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Questioning theory can be worth it
Where few thought to look, the NCCR PlanetS co-funded telescope "SAINT-EX" is searching for new worlds. After a year of operation, the project has brought some exciting first results.
Puzzle about nitrogen solved thanks to cometary analogues
One of the basic building blocks of life is nitrogen. An international consortium was able to detect ammonium salt containing nitrogen on the cometary surface of Chury thanks to a method using analogues for comet material. The method on which the study on the detection of ammonium salt is based was developed at the University of Bern.
Tracking down the mystery of matter
Researchers from the University of Bern, PSI, and ETH Zurich, together with international partners, have demonstrated in an elaborate experiment at PSI that the electric dipole moment of the neutron is significantly smaller than previously assumed. It has thus become less likely that the existence of matter in the universe can be explained by this dipole moment.
Investments by the super-rich drive deforestation
Wealthy individuals are increasingly investing in agriculture. Their investments boost production of plant-based raw materials for human consumption, industrial uses, and animal fodder. The resulting capital flows directly contribute to deforestation in the global South, especially in the tropics. That is the conclusion of a new study by the University of Bern’s Centre for Development and Environment (CDE).
Algorithms for identifying new "cancer genes"
It is estimated that the number of cancer cases worldwide will double by 2040. This makes the search for genes that cause cancer even more important. A team of researchers from the University of Bern has now developed algorithms that massively simplify the hunt for "cancer genes" in a poorly understood part of our genome.
Gut bacteria help control healthy muscle contraction in the colon
Micro-organisms in the gut support healthy digestion by helping nerve cells within the intestine to regulate the contraction and relaxation of the muscle wall of the colon, according to new research from the Francis Crick Institute and Bern University.
Shared power, more satisfied people
The attack by authoritarian governments on their own political institutions is pushing many democracies to their limits. This affects their legitimacy, among other things. In a wide-ranging study, researchers from the Universities of Bern and Mannheim show that a strong division of power in democracies tends to lead to greater satisfaction among the population.
Cover of CHEOPS Space Telescope Open
Decisive moment for the CHEOPS space telescope: The cover was opened as intended on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 7:38 am. CHEOPS is now being tested for precision and the first images are being produced.
Opening of the CHEOPS cover delayed by a few days
The cover of the CHEOPS space telescope was scheduled to be opened on Monday, January 27, 2020. The date is being pushed back by a few days because several tests are being repeated.
The salt of the comet
Under the leadership of astrophysicist Kathrin Altwegg, Bernese researchers have found an explanation for why very little nitrogen could previously be accounted for in the nebulous covering of comets: the building block for life predominantly occurs in the form of ammonium salts, the occurrence of which could not previously be measured. The salts may be a further indication that comet impacts may have made life on Earth possible in the first place.
Reducing the risk of blood clots in artificial heart valves
People with mechanical heart valves need blood thinners on a daily basis, because they have a higher risk of blood clots and stroke. Researchers at the ARTORG Center of the University of Bern, Switzerland, now identified the root cause of blood turbulence leading to clotting. Design optimization could greatly reduce the risk of clotting and enable these patients to live without life-long medication.
Bern and Fribourg researchers identify neurons responsible for rapid eye movements (REM) during sleep
Why do we move our eyes fast in the paradoxical sleep - in that sleep phase, in which most dreams take place? The secret is not yet fully aired, but we are on his track: A team at the University of Bern, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg, has identified the nerve cells behind this curious phenomenon.
Bark Beetles Control Pathogenic Fungi
Pathogens can drive the evolution of social behaviour in insects. This is shown by researchers from Bern and Würzburg for ambrosia beetles.
Exoplanet Research: A Rising Star of Science
The search for extraterrestrial life in the state-of-the-art space research, and its importance for life on earth: These are the main topics of this year’s Hans Sigrist Symposium due to awarding the Dutch astronomer Ignas Snellen the prestigious Hans Sigrist Prize. Kevin Heng, director of the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern, speaks in advance about the top-class conference.
A new pathway to "reprogram" killer cells
Killer cells of the immune system detect and kill infected cells or cancer cells. Researchers
at the Institute of Pathology at the University of Bern have now discovered that the
mechanism by which certain immune cells kill their target cells can also be used to control
the killer cells themselves. This finding may be relevant to cancer immunotherapy.
