    The two major competing experiments — XENON/DARWIN at Gran Sasso in Italy and LUX-ZEPLIN in the US — have now joined forces to work together on a new, single, multi-tonne scale xenon observatory to explore dark matter. The detector will be highly sensitive to a wide range of proposed dark matter particles and their interactions with visible matter.
  • UZH Summer Quiz

    Did You Know?

    New findings are emerging from UZH research all the time; the range of projects is breathtaking. In our summer quiz, we take you on a voyage of discovery around a few of the topics covered by UZH Communications in the last six months. Have fun trying to guess the answers.
  • How Human Language Evolved

    Schleicher's Dream

    Originating in Africa, homo sapiens spread across the globe, and with it the human language. A project is now underway to trace the genealogy of the world's languages with the help of highly advanced methods borrowed from big data, genetics and geostatistics.
  • Evolutionary biology

    Courting Females

    In the animal kingdom, it’s the ladies who get to pick their partners. So if males want to mate, they have to woo females and outshine their rivals. UZH biologist Stefan Lüpold examines what gives male animals the edge when it comes to sexual selection.
  • Art History

    Local Heroes

    Raphaèle Preisinger’s research demonstrates how Christians around the globe fought for recognition in the early modern period. Representations of saints were of central importance.
  • Portrait

    Aleppo Forever

    Ahmed Fatima Kzzo once documented ancient inscriptions in Aleppo that dated back to the Ottoman Empire. Shortly thereafter, large parts of his hometown were reduced to rubble. The Syrian archaeologist is currently researching at UZH under a scholarship.
  • Women Still Severely Underrepresented in Swiss Media

    Women are severely underrepresented in Swiss media coverage compared to men. Only about one in four people featured in media reports is female. According to a study by the University of Zurich, the gender gap has remained practically unchanged across all language regions and media types in Switzerland since 2015. The gap is highest for sports and business topics, and smallest when it comes to culture and human-interest. Moreover, the gender gap is smaller in coverage focusing on private matters than when the focus is on professional roles.
  • Ambassador for Open Science

    Melanie Röthlisberger provides students and junior researchers with the tools to navigate all things open science. The linguist has been working in the Data Services & Open Access team in the Main Library of the University of Zurich since February 2021.

    Eating Our Way Through the Pandemic

    Increased stress, lack of exercise and frequent snacking: The effects of the pandemic are visible on our waistlines. For endocrinologist Philipp Gerber, the weight gain is not just a short-term side effect, but is storing up problems for the future and needs to be taken seriously.
  • Actively Addressing Inequalities Promotes Social Change

    People who have contact with other social groups are more likely to be committed to social justice. However, an international study led by the University of Zurich has shown that for this to be the case, power relations and discrimination must be actively addressed and group-specific needs must be met. It is important that disadvantaged group members, such as racial minorities and LGBTIQ+ individuals, are given a voice, and that those who belong to advantaged groups do not feel labeled as biased.
  • Swiss LGBTI-Label

    Diversity-Gütesiegel für die UZH

    The University of Zurich has received the Swiss LGBTI Label. The label certifies that UZH embraces a culture of openness, inclusion and appreciation towards LGBTI people.
  • Catering

    UZH Cafeteria Price Changes

    Meal prices in the cafés and cafeterias of UZH haven’t changed in over 15 years and are well below the Swiss average. To meet current expectations in terms of sustainability and quality, UZH has decided to adapt its pricing strategy.
  • Microscopy Deep Learning Predicts Viral Infections

    When viruses infect cells, changes in the cell nucleus occur, and these can be observed through fluorescence microscopy. Using fluoresence images from live cells, researchers at the University of Zurich have trained an artificial neural network to reliably recognize cells that are infected by adenoviruses or herpes viruses. The procedure also identifies severe acute infections at an early stage.
  • How Human Language Evolved

    Action Movies for Apes

    Our brains tend to perceive events as causal. Researchers at the NCCR Evolving Language are now exploring whether this is the same for great apes at Basel Zoo. This ability may hold the key to finding the origins of grammar.
  • Evolving Language

