Media releases 2017
This is where you can read the current media releases about research of the University of Bern. Not all releases are available in English. You can see all German releases by clicking on the link below. Would you like to receive media releases on a regular basis? You can subscribe in the navigation panel to the left.
Switzerland in pole position in ESA’s new mission
PLATO, the largest European exoplanet research mission, was adopted on 20 June 2017 by the European Space Agency at the ESA Scientific Programs Committee meeting. The Universities of Bern and Geneva are heavily involved in this mission, which should enable astronomers to discover and characterize planets the size of the Earth and the "super –Earths" that orbit around solar type stars in their habitable zone.
Effects of ozone depletion felt in the Tropics
The hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has more far-reaching consequences than previously assumed. A study by Bernese climate researchers has now shown that it even affects precipitation in the tropical regions of the Pacific, 10,000 kilometres away. This new finding demonstrates how the climates of extremely remote areas are linked.
Graphene electrodes offer new functionalities in molecular electronic nanodevices
An international team of researchers led by the University of Bern and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has revealed a new way to tune the functionality of next-generation molecular electronic devices using graphene. The results could be exploited to develop smaller, higher-performance devices for use in a range of applications including molecular sensing, flexible electronics, and energy conversion and storage, as well as robust measurement setups for resistance standards.
Relation between comets and earth’s atmosphere uncovered
The difficult yet successful measurement of several isotopes of the noble gas xenon on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using the Bernese instrument ROSINA on the Rosetta probe shows that materials arrived on Earth due to comet impacts. As proven by further Bern measurements of silicon isotopes, in the beginning our solar system was extremely heterogeneous. The high amount of so-called "heavy" water also shows that cometary ice is older than our solar system.
A new approach to combatting anxiety states, pain and inflammation
Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) play an important role in the brain and immune system. Bern researchers from the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) "TransCure" have now found a new way to influence the endocannabinoid system. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic as well as anxiolytic effects could be achieved in an animal model.
University of Bern joins The Guild of European Universities
The University of Bern has been admitted to The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities as its newest member with immediate effect.
The race to trace TRAPPIST-1h
After 60 hours of non-stop work, researchers at the University of Bern being part of an international team reached their hoped-for goal: They were the first to measure the orbital period for the outermost planet of the famous TRAPPIST-1 system which made headlines worldwide. The new result confirms that the seven Earth-size planets around the ultra-cool dwarf are lined up in a chain with resonances linking every member.
Reconstructing a lake's history by simple means
The sediments of Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) are a valuable climate archive. Now, using the salinity measured in sediment porewater, scientists from the University of Bern and other institutions have reconstructed the huge lake-level fluctuations that occurred over the past 250,000 years. This approach – based on simple physical concepts – is likely to be more widely applied in the future.
A possible way to new antibiotics
Two research teams from the University of Bern and the ETH Zurich have developed a new method to shed light onto a mostly unknown process of bacterial protein production. Their results could be used for the design of new antibiotics.
Closing the Gate to Mitochondria
A team of researchers from the Universities of Bern and Freiburg (D) have developed a new method that enables the identification of proteins imported into mitochondria. This leads to a better understanding of disease mechanisms linked to defective cellular functions.
What silver fir aDNA can tell us about Neolithic forests
A new technique makes it possible to cost-effectively analyse genetic material from fossil plant and animal remains. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and the universities of Lausanne and Bern have used this technique to examine the DNA of silver fir needles found in lake sediment in Ticino. They found clues as to how forests reacted to the emergence of agriculture.
Novel Antibiotic Resistance gene in Milk
Researchers of the University of Bern have identified a new antibiotic resistance gene in bacteria from dairy cows. This gene confers resistance to all beta-lactam antibiotics including the last generation of cephalosporins used against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A transfer to S. aureus which is likely according to the researchers would jeopardize the use of reserve antibiotics to treat human infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria in hospitals.
