Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp, Belgium

The University of Antwerp is one of the major Belgian universities located in the city of Antwerp. The name is abbreviated as UAntwerp, but sometimes as UA.As of 2014, the University of Antwerp ranks as 170th globally according to Times Higher Education, 205th according to QS World University Rankings and between the 301 and 400th place according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Wikipedia.

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Provided herein are filtration membranes for water treatment, and methods for preventing fouling of such membranes. The method described herein comprises grafting the membrane surface with an organic moiety, by reacting the surface with an organometallic reagent, a phosphonate, a phosphinate, or an organosilane.

University of Antwerp | Date: 2015-04-15

The present invention relates to the treatment of kidney diseases, both acute and chronic. The invention in particular relates to the use of neuregulins for preventing, treating or delaying kidney diseases.

Vito Nv and University of Antwerp | Date: 2017-04-19

the present invention provides a method for the selective recovery of a metal of interest, such as Cr, from metal-containing slag material via a one-step oxidative alkaline leaching process wherein the waste material is contacted with an alkaline leaching solution comprising an alkali metal hydroxide and an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal hypochlorite whereby simultaneously (i) the metal (Cr) is leached from the metal-containing slag and (ii) an aqueous alkaline leach liquor comprising the metal(s) of interest (Cr) is obtained. This way, the valuable metals can be recovered from this waste material and, at the same time, the environmental impact of these waste materials is reduced and their recyclability is improved by removal of the detrimental metal(s).

Kurdi A.,University of Antwerp
Transplantation | Year: 2017

ABSTRACT: Inhibitors of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) have unique anti-atherosclerotic effects such as depletion of plaque macrophages, induction of autophagy and activation of cholesterol efflux. However, a common side effect of their use is dyslipidemia, a well-known risk factor for atherosclerosis. Indeed, mTOR inhibitors prevent lipid storage, increase LDL cholesterol levels and activate lipolysis. Although the net effect of mTOR inhibition seems favorable, the use of cholesterol lowering drugs to manage dyslipidemia remains the most recommended strategy. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Vrijkotte T.G.M.,University of Amsterdam | Hrudey E.J.,University of Amsterdam | Twickler M.B.,University of Antwerp
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2017

Background: Intrauterine growth patterns are influenced by maternal thyroid function during gestation and by fetal sex. It is unknown, however, whether the relationships between maternal thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine (fT4) levels in early pregnancy and fetal growth outcomes are modified by fetal sex. Design: Data were obtained from a community-based cohort study of pregnant women living in Amsterdam (Amsterdam Born Children and Their Development study). TSH and fT4 levels were determined during the first prenatal screening at median 13 weeks (interquartile range, 12 to 14). Women with live-born singletons and no overt thyroid dysfunction were included (N = 3988). Associations between these maternal hormones and birth weight, small for gestational age (SGA), and large for gestational age (LGA) were analyzed separately for each sex. Results: After adjustments, 1 pmol/L increase in maternal fT4 levels was associated with a reduction in birth weight of 33.7 g (P , 0.001) in male newborns and 16.1 g (P , 0.05) in female newborns. Increased maternal fT4was not associated with increased odds for SGA, but was associated with a decreased odds for LGA in boys [per 1 pmol/L; odds ratio (OR), 0.79; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.69 to 0.90]. Maternal subclinical hypothyroidism in early pregnancy (TSH . 2.5 mU/L, 7.3%) was associated with increased odds for LGA in male newborns (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.22 to 3.11). Conclusion: Maternal fT4 in early pregnancy was observed to be inversely associated with birth weight, with a stronger relationship in males. Male infants also had increased odds for LGA in mothers with subclinical hypothyroidism. Sexual dimorphism appears to be present in the relationship between maternal thyroid metabolism and fetal intrauterine growth, with stronger associations in male infants. Copyright © 2017 by the Endocrine Society.

Van Schil P.E.,University of Antwerp
F1000Research | Year: 2017

Recently, major changes have occurred in the staging, diagnosis, and treatment of early stage lung cancer. By screening high-risk populations, we are now able to detect lung cancers at an early stage, but the false-positive rate is high. A new pathological classification was published in 2011 and fully incorporated in the 2015 World Health Organisation (WHO) Classification of Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus, and Heart. The new eighth edition of the tumour-node-metastasis (TNM) staging system has been fully published and will be in use from January 2017. T1 lesions are subdivided into T1a, T1b, and T1c lesions corresponding to lung cancers up to 10 mm, between 11 and 20 mm, and between 21 and 30 mm, respectively. To determine the size, only the solid part on computed tomographic scanning of the chest and the invasive part on pathological examination will be considered. Prognosis is significantly better for the smallest lesions. For some specific subgroups, sublobar resection may be oncologically valid and yield good long-term outcome, but the results of recently performed randomised trials are awaited. © 2017 Van Schil PE.

Vanrenterghem B.,University of Antwerp | Breugelmans T.,University of Antwerp
Electrochimica Acta | Year: 2017

The electrocatalytic activity of 10 cathode materials (Ag, Au, Cu, Glassy carbon (GC), Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb, Pt and Ti) was examined for the intramolecular cyclisation reaction of allyl 2-bromobenzyl ether to 2-methyl benzopyran. The influence of the cathode materials on the electrocatalytic activity was tested by means of cyclic voltammetry (CV) in an electrolyte solution of allyl 2-bromobenzyl ether (1 mM) + tetrabutylammonium perchlorate (0.1 M) (Bu4NClO4) in methanol (MeOH). On Au, GC, Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb and Pt one single reduction wave was measured while Ag and Cu exhibited two cathodic reduction waves. Ti did not show a voltammetric response. The best electrocatalytic activity was obtained on Ag which showed a shift of the reduction peak potential of 771 mV with respect to GC, the most inert material. In addition to the screening, rotating disk experiments (RDE) in combination with Koutecky Levich analysis and product formation during electrosynthesis were performed. Koutecky Levich analysis of the RDE at peak potential showed that one-electron was transferred at Au, GC, Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb and Pt. On Ag and Cu the number of transferred electrons determined with Koutecky-Levich depends on the potential and can be tuned to specific one- or two-electron transfer. Electrosynthesis showed that on Au, GC, Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb and Pt exclusively 5-methyl benzopyran was formed. On Ag and Cu product formation was depended on the potential and 2-methyl benzopyran and allyl benzyl ether (not cyclized product) were both formed. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Khalilov U.,University of Antwerp | Bogaerts A.,University of Antwerp | Neyts E.C.,University of Antwerp
Carbon | Year: 2017

Selective etching allows for obtaining carbon nanotubes with a specific chirality. While plasma-assisted etching has already been used to separate metallic tubes from their semiconducting counterparts, little is known about the nanoscale mechanisms of the etching process. We combine (reactive) molecular dynamics (MD) and force-bias Monte Carlo (tfMC) simulations to study H-etching of CNTs. In particular, during the hydrogenation and subsequent etching of both the carbon cap and the tube, they sequentially transform to different carbon nanostructures, including carbon nanosheet, nanowall, and polyyne chains, before they are completely removed from the surface of a substrate-bound Ni-nanocluster. We also found that onset of the etching process is different in the cases of the cap and the tube, although the overall etching scenario is similar in both cases. The entire hydrogenation/etching process for both cases is analysed in detail, comparing with available theoretical and experimental evidences. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

De Beule C.,University of Antwerp | Zarenia M.,University of Antwerp | Partoens B.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2017

We investigate scattering of the topological surface state of a three-dimensional time-reversal invariant topological insulator when graphene is deposited on the topological-insulator surface. Specifically, we consider the (111) surface of a Bi2Se3-like topological insulator. We present a low-energy model for the graphene-topological insulator heterostructure and we calculate the transmission probability at zigzag and armchair edges of the deposited graphene, and the conductance through graphene nanoribbon barriers, and show that its features can be understood from antiresonances in the transmission probability. © 2017 American Physical Society.

Van Hecke M.,University of Antwerp
National Identities | Year: 2017

Political cartoons enable the public to understand and interpret otherwise very complex problems. However, while all cartoons agree that the European Union has been suffering from a major crisis, agreement on what kind of crisis is far less uniform. By executing a comparative analysis of 400 political cartoons across 12 countries, this paper examines how cartoons frame the eurocrisis and argues that its definition, causal interpretation and moral evaluation, is constructed along national or cultural lines. In northern Europe, the eurocrisis is primarily associated with a crisis of responsibility. In southern Europe, a crisis of solidarity is the dominant frame. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Collingwood J.F.,University of Warwick | Adams F.,University of Antwerp
Spectrochimica Acta - Part B Atomic Spectroscopy | Year: 2017

Cells employ various metal and metalloid ions to augment the structure and the function of proteins and to assist with vital biological processes. In the brain they mediate biochemical processes, and disrupted metabolism of metals may be a contributing factor in neurodegenerative disorders. In this tutorial review we will discuss the particular role of X-ray methods for elemental imaging analysis of accumulated metal species and metal-containing compounds in biological materials, in the context of post-mortem brain tissue. X-rays have the advantage that they have a short wavelength and can penetrate through a thick biological sample. Many of the X-ray microscopy techniques that provide the greatest sensitivity and specificity for trace metal concentrations in biological materials are emerging at synchrotron X-ray facilities. Here, the extremely high flux available across a wide range of soft and hard X-rays, combined with state-of-the-art focusing techniques and ultra-sensitive detectors, makes it viable to undertake direct imaging of a number of elements in brain tissue. The different methods for synchrotron imaging of metals in brain tissues at regional, cellular, and sub-cellular spatial resolution are discussed. Methods covered include X-ray fluorescence for elemental imaging, X-ray absorption spectrometry for speciation imaging, X-ray diffraction for structural imaging, phase contrast for enhanced contrast imaging and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy for spectromicroscopy. Two- and three-dimensional (confocal and tomographic) imaging methods are considered as well as the correlation of X-ray microscopy with other imaging tools. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

De Beuckeleer L.I.,University of Antwerp | Herrebout W.A.,University of Antwerp
Spectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy | Year: 2017

Acetone molecules dissolved in liquid krypton are inclined to self-associate into dimers. This behavior affects its use as a prototype Lewis base in studies of weak intermolecular interactions. In this study infrared spectra of mixed solutions of dimethyl ether and CF3X and of acetone and CF3X (with X = I or Br) dissolved in liquid argon and liquid krypton are recorded at constant temperature. The dataset for dimethyl ether is used to validate a numerical method based on least-squares fitting of a model including contributions of both monomers and a heterodimer with 1:1 stoichiometry. The resulting monomer and dimer spectra show excellent agreement with previous studies found in literature. The analysis of the dataset for acetone requires an extension of the model with contributions for the acetone homodimer and for (acetone)2·CF3X and acetone·(CF3X)2 trimers. The results show that many signals for acetone·CF3I and (acetone)2·CF3I are observed, while only a few bands due to acetone·(CF3I)2 occur. The use of numerical approaches adjusted to the specificities of a mixture of two compounds allows to reliably resolve overlapping spectra of monomers and heterocomplexes and characterizing heterocomplex features that could not be deduced using earlier methods. To support the assignments made, ab initio calculations predicting geometries, relative stabilities and harmonic vibrational frequencies for the species envisaged are performed. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

van Tendeloo G.,University of Antwerp
Nature Materials | Year: 2017

Lithium-ion battery cathode materials have relied on cationic redox reactions until the recent discovery of anionic redox activity in Li-rich layered compounds which enables capacities as high as 300 mAh g-1. In the quest for new high-capacity electrodes with anionic redox, a still unanswered question was remaining regarding the importance of the structural dimensionality. The present manuscript provides an answer. We herein report on a β-Li2IrO3 phase which, in spite of having the Ir arranged in a tridimensional (3D) framework instead of the typical two-dimensional (2D) layers seen in other Li-rich oxides, can reversibly exchange 2.5 e- per Ir, the highest value ever reported for any insertion reaction involving d-metals. We show that such a large activity results from joint reversible cationic (Mn+) and anionic (O2)n- redox processes, the latter being visualized via complementary transmission electron microscopy and neutron diffraction experiments, and confirmed by density functional theory calculations. Moreover, β-Li2IrO3 presents a good cycling behaviour while showing neither cationic migration nor shearing of atomic layers as seen in 2D-layered Li-rich materials. Remarkably, the anionic redox process occurs jointly with the oxidation of Ir4+ at potentials as low as 3.4 V versus Li+/Li0, as equivalently observed in the layered α-Li2IrO3 polymorph. Theoretical calculations elucidate the electrochemical similarities and differences of the 3D versus 2D polymorphs in terms of structural, electronic and mechanical descriptors. Our findings free the structural dimensionality constraint and broaden the possibilities in designing high-energy-density electrodes for the next generation of Li-ion batteries. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group

Bogaerts A.,University of Antwerp | Aghaei M.,University of Antwerp
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry | Year: 2017

In this tutorial review paper, we illustrate how computer modeling can contribute to a better insight in inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). We start with a brief overview on previous efforts, studying the fundamentals of the ICP and ICP-MS, with main focus on previous modeling activities. Subsequently, we explain in detail the model that we developed in previous years, and we show typical calculation results, illustrating the plasma characteristics, gas flow patterns and the sample transport, evaporation and ionization. We also present the effect of various experimental parameters, such as operating conditions, geometrical aspects and sample characteristics, to illustrate how modeling can help to elucidate the optimal conditions for improved analytical performance. © 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Baeckens S.,University of Antwerp | Van Damme R.,University of Antwerp | Cooper W.E.,Indiana University
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2017

The chemical senses are crucial for squamates (lizards and snakes). The extent to which squamates utilize their chemosensory system, however, varies greatly among taxa and species' foraging strategies, and played an influential role in squamate evolution. In lizards, 'Scleroglossa' evolved a state where species use chemical cues to search for food (active foragers), whereas 'Iguania' retained the use of vision to hunt prey (ambush foragers). However, such strict dichotomy is flawed as shifts in foraging modes have occurred in all clades. Here, we attempted to disentangle effects of foraging ecology from phylogenetic trait conservatism as leading cause of the disparity in chemosensory investment among squamates. To do so, we used species' tongue-flick rate (TFR) in the absence of ecological relevant chemical stimuli as a proxy for its fundamental level of chemosensory investigation, that is baseline TFR. Based on literature data of nearly 100 species and using phylogenetic comparative methods, we tested whether and how foraging mode and diet affect baseline TFR. Our results show that baseline TFR is higher in active than ambush foragers. Although baseline TFRs appear phylogenetically stable in some lizard taxa, that is a consequence of concordant stability of foraging mode: when foraging mode shifts within taxa, so does baseline TFR. Also, baseline TFR is a good predictor of prey chemical discriminatory ability, as we established a strong positive relationship between baseline TFR and TFR in response to prey. Baseline TFR is unrelated to diet. Essentially, foraging mode, not phylogenetic relatedness, drives convergent evolution of similar levels of squamate chemosensory investigation. © 2017 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

Scholarly monograph authors are compared to other authors, based on bibliographic data registered in the VABB-SHW database from Flanders (Belgium). Monograph authors are found to be most often established male researchers with high productivity, who are relatively less involved in research collaboration (co-authored publications) than are other authors. There exists a clear divergence between most of the individual social science disciplines, where monograph authors make up a marginal share of all authors, and several humanities disciplines where shares are up to one fifth. Relatively more female and non-established authors publish monographs in the humanities compared to the social sciences. A statistical comparison of productivity points to diverging publication patterns in Flemish SSH research: the group of most productive authors counts both monograph authors who also rely on other book publication types, and other authors who publish mostly journal articles. © 2017 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary

Vermorken J.B.,University of Antwerp
Recent Results in Cancer Research | Year: 2017

When deciding how to treat patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), several factors have to be taken into account: disease factors, patient factors, treatment factors, and the wish of the patient. This symposium article is summarizing the information on HPV (p16) in the context of decision making in SCCHN patients with locoregionally advanced disease and those with recurrent/metastatic disease. The literature data suggest that HPV (p16) has prognostic significance, both in locoregionally advanced disease (in particular, in oropharynx cancer) and in recurrent/metastatic disease, while there are only limited data on its predictive significance. Results of HPV (p16) testing should not change management outside clinical trials. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017.

Jaeken L.,University of Antwerp
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology | Year: 2017

The example of gelatine shows that extended proteins behave quite differently than globular ones: with water they form a gel. Historically the colloid view of protoplasm was discredited in favour of membrane-(pump)-theory (MPT), but unjustified. In his association-induction hypothesis Ling demonstrates that MPT is full of contradictions and that the colloid view has to be re-considered. In that case IDP's play a crucial role in this. What Ling calls the 'living state' consists of the unitary protoplasmic structure from which it was experimentally demonstrated that it can survive and keep Na+ and K+ concentrations without a delineating membrane. It consists of unfolded polypeptide chains whereby the repetitive backbone peptide groups orient and polarise many layers of water, in which Na+ and other solutes have reduced solubility and whereby the polypeptide β- and ϒ(hooked)-carboxyl-groups adsorb K+. This 'associated' state is the resting state: a coherent high-energy low-entropy meta-stable state. It can be kept by adsorbed ATP (NTP) eventually for years without consumption of ATP as demonstrated by Clegg on Artemia embryo's. Stimuli can transform this state into a lower-energy higher-entropy action state with dissociation of ADP and Pi and newly synthesised ATP can reinstall it. Rest-to-action and action-to-rest were shown to be real phase-shifts. Ling's theory is a complete quantitative theory with corroborated equations for solute distribution, transport, cell potentials and osmotic behaviour and describing the cell's energy cycle. IDP's are involved in all this. The new view on IDP's leads to new insights on the origin of life. © 2017.

Notteboom B.,University of Antwerp
Urban Forestry and Urban Greening | Year: 2017

This paper aims at providing a historical understanding of the role of gardens and green spaces in urbanization and urban planning, as well as in processes of social formation and social mobility that took place on the background of a changing spatial, socio-economical and political context in Belgium in the period 1889-1940. The research is based on a number of case studies, which represent different stages and themes in the evolution of garden design, urban planning and society: 1) vernacular versus designed gardens and landscapes; 2) the popularization of the garden and the development of a new framework for urban planning; 3) the garden city versus private arcadia and 4) modern garden design and the rise of the middle class (1930-1940). Through an analysis of designs and discourses of, amongst others, leading landscape architects/urban planners Louis Van der Swaelmen, Jules Buyssens and Jean Canneel-Claes, the paper exposes a number of ambiguities and tensions, for example between the 'vernacular garden' and the 'garden of the establishment' and between the deep-rooted dream of a privately owned house and garden, and attempts to create new social and spatial frameworks that surpass the individual lot. The paper concludes that these tensions can still be traced in the context in which landscape designers and urban planners work today. This historical awareness, however, can help them to set out strategic goals for the contemporary garden as a place of both production and consumption, and as a place where social identity is shaped. © 2017 Elsevier GmbH.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are crucial to plants and vice versa, but little is known about the factors linking the community structure of the two groups. We investigated the association between AMF and the plant community structure in the nearest neighborhood of Festuca brevipila in a semiarid grassland with steep environmental gradients, using high-throughput sequencing of the Glomeromycotina (former Glomeromycota). We focused on the Passenger, Driver and Habitat hypotheses: (i) plant communities drive AMF (passenger); (ii) AMF communities drive the plants (driver); (iii) the environment shapes both communities causing covariation. The null hypothesis is that the two assemblages are independent and this study offers a spatially explicit novel test of it in the field at multiple, small scales. The AMF community consisted of 71 operational taxonomic units, the plant community of 47 species. Spatial distance and spatial variation in the environment were the main determinants of the AMF community. The structure of the plant community around the focal plant was a poor predictor of AMF communities, also in terms of phylogenetic community structure. Some evidence supports the passenger hypothesis, but the relative roles of the factors structuring the two groups clearly differed, leading to an apparent decoupling of the two assemblages at the relatively small scale of this study. Community phylogenetic structure in AMF suggests an important role of within-assemblage interactions.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 28 February 2017; doi:10.1038/ismej.2017.5. © 2017 International Society for Microbial Ecology

Herrel A.,CNRS Mechanical Adaptation and Evolution | Lopez-Darias M.,CSIC - Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology | Vanhooydonck B.,University of Antwerp | Cornette R.,CNRS Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution Institute | And 2 more authors.
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2016

When competing for food or other resources, or when confronted with predators, young animals may be at a disadvantage relative to adults because of their smaller size. Additionally, the ongoing differentiation and growth of tissues may constrain performance during early ontogenetic stages. However, juveniles must feed before they can become reproductively active adults and as such the adult phenotype may be the result of an ontogenetic filter imposing selection on juvenile phenotype and performance. Here we present ontogenetic data on head morphology and bite force for different lizard species. We test whether adults reflect selection on juveniles by comparing slopes of growth trajectories before and after sexual maturity in males and females and by examining the variance in head morphology and bite force in juveniles versus adults. Finally, we also present the first results of a selection study where animals were measured, marked and released, and recaptured the subsequent year to test whether head morphology and bite force impact survival. © 2016 The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved.

Trosch M.,University of Antwerp | Muller W.,University of Antwerp | Eens M.,University of Antwerp | Iserbyt A.,University of Antwerp
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2017

Male secondary sexual traits and female mate choice traits must contain heritable variation for sexual selection to operate. However, for female mate choice, especially, this is poorly known. To complicate matters, both male sexual traits and female mate choice typically show condition dependence, implying that environmental effects probably play an important synergistic role. Using a cross-fostering design, we therefore aimed to disentangle genetic, environmental and their potential interacting effects to investigate how they affect the expression of a sexually selected trait (here birdsong) and female mate choice. To assess environmental effects, we focused on the role of the social environment and thus on learned components. Among the different male song traits investigated, we found a high heritability for song bout length and song bout repertoire, as well as an intriguing gene-by-environment interaction for song bout repertoire. Specifically, the tutor appeared to negatively affect the song bout repertoire of the tutee when his genetic father had a large song bout repertoire but had a positive effect on descendants from fathers with small song bout repertoires. In contrast, we did not detect significant heritability in female mate choice. Female mate choice contained a learned component as females significantly disfavoured their foster father in the mate choice tests, indicating a learned inbreeding avoidance. Thus, our study provides important insights into the role of the social environment for both birdsong and female mate choice. However, the absence of a heritable component in female mate choice suggests a need for studies investigating the heritability of female preferences for (heritable) male song traits in order to gain a better understanding of a potential coevolution between male sexual traits and female mate choice. Overall, our results suggest that indirect genetic effects acting during the pre- and postfledging social contexts may play a prominent role in sexual selection. © 2017 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Leuridan E.,University of Antwerp
Vaccine | Year: 2017

Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy has been introduced by several national advisory bodies, mostly in industrialized countries, as a means to protect young infants from disease by high titers of maternal antibodies. Most recommendations derive from epidemiological needs, but many knowledge gaps remained after implementation. This report aims to overview the solved and unsolved aspects of prenatal vaccination with a pertussis containing vaccine. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Lemmens S.,University of Antwerp | Lecompte S.,Ghent University
Energy Conversion and Management | Year: 2017

Many industrial processes inevitably produce excess heat as by-product. Recovering this heat is a matter of waste management and provides opportunities to improve the energy use efficiency. The excess heat can be used for heating purposes (e.g., in processes, or delivered to district heating systems or buildings) or to generate electricity. An increasingly applied technology for industrial excess heat recovery is the organic Rankine cycle (ORC), suitable to recover low-grade heat from 90 °C onwards. Although ORCs are studied intensively, few studies have examined the economics of commissioned ORC systems. This paper investigates a 375 kWgross ORC system employed for flue gas heat recovery from an industrial kiln in Flanders, Belgium. The purpose of the study is twofold: providing insight into a practical ORC case; and evaluating the financial feasibility while taking the specific policy circumstances into account. The financial appraisal takes account of the specific technical setup, the diverse costs of the system, the external economic parameters, and the policy circumstances in Europe, Belgium and Flanders. A sensitivity analysis illustrates the influence of each parameter on the results. The analysis demonstrates the dominance of the investment costs (4217 €2013/kWgross) in the expenses. Under the valid conditions the investment has a positive financial return, but the financial support from the government is indispensable. Finally, the sensitivity analysis reveals the importance of attaining sufficient load hours and the influence of electricity prices on the financial feasibility of ORC projects. The results suggest that ORC systems are suitable for industrial excess heat electricity production under certain conditions, but financial support remains necessary. Reducing the investment costs of the ORC itself could alleviate these conditions. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

News Article | May 8, 2017

Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have developed a process that purifies air, and at the same time, generates power. The device must only ... NewsResearchers have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. Contributed Author: KU ... A team of Belgian scientists have developed a new device capable of generating power while cleaning polluted air. Researchers have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. New technology generates power from polluted air, 5 hours ago from Science Blog New technology generates power from polluted air, 9 hours ago from Eurekalert

News Article | May 8, 2017

IMAGE:  The new device must only be exposed to light in order to purify air and generate power. view more Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. "We use a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane", explains professor Sammy Verbruggen (UAntwerp/KU Leuven). "Air is purified on one side, while on the other side hydrogen gas is produced from a part of the degradation products. This hydrogen gas can be stored and used later as fuel, as is already being done in some hydrogen buses, for example. " In this way, the researchers respond to two major social needs: clean air and alternative energy production. The heart of the solution lies at the membrane level, where the researchers use specific nanomaterials. "These catalysts are capable of producing hydrogen gas and breaking down air pollution", explains professor Verbruggen. "In the past, these cells were mostly used to extract hydrogen from water. We have now discovered that this is also possible, and even more efficient, with polluted air." It seems to be a complex process, but it is not: the device must only be exposed to light. The researchers' goal is to be able to use sunlight, as the processes underlying the technology are similar to those found in solar panels. The difference here is that electricity is not generated directly, but rather that air is purified while the generated power is stored as hydrogen gas. "We are currently working on a scale of only a few square centimetres. At a later stage, we would like to scale up our technology to make the process industrially applicable. We are also working on improving our materials so we can use sunlight more efficiently to trigger the reactions. "

News Article | May 8, 2017

Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. “We use a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane,” explains Sammy Verbruggen (UAntwerp/KU Leuven). “Air is purified on one side, while on the other side hydrogen gas is produced from a part of the degradation products. This hydrogen gas can be stored and used later as fuel, as is already being done in some hydrogen buses, for example." In this way, the researchers respond to two major social needs: clean air and alternative energy production. The heart of the solution lies at the membrane level, where the researchers use specific nanomaterials. “These catalysts are capable of producing hydrogen gas and breaking down air pollution,” explains Verbruggen. “In the past, these cells were mostly used to extract hydrogen from water. We have now discovered that this is also possible, and even more efficient, with polluted air.” It seems to be a complex process, but it is not: the device must only be exposed to light. The researchers’ goal is to be able to use sunlight, as the processes underlying the technology are similar to those found in solar panels. The difference here is that electricity is not generated directly, but rather that air is purified while the generated power is stored as hydrogen gas. “We are currently working on a scale of only a few square centimetres. At a later stage, we would like to scale up our technology to make the process industrially applicable. We are also working on improving our materials so we can use sunlight more efficiently to trigger the reactions. " The study was published in ChemSusChem.

News Article | April 20, 2017

Researchers in Antwerp, Belgium say cancer stage may not have as much of an impact on mesothelioma survival as patients may think. Surviving Mesothelioma has the full story on it’s website. Click here to read it now. In a new study of 101 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, scientists at the University of Antwerp found that whether or not a patient had had surgery appeared to influence their odds of survival more than stage. “A significant difference in survival was observed in patients undergoing surgery versus no surgery...and treatment with chemotherapy alone versus chemotherapy with surgery,” reports study author Andreas Domen with the Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at Antwerp University Hospital. The article published in the Belgian medical journal Acta Chirugica Belgica says the results confirm what the team calls the “limitations” of the current staging system and were in line with what other mesothelioma researchers had found. “Until the current staging system changes, the most important take-away message for mesothelioma patients and their families is that your cancer stage does not determine your fate,” says Alex Strauss, Managing Editor for Surviving Mesothelioma. “Clearly, there are many variables that impact mesothelioma survival and every patient is unique.” To read the details of the new Belgian study, including an explanation of the TNM cancer staging method, see Surgery May Impact Mesothelioma Survival More Than Stage, now available on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. Domen, A, et al, “Malignant pleural mesothelioma: single-institution experience of 101 patients over a 15-year period”, June 2017, Acta Chirugica Belgica, pp. 157-163, For more than a decade, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

Roehling J.D.,University of California at Davis | Batenburg K.J.,Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica | Batenburg K.J.,University of Antwerp | Swain F.B.,Luna Innovations, Inc. | And 2 more authors.
Advanced Functional Materials | Year: 2013

The three-dimensional morphology of mixed organic layers are quantitatively measured using high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) with electron tomography for the first time. The mixed organic layers used for organic photovoltaic applications have not been previously imaged using STEM tomography as there is insufficient contrast between donor and acceptor components. Contrast is generated by substituting fullerenes with endohedral fullerenes that contain a Lu3N cluster within the fullerene cage. The high contrast and signal-to-noise ratio, in combination with use of the discrete algebraic reconstruction technique (DART), allows generation of the most detailed and accurate three-dimensional map of BHJ morphology to date. From the STEM-tomography reconstructions it is determined that three distinct material phases are present within the BHJs. By observing changes to morphology and mixing ratio during thermal and solvent annealing, the effects of mutual solubility and fullerene crystallization on morphology and long term stability are determined. This material/technique combination shows itself as a powerful tool for examining morphology in detail and allows for observation of nanoscopic changes in local concentration. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Kitanovski Z.,Slovenian National Institute of Chemistry | Grgic I.,Slovenian National Institute of Chemistry | Claeys M.,University of Antwerp
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques | Year: 2014

Guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol) and its derivatives can be emitted into the atmosphere by thermal degradation (i.e., burning) of wood lignins. Due to its volatility, guaiacol is predominantly distributed atmospherically in the gaseous phase. Recent studies have shown the importance of aqueous-phase reactions in addition to the dominant gas-phase and heterogeneous reactions of guaiacol, in the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in the atmosphere. The main objectives of the present study were to chemically characterize the main products of the aqueous-phase photonitration of guaiacol and examine their possible presence in urban atmospheric aerosols. The aqueous-phase reactions were carried out under simulated sunlight and in the presence of hydrogen peroxide and nitrite. The formed guaiacol reaction products were concentrated by solid-phase extraction and then purified with semi-preparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The fractionated individual compounds were isolated as pure solids and further analyzed with liquid-state proton, carbon-13 and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and direct infusion negative ion electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry ((-)ESI-MS/MS). The NMR and product ion (MS2) spectra were used for unambiguous product structure elucidation. The main products of guaiacol photonitration are 4-nitroguaiacol (4NG), 6-nitroguaiacol (6NG), and 4,6-dinitroguaiacol (4,6DNG). Using the isolated compounds as standards, 4NG and 4,6DNG were unambiguously identified in winter PM10 aerosols from the city of Ljubljana (Slovenia) by means of HPLC/(-)ESI-MS/MS. Owing to the strong absorption of ultraviolet and visible light, 4,6DNG could be an important constituent of atmospheric "brown" carbon, especially in regions affected by biomass burning. © Author(s) 2014.

Tjalma W.A.A.,University of Antwerp | Depuydt C.E.,Sonic Healthcare Benelux
European Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Biology | Year: 2013

Cervical cancer can and should be a historical disease. The reality, however, is that every year more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and a quarter of a million die of this disease. The causal factor for cervical cancer is a persistent HPV infection and therefore a vaccine was developed: prophylactic HPV vaccination will reduce cervical cancer by 70%. Screening based on cytology will miss more than 40% of the abnormalities. The introduction of vaccination should lead to the reintroduction of cervical cancer screening based on HPV detection. Primary HPV screening followed by cytology will detect almost all abnormalities. Not all HPV tests, however, are the same! Clinicians are generally not aware that there is a huge difference among HPV tests. If a low grade lesion progresses to a high grade or invasive cancer, their HPV is likely to integrate. During integration L1 expression can be lost, but E6/E7 expression will always remain present. If the viral HPV is completely integrated then a L1 test looking for only L1 expression will miss this (pre)cancer, while the E6/E7 test will not miss it. HPV tests used in cervical cancer screening should be based on the early (E) and the late (L) genes in order not to miss the abnormality. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Vanderstraeten J.,University of Antwerp | Matthyssens P.,University of Antwerp | Matthyssens P.,Antwerp Management School
Technovation | Year: 2012

Strategic positioning and fit theories may inform the service-based differentiation strategies that incubators use to secure external and internal alignment. External alignment relates to tenant service expectations and perceptions; internal alignment involves a competence configuration for each strategy alternative. By implementing the proposed framework, an incubator can achieve service differentiation and ultimately enhanced customer (tenant) value. Qualitative research among nonprofit economic development incubators reveals two service-based differentiation positions: specialists and generalists. Whereas extant research advocates only a specialist stance, the present analysis confirms that service-based differentiation can result from a generalist stance. This study offers the first typology of service-based differentiation strategies for incubators that aligns strategy with external and internal variables. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Struyf F.,University of Antwerp | Meeus M.,University of Antwerp | Meeus M.,University College Ghent
Clinical Rheumatology | Year: 2014

Adhesive capsulitis is, in most cases, a self-limiting condition of poorly understood etiology that results in shoulder pain and large mobility deficits. The socio-economic burden will increase as with continuous aging of our population. In addition, both prevalence and incidence figures of adhesive capsulitis are increasing. No literature overview solely focuses on the physiotherapeutic options in patients with adhesive capsulitis and their scientific evidence. Moreover, although some physiotherapeutic interventions show evidence regarding reducing pain or increasingmobility, there is little evidence to suggest that the disease prognosis is affected and this raises the need for new, innovative research in the area of adhesive capsulitis and its treatment. By presenting its current evidence, we hope to retrieve several gaps in the present management of adhesive capsulitis by physiotherapists and provide us with new insights for improving the physiotherapists' policy in treating adhesive capsulitis patients, e.g., continuously increasing nociceptive impulse activity, as in early stages of adhesive capsulitis, could lead to peripheral and subsequently long-lasting central sensitization, as well as to an increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system. But up to now the involvement of central sensitization in adhesive capsulitis has not been studied yet and remains speculative. Finally, when selecting a physical treatment method for adhesive capsulitis, it is extremely important to consider the patient's symptoms, stage of the condition, and recognition of different patterns of motion loss. Guidelines for clinical assessment will be presented in this scoping review. © Clinical Rheumatology 2013.

Peeters M.,University of Antwerp | Price T.,University of Adelaide
Cancer Treatment Reviews | Year: 2012

More therapeutic options are now available than ever before for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) and, as such, treatment decisions have become more complex. A multidisciplinary approach is, therefore, required to effectively manage these patients. In the past few years, many trials have reported on the value of combining biological agents, such as those targeting vascular endothelial growth factor A and epidermal growth factor receptors, with chemotherapy. However, despite the plethora of information now available, the optimal treatment strategy for patients with mCRC remains unclear. Indeed, the propensity of investigators to conduct clinical trials utilising a variety of chemotherapy backbones combined with the increased complexity of retrospectively incorporating analyses of genetic mutation status (e.g. KRAS and BRAF) have led to conflicting results for seemingly similar endpoints, particularly overall survival. As a result, guidelines that have been developed, whilst having some similarities, have distinct differences in terms of suggested therapeutic combinations. Therefore, here, we review and distil the currently available data reported from phase III trials of biologic agents in the first-, second- and third-line mCRC settings. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Van Passel S.,Hasselt University | Van Passel S.,University of Antwerp | Meul M.,University College Ghent
Environmental Impact Assessment Review | Year: 2012

Sustainability assessment is needed to build sustainable farming systems. A broad range of sustainability concepts, methodologies and applications already exists. They differ in level, focus, orientation, measurement, scale, presentation and intended end-users. In this paper we illustrate that a smart combination of existing methods with different levels of application can make sustainability assessment more profound, and that it can broaden the insights of different end-user groups. An overview of sustainability assessment tools on different levels and for different end-users shows the complementarities and the opportunities of using different methods. In a case-study, a combination of the sustainable value approach (SVA) and MOTIFS is used to perform a sustainability evaluation of farming systems in Flanders. SVA is used to evaluate sustainability at sector level, and is especially useful to support policy makers, while MOTIFS is used to support and guide farmers towards sustainability at farm level. The combined use of the two methods with complementary goals can widen the insights of both farmers and policy makers, without losing the particularities of the different approaches. To stimulate and support further research and applications, we propose guidelines for multilevel and multi-user sustainability assessments. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

De Winter B.Y.,University of Antwerp
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease | Year: 2012

Mast cells may be regarded as prototypes of innate immune cells that can be controlled by neuronal mediators. Their activation has been implicated in many types of neuro-inflammatory responses, and related disturbances of gut motility, via direct or indirect mechanisms that involve several mechanisms relevant to disease pathogenesis such as changes in epithelial barrier function or activation of adaptive or innate immune responses. Here we review the evidence for the involvement of mast cells in the inflammation of the bowel wall caused by bowel manipulation that leads to motility disturbances such as postoperative gastroparesis and ileus. Also in IBD there is substantial evidence for the involvement of mast cells and a mast cell-mediated neuroimmune interaction showing an increased number and an increased degranulation of mast cells. We discuss the potential of mast cell inhibition as a bona fide drug target to relief postoperative ileus. Further research on mast cell-related therapy either by stabilizing the mast cells or by blocking specific mast cell mediators as adjunctive therapy in IBD is encouraged, bearing in mind that several drugs currently used in the treatment of IBD possess properties affecting mast cell activities. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mast cells in inflammation. © 2011.

Kajbaf F.,University of Picardie Jules Verne | de Broe M.,University of Antwerp | Lalau J.-D.,University of Picardie Jules Verne
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety | Year: 2013

Objective: We compared and contrasted guidelines on metformin treatment in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) around the world, with the aim of helping physicians to refine their analysis of the available evidence before deciding whether to continue or withdraw this drug. Methods: We performed a systematic research for metformin contraindications in: (i) official documents from the world's 20 most populated countries and the 20 most scientifically productive countries in the field of diabetology and (ii) publications referenced in electronic databases from 1990 onwards. Results: We identified three international guidelines, 31 national guidelines, and 20 proposals in the scientific literature. The criteria for metformin withdrawal were (i) mainly qualitative in the most populated countries; (ii) mainly quantitative in the most scientifically productive countries (with, in all cases, a suggested threshold for withdrawing metformin); and (iii) quantitative in all, but one of the literature proposals, with a threshold for withdrawal in most cases (n=17) and/or adjustment of the metformin dose as a function of renal status (n=8). There was a good degree of consensus on serum creatinine thresholds; whereas guidelines based on estimated glomerular filtration rate thresholds varied from 60mL/minute/1.73m2 up to stage 5 CKD. Only one of the proposals has been tested in a prospective study. Conclusions: In general, proposals for continuing or stopping metformin therapy in CKD involve a threshold (whether based on serum creatinine or estimated glomerular filtration rate) rather than the dose adjustment as a function of renal status (in stable patients) performed for other drugs excreted by the kidney. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Guttmann P.,Helmholtz Center Berlin | Bittencourt C.,University of Antwerp | Rehbein S.,Helmholtz Center Berlin | Umek P.,Jozef Stefan Institute | And 4 more authors.
Nature Photonics | Year: 2012

Near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (NEXAFS) is an essential analytical tool in material science. Combining NEXAFS with scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) adds spatial resolution and the possibility to study individual nanostructures. Here, we describe a full-field transmission X-ray microscope (TXM) that generates high-resolution, large-area NEXAFS data with a collection rate two orders of magnitude faster than is possible with STXM. The TXM optical design combines a spectral resolution of E/δE = 1 × 104 with a spatial resolution of 25 nm in a field of view of 15-20 μm and a data acquisition time of ∼1 s. As an example, we present image stacks and polarization-dependent NEXAFS spectra from individual anisotropic sodium and protonated titanate nanoribbons. Our NEXAFS-TXM technique has the advantage that one image stack visualizes a large number of nanostructures and therefore already contains statistical information. This new high-resolution NEXAFS-TXM technique opens the way to advanced nanoscale science studies.

Botha M.H.,Stellenbosch University | Dochez C.,University of Antwerp
Vaccine | Year: 2012

South Africa has a high incidence of cervical cancer, with an age-standardised rate of approximately 27 per 100,000. In 2000, South Africa launched a national screening programme for cervical cancer prevention, offering three Papanicolaou smears per lifetime starting after the age of 30 with 10-year intervals. However, in the public sector, this national screening programme has not been implemented widely. Vaccination would offer the best primary prevention. Currently there are two HPV vaccines registered in South Africa: the bivalent vaccine Cervarix™, containing VLP antigens for oncogenic HPV types 16 and 18; and the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil™, containing VLP antigens for HPV types 16 and 18, as well as non-oncogenic HPV types 6 and 11, which are the most common types causing genital warts. The vaccines are recommended for prophylactic use, and should ideally be given before exposure to HPV, which is before sexual debut, to girls aged 11-12 years. Possible routes for delivering the HPV vaccine could be either the routine EPI programme at the age of 12 years when dT is being administered, or through the school system, e.g. to girls attending grade 5 or 6. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Dekker A.D.,University of Groningen | Dekker A.D.,University of Antwerp | De Deyn P.P.,University of Groningen | De Deyn P.P.,University of Antwerp | Rots M.G.,University of Groningen
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2014

Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic intellectual disability, caused by the triplication of the human chromosome 21 (HSA21). Although this would theoretically lead to a 1.5 fold increase in gene transcription, transcript levels of many genes significantly deviate. Surprisingly, the underlying cause of this gene expression variation has been largely neglected so far. Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation and post-translational histone modifications, regulate gene expression and as such might play a crucial role in the development of the cognitive deficits in DS. Various overexpressed HSA21 proteins affect epigenetic mechanisms and DS individuals are thus likely to present epigenetic aberrations. Importantly, epigenetic marks are reversible, offering a huge therapeutic potential to alleviate or cure certain genetic deficits. Current epigenetic therapies are already used for cancer and epilepsy, and might provide novel possibilities for cognition-enhancing treatment in DS as well. To that end, this review discusses the still limited knowledge on epigenetics in DS and describes the potential of epigenetic therapies to reverse dysregulated gene expression. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Wu Z.,CAS Institute of Semiconductors | Zhai F.,Zhejiang Normal University | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp | Xu H.Q.,Lund University | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

We demonstrate theoretically how local strains in graphene can be tailored to generate a valley-polarized current. By suitable engineering of local strain profiles, we find that electrons in opposite valleys (K or K′) show different Brewster-like angles and Goos-Hänchen shifts, exhibiting a close analogy with light propagating behavior. In a strain-induced waveguide, electrons in K and K′ valleys have different group velocities, which can be used to construct a valley filter in graphene without the need for any external fields. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Urban J.,Mendel University in Brno | Bequet R.,University of Antwerp | Mainiero R.,Institute for Applied Plant Biology
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2011

Several electrical methods have been introduced as non-invasive techniques to overcome the limited accessibility to root systems. Among them, the earth impedance method (EIM) represents the most recent development. Applying an electrical field between a cormus and the rooted soil, the EIM measures the absorptive root surface area (ARSA) from grounding resistance patterns. Allometric relationships suggested that this method was a valuable tool. Crucial assumptions for the applicability of the EIM, however, have not been tested experimentally. Focusing on tree root systems, the present study assesses the applicability of the EIM. Six hypotheses, deduced from the EIM approach, were tested in several experiments and the results were compared with conventional methods. None of the hypotheses could be verified and the results allow two major conclusions. First, in terms of an analogue electrical circuit, a tree-root-soil continuum appears as a serial circuit with xylem and soil resistance being the dominant components. Allometric variation in contact resistance, with the latter being the proxy for root surface area, are thus overruled by the spatial and seasonal variation of soil and xylem resistances. Second, in a tree-root-soil continuum, distal roots conduct only a negligible portion of the electric charge. Most of charge carriers leave the root system in the proximal parts of the root-soil interface. © 2010 The Author(s).

