LUNCH@LAB

Participants attending the WCSJ2019 in Lausanne have the unique opportunity to visit labs of EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), UNIL (University of Lausanne) and CHUV (Lausanne’s University hospital) during the conference, taking part in Lunch@Labs. Thanks to the large concentration of high-level research within a small area, these visits can take place during the lunch breaks. In total, over 50 different labs and presentations are available to choose from, each for groups of 8-10 people. Lunch@Labs sessions will take place on the three main days of the WCSJ2019, Tuesday, July 2 to Thursday, July 4. Journalists will have the chance to harvest a vast range of potential stories, providing a strong argument for their media outlets to fund their attendance.

 

Attendance at the Lunch@Labs is free of charge, but registration on the WCSJ2019 website is mandatory for organizational reasons. Packed lunches will be provided.

On the three main days of the conference (Tuesday, July 2 to Thursday, July 4), the labs of EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), UNIL (University of Lausanne) and CHUV (Lausanne’s University hospital) will open their doors during lunch break and showcase their high-level research activities. These visits are on registration only. Lunch-bags will be provided.

 

Where to meet: Registered participants meet each day on the Esplanade in front of the conference center (on your right when leaving the building through the main entrance). Please check out the different departure times. If you’re late, you’ll lose your place.

When to meet: 

11:25 (right after the morning sessions) for all those going to a Lunch@Lab at CHUV (LL 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10). The CHUV visits leave at 11:40.

For the UNIL Lunch@Labs (LL 6, LL12 to LL16) and LL 11 (SIB): check in at the UNIL station starts at 11h20. Departure 12:25

For the EPFL Lunch@Labs (LL17 to LL55): check in at the EPFL station starts at 11h50. Departure 12:25

 

How to make changes: Please inform the registration desk (Entrance hall, Garden level) if you need to cancel your participation in a Lunch@Lab – there might be other conference delegates interested in this visit. Those who are not registered can check with the registration desk if there are free places from 9-11 each day.

Life sciences & Neurosciences

LL4

From tumor microenvironment to therapies for patients

Host institution: CHUV

Institute/Faculty: Oncology department

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Anyone following recent developments in immunotherapy and its encouraging progress against cancer will also be watching the work of a select group of researchers intent on deciphering the “tumour microenvironment”. The interaction of cancer cells with their environment not only governs the illness’ progression and its response to treatment, but also its potential resistance thereto. Understanding this environment, pinpointing its mechanisms e.g. the evasion of antitumour immune responses, can thus offer healthcare professionals another possible inroad against the illness.

Under the leadership of Pr George Coukos, the Department of oncology at the University Hospital of Lausanne is making this field one of its priorities, in the context of its immunotherapy programme. Pr Coukos and Pr Johanna Joyce, both members of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research’s Lausanne branch, will update participants on where we are at with immuno-oncology, the process that tailors our natural defences to better fight cancer, and shed light on how growing knowledge of the tumour microenvironment can help devise rational and effective therapies for tomorrow’s patients.

LL5

The Medical Informatic Platform of the Human Brain Project

Host institution: CHUV

Institute/Faculty: Neurosciences cliniques

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Brain diseases, considered as a whole, affect 165 million European citizens, a large number of whom are being at least partly managed in hospitals. The clinical data collected from these patients represent a unique source of information for better understanding and treating brain diseases but are unfortunately not usually available for research.The Medical Informatics Platform (MIP) has been developed by the Human Brain Project (HBP), a EU Horizon 2020 Flagship project, in order to facilitate access to clinical data stored in hospitals, for research purpose, while preserving data privacy. The MIP aims at enabling medical progress in the field of brain diseases through access to an unprecedented volume of patients’ data.The MIP is an innovative data analysis and data collection system that provides an interface for various investigators (clinicians, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, researchers, health managers) enabling them to access and analyze anonymized medical data currently locked in hospitals, without moving the data from the hospital where they reside, and without infringing on patient privacy.The MIP is designed to help clinicians and researchers aiming to adopt advance analytics for diagnosis and research in clinics and to promote collaborative neuroscience research using distributed hospital data. It relies on citizens and patients allowing research to use their private medical data.