    Babbling and Barking

    Language is our most powerful tool. It evolved along with our species over the millennia. The UZH-led NCCR Evolving Language explores how exactly this came about. The new UZH Magazine shines a light on how animals communicate, how human language developed, and how it spread across the globe.
  • Vaccination Campaign

    “A high vaccination rate benefits everyone”

    UZH is in favor of vaccination and is promoting the FOPH’s campaign. At the same time, it respects the personal decision of each of its members to get vaccinated or not. President Michael Schaepman explains the university’s position in this interview.
  • Science and Politics

    “Embracing Diversity of Opinion”

    What has the pandemic taught us about the relationship between the science community and policymakers? According to political geographer Michael Hermann and medical historian Flurin Condrau, the two spheres need to engage with one another better and communicate more effectively.
  • Evolution Is Happening, Here and Now

    A new special exhibition at the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich shines the spotlight on evolution and its consequences in our everyday lives. The exhibition, which uses examples from medicine, agriculture and nature conservation, was developed in collaboration with the University Research Priority Program (URPP) Evolution in Action: From Genomes to Ecosystems.
  • Chamoli-Disaster

    Some four months ago, a devastating flood ravaged the Chamoli district in the Indian Himalayas, killing over 200 people. The flood was caused by a massive landslide, which also involved a glacier. Researchers at the University of Zurich, the WSL and ETH Zurich have now analyzed the causes, scope and impact of the disaster as part of an international collaboration.
  • Language Extinction Triggers Loss of Unique Medicinal Knowledge

    Indigenous peoples pass on their knowledge of medicinal plants orally. If their languages go extinct, valuable medical knowledge will be lost. A study by the University of Zurich estimates that 75 percent of the world’s medicinal plant applications are only known in one language.
  • Social Entrepreneurship

    John Snow's Legacy

    Onicio Leal is a startup founder and public health researcher in one. He wants to help improve the health of children growing up in Malawi.
  • Innovation

    The active ingredient aducanumab, which was discovered at the University of Zurich, has been approved for use in the United States as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Aducanumab, a human antibody, is the first treatment that has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, which is incurable.
  • In the Spotlight

    A Head for Heights

    As leader of the Ciao Corona study which examines the role of children in the pandemic, physician Susi Kriemler is in high demand.
  • Neuroscience

    Thinking in Technicolor

    Tommaso Patriarchi's ambition is to decipher the brain's chemical language – using neurosensors that he has developed himself.
  • Fluorescence microscopy

    A deep dive into the brain

    Researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich led by Daniel Razansky have developed a new microscopy technique that lights up the brain with high resolution imagery. This allows neuroscientists to study brain functions and ailments more closely and non-invasively.
  • Artificial Neurons Recognize Biosignals in Real Time

    Researchers from Zurich have developed a compact, energy-efficient device made from artificial neurons that is capable of decoding brainwaves. The chip uses data recorded from the brainwaves of epilepsy patients to identify which regions of the brain cause epileptic seizures. This opens up new perspectives for treatment.
  • Biomechanics

    How tendons become stiffer and stronger

    Researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich deciphered the cellular mechanisms through which tendons can adapt to mechanical stresses. People who carry a certain variant of a gene that is key to this mechanism show improved jumping performance.
  • Computerlinguistics

    Speaking with Signs

    Computational linguist Sarah Ebling wants to help deaf people and those with cognitive impairments access the digital world more easily – with an app that can translate speech into sign language in real time.
  • Young Orangutans

    Social learning in orangutans is shaped by their sex. Young males learn their foraging skills from immigrant individuals, while young females get their skills by observing their mothers and other residents in the area. These different sets of ecological knowledge help secure their survival.
  • High Cholesterol Levels Stably Lowered with New Gene Editing Tool