Brauers W.K.M.,University of Antwerp | Zavadskas E.K.,Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
Informatica | Year: 2012

Multi-Objective Optimization takes care of different objectives with the objectives keeping their own units. The internal mechanical solution of a Ratio System, producing dimensionless numbers, is preferred. The ratio system creates the opportunity to use a second approach: a Reference Point Theory, which uses the ratios of the ratio system. This overall theory is called MOORA (Multi-Objective Optimization by Ratio Analysis). The results are still more convincing if a Full Multiplicative Form is added forming MULTIMOORA. The control by three different approaches forms a guaranty for a solution being as non-subjective as possible. MULTIMOORA, tested after robustness, showed positive results. © 2012 Vilnius University.

Price T.J.,University of Adelaide | Peeters M.,University of Antwerp | Kim T.W.,University of Ulsan | Li J.,Fudan University | And 7 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2014

Background: The anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies panitumumab and cetuximab are effective in patients with chemotherapy-refractory wild-type KRAS exon 2 metastatic colorectal cancer. We assessed the efficacy and toxicity of panitumumab versus cetuximab in these patients. Methods: For this randomised, open-label, phase 3 head-to-head study, we enrolled patients (from centres in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia) aged 18 years or older with chemotherapy-refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 2 or less, and wild-type KRAS exon 2 status. Using a computer-generated randomisation sequence, we assigned patients (1:1; stratified by geographical region and ECOG performance status, with a permuted block method) to receive panitumumab (6 mg/kg once every 2 weeks) or cetuximab (initial dose 400 mg/m2; 250 mg/m2 once a week thereafter). The primary endpoint was overall survival assessed for non-inferiority (retention of ≥50% of the cetuximab treatment effect; historical hazard ratio [HR] for cetuximab plus best supportive care vs best supportive care alone of 0·55). The primary analysis included patients who received one or more dose of panitumumab or cetuximab, analysed per allocated treatment. Recruitment for this trial is closed. The trial is registered with, number NCT01001377. Findings: Between Feb 2, 2010, and July 19, 2012, we enrolled and randomly allocated 1010 patients, 999 of whom began study treatment: 499 received panitumumab and 500 received cetuximab. For the primary analysis of overall survival, panitumumab was non-inferior to cetuximab (Z score -3·19; p=0·0007). Median overall survival was 10·4 months (95% CI 9·4-11·6) with panitumumab and 10·0 months (9·3-11·0) with cetuximab (HR 0·97; 95% CI 0·84-1·11). Panitumumab retained 105·7% (81·9-129·5) of the effect of cetuximab on overall survival seen in this study. The incidence of adverse events of any grade and grade 3-4 was similar across treatment groups. Grade 3-4 skin toxicity occurred in 62 (13%) patients given panitumumab and 48 (10%) patients given cetuximab. The occurrence of grade 3-4 infusion reactions was lower with panitumumab than with cetuximab (one [<0·5%] patient vs nine [2%] patients), and the occurrence of grade 3-4 hypomagnesaemia was higher in the panitumumab group (35 [7%] vs 13 [3%]). We recorded one treatment-related fatal adverse event: a lung infection in a patient given cetuximab. Interpretation: Our findings show that panitumumab is non-inferior to cetuximab and that these agents provide similar overall survival benefit in this population of patients. Both agents had toxicity profiles that were to be expected. In view of the consistency in efficacy and toxicity seen, small but meaningful differences in the rate of grade 3-4 infusion reactions and differences in dose scheduling can guide physician choice of anti-EGFR treatment. Funding: Amgen Inc. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Galipaud M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Gillingham M.A.F.,French National Center for Scientific Research | David M.,University of Antwerp | Dechaume-Moncharmont F.-X.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Information-theory procedures are powerful tools for multimodel inference and are now standard methods in ecology. When performing model averaging on a given set of models, the importance of a predictor variable is commonly estimated by summing the weights of models where the variable appears, the so-called sum of weights (SW). However, SWs have received little methodological attention and are frequently misinterpreted. We assessed the reliability of SW by performing model selection and averaging on simulated data sets including variables strongly and weakly correlated to the response variable and a variable unrelated to the response. Our aim was to investigate how useful SWs are to inform about the relative importance of predictor variables. SW can take a wide range of possible values, even for predictor variables unrelated to the response. As a consequence, SW with intermediate values cannot be confidently interpreted as denoting importance for the considered predictor variable. Increasing sample size using an alternative information criterion for model selection or using only a subset of candidate models for model averaging did not qualitatively change our results: a variable of a given effect size can take a wide range of SW values. Contrary to what is assumed in many ecological studies, it seems hazardous to define a threshold for SW above which a variable is considered as having a statistical effect on the response and SW is not a measure of effect size. Although we did not consider every possible condition of analysis, it is likely that in most situations, SW is a poor estimate of variable's importance. © 2014 The Authors.

Vodolazov D.Y.,RAS Institute for Physics of Microstructures | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2011

The current voltage (IV) characteristics of short [with length L ξ(T)] and long [L ξ(T)] microbridges are theoretically investigated near the critical temperature of the superconductor. Calculations are made in the nonlocal (local) limit when the inelastic relaxation length due to electron-phonon interactions Lin=(Dτin )1/2 is larger (smaller) than the temperature-dependent coherence length ξ(T) (D is the diffusion coefficient, τin is the inelastic relaxation time of the quasiparticle distribution function). We find that, in both limits, the origin of the hysteresis in the IV characteristics is mainly connected with the large time scale over which the magnitude of the order parameter varies in comparison with the time-scale variation of the superconducting phase difference across the microbridge in the resistive state. In the nonlocal limit, the time-averaged heating and cooling of quasiparticles are found in different areas of the microbridge, which are driven, respectively, by oscillations of the order parameter and the electric field. We show that, by introducing an additional term in the time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau equation, it is possible to take into account the cooling effect in the local limit too. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Vodolazov D.Y.,RAS Institute for Physics of Microstructures | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2011

We predict "heating" of quasiparticles driven by order parameter oscillations in the resistive state of short superconducting microbridges. The finite relaxation time of the magnitude of the order parameter |Δ| and the dependence of the spectral functions both on |Δ| and the supervelocity Q are the origin of this effect. Our results are opposite to those of Aslamazov and Larkin and Schmid where "cooling" of quasiparticles was found. © 2011 American Physical Society.

De Roeck A.,CERN | De Roeck A.,University of Antwerp | De Roeck A.,University of California at Davis | Thorne R.S.,University College London
Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

Structure functions are a measure of the partonic structure of hadrons, which is important for any process which involves colliding hadrons. They are a key ingredient for deriving partons distributions in nucleons. In recent years dramatic progress has been made in the understanding of the nucleon structure and the precision of its partonic content, due to vast theoretical progress, and the availability of new high precision measurements. This review gives an overview on present structure functions and related data, and on the most recent techniques used to extract parton distribution functions to describe the structure of the proton. Special attention is given to the determination of the uncertainties on the parton distributions. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Beutels P.,University of Antwerp
Health Affairs | Year: 2016

In the current global environment of increased strain on health care budgets, all medical interventions have to compete for funding. Cost-effectiveness analysis has become a standard method to use in estimating how much value an intervention offers relative to its costs, and it has become an influential element in decision making. However, the application of cost-effectiveness analysis to vaccination programs fails to capture the full contribution such a program offers to the community. Recent literature has highlighted how cost-effectiveness analysis can neglect the broader economic impact of vaccines. In this article we also argue that socioethical contributions such as effects on health equity, sustaining the public good of herd immunity, and social integration of minority groups are neglected in cost-effectiveness analysis. Evaluations of vaccination programs require broad and multidimensional perspectives that can account for their social, ethical, and economic impact as well as their cost-effectiveness. © 2016 by Project HOPE- The People-to-People Health Foundation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.1.4-4 | Award Amount: 5.24M | Year: 2012

The main goal of this proposal is to bring novel technology of biocompatible, low bio-fouling, high electrochemical performance carbon nanomaterials to in-vivo preclinical applications and at the same time to use this materials to develop a highly advanced concept of intimate intracellular contact, based on bottom - up technology of, engulfing the micro-electrode by neural cells. Such bionic interfaces resemble true intrinsic physiological properties of neural somas and form a tight, extremely low-invasive bidirectional coupling for both motor and sensory functions. Advantage of our approach is unperfected fidelity of signals and resolution of single neuron fibers to be coupled to one protruding electrode. The research targets are devices ranging from cuff or lead electrodes to novel bidirectional interfaces for both sensory and motor functions for cybernetic mind-controlled prosthetics. Instead of re-targeting to an entire muscle, our research comes thus with a technique how to couple neurons by an intracellular way to form a single microelectrode-axon stimulating device and at the same time to provide sensory input , being on the front edge of research on bionic interfaces for novel neuroprosthetics. The proposed technology takes advantage of unique properties of well established nanodiamond thin films, with their unique and the simple carbon chemistry allowing integration with antibactericidal and anti-inflammatory surfaces. MERIDIAN will demonstrate devices in in-vivo studies and in preclinical tests on humans and benchmark fabricated devices with the current state of the art bionic system on the market.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.3.1-4 | Award Amount: 4.02M | Year: 2012

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a huge burden in terms of mortality and morbidity worldwide. To improve the management of the bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, the institution of an appropriate antimicrobial therapy as soon as possible has also been shown to be a key element for reducing morbidity and mortality. The aim of our project is to develop a panel of dedicated rapid diagnostic tests to allow the medical staff to link antibiotic prescription on evidence-based diagnosis. In our 3 year project, combining the Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) and microfluidic technologies will allow to address the question of viral or bacterial origin. In the case of a bacteria, a second step will allow to identify which bacteria is of interest with its virulence factors and resistance mechanisms. This new tool will be developed for efficient use in clinical settings in order to allow for a better antibiotic resistance management. Several direct impacts will be observed either on public health (decrease of antibiotic pressure), efficiency of treatment for patients (decrease of infectivity and speed in accurate treatments), for diagnostic laboratories (improve in turn around time), for SMEs (better competitiveness) and more generaly on technological innovations.

In this project we aim to investigate the mechanisms involved in memory storage in the brain by a combination of advanced multisite, single unit neural activity monitoring, closed-loop patterned and cell specific activations, and computational techniques, that would allow developing ways to stimulate brain networks in an activity-driven fashion. Combining neuroscience, neuroengineering and computational methods, we intend to create a technological platform for directly interacting with cell assemblies in a two-way dialogue. Using this, we will investigate whether manipulations of cell assembly activities can actually delete or create memories in behavioral experiments. In particular we will concentrate on the hippocampal/cortical interactions in a memory consolidation context as well as on the interactions between two cortical areas, the prefrontal and perirhinal cortex that form a hierarchical representation of memories. The results will provide solid evidence for the role of assemblies in memory processes, and the proof of concept of how these could be manipulated. Eventually these findings should enable radically new research directions for neuro-inspired technologies such as neuromorphic design and cognitive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) with consequences that we can only begin to imagine.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.3.2-3 | Award Amount: 17.07M | Year: 2010

This proposal is for a large scale collaborative project in which we propose both to develop novel microbicides directed against new intracellular targets and to investigate novel combinations of highly active anti-retroviral drugs which may be particularly effective as microbicides. Combinations may enhance efficacy but equally importantly will increase the genetic barrier to the development of resistance. The proposal includes development of both slow release and gel formulations, pharmacokinetic and challenge experiments in macaques as well as human studies including a collaborative study with an EDCTP-funded project to use multiplex and proteomic technologies as well as culture-independent DNA-based analysis of mucosal microbiota to investigate biomarkers and establish a baseline signature from which perturbations can be recognised. This is a large consortium comprising 30 partners from 8 EU countries and from Switzerland, Ukraine, South Africa and the United States.Partners include microbicide developers, IPM and Particle Sciences, and producers, Gilead, Tibotec and Virco. Two SMEs will also participate in RTD aspects. The consortium is multidisciplinary with scientists engaged in basic discovery working with new targets and developing novel chemistry to produce compounds with improved safety and efficacy profiles as well as altered patterns of resistance.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 2.79M | Year: 2015

Antimicrobial resistance is posing a continuously-rising threat to global health. Indeed, one key recommendation from the recent Action plan against the rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance report (submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and Council (15.11.2011)) is the development of effective antimicrobials or alternatives for treatment of human and animal infections. The INTEGRATE project is a direct response to this. We have assembled a team of 10 beneficiaries from eight EU member states, encompassing both academic and non-academic sectors and different disciplines, to form a consortium committed to training Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the discovery and preclinical validation of novel Gram-negative antibacterial agents and antibacterial targets. The principle aim of the consortium is to provide a training platform where students are exposed to every aspect of the antimicrobial discovery process, ranging from target identification and validation, through organic synthesis, in silico design and compound screening, to mode-of-action and possible resistance mechanisms. This exposure will be accomplished through a concrete secondment plan, coupled with a series of high-level consortium-wide training events and networking programmes. Our intention is to reverse the current fragmentation of approaches towards antibacterial discovery through mutual cooperation. The INTEGRATE training framework is built on an innovative research project aimed at targeting important but non-essential gene products as an effective means of reducing bacterial fitness, thereby facilitating clearance of the pathogen by the host immune system. To achieve this, the individual work programmes have been designed to seamlessly inter-mesh contributions from the fields of in silico design, organic synthesis, molecular biology and biochemistry, and the very latest in vitro and in vivo screening technologies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.3-1 | Award Amount: 31.38M | Year: 2014

Far from receding, the threats posed by infections with epidemic potential grow ever greater. Although Europe has amongst the best healthcare systems in the world, and also the worlds supreme researchers in this field, we lack co-ordination and linkage between networks that is required to respond fast to new threats. This consortium of consortia will streamline our response, using primary and secondary healthcare to detect cases with pandemic potential and to activate dynamic rapid investigation teams that will deploy shared resources across Europe to mitigate the impact of future pandemics on European health, infrastructure and economic integrity. If funded, PREPARE will transform Europes response to future severe epidemics or pandemics by providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks, both in community and hospital settings. It represents a new model of collaboration and will provide a one-stop shop for policy makers, public health agencies, regulators and funders of research into pathogens with epidemic potential. It will do this by mounting interepidemic (peace time) patient oriented clinical trials in children and in adults, investigations of the pathogenesis of relevant infectious diseases and facilitate the development of sophisticated state-of-the-art near-patient diagnostics. We will develop pre-emptive solutions to ethical, administrative, regulatory and logistical bottlenecks that prevent a rapid response in the face of new threats. We will provide education and training not only to the members of the network, but also to external opinion leaders, funders and policy makers thereby streamlining our future response. By strengthening and integrating interepidemic research networks, PREPARE will enable the rapid coordinated deployment of Europes elite clinical investigators, resulting in a highly effective response to future outbreaks based on solid scientific advances.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2008. | Award Amount: 4.68M | Year: 2009

The aim of this project is to achieve an improved knowledge of the terrestrial carbon cycle in response to climate variability and extremes, to represent and apply this knowledge over Europe with predictive terrestrial carbon cycle modelling, to interpret the model predictions in terms of vulnerability of the terrestrial in particular soil carbon pools and give according advice to EU climate and soil protection policies. This objective will be achieved by integrating three major types of recent and new solid scientific carbon cycle data, from: (i) soil process studies, (ii) a network of established ecosystem manipulation experiments, and (iii) long-term observations spanning several times-scales (e.g. eddy covariance data, tree rings and growth, crop yields, long-term remote sensing data on soil moisture and vegetation activity and soil carbon inventories). The integration will be reached by establishing a consistent and harmonized data base and by confronting the terrestrial carbon cycle models with the multiple data sets within a Bayesian model identification and improvement procedure. Specific model development concerning processes affected by extreme events (e.g. soil carbon destabilization, tree growth response incl. lag effects and mortality) will be included and followed by model testing and improvement against the data made available in the project. The improved models will simulate terrestrial processes relevant to carbon balance and soil erosion at pan- European scale using regionalized climate scenarios with explicit inclusion of extreme climatic events. Since we are using several climate scenarios and an ensemble of models we will be able to characterize the uncertainties in prediction coming from models and climate scenarios. We will interpret the empirical evidence from the observational work and the model simulations in a framework of vulnerability assessment and disseminate and discuss results with stakeholders at EU level.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-07-2014 | Award Amount: 20.85M | Year: 2014

COMPARE aims to harness the rapid advances in molecular technology to improve identification and mitigation of emerging infectious diseases and foodborne outbreaks. To this purpose COMPARE will establish a One serves all analytical framework and data exchange platform that will allow real time analysis and interpretation of sequence-based pathogen data in combination with associated data (e.g. clinical, epidemiological data) in an integrated inter-sectorial, interdisciplinary, international, one health approach. The framework will link research, clinical and public health organisations active in human health, animal health, and food safety in Europe and beyond, to develop (i) integrated risk assessment and risk based collection of samples and data, (ii) harmonised workflows for generating comparable sequence and associated data, (iii) state-of-the-art analytical workflows and tools for generating actionable information for support of patient diagnosis, treatment, outbreak detection and -investigation and (iv) risk communication tools. The analytical workflows will be linked to a flexible, scalable and open-source data- and information platform supporting rapid sharing, interrogation and analysis of sequence-based pathogen data in combination with other associated data. The system will be linked to existing and future complementary systems, networks and databases such as those used by ECDC, NCBI and EFSA. The functionalities of the system will be tested and fine tuned through underpinning research studies on priority pathogens covering healthcare-associated infections, food-borne disease, and (zoonotic) (re-) emerging diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential. Throughout the project, extensive consultations with future users, studies into the barriers to open data sharing, dissemination and training activities and studies on the cost-effectiveness of the system will support future sustainable user uptake.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 98.70K | Year: 2014

Narratives play an increasingly important role in (online) communication about health issues. News reporters not only report the cold facts about an upcoming epidemic, but also increasingly employ techniques that are used in novels and movies; serious games use interactive storytelling techniques to improve the health of children; health campaigns use celebrities and role models in order to convince a target audience to adopt healthy habits. In spite of their increasing use, relatively little is known about the effects of narratives in a health communication context, as expertise on narratives is scattered across different disciplines. The objective of the HealthNar program is (1) to strengthen and consolidate the emerging field of narrative health communication and (2) to establish a flourishing and solid multidisciplinary research exchange network on narratives and health. The program does so by bringing together renowned international scholars from health psychology, media psychology, health communication, arts, and interactive communication. Activities planned in the HealthNar program encompass: an electronic communication platform, secondments to partner institutes, the organization of workshops and seminars, joint grant applications, research projects, scientific papers, an edited volume, and a conference. The work in the HealthNar project is organised in five Work Packages. The first work package concerns coordination and management. The second to fourth Work Packages focus on different aspects of narrative communication, intersecting different disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches. Knowledge and skills will be exchanged through seminars, workshops, scientific papers, and weekly meetings between visiting and hosting researchers during the secondments. The fifth Work Package is concerned with synthesizing the acquired knowledge into a new research framework that will be integrated into a research proposal and published in an edited book.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.18M | Year: 2012

The shipping industry is characterised by a high demand for information products and data. There is, however, a need for more advanced information products and analytical services than what is currently on offer. This proposal aims to bring together the two worlds of data providers and maritime economists an foster close collaboration. The aim of this proposal is to launch actual new information products, including the required software tools, that result from this cooperation. This is expected to fill a gap in information demand, such as better forecasting of transport price development by advanced commodity pipeline modelling, better monitoring of the environmental footprint of shipping in a region by combining ship movements with accurate environmental footprint models, and improved financial assessment of shipping companies and activities by integrating creditworthiness information with operational performance of ships. This proposal describes the development of the cooperation between one of the main players in the maritime information industry Lloyds List Intelligence with some of the main players in maritime economics research: the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, City University London/Cass Business School and the university of Antwerp/ITMMA. By exchanging personnel between Lloyds List Intelligence and these academic partners, a dedicated group of researchers is formed that can make the connections between market demand, data availability and advanced economic modelling approaches that are required to fulfil the objective of this project. This process of joint learning is supported by additional training and development activities, as well as some exploratory research to investigate the usefulness of certain modelling approaches. The result of this project is the development of innovative new products and tools, and a sustained collaboration beyond the end of this project.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-06-2014 | Award Amount: 9.66M | Year: 2015

The Modern2020 project aims at providing the means for developing and implementing an effective and efficient repository operational monitoring programme, taking into account the requirements of specific national programmes. The work allows advanced national radioactive waste disposal programmes to design monitoring systems suitable for deployment when repositories start operating in the next decade and supports less developed programmes and other stakeholders by illustrating how the national context can be taken into account in designing dedicated monitoring programmes tailored to their national needs. The work is established to understand what should be monitored within the frame of the wider safety cases and to provide methodology on how monitoring information can be used to support decision making and to plan for responding to monitoring results. Research and development work aims to improve and develop innovative repository monitoring techniques (wireless data transmission, alternative power supply sources, new sensors, geophysical methods) from the proof of feasibility stage to the technology development and demonstration phase. Innovative technical solutions facilitate the integration and flexibility of required monitoring components to ease the final implementation and adaptation of the monitoring system. Full-scale in-situ demonstrations of innovative monitoring techniques will further enhance the knowledge on the operational implementation of specific disposal monitoring and will demonstrate the performance of the state-of-the-art, the innovative techniques and their comparison with conventional ones. Finally, Modern2020 has the ambition to effectively engage local citizen stakeholders in the R&D monitoring activity by involving them at an early stage in a repository development programme in order to integrate their concerns and expectations into monitoring programmes.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-06-2014 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2015

Very preterm birth is a principal determinant of motor and cognitive impairment in later life. About 50 000 infants in the EU survive very preterm birth annually and are at much higher risk of cerebral palsy, visual and auditory deficits, impaired cognitive ability, psychiatric disorders and behavioural problems than infants born at term. However, the long term prognosis at initial discharge from hospital for each individual infant is unknown. Follow-up screening and prevention programmes aim to identify health problems early, enable interventions to improve outcome and to allow optimal management of health care. Despite the recognised importance of these programmes, little is known about their actual application and impact. These programmes consume significant resources because of the multidisciplinary staff required for clinical and developmental assessments and interventions, the coordination required to maintain contact with children after discharge and the time input from families. This project uses a unique resource the EPICE cohort of 6675 babies born before 32 weeks of gestational age and surviving to discharge home in 18 geographically diverse regions in 2011/2012 to assess the impact of these screening programmes on health, care and quality of life for very preterm infants and their families as well as on coverage, ability to meet needs, health equity and costs at the population-level. It will also generate new knowledge about assessment tools and methods. Four inter-related studies will be carried out in 11 EU countries by a multi-disciplinary consortium of clinicians (in obstetrics, paediatrics, and child development), researchers (in epidemiology, health services research and health economics) and a user organisation. Partners have the expertise to implement this project and the national and international renown to translate its result into better programmes and policies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.1. | Award Amount: 6.45M | Year: 2013

Referring to the increasingly challenging EU2020-ambition of Inclusive Growth, the objectives of the InGRID project are to integrate and to innovate existing, but distributed European social sciences research infrastructures on poverty and living conditions and working conditions and vulnerability by improving the transnational data access, organising mutual knowledge exchange and improving methods and tools for comparative research. This integration will provide the related European scientific community with new and better opportunities to fulfil its key role in the development of evidence-based European policies for Inclusive Growth. In this regard specific attention is paid to a better measurement of related state policies, to high-performance statistical quality management, and to dissemination/outreach activities with the broader stakeholder community-of-interest, including European politics, civil society and statistical system. For this purpose key actors of the related European Research Area are coupled in the InGRID consortium, representing specific data infrastructures and cumulated know-how. Pan-European optimisation of the infrastructure is created by organising an open, harmonised high-performance on-site access with an extensive visiting grant system. Joint research activities are conducted for the innovation and optimisation of the infrastructure. Key issues tackled in this respect include: the multidimensionality as a standard for poverty research; the problem of hard-to-identify and hard-to-reach vulnerable groups in data collection; the improvement of longitudinal and regional poverty mapping; the survey technology for linking vulnerability in working conditions with economic change and employers behaviour; the harmonisation of classifying jobs and skills; improving tools to generate comparative policy indicators; optimising the micro-simulation of policy impacts; and statistical quality management.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Such an understanding can provide profound insights into our humanity, leading to fundamentally new computing technologies, and transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Modern ICT brings this prospect within reach. The HBP Flagship Initiative (HBP) thus proposes a unique strategy that uses ICT to integrate neuroscience data from around the world, to develop a unified multi-level understanding of the brain and diseases, and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The goal is to catalyze a global collaborative effort. During the HBPs first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project will outline the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific Community with unique resources and capabilities. Partnering Projects will enable independent research groups to expand the capabilities of the HBP Platforms, in order to use them to address otherwise intractable problems in neuroscience, computing and medicine in the future. In addition, collaborations with other national, European and international initiatives will create synergies, maximizing returns on research investment. SGA1 covers the detailed steps that will be taken to move the HBP closer to achieving its ambitious Flagship Objectives.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2017

Is there a crisis in the legitimacy of the European Union? That research question is timely and important. Investigating it is also an ideal way of training research leaders of tomorrow to rethink our assumptions about the study of legitimate political order. Whilst, however, the financial crisis has raised new questions about the legitimacy of the EU, existing theories of legitimacy crises are largely based on single-state political systems. New theory is, therefore, needed to understand what would count as legitimacy crises in the case of a non-state political system such as the EU. PLATOs (The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU) ESRs will work together as a team to build new theory from 15 investigations into different standards and actors with whom the EU may need to be legitimate. ESRs will go well beyond the state-of-the-art by building a theory of legitimacy crisis in the EU from a uniquely interdisciplinary understanding of how democracy, power, law, economies and societies all fit together with institutions within and beyond the state to affect the legitimacy of contemporary political order. By developing the analytical tools needed to understand a core predicament in which the EU may both need to develop legitimate forms of political power beyond the state and find those forms of power hard to achieve, PLATO will train ESRs with the conceptual clarity needed to define new research questions at the very frontiers of their disciplines and the methodological skills needed to research those questions. They will also be prepared for careers in the non-academic sector (policy-advice, consulting, civil society, European institutions and expert bodies). PLATOs ambitious cross-university, cross-country and cross-sectoral programme of research training, supervision and secondments will pool resources from a unique network of 9 research-intensive universities and 11 non-academic partners who are themselves key users of state-of-the-art social science research.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.5.2 | Award Amount: 9.76M | Year: 2010

TRANSFoRm will develop rigorous, generic methods for the integration of Primary Care clinical and research activities, to support patient safety and clinical research via:\n1.\tRich capture of clinical data, including symptoms and signs rather than just a single diagnosis. A generic, dynamic interface, integrated with electronic health records (EHR), will facilitate both diagnostic decision support and identification of patients eligible for research, thus enhancing patient safety.\n2.\tDistributed interoperability of EHR data and other data sources that maintains provenance, confidentiality and security. This will enable large-scale phenotype-genotype association studies and follow up of trials.\n3.\tSoftware tools and services to enable use of controlled vocabulary and standardised data elements in clinical research. This will enable integration and reuse of clinical data.\nWhy this is important? Whilst diagnostic error is the commonest cause of litigation in Primary Care, EHR systems do not provide for easy collection of the data required for decision support. At the same time, clinical research is becoming uneconomic due to the costs of recruiting and following study participants, tasks that could be supported by the use of data from EHRs.\nWho will conduct the work? A multi-disciplinary consortium of ICT and clinical researchers from across Europe. These include experts in ontology, integration, distributed systems, security, data mining, user-facing design, evaluation and clinical research domains. Clinical participants include The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (where the systems will be deployed), The European General Practice Research Network, and a major Contract Research Organisation.\nWhat is the anticipated impact? Improved patient safety by speeding translational research, quicker and more economic recruitment and follow up of RCTs, and enhanced uptake of eHR systems that offer support for clinical care and research.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMP-23-2015 | Award Amount: 4.98M | Year: 2016

To date, three way catalytic converters (TWCs) have been established as the most effective engine exhaust after-treatment system. However, TWCs not only fail to address the issue of particulate matter (PM) emissions but are also the main industrial consumer of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) mainly Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and Rare Earth elements (REEs), with the automotive industry accounting for 65%-80% of total EU PGMs demand. The enforcement of new limits on PM emissions (EURO 6c/7) will require higher TWC performance, hence leading to further increase the CRMs content in autocatalysts. Addressing the necessity of CRMs reduction in catalysis, PARTIAL-PGMs proposes an integrated approach for the rational design of innovative nanostructured materials of low/zero PGMs/REEs content for a hybrid TWC/Gasoline Particulate Filter (GPF) for automotive emissions after-treatment with continuous particulates combustion also focusing on identifying and fine-tuning the parameters involved in their preparation, characterization and performance evaluation under realistic conditions. PARTIAL-PGMs approach is broad, covering multiscale modeling, synthesis and nanomaterials characterization, performance evaluation under realistic conditions as well as recyclability, health impact analysis and Life Cycle Assessment. The rational synthesis of nanomaterials to be used in these hybrid systems will allow for a reduction of more than 35% in PGMs and 20% in REEs content, either by increasing performance or by their replacement with transition metals. The compact nature of the new hybrid system not only will allow its accommodation in smaller cars but will also reduce cold start emissions and light-off times with performance aiming to anticipate both future emission control regulations and new advances in engines technology. Such R&D progress in autocatalysts is expected to pave the way to the widespread use of such low CRMs content materials in other catalytic applications.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.17 | Award Amount: 9.41M | Year: 2010

EXPEER will bring together, major observational, experimental, analytical and modelling facilities in ecosystem science in Europe. By uniting these highly instrumented ecosystem research facilities under the same umbrella and with a common vision, EXPEER will form a key contribution to structuring and improving the European Research Area (ERA) within terrestrial ecosystem research. EXPEER builds on an ambitious plant for networking research groups and facilities. The joint research activities will provide a common framework and roadmap for improving the quality, interaction and individual as well as joint performance of these infrastructures in a durable and sustainable manner. EXPEER will provide a framework for increased use and exploitation of the unique facilities through a strong and coordinated programme for Transnational Access to the infrastructures. Extensive outreach and collaboration with related networks, infrastructures as well as potential funding bodies will ensure that EXPEER will contribute with its key experiences to the shaping and designing of future research networks and infrastructures, and that it has full support from all stakeholders in reaching its long-term objectives. The establishment of the EXPEER Integrated Infrastructure will enable integrated studies of the impacts of climate change, land use change and loss of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems through two major steps: 1. Bringing together the EXPEER Infrastructures to enable collaboration and integration of observational, experimental and modelling approaches in ecosystem research (in line with the concept developed in ANAEE); 2. Structuring existing network of ecosystem observational, monitoring and experimental sites across Europe (LTER-Europe). Through its integrated partnership, uniting both the experimental, observational, analytical and modelling research communities, EXPEER has the multidisciplinary expertise and critical mass to integrate and structure the European long-term ecosystem research facilities providing improved services and benefits to the whole research community as well as the society in general.

University of Antwerp and Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen | Date: 2012-10-03

The present invention provides methods and kits for detecting and quantifying intracellular histamine and histamine release in individual mast cells and/or basophils by cytometry based on an enzyme-affinity method wherein histaminase diamine oxidase (DAO) is coupled to a laser-excitable fluorochrome.

University of Antwerp and Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen | Date: 2012-10-03

The present invention provides methods and kits for detecting and quantifying intracellular histamine and histamine release in individual mast cells and/or basophils by cytometry based on an enzyme-affinity method wherein histaminase diamine oxidase (DAO) is coupled to a laser-excitable fluorochrome.

Hutto D.D.,University of Wollongong | Hutto D.D.,University of Hertfordshire | Kirchhoff M.D.,University of Wollongong | Myin E.,University of Antwerp
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Radical enactive and embodied approaches to cognitive science oppose the received view in the sciences of the mind in denying that cognition fundamentally involves contentful mental representation. This paper argues that the fate of representationalism in cognitive science matters significantly to how best to understand the extent of cognition. It seeks to establish that any move away from representationalism toward pure, empirical functionalism fails to provide a substantive "mark of the cognitive” and is bereft of other adequate means for individuating cognitive activity. It also argues that giving proper attention to the way the folk use their psychological concepts requires questioning the legitimacy of commonsense functionalism. In place of extended functionalism—empirical or commonsensical—we promote the fortunes of extensive enactivism, clarifying in which ways it is distinct from notions of extended mind and distributed cognition. #x00A9; 2014 Hutto, Kirchhoff and Myin. All Rights Reserved.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2011.2.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 24.91M | Year: 2012

The goal of this proposal (INMiND) is to carry out collaborative research on molecular mechanisms that link neuroinflammation with neurodegeneration in order to identify novel biological targets for activated microglia, which may serve for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, and to translate this knowledge into the clinic. The general objectives of INMiND are: (i) to identify novel mechanisms of regulation and function of microglia under various conditions (inflammatory stimuli; neurodegenerative and -regenerative model systems); (ii) to identify and implement new targets for activated microglia, which may serve for diagnostic (imaging) and therapeutic purposes; (iii) to design new molecular probes (tracers) for these novel targets and to implement and validate them in in vivo model systems and patients; (iv) to image and quantify modulated microglia activity in patients undergoing immune therapy for cognitive impairment and relate findings to clinical outcome. Within INMiND we bring together a group of excellent scientists with a proven background in efficiently accomplishing common scientific goals (FP6 project DiMI,, who belong to highly complementary fields of research (from genome-oriented to imaging scientists and clinicians), and who are dedicated to formulate novel image-guided therapeutic strategies for neuroinflammation related neurodegenerative diseases. The strength of this proposal is that, across Europe, it will coordinate research and training activities related to neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration/-regeneration and imaging with special emphasis on translating basic mechanisms into clinical applications that will provide health benefits for our aging population. With its intellectual excellence and its crucial mass the INMiND consortium will play a major role in the European Research Area and will gain European leadership in the creation of new image-guided therapy paradigms in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2009-2.2-1 | Award Amount: 15.77M | Year: 2010

The goal of IFOX is to explore, create and control novel electronic and magnetic functionalities, with focus on interfaces, in complex transition metal oxide heterostructures to develop the material platform for novel More than Moore (MtM) and beyond CMOS electronics, VLSI integratable with performance and functionality far beyond the state-of-the-art. To this end it will: -Establish a theoretical basis to identify the most promising materials/heterostructures and to understand the new functionalities relevant for electronic applications -Grow oxide films on commercial substrates with a quality comparable to state-of-the-art semiconductor growth -Establish their patterning and processing conditions within the boundary conditions of current fabrication technologies -Characterize their structural, electronic and magnetic properties to deliver concepts for novel charge and/or spin based devices in the areas of memories, logic and sensor applications. Investigations include ferroelectric and ferromagnetic oxides as well as artificial multiferroic heterostructures (deposited on large area silicon substrates) with as final deliverable concepts for multifunctional magneto-electronics devices controlled by electric and magnetic fields and ultimately by ultra short light pulses. The consortium of world leaders in the areas of theory, oxide deposition, lithography, device fabrication, and various characterization techniques will allow full control of all interface properties dominating the physical behaviour of oxide nano- and heterostructures. The goals of IFOX are driven by the needs of a large automotive company (FIAT) seeking to use oxides in electronic sensors for MtM and automotive applications. It is further supported by three SMEs with expertise and infrastructure for epitaxial oxide growth and upscaling on Si with the goal to transfer academic knowledge to industry.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.1.1-2 | Award Amount: 16.07M | Year: 2011

Embryonic stem (ES) cells have the potential to differentiate into any type of cell as well as to renew indefinitely in culture. They hold great potential for the development of personalized medicines. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning cell fate decisions by individual cells are poorly understood. There is compelling evidence that two large multi-protein machines, the Nucleosome Remodelling and Deacetylation (NuRD) complex and the Polycomb Repressive Complexes (PRCs), modulate chromatin structure to control stem cell renewal, lineage commitment and differentiation. Moreover, they are clearly implicated in cancer. The goal of 4DCellFate is to understand how the PRC/NuRD complexes and their plethora of interactions (protein/protein, protein/nucleosome, protein/nucleic acids) regulate cell fate. To obtain this global, quantitative and dynamic 4D understanding of the structure/functions of these two multi-protein machines during ES cell differentiation and in different disease states, we propose a large scale multi-disciplinary data-gathering approach combining European excellence in interactomics (affinity purification, quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics, ChIP-seq analysis, light microscopy), structural biology (X-ray crystallography, NMR, native-state mass spectrometry, Electron Microscopy, biochemistry/biophysics), cellular, tumour, and computational biology. We expect to significantly advance the technology, mainly in the fields of proteomics, structural biology, and small molecule screening, and to make our knowledge, reagents and data publicly available to the scientific community. The ultimate outcome of 4DCellFate will be to lay the foundations for understanding the role of the PRC/NuRD complexes in ES cell differentiation and cancer, specifically in leukaemogenesis. Three SMEs and one large multi-national pharma will be actively involved ensuring that our findings can be translated into new ways to control complex diseases.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2012.6.4-1 | Award Amount: 6.77M | Year: 2012

Urban regions in the EU face increasing but uncertain flood risks due to urbanization and the effects of climate change. In European (a.o. the Flood Risk Directive) and in national and regional policies, attempts are made to diversify and align different Flood Risk Strategies (FRSs). In our proposal, five such strategies are distinguished: risk prevention; flood defense; mitigation; preparation; and recovery. We assume that vulnerable urban agglomerations will be more resilient if multiple FRSs are applied simultaneously, linked together and aligned. At the same time, the application of a diverse cluster of FRSs has to be appropriate, i.e. attuned to the physical and social context. The latter asks for innovative Flood Risk Governance Arrangements (FRGAs). In the proposed program, insights from governance and legal scholars will be integrated and combined, leading to policy design principles for FRGAs as well as concrete recommendations for policy and law at the level of the EU, its member states, regional authorities, and public-private partnerships. Across different EU countries and regions, we expect to identify different mixes of FRSs. We will analyze, explain and evaluate the emergence and dominance of the FRGAs through which these FRSs are institutionally embedded. For this, a comparative analysis of FRGAs in six EU member states will be carried out. This analysis will reveal good practices, provide understanding of the resilience of FRSs as well as their appropriateness in different physical, social and legal contexts. The design principles thus derived, will be brought together in a design-oriented framework for ex-ante evaluation of FRGAs. As part of the program, various target group specific knowledge dissemination activities will be carried out, aimed at regional stakeholders, high level policymakers and EU officers. To this end, Grontmij, a consultancy company, and CEPRI (The European centre for flood risk prevention) have been included in the consortium, apart from universities in the six EU member states.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.3.3-1 | Award Amount: 16.37M | Year: 2011

To address the call for proposals Biology and control of vector-borne infections in Europe launched by the European Commission, we want to investigate the biological, ecological and epidemiological components of vector-borne diseases (VBD) introduction, emergence and spread, and to propose innovative tools for controlling them, building on the basis of acquired knowledge. We have selected the main groups of arthropod vectors involved in the transmission of vector-borne diseases in Europe: ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies, and biting midges (Culicoides). We have also selected the main diseases of actual or possible importance in human and veterinary public health. Rodents, insectivores and rodent-borne diseases have also been considered, both for their direct importance in public health, and for the major role of rodents and insectivores as reservoir hosts of many pathogens. We have put a strong focus on vector- and disease-quantitative modelling. The resulting predictive models will be used to assess climate or environmental change scenarios, as well as vector or disease control strategies. Human behaviour and risk perception are an important component of VBD introduction, emergence and spread. The consequences triggered by VBD for human and veterinary public health in Europe are just starting to emerge in public awareness. We will also account for this aspect of human and veterinary public health in our proposal. Finally, the set of innovative research methods, tools and results obtained during the project will be a step forward a generic approach of VBD in terms of disease monitoring and early warning systems, and will reinforce the general framework for an integrated pest and disease management system. For all these aspects, we will benefit from, and amplify the strong scientific results, capacity building, and research networks established by EDEN project on emerging, vector-borne diseases in a changing European environment.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-2.2.6. | Award Amount: 4.73M | Year: 2012