LL7

Alternatives to animal experimentation for neuroscience research

Host institution: CHUV/UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Département des Neurosciences cliniques (DNC), Centre de recherche en neurosciences (CRN)

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

During this lunch, a brief presentation will be provided to illustrate the interest and current development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and organoids and initiate the discussion. It is predicted that by 2040, brain diseases will overtake cancer to become the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. Yet, research in neuroscience is fraught with major difficulties: i) brain pathologies are associated with impaired neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration, however access to human brain for research is very limited; ii) translation between animal models and human patients is partial; iii) difficulty to conduct clinical trials. Therefore, it is a crucial to develop reliable human in vitro models of to study and cure those diseases. The possibility to differentiate neurons from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been one of the biggest innovations of the past decade. The generation of iPSC from adult cells has vast therapeutic implications, particularly in the context of in vitro disease modelling, pharmaceutical screening, and cellular replacement therapies. An important step forward towards the understanding of brain connectivity came from a recent protocol based on co-culture systems composed of mutant and control iPSC-derived neurons and glia, as well as bioengineering strategies that can reconstruct the 3D tissue architecture in vitro using iPSC derivatives. These in vitro human models are giving us more insights in the pathways governing neuronal differentiation and thereby provide new targets for treatment of neurodevelopmental diseases. Moreover, better insights in the underlying molecular defects will also result in better genetic diagnosis, counseling and patient care and screening of candidate drugs.

LL8

Latest news on sleep research

Host institution: CHUV/UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Centre d'investigation et de recherche sur le sommeil (CIRS)

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

We spend around a third of our lives asleep. This means that we dedicate more time to sleep than to any other activity, including work, household duties or socializing. Despite this important proportion of our lives that is occupied by sleep, the function of sleep is still not entirely elucidated. Understanding how and why we sleep therefore constitutes a major priority in todays’ society, not least because sleep-related complaints including daytime sleepiness and insomnia are highly prevalent.In our laboratory, we investigate the sleep habits and disorders of the general population. We do this by analyzing questionnaires and sleep recordings that were collected in a large cohort of over 2000 participants randomly selected from the general population (HypnoLaus study). We will present during this lunch meeting the results of this study, which include unique data on the frequency and medical associations of sleep disorders such as sleep-apnea, restless legs syndrome, insomnia etc ...Another focus of our laboratory is dream research. Indeed, every night, when we fall asleep, our brain undergoes remarkable changes in consciousness, ranging from its near absence to vivid hallucinatory experiences in the form of dreams. What underlies these changes and how does the brain create an entirely different reality in the form of dreams? What happens when dreaming goes wrong? We try to provide an answer to this question by studying healthy subjects and patients with dream-related complaints including epic dreams and parasomnia, using novel techniques of signal analysis and serial awakening paradigms.

LL10

Post-mortem Angiography: A method to reveal the secrets of corpses

Host institution: CHUV/UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Centre universitaire romand de médecine légale

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

The truth about modern autopsy is fascinating! In addition to conventional autopsy methods, new imaging technology can document the whole body in just minutes.

The most spectacular technique, Multi-Phase-Post-mortem Angiography, truly revolutionises forensic medicine and was developed in the University Centre of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva. Previously impossible to dissect all vessels of a human body without completely destroying it, this new method visualizes the whole vascular system in a minimally invasive way. Even the tiniest vessels can be visualized and observed as if the body was still alive. This allows detection of the smallest lesions which would never be found by classic methods.

During this visit, it will be possible to understand how this spectacular technique is working and what advantages can be obtained by using it for investigating a “body of proof”.

LL12

Owls for peace

Host institution: UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Faculté de Biologie et de médecin (FBM) département d'écologie et d'évolution

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

An ecological project to protect the crops of the Jordan Valley with the introduction of owls for rodent control. The world's leading owl specialist, Prof. Dr. Alexandre Roulin launched the endeavour with Israeli colleagues, bringing together farmers in Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

LL13

Social interactions in virtual reality

Host institution: UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Faculté des Hautes études commerciales (HEC) département de comportement organisationnel

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Can we use virtual reality and avatars to develop leadership or overcome the fear of public speaking? Participants in this lab will be able to test their leadership skills in 3D.

LL14

The Athlete Biological Passport: the best future for a credible fight against doping

Host institution: UNIL

Institute/Faculty: REDs, Rechercheet Expertise dans les sciences antidopage, ISSUL

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Discover the workings of some of the most important tools in today’s and tomorrow’s fight against doping in sport.