    Base editing is a novel gene editing approach that can precisely change individual building blocks in a DNA sequence. By installing such a point mutation in a specific gene, an international research team led by the University of Zurich has succeeded in sustainably lowering high LDL cholesterol levels in the blood of mice and macaques. This opens up the possibility of curing patients with inherited metabolic liver diseases.
  • New Technology Makes Tumor Eliminate Itself

    A new technology developed by UZH researchers enables the body to produce therapeutic agents on demand at the exact location where they are needed. The innovation could reduce the side effects of cancer therapy and may hold the solution to better delivery of Covid-related therapies directly to the lungs.
  • Biochemistry

    Goodbye to Back Pain

    Back pain: a disease common to many. However, with his newly developed stem cell therapy, biochemist Stefan Dudli is hoping to make it a thing of the past.
  • New Finance Handbook

    “An important and necessary step”

    UZH’s new financial governance set-up provides the faculties with significantly more responsibility than before. Stefan Schnyder, Vice President Finances and Human Resources, explains why.
  • Sustainability Report

    Toward A Cleaner Future

    The University of Zurich is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. The recently published Sustainability Report shows where UZH currently stands when it comes to achieving this goal.
  • Oncology

    Curing Cancer in Children

    Ana Guerreiro Stücklin treats children and young people at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich. She wants to fight brain tumors with novel therapies.
  • The African Wild Dog: An Ambassador for the World’s Largest Nature Reserve

    The world’s largest terrestrial conservation area is located in southern Africa and covers 520,000 square kilometers spanning five countries. A study from the University of Zurich now shows that the endangered African wild dog mostly remains within the boundaries of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) when dispersing, thus highlighting the relevance of such a large-scale conservation initiative for maintaining key wildlife corridors of threatened species.
  • Defective Epithelial Barriers Linked to Two Billion Chronic Diseases

    Humans are exposed to a variety of toxins and chemicals every day. According to the epithelial barrier hypothesis, exposure to many of these substances damages the epithelium, the thin layer of cells that covers the surface of our skin, lungs and intestine. Defective epithelial barriers have been linked to a rise in almost two billion allergic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases.
  • Biomarker Detects Severe COVID-19 Early On

    Severe cases of COVID-19 can now be detected at an early stage. Researchers at the University of Zurich have identified the first biomarker that can reliably predict which patients will develop severe symptoms. This can help to improve the treatment of severe cases of COVID-19.
  • Corona and Science

    Research Quality During the Pandemic

    Infectious disease specialist Huldrych Günthard treats coronavirus patients at the UniversityHospital Zurich (USZ), while biostatistician Leonhard Held evaluates the plethora of publications on the pandemic. We talk about coronavirus, vaccination and research quality during the crisis.
  • Open Access Negotiations

    Third Major Publisher on Board

    Negotiations between university libraries and publishing company John Wiley & Sons have come to a successful conclusion. With the new agreement, the services of all three major scientific publishers are now available in open access to UZH researchers.
  • Lockdown Led to Stress and Mental Health Problems among Children, Adolescents, Parents and Young Adults

    One-third of children and adolescents experienced mental health problems during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Switzerland. Parents and young adults also perceived considerable stress, yet the perceived stresses differed from those of children and adolescents, the first Switzerland-wide representative study by the University of Zurich and La Source School of Nursing Lausanne has shown.
  • The First Comprehensive Single-Cell Atlas of Human Teeth

    Researchers at the University Zurich have mapped the first complete atlas of single cells that make up the human teeth. Their research shows that the composition of human dental pulp and periodontium vary greatly. Their findings open up new avenues for cell-based dental therapeutic approaches.
  • Junior Researchers

    Making It in Academia

    An academic career involves a great deal of uncertainty. For junior researchers, success is as much about passion and enthusiasm as it is about perseverance, resilience and luck.
  • UZH Awards Seven Honorary Doctorates