ANAEE will provide Europe with a distributed and coordinated set of experimental, analytical and modelling platforms to analyse and predict in a precise manner the response of the main continental ecosystems to environmental and land use changes. ANAEE will consist of highly equipped in natura and in vitro experimental platforms associated with sophisticated analytical and modelling platforms coupled to networks of instrumented observation and monitoring sites throughout Europe. ANAEE will bring together, for the first time, the major experimental, analytical and modelling facilities in ecosystem science, agriculture and forestry in Europe. In uniting under the same umbrella and with a common vision these highly instrumented ecosystem research facilities, ANAEE will be a key instrument in both structuring and improving the European Research Area in this field. ANAEE will be the reference point for rigorously assessing ecosystem services and their responses to management by agriculture, forestry and to global change. In the context of the development of European bio-economy, critical political, environmental and scientific questions related to ecosystems functioning and services will be answered. ANAEE will therefore be a key instrument for the implementation of forthcoming national and joint programming initiatives notably the JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 3.74M | Year: 2008

The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) has been selected by the ESFRI roadmap process as one of the 35 crucial pillars of the European Research Area. This project will prepare a major upgrade of SHARE for all 27 EU members plus associated Switzerland and Israel during the decade 2010-2020. SHARE builds an infrastructure of micro data necessary to understand individual and societal ageing as a process in time that is strongly influenced by pension, health care and labour market regimes and their reforms. It is designed by researchers for researchers and integrates economics, medicine, and social sciences. Research based on this infrastructure will also serve as a feedback mechanism to support fact-based EU policies, such as the open method of coordination and the Lisbon agenda, to help meeting the challenges of population ageing in all countries of the EU. The major upgrade of SHARE will have two dimensions. First, it will prolong SHARE over time and generate a genuine panel that follows individuals as they age and react to the changes in the social and economic environment. From a research viewpoint, the time dimension is crucial since ageing is a process that can only be understood if we observe the same individual at different points in time. Second, SHARE will expand to all EU member states. Ageing in the accession states is a particular challenge as these countries are ageing before their social and health institutions are brought to the same level of maturity as in the EU15 countries. Aim of the preparatory phase is to bring the SHARE prototype to the level of financial, legal, governance and technical maturity required to fill important knowledge gaps in individual and population ageing. It involves all stakeholders necessary for the major upgrade, among them research institutes and universities; national science ministries and foundations; two Directorates General of the European Commission; and the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2010-1.1.2 | Award Amount: 3.26M | Year: 2011

InSOTEC aims at identifying the main socio-political challenges for implementing geological disposal and their interplay with technical challenges. It will furthermore provide the IGD-TP with concrete suggestions on how to address these entangled socio-technical challenges. The biggest challenge today lies in adapting the generic concept of geological disposal to the real world environment (both natural and social) in which it needs to be implemented and with which the whole of the waste management system will need to build and maintain a long-term sustainable relationship. Addressing this challenge will imply searching for a strong and lasting connection between the technical and social aspects of managing radioactive waste. InSOTEC wants to contribute to addressing this challenge by: - Identify and clarify socio-technical challenges for implementing geological disposal (and radioactive waste management in general). - Develop further analytical insights into these challenges by means of a number of case studies on specific topics, addressing the interplay between technical and socio-political challenges. - Advance and facilitate mutual learning, and advise and assist scientists and technological experts to develop the tools and the ability to communicate in a two way process about their work and to engage with stakeholders on technical and safety issues. - Advise the IGD-TP on how to strengthen its position and message to the world of decision-makers, through the integration of a social component within its scope of work by: o Exploring with the IGD-TP how to fulfil its ambition to link a broader range of stakeholders (of which some non-institutional) on a structured basis to the platforms Exchange Forum. o Making concrete suggestions to the IGD-TP on how to set priorities for a social sciences and multidisciplinary research agenda that will help to address the socio-technical as one single problem

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 5.69M | Year: 2008

The ICOS project will build an infrastructure for co-ordinated, integrated, long-term high-quality observational data of the greenhouse balance of Europe and of adjacent key regions of Siberia and Africa. Consisting of a centre for co-ordination, calibration and data in conjunction with networks of atmospheric and ecosystem observations, ICOS is designed to create the scientific backbone for a better understanding and quantification of greenhouse gas sources and sinks and their feedback with climate change. The overarching objectives of ICOS are: To provide the long-term observations required to improve understanding of the present state and future behavior of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions, and the factors that control the changing atmospheric composition in greenhouse gases. To monitor and assess the effectiveness of carbon sequestration and/or greenhouse gases emission reduction activities on global atmospheric composition levels, including attribution of sources and sinks by region and sector at atmospheric and ecosystem level. These objectives will be achieved by: Establishing a central facility, the ICOS-centre, which is responsible for co-ordination, calibration and data handling. Maintaining a co-ordinated, integrated, long-term high-quality network of atmospheric and ecosystem observations. Improving access to existing and future atmospheric and ecosystem data for research, and forpolitical decisions. Improving access to state-of-the-art facilities for ecosystem measurements for the European research community. Providing European terrestrial ground-truth data for the validation of emerging remotely sensed datasets on atmospheric composition and land cover as provided e.g. by GMES. Contributing the European share to a global greenhouse gas observation network under IGCO and UNFCCC. (Total characters: 1843)

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2015 | Award Amount: 1.22M | Year: 2016

The main goal of the MediHealth project is to introduce a novel approach for the discovery of active agents of food plants from Mediterranean diet and other global sources to promote healthy ageing. This will be achieved through an extended and well-balanced scheme of researchers secondments between 5 universities and 4 enterprises from EU & Associated countries as well as 4 universities from Third countries. A mutual scientific project developed on the needs and interests of both sectors exploiting the existing complementary expertise will be the base of this proposal. Plants from the Mediterranean diet and food plants from TC will be rationally selected and will be subjected to an integrated, interactive and comprehensive platform including in silico, in vitro (advanced cell-based assays), in vivo (flies and mice models) & metabolism assessment. Advanced analytical techniques will embrace the pharmacological evaluation process for the efficient isolation and identification of bioactive plant constituents. Pharmacological profiling of bioactive natural products as well as identification and synthesis of their metabolites will be carried out. Finally, to carry to the stage of development innovative products in the area of nutraceuticals/dietary supplements process-optimization studies will be performed. Within this project, core scientific multidisciplinary knowledge from different research areas will be integrated creating valuable synergies. Expertise will be transferred by means of the seconded researchers training in environments with different research orientation where complimentary skills are required. Special attention will be given to dissemination activities aiming to public awareness of benefits of healthy diet(s). MediHealth aspires to comprise a successful model promoting considerably researchers competences and long-lasting collaboration between Industry and Academia generating innovation potential at the European and global levels.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-04-2016 | Award Amount: 9.71M | Year: 2017

The projects overall aim is to improve the health, development and quality of life of children and adults born very preterm (VPT, < 32 weeks of gestation) or very low birth weight (VLBW, < 1500g) approximately 50 000 births each year in Europe by establishing an ICT platform to integrate, harmonise and exploit the wealth of data from 20 European cohorts of VPT/VLBW children and adults and their families constituted from the early 1980s to the present, together with data from national registries. VPT/VLBW births have higher risks of cerebral palsy, visual and auditory deficits, impaired cognitive ability, psychiatric disorders and social problems than infants born at term and account for more than a third of the health and educational budgets for children. They may also face higher risks of non-communicable disease as they age. There is emerging evidence of reduced mental health, quality of life, partnering, family life and employment chances and wealth in adulthood. The platform will enable stratified sub-group analyses of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, neonatal complications, and otherwise rare medical conditions that cannot be studied in national population cohorts. The broad temporal, geographic, cultural and health system diversity makes it possible to study the impact of socioeconomic and organisational contexts and determine the generalisability of outcomes for VPT/VLBW populations. The RECAP platform creates a value chain to promote research and innovation using population cohorts, beginning with the integration of VPT/VLBW cohorts to the translation and dissemination of new knowledge. It will be based on a sustainable governance framework, state-of-the art data management and sharing technologies, tools to strengthen research capacity, a hypothesis-driven research agenda and broad stakeholder participation, including researchers, clinicians, educators, policy makers and very preterm children and adults and their families.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: H2020-TWINN-2015 | Award Amount: 980.62K | Year: 2016

The Department of Environmental Sciences at Joef Stefan Institute has invested in new state-of-the-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation and related laboratory infrastructure, an important and essential technique in modern science, but must now bolster its knowledge capacity and raise its research profile through taking practical steps in training and knowledge transfer and networking activities. The project has been designed to further stimulate cooperation and develop long-term strategic partnerships with five research institutes of excellence from five different European countries by establishing a community of practice in advanced mass spectrometric and related techniques applied to three trans-disciplinary thematic pillars: Environment, Health and Food with focus on organic contaminants, element speciation, traditional and non-traditional stable isotopes, nanoparticles and food safety, traceability and authenticity. MASSTWIN has planned management visits, short-term and long-term exchanges of early-stage and senior researchers, thematic scientific workshops/meetings, common working groups and trainings, participation at conferences, trade fairs and open days. MASSTWIN has also been aligned with the objectives of the national Smart Specialization Strategy with an aim to increase science and technology capacity of the JSI-O2. Extensive dissemination/exploitation/communication activities will be aligned with the existing ERAChair ISOFOOD project for Isotope Techniques in Food Quality, Safety and Traceability, coordinated by JSI-O2. The MASSTWIN Users group will consist of representatives of higher education, the JSI Technology Transfer Centre, industry, governmental bodies, NGOs, and wider community through outreach activities and will therefore account for a positive impact not only on involved personnel and their knowledge, but also on institute level and create positive societal and economical impacts.

Human balance is achieved and maintained by a complex set of sensorimotor systems that include sensory input from vision, proprioception and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation); integration of the sensory input; and motor output to the muscles of the eye and body. Failure at the level of the sensory inputs or at the integration of the sensory information by the central nervous system may lead to a variety of age spanning diseases which affect balance. This complexity leads to undiagnosed or under-treated patients with balance disorders for long periods and results in large socio-economic costs.The EMBalance project aims to extend existing but generic and currently uncoupled balance modelling activities leading to a multi-scale and patient-specific balance Hypermodel, which will be incorporated to a Decision Support System, towards the early diagnosis, prediction and the efficient treatment planning of balance disorders. Various data will feed the intelligent system increasing the dimensionality and personalization of the system. Human Computer Interaction techniques will be utilized in order to develop the required interfaces in a user-intuitive and efficient way, while interoperable web-services will enhance the accessibility and acceptance of the system. The vision extends to the experimental and clinical validation of the project outcomes with existing and newly acquired data (by conducting small scale clinical trials), and includes showcases in balance disorders diagnosis, prediction, treatment and follow-up in normal and micro-gravity environments.The final outcome will be a powerful web-based platform provided to primary and secondary care physicians across specialties, levels of training and geographical boundaries, targeting wider clinical acceptance as well as the increased confidence in the developed DSS towards the early diagnostic evaluation, behaviour prediction and effective management planning of balance problems.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-3.1-5 | Award Amount: 3.63M | Year: 2009

The APRES project aims at providing information and recommendations on the appropriateness of prescribing antibiotics in primary care. The appropriateness of prescribing antibiotics is the extent to which the pattern of prescribed antibiotics is congruent with the antibiotic resistance pattern of bacteria. More than 90% of antibiotics in Europe is prescribed to non-hospitalized patients, but existing information on the antibiotic resistance pattern is exclusively based on samples from hospitalized patients. Guidelines for prescribing antibiotics to outpatients cannot be based on empirical evidence about antibiotic resistance of bacteria circulating in the community because this evidence is lacking. The APRES project contains 4 work packages. WP1 includes a) a systematic review on the relationship between outpatient consumption of antibiotics and patterns of antibiotic resistance of pathogens circulating in the community; b) the establishment of a database of information sources and databases in nine European countries on outpatient consumption of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance patterns of pathogens circulating in the community. In WP2 the antibiotic resistance pattern of S. aureus and S. pneumoniae will be established in nine European countries, based on samples from healthy persons consulting in primary care practices participating in nationally representative networks. In WP3 we will establish the 5-year pattern of prescribed antibiotics the same practices and its variation between nine European countries. The data will be retrieved from electronic medical records in the same primary care practices. WP4 includes the integrative analyses by linking the antibiotic prescribing data with the antibiotic resistance patterns obtained in the same practices to establish the appropriateness of prescribing antibiotics. On the basis of these results, country specific guidelines will be formulated for appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SEC-2009-6.2-01 | Award Amount: 8.90M | Year: 2010

Police forces in the EU face serious challenges. Integration in the EU has increased the need for cross force collaboration. Technology has created new capabilities for criminals but also possibilities for the police. Changes in the public opinion and in political expectations have created extra challenges. Responses to these challenges and exploitation of opportunities require major changes to the culture and structure of police forces, but these are far from trivial and how they need to be implemented differs from one country to another. So far, change management in police organizations has not been addressed in a comparative interdisciplinary study with a European scope. Based on a study of police forces in 10 countries across Europe COMPOSITE will improve the planning and execution of change initiatives in the police, show how these projects can be better aligned with the cultural and societal context per country and explain how the negative process effects can be mitigated. A further aim is to improve both the individual police organization per country and joint European capabilities. The project delivers: 1.A comparative strategic analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for police organizations in 10 European countries and best practices to meet current and future challenges. 2.A comparative analysis of planning and execution of the change processes, focusing on the impact of leadership, professional and organizational identities and societal expectations. 3.A toolbox containing instruments for training and consultancy and the Annual European Police force monitor to plan and execute changes responding to known and yet unknown challenges and opportunities. The consortium contains universities, business schools, police academies, a technological research institute and consultancy firms. Police forces from the 10 countries are involved in the research and the dissemination phase of the project and they intend to use the results.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: NMP-2007-3.1-2 | Award Amount: 8.44M | Year: 2008

Recent research results by one of the partners have shown that human beings display unique behaviour (visual strategy), in the way they look at objects. Thus it has been (2006) possible to create spectacles with Progressive Addition lenses which were personalized to a subjects visual strategy, finding that they dimensionally improved overall user experience, practically eliminating the spectacle-adaptation period and giving birth to new business models. The aim of our project is to research and define optimum Business Models by applying a systematic and generic analysis approach (Added Value Stack) to examine current and new business models by examining their margin buffers, sustainability, scalability and risks with the aid of available software modelling tools, and Software Simulators. The objectives of the project are: * To identify and evaluate systematically potential business models with focus on personalisation of spectacles (lenses and frames). * To render this business modelling approach applicable generically to other related visual systems markets and also applicable to other industries and products/services. * To assess the risks and provide remedy strategies associated with the impact of potential spreads of the fundamental parameters of the model in a projected product-lifecycle. * To further develop and/or improve corresponding technologies enabling the practical validation and future implementation of the recommended business model. * To validate in practice at least one recommended business model through a demonstrator prototype. Deliverables of the project will be various researched business model(s) and the tested prototype of at least one model. That prototype demonstrator will consist of networked SMEs implementing and testing in practice the roles and processes defined by the model. From a socio-economic viewpoint, it will impact around 1,3 million citizens in Europe with an annual market size of 2.000M and growth of 4%/year

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2012.2.2-1 | Award Amount: 8.20M | Year: 2013

The central hypothesis of this project is that socio-economic, socio-demographic, ethnic and cultural diversity can positively affect social cohesion, economic performance and social mobility of individuals and groups. A better social cohesion, higher economic performance and increased chances for social mobility will make European cities more liveable and more competitive. In this period of long-term economic downturn (or sometimes even crisis) and increasing competition from countries elsewhere in the world (e.g. China, India), it is important to find out how and under which circumstances Europeans urban diversity can be turned into social and economic advantages. Many current urban policies lack a positive view on urban diversity, because they generally focus on the negative aspects of diversity, such as intolerance, racism, discrimination and insecurity. New policies, instruments and governance arrangements are needed, and sometimes they already exist. We have to find out how they have become successful and how they can be implemented elsewhere. When we acknowledge the hyper-diversity of our urban societies, we also have to acknowledge that these societies cannot flourish from standard or general approaches aiming at, for example, economic growth or better housing or more liveable neighbourhoods. Increasingly, more diverse, more tailored arrangements are needed, arrangements that have an eye for hyper-diverse cities and communities. As a result of the project, new and innovative policy instruments and governance arrangements will be suggested that (a) recognise urban diversity as a positive aspect; (b) increase interaction and communication between the diversity of groups in urban society; and (c) increase participation to satisfy the needs of the communities. The project thus aims at finding out how urban diversity influences three core issues: social cohesion, economic performance and social mobility and how governance arrangements help to strengthen this.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.3.1-2 | Award Amount: 7.82M | Year: 2010

Many results drawn from previous studies of the effect of antibiotic use on emergence, selection and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) have lacked a holistic view combining all aspects into one study. The SATURN project aims to study the impact of antibiotic exposure on AMR with a multidisciplinary approach that bridges molecular, epidemiological, clinical and pharmacological research. Two types of clinical studies will be conducted: First, a randomized trial will be performed to resolve an issue of high controversy (antibiotic cycling vs. mixing). Second, 3 observational studies will be conducted to rigorously study issues surrounding the effect of antibiotic use on AMR that are not easily assessable through randomized trials. These clinical studies will serve as a platform to 2 complementary workpackages (microbiology & pharmacology) that will perform important investigations relevant to this call. The work package focusing on molecular studies will generate new evidence about the changes effected by antibiotic therapy on commensal organisms or opportunistic pathogens in the oropharyngeal, nasal and gastro-intestinal flora and study AMR mechanisms and the dissemination of successful clones of fluoroquinolone-resistant, carbapenem-resistant or extended-spectrum beta-lactamase harboring Gram-negative bacteria, MRSA and fluoroquinolone-resistant viridans streptococci. The purpose of the pharmacodynamic study is to model the relationships between antibiotic exposure and AMR emergence over time for various classes of agents. In summary, the overarching rationale of SATURN is to improve methodological standards and conduct research that will help to better understand the impact of antibiotic use on acquisition, selection and transmission of AMR in different environments, by combining analyses of molecular, individual patient-level and ecologic data. The anticipated results may guide clinical and policy decisions to ultimately reduce the burden of AMR in Europe.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.18M | Year: 2012

SEWPROF aims to develop inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research capability for the next generation of scientists working in the newly-emerging field of sewage epidemiology. It will provide an integrated approach towards public health monitoring at a community level based on innovative sewage epidemiology techniques. The approach will deliver real-time profiling of community-wide health and lifestyle through the analysis of human biomarkers in sewage using a wide-range of methods including hyphenated mass spectrometry techniques, bioanalytical techniques and real-time sensing. The innovative research strategy of obtaining epidemiological information from sewage has been pioneered by members of the SEWPROF team, and, although still in its infancy, is currently used to determine illicit drug use trends at community level via the analysis of urinary biomarkers in sewage. SEWPROF aims to advance knowledge of the epidemiology of (illicit) drug use and to bridge gaps in the available expertise with the ultimate goal of applying this cutting edge interdisciplinary approach within epidemiological studies of societal health. This conceptually simple but methodologically sophisticated epidemiological approach could become an early warning system for outbreaks of disease and a unique tool for the identification of hot-spots for pandemics. This will be achieved through bringing together leaders in the field across Europe in academia, research institutes and the private sector and utilising their expertise and commitment in training a highly employable cohort of researchers who will acquire advanced knowledge in the field through an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral training programme delivered by world class research-led organisations and industrial partners.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-4.2.2. | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2010

By means of a non-Eurocentric, theoretically and empirically sound cross-country and cross-region research design, EUMAGINE studies the impact of perceptions of human rights and democracy on international migration aspirations and decisions. Special attention goes to human rights (including womens rights) and democracy perceptions on Europe, specific European countries, and the relative popularity of Europe in comparison and competition with the US, Russia, Canada and Australia. The core idea of the project is that macro and meso level discourses on human rights and democracy influence micro level perceptions on these themes in countries of origin and transit, which in turn influence migratory aspirations and decisions. To obtain its objectives, the consortium of EUMAGINE (consisting of seven partners, Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium, coordinator), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (Norway), Koc University (Turkey), Universit Mohamed V (Morocco), The Kennan Institute (Ukraine) and Universit Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Sngal)) will study four major source and transit countries, namely Morocco, Senegal, Turkey and Ukraine. For research purposes, the consortium is divided in four Geographical Duo Teams (each composed of a EU and non-EU partner). Based on a multidisciplinary, mixed-method approach (survey, in-depth interviews and observations) and by adopting a case study approach and comparing and contrasting a diversity of important international emigration countries, various types of regions within these countries, several modes of migration, various types of influential discourses, and different profiles of potential migrants, EUMAGINE will provide insights on how perceptions on human rights and democracy are related to migration aspirations and decisions. EUMAGINE is a gender sensitive project in the way that the team will address gender issues in all stages of the research cycle. Dissemination of the (intermediary) project results will be planned carefully and formulated in a program of dissemination elaborated from the start of the project.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.3.1-3 | Award Amount: 15.65M | Year: 2011

Antibiotics are a mainstay of public health, but their use has increased exponentially leading to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The R-GNOSIS (Resistance in Gram-Negative Organisms: Studying Intervention Strategies) project combines 5 international clinical studies, all supported by highly innovative microbiology, mathematical modelling and data-management, to determine - in the most relevant patient populations - the efficacy and effectiveness of cutting-edge interventions to reduce carriage, infection and spread of Multi-Drug Resistant Gram-negative Bacteria (MDR-GNB). All work-packages will progress science beyond the state-of-the-art in generating new and translational clinically relevant knowledge, through hypothesis-driven studies focussed on patient-centred outcomes. The 5 clinical studies will investigate the following interventions: A Point-Of-Care-Testing guided management strategy to improve appropriate antibiotic prescription for uncomplicated UTI in primary care. Gut decolonization in outpatients with intestinal carriage of MDR-GNB. A test and prescribe strategy, based on rapid diagnostic testing of faeces for MDR-GNB to optimize antibiotic prophylaxis in colo-rectal surgery. Contact Isolation of patients with ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in general hospital wards. Three Decolonization strategies in ICUs. Seven laboratories across Europe will perform microbiological analyses, as well as unique quantitative experiments. All information will be integrated by 3 groups of mathematical modellers into highly innovative models to better understand and predict future trends and effects of interventions. The studies and analyses proposed in R-GNOSIS will generate a step-change in identifying evidence-based preventive measures and clinical guidance for primary care and hospital-based physicians and health-care authorities, to combat the spread and impact of infections caused by MDR-GNB in Europe.

Patients suffering from sensori-neural hearing loss caused by damaged hair cells in the cochlea and diagnosed as being profoundly deaf, are potential candidates for cochlear implantation. Today, there are a number of important limitations with respect to the optimal use of these devices in deaf patients. Firstly, cochlear implant speech processors need to be adjusted so that sounds perceived by the patient are representational and at a comfortable level. Manual fitting, currently the norm, is technically demanding and time consuming and clearly suboptimal, as it involves only two of the many electrical parameters in the speech processor. Secondly, manipulation of the implant settings is based on subjective judgments of the patient , which are often inconsistent and do not reflect the outcomes on psychoacoustic measures. For the last few years, experts in the field have expressed the need for a new fitting process that optimizes the patients hearing in a more efficient and accurate way. For this to happen, the fitting procedure should change from a comfort-driven approach to an outcome-driven one. It should also address as many electrical parameters as possible. Ideally, a cochlear implant should come with an assisted or (semi-)automated fitting procedure in which a large number of parameters may be adjusted, based on measured psycho-acoustic feedback from the implant user. Such an assisted fitting process would drastically reduce the number of man-hours of fitting during the lifetime of the device with qualitative with qualitatively better outcomes. The main objectives of the proposed research project are therefore (i) to turn an existing theoretical automated fitting model into a clinical application by means of various techniques from statistics, machine learning and optimisation; (ii) to develop an evaluation tool to measure functional hearing capacities, in casu the ability to understand speech-in-noise, representative for day-to-day listening situations.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-04-2014 | Award Amount: 5.31M | Year: 2015

LANDMARK is a pan-European multi-actor consortium of leading academic and applied research institutes, chambers of agriculture and policy makers that will develop a coherent framework for soil management aimed at sustainable food production across Europe. The LANDMARK proposal builds on the concept that soils are a finite resource that provides a range of ecosystem services known as soil functions. Functions relating to agriculture include: primary productivity, water regulation & purification, carbon-sequestration & regulation, habitat for biodiversity and nutrient provision & cycling. Trade-offs between these functions may occur: for example, management aimed at maximising primary production may inadvertently affect the water purification or habitat functions. This has led to conflicting management recommendations and policy initiatives. There is now an urgent need to develop a coherent scientific and practical framework for the sustainable management of soils. LANDMARK will uniquely respond to the breadth of this challenge by delivering (through multi-actor development): 1. LOCAL SCALE: A toolkit for farmers with cost-effective, practical measures for sustainable (and context specific) soil management. 2. REGIONAL SCALE - A blueprint for a soil monitoring scheme, using harmonised indicators: this will facilitate the assessment of soil functions for different soil types and land-uses for all major EU climatic zones. 3. EU SCALE An assessment of EU policy instruments for incentivising sustainable land management. There have been many individual research initiatives that either address the management & assessment of individual soil functions, or address multiple soil functions, but only at local scales. LANDMARK will build on these existing R&D initiatives: the consortium partners bring together a wide range of significant national and EU datasets, with the ambition of developing an interdisciplinary scientific framework for sustainable soil management.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2007-8.0-01 | Award Amount: 1.83M | Year: 2008

The research concerns the present role of FBOs in matters of poverty and other forms of social exclusion (such as homelessness or undocumented persons) in cities. We define FBOs as any organisation that refers directly or indirectly to religion or religious values, and functions as a welfare provider or as a political actor. The central assumption is that FBOs tend to fill the gap left after the supposed withdrawal of the welfare state in several domains of public life, particularly in social welfare and in social protection. At first sight, this looks like a return to the charity of former times, when such associations occupied the fore of social help in many countries. But we might as well witness the beginning of a new type of welfare regime with a stronger focus on local policies and strategies and new interplays between local authorities and civil society organisations. What is the position of FBOs in combating poverty and other forms of social distress cities? How has this role changed over time and how do these activities contribute to combating social exclusion and promoting social cohesion? What are the implications for policies and the governance of European cities? From both scientific and policy perspectives, there is a great need for better empirical and comparative data on what is going on in European cites in matters of poverty and exclusion policies and, in particular, the contribution of FBOs in the reduction (or deepening) of the problems. FBOs have direct entrance to the poor side of cities because of (1) their activities in deprived urban neighbourhoods and among excluded groups and (2) as in the case of many FBOs with a non-western background, because their members often belong to these deprived and excluded groups themselves.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.30 | Award Amount: 9.70M | Year: 2011

The central objective of this ESMI proposal is to create a top-level interdisciplinary research infrastructure available to a broad European materials research community. This is of crucial importance to the EU in view of the European strategy for nanosciences and nanotechnology and its implementation report that identifies a lack of leading interdisciplinary infrastructures. ESMI offers the most important experimental and synthesis techniques and combines world-class infrastructures with cutting edge scientific expertise through a sophisticated networking programme. The anticipated JRA will further improve the existing infrastructure. Computer simulations being of increasing importance for the understanding and prediction of complex materials, ESMI offers access to simulation groups and their advanced tools. The availability of such an infrastructure will provide soft matter scientists with a broad choice of techniques to address their scientific objectives. It will result in a quantum leap in research opportunities and assure that European scientists have a world-class collaborative capability for their frontier research. ESMI will strongly contribute to a fundamental understanding, allowing the development of new, tailored smart materials. ESMI follows the FP6 experience of the NoE SoftComp. A key feature developed within SoftComp is the highly successful Research Platforms offered to its members, anticipating the spirit of the EU Integrated Infrastructure Initiative. ESMI will promote the SoftComp experience to the European materials community, reflecting the EU recommendations that FP6 collaborative projects may well lead to new European infrastructures. Together with a platform for disseminating the results and educating a new generation of young soft matter scientists, ESMI represents an important added value to the European Research Area in nanoscience, nanotechnology and materials science

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2009.;ENV.2009. | Award Amount: 8.93M | Year: 2010

The GHG-Europe project aims to improve our understanding and capacity for predicting the European terrestrial carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) budget by applying a systematic, comprehensive and integrative approach. GHG-Europe quantifies the annual to decadal variability of the carbon and GHG budgets of terrestrial ecosystems in EU27 plus Switzerland and in six data-rich European regions via data-model integration, diagnostic and predictive modelling. Models are calibrated by multi-site observations. Research includes CO2, CH4 and N2O in forests, croplands, grasslands, shrublands, peatlands and soils. Via an integrated approach, GHG Europe scales up consistently from local to regional and continental scale via scale dependent error propagation and systematic quantification of uncertainties, model validation at different scales and top-down verification by atmospheric inversion models. At regional and European scale lateral C transport by land use, trade and rivers are included. Variability in C and GHG budgets is attributed to natural (climate) and anthropogenic drivers (N deposition, land use, past and present management) by synthesis of past and emerging experiments, targeted observations in hot spots and hot moments and model sensitivity analyses. For this purpose, observations are extended to under-sampled regions and ecosystems with likely high importance for the European C budget: forests and land use change in Eastern Europe and Mediterranen shrublands. The future vulnerability of carbon pools and risks of positive feedbacks in the climate-carbon system are assessed by scenario analyses with biophysical models and by integrating feedbacks with socio-economic changes and EU climate and land use policies. GHG-Europe uses a bidirectional interaction with stakeholders to provide regular and timely scientific advice targeted to the emerging needs of the UNFCCC process and for implementing post-2012 climate commitments in Europe.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.22. | Award Amount: 9.76M | Year: 2012

ESTEEM2 is an integrated infrastructure of electron microscopy facilities providing access for the academic and industrial research community in the physical sciences to some of the most powerful characterization techniques available at the nanoscale. Transnational access to ESTEEM2 centres is obtained through a transparent, simple peer review process based on merit and scientific priorities. Service to users is supported by a networking programme which addresses key issues such as specimen preparation, data interpretation through theory and simulation, and standardization of protocols and methodologies. A series of schools and workshops provide training in innovative methods in electron microscopy and a forum for discussing emerging (cutting-edge) techniques. Directed research programmes focus on the further development of electron diffraction, imaging and spectroscopy and the advancement of 3D methods and time resolved experiments. In all, ESTEEM2 establishes a strategic leadership in electron microscopy to guide future developments and promote electron microscopy to the wider research community at large.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2012.5.1-1 | Award Amount: 8.43M | Year: 2013

The European Court of Justice expects European citizenship to become the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States. It lies at the heart of the European integration process. The treaties, legislation, and case law have given Europeans an increasing number of rights. Yet the European Commission complains that these remain underused. Therefore, it has included in FP7 a call for a large-scale IP, identifying and analyzing barriers to exercising such European citizenship rights. Utrecht University is initiating a response to this call. In its project proposal it identifies research questions and several categories of potential hindrances as answers to some of them: contradictions between different rights, multilevel rights, and differences in priorities Member States accord these rights; differences in political, administrative, and legal institutions; financial restraints; lack of sufficient solidarity; administrative and bureaucratic hurdles; language problems; and other practical barriers to claiming and exercising rights - and related duties. Furthermore we distinguish citizenship rights by the types of rights - economic, social, political, and civil - and by the ascribed characteristics of the subjects of these rights: male and female, young and old, native and immigrant. We believe multidisciplinarity will help in identifying and analyzing barriers to the exercise of European citizenship. We can learn from other times and places; therefore we add a historical and comparative dimension to the analysis. And we aim to combine insights from the historical, legal, and social sciences. Overall we want to investigate the options for a multilayered citizenship true to the EUs motto In Varietate Concordia. The research questions and theoretically identified barriers will be investigated in 12 different work packages, each containing specific research objectives, tasks, roles of the participants, and deliverables

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MG-9.3-2014 | Award Amount: 1.67M | Year: 2014

BENEFIT takes an innovative approach by analysing funding schemes within an inter-related system. Funding schemes are successful (or not) depending on the Business Model that generates them. The performance of the Business Model is affected by the implementation context and the transport mode. It is matched successfully (or not) by a financing scheme. Relations between actors are described by a governance model (contracting arrangements). These are key elements in Transport Infrastructure Provision, Operation and Maintenance. Success is a measure of the appropriate matching of elements. Within BENEFIT funding and financing schemes are analysed in this respect. Describing these key elements through their characteristics and attributes and clustering each of them is the basis of, first, developing a generic framework. This allows for the transferability of findings with respect to lessons learned, limitations and the impact of the financial and economic crisis. Identifying best matches in their inter-relations and where to intervene, leads to move from a generic framework to a powerful decision policy tool, which can assess funding schemes for investments in modern infrastructure with smart pricing and funding in view of 2050 challenges and needs. The BENEFIT partnership takes stock of over twenty years of EC funded, national and international research. It receives direct input (evidence study cases) from the OMEGA Centre and COST Action TU1001. It is set-up to share and exchange knowledge and debate. Its high level international advisory group and its consultation group demonstrate its ability to reach out to all stakeholders to share its innovative approach. Namely: 1)Transport infrastructure business models and their project rating by which further value propositions may be included to lead to funding schemes with enhanced creditworthiness enabling viable financing 2)Transferability 3)Open-access case study database serving both practitioners and researchers

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH.2011.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 3.46M | Year: 2012

This research proposal takes as its starting points: (a) the long standstill in poverty reduction, especially for people of working age, (b) the complementarity between employment, economic growth and social inclusion that is focal in the EU 2020 strategy, and, (c) the emergence of socially innovative policies and actions in the margins of the European welfare states. It aims at the evaluation of the Lisbon decade in terms of policies and actions against poverty at European, national and sub-national level and at improving the understanding of the interrelationships between employment, social protection and social inclusion and between institutionalised macro level social policies and innovative local action. The proposal views sustainable growth strategies, effective employment policies and adequate social designs as the drivers of every strategy to reduce and eliminate poverty and social exclusion. It considers local socially innovative practices as laboratories to complement and modify these macro-level policies. The quantitative analysis of poverty trends in the past, the adequacy of existing policies and the implications of alternative scenarios for employment and tax-benefit-services schemes to meet the 2020 poverty targets will therefore be complemented with in-depth studies of selected cases of local social policies. The research will develop new tools for monitoring poverty, social policy and social innovative practices. For the first time reference budgets will be computed for several member states. The research consortium together with the support from well-known associates and two outstanding Advisory Boards, involving academics, policy makers and civil society organisations and the broad dissemination plan, will allow the highly experienced multidisciplinary research team to deliver important new answers to questions of great importance to European societies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2013

The goal of the Multi-Partner ITN-RAPID (Reactive Atmospheric Plasma processIng - eDucation network) is the realization of an interdisciplinary training involving the disciplines physics, chemistry and engineering. As a result, RAPID will create the platform for a truly European PhD in plasma technology. The scientific goal is the development of non-equilibrium reactive processes in atmospheric pressure plasmas. Thereby, the great success of low pressure plasmas enabling a multitude of applications ranging from material synthesis, automotive and microelectronics can be repeated. In addition, even more applications become possible due to the easy integration of atmospheric pressure plasmas in current industrial processes. Hot topics such as large area solar cells, barrier coatings to improve the permeation properties of polymers and plasma chemical gas conversion are selected. The research success requires a specific training covering diverse aspects such as modeling and simulation of plasmas and surfaces, diagnostic to validate these models and the implications for industrial scale-up. This will be trained in a coordinated effort involving 10 academic and 10 industrial partners from 8 European countries.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.4.2-4 | Award Amount: 15.96M | Year: 2011

More than 50% of heart failure (HF) patients present without a major deficit of left ventricular (LV) systolic function and are presumed to suffer from diastolic HF (DHF) because diastolic LV distensibility is usually impaired in these patients. The vast majority (~80%) of DHF patients is exposed to metabolic risk factors. The MEDIA consortium therefore investigates:1) how metabolic derangements contribute to DHF; 2) how diagnostic algorithms for DHF can be improved by assessing metabolic risk; 3) how correction of metabolic risk can open new therapeutic perspectives for DHF.Hereto MEDIA will: 1) Expose animal models of DHF to intense metabolic risk in order to accelerate DHF development. 2) Perform mechanistic studies in cardiomyocytes derived from DHF animal models or from DHF patients. Because of the acquired nature of metabolic risk, these studies will focus on posttranslational modifications of proteins and on epigenetic control of hypertrophy development. Their relevance for global LV function will also be appraised; 3) Perform mechanistic studies on myocardial collagen synthesis, which is enhanced by metabolic risk, and execute a phase II trial in DHF with cardiac specific antifibrotic therapy; 4) Explore the use of biomarkers as premorbid identifiers of DHF in existing cohorts of patients exposed to metabolic risk; 5) Prospectively test biomarkers and arterial stiffening, which is accelerated by metabolic risk, for their diagnostic potential in a large DHF cohort; 6) Assess myocardial metabolic substrate preference with modern imaging techniques and improve diastolic LV dysfunction through modified substrate utilization in a phase II trial. Expected results of MEDIA are: 1) Identification of metabolic risk-related mechanisms as therapeutic targets; 2) Improved diagnostic algorithms through inclusion of biomarkers and arterial stiffness tests. 3) Novel treatments consisting of modified myocardial substrate utilization and myocardial antifibrotic therapy.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 3.93M | Year: 2014

EGERA brings together eight research and higher education institutions in seven EU member states (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) \ Turkey, bound by a same commitment to the dual objective of achieving gender equality in research, and strengthening the gender dimension in research. Made up of five universities covering an ample array of disciplines, from social sciences to STEM, a research centre on climate change belonging to the Czech Academy of Science, an independent evaluation structure specialized in the design and monitoring of gender equality plans, EGERA is coordinated by Sciences Po, a leading institution in social sciences in Europe. With view to bring about sustainable and measurable cultural and organizational changes to promote gender equality, EGERA has secured the full support of the top management structures of its respective partner institutions. Fully-fledged Gender Equality Action Plans (GEAPs) will be implemented and continuously enhanced along this four-yearlong project by the seven implementing partners. GEAPs will articulate a structural understanding of gender inequalities and bias in research with a set of actions covering the most salient issues with respect to the recruitment, retention, appraisal and empowerment of women in research, and to the mainstreaming of gender knowledge across disciplinary fields. Drawing upon innovative methods, of which some have been experimented and evaluated under previous/on-going FP7 projects, our cumulative and inclusive approach will notably support the operationalization of structural changes with both an intensive and extensive use of gender training, as an instrument for effective gender mainstreaming strategies. Mobilizing considerable gender expertise and relying upon multi-level women in science policy networks, EGERA will also put efforts into the dissemination of its outputs and achievements across the European Research Area.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.5.1 | Award Amount: 11.78M | Year: 2008

TheraEDGE is an industry-driven effort to accelerate the adoption of theranostics applications in Primary Care by pushing Point of Care Test (POCT) technology far beyond its current state-of-the-art and by delivering clinical, analytical and operational breakthroughs.\nTheraEDGE is built around the high-incidence clinical case of early-diagnosing lower respiratory tract infections in Primary Care. Simultaneous testing for different pathogens and their antibiotic resistance will have a huge European impact:\nbetter clinical outcomes and standards of care through more effective and timely diagnosis and treatment\nimproved health economics through optimization of antibiotics prescription, infection control practices and reduction of clinical visits or hospital stays\nsubstantial business for the In Vitro Diagnostics industry through the standardisation and commercialization of innovative POCT products and systems\nTheraEDGE consists of three multidisciplinary platforms:\na core Lab-On-a-Chip supporting multi-marker assays and using Single Molecule Detection (SMD) as an alternative to PCR-based molecular diagnostics. SMD removes the need for amplification and has the potential to become a key enabler for Nucleic Acid Testing at the Point of Care by providing less complex, faster, more sensitive and more specific assays\nan architecture that provides Plug and Play semantic interoperability and creates opportunities for the standardisation of POCT instruments and information systems, offering radical usability, robustness and vendor interoperability improvements. Practitioners will be able to run out-of-the-box multiple compliant devices from one single PDA-based operator interface\na set of applications built on a convergent ITC platform that supports General Practitioners in their patient management and clinical decision-making, and provides therapeutic services for patient education and compliance monitoring in order to fight antibiotic misuse and abuse.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.2.2-4 | Award Amount: 5.62M | Year: 2012

The main objective of NEXTGENCAT proposal is the development of novel eco-friendly nano-structured automotive catalysts utilizing transition metal nanoparticles (Cu, Ni, Co Zn, Fe etc) that can partially or completely replace the PGMs. Based on nanotechnology, low cost nanoparticles will be incorporated into different substrates, including advanced ceramics (SiO2, perovskite etc) and silicon carbides, for the development of efficient and inexpensive catalysts. The main idea of the proposal is the effective dispersion and the controllable size of the metal nanoparticles into the substrate that will lead to improved performance. To this end a modified polyol process as well as chemical and physical treatment of selected substances will enable the introduction of transition metal nanoparticles on the catalyst substrate precursors via adsorption and ion-exchange. The presence of metal ions sorbed on fixed precursor sites will inhibit the agglomeration during heating and final products with very fine particle dispersion and tuneable metal content will be obtained. It is expected that the developed catalysts will exhibit increased catalytic performance, even at low temperatures (200-250oC). Other key properties of the proposed nanostructured catalysts include: increased thermal stability (avoiding aggregation), improved durability, capability of reuse and recovery of transition metals as well as low health and environmental impact. Apart from the scientific innovations and the environmental impact, the proposal holds also great economic importance. Taking into account that the autocatalyst industry uses extremely large quantities of precious metal-68% of Pt and 72% of Pd in Europe the impact of replacing PGMs is of tremendous significance. Based on the current metal prices, it is estimated that the developed catalysts will reduce the catalyst cost at about 40-50%, opening the way to an efficient adaptation of nanotechnology-based catalysts in the automotive sector.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2012.3.2-1 | Award Amount: 8.36M | Year: 2013

The main objectives of this project are to investigate the diversity of family forms, relationships, and life courses in Europe; to assess the compatibility of existing policies with these changes; and to contribute to evidence-based policy-making. The project will extend our knowledge on how policies promote well-being, inclusion and sustainable societal development among families. Our approach relies on three key premises. First, family life courses are becoming more diverse and complex. Second, individual lives are interdependent, linked within and across generations. Third, social contexts and policies shape individual and family life courses. Building upon these premises we a) explore the growing complexity of family configurations and transitions, b) examine their implications for men, women and children with respect to inequalities in life chances, intergenerational relations and care arrangements, c) investigate how policies address family diversity, d) develop short- and longer-term projections, and e) identify future policy needs. Transversal dimensions that are integrated into the project are gender, culture, socioeconomic resources and life stages. Our approach is multidisciplinary combining a wide range of expertise in social sciences, law and the humanities represented in the consortium of 25 research partners from 15 European countries, old and new member states, and three transnational civil society actors. We will conduct comparative analyses applying advanced quantitative methods to high quality register and survey data, and qualitative studies. The project will also develop a database of the legal content of family forms available in European countries, suitable for comparative analyses. Together with various stakeholders, government agencies, national and local policy-makers, non-governmental organizations and additional members of the scientific community across Europe, we will identify and disseminate innovation and best policy practices.