LL33

Frontiers in synthesis: challenging the way we prepare drugs, agrochemicals and materials

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: SB/ISIC/LCSO

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

On this visit you will witness the birth of a new molecule.

LL48

Retinal images in-vivo at the cellular level

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI / LAPD

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

A demonstration of a new high-resolution retinal imaging technique and presentation of the design of a clinical prototype.

Technologies & Robots

LL15

Fingerprint evidence: the death of absolute certainty and the rise of probability

Host institution: UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Faculté des droit, des sciences criminelles et d'administration publique/ Ecole des sciences criminelles (ESC) 

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

In 2004, the FBI fingerprint unit wrongly identified a man in the context of the investigations of the Madrid terrorist bombings. The misidentification was based on a fingerprint detected on a plastic bag containing detonators recovered from a car near the scene. This case showed, for the first time publicly, that conclusions derived from fingerprint comparisons are not incontrovertible facts. The myth of absolute certainty collapsed and led to a number of critical investigations into the reliability of fingerprint evidence. We will show the latest advances in research aiming to measure statistically the strength to be attached to fingerprint evidence. We will show the operational software developed at UNIL and made available to the fingerprint community. We will discuss the operational challenges of changing the reporting paradigm from a comforting certainty to a frightening possibility. We will argue that, from now on, fingerprint identification cannot be reported as fact, but rather as a matter of probability. 

LL16

Digital Humanities—the future of the humanities or merely a fad?

Host institution: UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Section des sciences du langage et de l’information, Faculté des lettres, UNIL

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Some hail the digital humanities as the humanities for the 21st century while others condemn them as their ultimate downfall. Regardless of the appraisal, most discussions of this emerging field revolve around computational tools and large amounts of data. But is this really all there is to it? And how do the digital humanities relate to the traditional disciplines of the humanities? We will present a concise and reasoned definition of the digital humanities and discuss its relevance for our teaching and research at UNIL.

LL17

Socially-aware robots

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering ENAC

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

The VITA laboratory will present its advances in Artificial Intelligence applied to the field of transport. You will get to know our robot capable of interacting with humans.

LL19

Engineering Living Devices

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Our group focuses on using synthetic biology to engineer new nano-devices. These devices are used for biomedical sensing and energy applications.

LL20

Intelligent robots for improving our quality of life

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: NCCR Robotics

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

NCCR Robotics is a consortium of robotics laboratories across Switzerland, working on a new generation of robots that can make a real impact of the quality of life of millions of people. Combining cutting edge technologies such as soft robotics, brain-machine interfaces, machine learning, animal-inspired design and control methods for robotics, swarm robotics, we are developing wearable robots for rehabilitation and assistance in everyday activities, walking and flying robots for search and rescue, educational robots to be used in classrooms. Highlights of the visit will include soft exoskeletons for rehabilitation, drones that can fold, squeeze and carry heavy loads, and robots capable of agile locomotion in complex environments, in particular, salamander-like amphibious robots. See https://nccr-robotics.ch/ for more information. 

 

Note: LL 20 and LL55 have been merged into one lab visit.

LL28

How science reaches society: reconstructing the Innovation chain from the laboratory to the consumer

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: CDM

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

This session will present new data on how science reaches society. We crawl the web in search of commercial products and the patents and scientific papers upon which they are based. We will answer many questions. How long does it take for ideas from scientific papers to end up in commercial products? Which branches of science contribute to which product types? How many patents are needed to protect a product? This session will deconstruct some myths and shed new light on the real impact of science.

LL29

Escape games as a teaching tool for educational robotics

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI – IMT – LSRO - Mobots

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Take part in an escape game with the educational robot Thymio. Participants will have the opportunity to experience a captivating and immersive experience for approximately 25 minutes, followed by a discussion on the pedagogical context.

LL30

Pinnacles in Electrical Engineering

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI – IEL (LSI, NANOLAB, LTS5, PEL, LIONS, POWERLAB)

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

2 July : Pinnacles in Electrical Engineering: Health/Environment Systems and Energy Systems 

(Prof. Giovanni De Micheli and Prof. Drazen Dujic)
This session will present highlights of outstanding research in Health/Environment Systems and Energy Systems, through electronics and processing to improve human health/environment as well as efficient energy management for a greener world.

