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Life Science Zurich Communication & Events

News 2022

News list

  • Evidence-​Based Contribution of Mechano-​Biological Descriptors of Resistance Exercise

    Resistance exercise is medicine as it is associated with multiple health promoting benefits. A recent review in “Frontiers in Physiology” by Claudio Viecelli (IMSB) in collaboration with David Aguayo (Kieser Training AG) examined the contribution of mechano-​biological descriptors of resistance exercise.

  • AI offers a faster way to predict antibiotic resistance

    A study under co-​leadership of the ETH Zurich has shown that computer algorithms can determine antimicrobial resistance of bacteria faster than previous methods. This could help treat serious infections more efficiently in the future.

  • “We have created a stable active ingredient”

    Molecular Partners, a spin-off from the University of Zurich, has developed a drug against Covid-19 and is applying for approval, together with Novartis, in Switzerland and the US. Phase 2 clinical trials have already demonstrated efficacy in Covid patients. Andreas Plückthun of the UZH Department of Biochemistry was involved from the start.

  • Agents between good and evil

    Viruses that infect bacteria could one day replace antibiotics because they precisely attack only specific pathogens. Researchers at ETH Zurich are now showing that this is not always the case. This new finding is important because bacterial viruses can transfer antibiotic resistance genes.

  • “Animal experiments will remain indispensable in the foreseeable future”

    Research involving animals is crucial when it comes to achieving scientific and medical progress, and is also very important for UZH, emphasizes Elisabeth Stark. The Vice President Research believes maintaining exemplary standards of animal welfare and an open dialogue with society is key.

  • Immunological Memory Provides Long-Term Protection against Coronavirus

    Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 by infection or vaccination generates immune cells that provide long-term immunity. These long-lived memory T cells play a key role in preventing severe cases of Covid-19. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now discovered how these memory T cells form.

  • New drug candidates identified in bacteria

    Bacteria show great promise as a source of active ingredients. Using computer-​based genome analysis, researchers at ETH Zurich have now discovered a new class of natural products that might one day serve as antibiotics.

  • Like bacteria firing spearguns

    Biologists from ETH Zurich have discovered speargun-​like molecular injection systems in two types of bacteria and have described their structure for the first time. The special nanomachines are used by the microbes for the interaction between cells and could one day be useful as tools in biomedicine.

  • Astrocyte Networks in the Mouse Brain Control Spatial Learning and Memory

    Astrocytes form large networks of interconnected cells in the central nervous system. When these cell-to-cell couplings are disrupted in the brain of adult mice, the animals are no longer able to store spatial information. The astrocytes network is thus essential for spatial learning and memory formation, as neuroscientists of the University of Zurich now show.

  • Environmental DNA reveals secret reef inhabitants

    An international research team use a global sampling of seawater to reveal which tropical reef fish occur where. To identify species and families, they successfully used the residual DNA shed by the animals present in the water. But not all fish can be traced in this way.

  • Bacteria with recording function capture gut health status

    Researchers from ETH Zurich, University Hospital of Bern and the University of Bern have equipped gut bacteria with data logger functionality as a way of monitoring which genes are active in the bacteria. These microorganisms could one day offer a noninvasive means of diagnosing disease or assessing the impact of a diet on health.

  • Dolphins Self-Medicate Skin Ailments at Coral “Clinics”

    If a human comes down with a rash, they might go to the doctor and come away with some ointment to put on it. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins get skin conditions, too, but they come about their medication by queuing up nose-to-tail to rub themselves against corals. In the journal iScience on 19 May, researchers show that these corals have medicinal properties, suggesting that the dolphins are using the marine invertebrates to medicate skin conditions.

  • World Premiere: Successful Transplant of Human Liver Treated in Machine

    The multidisciplinary Zurich research team Liver4Life has succeeded in doing something during a treatment attempt that had never been achieved in the history of medicine until now: it treated an originally damaged human liver in a machine for three days outside of a body and then implanted the recovered organ into a cancer patient. One year later, the patient is doing well.

  • Diverse Forests Outyield Monocultures

    Multispecies tree plantations are more productive than monocultures, according to a new study carried out in China. UZH environmental scientist Bernhard Schmid was involved in the research.

  • In the Beginning Was the Popcorn

    Genetically modified crops could contribute to making agriculture more sustainable and productive, says Ueli Grossniklaus. This new green genetic engineering has so far met with skepticism – but the challenges of climate change and the global grain crisis may change people’s views.


  • Breast cancer spreads at night

    A new study shows that breast cancer metastases form more efficiently while patients are sleeping. This finding, in a study led by researchers at ETH Zur-​ich, could significantly change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in future.

  • Tapping the ocean as a source of natural products

    Using DNA data, ETH researchers have examined seawater to find not only new species of bacteria, but also previously unknown natural products that may one day prove beneficial.


  • Dangerous Bites

    Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting many disease-causing pathogens. In Switzerland, biting midges in particular make life difficult for sheep and horses. Entomologist Niels Verhulst researches methods to keep the unwanted insects away.