News Article | December 17, 2015

Hit songs are getting so predictable. No, literally. The recipe for what makes a pop or dance song a hit has apparently become so formulaic, a computer algorithm can predict with above-average accuracy the likelihood that a song will top the charts. Hit prediction science is still in its infancy and so far attempts have been hit or miss, but I talked to a team of data scientists from the University of Antwerp in Belgium that developed one of the more accurate prediction tools I’ve seen. Their research singled out the genre of dance music (which tends to have songs with greater similarity) and was successfully able to forecast whether a song would be a top 10 hit. Their initial research looked at dance hits from 1985 through 2014, but I asked one of the study authors, Dorien Herremans, to run this year’s top Billboard dance singles through their prediction tool. The algorithm predicted a 65 percent or higher probability of a hit for all of the top 10, and over 70 percent probability for 6 out of 10 songs. Not too shabby. We also tested the hit potential of the dance and electropop songs on the UK Official Charts top 10 singles of the year, and got similarly positive results. They all scored between a 68 to 90 percent hit probability. “The hit predictions seem very good! Even better than the ones we did in the paper,” said Herremans, who now works in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London. The team published a paper last year explaining how the model works. To quantify the building blocks of a hit, you first have to break down a song into its various audio characteristics. They pulled this data from The Echo Nest, the music intelligence software that analyzes and categorizes audio data to power the search and recommendation features on services like Spotify. They looked at 139 different musical aspects to analyze songs. This includes basic features like length, tempo (measured in beats per minute or bpm), time signature, key, and loudness; more subjective features like beat, energy, and danceability; and even more intangible qualities like a song’s timbre or tone color, or what we might think of as its general feel. Timbre is measured by 13 different features related to the basic components of the audio spectrum, and how each changes over time. For example, the number of high or low frequencies in a sound determines its perceived “brightness." “It seems that brightness has a big influence and how the time between beats evolves throughout a song,” said Herremans. The theory of course is that popular songs share a certain set of features that make them appealing to the majority of people, and that you can test any new song against those success markers to predict its commercial potential. (It’s important to note that hit-predicting algorithms tend to leave out certain crucial factors for determining a song’s commercial success, like marketing budget, the social mood, the music video, or artist name recognition.) The team initially tested about 3,500 songs that charted in the top 10 from 1985-2014, and found they could predict a hit with an above-average accuracy. Since they looked at hit songs across almost 30 years (adjusting the formula since the anatomy of a hit evolves over time) and found it could predict more recent songs with greater accuracy. The research also found some interesting historical insights. Dance hits have been getting louder and faster over time, but their “danceability” (a proprietary formula of The Echo Nest) has actually decreased; apparently wanting to dance to it is no longer a firm requirement of a successful dance song. Naturally, there’s a whole lot of interest in this burgeoning field of hit song science. A handful of smash hits still makes up the majority of a record company’s profits, and labels pour billions into finding talent in hopes of striking that gold. Devising a reliable scientific measure of what makes a song a success, unglamorous as it may be, is a mighty lucrative endeavor. But the implication that the essence of popular music can be boiled down into a simple, exploitable equation has been met with some controversy, and rightfully so. There’s a lot of math behind making music, but even pop music is ultimately an art form. And there have been some failed attempts at computerized hit prediction. The entrepreneur that initially coined the term "Hit Song Science," Mike McCready, later had his claim picked apart by researchers that determined there just wasn’t enough science in his science. The commercial arm of Hit Song Science, Uplaya, went on to flop. “Some other research tried to build models on pop songs, yet with bad results,” said Herremans. “Dance charts seemed to be songs in the most similar style, versus pop charts that can contain both rock or dance songs. By choosing one particular style, we can gather more directed features and get better prediction.” Another “Hit Potential Equation,” developed a few years ago by researchers at the University of Bristol, also relied on The Echo Nest intelligence to analyze the anatomy of a hit. It used just 23 audio features to analyze hit across all genres going back 50 years, and found it could predict a hit with 60 percent accuracy—better than a random coin toss, though not by much. If you want to play with some prediction yourself, you can upload mp3 files to the dance hit predictor tool here. The team is working on a follow-up study that also looks at social media behavior of influencers who listen to hits before they hit the charts. “First tests seem to indicate that this makes the predictions even more accurate,” Herremans said. The team also suggested they could expand the tool to create an optimization feature to use while composing a song to help generate new hits. What is clear is that this field of research isn’t going anywhere, especially as music AI advances. It’s no secret that increasingly today’s hit songs are manufactured from a time-tested formula by producers that know how to give the public what the data suggests it wants. Testing that recipe against the mathematical equation for success, and ultimately, using an algorithm to generate hit songs, are logical next steps for the hit making factory.

News Article | September 14, 2016

An international team of physicists, led by researchers at the University of Arkansas, has observed spontaneous mechanical buckling in freestanding graphene using scanning tunneling microscopy, indicating it has potential to be a new electronic power source. The discovery advances the understanding of graphene, a two-dimensional material that is a mere single atom in thickness, and its potential role in the development of next-generation electronic devices. The research team published its findings in Physical Review Letters, the journal of the American Physical Society. The discovery was also highlighted on the society’s Physics news site. The researchers used scanning tunneling microscopy, which produces images of individual atoms on a surface, to demonstrate the spontaneous mechanical buckling. The finding opens a new field of research in the study of dynamic behavior of freestanding two-dimensional materials controlled by scanning tunneling microscopy, says Paul Thibado, professor of physics at the U of A who led the study. “Freestanding graphene is constantly in motion,” Thibado says. “It moves up and down like a buoy bobbing in the ocean. The bobbing motion is intermittently interrupted when the material flips from looking like the inner part of a bowl to the outer part of the bowl — that high velocity, snap-through movement is known as mechanical buckling.” The researchers found that the buckling movement correlates to a phenomenon known as a “Lévy flight,” named for the French mathematician Paul Lévy. Lévy flight refers to a random walk process in which long excursions occur with higher statistical probabilities than a normal system in constant random motion. Lévy flights are common in biological systems and accurately model animal foraging patterns. The phenomenon hasn’t been observed at the atomic-scale with an inorganic system until this study, Thibado says, making it possible to predict and control long excursion events. “Buckling events in 2D materials hold the key to understanding the phenomenon of Levy flights,” he says. Freestanding graphene’s continuous motion, augmented by the high kinetic energy of these random inversions, could be converted into electrical current and used in place of batteries to power small electronic devices, Thibado says. There is an urgent need for the development of power sources other than batteries, especially as wireless sensor networks that connect non-computer objects to the internet grows. Such wireless sensor networks are collectively known as the Internet of Things, such as running shoes that provide performance feedback to an athlete or a “smart” irrigation system that monitors and reports moisture levels of distant fields. Surendra Singh, professor of physics at the U of A and a co-author of the study, helped identify the connection between Lévy flights and the statistical properties of the system. Co-author Pradeep Kumar, assistant professor of physics at the U of A, provided insight into developing the molecular dynamics simulation, which proved that the mechanism for the long excursions was mechanical buckling. The study was conducted primarily through a research partnership between the U of A and the University of Antwerp in Belgium. The results were obtained through a collaborative effort with U of A physics graduate Matthew Ackerman and Mehdi Neek-Amal and Francois Peeters of the University of Antwerp. The research was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation, Flemish Science Foundation, and Methusalem Foundation of the Flemish Government.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007. | Award Amount: 2.33M | Year: 2008

Most buildings of cultural/historical interest are located in urban environments. They undergo a number of different external forcings, which need to be addressed separately. It is important to consider local-scale variations of the urban environment, such as changes in pollutants, temperature field, relative humidity cycles, wind field, urban heat island effect etc. The most important challenge at the present time is to understand the different types of damage to cultural heritage that environmental changes will cause. In fact, the available scenarios of multi-pollutants trends in Europe and the world indicate that the effects of industrial, civil and transport emissions on corrosion and soiling will constitute a serious threat to cultural heritage. Such effects require improved methods of quantification to arrive at a more accurate damage assessment, diagnosis and monitoring of the movable and immovable cultural heritage. The high costs of preventive conservation and maintenance of the built cultural environment urgently impose the prioritization of air pollution monitoring in order to ensure a sustainable protection. For the purpose of attaining these goals, ad hoc devices and tools are necessary to identify and monitor the changing damage processes affecting immovable and moveable cultural heritage. This will be reached with TeACH developing its objectives. Among these, the main ones are: identify the multi-pollutants and prioritize the principal ones; Identify ways of improving the more reliable and efficient among existing technologies and tools, developing new devices and tools, particularly a new a compact and economical kit of instruments;deliver guidelines for the future prioritization of air pollution and disseminate the results.

SGS, a leading life sciences pharmaceutical clinical and bioanalytical contract solutions provider, today announced the appointment of Dr. Katrien Lemmens as Medical Director for early phase clinical trials. Arcueil, France, 02-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Dr. Lemmens joins the medical team based at its 88-bed clinical pharmacology unit in Antwerp, Belgium. In total, the SGS clinical pharmacology unit in Antwerp now employs nine full time medical doctors: four clinical research physicians, four investigators and one safety physician. Dr. Lemmens obtained her MD in 2000, and a PhD in 2006 from the University of Antwerp. She started her medical career as a clinical cardiologist, before undertaking a post-doctoral position at the physio-pharmacology laboratories at the University of Antwerp. Dr. Lemmens went on to join Janssen Pharmaceuticals where she was Medical Director of its Clinical Pharmacology Unit in Meksem, before rejoining the University of Antwerp as Associate Professor of Pathophysiology and Pharmacology. “Katrien joins SGS at an exciting time for the company. We look to strengthen our medical team with talents to match our strategy of ensuring our clients have access to best in class experts and services for their early phase patient clinical trials,” commented Jean-Luc Marsat, Managing Director at SGS Clinical Research. “Understanding the increasingly complex clinical needs of clients and implementing solutions is what drives us as a company. This year we have seen the appointment of five senior medical staff to our team to increase and diversify the expertise we can offer.” SGS provides Phase I to IV clinical trial management and services, encompassing data management and statistics, PK/PD modelling and simulation, pharmacovigilance and regulatory consultancy. In addition to its clinical research services, SGS leverages its wholly-owned global network, with 21 laboratories offering contract analytical and bioanalytical services. These laboratories are present in North America, Europe, and Asia, and deliver harmonized solutions to large pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. For further information, please contact: About SGS SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.

News Article | March 30, 2016

By half past four in the morning, PhD student Warren Stevenson has been awake for 22 hours. “I'm tired — but we work now or we don't work at all,” he says, leaning back on his swivel chair and staring resolutely at two computer screens. “We plan to take a nap at 6 a.m. and wake up at 8. It'll be intense.” Stevenson's intensity is warranted: he has just a few precious hours to collect data crucial for his PhD about the structure of liquid crystals. And he is not the only scientist determined to defy sleep on this freezing November night. Nearby, in rooms positioned around a vast circular chamber, workers are simultaneously conducting 28 separate experiments. This is the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France — a giant science factory that, for 24 hours a day and as many days a year as its engineers can safely manage, pulses out the most intense high-energy X-ray beams in the world. The teams who come here work in different fields: some study fossils, others batteries, still others proteins, minerals, artwork or archaeological treasures. But each visits for the same reason: to examine the structure of material by exposing it to light with the short wavelength that's needed to reveal details at the scale of atoms. Work hours are long: most of the current visitors arrived yesterday and have been granted only a few 8-hour shifts to collect their data. And competition to use the machine is so fierce — around 45% of requests are granted — that the facility operates around the clock to fit in as many as possible. Altogether, some 8,000 scientists visit here each year, conducting upwards of 2,000 experiments and producing the raw material for around 1,800 papers. In the past seven years, two Nobel prizes have been awarded for discoveries made at the synchrotron. It is a non-stop, international, interdisciplinary laboratory — which is why Nature spent 24 hours walking its tunnels to observe a slice of contemporary science as it unfolds (see 'The synchrotron that never sleeps'). “Our time here is precious. It will be months before our next visit — or it could be a year if we aren't lucky,” says Xiangbing Zeng, Stevenson's PhD supervisor. Some visitors have teams large enough to rotate in shifts; many others will return home with dark circles under their eyes. But the scientists don't mind. They value the opportunity to bury themselves in data collection while escaping the rest of life. “For the week after, you feel jet-lagged,” says biochemist Andrea Schmidt. “It doesn't get any easier. But it's always exciting to come here.” Schmidt is already looking harried. She and two colleagues flew in yesterday from the Charité medical university in Berlin, bringing with them 120 precious protein crystals frozen in a flask of liquid nitrogen. The German biochemists have just 24 hours to deduce the structure of their crystal — a bacterial protein that has been engineered to fluoresce when hit by red light and that is used to tag and study structures in living tissue. What's not clear is how such proteins work at the level of atoms and molecules. It would be an “important publication” if the team can explain it, says Schmidt. Synchrotrons are the workhorses of structural biology. There are around 50 of them in the world, and the vast majority of the 6,000 or so atomic-resolution protein structures reported by scientists last year were solved at these facilities, by examining the diffraction patterns formed when high-power X-rays are fired at crystallized proteins. At the ESRF, working quarters consist of a small office opening onto a cramped experimental room called a hutch, which is where Schmidt and her colleagues will analyse their crystals — each less than a hair's width across, and trapped in frozen solvent in the centre of a half-millimetre loop of nylon. As soon as Schmidt's team arrived this morning, the researchers began sticking tape over every visible light they could find. Light could cause molecules in the protein crystal to wiggle, making it impossible to capture an atomic-resolution picture. Schmidt flicks the light switch on and off, checking to see whether the rigged-up room is now completely dark. “It's MacGyver-like stuff,” grins her PhD student Dennis Kwiatkowski. Inside the 844-metre central ring of the synchrotron, electrons are circling at nearly the speed of light and spitting out X-rays like water flicking from a spinning car wheel. The X-rays are channelled through thin pipes to as many as 43 stations, called beamlines, around the ESRF ring, with a hutch and office attached to each (see ‘Circle of science’). Earlier this morning, specialist engineers injected fresh bunches of accelerated particles into the ring because the machine had been off for maintenance the day before. Each beamline has its own dedicated ESRF scientist who calibrates the X-ray beam for that day's experiment, and often sits with the team all day. “There are a lot of critical components and a lot of possible modes of failure,” says David von Stetten, the support scientist for Schmidt's team. “It's important to check it every day.” Stevenson, Zeng and a third member of the team, PhD student Huanjun Lu, have started their day by preparing samples of the liquid crystals that they want to image. The group, from the University of Sheffield, UK, wants to work out how molecules are aligned inside the crystals, which are similar to those found inside LCD televisions. The work might one day lead to improved screens that can flicker on and off at higher rates. The team is one scientist down: a Chinese national couldn't get his visa in time, so it's impossible for the rest to pair up in shifts as they had planned. There won't be any chance to leave the building, says Stevenson, but he shrugs. “It's just the work ethic. We never see Grenoble when we come here.” In a hutch 200 metres away, PhD student Annalisa Chieli is using a microtome to painstakingly cut ultra-thin slivers of dry paint from a block. It is her first time at the synchrotron. Yesterday, at home with her parents in Perugia, Italy, she watched a YouTube video about it. Now she is here, she says, “you can feel the research in the air”. Chieli, from the University of Perugia, is preparing to shine X-rays at samples taken from one of the four versions of The Scream, a painting by the famously melancholic Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, as well as samples from Jackson Pollock's Alchemy. Yellowish hues in both artworks have faded over time, and museum curators are not sure why. The synchrotron work could help to explain it, and perhaps protect the art. Today is prep work, explains team leader Letizia Monico, from the Institute of Molecular Science and Technology of Perugia: they are scanning various samples of yellow paint to build up a reference library showing how pigments of different elemental composition absorb X-ray light and how that changes with age. Tomorrow, precious flakes from the real paintings will be scanned and compared with this gallery to decipher how the compounds in them have changed with time. Like most of the researchers here, Monico and Chieli need pay nothing to visit. Twenty-one countries have signed up as partners of the synchrotron, contributing a combined €110 million (US$124 million) to operate it each year. The cash covers all the food and accommodation expenses for three members of each team visiting from a partner nation. Because the clientele is international, the two canteens have to be, too. The larger one is buzzing as visitors and staff scientists tuck into a selection of meat, fish, pizza, pasta, desserts, cheese, yogurt — and a choice of wines (often French). Altogether, the canteen doles out some 1,000 meals a day. The working language of the ESRF is English, but here the multilingual chatter is like a session at the United Nations. Monico's team picks the quieter, upper canteen. “For me, salad, and lots of vegetables,” says Monico, a small, brown-haired Italian who gesticulates animatedly as she explains the chemistry of the cadmium sulfide yellow pigment that she expects to find in Munch's work. “Art is my passion,” she says. The third member of the group, Frederik Vanmeert, of the University of Antwerp in Belgium, says his passions lie elsewhere. “I'm interested in the techniques,” he says. Back at her hutch, Schmidt's expression grows — if possible — slightly more anxious. The team is behind schedule: half the day has been spent setting up everything for the experiment on the light-sensitive protein. “If you don't have a good method to overcome frustration, then you are in the wrong field,” she says, staring at a magnified computer-screen image of her frozen sample. Schmidt and her group leader, Patrick Scheerer, want to get a picture with better than 2.8-ångström resolution to distinguish the separate amino-acid side chains of the protein. But Schmidt is on the 9th sample out of 100, and hasn't seen a discernible image yet. “Ninety per cent of the experiments go wrong,” she says, as she moves her mouse to decide where to aim the X-ray beam next. She clicks the mouse button — and throws up her hands in frustration. “Aah, 4.85 ångströms. You can only see a sheet or a helix, nothing else. Patrick will kill me if I don't collect the data.” Schmidt knows she could be in for a slog. When US structural biologist Brian Kobilka used the ESRF's tightly focused beamline in 2007 to take the first picture of a G-protein-coupled receptor — a structure that would win him the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry — his team worked through 1,043 crystals before it hit the jackpot. Next door, Matthew Bowler is looking relaxed. He has already scanned 80 crystal samples, couriered in from Helsinki the day before, and has successfully determined 3 protein structures without breaking a sweat. Bowler hasn't done this all by himself. Rather, he works on one of the world's only automated X-ray crystallography beamlines. The robot, which Bowler built with other ESRF staff scientists, loads up crystal samples, scans each frozen blob, decides where to fire the X-rays for best results, collects data sets and then moves on to the next one. “It does this 24 hours a day, and it doesn't get tired,” Bowler says with pride. The robot has processed 15,000 crystals over the past year. (Unfortunately for Schmidt, the specialized light conditions required by her protein make it impossible for the robot to handle.) Bowler supervises the machinery and loads crystals into a sample-changer at the beginning of the day, but doesn't need to intervene regularly: researchers who send in samples to be analysed are informed of results by automated e-mails. The best part? It keeps Bowler's hours regular: he works from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day. “I'm going to pick up my daughter from a piano lesson, then I'm done for the day,” he says. Nearby, Alexey Nikulin and Natalia Lekontseva are filling up a vacuum flask at a liquid-nitrogen dispenser. They flew in from the Institute of Protein Research in Pushchino, near Moscow, on Monday, and depart at the end of the week. “Hamburg's synchrotron doesn't work at the moment, and Berlin's is full up,” says Nikulin, as the two trundle the full, heavy vessel back to their hutch. The liquid nitrogen will be used to keep their crystals, of an RNA-binding protein, frozen until they are ready for use. Out in the corridor, Magnus Larsson walks past, on his way home for the day. He's easily identifiable as a non-researcher from his suit. Larsson is an industrial liaison officer who is visiting from the MAX IV synchrotron in Lund, Sweden, the world's first 'fourth-generation' machine, which promises to produce tighter, brighter beams of X-rays when it opens in June. He has been visiting to get tips on how the ESRF works with industry researchers, who pay their own way but are allowed no more than 10% of the synchrotron's beamtime. After he's gone, the synchrotron's grey corridors are empty. The air conditioning clanks and hums. Although each group works just a minute or two's walk away from its neighbours, the teams rarely interact. As darkness falls outside, researchers begin drifting back towards the synchrotron's canteen for dinner. The superior intensity of the X-rays generated by modern machines — which collect data in minutes, where older ones took hours — means that scientists who come to synchrotrons now have less time away from their hutches, says Joanne McCarthy, who's in charge of the ESRF's user programme. “In the olden days, you prepared your samples for measurement and went off to have dinner in town,” she says. The synchrotron's electrons are tiring out. The lead-lined pipe is not a perfect vacuum, and occasional collisions with air molecules make the tightly focused bunches of electrons spread out slightly and lose energy, causing the flux of each X-ray beam to drop. Engineers pump replacements into the synchrotron's storage ring to maintain the beams through the night. In hutch ID22, the computer emits a gong sound — an alert signifying that the most recent measurement has ended. The team of five scientists, led by Boaz Pokroy from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, applied for time here eight months ago. It was worth the wait, Pokroy says: “The ESRF is, no question, the best synchrotron on this Earth.” The researchers are here in the name of materials science: they are examining the crystals that form when biological molecules, such as amino acids, are mixed with inorganic minerals such as copper oxide, so that the two crystallize together in a composite. The team is exploring whether this changes the electronic properties of the minerals in predictable ways, Pokroy says, perhaps leading to semiconductors with new properties. Carlotta Giacobbe, their Italian staff-support scientist, points to a closed-circuit-television picture on the computer monitor, which shows a tall yellow robotic arm dipping to remove some tubes of powdered crystalline samples from the X-ray beam. “There are a lot of sounds,” Giacobbe says: “there's a train whistle when the measurement starts, a gong when it stops and a scream if there's a problem with data backup.” (There's also a donkey bray and the sound of laughter, which play when the scientists make mistakes.) The researchers in Monico's team are finishing their paint analyses and are about to retire to the ESRF's guesthouse, which has 173 rooms and is full up tonight. Vanmeert is entering code on the computer, instructing a robot to move a sample of pigments slowly through the X-ray beam while they're gone. “If you make a single error, you lose the night,” warns ESRF beamline scientist Marine Cotte. Vanmeert is careful, but he is also looking forward to bed. “I will read a book and dream about beamlines,” he says. At Pokroy's beamline, things aren't going so well. The gong sounds, and Giacobbe looks at the camera, expecting the yellow arm to move towards a fresh array of samples. Nothing. “No … shit. Wait, it didn't work,” she sighs. “OK. This means that the night will be longer than expected.” Pokroy leans over. “The robot is shy? Why didn't it change?” She and Pokroy go inside the hutch and fish around at cables, while the rest of the team looks concerned. Pokroy finds a possible culprit — a red cable that appears to have been cut. But no-one is sure of the problem, and it is too late to call in a technician, so data collection will stop. “We will lose a night,” Giacobbe says, looking downcast. The six scientists put on their coats, pick up their bags, and leave for the guesthouse. Behind them, the robot is still. The guesthouse is so full that some scientists couldn't get rooms. Georgios Kalantzopoulos and Erik Glesne, two materials scientists from the University of Oslo, set out to walk the 40 minutes into Grenoble for a hotel they have booked there instead. It's raining, and by the time they arrive, they are drenched. At last, a breakthrough. By slogging through dozens of crystals, Schmidt's team has managed to get a 2.5-ångström-resolution picture of the light-sensitive protein — enough for the core of a research paper, although they won't know the protein's full shape until the researchers can analyse the data later on. “If we have exciting results like these, we don't need any coffee to stay up,” says Schmidt's colleague, Bilal Qureshi. Qureshi says he likes the single-minded focus the team can achieve on a synchrotron visit. “We generate a lot of ideas, and we don't think about much else.” The synchrotron is emptying — but where samples can't be changed by robot or need careful supervision, dozens of experimenters remain in their hutches. One of them is Stefan Mebs, a cheery German chemist from the Free University in Berlin; he and his colleague Peer Schrapers have elected to do night shifts for the next two weeks, because their samples must be changed every half-hour by hand. “On the day shift, you can sleep at normal times — but the experiments are more stressful,” says Mebs. “At night, it's more relaxed. It's quite calm.” This group is blasting X-ray pulses at haemoglobin — the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells — in the hope of working out exactly how oxygen molecules bind to its iron-atom core. The team wants to examine this at room temperature as well as the sub-zero conditions that are usual for working with crystals, to see whether the binding is different at each, says Mebs. On the far side of the synchrotron, three scientists are still up — although they have installed a sofa in their office in case they have time to catch a nap, says Julie Villanova, the ESRF staffer on the beamline. “When people come here, they are really motivated, and they push us all,” she says. Her two users for the day — Peter Joergenesen and Salvatore De Angelis of the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby — are taking pictures of tiny pits in electrodes from different samples of solid oxide fuel cells to see how they have degraded over time. Villanova makes an espresso in a kitchen nearby, although she does not drink it herself — something that impresses the Danish visitors, who can't imagine how else one would stay up. “Sometimes people jog around the inside of the tunnel,” Villanova says. “Though there's a nice river not far away.” Despite their earlier success, Schmidt and her team have come unstuck because of a broken sample holder. After half an hour trying to fix it, they give up for the night. With 30 crystals not yet analysed, they creep wearily back to the guesthouse for 5 hours' sleep before they fly back to Germany. Schmidt will be back in two weeks to do it all again. Stevenson and Zeng have been up for well over 24 hours, but they have managed to obtain results on two liquid crystal samples. “I'm as pleased as I can be in the present circumstances,” Stevenson says. “I think I'll just pass out, eventually.” With the night shift ending, cleaners mop and vacuum the tunnels before a new tide of scientists pours into the synchrotron. Giacobbe returns early with two colleagues to try to sort out last night's problem. “We thought it was the wires, but it was actually a software fault,” she says. “I feel relieved. It's nice when you discover what the problem is and fix it.” The gong sounds, and then the train whistle, and in the hutch beyond, a robotic arm whisks around to pick up a sample. Giacobbe smiles. “It's OK to lose one shift. They can recover the time.” Two fresh-faced researchers walk into the office just vacated by Schmidt's group and put down their bags. Theodoras Goulas and Mariana Castrillo Bricenyo have just arrived from the Institute of Molecular Biology in Barcelona, Spain — and now, like their predecessors, they have 24 hours in the hutch. Goulas is looking forward to the long day ahead. “I'm pretty sure we'll get something,” he says.

Roditchev D.,CNRS Nanosciences Institute of Paris | Roditchev D.,CNRS Physics and Materials Study Laboratory | Brun C.,CNRS Nanosciences Institute of Paris | Serrier-Garcia L.,CNRS Nanosciences Institute of Paris | And 7 more authors.
Nature Physics | Year: 2015

Superconducting correlations may propagate between two superconductors separated by a tiny insulating or metallic barrier, allowing a dissipationless electric current to flow. In the presence of a magnetic field, the maximum supercurrent oscillates and each oscillation corresponding to the entry of one Josephson vortex into the barrier. Josephson vortices are conceptual blocks of advanced quantum devices such as coherent terahertz generators or qubits for quantum computing, in which on-demand generation and control is crucial. Here, we map superconducting correlations inside proximity Josephson junctions using scanning tunnelling microscopy. Unexpectedly, we find that such Josephson vortices have real cores, in which the proximity gap is locally suppressed and the normal state recovered. By following the Josephson vortex formation and evolution we demonstrate that they originate from quantum interference of Andreev quasiparticles, and that the phase portraits of the two superconducting quantum condensates at edges of the junction decide their generation, shape, spatial extent and arrangement. Our observation opens a pathway towards the generation and control of Josephson vortices by applying supercurrents through the superconducting leads of the junctions, that is, by purely electrical means without any need for a magnetic field, which is a crucial step towards high-density on-chip integration of superconducting quantum devices. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Reader A.J.,King's College London | Reader A.J.,Montreal Neurological Institute | Verhaeghe J.,University of Antwerp
Physics in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2014

An overview of the theory of 4D image reconstruction for emission tomography is given along with a review of the current state of the art, covering both positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). By viewing 4D image reconstruction as a matter of either linear or non-linear parameter estimation for a set of spatiotemporal functions chosen to approximately represent the radiotracer distribution, the areas of so-called 'fully 4D' image reconstruction and 'direct kinetic parameter estimation' are unified within a common framework. Many choices of linear and non-linear parameterization of these functions are considered (including the important case where the parameters have direct biological meaning), along with a review of the algorithms which are able to estimate these often non-linear parameters from emission tomography data. The other crucial components to image reconstruction (the objective function, the system model and the raw data format) are also covered, but in less detail due to the relatively straightforward extension from their corresponding components in conventional 3D image reconstruction. The key unifying concept is that maximum likelihood or maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimation of either linear or non-linear model parameters can be achieved in image space after carrying out a conventional expectation maximization (EM) update of the dynamic image series, using a Kullback-Leibler distance metric (comparing the modeled image values with the EM image values), to optimize the desired parameters. For MAP, an image-space penalty for regularization purposes is required. The benefits of 4D and direct reconstruction reported in the literature are reviewed, and furthermore demonstrated with simple simulation examples. It is clear that the future of reconstructing dynamic or functional emission tomography images, which often exhibit high levels of spatially correlated noise, should ideally exploit these 4D approaches. © 2014 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

McNicholas W.T.,University College Dublin | Verbraecken J.,University of Antwerp | Marin J.M.,Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet
European Respiratory Review | Year: 2013

Sleep in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is commonly associated with oxygen desaturation, which may exceed the degree of desaturation during maximum exercise, both subjectively and objectively impairing sleep quality. The mechanisms of desaturation include hypoventilation and ventilation to perfusion mismatching. The consequences of this desaturation include cardiac arrhythmias, pulmonary hypertension and nocturnal death, especially during acute exacerbations. Coexistence of COPD and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), referred to as overlap syndrome, has been estimated to occur in 1% of the general adult population. Overlap patients have worse sleep-related hypoxaemia and hypercapnia than patients with COPD or OSA alone. OSA has a similar prevalence in COPD as in a general population of similar age, but oxygen desaturation during sleep is more pronounced when the two conditions coexist. Management of sleep-related problems in COPD should particularly focus on minimising sleep disturbance via measures to limit cough and dyspnoea; nocturnal oxygen therapy is not generally indicated for isolated nocturnal hypoxaemia. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure alleviates hypoxaemia, reduces hospitalisation and pulmonary hypertension, and improves survival. © ERS 2013.

Van de Voort F.,Leiden University | Schaye J.,Leiden University | Altay G.,Durham University | Theuns T.,Durham University | Theuns T.,University of Antwerp
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2012

Simulations predict that galaxies grow primarily through the accretion of gas that has not gone through an accretion shock near the virial radius and that this cold gas flows towards the central galaxy along dense filaments and streams. There is, however, little observational evidence for the existence of these cold flows. We use a large, cosmological, hydrodynamical simulation that has been post-processed with radiative transfer to study the contribution of cold flows to the observed z= 3 column density distribution of neutral hydrogen, which our simulation reproduces. We find that nearly all of the Hi absorption arises in gas that has remained colder than 10 5.5K, at least while it was extragalactic. In addition, the majority of the Hi is falling rapidly towards a nearby galaxy, with non-negligible contributions from outflowing and static gas. Above a column density of cm -2, most of the absorbers reside inside haloes, but the interstellar medium only dominates for cm -2. Haloes with total mass below 10 10 M ⊙ dominate the absorption for cm -2, but the average halo mass increases sharply for higher column densities. Although very little of the Hi in absorbers with cm -2 resides inside galaxies, systems with cm -2 are closely related to star formation: most of their Hi either will become part of the interstellar medium before z= 2 or has been ejected from a galaxy at z > 3. Cold accretion flows are critical for the success of our simulation in reproducing the observed rate of incidence of damped Lyman-α and particularly that of Lyman limit systems. We therefore conclude that cold accretion flows exist and have already been detected in the form of high column density Hi absorbers. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.

Maas A.I.R.,University of Antwerp | Roozenbeek B.,University of Antwerp | Roozenbeek B.,Erasmus Medical Center | Manley G.T.,University of California at San Francisco
Neurotherapeutics | Year: 2010

In this article, we review past and current experience in clinical trials of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), we discuss limitations and challenges, and we summarize current directions. The focus is on severe and moderate TBIs. A systematic literature search of the years from 1980 to 2009 revealed 27 large phase III trials in TBI; we were aware of a further 6 unpublished trials. Analysis of these 33 trials yielded interesting observations:•There was a peak incidence of trial initiations that occurred in the mid-1990s with a sharp decline during the period from 2000 to 2004.•Most trials that reported a significant treatment effect were studies on a therapeutic strategy (e.g., decompressive craniectomy, hypothermia), and these were single-center studies.•Increasingly, studies have been shifting toward the Far East. The currently existing trial registries permit insight into ongoing or recently conducted trials. Compared with the past decade, the number of studies on neuroprotective agents taken forward into efficacy-oriented studies is low. In contrast, the number of studies on therapeutic strategies appears to be increasing again. The disappointing results in trials on neuroprotective agents in TBI have led to a critical reappraisal of clinical trial methodology. This has resulted in recommendations for preclinical workup and has triggered extensive analysis on approaches to improve the design and analysis of clinical trials in TBI. An interagency initiative toward standardization on selection and coding of data elements across the broad spectrum of TBI is ongoing, and will facilitate comparison of research findings across studies and encourage high-quality meta-analysis of individual patient data in the future. © 2010 The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc.

Heinemann V.,Comprehensive Cancer Center der Krebszentrum Munich | Douillard J.Y.,Institute Of Cancerologie Of Louest Rene Gauducheau | Douillard J.Y.,Institute Of Cancerologie Louest Rene Gauducheau | Ducreux M.,Institute Gustave Roussy | And 2 more authors.
Cancer Treatment Reviews | Year: 2013

In metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), an improved understanding of the underlying pathology and molecular biology has successfully merged with advances in diagnostic techniques and local/systemic therapies as well as improvements in the functioning of multidisciplinary teams, to enable tailored treatment regimens and optimized outcomes. Indeed, as a result of these advancements, median survival for patients with mCRC is now in the range of 20-24. months, having approximately tripled in the last 20. years. The identification of KRAS as a negative predictive marker for activity of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), such as panitumumab (Amgen, Thousand Oaks, USA) and cetuximab (ImClone, Branchburg, USA), has perhaps had the greatest impact on patient management. This meant that, for the first time, mCRC patients unlikely to respond to a targeted therapy could be defined ahead of treatment. Ongoing controversies such as whether patients with KRAS G13D- (or BRAF V600-) mutated tumours can still respond to EGFR-targeted mAbs and the potential impact of inter- and intra-tumour heterogeneity on tumour sampling show that the usefulness of KRAS as a biomarker has not yet been exhausted, and that other downstream biomarkers should be considered. Conversely, a predictive biomarker for anti-angiogenic agents such as bevacizumab (Genentech, San Francisco, USA) in the mCRC setting is still lacking. In this review we will discuss the discovery and ongoing investigation into predictive biomarkers for mCRC as well as how recent advances have impacted on clinical practice and ultimately the overall cost of treatment for these patients. © 2013 .

Kelly R.,Medical Research Council | Zoubiane G.,Medical Research Council | Walsh D.,Medical Research Council | Ward R.,Medical Research Council | Goossens H.,University of Antwerp
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2016

Background: Antibacterial resistant infections are rising continuously, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality worldwide. With no new antibiotic classes entering the market and the possibility of returning to the pre-antibiotic era, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) was established to address this problem. We aimed to quantify the scale and scope of publicly funded antibacterial resistance research across JPIAMR countries and at the European Union (EU) level to identify gaps and future opportunities. Methods: We did a systematic observational analysis examining antibacterial resistance research funding. Databases of funding organisations across 19 countries and at EU level were systematically searched for publicly funded antibacterial resistance research from Jan 1, 2007, to Dec 31, 2013. We categorised studies on the basis of the JPIAMR strategic research agenda's six priority topics (therapeutics, diagnostics, surveillance, transmission, environment, and interventions) and did an observational analysis. Only research funded by public funding bodies was collected and no private organisations were contacted for their investments. Projects in basic, applied, and clinical research, including epidemiological, public health, and veterinary research and trials were identified using keyword searches by organisations, and inclusion criteria were based on the JPIAMR strategic research agenda's six priority topics, using project titles and abstracts as filters. Findings: We identified 1243 antibacterial resistance research projects, with a total public investment of €1·3 billion across 19 countries and at EU level, including public investment in the Innovative Medicines Initiative. Of the total amount invested in antibacterial resistance research across the time period, €646·6 million (49·5%) was invested at the national level and €659·2 million (50·5%) at the EU level. When projects were classified under the six priority topics we found that 763 (63%) of 1208 projects funded at national level were within the area of therapeutics, versus 185 (15%) in transmission, 131 (11%) in diagnostics, 53 (4%) in interventions, and only 37 (3%) in environment and 39 (3%) in surveillance. Interpretation: This was the first systematic analysis of research funding of antibacterial resistance of this scale and scope, which relied on the availability and accuracy of data from organisations included. Large variation was seen between countries both in terms of number of projects and associated investment and across the six priority topics. To determine the future direction of JPIAMR countries a clear picture of the funding landscape across Europe and Canada is needed. Countries should work together to increase the effect of research funding by strengthening national and international coordination and collaborations, harmonising research activities, and collectively pooling resources to fund multidisciplinary projects. The JPIAMR have developed a publicly available database to document the antibacterial resistance research collected and can be used as a baseline to analyse funding from 2014 onwards. Funding: JPIAMR and the European Commission. © 2016 Kelly et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY.

