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Life Science Zurich Communication & Events


At the University of Zurich and at ETH Zurich, Life Science research covers a huge range of different topics. There is plenty of new information about all these research activities is every day and you easily lose track of what is really important. Under “News”, we have selected some of the reports and articles on new and relevant findings in the Life Science research for you. If you are looking for more detailed knowledge of a specific subject you might find an answer here. If you miss your favorite research topic, please let us know.

News list

  • Teaming up for better health

    What’s the best way to translate research findings into clinical practice? A discussion with Monika Jänicke, CEO of the University Hospital Zurich, Rahel Kubik, head of radiology at Kantonsspital Baden, and Christian Wolfrum, VP for Research at ETH Zurich.

  • A Smartwatch App to Tackle Long Covid

    A treatment for people suffering from Long Covid is yet to materialize. The only approach that has proven to be effective is for patients to manage their symptoms. Researchers at UZH have developed an innovative smartwatch application and app that help patients do this. The researchers have now been awarded this year’s UZH Postdoc Team Award.

  • Pitfalls of Computer-Based Psychotherapy

    Smartphone apps and internet programs promise quick and easy help for mental health difficulties. Birgit Watzke and her team at the Department of Psychology are investigating these digital tools and identifying their uses and limits.

  • Molecular cooperation at the threshold of life

    Protein-​like aggregates known as amyloids can bind to molecules of genetic material. It is possible that these two types of molecules stabilised each other during the development of life – and that this might even have paved the way for the genetic code.

  • Artificial intelligence finds ways to develop new drugs

    A new AI model developed by chemists at ETH Zurich can not only predict where a pharmaceutically active molecule can be chemically modified, but also how best to do it. This makes it possible to identify new pharmaceutical ingredients more quickly and improve existing ones in a targeted manner.

  • Halting a malformation of the heart

    Researchers at ETH Zurich have now shown that a previously unknown protein plays a key role in a congenital malformation of the heart. Their findings point the way towards new treatment options.

  • A Local Seed Vault to Boost Biodiversity

    Researchers at UZH are freezing the seeds of threatened local plants to help increase the biodiversity of ecosystems in the future.

  • When growth becomes a weakness

    ETH researchers are clarifying what can happen when cells exceed their normal size and become senescent. The new findings could help to optimize cancer therapies.

  • The Operating Room of the Future

    The innovative OR-X at the Balgrist University Hospital is an exact copy of an operating room. Here, surgeons can train their skills and team up with researchers to develop computer-assisted surgical methods. This speeds up the translation of state-of-the-art surgical innovations into clinical practice and benefits patients.

  • Predatory Bacteria

    Antibiotic resistance is increasingly becoming a challenge for treating bacterial infections. Microbiologist Simona Huwiler is researching whether predatory bacteria — that is, bacteria that eat other bacteria — can be used as a new kind of antibiotic and whether this approach also leads to the development of resistance.

  • Reducing anxiety and stress with pupil feedback

    The brain’s state of arousal is the key to many stress-​ and anxiety-​related disorders. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now found a way to influence it with a new biofeedback method.

  • Adding Years to Life and Life to Years

    Medical advances mean people are living longer. However, they often face multiple conditions or illnesses in later life. Geriatric medicine is seeking both to increase healthy years of life and to get a better handle on multimorbidity.

  • Better cancer diagnosis thanks to digital 3D images

    How to bring a diagnostic process that has endured for 100 years into the digital age? Two researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are developing a robotic platform that enables a more accurate diagnosis of cancer cells by rapidly quantifying tissue samples in their entirety.

  • ETH Zurich researchers study one of the world’s darkest rivers

    They set out to study the Congo Basin’s carbon cycle and in the process have become aware of one of the world’s darkest blackwater rivers: the Ruki. In the first study on this major jungle river, an international research team led by ETH Zurich explains how this blackness comes about and what it says about the river system’s carbon balance.

  • Award-Winning 3R Research Reduces Animal Experiments

    UZH is developing alternative methods to animal experiments in line with the 3Rs principle. To highlight outstanding achievements of its members in the field of 3Rs, the university has introduced the UZH 3R Award, which has now gone to Giuseppe Esposito and Melanie Generali.

  • Increased deep sleep benefits your heart

    Stimulating the brain with gentle sounds during deep sleep significantly enhances cardiac function, according to a new study. This discovery could have implications not only for cardiovascular diseases but also for competitive sports, among other areas.

  • Predictions of the effect of drugs on individual cells are now possible

    Experts from ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, and University Hospital Zurich have used machine learning to jointly create a innovative method. This new approach can predict how individual cells react to specific treatments, offering hope for more accurate diagnoses and therapeutics.

  • Genetics of Attraction: Mate Choice in Fruit Flies

    Genetic quality or genetic compatibility? What do female fruit flies prioritize when mating? Researchers at the University of Zurich show that both factors are important at different stages of the reproductive process and that females use targeted strategies to optimize the fitness of their offspring.