  • Severe flu risk as immune cells swap with age

    ETH researchers found that in mice, long-​lived embryonic macrophages in the lungs die upon aging and during infection and are replaced by inflammatory bone marrow-​derived macrophages. This causes severe disease progression when infected with viral flu.

  • Social Development of Infants Unaffected by Covid-19 Pandemic

    Health issues and loss, social isolation and mental health problems – the pandemic has had a drastic effect on our society. But how have the youngest members of society been coping with these changes? Researchers at the University of Zurich have found that the presence of parents and caregivers is enough to mitigate the pandemic’s negative effects on the social development of infants.

  • Wonderful World of Wheat

    Green genetic engineering will help secure our food supply, believes plant biologist Beat Keller. One possible approach involves genetically modifying wheat to make it more resistant to powdery mildew.

  • Individual Cells Are Smarter Than Thought

    Humans make decisions based on various sensory information which is integrated into a holistic percept by the brain. But how do single cells make decisions? Much more autonomously than previously thought, as researchers from the University of Zurich have now shown. Cells base their decisions not only on outside signals like growth factors, but also on information they receive from inside the cell. This can even lead to treatment-resistant cancer cells.

  • Resistance to mosaic disease in cassava explained

    Researchers from ETH Zurich, the United States and Uganda have identified the gene responsible for resistance in certain cassava cultivars against the devastating cassava mosaic disease. This is an important step for breeding virus-​resistant cassava varieties.

  • Global Spread of Powdery Mildew through Migration and Trade

    The worldwide distribution of one of the most important cereal pathogens is the result of human activity. Researchers at the University of Zurich have traced the history and spread of wheat powdery mildew along wheat trade routes and found that mixing of genetic ancestries of related powdery mildew species played a central role in the evolution and adaptation of the pathogen.

  • First map of immune system connections reveals new therapeutic opportunities

    Researchers of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and ETH Zurich have created the first full connectivity map of the human immune system, showing how immune cells communicate with each other and ways to modulate these pathways in disease.

  • Seeds for All

    Important patents for gene-edited seeds are held by universities. While this presents an opportunity for farmers in developing countries, we are unlikely to see speedy deregulation of this new technology anytime soon.

  • Determining why the Arctic is turning ever greener

    A research team from ETH Zurich and WSL travelled to Spitsbergen this summer to take a closer look at the phenomenon of Arctic greening. Project manager Sebastian Dötterl discusses research in the face of polar bears, strikes and war.

  • Preparing for future coronavirus variants using artificial intelligence

    Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method to explore the possibilities of how the pandemic virus could evolve. Thanks to their work, it may be possible to develop antibody therapies and vaccines that are more likely to be effective also against future viral variants.

  • Immunotherapy Reduces Lung and Liver Fibrosis in Mice

    Chronic diseases often lead to fibrosis, a condition in which organ tissue suffers from excessive scarring. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now developed an immunotherapy that specifically targets the cause – activated fibroblasts – while leaving normal connective tissue cells unharmed. If this approach is also found to work in humans, it could lead to an effective treatment for fibrosis.

  • How genetics influences our body weight beyond the genes

    It is not only classical genes that determine our predisposition to obesity. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now shown that microRNA molecules play a central role in the regulation of body weight.

  • Fighting tumours with magnetic bacteria

    Researchers at ETH Zurich are planning to use magnetic bacteria to fight cancerous tumours. They have now found a way for these microorganisms to effectively cross blood vessel walls and subsequently colonise a tumour.

  • In the Jungle of Neurons

    A big part of learning involves our memory. Neuroscientists are looking closely at what goes on in our brains when we learn, and are slowly unraveling the mysteries of this incredible ability of ours.

  • A Fountain of Youth for Blood Vessels

    Vascular aging is the most common cause of fatal cardiovascular diseases. Can blood vessels be rejuvenated using fat cells? Cardiologist Soheil Saeedi is developing a novel method to do just that.

  • Watching the metabolism at work

    Researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are taking magnetic resonance imaging a step further. With their new method, they can visualise metabolic processes in the body. Their objective is to improve the future diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

  • The seeds have germinated

    For the first time, farmers in the Philippines have cultivated Golden Rice on a larger scale and harvested almost 70 tonnes of grains this October.This nearly never-​ending story began at ETH Zurich.

  • Protein shapes indicate Parkinson’s disease

    ETH Zurich researchers have found that a set of proteins have different shapes in the spinal fluid of healthy individuals and Parkinson’s patients. These could be used in the future as a new type of biomarker for this disease. 

  • New Virus Discovered in Swiss Ticks

    The Alongshan virus was discovered in China only five years ago. Now researchers at the University of Zurich have found the novel virus for the first time in Swiss ticks. It appears to be at least as widespread as the tickborne encephalitis virus and causes similar symptoms. The UZH team is working on a diagnostic test to assess the epidemiological situation.