Gillis S.,University of Antwerp | Jaykka J.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Milosevic M.V.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2014

Using multicomponent Ginzburg-Landau simulations, we show a plethora of vortex states possible in mesoscopic three-band superconductors. We find that mesoscopic confinement stabilizes chiral states, with nontrivial phase differences between the band condensates, as the ground state of the system. As a consequence, we report the broken-symmetry vortex states, the chiral states where vortex cores in different band condensates do not coincide (split-core vortices), as well as fractional-flux vortex states with broken time-reversal symmetry. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Altay G.,Durham University | Theuns T.,Durham University | Theuns T.,University of Antwerp
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2013

We describe URCHIN, a reverse ray-tracing radiative transfer scheme optimized to model selfshielding from the post-reionization ultraviolet (UV) background in cosmological simulations. The reverse ray-tracing strategy provides several benefits over forward ray-tracing codes including: (1) the preservation of adaptive density field resolution; (2) completely uniform sampling of gas elements by rays; (3) the preservation of Galilean invariance; (4) the ability to sample the UV background spectrum with hundreds of frequency bins; and (5) exact preservation of the input UV background spectrum and amplitude in optically thin gas. The implementation described here focuses on smoothed particle hydrodynamics. However, the method can be applied to any density field representation in which resolution elements admit ray intersection tests and can be associated with optical depths. We characterize the errors in our implementation in stages beginning with comparison to known analytic solutions and ending with a realistic model of the z = 3 cosmological UV background incident on to a suite of spherically symmetric models of gaseous galactic haloes©2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Creasey P.,Durham University | Theuns T.,Durham University | Theuns T.,University of Antwerp | Bower R.G.,Durham University
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2013

Feedback from supernovae is an essential aspect of galaxy formation. In order to improve subgrid models of feedback, we perform a series of numerical experiments to investigate how supernova explosions shape the interstellar medium (ISM) in a disc galaxy and power a galactic wind. We use the FLASH hydrodynamic code to model a simplified ISM, including gravity, hydrodynamics, radiative cooling above 104 K and star formation that reproduces the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation. By simulating a small patch of the ISM in a tall box perpendicular to the disc, we obtain subparsec resolution allowing us to resolve individual supernova events. The hot interiors of supernova explosions combine into larger bubbles that sweep-up the initially hydrostatic ISM into a dense, warm cloudy medium, enveloped by a much hotter and tenuous medium, all phases in near pressure equilibrium. The unbound hot phase develops into an outflow with wind speed increasing with distance as it accelerates from the disc. We follow the launch region of the galactic wind, where hot gas entrains and ablates warm ISM clouds leading to significantly increased mass loading of the flow, although we do not follow this material as it interacts with the galactic halo. We run a large grid of simulations in which we vary gas surface density, gas fraction and star formation rate in order to investigate the dependencies of the mass loading, β = Mwind/ M. In the cases with the most effective outflows, we observe β = 4; however, in other cases we find β > 1. We find that outflows are more efficient in discs with lower surface densities or gas fractions. A simple model in which the warm cloudy medium is the barrier that limits the expansion of the blast wave reproduces the scaling of outflow properties with disc parameters at high star formation rates.We extend the scaling relations derived from an ISM patch to infer an effective mass loading for a galaxy with an exponential disc, finding that the mass loading depends on circular velocity as β V -a d with a ~ 2.5 for a model which fits the Tully- Fisher relation. Such a scaling is often assumed in phenomenological models of galactic winds in order to reproduce the flat faint end slope of the mass function. Our normalization is in approximate agreement with observed estimates of the mass loading for the Milky Way. The scaling we find sets the investigation of galaxy winds on a new footing, providing a physically motivated subgrid description of winds that can be implemented in cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and phenomenological models. © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Parez N.,Service de Pediatrie | Giaquinto C.,University of Padua | Du Roure C.,PHOCUS Services Ltd | Martinon-Torres F.,University of Santiago de Compostela | And 3 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is a vaccine-preventable disease that confers a high medical and economic burden in more developed countries and can be fatal in less developed countries. Two vaccines with high efficacy and good safety profiles were approved and made available in Europe in 2006. We present an overview of the status of rotavirus vaccination in Europe. We discuss the drivers (including high effectiveness and effect of universal rotavirus vaccination) and barriers (including low awareness of disease burden, perception of unfavourable cost-effectiveness, and potential safety concerns) to the implementation of universal rotavirus vaccination in Europe. By February, 2014, national universal rotavirus vaccination had been implemented in Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, and the UK. Four other German states have issued recommendations and reimbursement is provided by sickness funds. Other countries were at various stages of recommending or implementing universal rotavirus vaccination. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.2.1-7 | Award Amount: 6.29M | Year: 2008

At present more than 5 million people in the EU suffer from dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases and that number will grow as the average age of the population continues to increase. The efficacy of current medicines is limited and new therapeutic targets are sorely needed. Several independent lines of evidence have established an important role of prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) in brain function and dysfunction. Aberrant PREP activity is involved in the progression of neurodegenerative disorders and PREP inhibitors are being developed for the treatment of memory and cognition deficits. Now a consortium of expert scientists from 8 academic institutes and 3 SMEs come together for 4 years in this NEUROPRO project to boost European research aimed at 1) unravelling the biological role of PREP and PREP-like proteins in neuropathology, 2) determining the mode of action of PREP inhibitors and 3) firmly establishing their therapeutic potential. Specialists from different disciplines cell and molecular biology, enzymology, chemistry, crystallography, biology and pharmacology will work in a concerted and focussed way to achieve the goals using 6 work packages concentrating on PREP-regulated pathways in health and disease, PREP substrates, inhibitor target identification, drug development and validation, and generation of specific cell lines and animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. The SMEs involved are leaders in PREP inhibitor development and peptide analysis, and have in the past already brought novel therapeutics on the market. By the end of the project we expect to have proof of concept that PREP inhibition is a valid therapeutic target which will ultimately lead to new methods for the early detection, prevention or restoration of PREP-related neurodegeneration. The project also comprises instruments to translate basic research into clinical applications and will thus broaden the scope of treatments available to Europes ageing population.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.5-7 | Award Amount: 1.39M | Year: 2008

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the elderly population with important implications for patient quality of life. The diminished ability to hear and to communicate is frustrating in and of itself, but the strong association of hearing loss with depression and functional decline adds further to the burden on individuals who are hearing impaired. Hearing loss can limit communications skills: not to hear means not to understand what is being said. Hence deafness does not produce compassion but do often produce a sense of irritation. Despite the prevalence and burden of hearing loss, hearing impairment is largely underdiagnosed in older persons and undertreated. The reason for this is that one of the most conspicuous signs of a hearing loss is that it cannot be seen! Actually, this is the reason why deafness does not receive the necessary attention. Too often, the public and still too many health care professionals underestimate the dramatic effects of deafness. Novel strategies should be explored to make screening and early intervention a feasible part of routine care. Project AHEAD III has been specifically designed to: - Provide evidence of the effects of hearing impairment in adults and particularly in the elderly - Analyse costs associated with the implementation of integrated large scale programmes of hearing screening and intervention in the elderly - Provide quality standards and minimum requirements for screening methods and related diagnostic techniques - Develop guidelines and recommendations on how to implement successful screening programmes to be tuned to the local, social, and economical conditions of a country.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 15.78M | Year: 2013

The aim of SYBIL is to carry out extensive functional validation of the genetic determinants of rare and common skeletal diseases and the age related factors contributing to these painful conditions. To achieve this goal SYBIL will gather complementary translational and transnational scientists, systems biologists, disease modellers, leading SMEs and industrialists that will perform in-depth characterisation (complete molecular phenotyping) of pre-clinical models (cellular and animal) for a variety of common and rare skeletal diseases. SYBIL will establish a systematic pipeline of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models of increasing complexity and will also make use of novel technologies such as iPS cells and exclusive Virtual Patient software to identify potential therapeutic targets for further validation through simultaneous modelling of fundamental and complex physiological pathways. SYBIL will rely on i) an Omics Knowledge Factory for systematically generating new knowledge on skeletal disease pathophysiology and to generate the relevant Omics profiles necessary to detect and validate new disease determinants, biomarkers and therapeutic targets for future clinical developments, and ii) a Systems Biology Hub to integrate the high-throughput and data-dense information, to gain a global understanding of pathophysiological commonalities between different skeletal diseases and recognize predominant shared pathways and mechanisms that may represent new targeted routes to treatment. SYBIL will also identify potential modifier genes and study the epigenome that will ultimately influence the timing and efficacy of new personalised treatments. Overall SYBIL achievements will tremendously boost the efficient pre-clinical assessment and development of therapeutics against skeletal diseases and thus indirectly reduce their social and healthcare burden.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.8.5 | Award Amount: 3.92M | Year: 2009

Locomorphs goal is to push beyond the state of the art in robotic locomotion and movements, by increasing efficiency, robustness, and thus usability in unknown environments. As robotic research and industry are competing to increase robots usability towards the highly-in-demand service robotics, advancements in robotic locomotion today would give Europe a significant competitive advantage. Locomorph combines multidisciplinary approaches from biology, biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics, and embodied intelligence to investigate locomotion and movements in animals and robots, focusing on two concepts: morphology and morphosis. We will build many diverse robots using heterogeneous modules to explore various morphological factors (shape, materials, sensors, compliance, etc) and sensory-motor control strategies, in order to generate novel and optimal robotic designs which exploit the physical dynamics emerging from the interaction among the physical morphology, control, and environment. The second concept, morphosis (changing of morphology), extends this concept further. Voluntary morphosis is a valuable skill for robots, as it can increase their adaptivity to current tasks/environments. We will adopt two complementary approaches. We will conduct animal/human experiments to study biological strategies in dealing with voluntary/involuntary morphosis. We will extract insights from the results to develop strategies for effective robotic morphosis and motor control solutions for dealing with morphosis. This, combined with the robots modularity, will create highly robust robots, able to deal with body changes e.g. limb loss. Through an exploration of morphology and morphosis, we aim to develop robots with increased maneuverability, self-stabilization, energy efficiency, and adaptivity to unknown environments. These advances will bring us closer to service robotics, as a large part of these robots must able to locomote safely, regardless of surfaces, layouts, or terrains.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES | Award Amount: 340.20K | Year: 2011

The overall aim of the proposed staff exchange program is to establish a long lasting collaboration between South African and European research teams involved in HIV co-infection research. This effort ultimately should lead to new ways to improve the care/treatment for patients with HIV co-infections and to decrease the high mortality among persons with HIV infection in Africa. South Africa is the country with the largest number of HIV tuberculosis (TB) co-infected patients in the world. With this program we will explore new ways to diagnose and treat TB more rapidly and investigate why HIV co-infected patients still die despite increasing access to effective anti-retroviral HIV treatment. South Africa has also a huge burden of disease caused by Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus infections. So far, HIV research in Africa has neglected to address non-TB HIV co-infection research questions. With this exchange program we will explore how to close this research gap. During the project we will: train early stage researchers in state-of-the-art field research, laboratory techniques, data collection and data analysis, build a network of researchers interested in HIV co-infection research, formulate and perform new collaborative research projects by intensifying research partnerships and networking activities. The consortium consists of very complementary partners (2 South African and 4 European) with a common interest in HIV co-infection research. The University of Cape Town is an extremely interesting partner because it is one of Africas leading teaching and research institutions. The University of Limpopo offers many research opportunities because of its focus on rural Africa and on working with disadvantaged communities. Existing links between partners and research funds that are already available will facilitate the rapid start of the exchange program. The envisaged 4-year program will consist mainly of visits of early stage researchers (PhD students)

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EE-12-2014 | Award Amount: 958.75K | Year: 2015

HERON aims at facilitating policy makers of multi-level governance in EU, to develop and monitor energy efficiency policies in building and transport sectors, through forward-looking socio-economic research in seven EU and one candidate countries. The objectives are: i. the impact of socio-economic and institutional factors on implementing energy efficiency policies and measures, ii. the development of energy-efficient pathways to the horizon 2030 and beyond taking into account the socio-economic drivers and the updated energy efficiency measures, iii. the contribution to improving energy modeling by incorporating social, educational and cultural factors so as to reflect the end-user behavior, iv. the establishment of communication channels between researchers, decision makers of different governance levels and social and market stakeholders. These objectives will be achieved through: (1) Mapping of energy efficiency policy instruments, available technologies and social, economic, cultural and educational barriers in transport and buildings, (2) Assessment of the evidenced barriers and the main driving factors, in order to define their weight/importance for the implementation of energy efficiency policies, (3) Determination of linkages between the factors and the energy efficiency, (4) Forward-looking scenario analysis, focusing on macro- and micro-economic impacts of energy efficiency policy options, (5) Policy recommendations through multi-criteria evaluation and feedback mechanisms with policy makers and market stakeholders from EU (member states, Covenant of Mayors) and neighboring countries (Business Council of BSEC). HERON will develop an innovative decision support tool to incorporate non-economic and non-market elements, such as social, educational and cultural, into scenario analysis.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SST.2010.6-2. | Award Amount: 2.05M | Year: 2011

The Communitys maritime sector must sustain and improve its competitive advantage, with the groundwork for future international competitiveness resting with high quality and innovative education and training. Employees in the maritime transport sector need innovative educational opportunities that focus on their special working conditions. The KNow-ME project addresses this need by engendering a modern image of shipping which attracts young people to maritime careers at sea and ashore and instils an awareness of the industry as a driver of EU development and an attractive employer. This can only be achieved though critical dialogue with industry on potential future developments, current and future strengths and weaknesses, and the support required to ensure a forward thinking sustainable industry. The KNow-ME consortium argues that maritime training and education requires a life-cycle approach, where demand-oriented transnational e-courses and supporting material are developed in line with industry expectations and modern lifestyles. Enhanced education and training for the industrys professions must cater for a multicultural working environment, gender neutrality and maximum accessibility independent from time and space. A modern image, career management and e-training and education will be promoted by establishing an e-portal that integrates with other e-maritime initiative developments. Implementation of the proposed education and training strategies require the support of both industry and proactive national and regional policy and practices that enhance the transparency, transferability and compatibility of training and educations standards. The KNow-ME project will establish a network of excellence in Europe, integrating experience from leading maritime research institutions. The pilot applications of e-courses developed within KNow-ME will allow for CPD, with the outcomes expected to contribute to improved living and working conditions on board vessels.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2008-1.3-2 | Award Amount: 3.66M | Year: 2009

The use of engineered nanoparticles in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sensors and many other commercial applications has been growing exponentially over the past decade. EU and Member States research into the environmental impact of these materials, particularly in aquatic systems, is at an early stage. ENNSATOX addresses this deficit through a, comprehensive investigation relating the structure and functionality of well characterised engineered nanoparticles to their biological activity in environmental aquatic systems. An integrated approach will assess the activity of the particles in a series of biological models of increasing complexity. Parallel environmental studies will take place on the behaviour of the nanoparticles in natural waters and how they modify the particles chemical reactivity, physical form and biological activity. An integrated theoretical model will be developed describing the environmental system as a series of biological compartments where particles transport between a) compartments by advection-diffusion and b) between phases by a transfer function. Following optimisation of the transfer functions a generic predictive model will be derived for the environmental impact of each class of nanoparticle in aqueous systems. A generalised understanding of the dependence of the nanoparticle biological activity on its structure and functionality will be obtained including the role and interaction of the biological membranes within organisms. ENNSATOX will generate: 1) exploitable IP (devices and ecotoxicology predictive software package); 2) set of standard protocols for assay of nanoparticle biological activity which can be later accredited; 3) global dissemination of results; 4) creation of an EU laboratory service; 5) tools and data to inform EU Regulation and the ECs code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research,

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.66M | Year: 2009

A functional understanding of the cerebellum, the structure of the human brain with the most neurons, requires the combined effort of scientists working from the cellular level up to the behavioural level, and it requires scientists trained to cross these levels. The C7 network brings together 9 research groups to form a European institute for the interdisciplinary study of the cerebellum. The network will provide a unique multi-disciplinary training experience for young researchers in systems neuroscience. We are joined by 5 industrial partners who will help to realize important technological innovations and the commercial potential by developing cutting-edge technology for research and clinical applications. With a combination of electrophysiology, behavioural and clinical research, computational modelling and neuroimaging we will aim to answer three important questions: a) What is the computation performed in cerebellar networks? We will provide a multi-level description of the basic cerebellar computational unit, the micro-column. b) How do distributed synaptic changes lead to learning? We link structure to function through an intense program of experimentation and modelling on the fast adaptation of motor behaviour thought by many to be the main function of the cerebellum. c) How do the closed loops between the cerebellum and neocortex generate motor control and cognition? Multi-site recordings, TMS and clinical studies will reveal the previously unexplored interaction between cerebellum and related structures. C7 includes two clinical research centres and two patient organizations, promoting the transfer of insights from basic science to clinical practice. In particular, we will explore brain compensation following cerebellar dysfunction using genetic mouse models and TMS. In sum, C7 will provide the interdisciplinary training environment necessary for a new understanding of the cerebellum.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: TPT.2010-9. | Award Amount: 891.12K | Year: 2010

The concept behind this project becomes clearer when one understands the needs of a good market uptake of a research result. The purpose of a market uptake is to make research generated and scientific and technological developments accessible to private organisations. These stakeholders are then encouraged to develop the technology further into new products, processes, materials, or services that will enhance the industrial competitiveness. The objectives of the Market-up project are fourfold: 1. To get a better understanding of the context in which research funding for transport takes place in Europe and for the different transport modes, including concentration pattern in terms of actors (role and weight of big companies vs SMEs). 2. To derive conclusions as to what drives or hampers the development and uptake of transport technologies. 3. To develop insights into which policy instruments could be usefully applied to respond to the drivers and address the barriers such that faster progress can be achieved with the introduction and uptake of transport technologies. 4. To identify and define the roles of the actors and regions involved in this actions The above mentioned objectives will be achieved through the development of the following activities: - Analysing barriers and drivers (social, economical and technical) for the market uptake of transport research results in Europe. - Monitoring and assessing progress of the industrial research in the transport sector through a mapping of existing competencies in the EU-27, particularly highlighting the role of the SMEs in order to integrate their innovation potential - Assessing research-funding instruments available - Analysing barriers and weak players in the field of RTD as applied to SMEs in the transport sectors - Encouraging SMEs and RTD smaller actors to get involved on RTD programmes by training and educating them.

den Heijer C.D.J.,Maastricht University | van Bijnen E.M.E.,The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research | Paget W.J.,The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research | Paget W.J.,Radboud University Nijmegen | And 6 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Background: Information about the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus resistance to antimicrobial drugs has mainly been obtained from invasive strains, although the commensal microbiota is thought to be an important reservoir of resistance. We aimed to compare the prevalence of nasal S aureus carriage and antibiotic resistance, including meticillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), in healthy patients across nine European countries. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, nasal swabs were obtained from 32 206 patients recruited by family doctors participating in existing nationwide family doctor networks in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK. Eligible patients were aged 4 years or older (≥18 years in the UK) and presented with a non-infectious disorder. Swabs were sent to national microbiological laboratories for identification and isolation of S aureus. Antibiotic resistance testing was done at one central microbiological laboratory. We established the genotypic structure of the isolated MRSA strains with the spa typing method. Findings: S aureus was isolated from 6956 (21·6%) of 32 206 patients swabbed. The adjusted S aureus prevalence for patients older than 18 years ranged from 12·1% (Hungary) to 29·4% (Sweden). Except for penicillin, the highest recorded resistance rate was to azithromycin (from 1·6% in Sweden to 16·9% in France). In total, 91 MRSA strains were isolated, and the highest MRSA prevalence was reported in Belgium (2·1%). 53 different spa types were detected-the most prevalent were t002 (n=9) and t008 (n=8). Interpretation: The prevalence of S aureus nasal carriage differed across the nine European countries assessed, even after correction for age, sex, and family doctor. Generally, the prevalence of resistance, including that of MRSA, was low. The MRSA strains recorded showed genotypic heterogeneity, both within and between countries. Funding: European Commission, 7th Framework Programme (grant agreement 223083). © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.86M | Year: 2016

Infectious diseases are a major burden to public health and the global economy, not in the least due to antimicrobial resistance. Rapid point of care (POC) in vitro diagnostics (IVD) are key tools in the effective clinical management of patients with infectious diseases. Yet there is still a large unmet clinical need for more rapid POC IVDs generating more clinically relevant, actionable information. Effectively addressing this need requires a change in the current approach in training researchers on IVDs, generating a new breed of IVD researchers capable of closing the gap between the clinical and technological perspective. ND4ID takes up this challenge by offering 15 ESRs a world-class first of its kind training programme where they will be exposed to the full breadth of disciplines spanning clinical, technological and market-oriented viewpoints, from both the academic and non-academic sector. Through a set of synergistic research projects on novel POC assays, targeting the most important and urgent clinical needs at world leading academic or private sector research groups, the ESRs are offered a holistic training program, preparing them to be lead players in the future IVD field. This training through research is augmented by a unique comprehensive network-wide training programme covering clinical, technical and translational knowledge and skills of relevance to IVD research, development and exploitation. As such, ND4ID will deliver ESRs that will be in high demand serving as an example for other academic and non-academic actors active in training IVD researchers and further strengthening Europes position in the internally competitive arena of IVD technology.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SST.2013.6-2. | Award Amount: 4.26M | Year: 2013

PORTOPIA aims to develop, next to extensions of existing indicators within the different perspectives of port performance, innovative approaches for the industrys stakeholders, such as: Development of a forecasting dimension in port performance management within the market trends and structure category; Development of top-down methods for harmonised socio-economic impact calculation; Development of an innovative, port-individualized tool for environmental and safety performance; Development of European port-related logistics chain connectivity indicators; Development of new governance indicators based on the changing role of port authorities, including indicators on financial capabilities and transparency; Development of a method to capture user perceptions of port performance; Development of a dedicated performance management system for the inland ports sector, including attention to the interaction between sea and inland ports; Development of a strategy map and an integrated benchmarking tool taking into account the specificities of ports. Furthermore, PORTOPIA aims to increase substantially the efficiency (user friendliness) of the data collection, to automate the calculations and the management system, and to build a solid data warehouse ensuring data confidentiality of individual contributors in all phases (collection, calculation, reporting). Also, further professionalizing of the communication and dissemination of results through a dedicated website, professional reporting, annual events on port performance, etc. belongs to PORTOPIAs objectives. The end result of PORTOPIA will be a state-of-the-art, sustainable, self-supporting European Ports Observatory, endorsed by port stakeholders, that provides superior value to the industry and its stakeholders by supplying transparent, useful and robust indicators and the contextual analysis of thereof, leading to improved resource efficiency, effectiveness and societal support for the European Port System.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2007-3.1-01 | Award Amount: 1.98M | Year: 2008

The objective of this project is to investigate how changing social contexts, from macro-societal to micro-interpersonal, affect social integration, well-being and intergenerational solidarity across different European nations. Debates on ageing societies predominantly focus on the circumstances of the old. Our approach builds from three key premises. First, ageing affects all age groups: the young, the middle-aged, and the old. Second, there are critical interdependencies between family generations and between men and women. Third, we must recognize and distinguish analytical levels: the individual, dyad (parent-child, partners), family, region, historical generation, and country. Building from these premises, we examine: (a) multiple linkages in families (e.g. transfers up and down family lineages, interdependencies between older and younger family members); (b) multiple linkages across time (measures at different points in time, at different points in the individual and family life course); (c) multiple linkages between, on the one hand, national and regional contexts (e.g. policy regimes, economic circumstances, normative climate, religiosity), and, on the other hand, individual behaviour, well-being and values. Throughout the project we will test, develop, and use methodological strategies that enable sound policy making. By identifying intergenerational care regimes (that is, combinations of child care provisions and provisions for the frail old) and their shortcomings, we will contribute to the substantive understanding of the risks of becoming socially isolated and/or lacking necessary supports. A consortium of eight partners organized in six teams will carry out the project. All partners are involved in the Gender and Generations Program, a system of nationally comparative surveys and contextual databases, which aims at improving the knowledge base for policy-making in UNECE countries. Currently, data are available from 12 countries.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 592.20K | Year: 2013

The overall aim of this proposed exchange programme ENRICH is to bring together an international team of researchers to establish a research network, with a wide variety of skills in operations research, safety and security studies, green logistics, economic modelling, ICT, and intermodal management to develop a container supply chain (CSC) integration methodology, aimed at addressing long-lasting changes in operational, environmental, economic, technical and managerial practices in different segments of the rail, road, air and sea transport industries from an overall supply chain perspective. The network is a physical and virtual grouping of academics and researchers designed to create an interdisciplinary think-tank and knowledge exchange platform for enhancing CSC resilience and sustainability in todays and tomorrows operational environments, in which a high level of uncertainty exists due to economic crisis, security risks, climate change, and every changing technologies. The proposal is for a project of eight partners (5 EU members, 1 AC member and 2 Third Country members) with extensive exchange of both experienced researchers (ERs) and early stage researchers (ESRs) during four years to fully explore the complementary strengths and synergies within the consortium. This project will support and reinforce the collaborations amongst the participants and help establish a long-term research co-operation. The research will increase the European research capacity in this vital and rapidly developing container transportation field, and also maintain and enhance the EUs leading position in the areas of supply chain resilience and sustainability. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed exchange programme offers a link for research and training of the involved ERs and ESRs in a collaborative academic environment.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2008-1.1.2 | Award Amount: 5.11M | Year: 2009

The MoDeRn project aims at providing a reference framework for the development and possible implementation of monitoring activities and associated stakeholder engagement during relevant phases of the radioactive waste disposal process, i.e. during site characterisation, construction, operation and staged closure, as well as a post-closure institutional control phase. Monitoring provides operators and other stakeholders with in-situ data on repository evolutions, to contribute to operational safety, to help manage construction, operation and/or closure activities, and may allow for a comparison with prior safety assessments. It thus provides information to inform necessary decisions. If, in addition, monitoring activities respond to stakeholder needs and provide them with understandable results, they will contribute to transparency and possibly to stakeholder confidence in the disposal process. The project is structured into six work packages (WPs). The first four WPs are dedicated to (i) analyze key objectives and propose viable strategies, based on both technical and stakeholder considerations; to (ii) establish the state of the art and provide technical developments to match specific repository requirements; to (iii) conduct in-situ monitoring demonstration experiments using innovative techniques; and to (iv) conduct a case study of monitoring and its integration into staged disposal, including specific scenarii analysis aimed at providing guidance on how to handle and communicate monitoring results, in particular when these provide unexpected information. In order to provide a shared international view on how monitoring can be developed within a given national context, WP5 regroups key dissemination activities and WP6 will provide a reference framework integrating project results and describing feasible monitoring activities, suggesting relevant stakeholder engagement activities, and illustrating possible uses of monitoring results for decision-making.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.04M | Year: 2013

The Digital Scholarly Editions Initial Training Network (DiXiT) is concerned with one of the most dynamic and pioneering research areas at the intersection of the humanities and computer sciences focused on digital scholarly editions. While the digital turn has challenged the theoretical understanding of and the methodological approach to the core research activity in most of the humanities, there is hardly any university institution which is able to provide the infrastructure and the resources in order to train the next generation of young scholars and researchers in all subjects and methods of this quickly developing field according to the needed standards. Therefore, only an international training network can provide this infrastructure and the scholarly resources for doctoral training and supervision. For this reason ten leading European institutions from universities and academies closely collaborating with the private sector and cultural heritage institutions intend to form one of the most innovative training networks for a new generation of scholars in the field of digital scholarly editing. DiXiT training programme offers a combination of network-wide training modules (Camps & Conventions) and local specialist training in connection with individual research projects, which not only will stand out in Europe, but will be able to compete with the worldwide leading centres and networks in the field of Digital Humanities research, cultural heritage, software and publishing industries. Moreover, DiXiT will help to create a training trajectory for the emerging supra-disciplinary field of Digital Humanities and thus anchoring it in an institutionalized, structured education scheme. The participating SMEs have a genuine interest in the achievement of the objectives of DiXiT because they actually need to recruit new professions in the domain of digital scholarly editions, with international and cross-disciplinary preparation, which is still not fully available on the professional market. This provides sound basis and guarantees a concrete approach to the exploitation and sustainability plan of the project.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SST.2011.1.1-2. | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2011

Retrofitting is defined as the installation onboard ships of state-of-the-art or innovative components or systems and could in principle be driven by the need to meet new regulatory standards or by the ship owner interest to upgrade to higher operational standards. Retrofitting should become an established practice in the shipping industry involving the entire value chain and exploring the possibilities that may open to the industry on a continuous basis. To identify worthy retrofitting candidates and select appropriate (green) technologies that can be suitably fitted at minimum cost and lead time, while considering the condition of the particular ship: service profile, remaining life cycle and the governing and expected regulations. The focus points of the project RETROFIT are: - Methods to identify ship candidates for retrofitting; - Methods and tools for simulating the working of various configurations of ship main and auxiliary systems; - Methods and tools for reverse engineering enabling to build product models suitable for the retrofitting process; - Methods and tools to control ships energy and emission performance: decision support systems for emission control and energy optimization over the entire service profile; - Design-for-retrofitting methodology based on standardisation and modularisation principles; - Efficient corresponding yard processes for minimum out-of-business time for retrofitting ships.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.1-5 | Award Amount: 1.83M | Year: 2008

There is little coordination in undertaking research in end of life care. This is due to lack of agreement on what constitutes end of life cancer care, no information on public or clinical priorities for achieving a good death in a culturally diverse Europe, few appropriate measures of quality, and a lack of established best practice. PRISMA aims to deliver an integrated programme to coordinate research priorities and practice. The work packages will undertake actions to identify cultural differences in end of life care, establish a collaborative research agenda informed by public and clinical priorities, and draw together best practice and resources for quality measurement. The Palliative Outcome Scale (POS) is a multidimensional tool that measures the physical, psychological, spiritual and information needs of patients and families at the end of life. It has been culturally adapted in 20 EU countries and widely used by over 100 services to evaluate and improve quality of care. However, there have been no opportunities to share practice, identify shared and country-specific domains, and coordinate to improve research across Europe. By coordinating POS use, PRISMA will offer a model to optimise end of life care research and measurement and identify both commonalities and differences in the evaluation of quality indicators for cancer patients and their families across Europe. Incorporating wide public/clinical consultation with the coordination of POS use into this programme will advance scientifically sound practice while taking account of cultural difference and public expectations. Through integrated action, we will exchange experience, shape best practice, and plan future collaboration through identification of priorities. This will enable research to harmonise and reflect the diversity and the needs of European citizens and clinicians. Support for the POS ensures that direct impact is felt between research and daily clinical practice.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.05M | Year: 2015

Over 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and 30% are resistant to our present therapies. Epilepsy, therefore, comprises a major burden to society and so there is a pressing need for new approaches to treatment. The brain extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a critical role in governing brain excitability and function. Although research into the role of the ECM in neuronal signalling and network function has advanced considerably in recent years, its full translational potential has yet to be realised. There is growing evidence for a major role of the ECM in epilepsy including the association between ECM protein mutations and epilepsy, changes in the ECM and associated proteins during the development of epilepsy and the strong association between the ECM and brain diseases associated with epilepsy including stroke, traumatic brain injury, neurodegeneration and autism. This proposal brings together considerable expertise from academic and industry partners in the biology of the ECM with experts in epilepsy research. This, therefore, represents a truly collaborative effort to determine not only the role of the ECM in the development of epilepsy but also novel approaches to treat and to prevent epilepsy. The academic partners will focus on specific research questions, whilst the industrial members will provide diagnostic, treatment and advanced research tools. The project has a strong translational theme and the combination of basic and translational science will be of great benefit for the training of young researchers. Trainees will be exposed to courses, workshops, joint research meetings and inter-laboratory visits. The focus of the training programme is on expanding knowledge and the application of such knowledge to address pertinent question relevant to the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of epilepsy, so providing an ideal insight into translational neuroscience.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2007-4.0-4 | Award Amount: 14.37M | Year: 2008

The search for effective therapies and early detection strategies for Alzheimers Disease (AD), the major cause of dementia in Europe, is imperative. It is known that -amyloid (A) peptide plays a central role in neurodegeneration. In AD brain, A is released in a soluble form that progressively becomes insoluble forming aggregates; extracellular plaques mainly composed of A are a hallmark of post-mortem brains. These premises strongly suggest brain A as a possible target for therapy and diagnosis of AD. In addition, it is known that brain and blood A pools are in equilibrium via the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). Accordingly, it has been reported that removal of blood A may withdraw the excess of brain A by a sink effect. Thus, blood A is another potential target. The aim of this project is to utilize nanoparticles (NPs) specifically engineered for targeting brain A, for the combined diagnosis and therapy (theranostics) of AD. NPs (liposomes, solid lipid NPs, polymeric-NPs) will be multiple-functionalized with: i) a large arsenal of molecules (specific lipids, antiamyloidogenic drugs, polyphenols, heteroaromatic compounds, unnatural peptides and peptidomimetics, antibodies) interacting with A in all aggregation forms, ii) PET or MRI contrast agents detecting such interaction, iii) molecules stimulating BBB crossing via the transcytotic route. Several artificial and cellular models will be used to fine-tune such features and to improve NPs biocompatibility, non-immunogenicity, non-toxicity and physical stability. Eventually, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion will be studied using animal models of AD. Different routes (i.v., oral, nasal) and protocols (two-step, NPs cocktails, aerosols) of administration will be utilized to boost NPs brain delivery. The prediction is that NPs will detect, disaggregate and remove A brain deposits. In any case, NPs will interact with blood A, withdrawing the excess of brain peptide by a sink effect.

News Article | December 20, 2016

Alarmed by “pseudoscience” that may bring “devastating” health consequences, two groups of researchers have asked the journal Scientific Reports to retract a paper that they claim undermines confidence in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, given to girls to prevent cervical cancer. The 11 November paper describes impaired mobility and brain damage in mice given an HPV vaccine. The mice received doses that were proportionally a thousand times greater than that given to people, along with a toxin that makes the blood-brain barrier leaky. That protocol, critics contend, does not mimic what happens in the human body. “Basically, this is an utterly useless paper, a waste of precious animals,” David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, wrote on his Orac blog at In an email to Science, the paper’s corresponding author, Toshihiro Nakajima of Tokyo Medical University, defended the work, stating: “Our manuscript was formally published after an intensive scientific review done by reviewers and by the editorial board of Scientific Reports.” The tussle is the latest salvo in a widening global battle over the HPV vaccine. Originally licensed in 2006, the vaccine is now approved for use in more than 120 countries. Studies show it is already starting to reduce HPV infections, which are blamed for 528,000 cervical cancer cases and 266,000 deaths each year, with the greatest burden in developing countries. (Boys are also now getting vaccinated, as HPV can cause genital warts and various cancers.) But in several countries, girls have complained of debilitating symptoms, reminiscent of chronic fatigue syndrome, after vaccination. These claims have attracted media attention, spawned antivaccination campaigns, and cut vaccination rates. More than 90% of Danish girls born in 2000 received at least one vaccine dose, but that rate has dropped year by year. Ireland also saw a drop in vaccination rates in 2015 and 2016. The trend is “alarming,” says Heidi Larson, who heads the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Japan is the prime battleground. As in many countries, the HPV vaccine got off to a promising start there. The first vaccine was licensed in 2009; in April 2013, the ministry added the vaccine to its recommended list and offered it for free. Uptake was robust. Sharon Hanley, a cancer epidemiologist at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, and colleagues reported in The Lancet in 2015 that roughly 70% of girls born between 1994 and 1998 completed the three-dose vaccination course. In spring 2013, however, a number of media outlets in Japan reported on alleged side effects. These include difficulty walking, headache, fatigue, poor concentration, and pain. That June, the health ministry suspended its “proactive recommendation” for vaccination, pending an investigation. The following January a ministry panel concluded that there is no evidence for a causal association between the HPV vaccine and the reported adverse events. The European Medicines Agency and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come to similar conclusions. Epidemiological studies indicate that the symptoms reported by the vaccinated girls are found at equal rates in nonvaccinated populations. Yet Japan’s health ministry has never restored its proactive recommendation, which means that although the government pays for the shots, it has stopped urging local authorities to promote vaccination. Vaccination rates have plummeted in Japan. Hanley says that in the city of Sapporo, the vaccination rate fell to just 0.6% of eligible girls, and she believes that nationwide, the rate is close to zero. (In a sign of growing trouble for vaccination, 63 women in July filed a class-action lawsuit against the government and vaccinemakers, seeking $125,000 each in compensation for the alleged side effects.) Larson notes that health ministries in other countries aggressively promoted vaccine safety after claims of side effects surfaced, keeping vaccination rates high. An official at Japan’s health ministry says a decision on restoring the proactive recommendation is under review. Nakajima’s study is sure to inflame the debate. His group gave mice large doses of the HPV vaccine along with a pertussis toxin to help the vaccine slip into the central nervous system. The treatment, they found, impaired tail movement and locomotion. A postmortem revealed structural damage, increased cell death, and other abnormalities in the mice’s brains. Critics assail the study in a pair of letters to Scientific Reports and its publisher, the Nature Publishing Group. One, signed by 20 members of the HPV Prevention and Control Board at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, asserts: “This experimental setup in no way mimics the immunization with HPV vaccines but is gross over dosage and manipulation of membrane permeability.” A second letter, from David Hawkes, a virologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and two colleagues argues that the paper “lacks a clear methodology, adequate controls to control for bias, descriptions of results consistent with the data presented, or enough information for this study to be reproduced.” Nakajima defends his group’s methodology, stating that they adopted a strategy similar to that commonly used in studying autoimmune encephalitis in mice. As for the dose, he wrote, “This is just the first paper and dose-dependency could be one of the interesting experiments in the future.” He added that they are now preparing a detailed response to criticisms of their paper. Vaccine proponents worry that the paper will embolden vaccine opponents. Nearly 200 tweets have mentioned it, with several mistakenly assuming it appeared in Nature. Both letters call on Scientific Reports to withdraw it. In an email to Science, a journal spokesperson confirmed having received the letters, and wrote, “We investigate every concern that is raised with us carefully and will take action where appropriate.” Even as opposition to the HPV vaccine gains momentum, evidence of its efficacy is accumulating. But with its paltry vaccination rate, Japan is unlikely to see any reduction in its current 9000-plus cases of cervical cancer and 3000 deaths each year. Worse, says Larson, Japan’s suspension of the proactive recommendation “has been particularly applauded” by vaccine-critical groups in other countries. For women in Asian nations with weaker health infrastructure, Hanley adds, “The vaccine may be their only hope of prevention.”

New Rochelle, NY, November 2, 2016--The decreased expression of some structural covariance networks (SCNs) in the brain is associated with advancing age, whereas other networks are less affected by age, and a new study now points to the independent effects of cerebral small vessel disease on SCNs. SCNs may be an important indicator of diminished cognitive functioning in older persons, according to an article published in Brain Connectivity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Brain Connectivity website until December 2, 2016. In "Structural Covariance Networks and Their Association with Age, Features of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease and Cognitive Functioning in Older Persons," Jessica Foster-Dingley, Jeroen van der Grond, PhD, et al. from Leiden University Medical Center and Leiden University, the Netherlands and CAPRI-University of Antwerp, Belgium, analyzed the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of study participants aged 75-96 years who had mild loss in cognitive function. The researchers assessed the volume of white matter hyperintensities, microbleeds, and other vascular changes associated with small vessel disease. They compared this to the expression of SCNs, age, memory loss, and psychomotor speed. "Scientific consensus is building that age related cognitive decline is connected to maladaptive changes in the brain's small blood vessels," says Christopher Pawela, PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Brain Connectivity and Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin. "Leiden University researchers have performed an elegant study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to demonstrate that these micro-scale blood vessel alterations are related to decreased detection of certain imaging brain networks and, furthermore, that decreased detection of these brain networks is correlated to impaired cognitive functioning using standard behavioral testing methods." Brain Connectivity is the essential peer-reviewed journal covering groundbreaking findings in the rapidly advancing field of connectivity research at the systems and network levels. Published 10 times per year in print and online, the Journal is under the leadership of Founding and Co-Editors-in-Chief Christopher Pawela, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Bharat Biswal, PhD, Chair of Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology. It includes original peer-reviewed papers, review articles, point-counterpoint discussions on controversies in the field, and a product/technology review section. To ensure that scientific findings are rapidly disseminated, articles are published Instant Online within 72 hours of acceptance, with fully typeset, fast-track publication within 4 weeks. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Brain Connectivity website. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative medical and biomedical peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Neurotrauma and Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

News Article | February 15, 2017

Between 1990 and 2013, thousands of children in war-torn South Sudan and northern Uganda suddenly developed a severe and puzzling form of epilepsy. When exposed to food or cold temperatures, affected children nodded their heads uncontrollably. Over time the seizures often worsened, leaving the children severely disabled. Many died of malnutrition, accidents, or secondary infections. In some communities, roughly half of families had at least one child with the condition, called nodding syndrome; by 2013, an estimated 1600 children in Uganda were affected. But the cause of the devastation was a mystery. Now, a study finds that a parasitic worm often found in the children might trigger the body’s own defenses to attack neurons. The study doesn’t prove the worm is the culprit, but it “is the first to show that a cause-effect relationship is plausible,” says Hermann Feldmeier, a parasitologist at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, who was not involved in the study. The rash of cases in Uganda and South Sudan triggered an intense hunt for the cause, but searches for viruses, bacteria, environmental toxins, genetic factors, and nutritional deficits all came up empty. One key clue: Areas with nodding syndrome also had high rates of onchocerciasis, an infection with the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. Spread through the bites of black flies, which breed in swift-flowing streams, the worms can invade the eye, and the infection is commonly known as river blindness. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 18 million people, most in sub-Saharan Africa, are infected. Researchers had suggested as early as the 1960s that high rates of epilepsy in Tanzania, with similar nodding symptoms, might be related to onchocerciasis. Others have noted that children with nodding syndrome are more likely to be infected than their healthy peers. But there’s no evidence that the worm invades the brain or directly causes seizures. Some researchers suggested that the worm instead causes an autoimmune reaction that damages the nervous system. Searches for antibodies that might play an autoimmune role had come up empty. But neuroimmunologists Avindra Nath and Tory Johnson of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, decided to use an improved protein chip to screen for antibodies to thousands of proteins at once. The new tool proved its worth. Blood from nodding syndrome patients reacted strongly to four proteins; in the case of one protein, called leiomodin-1, patient sera reacted 33,000 times more strongly than did sera from unaffected controls. The researchers then looked for the antibodies causing the reaction. As they report this week in , antibodies to leiomodin-1 turned up in 29 of 55 nodding syndrome patients but only 17 of 55 controls. Patients also carried much higher antibody levels than controls. Leiomodin-1, which likely plays a role in cell shape, is found in smooth muscle and thyroid cells. Johnson’s team showed that it is expressed in the nervous system and brain, too. They also found a clue to what might trigger an autoimmune reaction to the protein: Several O. volvulus proteins resemble it. After the immune system gears up to fight the worm, similarities between an O. volvulus protein and leiomodin-1 may cause the antibodies to mistakenly attack neurons. The study gives little hope to children already affected, Nath says. Although antiseizure drugs can help, if the immune system has attacked neurons, the damage is likely permanent. However, the work could suggest a straightforward way to eliminate the disease, says infectious disease specialist Robert Colebunders of the University of Antwerp in Belgium, because the drug ivermectin kills the worm. Existing campaigns to eliminate river blindness by giving the drug could have a collateral benefit: After the Ugandan government stepped up ivermectin treatment, new cases of nodding syndrome plunged to nearly zero, Colebunders says. “If you eliminate the onchocerciasis, the epilepsy really disappears.” Yet the link between the worm and nodding syndrome doesn’t explain why the illness suddenly appeared in a region where onchocerciasis has likely been common for centuries, or why nodding syndrome only affects children and youth. Johnson, now at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, says malnutrition, exposure to other diseases, or genetic variation in how the body makes antibodies may also play a role. Other researchers have suggested that measles infection followed by malnutrition could trigger the disease. Neurologist Erich Schmutzhard of the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria has other doubts. He says that the leiomodin-1 antibodies could be a result of epilepsy, not its cause. The protein seems to be on the inside of neurons, not the outside, he notes. Seizures kill neurons, and he speculates that dying neurons could spill the protein into the blood stream, triggering the antibodies. The onchocerciasis connection is intriguing but far from definitive, says neurologist Andrea Winkler of the Technical University of Munich in Germany. She, too, thinks the syndrome is likely caused by multiple factors, such as malnutrition, parasites, and viruses like measles. “There are still lots of links missing.”