    The 2021 Dies academicus has received a new digital dress-up, with the day’s proceedings available online through an interactive platform. The University of Zurich has awarded honorary doctorates to musician Rudolf Lutz, notary Jürg Schmid, financial expert Bruno Biais as well as CT specialist Thomas Flohr. Further honorary doctorates have gone to veterinarian Lothar Wieler, German studies scholar Anil Bhatti and ornithologist Werner Müller.
  • UZH Physicist Awarded Funding of 2.5 Million Euros

    Thomas Gehrmann, full professor of theoretical physics at the University of Zurich, has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant: He will receive 2.5 million euros from the European Research Council to develop new methods for precision calculations in particle physics with his team and apply them to specific particle reactions.
  • Ethnology

    Drinking Tea with Salafis

    Mira Menzfeld has been meeting with members of the ultraconservative Salafi movement for eight years. The vast majority she has spoken to are peace-loving Muslims and present no danger whatsoever. However, many of their ideas do run counter to her own views, says the anthropologist.
  • Precision Medicine

    Targeted Therapies thanks to Biomedical Informatics

    The LOOP Zurich, the new medical research center in Zurich, promotes patient-focused therapies. To achieve its goals, the center brings together specialist knowledge in the fields of biomedicine, bioinformatics and clinical research from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich as well as Zurich’s four university hospitals. Two of The LOOP Zurich’s first research consortia have now started developing innovative treatments methods in oncology and neurorehabilitation.
  • UZH Researchers Find New Measure to Predict Stress Resilience

    Neuroeconomists, psychologists, and physicians at the University of Zurich show that increased sensitivity in a specific region of the brain contributes to the development of anxiety and depression in response to real-life stress. Their study establishes an objective neurobiological measure for stress resilience in humans.
  • Toward a More Digital, Sustainable and Diverse Future

    The University of Zurich wants to harness the digital advances and the experience gained from the coronavirus pandemic to provide a targeted mix of classroom and online formats in the future. Learning will thus become a more individual, flexible and accessible process. More emphasis will also be placed on sustainability and diversity in the coming years.
  • Joyful Screams Perceived More Strongly than Screams of Fear or Anger

    The human scream signals more than fear of imminent danger or entanglement in social conflicts. Screaming can also express joy or excitement. For the first time, researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that non-alarming screams are even perceived and processed by the brain more efficiently than their alarming counterparts.
  • Modern Human Brain Originated in Africa Around 1.7 Million Years Ago

    The human brain as we know it today is relatively young. It evolved about 1.7 million years ago when the culture of stone tools in Africa became increasingly complex. A short time later, the new Homo populations spread to Southeast Asia, researchers from the University of Zurich have now shown using computed tomography analyses of fossilized skulls.
  • Psychology

    In Praise of Enjoyment

    According to the famous marshmallow test, people who can postpone their needs are happier and more successful in the long run. Now psychologist Katharina Bernecker is turning this hypothesis on its head. Her findings suggest that enjoying pleasure in the moment promotes overall well-being.
  • The Ship Cloths of Southern Sumatra

    For many centuries, the people of southern Sumatra saw themselves as living on a ship floating between the sea and the heavens. This idea was woven into fascinating textiles featuring elaborate depictions of ships carrying humans and animal-like beings. These ship cloths were used in ceremonial and ritual contexts, and some examples are now being presented in an exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich.
  • Neurosurgery

    Brain Tumors under Attack

    Is Marian Neidert taking a saw to the branch he’s sitting on? As a neurosurgeon, he operates on brain tumors; as a researcher he’s trying to teach the immune system to fight them itself. But it might be some time before immunotherapies make surgery superfluous.
  • Agroecology

    Planting Underpants

    Biologist Marcel van der Heijden aims to increase agricultural yields – not just with artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and GM technology, but also fungi and other microorganisms. He's not afraid to resort to less conventional research methods, either.
  • UZH Personnel Commission

    “We discuss until we reach a consensus”

    How will working from home be regulated in the future? How can a better balance be achieved between the demands of work and family life? The UZH Personnel Commission discusses issues like these. We sat down with Martin Kleinmann, who heads up the commission, to learn more about how the Personnel Commission works.
  • UZH Magazin