  • How a suction cup delivers medications to the bloodstream

    Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a suction cup that allows medications to be absorbed through the mucosal lining of the cheeks. This new approach could spare millions of patients the pain and fear associated with injections.

  • A hygiene program for chromosomes

    Cell biologists at ETH Zurich describe a new organelle present in mammalian cells that is made of rings of DNA. This “mini-​organ” could potentially play a role in autoimmune diseases, and it could help researchers to understand how cell nuclei evolved.

  • Our Digital Doppelgangers

    Artificial intelligence is also revolutionizing the world of medicine. In the future, we will be able to create digital twins that simulate various processes in our body. These digital representations of ourselves will be able to help us diagnose and treat diseases.

  • Genetically modifying individual cells in animals

    Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method that lets them genetically modify each cell differently in animals. This allows them to study in a single experiment what used to require many animal experiments. Using the new method, the researchers have discovered genes that are relevant for a severe rare genetic disorder.

  • Mr. Deetlefs Sings in Cavalleria Rusticana

    Keeping active in later life keeps you healthy. MOASIS is a study conducted by UZH to examine how older people live and the effect this has on their fitness levels and well-being. The message is clear: use it or lose it.

  • A human model for autism

    The CRISPR-​Cas gene scissors enable researchers to study the genetic and cellular causes of autism in the lab – directly on human tissue.

  • Neurons Humming

    Sleep disorders are very common, and they’re particularly problematic for people with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at UZH, USZ and ETH are developing a device that can help patients sleep more deeply and improve their quality of life.

  • Two Million for Memory Research

    Neuroscientist Fritjof Helmchen has been awarded a coveted SNSF Advanced Grant worth CHF 2 million to fund his project researching a new theory of memory formation.

  • How Salmonella grow together in the gut and exchange antibiotic resistance

    The ability to utilize a mere single alternative food source is all it takes for diarrhoea causing Salmonella bacteria to bloom when a gut is already colonized by a closely related strain, according to researchers from ETH Zurich. This coexistence enables the exchange of antibiotic resistance.

  • Cells with an ear for music release insulin

    "We will rock you": ETH Zurich researchers are developing a gene switch that triggers insulin release in designer cells by playing certain rock and pop songs.

  • Biodiversity protects against invasions of non-native tree species

    For the first time, researchers combined human and ecological factors to analyse the global scale of non-​native tree species invasions. Human activity in hotspots of global trade, such as maritime ports, is linked to an increased likelihood of non-​native tree species invasions. However, a high diversity of native tree species can help to curb the intensity of such invasions.

  • Building muscle in the lab

    A new method allows large quantities of muscle stem cells to be safely obtained in cell culture. This provides a potential for treating patients with muscle diseases – and for those who would like to eat meat, but don’t want to kill animals.

  • When Controls Fail

    In autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. Immunologist Sarah Mundt wants to figure out why that happens and how to keep autoreactive T cells in check.

  • Bear-human coexistence rethought

    The media uproar over wolf attacks on livestock in Switzerland and a bear attack in Italy show how charged the issue of large carnivores and humans coexisting in Europe is. ETH Zurich researcher Paula Mayer has now created a participatory model to help facilitate human-​bear coexistence using the example of the Apennine brown bear.

  • Treating anaemia with gene scissors

    ETH Zurich molecular biologist Mandy Boontanrart is researching gene therapies that could be used to cure two of the most common types of inherited anaemia. She has now developed a promising approach for so-​called beta-​hemoglobinopathies.

  • Treating bladder infections with viruses

    The pathogens that cause urinary tract infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. ETH Zurich researchers have now developed a rapid test and a new therapeutic approach using bacteria-​infecting viruses known as phages.

  • Detecting breast cancer earlier with 3D X-rays

    A research team from ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI together with the Baden Cantonal Hospital and the University Hospital Zurich wants to improve a method for diagnosing breast cancer. 

  • AI Brings Hope for Patients with Lyosomal Storage Disease

    Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important in drug discovery. Advances in the use of Big Data, learning algorithms and powerful computers have now enabled researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) to better understand a serious metabolic disease.

  • Orexin influences pupil size

    The way the brain regulates pupil size is different from previously thought: fundamentally responsible is the neurotransmitter orexin, as researchers at ETH Zurich have now shown. This discovery could well alter our understanding of consciousness and illnesses such as narcolepsy and Alzheimer’s.

  • Building models to predict interactions in plant microbiomes

    Microbiologists at ETH Zurich have developed computational models that use nutrients and metabolism of plant-​associated bacteria to predict how the microbes interact on the surface of leaves and ultimately form the microbiome.

  • How an ocean-fertilising bacterium forms aggregates

    Trichodesmium, a common and ecologically important bacterium, fertilises nutrient-​poor regions of the oceans and thereby enables higher life. Crucial to its success is its ability to form aggregates in order to react quickly to changes in its environment. ETH Zurich researchers have shown how the microbes organise themselves in this process.