Media conference “Launch of the CHEOPS mission”
For the time being, the Swiss space telescope CHEOPS is scheduled to begin its journey into space in mid-December on board a Soyuz rocket from the European Space Agency (ESA) in Kourou, French Guiana. CHEOPS is a joint mission of ESA and Switzerland, led by the University of Bern, in collaboration with the University of Geneva.
How nematodes outsmart the defenses of pests
The western corn rootworm, one of the world's most damaging maize pests, can use plant defense compounds to defend itself against its own natural enemies, so-called entomopathogenic nematodes. However, the nematodes can become immune against these compounds in turn, which enhances their ability to fight the western corn rootworm, as researchers at the University of Bern show. This mechanism may contribute to improving biological pest control.
Research Award for project on Heart Transplantation
This year's Johanna Dürmüller-Bol DBMR Research Award of the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR) of the University of Bern goes to Maria-Nieves Sanz. It will be awarded today on the "Day of BioMedical Research". Maria-Nieves Sanz receives the award, which is endowed with CHF 30,000, for her research on inflammatory processes during heart transplantations.
Removing liver tumors safely, noninvasively and efficiently
Many liver tumors have long been difficult or impossible to remove. Since 2015, however, it has been possible to treat these tumors by combining noninvasive surgical techniques, radiological imaging and a navigation system. For the first time, a new study by University of Bern and Inselspital, Berne University Hospital has impressively demonstrated the success of this technique.
Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award 2019 goes to a bioinformatician
The Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award for 2019, endowed with €900,000 and originally referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Cancer Research", is going to Prof. Serena Nik-Zainal of the University of Cambridge. Thanks to her research, mutations in cancerous tumors can be analyzed using new bioinformatic methods, which makes new targeted therapy approaches possible. The prize is being awarded today at the University of Bern.
"They both live on another planet now."
Willy Benz is particularly pleased about this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for the Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. He was Michel Mayor's first PhD student at the University of Geneva. Today he is Professor at the University of Bern, Director of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS and President of the Council of the European Southern Observatory ESO.
Liquifying a rocky exoplanet
A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.
"The pursuit of a professorship requires hard work, courage and patience"
Carmen Faso is one of the first recipients of an SNSF PRIMA grant which target outstanding female researchers who have professorial potential. The cell biologist recently started her research project on intestinal parasites at the Institute of Cell Biology of the University of Bern.
A planet that should not exist
Astronomers detected a giant planet orbiting a small star. The planet has much more mass than theoretical models predict. While this surprising discovery was made by a Spanish-German team at an observatory in southern Spain, researchers at the University of Bern studied how the mysterious exoplanet might have formed.
“This special climate report is highly topical and necessary”
Bern physicist Thomas Frölicher played a central role in the IPCC's report on the ocean and cryosphere (ice, permafrost), which will be published on Wednesday, September 25. In an interview, he explains his role as lead author and talks about how he came to explore heat waves in the sea as a land dweller.
Advanced AI boosts clinical analysis of eye images
A fast and reliable machine learning tool, developed by the ARTORG Center, University of Bern and the Department of Ophthalmology, Inselspital brings Artificial Intelligence (AI) closer to clinical use in Ophthalmology. The novel method published in Nature Scientific Reports on September 19, 2019 presents a tool that reliably extracts meaning from extensive image data. Based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) the tool is able to provide results within seconds, thus supporting the doctor with comprehensive image analysis during a consultation with the patient.
“Bern is ideally suited for precision medicine”
Mark Rubin, Director of the newly founded Bern Center for Precision Medicine (BCPM), will present the BCPM on Wednesday 25 September 2019 on the occasion of the Collegium generale lecture series. Genome editing, this year‘s subject of the lecture series, is crucial for the research done at the BCPM.
Recommendations for Business Travel
Air travel causes large amounts of climate-damaging greenhouse gases. The Executive Board of the University has therefore issued recommendations on how employees can make business travel more sustainable.
How to construct a protein factory
The complexity of molecular structures in the cell is amazing. Having achieved great success in elucidating these structures in recent years, biologists are now taking on the next challenge: to find out more about how they are constructed. A joint research project between two groups from the University of Bern and ETH Zurich now provides insight into a very unusual construction process in the unicellular parasite Trypanosoma brucei.
The path of breast-to-brain cancer metastasis
Scientists at EPFL’s Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research and University of Bern have discovered a signaling pathway that breast tumors exploit to metastasize to the brain. The work is published in Nature.
