It is likely to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices in human history: Together with other experts, Egyptologists from the University of Basel have reexamined an artificial wooden big toe. The find is almost 3000 years old and was discovered in a female burial from the necropolis of Sheikh ´Abd el-Qurna close to Luxor.
Many bacteria are armed with nano-spearguns, which they use to combat unwelcome competitors or knockout host cells. The pathogen responsible for tularemia, a highly virulent infectious disease, uses this weapon to escape from its prison in cells defending the host. Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel report on this bacterial strategy in the current issue of “Nature Communications”.
Stem cells persist in the adult mammalian brain and generate new neurons throughout life. A research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel reports in the current issue of "Science" that long-distance brain connections can target discrete pools of stem cells in their niche and stimulate them to divide and produce specific subtypes of olfactory bulb neurons. This allows the “on-demand” generation of particular types of neurons in the adult brain.
Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum have discovered that Bartonella bacteria exchange genes efficiently using a domesticated virus encoded in their genome. As the findings published in «Cell Systems» demonstrate, the exchange of genetic material only takes place between bacteria with a high level of fitness. The gene transfer between pathogens prevents the accumulation of genetic defects, promotes the spread of beneficial gene mutations and thus keeps the bacteria fit.
Flexible electronic parts could significantly improve medical implants. However, electroconductive gold atoms usually hardly bind to silicones. Researchers from the University of Basel have now been able to modify short-chain silicones in a way, that they build strong bonds to gold atoms.
Researchers from the University of Basel have, for the first time, studied how regional environmental changes influenced the populations of wild horses in Switzerland 25,000 years ago. Their results show: Contrary to the wild horses in the Eurasian steppe; the Swiss population grew considerably after the end of the last Ice Age.
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials.
Drug resistance is not only a major problem in fighting infectious diseases. Also in the treatment of cancer it can jeopardize the success of chemotherapy. A reason for this are the so-called transport proteins that “pump” the drugs out of the cells. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the ETH Zurich have now been able to elucidate the three dimensional atomic structure of an important drug transporter.
Swiss scientists have created artificial viruses that can be used to target cancer. These designer viruses alert the immune system and cause it to send killer cells to help fight the tumor. The results provide a basis for innovative cancer treatments.