  • Global warming accelerates CO2 emissions from soil microbes

    When Microorganisms decompose organic material in the soil, they actively release CO2 into the atmosphere. This process is called heterotrophic respiration. A novel model shows that these emissions could surge by up to 40 percent by the end of the century – most significantly in the polar regions.

  • BMIP: Using the Zurich data

    Health data can help to improve the treatment of patients. This is why the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the four university hospitals in the city are creating a joint platform for sharing data of this kind. The BioMedical Informatics Platform will be up and running by 2025.

  • How DNA is made available for replication

    Before DNA in cells can be replicated or repaired, a very specific process must take place. By combining experiment and simulation, researchers led by the University of Zurich were able to decipher this process in detail. Their work also represents a larger change in classical structural biology and our understanding of unstructured proteins.

  • Our visual perception is more rational than we think

    Our visual perception depends more strongly on the utility of information than previously thought. This has been demonstrated in a series of experiments conducted by researchers at the Neuroscience Center Zurich. Cognitive biases can begin at the retina.

  • New Class of Antibiotics to Fight Resistant Bacteria

    Health professionals are in urgent need of new antibiotics to tackle resistant bacteria. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the company Spexis have now modified the chemical structure of naturally occurring peptides to develop antimicrobial molecules that bind to novel targets in the bacteria’s metabolism.

  • Detailed image of the human retina

    Researchers from Basel and Zurich are creating a high-​resolution atlas that depicts the development of the human retina. One technique they use is a new method that allows them to visualise more than 50 proteins simultaneously.

  • How can we fight blood cancer more effectively?

    Despite approved treatments being available, multiple myeloma remains incurable. But researchers at ETH Zurich and University Hospital Zurich set out to improve treatment outcomes by testing hundreds of existing therapeutics outside the body to predict their effectiveness.

  • Climate Change Threatens Lemurs on Madagascar

    Mouse lemurs give birth to their offspring during the five-month rainy season and build up fat reserves to survive the dry season when food is scarce. But what happens when the rainy season becomes drier and the dry season warmer? Researchers at the German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and the University of Zurich show that climate changes destabilize mouse lemur populations and increase the risk of extinction.

  • From Lab Bench to Sofa

    The 2.0 app enables medical students to use their computers or smartphones to conduct microscope examinations of pathology tissue samples. This helps them understand the connections between cell structure and organ dysfunction.

  • Generating power with blood sugar

    A fuel cell under the skin that converts blood sugar from the body into electrical energy sounds like science fiction. Yet it works perfectly, as an ETH Zurich research team led by Martin Fussenegger, Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, has shown.

  • A Targeted Method to Combat Cancer

    By analyzing tumors in unprecedented depth, the Tumor Profiler project represents an important step along the road toward personalized cancer treatments. And the team have already recorded initial successes: in a study focusing on skin cancer, tumors shrank in about one third of patients.

  • Genetics as Conservation Tool for Endangered Chimpanzees

    The western chimpanzees of Guinea are threatened by mining activities. Using a novel genetic approach, UZH researchers and an international team have collected information on population size and community structure of the endangered species. These data provide an important baseline to assess the impact of mining.

  • 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 flagship project STRESS aims to explore the causes of stress and highlight possible treatments.

  • Achieving a better understanding of how the blood-brain barrier works

    Up to now, the use of models to research the barrier that separates the circulatory from the nervous system has proven to be either limited or extremely complicated. Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a more realistic model that can also be used to better explore new treatments for brain tumours.

  • Unlocking the data treasure chest

    The LOOP Zurich research centre is creating a central platform for the exchange of health data between the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the four university hospitals. This will allow data to be utilised quickly and easily to the benefit of patients.


  • Artificial Intelligence Improves Efficiency of Genome Editing

    Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new tool that uses artificial intelligence to predict the efficacy of various genome editing repair options. Unintentional errors in the correction of DNA mutations of genetic diseases can thus be reduced.


  • Alien plant species are spreading rapidly in mountainous areas

    Until now, mountain regions have been largely spared from biological invasions. But a new monitoring study shows that alien plants are spreading rapidly to higher altitudes along transport routes worldwide.

  • From molecules to organisms

    How did life on Earth first emerge? And how was it able to prosper and evolve? ETH researchers are involved in the quest to find answers to these fundamental questions.

  • The Oracle of Leaves

    Two UZH researchers are harnessing the light reflections from leaves to learn more about biodiversity and the characteristics of plants. Analyzing spectral data is revolutionizing not only the way in which we research ecosystems but also allows us to protect them more effectively.

  • How grasses avoid inbreeding

    ETH Zurich researchers have been able to show which genes inhibit self-​fertilisation in grasses. Plant scientists can now use this mechanism in a more targeted way to breed new varieties of forage grasses as well as rice or barley.

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