AI-based prognosis in intensive care
A reliable prognosis for coma patients in the intensive care unit is crucial. Improved transparency will boost the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support end-of-life decisions. For the first time, a research team has succeeded in identifying specific patterns in Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) analyses that the deep-learning network uses for making prognosis decisions. This is an important step towards decoding the "black box" of deep-learning processes and thus towards AI transparency.
Prestigious grant to use Artificial Intelligence for improved glucose control
The ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research of the University of Bern is the recipient of a grant from JDRF, the leading global funder for type 1 diabetes research. Thanks to the grant, a team led by Stavroula Mougiakakou will investigate a large, real-world dataset to develop advanced algorithms for automated insulin delivery that are capable of predicting dangerously low or high blood sugar levels. The goal is to optimize and personalize insulin treatment.
«An information battle we simply cannot afford to lose»
Psychology professor Stephan Lewandowsky examines how dis- and misinformation spread and how they change our societies eventually. On Wednesday, 11 September, he’ll hold a public keynote at the conference of the Swiss Psychological Society at the University of Bern. In this interview he explains what we can do in times of «fake news» to fight disinformation.
Development professionals from over 70 nations meet in Bern
IPDET, the world's leading continuing education programme for evaluations in development work, took place for the second time at the University of Bern. For three weeks, 250 evaluation experts from all over the world gathered under the umbrella of the Centre for Continuing Education at Universities (ZUW). Hlali Kemedi Kgaphola from South Africa is one of them. "uniaktuell" met the young economist.
Sediments in Lake Geneva reflect the 2008 financial crisis
An analysis of sediment transport in the Rhône Valley yields surprising results: melting glaciers overcompensated for the effect of the increased number of hydropower plants. A reduction in construction activities due to the 2008 financial crisis could also be seen in the data. This comprehensive study, the first of its kind in Europe, brings important new knowledge, in particular for flood prevention.
Cancer control: Structure of important transport protein solved
For the first time, Bernese researchers have been able to solve the structure of a transport protein and thus to describe the functional mechanism that plays a significant role in the survival of cancer cells. This is an important step towards developing effective inhibitors and fight tumor growth.
Survey shows high levels of employee satisfaction at the University of Bern
On the whole, employees at the University of Bern are very satisfied or mostly satisfied with their work and, in general, have a high level of commitment. This is according to the results of the 2019 staff survey. One aspect which staff particularly enjoy is the diverse nature of their work. An up-to-date analysis of wage equality also yielded positive results: at the University of Bern, men and woman earn the same amount for work which is of equal value.
CAScination wins Swiss Medtech Award
CAScination wins the Swiss Medtech Award 2019 worth 50’000 Swiss francs for its computer-based surgical planning and robotic surgery platform. This technology allows for minimally invasive surgery to restore hearing with a cochlear implant. CAScination was founded in 2009 as a spin-off from the ARTORG Center of the University of Bern.
"Goldilocks" neurons promote REM sleep
It has been a mystery why REM sleep, or dream sleep, increases when the room temperature is "just right". Neuroscientists from Bern show that melanin-concentrating hormone neurons within the hypothalamus increase REM sleep when the need for body temperature defense is minimized, such as when sleeping in a warm and comfortable room temperature. These data have important implications for the function of REM sleep.
"Copying & pasting" a gene allows stickleback to live in freshwater habitats
Since the last ice age, stickleback have managed to emerge from the sea to colonise many freshwater waterbodies. Genetic analysis by Eawag researchers and colleagues from the University of Bern and the National Institute of Genetics in Shizuoka, Japan, now demonstrate that they achieved this thanks to additional copies of a metabolism gene.
Information and language in news impact prejudice against minorities
Researchers at the Institute of Psychology show how news about immigrants and language describing immigrants shape prejudice against immigrants and other social minorities, as part of the project «Immigrants in the Media». For instance, nouns used for describing the ethnicity of immigrants enhance prejudice against immigrants more than adjectives.
Bern Center for Precision Medicine inaugurated
The Bern Center for Precision Medicine (BCPM) of the University of Bern and Inselspital, University hospital of Bern, were officially opened today in the presence of Director of Education Christine Häsler. Häsler described the BCPM as a prime example of the development of new research centers, and strengthening Bern as a center of medicine.
"We must combine conservation of nature with benefits to society"
On May 6, 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) presented its report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services worldwide. The first such assessment since 2005, it concludes that biodiversity and ecosystem loss has reached the point where it threatens human well-being. Andreas Heinimann of the University of Bern was the one Swiss scientist who worked as a lead author on a chapter of the report.