Grujic M.M.,University of Belgrade | Grujic M.M.,University of Antwerp | Tadic M.Z.,University of Belgrade | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

The interplay of massive electrons with spin-orbit coupling in bulk graphene results in a spin-valley dependent gap. Thus, a barrier with such properties can act as a filter, transmitting only opposite spins from opposite valleys. In this Letter we show that a strain induced pseudomagnetic field in such a barrier will enforce opposite cyclotron trajectories for the filtered valleys, leading to their spatial separation. Since spin is coupled to the valley in the filtered states, this also leads to spin separation, demonstrating a spin-valley filtering effect. The filtering behavior is found to be controllable by electrical gating as well as by strain. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Giannantoni A.,University of Perugia | Bini V.,University of Perugia | Dmochowski R.,Vanderbilt University | Hanno P.,University of Pennsylvania | And 3 more authors.
European Urology | Year: 2012

Context: Different types of behavioural, dietary, interventional, pharmacologic, and surgical therapies have been used to treat painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis (PBS/IC). Because of the paucity of randomised placebo-controlled studies on different treatments, an evidence-based management approach has not yet been developed. Objective: To critically review and synthesize data from a wide range of current therapeutic approaches to PBS/IC, to quantify the effect size from randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and to reach clinical agreement on the efficacy of treatments for PBS/IC. Evidence acquisition: We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify articles published between 1990 and September 2010 on the management of PBS/IC. We included articles restricted to the English language published since 1990 to date that reported on oral and intravesical treatment, multimodal or combined treatment, and surgical treatment. For all RCTs, standardised mean differences (SMDs) were extracted and combined in a meta-analysis applying a random-effect model that incorporated the heterogeneity of effects. The four outcomes assessed in all studies were a change in the Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Index (ICSI), pain, urgency, and frequency. Non-RCTs (nRCTs) were analysed with a narrative synthesis of the evidence from all research designs. Evidence synthesis: We included 7709 adult patients from 29 RCTs and 57 nRCTs. Meta-analysis of RCTs showed that only cyclosporine A provided a simultaneous great effect size of SMD on ICSI, pain, and frequency. Amitriptyline at different dosages showed a great effect size of SMD on pain and urgency or on ICSI and frequency. The remaining RCTs showed sporadic significant changes in only one of the four considered parameters. The attributed levels of evidence for treatments reported in RCTs were 1b; grades of recommendations ranged from A to C. According to the Jadad score, 11 RCTs were high-quality studies. Meta-analysis of RCTs showed a great heterogeneity in the applied methodologies, clinical outcomes assessed, and the obtained results in different studies. The results from the nRCTs showed that the most frequently adopted treatment is oral pentosan polysulfate and that the use of botulinum A toxin intradetrusorial injections in PBS/IC is increasing. A high heterogeneity in drugs and treatment modalities, clinical outcomes, and obtained results was also found for nRCTs. Conclusions: Limited evidence exists for the few treatments for PBS/IC. The lack of definitive conclusions is due to the great heterogeneity in methodology, symptoms assessment, duration of treatment, and follow-up in both RCTs and nRCTs. © 2011 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Vanbeveren S.P.P.,University of Antwerp | Schweier J.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Berhongaray G.,University of Antwerp | Ceulemans R.,University of Antwerp
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2015

Harvesting is the most expensive, but the least investigated process in the cultivation of short rotation woody crops (SRWC). To get a better idea of the harvesting process (in terms of its performance, productivity, cost, soil compaction, cutting height and quality as well as biomass losses), we closely monitored the second harvest of a SRWC culture in Flanders (Belgium). We compared our results to the harvests of other, small European parcels. The trees at our site were harvested with both a manual and a mechanised (Stemster harvester) cut-and-store system, while the cut-and-chip system was analysed from an extensive literature survey. The production cost (to the edge of the field) at our site reached 426 (manual) and 94 (mechanised) €t-1, while the average values found in the literature are respectively 104 and 78€t-1, versus 17€t-1 for the cut-and-chip harvesting system. The productivity at our site reached 14 (manual) and 22 (mechanised) oven-dry tonnes per scheduled machine hour, while the average values found in the literature are respectively 15 and 23th-1. Based on the good performance (hah-1) and productivity (th-1) of the cut-and-chip system as well as its lower costs, this harvesting system is recommended for operational SRWC. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Krstajic P.M.,University of Belgrade | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

The many-body correction to the band structure of a quasi-free-standing graphene layer is obtained within the Overhauser approach, where the electron-plasmon interaction is described as a field theoretical problem. We find that the Dirac-like spectrum is shifted by ΔE(k=0), which is on the order of 50-150 meV, depending on the electron concentration n e, and is in semiquantitative agreement with experimental data. The value of the Fermi velocity is renormalized by several percents and decreases with increasing electron concentration as found experimentally. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Rosenfeld J.V.,Monash University | Maas A.I.,University of Antwerp | Bragge P.,Monash University | Morganti-Kossmann M.C.,Monash University | And 2 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2012

Severe traumatic brain injury remains a major health-care problem worldwide. Although major progress has been made in understanding of the pathophysiology of this injury, this has not yet led to substantial improvements in outcome. In this report, we address present knowledge and its limitations, research innovations, and clinical implications. Improved outcomes for patients with severe traumatic brain injury could result from progress in pharmacological and other treatments, neural repair and regeneration, optimisation of surgical indications and techniques, and combination and individually targeted treatments. Expanded classification of traumatic brain injury and innovations in research design will underpin these advances. We are optimistic that further gains in outcome for patients with severe traumatic brain injury will be achieved in the next decade.

Krstajic P.M.,University of Belgrade | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2013

The relation between the energy and momentum of plasmarons in bilayer graphene is investigated within the Overhauser approach, where the electron-plasmon interaction is described as a field theoretical problem. We find that the Dirac-like spectrum is shifted by ΔE(k) ∼100÷150meV depending on the electron concentration ne and electron momentum. The shift increases with electron concentration as the energy of plasmons becomes larger. The dispersion of plasmarons is more pronounced than in the case of single layer graphene, which is explained by the fact that the energy dispersion of electrons is quadratic and not linear. We expect that these predictions can be verified using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES). © 2013 American Physical Society.

Mahmud T.,Transparency International Bangladesh | Prowse M.,University of Antwerp
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

This article seeks to draw possible lessons for adaptation programmes in Bangladesh by examining whether cyclone preparedness and relief interventions are subject to corrupt practices. Based on a random sample survey of 278 households, three focus-group discussions and seven key-informant interviews, the article investigates the nature and extent of corruption in pre- and post-disaster interventions in Khulna before and after Cyclone Aila in May 2009. Ninety nine percent of households reported losses from corrupt practices. Post-disaster interventions (such as food aid and public works schemes) suffered from greater levels, and worse types, of corruption than pre-disaster interventions (such as cyclone warning systems and disaster-preparedness training). Using an asset index created using principal component analysis, the article assesses how corruption affected wealth quartiles. Ultra-poor households were affected more by corruption in pre-disaster interventions, the wealthiest quartile more in certain post-disaster interventions, in particular public works and non-governmental interventions. These findings may hold lessons for attempts to increase resilience as current adaptation measures mirror some cyclone preparedness and relief efforts. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Peelaerts W.,Catholic University of Leuven | Bousset L.,CNRS Neuroscience Paris-Saclay Institute | Van Der Perren A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Moskalyuk A.,University of Antwerp | And 8 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015

Misfolded protein aggregates represent a continuum with overlapping features in neurodegenerative diseases, but differences in protein components and affected brain regions. The molecular hallmark of synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy are megadalton α-synuclein-rich deposits suggestive of one molecular event causing distinct disease phenotypes. Glial α-synuclein (α-SYN) filamentous deposits are prominent in multiple system atrophy and neuronal α-SYN inclusions are found in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The discovery of α-SYN assemblies with different structural characteristics or 'strains' has led to the hypothesis that strains could account for the different clinico-pathological traits within synucleinopathies. In this study we show that α-SYN strain conformation and seeding propensity lead to distinct histopathological and behavioural phenotypes. We assess the properties of structurally well-defined α-SYN assemblies (oligomers, ribbons and fibrils) after injection in rat brain. We prove that α-SYN strains amplify in vivo. Fibrils seem to be the major toxic strain, resulting in progressive motor impairment and cell death, whereas ribbons cause a distinct histopathological phenotype displaying Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy traits. Additionally, we show that α-SYN assemblies cross the blood-brain barrier and distribute to the central nervous system after intravenous injection. Our results demonstrate that distinct α-SYN strains display differential seeding capacities, inducing strain-specific pathology and neurotoxic phenotypes. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Grujic M.,University of Belgrade | Tadic M.,University of Belgrade | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2013

The mean-field Hubbard model is used to investigate the formation of the antiferromagnetic phase in hexagonal graphene rings with inner zigzag edges. The outer edge of the ring was taken to be either zigzag or armchair, and we found that both types of structures can have a larger antiferromagnetic interaction as compared with hexagonal dots. This difference could be partially ascribed to the larger number of zigzag edges per unit area in rings than in dots. Furthermore, edge states localized on the inner ring edge are found to hybridize differently than the edge states of dots, which results in important differences in the magnetism of graphene rings and dots. The largest staggered magnetization is found when the outer edge has a zigzag shape. However, narrow rings with armchair outer edge are found to have larger staggered magnetization than zigzag hexagons. The edge defects are shown to have the least effect on magnetization when the outer ring edge is armchair shaped. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Arsoski V.V.,University of Belgrade | Tadic M.Z.,University of Belgrade | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2013

Neutral excitons in strained axially symmetric In(Ga)As/GaAs quantum dots with a ringlike shape are investigated. Similar to experimental self-assembled quantum rings, the analyzed quantum dots have volcano-like shapes. The continuum mechanical model is employed to determine the strain distribution, and the single-band envelope function approach is adopted to compute the electron states. The hole states are determined by the axially symmetric multiband Luttinger-Kohn Hamiltonian, and the exciton states are obtained from an exact diagonalization. We found that the presence of the inner layer covering the ring opening enhances the excitonic Aharonov-Bohm (AB) oscillations. The reason is that the hole becomes mainly localized in the inner part of the quantum dot due to strain, whereas the electron resides mainly inside the ring-shaped rim. Interestingly, larger AB oscillations are found in the analyzed quantum dot than in a fully opened quantum ring of the same width. Comparison with the unstrained ringlike quantum dot shows that the amplitude of the excitonic Aharonov-Bohm oscillations are almost doubled in the presence of strain. The computed oscillations of the exciton energy levels are comparable in magnitude to the oscillations measured in recent experiments. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Delville R.,University of Antwerp | Malard B.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague | Pilch J.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague | Sittner P.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague | Schryvers D.,University of Antwerp
International Journal of Plasticity | Year: 2011

Superelastic deformation of thin Ni-Ti wires containing various nanograined microstructures was investigated by tensile cyclic loading with in situ evaluation of electric resistivity. Defects created by the superelastic cycling in these wires were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. The role of dislocation slip in superelastic deformation is discussed. Ni-Ti wires having finest microstructures (grain diameter <100 nm) are highly resistant against dislocation slip, while those with fully recrystallized microstructure and grain size exceeding 200 nm are prone to dislocation slip. The density of the observed dislocation defects increases significantly with increasing grain size. The upper plateau stress of the superelastic stress-strain curves is largely grain size independent from 10 up to 1000 nm. It is hence claimed that the Hall-Petch relationship fails for the stress-induced martensitic transformation in this grain size range. It is proposed that dislocation slip taking place during superelastic cycling is responsible for the accumulated irreversible strains, cyclic instability and degradation of functional properties. No residual martensite phase was found in the microstructures of superelastically cycled wires by TEM and results of the in situ electric resistance measurements during straining also indirectly suggest that none or very little martensite phase remains in the studied cycled superelastic wires after unloading. The accumulation of dislocation defects, however, does not prevent the superelasticity. It only affects the shape of the stress-strain response, makes it unstable upon cycling and changes the deformation mode from localized to homogeneous. The activity of dislocation slip during superelastic deformation of Ni-Ti increases with increasing test temperature and ultimately destroys the superelasticity as the plateau stress approaches the yield stress for slip. Deformation twins in the austenite phase ({1 1 4} compound twins) were frequently found in cycled wires having largest grain size. It is proposed that they formed in the highly deformed B19′ martensite phase during forward loading and are retained in austenite after unloading. Such twinning would represent an additional deformation mechanism of Ni-Ti yielding residual irrecoverable strains. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Conraads V.M.,University of Antwerp | Tavazzi L.,Villa Maria Cecilia Hospital | Santini M.,Azienda Ospedaliera San Filippo Neri | Oliva F.,Azienda Ospedaliera Niguarda Ca Granda | And 3 more authors.
European Heart Journal | Year: 2011

Aims Early recognition of impending decompensation and timely intervention may prevent heart failure (HF) hospitalization. We investigated the performance of OptiVol ® intrathoracic fluid monitoring for the prediction of HF events in chronic HF patients newly implanted with a device (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator with or without cardiac resynchronization therapy). Methods and resultsSENSE-HF was a prospective, multi-centre study that enrolled 501 patients. Phase I (double blinded, 6 months) determined the sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) of the OptiVol data in predicting HF hospitalizations. Of 58 adjudicated HF hospitalizations that occurred during the first 6 months in Phase I, 12 were predicted by OptiVol (sensitivity 20.7). Sensitivity appeared to be dynamic in nature and at the end of Phase I, had increased to 42.1. With 253 OptiVol detections, PPV for Phase I was 4.7. Phase II/III (unblinded, 18 months) determined the PPV of the first OptiVol Patient Alert for detection of worsening HF status with signs and/or symptoms of pulmonary congestion. A total of 233 patients noted such an OptiVol alert and for 210, HF status was evaluated within 30 days. Heart failure status had worsened for 80 patients (PPV 38.1). ConclusionsAn intrathoracic impedance-derived fluid index had low sensitivity and PPV in the early period after implantation of a device in chronic HF patients. Sensitivity improved within the first 6 months after implant. Further studies are needed to assess the place of this monitoring technology in the clinical management of patients with HF. © 2011 The Author.

Pyeritz R.E.,University of Pennsylvania | Loeys B.,University of Antwerp
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2012

In the nearly quarter-century since the first international symposium on Marfan syndrome, enormous progress has been achieved in clinical, translational, and basic research. The 8th symposium, at the end of 2010, provides a useful summary of the current status of investigations, reveals why life-expectancy has improved so markedly during the past 30 years, and lays out a clear path for future endeavors, not only in Marfan syndrome, but in the expanding array of conditions related either through phenotype or pathogenesis. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Machon D.,University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 | Meersman F.,University College London | Meersman F.,University of Antwerp | Wilding M.C.,Aberystwyth University | And 2 more authors.
Progress in Materials Science | Year: 2014

Pressure-induced amorphization (PIA) is a phenomenon that involves an abrupt transition between a crystalline material and an amorphous solid through application of pressure at temperatures well below the melting point or glass transition range. Amorphous states can be produced by PIA for substances that do not normally form glasses by thermal quenching. It was first reported for ice Ih in 1984 following prediction of a metastable melting event associated with the negative initial melting slope observed for that material. The unusual phenomenon attracted intense interest and by the early 1990s PIA had been reported to occur among a wide range of elements and compounds. However, with the advent of powerful experimental techniques including high resolution synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering combined with more precise control over the pressurization environment, closer examination showed that some of the effects previously reported as PIA were likely due to formation of nanocrystals, or even that PIA was completely bypassed during examination of single crystals or materials treated under more hydrostatic compression conditions. Now it is important to understand these results together with related discussions of polyamorphic behavior to gain better understanding and control over these metastable transformations occurring in the low temperature range where structural relaxation and equilibration processes are severely constrained. The results will lead to useful new high-density amorphous materials or nanocrystalline composites containing metastable crystalline varieties and the experiments have driven new theoretical approaches to modeling the phenomena. Here we review the incidence and current understanding of PIA along with related phenomena of density- and entropy-driven liquid-liquid phase transitions (LLPT) and polyamorphism. We extend the discussion to include polymeric macromolecules and biologically-related materials, where the phenomena can be correlated with reversible vs irreversible unfolding and other metastable structural transformations. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cotte M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Cotte M.,European Synchrotron Radiation Facility | Susini J.,European Synchrotron Radiation Facility | Dik J.,Technical University of Delft | Janssens K.,University of Antwerp
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2010

A variety of analytical techniques augmented by the use of synchrotron radiation (SR), such as X-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF) and X-ray diffraction (SR-XRD), are now readily available, and they differ little, conceptually, from their common laboratory counterparts. Because of numerous advantages afforded by SR-based techniques over benchtop versions, however, SR methods have become popular with archaeologists, art historians, curators, and other researchers in the field of cultural heritage (CH). Although the CH community now commonly uses both SR-XRF and SR-XRD, the use of synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy (SR-XAS) techniques remains marginal, mostly because CH specialists rarely interact with SR physicists. In this Account, we examine the basic principles and capabilities of XAS techniques in art preservation. XAS techniques offer a combination of features particularly well-suited for the chemical analysis of works of art. The methods are noninvasive, have low detection limits, afford high lateral resolution, and provide exceptional chemical sensitivity. These characteristics are highly desirable for the chemical characterization of precious, heterogeneous, and complex materials. In particular, the chemical mapping capability, with high spatial resolution that provides information about local composition and chemical states, even for trace elements, is a unique asset. The chemistry involved in both the objects history (that is, during fabrication) and future (that is, during preservation and restoration treatments) can be addressed by XAS. On the one hand, many studies seek to explain optical effects occurring in historical glasses or ceramics by probing the molecular environment of relevant chromophores. Hence, XAS can provide insight into craft skills that were mastered years, decades, or centuries ago but were lost over the course of time. On the other hand, XAS can also be used to characterize unwanted reactions, which are then considered alteration phenomena and can dramatically alter the objects original visual properties. In such cases, the bulk elemental composition is usually unchanged. Hence, monitoring oxidation state (or, more generally, other chemical modifications) can be of great importance. Recent applications of XAS in art conservation are reviewed and new trends are discussed, highlighting the value (and future possibilities) of XAS, which remains, given its potential, underutilized in the CH community. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Janssens K.,University of Antwerp | Dik J.,Technical University of Delft | Cotte M.,European Synchrotron Radiation Facility | Susini J.,European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2010

Often, just micrometers below a paintings surface lies a wealth of information, both with Old Masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt van Rijn and with more recent artists of great renown such as Vincent Van Gogh and James Ensor. Subsurface layers may include underdrawing, underpainting, and alterations, and in a growing number of cases conservators have discovered abandoned compositions on paintings, illustrating artists practice of reusing a canvas or panel. The standard methods for studying the inner structure of cultural heritage (CH) artifacts are infrared reflectography and X-ray radiography, techniques that are optionally complemented with the microscopic analysis of cross-sectioned samples. These methods have limitations, but recently, a number of fundamentally new approaches for fully imaging the buildup of hidden paint layers and other complex three-dimensional (3D) substructures have been put into practice. In this Account, we discuss these developments and their recent practical application with CH artifacts. We begin with a tabular summary of 14 IR- and X-ray-based imaging methods and then continue with a discussion of each technique, illustrating CH applications with specific case studies. X-ray-based tomographic and laminographic techniques can be used to generate 3D renditions of artifacts of varying dimensions. These methods are proving invaluable for exploring inner structures, identifying the conservation state, and postulating the original manufacturing technology of metallic and other sculptures. In the analysis of paint layers, terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) can highlight interfaces between layers in a stratigraphic buildup, whereas macrosopic scanning X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) has been employed to measure the distribution of pigments within these layers. This combination of innovative methods provides topographic and color information about the micrometer depth scale, allowing us to look "into" paintings in an entirely new manner. Over the past five years, several new variants of traditional IR- and X-ray-based imaging methods have been implemented by conservators and museums, and the first reports have begun to emerge in the primary research literature. Applying these state-of-the-art techniques in a complementary fashion affords a more comprehensive view of paintings and other artworks. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Deng T.,Beihang University | Fan W.,University of Edinburgh | Geerts F.,University of Antwerp
Proceedings of the ACM SIGACT-SIGMOD-SIGART Symposium on Principles of Database Systems | Year: 2012

Recommendation systems aim to recommend items that are likely to be of interest to users. This paper investigates several issues fundamental to such systems. (1) We model recommendation systems for packages of items. We use queries to specify multi-criteria for item selections and express compatibility constraints on items in a package, and use functions to compute the cost and usefulness of items to a user. (2) We study recommendations of points of interest, to suggest top-k packages. We also investigate recommendations of top-k items, as a special case. In addition, when sensible suggestions cannot be found, we propose query relaxation recommendations to help users revise their selection criteria, or adjustment recommendations to guide vendors to modify their item collections. (3) We identify several problems, to decide whether a set of packages makes a top-k recommendation, whether a rating bound is maximum for selecting top-k packages, whether we can relax the selection query to find packages that users want, and whether we can update a bounded number of items such that the users' requirements can be satisfied. We also study function problems for computing top-k packages, and counting problems to find how many packages meet the user's criteria. (4) We establish the upper and lower bounds of these problems, all matching, for combined and data complexity. These results reveal the impact of variable sizes of packages, the presence of compatibility constraints, as well as a variety of query languages for specifying selection criteria and compatibility constraints, on the analyses of these problems. © 2012 ACM.

Zepp F.,University Hospital Freiburg | Heininger U.,University of Basel | Mertsola J.,University of Turku | Bernatowska E.,The Childrens Memorial Health Institute | And 4 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2011

Although the introduction of universal pertussis immunisation in infants has greatly reduced the number of reported cases in infants and young children, disease incidence has been increasing in adolescents and adults in recent years. This changing epidemiological pattern is probably largely attributable to waning immunity after natural infection or vaccination. Furthermore, improved diagnostic testing, active surveillance, changes in disease susceptibility, vaccine characteristics, and increased awareness of the disease might also be contributing factors. Susceptibility to pertussis in adolescents and adults results not only in direct morbidity in these age groups, but also poses a transmission risk to susceptible non-immune infants who are often too young to be vaccinated. Because vaccination schedules vary across Europe, we review the pertussis situation in this region and propose considerations for use of pertussis booster vaccinations at different ages to reduce individual morbidity and transmission from present rates and increase herd protection. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: AAT.2011.7-22. | Award Amount: 596.36K | Year: 2011

The EDUCAIR (Assessing the EDUCational Gaps in Aeronautics and AIR Transport) project is built on the belief that the alignment of the educational and formation offers with the European air transport and aeronautics sectors competence needs is the key for overcoming the current challenges impacting the world air transport system. The purpose of EDUCAIR is to improve the match between needs (demand) in human resources and the educational and training offer (offer) of skills across Europe and other regions in the World. EDUCAIR will identify the air transport and aeronautics needs in terms of staff training and education in the horizon of 2020, in order to recommend improvement in the current educational offers. EDUCAIR will identify the mismatch - or competence gap - between the needs (demand) of competences and the offer (supply)of educational curricula. The rational of EDUCAIR is built on the belief that there is not one competence gap, but there are actually four competence gaps. These gaps result from the mismatch of the four entities (or players) in the market and education systems, being: the companies (corresponding to the employer), the employee (that works for the company), the student (or prospective employee) and the educational institution (such as: universities or research centres). A framework of analysis will be developed and discussed to assess the various competence gaps. One of the EDUCAIR outcomes will be evaluating the gap between the number of students graduating from European schools and universities, and the needs of engineers and scientists in European industry, education and research centres, at present and in the future. EDUCAIR team has a long experience in the participation of European funded research projects and it also actively involved in the production of educational contents. EDUCAIR is structured in seven work packages: one with a managerial nature, one with a dissemination nature, and the remaining five with a scientific nature. The scientific work starts with the elaboration and detailing of the assessment framework. Follows three parallel work packages that are responsible for analysing the educational offer (one dedicated to the graduate and master level, and lifelong learning; and another dedicated to the doctoral and research education) and the industry needs. The final work package will assess the competence gaps based on the conceptual framework and the information meanwhile gathered. Finally, recommendations for new curricula or for changes in the existing ones will be proposed.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.3.6 | Award Amount: 14.46M | Year: 2011

Organic photovoltaics (OPV) represent the newest generation of technologies in solar power generation, offering the benefits of flexibility, low weight and low cost enabling the development of new consumer nomadic applications and the long term perspective of easy deployment in Building Integrated Photo Voltaics (BIPV) and energy production farms. This is a key opportunity for the EU to further establish its innovation base in alternative energies.The current challenges reside in the combination to increase efficiencies to 8-10% (module level), increase expected lifetime up to 20 years and decrease production costs to 0.7 Eur/Wp, while taking into account the environmental impact and footprint.The key project objectives are to achieve:\tPrinted OPV with high efficiency architectures such as tandem cells and dedicated light management structures\tHigh performance photo active and passive (barrier) materials including process controlled morphology\tSolutions for cost effective flexible substrates, diffusion barriers and conductors\tDeep understanding of the device physics, elucidation of degradation mechanisms and estimate environmental impact of the main materials and processesThe project consortium combines industrial, institutional and academic support to make a significant impact at European and International level, especially on materials and processes while demonstrating their market-relevant implementations. The industrial project partners are well assembled along the supply chain of future OPV-based products, which is an important prerequisite for the creation of significant socio-economic impact of this proposal.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EE-12-2014 | Award Amount: 996.55K | Year: 2015

In recent years, research has shown that energy savings resulting from energy efficiency improvements have wider benefits for the economy and society such as increases in employment, GDP, energy security, positive impacts on health, ecosystems and crops or resource consumption. In order to develop more cost-effective energy efficiency policies and optimised long-term strategies in the EU, these multiple benefits have to be accounted for more comprehensively in the future. Although this field of research is growing, the findings are disperse and mostly have important gaps regarding geographic, sectorial or technical measure coverage and findings vary largely. This makes a consideration of multiple benefits in policy making and policy evaluation difficult today. The proposed project addresses these issues and aims at closing the identified gaps by five central research innovations: 1) data gathering on energy savings and technology costs per EU country for the most relevant 20 to 30 energy efficiency measures in the residential, commercial, industrial and transport sectors, 2) developing adequate methodologies for benefit quantification, monetisation and aggregation, 3) quantifying the most important multiple benefits and where adequate, monetising, 4) developing an openly available calculation tool that greatly simplifies the evaluation of co-impacts for specific energy efficiency measures to enable decision-making and 5) developing a simple online visualisation tool for customisable graphical analysis and assessment of multiple benefits and data exportation. Project outcomes can thus directly be used by stakeholders and will help to define cost-effective policies and support policy-makers and evaluators in the development and monitoring of energy efficiency strategies and policies in the future.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2012.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 8.10M | Year: 2013

Where the available research data on ESL only explains isolated aspects of the evolution towards ESL, the project analyses ESL from a holistic perspective. By framing the complex and often subtle interplay of factors influencing ESL on macro/meso/micro level; and by deconstructing these configurations of influencing factors in the specific contexts where they occur, we expect to uncover specific combinations of variables and contexts influencing the processes related to ESL. This allows us to formulate conceptual models useful for the development and implementation of policies and specific measures to influence ESL, making the project not only relevant to academics, but also to policy makers, school staff and civil society. aims to provide insights into the mechanisms and processes influencing a pupils decision to leave school/training early; as well as into the decision of ESLers to enroll in alternative learning arenas unrelated to a regular school - but wherein specific creative or innovative methods of knowledge and skill transfer are used. Additionally, focuses on the vulnerable group of youngsters that left education or training early and are identified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). also aims to identify and analyze the intervention and compensation measures that succeeded in transferring knowledge and in keeping pupils in education/training, although they showed high (theoretical) risk of ESL. In order to be able to compare the data gathered in 7 partner countries, will develop and refine the theoretical framework on ESL, formulating a workable yet nuanced definition of ESL. Through a mixed-method design, a total of 28140 surveys and 1176 interviews/FGD will be conducted, generating in-depth data while allowing systematic comparisons and quantitative generalizations. Results are targeted at different audiences/stakeholders: EU- & national policy makers, school staff, academics and civil society.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN | Award Amount: 2.91M | Year: 2011

We identify Neuroelectronics as a novel mature discipline, at the boundaries between neurobiology, electrophysiology, computational neurosciences, microelectronics, materials sciences, and nanotechnologies. In the proposed Marie-Curie consortium, each of these components, as well as the specific application contexts (i.e. basic research, neuroprosthetics, and pharmaceutical applications), are represented and combined in a concerted effort, towards the training of a new generation of researchers and professionals. We target both technological priorities, such as the development of novel multi-electrode arrays and advanced interfaces that functionally interact with neurons and networks; and scientific priorities, considering and studying neuro-electronic hybrids as devices able to undergo a functional and anatomical reconfiguration, on the basis of the activity-dependent plasticity and rewiring properties of neurons, under some control of the experimenter. Our ultimate aim is to lay the foundation of a virtual institute for the multi-disciplinary study of neuroengineering and network-neurosciences that will train a new generation of scientists and professionals and that will contribute to Europes leading role in scientific innovation. We strongly believe in the unique training potential of our consortium: neuroelectronics to analyze and synthesize neuronal networks, using artificial devices able to co-operate with neurons, thereby crossing the barriers between artificial devices and neurons. Knocking down the barriers between natural and artificial is, in the words of Edoardo Boncinelli (founding figure in developmental biology and 2005 EMBO Awardee for Communication in the Life Sciences), a fantastic crossing between biological evolution and cultural evolution, a shortcut between culture and nature.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: NMP-2008-1.1-2 | Award Amount: 1.53M | Year: 2009

The NANOTOTOUCH proposal aims to create innovative environments for the broad public to learn about and to discuss nano research by directly involving the actors of research themselves. We propose to do this by taking the laboratory environment and the research work out of enclosed academic campuses and relocating them right in the midst of the public in science museums and science centres. Three science museums and three science centres will closely cooperate with local university partners to create three permanent Open Nano Lab locations (in Munich, Milan and Gothenburg) and three Nano Researcher Live areas (in Mechelen, Tartu and Naples). In these places the visitors will experience live the day-to-day practices and processes of nano research conducted by young scientists. This peer-to-peer dialogue on an equal basis between lay public and nano-researchers not only creates a bidirectional feedback, it also minimises the expert-to-lay bias (top-down approach) inherent present science communication processes with authoritative top researchers. In order to prepare the young scientists for this novel method of communication, NANOTOTOUCH also includes a strong communication skills training component. NANOTOTOUCH will also establish new role models for choosing science as a career: young adults thinking of entering science will be able to discuss various aspects with young researchers who themselves made this decision recently, whilst upcoming researchers will learn that communication is a self-evident part of their professional identity. Thus, NANOTOTOUCH pushes science communication to its extreme, merging communication and research in a powerful way and responding to the need for more transparency and accessibility in science. Furthermore, the strong synergetic network approach of the project enables contents and models to be developed for further distribution and implementation in educational and scientific communities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.3.5 | Award Amount: 3.36M | Year: 2008

InTopSens is a multidisciplinary project involving the emerging fields of photonics structures, electronics, fluidics and bio-chemistry, to contribute to the development of high value sensor technology. This objective will be addressed through the demonstration of a compact polymer and silicon-based CMOS-compatible photonics sensor system. It integrates two label-free biomolecular recognition photonic sensor technologies with sensitivities as low as 0.1ng per ml, state-of-the-art in label-free integrated optical biosensors, with novel coupling technology that will permit very high integration of hundreds of sensing areas on a 1mm2 photonics chip. This offers the further advantageous possibility of assaying several parameters simultaneously leading to further increases in the reliability and reductions in the measurement uncertainty of a diagnostic over single-parameter assays. The novel diagnostic technology of the InTopSens device has the potential to be fast and easy to use, making routine screening or monitoring of bacteria more cost-effective. The ultimate target of InTopSens is to demonstrate the feasibility of a rapid diagnostic test for sepsis at point of care. From the introduction onto the chip of a large drop of blood (some 5ml) it will have after 5-10 mins a yes/no to the presence of bacteria and after less than 30mins an antibiotic resistance profile of the infecting bacteria. Some 120 sensing areas/datapoints are needed to identify this profile and as such due to the very high integration up to 250 assays can be integrated onto a 1mm2 chip for the same bacteria for higher sensitivity/selectivity or for other bacteria. A final prototype consisting of a packaged biochip will be used on clinical samples in order to detect the sepsis bacteria and determine their resistance to antibiotics.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.58M | Year: 2013

In recent years the computational complexity of mathematical models employed in financial mathematics has witnessed a tremendous growth. Advanced numerical techniques are imperative for the most present-day applications in financial industry. The motivation for this training network is the need for a network of highly educated European scientists in the field of financial mathematics and computational science, so as to exchange and discuss current insights and ideas, and to lay groundwork for future collaborations. Besides a series of internationally recognized researchers from academics, leading quantitative analysts from the financial industry also participate in this network. The challenge lies in the necessity of combining complementary techniques and skills such as mathematical analysis, sophisticated numerical methods and stochastic simulation methods with deep qualitative and quantitative understanding of mathematical models arising from financial markets. The main training objective is to prepare, at the highest possible level, young researchers with a broad scope of scientific knowledge and to teach transferable skills, like social awareness which is very important in view of the recent financial crises. The current topic in this network is that the financial crisis in the European countries is a contagion and herding effect and is clearly outside of the domain of validity of Black-Scholes and Mertons theory, since the market is not Gaussian and it is not frictionless and complete. In this research training network our aim is to deeper understand complex (mostly nonlinear) financial models and to develop effective and robust numerical schemes for solving linear and nonlinear problems arising from the mathematical theory of pricing financial derivatives and related financial products. This aim will be accomplished by means of financial modelling, mathematical analysis and numerical simulations, optimal control techniques and validation of models.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: TPT-2008.0.0.13 | Award Amount: 1.84M | Year: 2010

HERMES project will provide development and analysis of new mobility schemes and associated organisational patterns at the interface and interconnection between long distance transport networks and local/regional transport network. Although these are conceptually simple operations, requiring only some real-time telecommunication, there are organizational and contractual difficulties in its realisation. The first part should concentrate on identification of the key requirements of the travellers, the corresponding services and necessary underlying company agreements to provide them, followed by a business plan for the operation. The second part of the project would have demonstrations in the selected corridors for a period of at least 6 months of field experience. The final product of the project should be a handbook of recommendations based on the analytical part and on the demonstration part of the project. Prototypes for the business model of the innovative services will be developed and further tested in case studies for validation of its functional, economic and organizational aspects aiming to provide recommendations regarding enhanced co-ordination between decision-making levels on issues related to the interconnection of transport networks of different scales and modes, addressing institutional, legal, design, planning, technical and deployment aspects.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-4.2-1 | Award Amount: 6.76M | Year: 2008

The aim of TINN is to evaluate ciprofloxacin, fluconazole and micafungin in neonates; two anti-infectious drugs included in the EMEA priority list of the therapeutic areas that need specific drug evaluation in preterm and term neonates. These drugs are prescribed off-label to treat neonatal infections that are life threatening situations and associated with long-term complications. In order to validate the use of these two drugs in these high risk populations, TINN involves European leaders in neonatology, paediatric pharmacology, methodology and SME and has established a close collaboration between academia, ethical bodies, regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical companies. For both drugs, the project will perform in silico experimentations, animal studies and evaluate formulations adapted to neonates. Designs will be optimized using age-appropriate state-of-the-art methods adapted to neonates, include pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics in order to validate the components of a Paediatric Investigation Plan. The two trials will be performed with neonatologists trained in paediatric pharmacology and clinical research who respect Good Clinical Practices. All the ethical issues related to the two trials will be considered in particular pain and distress, blood sampling (number and volume) and informed consent. Parent information sheets and consent form submitted to parents associations for approval. TINN will include short-term safety (based on vital signs, blood safety data and function of the major organs) and potential for long-term adverse reactions. Results will be also reported in order to allow a PUMA application and to improve neonatal care, through scientific societies. Therefore, TINN will strengthen the European role in drug evaluation in paediatric patients and will support initiatives of the European pharmaceutical industry. Increasing the appropriate use of medicines in child will be of direct benefit to children, their families and health professionals.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-2.2.1. | Award Amount: 3.52M | Year: 2010

The project focus are inequalities in income/wealth and education and their social/political/cultural impacts. It combines an interdisciplinary approach, improved methodologies, wide country coverage, a clear policy dimension and broad dissemination. It exploits differences between and within countries in inequality levels and trends to understand impacts and tease out implications for policy and institutions. It highlights potential effects of individual distributional positions and increasing inequality for a host of bad outcomes (societal and individual) and allows feedback from impacts to inequality in a frame of policy-oriented debate and comparison across 25 EU countries, USA, Japan, Canada and Australia. Social impacts include educational access and achievement, individual employment opportunities and labour market behaviour, household joblessness, living standards and deprivation, family and household formation/breakdown, housing and intergenerational social mobility, individual health and life expectancy, and social cohesion versus polarisation. Underlying long-term trends, the economic cycle and the current financial and economic crisis will be incorporated. Politico-cultural impacts investigated are: Do increasing income/educational inequalities widen cultural and political distances, alienating people from politics, globalisation and European integration? Do they affect individuals participation and general social trust? Is acceptance of inequality and policies of redistribution affected by inequality itself? What effects have political systems (coalitions/winner-takes-all)? Finally, it focuses on costs and benefits of limiting income inequality and its efficiency for mitigating other inequalities (health, housing, education and opportunity). A detailed flexible plan and support from an outstanding Advisory Board will allow the highly experienced research team to deliver important new answers to questions of great import to European societies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2011.2.2-1 | Award Amount: 20.10M | Year: 2012

High current coated conductors (CCs) have high potential for developing electrical power applications and very high field magnets. The key issues for market success are low cost robust processes, high performance and a reliable manufacturing methodology of long length conductors. In recent years EU researchers and companies have made substantial progress towards these goals, based on vacuum (PLD) and chemical deposition (CSD) methods, towards nanostructuring of films. This provides a unique opportunity for Europe to integrate these advances in high performance conductors. The EUROTAPES project will address two broad objectives: 1/ the integration of the latest developments into simple conductor architectures for low and medium cost applications and to deliver \500m tapes. Defining of quality control tools and protocols to enhance the processing throughput and yield to achieve a pre-commercial cost target of 100 /kAm. 2/ Use of advanced methodologies to enhance performance (larger thickness and Ic, enhanced pinning for high fields, reduction of ac losses, increased mechanical strength). Demonstration of high critical currents (Ic>400A/cm-w, at 77K and self-field and Ic>1000A/cm-w at 5K and 15T) and pinning forces (Fp>100GN/m3 at 60 K). The CSD and PLD technologies will be combined to achieve optimized tape architectures, nanostructures and processes to address a variety of HTS applications at self-field, high and ultrahigh magnetic fields. Up to month 36, 3 types of conductors will be developed (RABiT, ABAD and round wire); at Mid Term 2 will be chosen for demonstration during the final 18 months. The consortium consists of 20 partners from 8 member states 6 universities (Cambridge, UK; Antwerp, B, U.A. Barcelona, ES, TU Cluj, RO, U. Ghent, BE and TU Wien, A), 5 institutes (CSIC-ICMAB, E, ENEA, I, IEE, SK, Inst. Neel-CNRS, F, and IFW, D), 1 technological center (LEITAT, ES) and 8 industrial companies (Bruker, D, Evico, D, Theva, D, Nexans GmbH, D, Percotech, D, Nexans SA, F, Lafarga Lacambra, ES and Oxolutia, ES).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 2.37M | Year: 2009

Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts is a joint PhD programme (2009-2013) that studies the medieval transmission of learning from the ecclesiastical and academic elites of the professional intellectuals to the wider readership that could be reached through the vernacular. The programme focuses on the medieval dynamics of intellectual life in the Rhineland and the Low Countries, nowadays divided over five countries (Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) but one cultural region in the later Middle Ages. Here, the great fourteenth-century mystics Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, Jan van Ruusbroec and their contemporaries produced a sophisticated vernacular literature on contemplative theology and religious practice, introducing new lay audiences to a personal relation with the Supreme Being. The project seeks to develop a new perspective on this literary culture by looking at the readership, appropriation and circulation of texts in the contemporary religious and intellectual contexts. The programme unites expertise in the fields of medieval philosophy, religious studies, manuscript studies and Dutch and German literature, to provide structural training for interdisciplinary and international research in one of the medieval aspects of European culture of lasting merit. The training programme is built on a number of current research projects in which all full partners (Antwerp, Freiburg, Lecce, Leiden and Oxford) participate simultaneously, thus offering an adequate international infrastructure for a series of coherent PhD projects on medieval literature and learning that require a broader academic framework than the national literatures and other concepts of the modern tradition of academic disciplines. The programme prepares a new generation of medievalists for international careers in academic research, education and the presentation of the medieval cultural heritage.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: ENV.2010.2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 4.16M | Year: 2011

Threats to the environment and natural resources, coupled with poor management, have serious implications for both poverty reduction and sustainable economic development. Degrading natural resources in Africa therefore result in an inreased vulnerability of the poor as a result of ecosystem stress, competition for space, soaring food and energy prices, climate change and demographic growth. Nowadays, it is widely accepted that reversing these trends asks for integrated management frameworks. Despite the availability of many tools, expertise, strategies, local practices and indigenous knowledge, the concept of INRM has hardly been brought into practice and the building blocks of INRM (see description acronym) in many cases still need to be integrated. AFROMAISON will make use of what is available regarding INRM and will contribute to a better integration of the components of INRM. In view of the decentralization policy in Africa, we aim to focus on the operational requirements of INRM for sub-national (or meso-scale) authorities and communities. The main outputs of AFROMAISON are a toolbox, short-term to long-term strategies, quick wins (much gains with little effort) and operational strategies for adaptation to global change. In order to enhance the potential impact, we will put strong efforts in integrated capacity building and a solid dissemination strategy. In order to do so, we will integrate tools, frameworks, strategies and processes for landscape functioning, livelihood & socio-economic development (incl. vulnerability to global change), local knowledge, institutional strenghtening and improved interaction between sectors, scales and communities. For the development of concrete operational strategies for adaptation to global change, AFROMAISON will focus on the three groups of tools: strategies for restoration and adaptation (including sustainable landscape intensification), economic tools and incentives for INRM and tools for spatial planning.