Prehistoric alpine farming in the Bernese Oberland
The people in Switzerland were on the move in the High Alps and running alpine pastures 7,000 years ago and therefore much earlier than previously assumed. A study by the University of Bern that combines archaeological knowledge with findings from palaeoecology comes to this conclusion. Prehistoric finds from the Schnidejoch Pass played a crucial part in this.
Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
The striking North Face of the Bernese Alps is the result of a steep rise of rocks from the depths following a collision of two tectonic plates. This steep rise gives new insight into the final stage of mountain building and provides important knowledge with regard to active natural hazards and geothermal energy. The results from researchers at the University of Bern and ETH Zürich are being published in the «Scientific Reports» specialist journal.
Cut the long story short – and stitch it back together
A species of unicellular ciliate has found a special trick to make use of the cellular machinery in seemingly impossible ways. Researchers of the NCCR «RNA & Disease – The Role of RNA Biology in Disease Mechanisms» of the University of Bern have for the first time described a mechanism in detail how so called «junk»-DNA is transcribed before being degraded – and this mechanism is remarkably clever.
"Instrument Flight" to the Inner Ear
A team of surgeons and engineers of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern (Switzerland), have developed a high-precision surgical robot for cochlear implantation. In the same way that avionics allow a pilot to fly a plane by instrument solely based on read-outs from the cockpit, the surgical robot developed by the researchers for RCI has the capabilities to perform surgery that a surgeon cannot carry out manually without a robot.
Genome Editing: Pressing the «Delete» Button on DNA
Until recently, genomics was a «read-only» science. But scientists led by Rory Johnson at the University of Bern and the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, have now developed a tool for quick and easy deletion of DNA in living cells. This software will boost efforts to understand the vast regions of non-coding DNA, or «Dark Matter», in our DNA and may lead to discovery of new disease-causing genes and potential new drugs.
Stem cells derived neuronal networks grown on a chip as an alternative to animal testing
Scientists at the Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern have developed an in vitro stem cell-based bioassay grown on multi-electrode arrays capable of detecting the biological activity of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxins. Their assay could serve in minimizing animal experiments as well as provide a physiological relevant platform for drug-screening of neuroactive compounds.
Seven terrestrial exoplanets around a nearby star
An international team of astronomers has discovered a compact analogue of our inner solar system about 40 light-years away. Brice-Olivier Demory of the Center of Space and Habitability at the University of Bern, analysed the data collected with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and calculated that the newly detected exoplanets all have masses less or similar to the Earth.
Explosion in species diversity due to hybridization
No less than 500 new species of cichlids, brightly coloured perch-like fish, evolved in Lake Victoria (East Africa) over the past 15,000 years – a record in the animal and plant world. This evolutionary puzzle has now been solved by scientists from Eawag and the University of Bern. In a study published in «Nature Communications», they demonstrate for the first time that this rapid evolution was facilitated by earlier hybridization between two distantly related cichlid species from the Upper Nile and Congo drainage systems.
Bern study rehabilitates climate models
With new methods of reconstruction, climate researchers in Bern have been able to demonstrate that some 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, the Mediterranean climate was considerably warmer than previous studies had suggested. Among other things, previous concerns regarding the reliability of climate models could thus be dispelled.
New Vice-Rector Elected
The State Council of the Canton of Bern has elected a new Vice-Rector to the Executive Board of the University. Silvia Schroer has been appointed the new Vice-Rector for Quality, replacing Doris Wastl-Walter, who will be stepping down on 31st July 2017.
On track to heal leukaemia
The first clinical studies for a new type of immunotherapy for leukaemia are beginning at Bern’s University Hospital and the Department of Clinical Research (DCR) of the University of Bern. Antibodies discovered in the laboratory should inhibit the growth of tumour cells.
Peter Messerli named co-chair of UN Global Sustainable Development Report
Peter Messerli, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Bern, has been selected as co-chair to lead the group of scientific experts tasked with drafting the upcoming UN Global Sustainable Development Report. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Peter Messerli and Endah Murniningtyas from Indonesia to serve as co-chairs. The first report is slated for release in 2019.