 

3 July : Pinnacles in Electrical Engineering: Signal Processing and Machine Learning 

(Prof. Jean-Philippe Thiran and Prof. Volkan Cevher)

This session will present highlights of outstanding research in Signal Processing and Machine learning, applied in particular to medical imaging, where advanced image and signal acquisition as well as reconstruction techniques allow to reconstruct image of exceptional quality and to extract unprecedented information about organs like the brain in a noninvasive way.

 

4 July: Pinnacles in Electrical Engineering: Electronic devices 

(Prof. Adrian Ionescu and Prof. Elison Matioli)

This session will present highlights of outstanding research in Emerging Electronic Devices, and their role in machine learning, through electronics and processing to improve human health as well as efficient energy management for a greener world.

LL31

Hydromea’s underwater mapping technology

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Hydromea

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Visitors will take a tour of our workshop where we will demonstrate Hydromea’s underwater mapping technology.

LL36

Mechanical Resonators at the microscale – where studying mobile communication cells meets cell phones.

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI, IGM

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Visitors will be given an overview of the activities a laboratory using electromechanical resonators to perform studies on cells and to perform filtering of electromagnetic signals for cell phone communication, in particular addressing 5G bands, which cannot be serviced by current commercial applications.

LL39

From technology to value creation: uncovering market opportunities for technology

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: CDM/ENTC

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

How can we benefit from new technology? Specifically, how can we identify market opportunities? This is a typical question asked by technology start-ups looking for fertile ground to launch and grow their new ventures. These days, however, it is not only start-ups that are asking this kind of questions. They are equally pertinent for established firms increasingly challenged to figure out how to best benefit from widespread technological progress and create new value in doing so. By discussing a novel framework that enables a more systematic approach to this core issue and by using several real-life examples, this session will offer insights with relevance to a broad range of audiences – from technologists to business leaders, entrepreneurs, students and financiers.

LL40

Performance at the service of architecture - with a dive into day-lightful dynamics

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: EPFL – ENAC – IA (Architecture) – LIPID

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

This session will introduce various research projects and outreach to architectural practices that address the importance of bringing human needs back to the heart of the architectural design process. It will discuss how a deeper understanding of these needs can help promote better, healthier and more enjoyable built spaces, with an emphasis on the benefits of daylight.

LL44

Augmented reality for training florists, gardeners or carpenters

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: I&C / CHILI

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

The digital revolution concerns many manual workers, many of whom in Switzerland undergo a dual vocational training working four days per week in a company and one day attending school. In this lab, visitors will be able to test several demos of augmented reality applications for vocational education.

LL55

Intelligent robots for improving our quality of life

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: NCCR Robotics

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

NCCR Robotics is a consortium of robotics laboratories across Switzerland, working on a new generation of robots that can make a real impact of the quality of life of millions of people. Combining cutting edge technologies such as soft robotics, brain-machine interfaces, machine learning, animal-inspired design and control methods for robotics, swarm robotics, we are developing wearable robots for rehabilitation and assistance in everyday activities, walking and flying robots for search and rescue, educational robots to be used in classrooms. Highlights of the visit will include soft exoskeletons for rehabilitation, drones that can fold, squeeze and carry heavy loads, and robots capable of agile locomotion in complex environments, in particular, salamander-like amphibious robots. See https://nccr-robotics.ch/ for more information. 

 

Note: LL 20 and LL55 have been merged into one lab visit.

Health & Medicine

LL1

Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging and Therapy

Host institution: CHUV

Institute/Faculty: Service de médecine nucléaire et imagerie moléculaire

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Over lunch with us, you will learn about Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging and Therapy, and visit the clinical service using PET/CT and SPECT/CT scanners with patients. You’ll also get to see the radiopharmacy, where we generate radiopharmaceuticals on-site. You will get the full picture of how molecular imaging and therapy are used in a clinical context and learn about future developments and novel therapies.