    The Next Generation

    They’re young, dedicated and full of promising ideas. The latest UZH Magazin presents six UZH researchers who are embarking on a career in academia. We spoke with them about their research, their goals and the secrets of their success.
  • UZH Alumni

    Playful and Focused

    After training as a musician, jazz composer Nik Bärtsch studied literature and philosophy at the University of Zurich. In this portrait he looks back on his student days at the UZH.
  • New Results Challenge Leading Theory in Physics

    Researchers at UZH and CERN have just released new intriguing results. According to the international research collaboration that runs the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment, the latest measurements strengthen hints for a deviation with respect to the theoretical expectations. If confirmed, the findings point towards physics beyond the Standard Model such as a new fundamental force.
  • Artificial Light Affects Plant Pollination Even During the Daytime

    Streetlights alter the number of flower visits by insects not just at night, but also during the daytime. Artificial light at night thus indirectly affects the entire plant-pollinator community, with unknown consequences for functioning of the ecosystem, as researchers from the University of Zurich and Agroscope have proven for the first time.
  • FAN Awards 2021

    Neues Mikroskop, Sprache im Alter und Menschenrechte

    This year’s FAN Awards have gone to Fabian Voigt, Minxia Luo and Angela Müller. In their outstanding PhD theses, the junior researchers explore a new specialist microscope, language use in old age and the extraterritorial application of human rights.
  • Consumption of Added Sugar Doubles Fat Production

    Too much sugar is unhealthy – that we know, but it’s not just down to the many calories. Even moderate amounts of added fructose and sucrose double the body’s own fat production in the liver, researchers from the University of Zurich have shown. In the long term, this contributes to the development of diabetes or a fatty liver.
  • Humanities Initiative

    The Prerequisites of Freedom

    The humanities are sorely needed in our rapidly changing world. We sat down with Tatiana Crivelli, Inga Mai Groote and Andreas Thier to find out what distinguishes their fields and makes the humanities so irreplaceable.
  • Reflecting on Your Own Capabilities Boosts Resilience

    Reflecting on how you have overcome past personal challenges can help you process negative experiences, a new study from the University of Zurich confirms. Actively reminding yourself of your self-efficacy could also prove useful in the coronavirus era.
  • UZH Startup

    Home-Grown Talent

    PolygonSoftware develops smart software solutions and relies on gifted programmers. The startup’s staff is made up entirely of students or alumni of the UZH Department of Informatics. The fledgling business has recently been granted the right to use the UZH Startup label.
  • Musical Memories as Mood Boosters

    Hearing sounds that are linked to positive experiences from the past can considerably increase well-being, reduce depressive moods and alleviate behavioral problems in people with memory loss, a study by the University of Zurich in cooperation with clinical partners has found. The work with music and memories also benefits the nursing staff and carers involved.
  • School for Transdisciplinary Studies

    Joined-Up Study

    With its newly established School for Transdisciplinary Studies, UZH wants to encourage students to venture across disciplinary boundaries. The latest UZH Journal explores the appeal and benefits of transdisciplinary thinking, learning and collaboration.
  • Exhibition

    Showcasing the Natural Sciences

    The new Science Exploratorium shines a light on research at UZH’s Faculty of Science. Current exhibitions provide visitors with insights into the collection of the UZH Botanical Museum, the field of particle physics, research on high-temperature superconductivity and a citizen science project on hydrology.
  • Portrait

    Explaining the World's Nebulous Machinations

    As a journalist he searched in vain for experts who were examining the economic crisis from a historical perspective. Today Tobias Straumann is himself an award-winning specialist in economic history.
  • CRISPR/Cas Gene Scissors

    Enhancing Children – Custom Kids

    The CRISPR/Cas gene scissors can be used to prevent congenital diseases. In theory, they could also allow parents to design their dream children. But molecular biologist Gerald Schwank has huge reservations about designer babies.
  • Reactivating Aging Stem Cells in the Brain