First demonstration of antimatter wave interferometry
An international collaboration with participation of the University of Bern has demonstrated for the first time in an interference experiment that antimatter particles also behave as waves besides having particle properties. This success paves the way to a new field of investigations of antimatter.
Spider venom is a dangerous cocktail
Spider venom does not only consist of neurotoxins but also of a multitude of dangerous constituents. Researchers of the University of Bern present a summary of many years of spider venom research in a new study and show how various substances present in spider venom interact with each other and thus effectively render the spider's prey defenseless.
Medical Technology of the Future – Engineers in Operating Room Scrubs
Trained to fashion technical solutions for clinical challenges: Graduates of the Master’s in Biomedical Engineering, a postgraduate program of the University of Bern and the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the associated doctoral program celebrate the tenth anniversary of their BME Alumni Association.
"Flight recorder" of rocks within the Earth’s crust
Daniela Rubatto, Professor at the Institute of Geology at the University of Bern, was awarded the prestigious Bunsen Medal of the European Geosciences Union. It is an appreciation of her innovative research approach, which uses metamorphic zircon as a "flight recorder" of rocks within the Earth’s crust.
"Land systems are the loci for sustainability transformations"
From 24 to 26 April 2019, over 600 leading scientists from all over the world will meet in Bern for the 4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme (GLP). Its theme: Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature – What research and policies are needed to achieve ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable land systems? Ariane de Bremond, senior research scientist at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern and executive officer of the GLP International Programme Office, discussed the role of the conference.
First accredited laboratory worldwide to offer nanopore sequencing of bacteria
The Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) of the University of Bern is the first accredited laboratory worldwide to offer nanopore sequencing for the identification of bacteria.
University boosts visibility in international science
Being part of The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities (The Guild) is turbo-charging the University of Bern’s international radius of influence to ultimately bring benefits to researchers. That’s according to Rector Christian Leumann and Jan Palmowski. Palmowski, The Guild’s secretary general, recently visited Bern.
Female roundworms produce clones of themselves
In the Mesorhabditis belari roundworm, the sole purpose of males is to help females produce clones of themselves. This unique form of reproduction was recently described by an international research team with participation of Peter Meister from the Institute of Cell Biology of the University of Bern.
Internationally acknowledged expert becomes Endowed Professor for Preventive Dentistry
The Executive Board of the university has appointed WHO expert Guglielmo Campus to the position of Endowed Professor for Preventive Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. The endowed professor has the objective to promote public oral health. Guglielmo Campus brings wide-ranging experience and considerable expertise to his post.
Vaccine developed to treat osteoarthritic pain
Researchers from the Universities of Bern and Oxford have developed a vaccine that blocks the effects of the main cause of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) - nerve growth factor (NGF) – in mice.
The deep Southern Ocean is key to more intense ice ages
Over the last million years, ice ages have intensified and lengthened. According to a study led by the University of Bern, this previously unexplained climate transition coincides with a diminution of the mixing between deep and surface waters in the Southern Ocean. The study confirms that the Antarctic region plays a crucial role during periods of climate change.
European Southern Observatory Committee of Council meets in Bern
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is Europe’s foremost organisation for astronomical research. The ESO Committee of Council, which currently has the University of Bern's astrophysicist Willy Benz as president, is to meet in Bern on 5 and 6 March.
Small and medium-sized towns are surprisingly innovative
Small and medium-sized towns are increasingly appearing on the radar of policy makers all over Europe. Findings from a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation on the role and significance of these towns in Switzerland show that national policy and planning overlook their potential.
«Better to dry a rocky planet before use»
Earth’s solid surface and clement climate may be in part due to a massive star in the birth environment of the Sun. Without its radioactive elements injected into the early solar system, our home planet could be a hostile ocean world covered in global ice sheets. This is demonstrated by computer simulations in which the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS, based at the University of Bern, was involved.
WTO: A way out of the crisis?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in a fundamental crisis. What role does the US play in this? The University of Bern’s World Trade Institute (WTI) is organizing a conference on the subject at the WTO in Geneva at the beginning of February.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis: high mortality rate due to inaccurate tests
Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients in developing countries often fail to reliably detect resistance to drugs, leading to incorrect treatment and a higher mortality rate. These are the results of study by an international group of researchers led by a team at the University of Bern published today.