 

Molecular Imaging allows the visualization and characterization of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level in living subjects, or of their modification when affected by disease or under therapy. It uses many techniques and is of multidisciplinary origin by essence, drawing on physics, pharmacology, cell and molecular biology, biomathematics and bioinformatics among others. Many areas of medicine benefit from Molecular Imaging, starting with the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, to early detection, optimization of therapy, prediction and monitoring of response under therapy and catching early disease recurrence. Molecular imaging is complementary to conventional radiological imaging with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

 

Theragnostics, a contraction of Therapy and Diagnosis, applied to oncology integrates the two concepts. Diagnosis is carried out through visualizing the tumour with a specific radiopharmaceutical product in trace quantities to verify the tumour’s presence. Therapy is applied by acting on the tumour with a different radiopharmaceutical using the same molecular target but a different therapeutic radionuclide, based on electrons or alpha rays, which are very powerful agents in destroying cancerous cells.

LL3

Development of biological bandages with anti-microbial properties for the prevention and treatment of multi-resistant infections for burn patients

Host institution: CHUV

Institute/Faculty: Département de l’Appareil Locomoteur (DAL) / Service de Chirurgie Plastique et Reconstructive (CPR)

Unité de Thérapie Régénérative (UTR)

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Infection of burn patients is a frequent problem which causes major complications and even death. Our research proposes new and novel anti-microbial strategies with biocompatible biological bandages. These formulations are active against pathogenic agents and capable of preventing infections or reducing the risk of intracellular bacteria responsible for persistent infections. You will visit our laboratory, discover our research results and attend a lab workshop where you will prepare a biological bandage.

LL6

Algorithm for the treatment and care of febrile travellers returning from the tropics

Host institution: CHUV/UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Centre de Vaccination et Médecine des voyages

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

After a nice holiday in the tropics, you suddenly start to feel very ill on the plane home. When you get there, you rush to the emergency department of your local hospital and start to explain to the doctor in charge what is happening to you. With all these global epidemics around the planet, you wonder if you have caught one of these exotic bugs we keep hearing about – bugs, incidentally, that travel by plane from country to country just as you just did…

 

You have a fever and a few spots have appeared on your skin. Where could this infection have come from? Fever can be serious ­– you’ve heard of malaria, ebola, zika… and you try to remember if, from what you have read in the press, these diseases are present in the tropical country you have just returned from. Then the thought occurs to you that it could be nothing more serious than a common cold. You’ve got a bit of runny nose, after all. It might be nothing, and you wonder if you should just have stayed home, snug under your duvet waiting for the fever to pass…

 

All these questions we ask ourselves are not trivial, either for patients, or for doctors. As doctors, we are generally not familiar with remote diseases that we never see in Switzerland, and to complicate matters further, such diseases are different from one country to another, they change all the time, and often look very similar.

 

To help doctors find their way in this jungle of exotic diseases, we are developing an app to guide them through each consultation. The app takes into account the specificities of the patient and the latest news on epidemics. We use the same approach to support clinicians in Africa who face the same problem. They are often more keen than we are to adopt these new technologies! We learn a lot from them on how to improve our apps designed for Northern countries, a new phenomenon that is called reverse innovation…

LL9

Research in palliative care – it’s not about dying

Host institution: CHUV/UNIL

Institute/Faculty: Service de soins palliatifs et de support CHUV

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Palliative care is a relatively new development in the history of medicine, with the potential of dramatically changing the way medical practice is conceived, taught and practiced. Palliative care has been shown not only to improve quality of life, reduce aggressive treatments at the end of life and reduce medical costs – at the same time, it actually prolongs patients’ lives significantly (Temel et al., NEJM 2010). Palliative care is the best available antidote to overtreatment at the end of life, a scourge of all medical systems in high-income countries.

A resolution of the Council of Europe states: “In addition to the terminally ill, palliative care should be available to the seriously ill and chronically ill and all those requiring high levels of individual care who may benefit from the approach” (Resolution 1649, 2009). Palliative care is an important part of the answer to demographic change and increasing geriatrization of the medical population. This is why we have created the first academic chair worldwide in geriatric palliative care at the University of Lausanne.

Research in palliative care not only has improved pharmacological treatment of severe symptoms, such as pain and shortness of breath. More importantly, it has established the primacy of non-physical domains over physical ones for the quality of life at the end of life. Concepts such as meaning in life, spirituality, personal values, gratitude etc. are at the center of our research, and our results have implications that go way beyond palliative medicine and indeed medicine itself.