    As people get older, their neural stem cells lose the ability to proliferate and produce new neurons, leading to a decline in memory function. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now discovered a mechanism linked to stem cell aging – and how the production of neurons can be reactivated.
  • International Relations

    UZH Teams Up with Leading Australian University

    The University of Zurich and the University of Queensland have entered into a strategic partnership, formalizing their long-standing cooperation in research and teaching – and paving the way for new joint projects.
  • Astrophysics

    Martian moons have a common ancestor

    Phobos and Deimos are the remains of a larger Martian moon that was disrupted between 1 and 2.7 billion years ago, say researchers from the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich and the Physics Institute at the University of Zurich. In collaboration with the U.S. Naval Observatory, they reached this conclusion using computer simulations and seismic recordings from the InSight Mars mission.
  • Institutional Accreditation

    A Look at the Inner Workings of UZH

    Like all Swiss universities, UZH is required to undergo institutional accreditation to show how the university ensures the quality of its research, teaching and services. For this purpose, a self-assessment report was developed, which examines the mechanics of the higher education institution.
  • Hide-and-Seek Can Lead to Higher Drug Prices

    Pharmaceutical manufacturers and national authorities often negotiate secret rebates when determining drug prices. A UZH study shows that these rebate systems may hamper patient access to drugs. In the medium term, this practice can even lead to increasing drug prices.
  • Astrophysics

    A new way of forming planets

    Scientists of the Universities of Zurich and Cambridge, associated with the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS, suggest a new explanation for the abundance in intermediate-mass exoplanets – a long-standing puzzle of astronomy.
  • Antibiotics research

    How bacteria sleep through antibiotic attacks

    Bacteria can survive antibiotic treatment even without antibiotic resistance by slowing down their metabolism and going into a type of deep sleep. A research team reveals the changes bacteria undergo to reach this "persister" state. Annelies Zinkernagel, an infectiologist at UZH, is main author of the publication in the scientific journal PNAS.
  • Smartphone App to Change Your Personality

    How quickly can personality traits be modified? An international research team led by the University of Zurich has shown that daily use of a smartphone app can lead to desired personality changes within three months. And three months after the daily interventions, the changes are still noticeable.
  • Friends Matter: Giraffes that Group with Others Live Longer

    Adult female giraffes who spend time in larger groups with other females live longer than less sociable individuals. The effects of sociability on survival outweigh other factors such as environment or human presence, a study of giraffes in Tanzania led by the University of Zurich has shown.
  • Synchronization of Brain Hemispheres Changes What We Hear

    Most of the time, our brain receives different input from each of our ears, but we nevertheless perceive speech as unified sounds. This process takes place through synchronization of the areas of the brain involved with the help of gamma waves, neurolinguists at the University of Zurich have now discovered. Their findings may lead to new treatment approaches for tinnitus.
  • 1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences

    In the event of a pandemic, delayed reactions and a decentralized approach by the authorities at the start of a follow-up wave can lead to longer-lasting, more severe and more fatal consequences, researchers from the universities of Zurich and Toronto have found. The interdisciplinary team compared the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 in the Canton of Bern with the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
  • AAAS Meeting

    Remote Sensing AAAS

    Next week, leading researchers from a variety of fields will come together at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The virtual conference will also feature a talk by UZH President Michael Schaepman on how remote sensing can help protect biodiversity.
  • Anthropology

    The Social Media of Hunter-Gatherers

    Friends and social networks have made humans innovative and successful, says Andrea Migliano. The anthropologist studies traditional indigenous societies that live like our ancestors did over 10,000 years ago.
  • Marmoset Monkeys Eavesdrop On and Understand Conversations Between Other Marmosets

    Marmoset monkeys perceive the vocal interactions between their conspecifics not just as a string of calls, but as coherent conversations. They also evaluate their content. These are the findings of a study by researchers at the University of Zurich which combined thermography methods with behavioral preference measures.
  • Debate Law and Literature

