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25-10-2019 | © Istock 3 mins read

Are we curious by choice or by chance?

The human brain is outstanding among mammalian brains, containing around 100 billion neurons (more than the number of stars in the Milky Way) and over 100 trillion connections between them. Yet, when it comes to making decisions, this impressive organ does not prevent us from making errors – even avoidable ones.

24-10-2019 | Manuel Thery 2 mins read

Developing the cancer-fighting drugs of tomorrow

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Over 2 million new cases were diagnosed in 2018. Although tools of diagnosis and the diversity of treatment have improved assuring now a 90% five-year survival rate, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable. But will they always be? Dr Manuel Thery works on the next generation of drugs that would promote novel strategies in the fight against breast carcinoma cells.

20-09-2019 | @ Federica Barberi 3 mins read

Feeling legs again improves amputees’ health

Two volunteers are the first above-knee amputees in the world to feel their prosthetic foot and knee in real time.  Their bionic prosthesis, developed by a European team of researchers, has sensors that connect to residual nerves in the thigh. The resulting neurofeedback reduces physical and mental strain for prosthesis users as well as their phantom limb pain. They can also walk faster and with more confidence. Researchers, partly supported by ERC funds, recently reported on their achievement in Nature Medicine.

27-08-2019 | © 2019 EPFL – Murielle Gerber 3 mins read

Tiny biodegradable circuits for releasing painkillers inside the body

ERC grantee Juergen Brugger and his team have developed biodegradable microresonators that can be heated locally with a wireless system. Doctors could soon be using them in implants to control the release of painkillers within tissue.By Laure-Anne Pessina - Originally published on the EPFL website

25-07-2019 | © picture 3 mins read

Lost and found in the largest structures of the universe

On a clear summer night, look up to the sky and what do you see? Ordinary matter such as planets, stars maybe even an asteroid. Millions of little specks, as far as the eyes can reach. This ordinary matter, also known as baryonic matter, is the primary observable component of our universe. But is what we see all that is out there?

01-07-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Understanding the mechanics of metals across scales

How can we develop new materials that meet the extreme challenges of aerospace applications? Seizing the great potential of magnesium as a lightweight metal or making steels more resistant to failure and corrosion are two engineering challenges whose roots lie deep down at the atomic scale. Using models that bridge across scales from the atomic to the observable level, an ERC funded scientist investigates why materials behave and fail the way they do.

01-07-2019 | © Zentrum für Telematik 2 mins read

Satellites: small is beautiful

Spacecraft follow the same tendency as our computers to become continuously smaller, but more connected. In his ERC grant “NetSat”, Klaus Schilling, from the Zentrum für Telematik in Würzburg, studies control strategies for small pico-satellites in formation, in order to achieve the best performance through their cooperation.

01-07-2019 | © picture 2 mins read

Searching for the purest microwaves

Microwaves are widely employed in the technologies we use in our daily life - from global navigation systems (like GPS or Galileo), to the satellites used for the weather forecast. They are also important for more ambitious endeavors such as space navigation. The work of Prof. Yanne Chembo has contributed to the next generation of microwaves.

24-06-2019 | © M.J. Ventas Sierra 4 mins read

Unravelling masons’ secrets to help the restorers of Notre-Dame

New insights into how the great Gothic vaults were constructed helps restorers of the future When we think about fascinating architectural work, vaulted ceilings may not necessarily be the first elements to spring to mind. However, they were key to limiting interior damage when a fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-Dame of Paris in April of this year. While medieval stonemasons seemed to know very well what they were doing, today their techniques are still not completely understood. The challenge of restoring Notre Dame presents an opportunity for their mystery to finally be unravelled.

24-06-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Life in the deep – microbes of the abyss

The deep seafloor covers around 70% of our planet’s surface and is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, mostly bacteria. These single-cell life forms inhabit some of the most extreme places in the world, with freezing waters, permanent darkness, high pressure and little food. ERC grantee Antje Boetius studies these microbes in the abyss and their important role for the Earth’s nutrient cycles.