(For details, see the TED talk by G.D. Borasio “It’s not about dying”)

LL11

Bioinformatics: The hidden variable in the precision medicine equation

Host institution: SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB)

Institute/Faculty: Vital-IT Group and Molecular Modelling Group

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Detecting diabetes years before its onset, designing new drugs for specific mutations: whichever way you look at the promises precision medicine holds, they cannot be achieved without the fast-evolving – albeit little known – field of bioinformatics. Join us on an exciting journey, from biological data to citizen benefits, with two state-of-the-art projects: a European endeavor to fight diabetes and Swiss-made molecular modelling applied to precision oncology.

Twitter: @isbsib     Facebook     Linkedin     Website     Video

LL24

Working together: medical doctors and engineers

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopedics, STI, IBI

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

A visit to the biomechanical laboratory in orthopaedics and a presentation of its research directions within the framework of a collaboration between engineers and doctors.

LL37

Quick and precise tissue analysis for cancer diagnosis

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Lunaphore Technologies, Innovation Park

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Visit Lunaphore, an EPFL spin-off developing automated devices for fast and accurate tissue analysis for cancer diagnosis.

LL47

Using Nanoparticles to fight viral infections

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI/IMX/SuNMIL

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

HIV, dengue, papillomavirus, herpes and Ebola – these are just some of the many viruses that kill millions of people every year, mostly children in developing countries. While drugs can be used against some viruses, there is currently no broad-spectrum treatment that is effective against several at the same time, in the same way that broad-spectrum antibiotics fight a range of bacteria. But researchers at EPFL's Supramolecular Nano-Materials and Interfaces Laboratory – Constellium Chair (SUNMIL) have created gold nanoparticles for just this purpose, and their findings could lead to a broad-spectrum treatment. 

LL50

Personalized Nutrition and citizen science: a healthy diet through algorithms

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Digital Epidemiology Lab

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Food & You is one of the first large-scale citizen science research projects in Switzerland. It builds on the results of the Zeevi et al. study, which demonstrated in 2015 for the first time with a cohort of 800 participants that there is a high interpersonal variability in postprandial (post meal) glycaemic responses (PPGR). In a second stage, the Zeevi group developed an algorithm that predicts PPGR and gives personalized diet recommendations to better control blood sugar levels. These results have only been shown once. If they are confirmed, they will have a very strong impact on the field of nutrition. Other more recent studies have also shown the variability in glucose response, leading to the concept of individual glucotypes. 

LL54

Patient-derived organoids: the next frontier in precision medicine

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Innovation Park D

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

QGel’s approach to precision medicine is to take cancer tumor-biopsy cells and grow them in vitro in miniaturized biologically-accurate microenvironments, aka «organoids», designed to mimic the complex biology of the patient’s body. Because these organoids recapitulate the complexity of the patient’s disease outside of the human body, we are afforded the unique opportunity to test drugs, and combinations of drugs, on these mini-patient tumor avatars.

Organoids can also offer pharmaceutical companies a novel toolset to identify effective and non-effective drug candidates before entering the clinic. The ability to test new drugs, and combinations of drugs, on physiologically accurate in vitro cellular models, will dramatically decrease the time it takes to uncover new effective drug therapies bringing better solutions to patients sooner. We can envision a near future where oncologists will be able to test patient-derived organoids against a vast range of potential drug options to identify the most effective treatment for each patient.

Material sciences

LL21

Chemical biology at EPFL: deconstructing and assembling the molecules of life

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: SB/ISIC

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Three labs will show their cutting-edge research:

•    How to pack a genome without losing track of what’s important: Deciphering organizational principles of chromatin.

•    Getting into the mind of your quarry: How REX-systems simultaneously hunt the prey and track their movements.

•    Developing drugs for unmet medical needs: How we find new therapeutic agents by synthesizing and testing more than ten billion different molecules. 

LL23

Volumetric 3D printing

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI Institute of Micro-Engineering, Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

We have developed a new generation of 3D printers able to print entire volumes at once, as opposed to existing layer-by-layer 3D printers. This game-changing technique allows us to process complex materials such as silicone and hydrogels to produce parts in less than a minute.

LL32

Chemically converting plants to petrochemical substitutes

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: -

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

This session will present several routes developed at EPFL to transform plants to renewable chemicals. Specifically, it will showcase chemical strategies developed to address the major challenge in this field avoiding unwanted reactions that reduce profitability and increase waste. The ultimate goal of this research is to create feasible paths to a sustainable chemical industry.