    Creons' Dichotomy

    Law is a cultural asset that has been fought for over centuries. Narratives help us bring order to communal life. Philosopher of law Matthias Mahlmann and author Lukas Bärfuss discuss the many connections between law and literature.
  • New Vice President Research

    Of Racing Bikes and Research

    Elisabeth Stark is UZH’s new Vice President Research. A linguist and expert in Romance languages, Stark wants to refine UZH’s research profile and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  • Risk-Taking Linked to Particular Brain Features

    There is a common genetic and neurobiological basis for risky behavior – the genetic disposition for risk-taking is mapped in several areas of the brain, a UZH study shows. The study combines genetic information and brain scans from more than 25,000 people for the first time.
  • Astrophysics

    The importance of theory in exoplanetary science

    Scientists at the University of Zurich associated with the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS reveal considerable uncertainties in the theoretical understanding of giant gas planets. This emphasizes the importance of further developing theoretical aspects of exoplanetary characterization.
  • My Alma Mater

    Journalism as Vocation

    Celebrated alumni look back at their time at UZH. This time, we talk to journalist, broadcaster and writer Klara Obermüller.
  • UZH Spin-Offs

    Seven UZH Spin-Offs Founded in 2020

    Seven new spin-offs emerged from UZH last year. The fledgling businesses have rolled out innovative software for drones, a novel treatment for stress incontinence as well as a method that makes prenatal interventions safer, among other things.
  • Solar System formation in two steps

    Why are the planets of the inner solar system dry and rocky, but the outer ones are not? An international team of researchers with participation of the University of Zurich discovered that a two-step formation process of the planets can explain the chronology and split in volatiles like water and isotope content of the inner and outer solar system.
  • Die TRAPPIST-1-Planeten könnten aus ähnlichem Material bestehen

    The TRAPPIST-1 star is home to the largest batch of roughly Earth-size planets ever found outside our solar system. An international study involving researchers from the Universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich now shows that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.
  • Tumor Research

    Detailed tumour profiling

    As part of a clinical study involving patients from the University Hospitals in Zurich and Basel, researchers are conducting a thorough and highly precise investigation into the molecular and functional properties of tumors. Their goal is to help physicians to better determine which treatment will best match every patient’s cancer and thus be most effective.
  • Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines Signal Strength

    Nerve cells communicate with one another via synapses. Neuroscientists at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now found that these connections seem to be much more powerful than previously thought. The larger the synapse, the stronger the signal it transmits. These findings will enable a better understanding of how the brain functions and how neurological disorders arise.
  • How Fellow Students Improve Your Own Grades

    Better grades thanks to your fellow students? A study conducted by the University of Zurich’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics has revealed that not only the grade point average, gender and nationality peers can influence your own academic achievement, but so can their personalities. Intensive contact and interaction with persistent fellow students improve your own performance, and this effect even endures in subsequent semesters.
  • Memorandum of Understanding

    UZH Cooperating with King's College

    The University of Zurich is stepping up its cooperation with King’s College London with a memorandum of understanding on the topic of gerontology and healthy aging. UZH President Michael Schaepman welcomes this closer collaboration.
  • Media Research and Communication Science

    «Bauchgefühl und Klimakrise»

    Conspiracy theories are a response to people’s fears and offer a way to make sense of the world in times of crisis, say media researcher Brigitte Frizzoni and communications scientist Mike Schäfer. We sat down with them to talk about dangerous claims, good storytelling and world views that are immune to reason.
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology

    The Silk Road’s Rougher Side

    High-speed highways don’t just facilitate transport and mobility. They can cut through communities, disadvantage people and arouse false hopes. A team of social anthropologists have been studying China’s massive Silk Road project.
  • In the Spotlight

    Economist in the Ascendant

    Economist David Dorn is one of the most prominent representatives of his profession. He owes his rise to fame to his analysis of trade with China.
  • Reproductive Medicine

    Existenzielle Träume

    Since the first test-tube baby was born in 1978, reproductive medicine has made great strides. Although many couples with fertility problems have benefitted, the ability to have a child is still not guaranteed.


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