News Article | October 26, 2016

As Louis Pasteur famously pointed out: "In the fields of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind." Stumbling across a curiosity is not enough — understanding it, and convincing the world of its importance, are key. Dan Shechtman at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa knows this only too well. Last week he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 1982 observations of quasicrystals: materials with a mosaic-like atomic array that never quite repeats, thus flouting the established rules of crystal structure (see 'Chemistry's lone heroes'). Yet Shechtman was not the first to spot evidence of the crystals. "Given the relative simplicity of making these materials, it is certain that they would have been seen by numerous scientists before, who dismissed them because they didn't fit the rigid rules of crystallography," says Veit Elser, a physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Indeed, in 1979, Marc van Sande, a 27-year-old doctoral student working in the Electron Microscopy for Materials Science (EMAT) group at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, had recorded electron diffraction patterns from metal alloys that showed clear evidence of quasicrystals. Close to the end of his PhD, van Sande just filed the confusing patterns in the EMAT library: he was keen to take up his new job with the Belgian materials-technology company Umicore, where he is now an executive vice-president. "We were making so many new discoveries every week with the high-resolution electron microscopes that the more awkward things were set aside," recalls van Sande. "I'm realistic about it: seeing the pattern is a long way from investigating it and publishing it." Shechtman, unaware of van Sande's work, observed similar odd diffraction patterns about three years later — and grasped their importance. He had the self-belief to plough on with his work, despite the scorn of luminaries such as chemist and two-time Nobel prizewinner Linus Pauling. "If you have repeated your observations and are sure you are correct, then listen to others but don't give up because people tell you 'this cannot be'," Shechtman told Nature. Thirty years ago, scientists were taught that all crystalline materials were composed of atoms packed into regularly repeating three-dimensional lattices, such as the hexagonal honeycomb of a beehive. This definition dictated that the lattice must have basic repeating units with particular symmetries: these units could be rotated by one-half, one-quarter or one-sixth of a full circle and still look the same. Pentagonal symmetry was ruled out, because no perfectly regular lattice could exhibit it. On 8 April 1982, Shechtman, who was on sabbatical at the US National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, found that an artificial alloy of aluminium and manganese disobeyed the rules. When he shot electrons through the material, they created a regular diffraction pattern, apparently proving that the material's atomic structure consisted of orderly repeating elements. But that pattern showed a forbidden symmetry — it could be rotated by both one-tenth and one-fifth of a full circle and would still look the same. In his laboratory notebook, Shechtman wrote: "10 Fold???" Others did their best to persuade him that his discovery was wrong. "People didn't believe me," he says, adding that his dogged pursuit of the problem even led his group director to suggest he move to another team. Shechtman finally got his findings published in November 1984, along with Ilan Blech, a materials scientist at Technion; John Cahn, a physicist at NIST; and Denis Gratias, a crystallographer then at the Centre for Metallurgic Chemistry in Vitry, France (D. Shechtman et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 53, 1951–1953; 1984). By chance, mathematicians Paul Steinhardt and Dov Levine — both then at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia — were at the same time completing a rigorous theory of the three-dimensional version of mathematical curios known as Penrose tilings, structures with an apparent five-fold symmetry that were created by British mathematician Roger Penrose in the 1970s. Steinhardt coined the term 'quasicrystals' for the resulting structures: neither classically periodic crystals, nor a glass-like mess of disordered atoms. They were what Shechtman had seen in his metallic alloy. Other examples soon flooded in from around the globe. In 2009, Steinhardt and other researchers reported the first quasi­crystal structure to be seen in a natural material: an alloy of aluminium, copper and iron reported to have come from 200-million-year-old rocks in Russia's Koryak Mountains (L. Bindi et al. Science 324, 1306–1309; 2009). It still isn't clear how atoms assemble into quasicrystal structures, and the discovery has found few real-world applications. However, quasicrystals do have potential: they are very hard, are poor at conducting heat and electricity, and have non-stick surfaces. But Shechtman's key contribution to chemistry lies in opening scientists' eyes to the possibility of new forms of matter, notes Sven Lidin, an inorganic chemist at Stockholm University and a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry. As Lidin wrote in his description of the award: "The discovery of quasicrystals has taught us humility."

News Article | February 15, 2017

The most common genetic cause of the brain diseases frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a mutation in the C9orf72 gene. Researchers from VIB and UAntwerp, headed by Prof. Christine Van Broeckhoven, have demonstrated that if an affected parent passes on this mutation, the children will be affected at a younger age (than the parent). There are no indications that the disease progresses more quickly. These results are published today in the international scientific journal JAMA Neurology. Prof. Christine Van Broeckhoven (VIB-UAntwerp): "This research is based on our team's previous results, which showed that the same C9orf72 mutation leads to both FTD and ALS. As this mutation occurs in a substantial group of ALS and FTD patients, it is important to extract as much knowledge about this mutation and the disease process as possible." Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are two brain diseases associated with neurodegeneration, the abnormally rapid death of brain cells. In FTD, the frontal lobes and temporal lobes are affected first, causing changes in the patient's behavior and personality, or problems with language. Loss of memory functions occurs only later on in the disease. After Alzheimer's disease, FTD is the most common form of dementia in young patients. A fraction of the FTD patients show symptoms consistent with ALS, a disease in which the nerve cells that control the muscles, in the brain and spinal cord, are affected. This causes ALS patients to progressively lose muscle mass, resulting in loss of strength in the limbs and problems with speaking, swallowing, and breathing. ALS is more common without FTD symptoms. Previous research by Prof. Van Broeckhoven's group demonstrated a genetic link between FTD and ALS, namely a mutation in the same gene C9orf72. Prof. Christine Van Broeckhoven (VIB-UAntwerp): "The C9orf72 mutation is the most frequent mutation in FTD and ALS. In the Belgian population, 37% of patients with ALS and 25% of patients with FTD can be explained by the presence of this C9orf72 mutation. The C9orf72 mutation is present in 88% of patients with FTD plus ALS." These results dating from 2012 were published in The Lancet Neurology (Gijselinck et al.). The mutation in C9orf72 consists of a repetition of a short DNA sequence GGGGCC which can expand in patients up to several thousands of repetitions. It is not yet known why some patients get FTD and others ALS. The age at first presentation of disease symptoms ranges in patients from 29 to 82 years, even in patients from the same family. Until recently, there was no explanation for this high variability. VIB-UAntwerp's researchers demonstrated in 2016 that the age of onset is determined by the number of GGGGCC repeats: the more repetitions, the earlier the age of onset. In C9orf72 families in which the affected parent had a late age of onset and their affected children an earlier age of onset, the researchers provided evidence that the GGGGCC repeat in the C9orf72 gene expanded from a short sequence of repeats (less than 200 repeats) to a long one (more than a thousand) (Gijselinck et al. Molecular Psychiatry 2016). Dr. Sara Van Mossevelde (VIB-UAntwerp): "In a new clinical study in 36 C9orf72 families, we analyzed the age of onset of the patients in 2 to 4 generations. We found that there was a significant difference in the ages of onset between successive generations. In most families, the children were affected by the disease at a younger age, but there were no indications that the disease was progressing more quickly. We also found that in families with both FTD and ALS patients, if the parent had FTD the child was more likely to have FTD, and a similar principle applied to ALS." This research was conducted by physician and PhD student Dr. Sara Van Mossevelde under the direction of Prof. Christine Van Broeckhoven in the Research Group Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases at VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology. The project was carried out in close collaboration with neurologists from the Hospital Network Antwerp (ZNA), Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), and the Belgian Neuroscience Consortium. These clinical findings were recently published in the international journal JAMA Neurology (Van Mossevelde et al., Clinical evidence for disease anticipation in families segregating a C9orf72 repeat expansion, JAMA Neurology, 2017). The identification of the C9orf72 mutation in Belgian FTD and ALS patients was published in The Lancet Neurology (Gijselinck et al. A C9orf72 promoter repeat expansion in a Flanders-Belgian cohort with disorders of the frontotemporal lobar degeneration-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis spectrum: a gene identification study, 2012). The molecular studies of the C9orf72 repeat expansions were published in Molecular Psychiatry (Gijselinck et al. The C9orf72 repeat size correlates with onset age of disease, DNA methylation and transcriptional downregulation of the promoter, 2016) As this research may raise many questions, please refer in your report or article to the e-mail address that we have provided. Everyone is welcome to submit questions about this and other medically-oriented research to this address: This research was funded by VIB and the University of Antwerp Research Fund and through external national and international funding from IWT/VLAIO, FWO, FPS Science Policy, and the Foundation for Alzheimer's Research (SAO/FRMA).

Dhondt A.A.,Cornell University | Dhondt A.A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Dhondt A.A.,University of Antwerp
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2010

1. In studies on the effect of competition in plant communities two terms are used to describe its effects: the absolute reduction in growth of an individual as a consequence of the presence of another one is called intensity, while the relative impact of competition on an individual as a proportion of the impact of the whole environment is called importance. One school of thought is that the role of competition remains constant across productivity gradients, while the other is that it decreases with increasing severity. J.B. Grace (1991. A clarification of the debate between grime and tilman. Functional Ecology, 5, 583-587.) suggested that the apparent contradiction might be solved if we acknowledge that the two schools are discussing different aspects of competition: the intensity of competition might remain constant while its importance declines with increasing severity. 2. There are no studies that compare intensity and importance of competition in bird populations between areas that differ in quality or productivity and hence it is not possible to make predictions how intensity or importance of competition would vary between them. 3. I compared variation in intensity and importance of competition of three demographic variables between five plots that differ strongly in quality for great Parus major L. and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus (L.). 4. Both intensity and importance of competition are larger in great than in blue tit populations meaning that the effect of competition on demographic variables is stronger in great than in blue tits and that the contribution of competition to variation in these variables is relatively higher in great than in blue tits. 5. Intensity of competition is higher in low quality than in high quality plots for both species, a result not expected from studies in plant communities. 6. Importance of competition varies strongly between plots. It is larger in oak-dominated plots than in mixed deciduous plots. 7. In birds breeding density increases with habitat quality but is limited by territorial behaviour. As a result competition for food is reduced in high quality habitats resulting in a reduction of competition intensity in high quality sites in which birds breed at high densities. 8. It can be predicted that in studies of territorial species density dependent effects on reproduction are more likely to be detected in low quality sites explaining in part differences in results between studies. © 2009 British Ecological Society.

Neyts E.C.,University of Antwerp | Ostrikov K.,Queensland University of Technology | Ostrikov K.,Industrial Research Organization | Sunkara M.K.,University of Louisville | Bogaerts A.,University of Antwerp
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2015

Thermal-catalytic gas processing is integral to many current industrial processes. Ever-increasing demands on conversion and energy efficiencies are a strong driving force for the development of alternative approaches. Similarly, synthesis of several functional materials (such as nanowires and nanotubes) demands special processing conditions. Plasma catalysis provides such an alternative, where the catalytic process is complemented by the use of plasmas that activate the source gas. This combination is often observed to result in a synergy between plasma and catalyst. This Review introduces the current state-of-the-art in plasma catalysis, including numerous examples where plasma catalysis has demonstrated its benefits or shows future potential, including CO2 conversion, hydrocarbon reforming, synthesis of nanomaterials, ammonia production, and abatement of toxic waste gases. The underlying mechanisms governing these applications, as resulting from the interaction between the plasma and the catalyst, render the process highly complex, and little is known about the factors leading to the often-observed synergy. This Review critically examines the catalytic mechanisms relevant to each specific application. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

Dooling S.,German Electron Synchrotron | Hautmann F.,University of Sussex | Hautmann F.,Rutherford Appleton Laboratory | Hautmann F.,University of Oxford | And 2 more authors.
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2014

If studies of electroweak gauge boson final states at the Large Hadron Collider, for Standard Model physics and beyond, are sensitive to effects of the initial state's transverse momentum distribution, appropriate generalizations of QCD shower evolution are required. We propose a method to do this based on QCD transverse momentum dependent (TMD) factorization at high energy. The method incorporates experimental information from the high-precision deep inelastic scattering (DIS) measurements, and includes experimental and theoretical uncertainties on TMD parton density functions. We illustrate the approach presenting results for production of W-boson + n jets at the LHC, including azimuthal correlations and subleading jet distributions. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Hautmann F.,University of Sussex | Hautmann F.,Rutherford Appleton Laboratory | Hautmann F.,University of Oxford | Jung H.,German Electron Synchrotron | Jung H.,University of Antwerp
Nuclear Physics B | Year: 2014

The combined measurements of proton's structure functions in deeply inelastic scattering at the HERA collider provide high-precision data capable of constraining parton density functions over a wide range of the kinematic variables. We perform fits to these data using transverse momentum dependent QCD factorization and CCFM evolution. The results of the fits to precision measurements are used to make a determination of the nonperturbative transverse momentum dependent gluon density function, including experimental and theoretical uncertainties. We present an application of this density function to vector boson + jet production processes at the LHC. © 2014 The Authors.

Sahin H.,Bilkent University | Sahin H.,University of Antwerp | Ciraci S.,Bilkent University
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2012

We perform first-principles structure optimization, phonon frequency, and finite temperature molecular dynamics calculations based on density functional theory to study the interaction of chlorine atoms with graphene predicting the existence of possible chlorinated graphene derivatives. The bonding of a single chlorine atom is ionic through the transfer of charge from graphene to chlorine adatom and induces negligible local distortion in the underlying planar graphene. Different from hydrogen and fluorine adatoms, the migration of a single chlorine adatom on the surface of perfect graphene takes place almost without barrier. However, the decoration of one surface of graphene with Cl adatoms leading to various conformations cannot be sustained due to strong Cl-Cl interaction resulting in the desorption through the formation of Cl2 molecules. On the contrary, the fully chlorinated graphene, chlorographene CCl, where single chlorine atoms are bonded alternatingly to each carbon atom from different sides of graphene with sp3-type covalent bonds, is buckled. We found that this structure is stable and is a direct band gap semiconductor, whose band gap can be tuned by applied uniform strain. Calculated phonon dispersion relation and four Raman-active modes of chlorographene are discussed. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Mitchell E.A.,University of Antwerp | Peschiulli A.,University of Antwerp | Lefevre N.,University of Antwerp | Meerpoel L.,Janssen Pharmaceutical | Maes B.U.W.,University of Antwerp
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2012

Recent advances in synthetic methods for the direct α- functionalization of saturated cyclic amines are described. Methods are categorized according to the in situ formed reactive intermediate (α-amino cation, α-amino anion, and α-amino radical). Transition-metal- catalyzed reactions involving other intermediates have been treated as a separate and fourth class. On the bumpy road to direct success: With a growing number of convenient synthetic methodologies at hand, the direct α-functionalization of cyclic amines has become more straightforward than ever before. This Review covers the recent methodological advances in this challenging field (from the end of 2006) and classifies them according to their associated in situ formed reactive intermediates. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Ansoms A.,University of Antwerp | McKay A.,University of Sussex
Food Policy | Year: 2010

The paper applies a quantitative methodology to study poverty and livelihood profiles on the basis of a large set of variables. It takes the context of post-conflict rural Rwanda for a case study. By means of exploratory tools (i.e. principal component and cluster analysis), it combines variables that capture natural, physical, human, financial and social resources together with environmental factors to identify household groups with varying livelihoods. The paper further explores how these clusters differ with regards the incidence of poverty, livelihood strategies and their respective crop preferences. The paper concludes that Rwandan rural policies should adopt distinct and appropriate interventions for impoverished peasant groups, each having their own particular livelihood profiles. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

El-Roz M.,National Engineering School of Caen | Kus M.,University of Antwerp | Cool P.,University of Antwerp | Thibault-Starzyk F.,National Engineering School of Caen
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2012

The photooxidation of methanol, n-hexane, and carbon monoxide using TiO 2 nanotubes (TNTs) has been investigated by a new operando IR technique. Following the photocatalytic reaction by time-resolved IR spectroscopy coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) allowed a surface study of the photocatalyst with on-line analysis of the products. Identification of the species adsorbed on the photocatalyst surface and those detected in the gas phase led to further clarification of the photooxidation mechanisms. The photocatalyst was characterized by IR, Raman, UV-visible, XRD, N 2 sorption, SEM, and TEM techniques. The activity and selectivity of the photocatalyst were determined by quantitative studies using gas-phase IR spectroscopy and MS. For comparison, photooxidation reactions using TiO 2 P25 as a reference were performed under the same conditions. The effects of different parameters such as temperature, VOC concentration, and UV irradiation intensity on the reactivity and selectivity of the photocatalytic reaction were investigated. The effect of temperature was observed by TPD measurements (from room temperature to 200 °C). The TNT material showed a higher reactivity and CO 2 selectivity than TiO 2 P25. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Rozema J.J.,University of Antwerp | Atchison D.A.,Queensland University of Technology | Tassignon M.-J.,University of Antwerp
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science | Year: 2011

Purpose. To compare the accuracy of different methods of calculating human lens power when lens thickness is not available. Methods. Lens power was calculated by four methods. Three methods were used with previously published biometry and refraction data of 184 emmetropic and myopic eyes of 184 subjects (age range, 18-63 years; spherical equivalent range, -12.38 to +0.75 D). These three methods consist of the Bennett method, which uses lens thickness, a modification of the Stenström method and the Bennett-Rabbetts method, both of which do not require knowledge of lens thickness. These methods include c constants, which represent distances from lens surfaces to principal planes. Lens powers calculated with these methods were compared with those calculated using phakometry data available for a subgroup of 66 emmetropic eyes (66 subjects). Results. Lens powers obtained from the Bennett method corresponded well with those obtained by phakometry for emmetropic eyes, although individual differences up to 3.5 D occurred. Lens powers obtained from the modified-Stenström and Bennett-Rabbetts methods deviated significantly from those obtained with either the Bennett method or phakometry. Customizing the c constants improved this agreement, but applying these constants to the entire group gave mean lens power differences of 0.71 ± 0.56 D compared with the Bennett method. By further optimizing the c constants, the agreement with the Bennett method was within ±1 D for 95% of the eyes. Conclusions. With appropriate constants, the modified Stenström and Bennett-Rabbetts methods provide a good approximation of the Bennett lens power in emmetropic and myopic eyes. © 2011 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.

Rozema J.J.,University of Antwerp | Atchison D.A.,Queensland University of Technology | Tassignon M.-J.,University of Antwerp
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science | Year: 2011

Purpose. To create a binocular statistical eye model based on previously measured ocular biometric data. Methods. Thirty-nine parameters were determined for a group of 127 healthy subjects (37 male, 90 female; 96.8% Caucasian) with an average age of 39.9 ± 12.2 years and spherical equivalent refraction of -0.98 ± 1.77 D. These parameters described the biometry of both eyes and the subjects' age. Missing parameters were complemented by data from a previously published study. After confirmation of the Gaussian shape of their distributions, these parameters were used to calculate their mean and covariance matrices. These matrices were then used to calculate a multivariate Gaussian distribution. From this, an amount of random biometric data could be generated, which were then randomly selected to create a realistic population of random eyes. Results. All parameters had Gaussian distributions, with the exception of the parameters that describe total refraction (i.e., three parameters per eye). After these non-Gaussian parameters were omitted from the model, the generated data were found to be statistically indistinguishable from the original data for the remaining 33 parameters (TOST [two one-sided t tests]; P < 0.01). Parameters derived from the generated data were also significantly indistinguishable from those calculated with the original data (P > 0.05). The only exception to this was the lens refractive index, for which the generated data had a significantly larger SD. Conclusions. A statistical eye model can describe the biometric variations found in a population and is a useful addition to the classic eye models. © 2011 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.

Piacente G.,University of Sao Paulo | Hai G.Q.,University of Sao Paulo | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

We study the structural phase transitions in confined systems of strongly interacting particles. We consider infinite quasi-one-dimensional systems with different pairwise repulsive interactions in the presence of an external confinement following a power law. Within the framework of Landau's theory, we find the necessary conditions to observe continuous transitions and demonstrate that the only allowed continuous transition is between the single- and the double-chain configurations and that it only takes place when the confinement is parabolic. We determine analytically the behavior of the system at the transition point and calculate the critical exponents. Furthermore, we perform Monte Carlo simulations and find a perfect agreement between theory and numerics. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Matthysen E.,University of Antwerp | Adriaensen F.,University of Antwerp | Dhondt A.A.,University of Antwerp | Dhondt A.A.,Cornell University
Global Change Biology | Year: 2011

Many bird species start laying their eggs earlier in response to increasing spring temperatures, but the causes of variation between and within species have not been fully explained. Moreover, synchronization of the nestling period with the food supply not only depends on first-egg dates but also on additional reproductive parameters including laying interruptions, incubation time and nestling growth rate. We studied the breeding cycle of two sympatric and closely related species, the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus and the great tit Parus major in a rich oak-beech forest, and found that both advanced their mean first-egg dates by 11-12 days over the last three decades. In addition, the time from first egg to fledging has shortened by 2-3 days, through a decrease in laying interruptions, incubation time (not statistically significant) and nestling development time. This decrease is correlated with a gradual increase of temperatures during laying, suggesting a major effect of the reduction in laying interruptions. In both species, the occurrence of second clutches has strongly decreased over time. As a consequence, the average time of fledging (all broods combined) has advanced by 15.4 and 18.6 days for blue and great tits, respectively, and variance in fledging dates has decreased by 70-75%. Indirect estimates of the food peak suggest that both species have maintained synchronization with the food supply. We found consistent selection for large clutch size, early laying and short nest time (laying to fledging), but no consistent changes in selection over time. Analyses of within-individual variation show that most of the change can be explained by individual plasticity in laying date, fledging date and nest time. This study highlights the importance of studying all components of the reproductive cycle, including second clutches, in order to assess how natural populations respond to climate change. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Navarro R.,University of Zaragoza | Rozema J.J.,University of Antwerp | Tassignon M.-J.,University of Antwerp
Optometry and Vision Science | Year: 2013

PURPOSE: To assess the changes of the surfaces and optical properties of the cornea as a function of age. METHODS: The corneal shape of 407 normal eyes of 211 subjects with ages ranging from 4 to 79 years old was determined by means of Scheimpflug imaging. These data were analyzed by fitting their elevation topographies to a general surface model, which consists of a biconic plus a Zernike polynomial expansion. The analysis includes the computation of the position and orientation of the model in the three-dimensional space to determine the orientation of the optical axis and the apex coordinates. RESULTS: Both average corneal surfaces show negative conic constant plus higher order aspheric terms ((Equation is included in full-text article.)and (Equation is included in full-text article.)are significant). These surfaces are misaligned between them and with the line of sight. Such misalignment increases with age as the cornea seems to rotate as a solid body. The apex curvature and the magnitude of the conic constant along the most curved meridian increase as well, but the largest change with age correspond to the aspheric terms (Equation is included in full-text article.)and (Equation is included in full-text article.). As a result, the spherical aberration (SA) of the average cornea increases with age at a rate similar to the total SA of the eye. CONCLUSIONS: The average corneal surfaces are misaligned general aspheres. Corneal SA is higher than total SA, but both SAs increase with age at a similar rate. This confirms that the lens is partially compensating SA and that such compensation is preserved with aging. Misalignment and solid body rotation seem to reduce astigmatism and coma for young and middle-aged corneas. Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Optometry.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EJD | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-EJD | Award Amount: 3.09M | Year: 2015

The mission of MoGlyNet is to define a joint doctorate educational training model in Drug Discovery and Development where Academia and Industry join their forces for: - creating a common platform of knowledge and language for early stage researchers (ESR) working in the Drug Discovery and Development area aiming to convey complementary pharma-skills - exploiting this platform to train a new generation of cutting-edge researchers and professionals highly attractive for employment by the European Pharma-industry - establishing structures for long-term cooperation, strengthening the relationships among the leading Universities and Pharma-enterprises and to continuously develop the research training platform that European industry relies on. To achieve the above objectives the main tasks of MoGlyNet are: - to attract/train 12 ESRs in optimization joint academic/industrial program of cutting-edge training-by-research, high quality supervision, complementary and transferable Pharma-skills training, inter-network secondments, and workshops/Summer Schools - to pursue an innovative research project that will tackle a timely and important scientific problem with a multidisciplinary approach (from molecular modelling to in vivo studies). Atherosclerosis is an aging-related disease and our research approach for a better therapy of atherosclerosis will be focused on the PFKFB3 enzyme, a key player in glycolysis/oxidative stress and therefore in pathological angiogenesis - to build a solid foundation for long-term European excellence in this field by disseminating MoGlyNet research/training outcomes and best practice into the partners Doctoral Schools, and by fostering long-term partnerships and collaborations that will outlast the Consortium - to transfer expertise/know-how among the Consortium participants and to external groups via networking activities, intersectorial exposure, secondments, workshops, sharing of learning material, public engagement and outreach activities.

Mayo Foundation For Medical Education And Research, Vib Vzw, University of Manchester, University of British Columbia and University of Antwerp | Date: 2013-07-01

This document relates to methods and materials for detecting mutations that can be linked to dementia. For example, methods and materials for detecting one or more mutations within PGRN nucleic acid are provided. This document also provides methods and materials for detecting the level of progranulin expression. In addition, this document relates to methods and materials for treating mammals having a neurodegenerative disorder (e.g., dementia). For example, methods and materials for increasing PGRN polypeptide levels in mammals are provided, as are methods and materials for identifying agents that can be used to increase PGRN polypeptide levels in mammals.

Mayo Foundation For Medical Education And Research, University of Manchester, University of British Columbia, Vib Vzw and University of Antwerp | Date: 2014-01-22

This document relates to methods and materials for detecting mutations that can be linked to dementia. For example, methods and materials for detecting one or more mutations within PGRN nucleic acid are provided. This document also provides methods and materials for detecting the level of progranulin expression. In addition, this document relates to methods and materials for treating mammals having a neurodegenerative disorder (e.g., dementia). For example, methods and materials for increasing PGRN polypeptide levels in mammals are provided, as are methods and materials for identifying agents that can be used to increase PGRN polypeptide levels in mammals.

Vib Vzw and University of Antwerp | Date: 2011-06-30

A computer-implemented method and system for ranking information in an information system comprising linked objects is disclosed. The computer-implemented method comprises computing a prior ranking of all objects in the linked database, obtaining at least one source object, determining the probability of reaching an object taking a step in random walk with restart in the at least one source object(s) based on the adjacency between objects in the information system, and determining a ranking of objects in the information system using the determined probability and applying a correction factor inversely proportional with the computed prior ranking of the objects. An output based on the determined ranking is provided. The present invention also relates to a computer-implemented method and system for providing probable functional relations between at least one source object and a target object, as well as computer-related products therefor.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.1-3 | Award Amount: 4.19M | Year: 2011

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for approximately 25% of head and neck cancer (HNC) worldwide and appears to be associated with a better response to treatment and improved prognosis. Evidence suggests that HPV-induced HNC has steadily increased in the USA and some European countries in the last decades. However, whether this is a worldwide phenomenon and specific risk factors are associated with it remains to be proven. In addition, little is known on the natural history and risk factors of oral HPV infection. HPV-AHEAD network aims to address these and other unanswered questions on HNC etiology and epidemiology with a focus on the role of HPV. We will assemble and analyze a large collection of plasma/sera and HNC tissues from 42 centres in 16 European countries as well as HNC tissues from 7 Indian centres together with epidemiological and clinical data. HPV status in human specimens will be evaluated by different assays in central laboratories. Epidemiological studies will be conducted to establish the overall proportion and type distribution of HPV-positive HNC at different anatomical sites in European and Indian regions as well as the time trend of the proportion of HPV-positive HNC in recent decades. Using the follow-up information on HNC patients, we will further investigate whether HPV positivity confers a better prognosis and survival. We will also conduct a study in HPV-vaccinated and non-vaccinated women in order to determine risk factors and natural history of oral HPV infections. In addition, we will search for new surrogate markers for oral HPV infection to facilitate novel screening strategies. Finally, the HPV-AHEAD consortium aims to transfer technology to Indian centres as well as to develop several strategies for the training of European and Indian researchers in infections and cancers. This study will provide important insights for the screening, diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis of HPV-associated HNC in Europe, India and elsewhere.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV-NMP.2011.2.2-5 | Award Amount: 2.83M | Year: 2011

The main objective is to develop a novel atmospheric plasma technique for surface cleaning and coating deposition as well as two innovative coatings: a self-diagnostic protective coating and a coating provided with identification marker. The project aims at integrating the new plasma cleaning/deposition technique and the new coatings in a full-life protocol spanning surface cleaning and pre-treatment, deposition of protective and identification coatings, and complete removal of coatings. The plasma technique is proposed for surface cleaning and coating removal as alternative or complementary to the other non-contact techniques such as laser. This technique is characterized by no thermal heating, selectivity, chemical reduction of oxides, applicability on all substrates and competitive costs. The self-diagnostic coatings provide a long-lasting solution with an added value of easy and instant diagnostic of coating functionality through a nano-technological approach, reducing monitoring costs and time with no impact on tourist accessibility. The identification marker coating allows using nanotechnologies to obtain a transparent authenticity proof and cataloguing label. The compatibility of the new materials with the substrates is guaranteed intrinsically by their integration in the full-life protocol because it ensures its complete reversibility. The protocol is applicable on all substrate materials principally as preventing conservation, in the project its validation is proposed on metal substrates (silver and bronze) and on mural paintings, limestone and sandstone. The project also aims at implementing a demonstrator of the entire full-life protocol, which will be used for training cultural operators in organised events and fairs. An added value is also the strong participation of SMEs as conservation operators and as technological companies, which ensures the possibility of scaling up and placing the new products on the market.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2008-2-1-01;KBBE-2008-2-4-01 | Award Amount: 4.01M | Year: 2009

Proposal summary Anthropogenic perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have recently gained socio-economic and scientific interest. PFCs constitute a newly emanating group of environmental contaminants, with physico-chemical as well as toxicological properties different from those of other halogenated compounds. PFCs are generally persistent in the environment, and can be found over a broad concentration range and within most parts of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Food, produced with natural ingredients, and possibly beverages, including drinking water, are likely to be contaminated with PFCs, giving rise to human exposure. Whether or not industrial food processing and packaging may give rise to additional contamination of food and beverages is currently not understood. Whatever the sources, PFCs have indeed been found to be present at a global scale in blood of the general population. PERFOOD brings together the institutes most renowned in Europe and the Globe for their chemical analytical work on PFCs with experts in food consumption and drinking water quality as well as food processing and packaging. The aims of the present project are to develop robust and reliable analytical tools including reference materials for the determination of PFCs in food items, and to use these to (i) qualify and quantify PFCs in our diet, employing a large European sampling campaign; (ii) understand how PFCs are transferred from the environment into dietary items, and (iii) quantify the possible contribution of food/beverage contact materials and food and water processing to the overall PFC levels in our diet. The newly gained knowledge will enable us to evaluate the possible routes, including their relative importance, of human exposure to PFCs via our diet, to assess the role of the technosphere in the contamination of our food, and to identify ways to reduce the PFC contamination of dietary articles.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-12-2015 | Award Amount: 3.05M | Year: 2015

HoNESt (History of Nuclear Energy and Society) involves an interdisciplinary team with many experienced researchers and 24 high profile research institutions. HoNESts goal is to conduct a three-year interdisciplinary analysis of the experience of nuclear developments and its relationship to contemporary society with the aim of improving the understanding of the dynamics over the last 60 years. HoNESts results will assist the current debate on future energy sources and the transition to affordable, secure, and clean energy production. Civil societys interaction with nuclear developments changes over time, and it is locally, nationally and transnationally specific. HoNESt will embrace the complexity of political, technological and economic challenges; safety; risk perception and communication, public engagement, media framing, social movements, etc. Research on these interactions has thus far been mostly fragmented. We will develop a pioneering integrated interdisciplinary approach, which is conceptually informed by Large Technological Systems (LTS) and Integrated Socio-technical System (IST), based on a close and innovative collaboration of historians and social scientists in this field. HoNESt will first collect extensive historical data from over 20 countries. These data will be jointly analyzed by historians and social scientists, through the lens of an innovative integrated approach, in order to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying decision making and associated citizen engagement with nuclear power. Through an innovative application of backcasting techniques, HoNESt will bring novel content to the debate on nuclear sustainable engagement futures. Looking backwards to the present, HoNESt will strategize and plan how these suitable engagement futures could be achieved. HoNESt will engage key stakeholders from industry, policy makers and civil society in a structured dialogue to insert the results into the public debate on nuclear energy.

News Article | March 1, 2017

Scientists have modeled a nanoscale “sandwich” with two slices of atom-thick graphene around nanoclusters of magnesium oxide. This arrangement gives the super-strong, conductive material expanded optoelectronic properties. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his colleagues built computer simulations of the compound and found it would offer features suitable for sensitive molecular sensing, catalysis, and bio-imaging. Their work could help researchers design a range of customizable hybrids of two- and three-dimensional structures with encapsulated molecules, Shahsavari says. The scientists were inspired by experiments elsewhere in which various molecules were encapsulated using van der Waals forces to draw components together. The new study was the first to take a theoretical approach to defining the electronic and optical properties of one of those “made” samples, two-dimensional magnesium oxide in bilayer graphene, Shahsavari says. “We knew if there was an experiment already performed, we would have a great reference point that would make it easier to verify our computations, thus allowing more reliable expansion of our computational results to identify performance trends beyond the reach of experiments,” Shahsavari says. Graphene on its own has no band gap—the characteristic that makes a material a semiconductor. But the hybrid does, and this band gap could be tunable, depending on the components, Shahsavari says. The enhanced optical properties are also tunable and useful, he says. “We saw that while this single flake of magnesium oxide absorbed one kind of light emission, when it was trapped between two layers of graphene, it absorbed a wide spectrum. That could be an important mechanism for sensors,” he says. Shahsavari says his group’s theory should be applicable to other two-dimensional materials, like hexagonal boron-nitride, and molecular fillings. “There is no single material that can solve all the technical problems of the world,” he says. “It always comes down to making hybrid materials to synergize the best features of multiple components to do a specific job. My group is working on these hybrid materials by tweaking their components and structures to meet new challenges.” The research appears in the journal Nanoscale. Farzaneh Shayeganfar, a visiting research scientist at Rice and researcher at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran, is lead author of the paper. Additional coauthors are from the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Rice University and the Iran Science Elites Federation supported the research. Computing resources came from Rice’s National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice’s Center for Research Computing and were procured in partnership with Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

News Article | February 27, 2017

Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists. Their recipe puts two slices of atom-thick graphene around nanoclusters of magnesium oxide that give the super-strong, conductive material expanded optoelectronic properties. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his colleagues built computer simulations of the compound and found it would offer features suitable for sensitive molecular sensing, catalysis and bio-imaging. Their work could help researchers design a range of customizable hybrids of two- and three-dimensional structures with encapsulated molecules, Shahsavari said. The research appears this month in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale. The scientists were inspired by experiments elsewhere in which various molecules were encapsulated using van der Waals forces to draw components together. The Rice-led study was the first to take a theoretical approach to defining the electronic and optical properties of one of those "made" samples, two-dimensional magnesium oxide in bilayer graphene, Shahsavari said. "We knew if there was an experiment already performed, we would have a great reference point that would make it easier to verify our computations, thus allowing more reliable expansion of our computational results to identify performance trends beyond the reach of experiments," Shahsavari said. Graphene on its own has no band gap - the characteristic that makes a material a semiconductor. But the hybrid does, and this band gap could be tunable, depending on the components, Shahsavari said. The enhanced optical properties are also tunable and useful, he said. "We saw that while this single flake of magnesium oxide absorbed one kind of light emission, when it was trapped between two layers of graphene, it absorbed a wide spectrum. That could be an important mechanism for sensors," he said. Shahsavari said his group's theory should be applicable to other two-dimensional materials, like hexagonal boron-nitride, and molecular fillings. "There is no single material that can solve all the technical problems of the world," he said. "It always comes down to making hybrid materials to synergize the best features of multiple components to do a specific job. My group is working on these hybrid materials by tweaking their components and structures to meet new challenges." Farzaneh Shayeganfar, a visiting research scientist at Rice and researcher at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Javad Beheshtiyan and Mehdi Neek-Amal, both of Shahid Rajaee and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Rice University and the Iran Science Elites Federation supported the research. Computing resources were supplied by Rice's National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice's Center for Research Computing and were procured in partnership with Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology. This news release can be found online at http://news. Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl. .

Abstract: Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists. Their recipe puts two slices of atom-thick graphene around nanoclusters of magnesium oxide that give the super-strong, conductive material expanded optoelectronic properties. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his colleagues built computer simulations of the compound and found it would offer features suitable for sensitive molecular sensing, catalysis and bio-imaging. Their work could help researchers design a range of customizable hybrids of two- and three-dimensional structures with encapsulated molecules, Shahsavari said. The research appears this month in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale. The scientists were inspired by experiments elsewhere in which various molecules were encapsulated using van der Waals forces to draw components together. The Rice-led study was the first to take a theoretical approach to defining the electronic and optical properties of one of those "made" samples, two-dimensional magnesium oxide in bilayer graphene, Shahsavari said. "We knew if there was an experiment already performed, we would have a great reference point that would make it easier to verify our computations, thus allowing more reliable expansion of our computational results to identify performance trends beyond the reach of experiments," Shahsavari said. Graphene on its own has no band gap - the characteristic that makes a material a semiconductor. But the hybrid does, and this band gap could be tunable, depending on the components, Shahsavari said. The enhanced optical properties are also tunable and useful, he said. "We saw that while this single flake of magnesium oxide absorbed one kind of light emission, when it was trapped between two layers of graphene, it absorbed a wide spectrum. That could be an important mechanism for sensors," he said. Shahsavari said his group's theory should be applicable to other two-dimensional materials, like hexagonal boron-nitride, and molecular fillings. "There is no single material that can solve all the technical problems of the world," he said. "It always comes down to making hybrid materials to synergize the best features of multiple components to do a specific job. My group is working on these hybrid materials by tweaking their components and structures to meet new challenges." ### Farzaneh Shayeganfar, a visiting research scientist at Rice and researcher at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Javad Beheshtiyan and Mehdi Neek-Amal, both of Shahid Rajaee and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Rice University and the Iran Science Elites Federation supported the research. Computing resources were supplied by Rice's National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice's Center for Research Computing and were procured in partnership with Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology. About Rice University Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to . Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

News Article | February 28, 2017

Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists. Their recipe puts two slices of atom-thick graphene around nanoclusters of magnesium oxide that give the super-strong, conductive material expanded optoelectronic properties. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his colleagues built computer simulations of the compound and found it would offer features suitable for sensitive molecular sensing, catalysis, and bio-imaging. Their work could help researchers design a range of customizable hybrids of two- and three-dimensional structures with encapsulated molecules, Shahsavari said. The research appears this month in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale. The scientists were inspired by experiments elsewhere in which various molecules were encapsulated using van der Waals forces to draw components together. The Rice-led study was the first to take a theoretical approach to defining the electronic and optical properties of one of those “made” samples, two-dimensional magnesium oxide in bilayer graphene, Shahsavari says. “We knew if there was an experiment already performed, we would have a great reference point that would make it easier to verify our computations, thus allowing more reliable expansion of our computational results to identify performance trends beyond the reach of experiments,” Shahsavari says. Graphene on its own has no band gap — the characteristic that makes a material a semiconductor. But the hybrid does, and this band gap could be tunable, depending on the components, Shahsavari says. The enhanced optical properties are also tunable and useful, he says. “We saw that while this single flake of magnesium oxide absorbed one kind of light emission, when it was trapped between two layers of graphene, it absorbed a wide spectrum. That could be an important mechanism for sensors,” he says. Shahsavari says his group’s theory should be applicable to other two-dimensional materials, like hexagonal boron-nitride, and molecular fillings. “There is no single material that can solve all the technical problems of the world,” he says. “It always comes down to making hybrid materials to synergize the best features of multiple components to do a specific job. My group is working on these hybrid materials by tweaking their components and structures to meet new challenges.” Farzaneh Shayeganfar, a visiting research scientist at Rice and researcher at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Javad Beheshtiyan and Mehdi Neek-Amal, both of Shahid Rajaee and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Rice University and the Iran Science Elites Federation supported the research. Computing resources were supplied by Rice’s National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice’s Center for Research Computing and were procured in partnership with Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

News Article | February 28, 2017

Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists. Their recipe puts two slices of atom-thick graphene around nanoclusters of magnesium oxide that give the super-strong, conductive material expanded optoelectronic properties. Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his colleagues built computer simulations of the compound and found it would offer features suitable for sensitive molecular sensing, catalysis, and bio-imaging. Their work could help researchers design a range of customizable hybrids of two- and three-dimensional structures with encapsulated molecules, Shahsavari said. The research appears this month in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale. The scientists were inspired by experiments elsewhere in which various molecules were encapsulated using van der Waals forces to draw components together. The Rice-led study was the first to take a theoretical approach to defining the electronic and optical properties of one of those “made” samples, two-dimensional magnesium oxide in bilayer graphene, Shahsavari says. “We knew if there was an experiment already performed, we would have a great reference point that would make it easier to verify our computations, thus allowing more reliable expansion of our computational results to identify performance trends beyond the reach of experiments,” Shahsavari says. Graphene on its own has no band gap — the characteristic that makes a material a semiconductor. But the hybrid does, and this band gap could be tunable, depending on the components, Shahsavari says. The enhanced optical properties are also tunable and useful, he says. “We saw that while this single flake of magnesium oxide absorbed one kind of light emission, when it was trapped between two layers of graphene, it absorbed a wide spectrum. That could be an important mechanism for sensors,” he says. Shahsavari says his group’s theory should be applicable to other two-dimensional materials, like hexagonal boron-nitride, and molecular fillings. “There is no single material that can solve all the technical problems of the world,” he says. “It always comes down to making hybrid materials to synergize the best features of multiple components to do a specific job. My group is working on these hybrid materials by tweaking their components and structures to meet new challenges.” Farzaneh Shayeganfar, a visiting research scientist at Rice and researcher at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Javad Beheshtiyan and Mehdi Neek-Amal, both of Shahid Rajaee and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Rice University and the Iran Science Elites Federation supported the research. Computing resources were supplied by Rice’s National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice’s Center for Research Computing and were procured in partnership with Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

Slabbekoorn H.,Leiden University | Bouton N.,University of Antwerp | van Opzeeland I.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Coers A.,Pelagic Regional Advisory Council | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2010

The underwater environment is filled with biotic and abiotic sounds, many of which can be important for the survival and reproduction of fish. Over the last century, human activities in and near the water have increasingly added artificial sounds to this environment. Very loud sounds of relatively short exposure, such as those produced during pile driving, can harm nearby fish. However, more moderate underwater noises of longer duration, such as those produced by vessels, could potentially impact much larger areas, and involve much larger numbers of fish. Here we call attention to the urgent need to study the role of sound in the lives of fish and to develop a better understanding of the ecological impact of anthropogenic noise. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Engbarth M.A.,University of Bath | Bending S.J.,University of Bath | Milosevic M.V.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2011

Hall probe magnetometry has been used to investigate the magnetization of individual cylindrically shaped Pb nanowires grown by electrocrystallization on a highly oriented pyrolytic graphite electrode. These measurements have been interpreted by comparison with three-dimensional Ginzburg-Landau (GL) calculations for nanowires with our sample parameters. We find that the measured superheating field and the critical field for surface superconductivity are strongly influenced by the temperature-dependent coherence length, ξ(T) and penetration depth λ(T) and their relationship to the nanowire diameter. As the temperature is increased toward Tc this drives a change in the superconductor-normal transition from first order irreversible to first order reversible and finally second order reversible. We find that the geometrical flux confinement in our type-I nanowires leads to the formation of a one-dimensional row of single-quantum vortices. While GL calculations show a quite uniform distribution of vortices in thin nanowires, clear vortex bunching is found as the diameter increases, suggesting a transition to a more classical type-I behavior. Subtle changes in minor magnetization loops also indicate that slightly different flux configurations can form with the same vorticity, which depend on the sample history. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Ieven M.,University of Antwerp | Finch R.,University of Nottingham | Van Belkum A.,bioMerieux
Clinical Microbiology and Infection | Year: 2013

Laboratory-based diagnosis of infectious diseases is evolving quickly. New technologies and new tests are frequently commercialized, and although guidelines for their proper clinical validation do exist, these are often at the national or regional level. Therefore, the guidelines remain open to interpretation, and are not always applied properly. One of the main questions is how a high level of test quality can be maintained by European legislation. How can product quality be reliably and independently assessed and how can the penetration of sub-standard assays in the European market be managed and hopefully prevented? We here propose that local initiatives, including external quality assessment, public health initiatives, and close multidisciplinary collaborations between manufacturers and academic research institutes, may accelerate decision-making. Vigilance in test quality assessment and legal simplification are important key concepts warranting selective use of those diagnostic tests that comply with the highest quality standards. © 2012 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2012 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Weckhuysen S.,Neurogenetics Group | Weckhuysen S.,University of Antwerp | Korff C.M.,University of Geneva
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports | Year: 2014

Next-generation sequencing technologies have tremendously increased the speed of gene discovery in monogenic epilepsies, enabling us to identify a genetic cause in an increasing proportion of patients, and to better understand the underlying pathophysiology of their disease. The rapid speed with which new genes are being described lately, confronts clinicians with the difficult task of keeping up to date with the continuous supply of new publications. This article aims to discuss some of the genes that were recently discovered in monogenic familial epilepsy syndromes or epileptic encephalopathies for which an underlying cause remained unknown for a long time. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.