LL34

Towards economically viable artificial photosynthesis for solar fuels

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: SB/ISIC/LIMNO

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Get to know several routes this EPFL laboratory has developed to use inexpensive materials and processes to convert sunlight directly into useable fuels.

LL35

Polymers – from smart and responsive surfaces to precise delivery of therapeutics

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: -

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

This lunch will present the use of polymers to generate materials that can respond to changes in their environment (for example temperature, pH) and the opportunities provided by polymer nanotechnology to improve drug delivery.
Responsive and interactive materials are key to a range of modern technologies, such as sensors or biomedical implants, and “smart” polymers play a key role in developing such materials.
Polymers can also help to further improve the delivery of modern therapeutics. Starting with a discussion on the delivery and action of “classical” low molecular weight drugs, the advantages that are provided by polymer nanotechnology will be illustrated.

LL41

Solar Energy 

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: FSB/ISIC/GMF

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Discover perovskite solar cells based on organometal halides: an emerging photovoltaic technology.

LL45

Materials Revolution – enter into a world of big data, materials design and open science

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI PRN-MARVEL

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

MARVEL, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research on Computational Design and Discovery of Novel Materials, is a 12-year project that began in 2014. It comprises more than 40 research groups dedicated to accelerating the design and discovery of novel materials that can address key societal challenges and needs: from energy and environment through information-and-communication technologies to manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

In this demonstration, you will have a chance to see how big data is created and used for materials discovery, you’ll be able to dive into materials at the atomic level, and experience how you can do open-science with quantum simulations on demand using world-class tools at no cost, shared worldwide in thousands of research groups in the developed and developing world. Come and discover the fascinating world of computational quantum mechanics and learn why it’s currently the most cited field in the entire scientific, medical, and engineering literature worldwide.

LL46

How to convert sunlight into fuels

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI – IGM - LRESE

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Visit EPFL’s high-flux solar simulator and outdoor solar dish facility with an introduction to the research carried out at these facilities.

LL49

Advanced composite materials: how to make (almost all) your dreams come true!

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI/IMX/LPAC

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

During this lunch break, you will learn what characterizes composite materials and see examples of where they are currently applied, which is almost everywhere. Cars, planes, boats, skis, sports equipment, bio-medical prostheses, energy generation, packaging, robotics... you name it, there’s probably a composite in it somewhere. You will discover some current limitations of these materials and how research is striving to make them easier to manufacture, more functional or more sustainable. You’ll see examples from recent work on ski equipment, prosthetics and self-healing structures applied to windmill blades, for example, that can repair themselves during use. If time permits, there will be a small demonstration of a self-healing composite.

LL53

Ultrapure lab-grown diamonds for high tech applications triggering a new industrial revolution

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Salle Pluton, Innovation Park D

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Building on years of research at EPFL, LakeDiamond has become a global leader in the production of lab-grown diamonds for high-tech industrial applications. Thanks to a perfectly controlled and precise technology, LakeDiamond’s Micro-Wave Chemical Vapor Deposition (MWCVD) reactors grow the highest quality of ultra-pure diamond on earth, suitable for the most demanding applications. The quality attained is such that it triggers new exciting applications beyond the high-end jewellery market, such as micro-mechanical parts, laser power beaming, high power transistors and high-precision magnetometers.

Fundamental sciences

LL18

Fusion electricity – The energy of the stars on Earth

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: Swiss Plasma Center, SPC

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Devices called tokamaks are the most advanced in mastering fusion and the closest to producing electricity in an abundant, safe and clean way. You will have the opportunity to visit the EPFL tokamak, a unique and versatile installation in which plasmas at temperatures as high as 150MºC are regularly produced. In the meantime, you will discuss with the scientists in charge of developing this revolutionary source of energy and learn more about progresses made in recent years, as well as the challenges that remain to be solved.

LL26

Using electrons to photograph light

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: BCH

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

In our laboratory we host an ultrafast transmission electron microscope. This machine allows us to take snapshots of materials and molecules all the way down to atomic resolution in space, and at the femtosecond scale (10-15 seconds) in time. Furthermore, with this instrument it is possible to image electromagnetic fields in nanostructures. These so-called surface plasmon polaritons are a form of light that survives confined at the interface between a metal and vacuum. These experiments are very visual, it is microscopy after all, and they provide several interesting viewpoints on the properties of light and confined electromagnetic fields. The demonstration can be made live without requiring data processing to see the results. The instrument is one of only a few in the world capable of such experiments.

