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.
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.