Huttner B.,University of Geneva | Goossens H.,University of Antwerp | Verheij T.,Julius Center for Health science and Primary Care | Harbarth S.,University of Geneva
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

The worldwide increase in resistance to antimicrobial drugs has made reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics a public health priority. There have been campaigns in many countries to educate the public about appropriate use of antibiotics in outpatients. By use of a comprehensive search strategy and structured interviews, we were able to identify and review the characteristics and outcomes of 22 campaigns done at a national or regional level in high-income countries between 1990 and 2007. The intensity of the campaigns varied widely, from simple internet to expensive mass-media campaigns. All but one campaign targeted the public and physicians simultaneously. Most campaigns that were formally evaluated seemed to reduce antibiotic use. The effect on resistance to antimicrobial drugs cannot be assessed accurately at present. Although the most effective interventions and potential adverse outcomes remain unclear, public campaigns can probably contribute to more careful use of antibiotics in outpatients, at least in high-prescribing countries. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

de Ridder D.,University of Antwerp | Vanneste S.,University of Antwerp | Congedo M.,CNRS GIPSA Laboratory
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Tinnitus, the perception of a sound without an external sound source, can lead to variable amounts of distress. Methodology: In a group of tinnitus patients with variable amounts of tinnitus related distress, as measured by the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), an electroencephalography (EEG) is performed, evaluating the patients' resting state electrical brain activity. This resting state electrical activity is compared with a control group and between patients with low (N = 30) and high distress (N = 25). The groups are homogeneous for tinnitus type, tinnitus duration or tinnitus laterality. A group blind source separation (BSS) analysis is performed using a large normative sample (N = 84), generating seven normative components to which high and low tinnitus patients are compared. A correlation analysis of the obtained normative components' relative power and distress is performed. Furthermore, the functional connectivity as reflected by lagged phase synchronization is analyzed between the brain areas defined by the components. Finally, a group BSS analysis on the Tinnitus group as a whole is performed. Conclusions: Tinnitus can be characterized by at least four BSS components, two of which are posterior cingulate based, one based on the subgenual anterior cingulate and one based on the parahippocampus. Only the subgenual component correlates with distress. When performed on a normative sample, group BSS reveals that distress is characterized by two anterior cingulate based components. Spectral analysis of these components demonstrates that distress in tinnitus is related to alpha and beta changes in a network consisting of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex extending to the pregenual and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex as well as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex/orbitofrontal cortex, insula, and parahippocampus. This network overlaps partially with brain areas implicated in distress in patients suffering from pain, functional somatic syndromes and posttraumatic stress disorder, and might therefore represent a specific distress network. © 2011 De Ridder et al.

Van Wassenbergh S.,Ghent University | Van Wassenbergh S.,University of Antwerp
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2015

The gill cover of fish and pre-metamorphic salamanders has a key role in suction feeding by acting as a one-way valve. It initially closes and avoids an inflow of water through the gill slits, after which it opens to allow outflow of the water that was sucked through the mouth into the expanded buccopharyngeal cavity. However, due to the inability of analytical models (relying on the continuity principle) to calculate the flow of fluid through a cavity with two openings and that was changing in shape and size, stringent boundary conditions had to be used in previously developed mathematical models after the moment of the valve's opening. By solving additionally for the conservation of momentum, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has the capacity to dynamically simulate these flows, but this technique also faces complications in modeling a transition from closed to open valves. Here, I present a relatively simple solution strategy to incorporate the opening of the valves, exemplified in an axisymmetrical model of a suction-feeding sunfish in ANSYS Fluent software. By controlling viscosity of a separately defined fluid entity in the region of the opercular cavity, early inflow can be blocked (high viscosity assigned) and later outflow can be allowed (changing viscosity to that of water). Finally, by analyzing the CFD solution obtained for the sunfish model, a few new insights into the biomechanics of suction feeding are gained. © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions please email:

Vandenbussche F.,Ghent University | Vaseva I.,Ghent University | Vissenberg K.,University of Antwerp | Van Der Straeten D.,Ghent University
New Phytologist | Year: 2012

The vegetative development of plants is strongly dependent on the action of phytohormones. For over a century, the effects of ethylene on plants have been studied, illustrating the profound impact of this gaseous hormone on plant growth, development and stress responses. Ethylene signaling is under tight self-control at various levels. Feedback regulation occurs on both biosynthesis and signaling. For its role in developmental processes, ethylene has a close and reciprocal relation with auxin, another major determinant of plant architecture. Here, we discuss, in view of novel findings mainly in the reference plant Arabidopsis, how ethylene is distributed and perceived throughout the plant at the organ, tissue and cellular levels, and reflect on how plants benefit from the complex interaction of ethylene and auxin, determining their shape. Furthermore, we elaborate on the implications of recent discoveries on the control of ethylene signaling. © 2012 The Authors New Phytologist. © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

Kerckhove K.V.,Hasselt University | Hens N.,Hasselt University | Hens N.,University of Antwerp | Edmunds W.J.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Eames K.T.D.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2013

We expect social networks to change as a result of illness, but social contact data are generally collected from healthy persons. Here we quantified the impact of influenza-like illness on social mixing patterns.We analyzed the contact patterns of persons from England measured when they were symptomatic with influenza-like illness during the 2009 A/H1N1pdm influenza epidemic (2009-2010) and again 2 weeks later when they had recovered. Illness was associated with a reduction in the number of social contacts, particularly in settings outside the home, reducing the reproduction number to about one-quarter of the value it would otherwise have taken. We also observed a change in the age distribution of contacts. By comparing the expected age distribution of cases resulting from transmission by (a)symptomatic persons with incidence data, we estimated the contribution of both groups to transmission. Using this, we calculated the fraction of transmission resulting from (a)symptomatic persons, assuming equal duration of infectiousness. We estimated that 66% of transmission was attributable to persons with symptomatic disease (95% confidence interval: 0.23, 1.00). This has important implications for control: Treating symptomatic persons with antiviral agents or encouraging home isolation would be expected to have a major impact on transmission, particularly since the reproduction number for this strain was low. © 2013 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved.

Verdoolaege G.,Ghent University | Scheunders P.,University of Antwerp
Journal of Mathematical Imaging and Vision | Year: 2012

This paper concerns the geometry of the zero-mean multivariate generalized Gaussian distribution (MGGD) and the calculation of geodesic distances on the MGGD manifold. The MGGD is a suitable distribution for the modeling of multivariate (color, multispectral, vector and tensor images, etc.) image wavelet statistics. Expressions are derived for the Fisher-Rao metric for the zero-mean MGGD model. A closed-form expression is obtained for the geodesic distance on the submanifolds characterized by a fixed MGGD shape parameter. Suitable approximate solutions to the geodesic equations are presented in the case of MGGDs with varying shape parameters. An application to image texture similarity measurement in the wavelet domain is briefly discussed, comparing the performance of the geodesic distance and the Kullback-Leibler divergence. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Gardner G.P.,Rutgers University | Go Y.B.,Rutgers University | Robinson D.M.,Rutgers University | Smith P.F.,Rutgers University | And 4 more authors.
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2012

Who can split water? Two polymorphs of nanocrystalline cubic spinel and rhombohedral layered lithium cobalt oxides have been prepared and their application in the photocatalytic oxidation of water examined. The main factor that determines the catalytic activity of the different phases is the presence of a Co 4O 4 cubic core, which is present in the cubic form of the catalyst, but not in the layered structure (see scheme). Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Megnigbeto E.,Bureau dEtudes et de Recherches en Science de linformation BERSI | Megnigbeto E.,University of Antwerp
Scientometrics | Year: 2013

Bibliographic data of publications indexed in Web of Science with at least one (co-)author affiliated to any of the 15 West African countries and published from 2001 to 2010 included are downloaded. Analyses focused one collaboration indicators especially intra regional collaboration, intra African collaboration and collaboration with the world. Results showed that the rate of papers with only one author is diminishing whereas the rate of papers with six and more authors is increasing. Nigeria is responsible for more than half the region's total scientific output. The main African partner countries are South Africa (in the Southern Africa, Cameroon (in the Central Africa), Kenya and Tanzania (in the Eastern Africa). The main non African partner countries are France, USA and United Kingdom, which on their own contributed to over 63 % of the papers with a non West African address. Individual countries have higher international collaboration rate, except Nigeria. West African countries cooperated less with each other and less with African and developing countries than they did with developed ones. The study suggests national authorities to express in actions their commitment to allot at least 1 % of their GDP to science and technology funding. It also suggests regional integration institutions to encourage and fund research activities that involve several institutions from different West African countries in order to increase intra regional scientific cooperation. © 2013 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Latre S.,University of Antwerp | Famaey J.,Ghent University | De Turck F.,Ghent University | Demeester P.,Ghent University
IEEE Communications Magazine | Year: 2014

The Internet was originally designed as a best effort packet forwarding substrate. However, since its inception, its purpose has shifted toward a rich service-centric delivery platform. Its underlying infrastructure as well as the number of connected devices have taken on immense proportions, and sharing of capabilities has come into widespread use. Moreover, the Internet's services are becoming increasingly interactive, context-aware, and content-oriented. This has led to stringent delivery requirements being imposed on the underlying infrastructure. Despite these evolutions, management of the Internet has not evolved significantly. It remains largely static and is unable to provide dynamic end-to-end service delivery guarantees in a costeffective manner. In this article, we propose the Fluid Internet, a novel paradigm aimed at tackling these management challenges. The Fluid Internet seamlessly provisions virtualized infrastructure capabilities, adapting the delivery substrate to the dynamic requirements of services and users, much like a fluid adapting to fit its surroundings. As such, the Fluid Internet gives a service provider the ability to manage its services end to end and elastically. Our vision is achieved through a unification of concepts from network virtualization, cloud computing, and service-centric networking. The relevant stakeholders, as well as their functions and interactions, are described. Additionally, we identify the major technical challenges that remain to be tackled for the Fluid Internet vision to become a reality. © 1979-2012 IEEE.

Justo Y.,Ghent University | Goris B.,University of Antwerp | Kamal J.S.,Ghent University | Geiregat P.,Ghent University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2012

Pb cations in PbS quantum rods made from CdS quantum rods by successive complete cationic exchange reactions are partially re-exchanged for Cd cations. Using STEM-HAADF, we show that this leads to the formation of unique multiple dot-in-rod PbS/CdS heteronanostructures, with a photoluminescence quantum yield of 45-55%. We argue that the formation of multiple dot-in-rods is related to the initial polycrystallinity of the PbS quantum rods, where each PbS crystallite transforms in a separate PbS/CdS dot-in-dot. Effective mass modeling indicates that electronic coupling between the different PbS conduction band states is feasible for the multiple dot-in-rod geometries obtained, while the hole states remain largely uncoupled. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Goyens J.,University of Antwerp | Dirckx J.,University of Antwerp | Aerts P.,University of Antwerp | Aerts P.,Ghent University
Functional Ecology | Year: 2015

In many animal species, male armature has evolved through sexual selection. This male weaponry can increase reproductive success, but only if the owner overcomes the associated costs. Male stag beetles bear one of the most extreme examples of male weaponry: their mandibles can be almost as long as their own body. We question whether the armature of male Cyclommatus metallifer negatively affects terrestrial locomotion (stability and cost). If so, we investigate whether these effects are potentially compensated by morphological and/or behavioural features, as seen in other specialized insect species. Conspecific females are used to represent the non-dimorphed condition. The presence of the huge male mandibular apparatus shifts the body centre of mass (bCOM) anteriorly. Concomitantly, the male fore limbs are 28% longer and are systematically positioned in a more anterior angular sector than in females. Thus, the rostral border of the support area of the leg tripod also moves forward. This suggests a stability enhancing mechanism. However, in contrast to load-carrying ants, the anteriorly placed bCOM still creates two pronounced statically instable periods each locomotor cycle. Due to the static instability, males must adjust their locomotor behaviour: they walk at higher cycle frequencies when compared to females of the same size, to ensure they proceed to the next stance before bumping to the ground with their heavy heads. Contrary to other specialized load-carrying insect species, the (muscle) mass specific mechanical cost of transport of males exceeds that of females by 40%. Since neither stability nor cost of transport benefit from the male forelimb size and positioning, their role in guaranteeing adequate terrestrial locomotion while carrying an enlarged mandibular apparatus seems doubtful. Instead, the long limbs are themselves functional in fights, by pitching the body upwards in order to throw opponents backwards. The oversized male stag beetle armature comes at high ecological costs: locomotion economics as well as stability clearly suffer from the large mandibles. The observed limb length dimorphism does not prevent this, but should probably be considered part of sexual selection, rather than a compensation for its consequences. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Notteboom T.,University of Antwerp | Notteboom T.,Antwerp Maritime Academy | De Langen P.,TU Eindhoven | Jacobs W.,University Utrecht
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2013

This paper deals with path dependence in seaport governance. A central notion in this respect is lock-in. Economic geographers have recently started to reconsider the deterministic perspective on lock-in and developed the concept of institutional plasticity. Such plasticity is the result of actions of actors to purposefully 'recombine and convert or reinterpret institutions for their new objectives or transfer institutions to different contexts' (Strambach, 2010). This concept is applied to seaports, where so far, path dependence and lock-in have not been studied in detail. Our main conclusion is that a process of institutional stretching takes place when port authorities see a need to develop new capabilities and activities. In this process new layers are added to existing arrangements, gradually leading to a formalised governance reform but without breaking out of the existing path of development. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

De Boeck H.J.,University of Antwerp | Verbeeck H.,Ghent University
Biogeosciences | Year: 2011

Drought periods can have important impacts on plant productivity and ecosystem functioning, but climatic conditions other than the lack of precipitation during droughts have never been quantified and have therefore not been considered explicitly in both experimental and modeling studies. Here, we identify which climatic characteristics deviate from normal during droughts and how these deviations could affect plant responses. Analysis of 609 years of daily data from nine Western European meteorological stations reveals that droughts in the studied region are consistently associated with more sunshine (+45 %), increased mean (+1.6 °C) and maximum (+2.8 °C) air temperatures and vapour pressure deficits that were 51 % higher than under normal conditions. These deviations from normal increase significantly as droughts progress. Using the process-model ORCHIDEE, we simulated droughts consistent with the results of the dataset analysis and compared water and carbon exchange of three different vegetation types during such natural droughts and droughts in which only the precipitation was affected. The comparison revealed contrasting responses: carbon loss was higher under natural drought in grasslands, while increased carbon uptake was found especially in decidious forests. This difference was attributed to better access to water reserves in forest ecosystems which prevented drought stress. This demonstrates that the warmer and sunnier conditions naturally associated with droughts can either improve growth or aggravate drought-related stress, depending on water reserves. As the impacts of including or excluding climatic parameters that correlate with drought are substantial, we propose that both experimental and modeling efforts should take into account other environmental factors than merely precipitation. © 2011 Author(s).

Verdoolaege G.,Ghent University | Scheunders P.,University of Antwerp
International Journal of Computer Vision | Year: 2011

We consider the Rao geodesic distance (GD) based on the Fisher information as a similarity measure on the manifold of zero-mean multivariate generalized Gaussian distributions (MGGD). The MGGD is shown to be an adequate model for the heavy-tailed wavelet statistics in multicomponent images, such as color or multispectral images. We discuss the estimation of MGGD parameters using various methods. We apply the GD between MGGDs to color texture discrimination in several classification experiments, taking into account the correlation structure between the spectral bands in the wavelet domain. We compare the performance, both in terms of texture discrimination capability and computational load, of the GD and the Kullback-Leibler divergence (KLD). Likewise, both uni- and multivariate generalized Gaussian models are evaluated, characterized by a fixed or a variable shape parameter. The modeling of the interband correlation significantly improves classification efficiency, while the GD is shown to consistently outperform the KLD as a similarity measure. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Notteboom T.E.,University of Antwerp | Notteboom T.E.,Antwerp Maritime Academy
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2012

The Suez Canal plays a pivotal role in today's global container shipping network, in particularly in accommodating vessels sailing on the important Asia-Europe trade lane. This paper analyses to what extent and for which trade lanes the Cape route could develop into a competitive alternative to the Suez route. The market potential of the Cape route is analysed using a distance analysis, a transit time analysis and a generalized cost analysis for a large set of O/D relations. We compare vessel interlining via the port of Algeciras with interlining via the new port of Ngqura in South Africa. The results show that the Cape route has the potential to serve as an alternative to the Suez route on 11 trade lanes. A scenario and sensitivity analysis reveals that interlining via a hub near the Cape is expected to become more competitive due to a combination of higher Suez Canal transit fees, better vessel economics, higher bunker costs, slow steaming practices and subject to a more competitive terminal pricing strategy of southern African transhipment facilities. The expected emergence of the Cape route should be seen as the embodiment of a promising development of south-south trade volumes between Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

De Backer C.J.S.,University of Antwerp | Hudders L.,Ghent University
Meat Science | Year: 2015

The aim of this work is to explore the relation between morality and diet choice by investigating how animal and human welfare attitudes and donation behaviors can predict a meat eating versus flexitarian versus vegetarian diet. The results of a survey study (N=299) show that animal health concerns (measured by the Animal Attitude Scale) can predict diet choice. Vegetarians are most concerned, while full-time meat eaters are least concerned, and the contrast between flexitarians and vegetarians is greater than the contrast between flexitarians and full-time meat eaters. With regards to human welfare (measured by the Moral Foundations Questionnaire), results show that attitudes towards human suffering set flexitarians apart from vegetarians and attitudes towards authority and respect distinguish between flexitarians and meat eaters. To conclude, results show that vegetarians donate more often to animal oriented charities than flexitarians and meat eaters, while no differences between the three diet groups occur for donations to human oriented charities. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Engels T.C.E.,University of Antwerp | Engels T.C.E.,Antwerp Maritime Academy | Ossenblok T.L.B.,University of Antwerp | Spruyt E.H.J.,University of Antwerp
Scientometrics | Year: 2012

An analysis of the changing publication patterns in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the period 2000-2009 is presented on the basis of the VABB-SHW, a full coverage database of peer reviewed publication output in SSH developed for the region of Flanders, Belgium. Data collection took place as part of the Flemish performance-based funding system for university research. The development of the database is described and an overview of its contents presented. In terms of coverage of publications by the Web of Science we observe considerable differences across disciplines in the SSH. The overall growth rate in number of publications is over 62. 1%, but varies across disciplines between 7.5 and 172.9%. Publication output grew faster in the Social Sciences than in the Humanities. A steady increase in the number and the proportion of publications in English is observed, going hand in hand with a decline in publishing in Dutch and other languages. However, no overall shift away from book publishing is observed. In the Humanities, the share of book publications even seems to be increasing. The study shows that additional full coverage regional databases are needed to be able to characterise publication output in the SSH. © 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Verleysen F.T.,University of Antwerp | Engels T.C.E.,University of Antwerp | Engels T.C.E.,Antwerp Maritime Academy
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology | Year: 2013

The Publishers Association of Flanders, Belgium, has created a label for peer-reviewed books: the Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content (GPRC) label ( We introduce the label and the logic behind it. A label for peer-reviewed books encourages transparency in academic book publishing. It is especially relevant for the social sciences and humanities and in the context of performance-based funding of university research. © 2012 ASIS&;T.

Derycke S.,Ghent University | Backeljau T.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences | Backeljau T.,University of Antwerp | Moens T.,Ghent University
Frontiers in Zoology | Year: 2013

Dispersal and gene flow determine connectivity among populations, and can be studied through population genetics and phylogeography. We here review the results of such a framework for free-living marine nematodes. Although field experiments have illustrated substantial dispersal in nematodes at ecological time scales, analysis of the genetic diversity illustrated the importance of priority effects, founder effects and genetic bottlenecks for population structuring between patches <1 km apart. In contrast, only little genetic structuring was observed within an estuary (<50 km), indicating that these small scale fluctuations in genetic differentiation are stabilized over deeper time scales through extensive gene flow. Interestingly, nematode species with contrasting life histories (extreme colonizers vs persisters) or with different habitat preferences (algae vs sediment) show similar, low genetic structuring. Finally, historical events have shaped the genetic pattern of marine nematodes and show that gene flow is restricted at large geographical scales. We also discuss the presence of substantial cryptic diversity in marine nematodes, and end with highlighting future important steps to further unravel nematode evolution and diversity. © 2013 Derycke et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Vanneste S.,University of Antwerp | Plazier M.,University of Antwerp | der Loo E.V.,University of Antwerp | de Heyning P.V.,University of Antwerp | And 2 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2010

Tinnitus is an auditory phantom percept with a tone, hissing, or buzzing sound in the absence of any objective physical sound source. About 6% to 25% of the affected people report interference with their lives as tinnitus causes a considerable amount of distress. However, the underlying neurophysiological mechanism for the development of tinnitus-related distress remains not well understood. Hence we focus on the cortical and subcortical source differences in resting-state EEG between tinnitus patients with different grades of distress using continuous scalp EEG recordings and Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA). Results show more synchronized alpha activity in the tinnitus patients with a serious amount of distress with peaks localized to various emotion-related areas. These areas include subcallosal anterior cingulate cortex, the insula, parahippocampal area and amygdala. In addition, less alpha synchronized activity was found in the posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus and DLPFC. A comparison between the tinnitus group with distress and the Nova Tech EEG (NTE) normative database demonstrated increased synchronized alpha and beta activity and less synchronized delta and theta activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in tinnitus patients with distress. It is interesting that the areas found show some overlap with the emotional component of the pain matrix and the distress related areas in asthmatic dyspnea. Unpleasantness of pain activates the anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices, amygdala, and insula. As such, it might be that distress is related to alpha and beta activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, the amount of distress perceived to an alpha network consisting of the amygdala-anterior cingulate cortex-insula-parahippocampal area. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Hiddinga B.I.,University of Antwerp | Van Meerbeeck J.P.,University of Antwerp | Van Meerbeeck J.P.,Ghent University
Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Year: 2013

The role of surgery in the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma remains controversial. Surgical resection consists of different procedures for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. The latter includes either an extrapleural pleuropneumonectomy (EPP) or lung-sparing operations like debulking of the parietal and visceral pleura by pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) or extended pleurectomy/decortication, in which further debulking of the diaphragm or pericardium is included. Because of the modest outcome of surgery as single-modality therapy, combinations of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy were initiated as a new treatment strategy to improve prognosis. The observations that patients treated with P/D had an equal to better outcome than those treated with EPP, and that EPP with perioperative chemotherapy was better than EPP alone, raises the issue whether performing a P/D with perioperative chemotherapy would result in a further improvement of outcome with a lower operative mortality than with EPP and perioperative chemotherapy. This is the rationale for the next European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer trial exploring the feasibility of P/D with perioperative chemotherapy. Copyright © 2013 by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Vanhooydonck B.,University of Antwerp | Vanhooydonck B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Vanhooydonck B.,Ghent University
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2014

Trade-offs arise when two functional traits impose conflicting demands on the same design trait. Consequently, excellence in one comes at the cost of performance in the other. One of the most widely studied performance trade-offs is the one between sprint speed and endurance. Although biochemical, physiological and (bio)mechanical correlates of either locomotor trait conflict with each other, results at the whole-organism level are mixed. Here, we test whether burst (speed, acceleration) and sustained locomotion (stamina) trade off at both the isolated muscle and whole-organism level among 17 species of lacertid lizards. In addition, we test for a mechanical link between the organismal and muscular (power output, fatigue resistance) performance traits. We find weak evidence for a trade-off between burst and sustained locomotion at the whole-organism level; however, there is a significant trade-off between muscle power output and fatigue resistance in the isolated muscle level. Variation in whole-animal sprint speed can be convincingly explained by variation in muscular power output. The variation in locomotor stamina at the whole-organism level does not relate to the variation in muscle fatigue resistance, suggesting that whole-organism stamina depends not only on muscle contractile performance but probably also on the performance of the circulatory and respiratory systems.

Van Wassenbergh S.,Ghent University | Van Wassenbergh S.,University of Antwerp
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2013

In contrast to numerous studies on the function of the locomotor system used by fishes when moving between water and land, little knowledge is available about the biomechanical requirements to the capture and transport of food by fish in a terrestrial situation. This study focuses on the kinematics of terrestrial capture of prey by the eel-catfish (Channallabes apus: Clariidae), a behavior that was only recently discovered for this species. The analyses show that C. apus inclines its head downward at a significantly steeper angle during terrestrial feeding compared with benthic aquatic feeding. This suggests that placing the jaws above ground-based prey is important for successful prehension by the jaws. The increased inclination of the head resulted from accumulated dorsoventral flexion of the body more than one head-length behind the skull. Alternatively, this posture of the head was assumed by rolling to one side while bending the body laterally. The speed of buccopharyngeal expansion in air versus in water matched the predicted increase by a factor of 3, under the assumption that the velocity of muscular contraction for maximal output of power by C. apus is optimized to operate under a specific hydrodynamic loading, and shifts to an unloaded contraction regime when operating in air. Combining these insights with future studies on other extant amphibious fish species that perform terrestrial feeding may eventually allow us to pinpoint the adaptations to the feeding system that have led to the evolution of a terrestrial lifestyle in tetrapods. © The Author 2013.

Nagata Y.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Braysy O.,University of Jyväskylä | Dullaert W.,University of Antwerp | Dullaert W.,Antwerp Maritime Academy
Computers and Operations Research | Year: 2010

In this paper, we present an effective memetic algorithm for the vehicle routing problem with time windows (VRPTW). The paper builds upon an existing edge assembly crossover (EAX) developed for the capacitated VRP. The adjustments of the EAX operator and the introduction of a novel penalty function to eliminate violations of the time window constraint as well as the capacity constraint from offspring solutions generated by the EAX operator have proven essential to the heuristic's performance. Experimental results on Solomon's and Gehring and Homberger benchmarks demonstrate that our algorithm outperforms previous approaches and is able to improve 184 best-known solutions out of 356 instances. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Zarb P.,Materials Dei Hospital | Zarb P.,University of Antwerp | Goossens H.,University of Antwerp
Drugs | Year: 2011

All 27 EU member states and another seven countries participate in the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption (ESAC) project. ESAC carried out three hospital point-prevalence surveys on antimicrobial use. Point-prevalence surveys linked antimicrobial use to indication and also assessed dosing using a standardized methodology for data collection and online data submission with feedback capability using a dedicated web-based tool. The objectives of the ESAC hospital point-prevalence surveys were to first determine the feasibility of a pan-European survey and identify targets for quality improvement.Hospitals were voluntarily selected by the lead national or hospital representatives for each country. The WHO Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification of drugs was used for classification of antimicrobials. The three surveys were carried out during a maximum of 2 weeks in the second quarter of 2006, 2008 and 2009. Each department had to be surveyed in 1 day. All systemic antibacterials (J01), rifampicin (J04AB), oral vancomycin (A07AA) and oralrectal metronidazole (P01AB) were the antimicrobials surveyed, including the prescribed regimen.The number of participating hospitals increased from 20 to 172 from 2006 to 2009. The patient demographics and indications for treatment were similar throughout the three point-prevalence surveys. 'Reason in notes' and 'surgical prophylaxis >24 hours' were also similar. Guideline compliance (51) was only introduced in the 2009 point-prevalence survey, replacing 'sample for culture and sensitivity' (<50 in 2006 and 2008) since samples were either not taken or no information was available for the majority (>50) of patients. The use of combination therapy, although exhibiting a wide range within each category, was related to hospital type, with teaching and tertiary hospitals having a significantly higher use of combination therapy (teaching:non-teaching hospitals p<0.0001; and primary:tertiary hospitals p<0.0001).Point-prevalence surveys are useful when time and resources do not allow for continuous surveillance. Repeated point-prevalence surveys within the same institution(s) can be used to monitor trends and effectiveness of antimicrobial-stewardship initiatives. Targets should be set as quality indicators for the individual hospital(s) and effectiveness of any intervention monitored through repeated point-prevalence surveys. Spin-off initiatives, such as the Antibiotic Resistance and Prescribing in European Children, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control point-prevalence survey on healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use, will utilize adapted versions of WebPPS, the point-prevalence survey software developed by ESAC. WebPPS will also be made available for non-commercial use to third parties. Interest has been shown from three continents outside Europe, namely North America, Australia and Africa. © 2011 Adis Data Information BV. All rights reserved.

Strubbe D.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Matthysen E.,University of Antwerp | Graham C.H.,State University of New York at Stony Brook
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2010

Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity. Given the large number of invasive species, we need to be able to identify invaders with large effects in order to prioritize management efforts. Here, we present a framework using species distribution modelling to predict how abundance of native species will change as a result of competition with an invasive species using ring-necked parakeets Psittacula krameri and nuthatches Sitta europaea as a case study.Ring-necked parakeets are widely introduced throughout Europe and compete with native cavity-nesters. Using the relationship between parakeet abundance and environmental variables in Brussels (Belgium), we predict parakeet abundance across Flanders. A competition coefficient, quantifying the parakeets' impact on nuthatches, was obtained by a regression on a data set of parakeet and nuthatch abundance. An estimate of the number of nuthatches that will be lost when parakeets have occupied all suitable sites was calculated by superimposing the abundance maps of the two species and applying the competition coefficient. Our results predict a potential population of about 22 000 parakeet pairs, indicating that they could become one of the most numerous cavity-nesters in the region. Parakeet abundance is the highest in older, more fragmented forest in urban areas whereas nuthatches prefer larger, old and oak-dominated forests. Our models indicate that throughout much of their range, and in a variety of habitats, parakeets and nuthatches will compete for nesting cavities, but as the competition strength is only moderate, the total impact of parakeets on nuthatch populations will be limited, with at most one-third of the population at risk. Synthesis and applications. Species distribution models combined with empirical estimates of competition strength can be used as a general tool to make an assessment of the potential impact of established invasive species. Such information is required to make effective decisions on how to prioritize management effort and resources across the multitude of invasive species that currently threaten native ecosystems. For the ring-necked parakeet, our results indicate that there is no compelling evidence indicating that parakeets pose a threat large enough to justify an eradication campaign where they are currently present. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society.

Notteboom T.E.,University of Antwerp | Notteboom T.E.,Antwerp Maritime Academy
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2010

The European container port system features a unique blend of different port types and sizes combined with a vast economic hinterland. This paper provides an update of the detailed container traffic analysis developed by Notteboom (1997) by extending it to the period 1985-2008 and to 78 container ports. The paper also aims at identifying key trends and issues underlying recent developments in the European container port system. These trends include the formation of multi-port gateway regions, changes in the hinterland orientation of ports and port regionalization processes. While the local hinterland remains the backbone of ports' traffic positions, a growing demand for routing flexibility fuels competition for distant hinterlands between multi-port gateway regions. The prevailing assumption that containerisation would lead to further port concentration is not a confirmed fact in Europe: the European port system and most of its multi-port gateway regions witness a gradual cargo deconcentration process. Still, the container handling market remains far more concentrated than other cargo handling segments in the European port system, as there are strong market-related factors supporting a relatively high cargo concentration level in the container sector. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Leenaerts O.,University of Antwerp | Peelaers H.,University of Antwerp | Hernandez-Nieves A.D.,University of Antwerp | Hernandez-Nieves A.D.,Bariloche Atomic Center | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

Different stoichiometric configurations of graphane and graphene fluoride are investigated within density-functional theory. Their structural and electronic properties are compared, and we indicate the similarities and differences among the various configurations. Large differences between graphane and graphene fluoride are found that are caused by the presence of charges on the fluorine atoms. A configuration that is more stable than the boat configuration is predicted for graphene fluoride. We also perform GW calculations for the electronic band gap of both graphene derivatives. These band gaps and also the calculated Young's moduli are at variance with available experimental data. This might indicate that the experimental samples contain a large number of defects or are only partially covered with H or F. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Hernandez-Nieves A.D.,University of Antwerp | Hernandez-Nieves A.D.,Bariloche Atomic Center | Partoens B.,University of Antwerp | Peeters F.M.,University of Antwerp
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

Zigzag graphene nanoribbons patterned on graphane are studied using spin-polarized ab initio calculations. We found that the electronic and magnetic properties of the graphene/graphane superlattice strongly depends on the degree of hydrogenation at the interfaces between the two materials. When both zigzag interfaces are fully hydrogenated, the superlattice behaves like a freestanding zigzag graphene nanoribbon, and the magnetic ground state is antiferromagnetic. When one of the interfaces is half hydrogenated, the magnetic ground state becomes ferromagnetic, and the system is very close to being a half metal with possible spintronics applications whereas the magnetic ground state of the superlattice with both interfaces half hydrogenated is again antiferromagnetic. In this last case, both edges of the graphane nanoribbon also contribute to the total magnetization of the system. All the spin-polarized ground states are semiconducting, independent of the degree of hydrogenation of the interfaces. The ab initio results are supplemented by a simple tight-binding analysis that captures the main qualitative features. Our ab initio results show that patterned hydrogenation of graphene is a promising way to obtain stable graphene nanoribbons with interesting technological applications. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Mahr D.,Maastricht University | Lievens A.,University of Antwerp
Research Policy | Year: 2012

This study examines the creation of innovation-related knowledge in virtual communities visited mainly by lead users. Such communities enable firms to access a large number of lead users in a cost-efficient way. A propositional framework relates lead users' characteristics to unique virtual community features to examine their potential impact on the development of valuable innovation knowledge. The authors empirically validate this framework by analyzing online contributions of lead users for mobile service innovation projects. The findings indicate that the value of their contributions stems from their ability to suggest solutions instead of simply describing problems or stating customer needs. Lead users' technical expertise also makes them particularly well-suited to develop new functionalities, but less so for design and usability improvements. The digital context favors the creation of explicit knowledge that can be easily integrated into the development of new products. Finally, contributions given by lead users in a proactive way contain more novel insights than reactive contributions such as answers to community members' questions. The findings should help managers stimulate, identify, and improve the use of lead users' input in virtual communities. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Brackman G.,Ghent University | Cos P.,University of Antwerp | Maes L.,University of Antwerp | Nelis H.J.,Ghent University | Coenye T.,Ghent University
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy | Year: 2011

Although the exact role of quorum sensing (QS) in various stages of biofilm formation, maturation, and dispersal and in biofilm resistance is not entirely clear, the use of QS inhibitors (QSI) has been proposed as a potential antibiofilm strategy. We have investigated whether QSI enhance the susceptibility of bacterial biofilms to treatment with conventional antimicrobial agents. The QSI used in our study target the acylhomoserine lactone-based QS system present in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex organisms (baicalin hydrate, cinnamaldehyde) or the peptide-based system present in Staphylococcus aureus (hamamelitannin). The effect of tobramycin (P. aeruginosa, B. cepacia complex) and clindamycin or vancomycin (S. aureus), alone or in combination with QSI, was evaluated in various in vitro and in vivo biofilm model systems, including two invertebrate models and one mouse pulmonary infection model. In vitro the combined use of an antibiotic and a QSI generally resulted in increased killing compared to killing by an antibiotic alone, although reductions were strain and model dependent. A significantly higher fraction of infected Galleria mellonella larvae and Caenorhabditis elegans survived infection following combined treatment, compared to treatment with an antibiotic alone. Finally, the combined use of tobramycin and baicalin hydrate reduced the microbial load in the lungs of BALB/c mice infected with Burkholderia cenocepacia more than tobramycin treatment alone. Our data suggest that QSI may increase the success of antibiotic treatment by increasing the susceptibility of bacterial biofilms and/or by increasing host survival following infection. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Ghysels J.,Maastricht University | van Lancker W.,University of Antwerp
Journal of European Social Policy | Year: 2011

In the last few decades, measures to reconcile work and family life have risen in mutual interaction with a rising rate of dual earnership. However, dual earnership has (to date) been adopted in a socially uneven way in most European societies. Therefore, one may wonder whether the activation measures have brought about a loss of vertical redistribution in welfare states. We address this question by focusing on the interaction of three measures of family policy and their overall distributional effect in Europe, with the Belgian region of Flanders as the case in point. We develop a fine-grained analysis to reveal the budgetary impact of the variation in use and generosity, and find that today in Flanders the redistributive effect of child benefits is largely undone by subsidized childcare and parental leave benefits. If parents' employment is to be generalized, this case study suggests that more attention is required regarding the universal use of reconciliation measures. © SAGE Publications 2011.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN | Award Amount: 3.63M | Year: 2011

The main research goal is to further understanding of how and to what extent flame retardant (FR) chemicals used in every-day consumer goods and construction materials enter humans and of the risk to health that such exposure presents. Our vision is that this enhanced understanding will inform assessment of risk associated both with recent and current-use flame retardant chemicals, and of those under development, and ultimately lead to more sustainable approaches to meeting fire safety regulations. Our principal objectives are to discover: (1) the mechanisms via which FRs migrate from products within which they are incorporated; (2) how and to what extent such migration leads to human exposure; and (3) the effects of such exposure. To achieve our goal and objectives we will use a range of state-of-the-art techniques associated with analytical chemistry, electron microscopy, mathematical modelling, in vitro toxicology, and omics. The network is an interdisciplinary cooperative of chemists, biologists, physicists and toxicologists. Intersectoral aspects unite basic and applied scientists working in universities, two SMEs, a large (non-university) public sector research organisation and a government research institute. The projects S&T objectives will be delivered through research in 3 Work Packages (WPs): viz. WP1- Migration pathways, WP2- Human exposure (pathways and monitoring), and WP3- Understanding effects of human exposure. The aim of the Training Programme is to increase the knowledge base and experience of trainees in the different research areas and to develop their transferable skills for future careers in the private sector, public sector, or the regulatory community. Six training objectives will be delivered through a suite of 6 Core Skills Areas (Research Project, Advanced Training Courses, Project Meetings, Career Development Plan, Generic Research Skills, Transferable Research Skills).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES | Award Amount: 199.10K | Year: 2012

INTERFLAME aims to enhance scientific understanding of how and to what extent organic flame retardant (FR) chemicals present in consumer goods and materials contaminate the environment, with particular reference to humans and wildlife. INTERFLAMEs twin foci are exposure arising from indoor contamination and monitoring the efficacy of recent actions designed to reduce environmental levels. Recent research has shown that the application of FRs within consumer goods and materials has led to contamination of indoor environments with consequences for human exposure. Moreover, the hydrophobicity and environmental persistence of many FRs means that following release to outdoors, there is significant potential for a second wave of human and wildlife exposure via incorporation and bioaccumulation into the food chain. Due to concerns about the adverse effects of some FRs, various jurisdictions worldwide have introduced bans and restrictions on the manufacture and new use of such chemicals. INTERFLAME addresses the global need to monitor temporal trends in environmental contamination in response to such restrictions, and its international harmonisation of studies and exchange of knowledge is a necessary response to the substantial global variations in FR usage patterns and legislation. Its synergistic relationship with the EU-funded Marie Curie ITN INFLAME will permit comparison and contrast of exposure scenarios for FRs that prevail in Europe with those elsewhere. This will facilitate prediction of future scenarios around the globe; for example where use of a given class of FRs has yet to begin in one region, that region can learn from the experience of those where the same FRs are deployed already. In summary, INTERFLAMEs collaborative and dynamic transfer of information and expertise through staff exchanges will better inform efforts to monitor and understand the origins of exposure to such chemicals, leading to more effective strategies to minimise such exposure.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.25M | Year: 2013

A-TEAM is a major co-ordinated supradisciplinary study. It seeks to develop understanding of a variety of aspects related to external and internal exposure to selected chemicals using a single, well-characterised human cohort (the A-TEAM). Its overriding hypothesis is that current approaches used to monitor human exposure to consumer chemicals can be substantially improved by filling gaps in scientific data and understanding upon which current practices are founded. A-TEAMs main research goal is to further understanding of how and to what extent consumer chemicals enter humans, and of how we can best monitor the presence of such chemicals in our indoor environment, diet, and bodies. Our vision is that such enhanced understanding of the underpinning science will lead to more effective approaches to monitoring human exposure to chemicals within Europe, thereby improving assessment of risk associated both with recent and current-use consumer chemicals, as well as those under development, and leading ultimately to more sustainable approaches to the use of chemicals. Our principal objectives are to provide robust scientific information that will allow better understanding of: (1) how we can identify at an early stage, chemicals likely to accumulate in Europeans; (2) how to monitor chemicals in our external environment in a way that best reflects what accumulates in the body; (3) the relative importance of different exposure pathways to overall exposure for selected consumer chemicals of toxicological concern; (4) how contact with chemicals in our external environment translates into their presence in our bodies and how best to monitor this presence As well as contributing significantly to scientific knowledge; A-TEAM contributes substantially towards the training and development of the next generation of researchers thereby facilitating future advances in knowledge well beyond the lifetime of the ITN.