LL38

Capturing chemical and biological events in real-time: ultrashort laser pulses in chemistry and biology

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: -

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

The LOUVRE (Lots of UV Radiation for your Experiments) laboratory at EPFL is specialized in generating pulses of laser light in the ultraviolet (UV) region. These laser pulses are ultrashort, because they only last for 200 femtoseconds (1 femtosecond = 10-15 seconds). Much like short illumination times in photography let you freeze-frame fast moving objects, these laser pulses make it possible to freeze-frame dynamical events in molecules, for example the vibrations of molecular bonds or the flow of electricity and heat in biological systems such as proteins. In our Lunch@Labs session, we will introduce our guests to pulsed laser technology and explain how we generate our UV laser flashes. We will do this with the running lasers and explanatory illustrations directly in the laboratory. We will then demonstrate their application with a live experiment where we capture the ultrafast transfer of an electric charge in a so-called metal complex, a molecular system that is a popular compound in the context of solar cell material research.

LL42

Reactions at 273 degrees below zero

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: -

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Discover how 3D-printing can deliver  high-voltage electronics lab-equipment on demand.

LL43

Quantum Materials Laboratory

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: STI - IMX

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

Discover research into new materials for electronics applications beyond semiconductor technology.

LL52

Versatility of mathematics

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: SB

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

You will attend a dazzling array of presentations:

 

A new way of doing research in mathematics: the Polymath experience, by Philippe Michel

In 2013, Yitang Zhang, a little known chinese number theorist, stunned the world of mathematics by proving that two prime numbers can come as close as 70 millions from one another infinitely often which is counter-intuitive with the fact that large prime numbers tend to be sparser and sparser. Quickly after Zhang’s breakthrough many people tried to close the gap in the hope to reach the minimal possible value of 2 (while would prove the twin primes conjecture). The record to date, with a gap of 246, is due to the Polymath 8 project, a collaborative effort conducted by 13 mathematicians who exchanged ideas and displayed their progress « live » through a dedicated public blog. One of the participants, Philippe Michel, will discuss this new way to advance mathematical knowledge.

 

When deep learning does not learn, by Emmanuel Abbé

Deep learning is broadly considered as one of the most important breakthroughs in machine learning, and a key enabler towards modern artificial intelligence. With a scope of applications expanding very fast, one would like to also envision the potential limits of deep learning. This talk will present a first set of results that mathematically prove that deep learning can fail.

 

Numerical simulation of the retreat of two Swiss glaciers, by Marco Picasso

The numerical simulation of the retreat of two Swiss glaciers, namely Rhone and Aletsch glaciers will be presented from 1870 to 2100. The model relies on computational fluid mechanics, the climatic data corresponding either to past observations or to future probable scenarios. It is expected that more than 70% of the current ice volume will be lost in 2100.

LL51

Driving the smallest mechanical oscillators with light: vibrating molecules and ringing crystals in the quantum regime

Host institution: EPFL

Institute/Faculty: SB

Meeting point: STCC (details will follow)

The Laboratory of Quantum and Nano-Optics studies the atomic-scale oscillations that can shake the interior of the fundamental constituents of matter. Indeed, molecules and crystals have a multitude of ways their internal atomic structure can vibrate. These vibrations occur at extremely high frequencies, typically more than 10 THz - in comparison, your laptop CPU clock is ten thousand times slower. At these frequencies, thermal agitation is negligible, and we enter the realm of quantum mechanics, which defies our intuition. During the tour, you will visit the lab’s two main experiments and witness live demonstrations. In a first experiment, metallic (gold) nanostructures will be built around a few organic molecules. This creates extreme focusing of laser light incident on them and enables researchers to reveal the faint vibrational signal of the molecules, which is imprinted on the outgoing scattered light. This results in an extremely sensitive detector of molecular species. In a second experiment, manipulation of the internal vibration of an ultra-pure diamond crystal will be used to coax it into a state not allowed by classical mechanics. In particular, the experiment will reveal the quantisation of vibrations: the amplitude of oscillation cannot be tuned continuously, as for a pendulum being pushed with increasing force. Instead, only discrete values of the vibration amplitude are allowed, with no state in between.