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44 Current news of ETH Zürich

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Soil bugs munch on plastics

27-Jul-2018

Thin mulch films made of polyethylene are used in agriculture in numerous countries, where they cause extensive soil contamination. Researchers at ETH Zurich and Eawag have now identified an alternative: films made of the polymer PBAT biodegrade in soils. Our world is drowning in a flood of ...

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Cold leads to slimmer offspring

11-Jul-2018

Exposure to cold prior to conception causes the resulting offspring to have more brown adipose tissue, which protects against excess weight and metabolic disorders. Scientists studying mice have discovered that this information is passed on by the sperm, and there is a similar correlation in ...

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Researchers engineer human bone marrow tissue

06-Jun-2018

Every day in the bone marrow several billion blood cells are formed. This constant supply is ensured by blood stem cells located in special niches within the marrow. These stem cells can multiply and mature into red and white blood cells, which then leave the bone marrow and enter the ...

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Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

A new kind of chemistry in living organisms

24-May-2018

Complex reaction cascades can be triggered in artificial molecular systems: Swiss scientists have constructed an enzyme than can penetrate a mammalian cell and accelerate the release of a hormone. This then activates a gene switch that triggers the creation of a fluorescent protein. The findings ...

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Malaria detectable in olfactory cocktail

17-May-2018

ETH researchers have discovered odour profiles typical of people infected with acute or asymptomatic malaria. This is a first promising step towards a low-cost diagnostic test that can be used in the field in developing countries. Malaria is still a deadly disease in tropical and subtropical ...

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A protein that self-replicates

01-Mar-2018

Long regarded as a biological aberration, amyloids are fibrous aggregates of short protein fragments. Amyloids have a bad reputation because they are thought to be the cause of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It was only ...

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Sticking sugar to protein

Researchers clarified the 3D structure of an important enzyme that links sugar to proteins – a breakthrough

09-Feb-2018

Whenever cells receive signals, interact with other cells or identify viruses and bacteria, the process involves not only proteins but also sugar chains attached to their surface. The subject of relatively little attention until now, these structures differ widely in composition and branching, ...

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Brain signals for drug screening

02-Feb-2018

An international team led by ETH researchers has developed a technique that uses electrical brain signals to more precisely evaluate the effect of drugs on the brain. It could be of particular use in the early development phase of anti-epilepsy medication. There are still comparatively few ...

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Quantum cocktail provides insights on memory control

29-Jan-2018

The speed of writing and reading out magnetic information from storage devices is limited by the time that it takes to manipulate the data carrier. To speed up these processes, researchers have recently started to explore the use of ultrashort laser pulses that can switch magnetic domains in ...

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Extremely bright and fast light emission

12-Jan-2018

An international team of researchers from ETH Zurich, IBM Research Zurich, Empa and four American research institutions have found the explanation for why a class of nanocrystals that has been intensively studied in recent years shines in such incredibly bright colours. The nanocrystals contain ...

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