Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra, Portugal

The University of Coimbra dɨ kuˈĩbɾɐ]) is a Portuguese public university in Coimbra, Portugal. Established in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest university of Portugal, and one of its largest higher education and research institutions. It is organized into eight different faculties according to a wide range of fields, granting academic bachelor's , master's and doctorate degrees in arts, engineerings, humanities, mathematics, natural science, social science, sports and technologies. It is a founding member of the Coimbra Group, a group of leading European research universities, whose inaugural meeting it hosted. The University of Coimbra has approximately 20,000 students, and hosts one of the largest communities of international students in Portugal, being the most cosmopolitan Portuguese university.On 22 June 2013, UNESCO added the university to its World Heritage List. Wikipedia.

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Dias A.M.P.G.,University of Coimbra
WCTE 2016 - World Conference on Timber Engineering | Year: 2016

Timber-concrete-systems have been increasingly used in recent decades. This increased interest is due to various reasons, but particularly to the use of timber in new types of buildings, such as for example, multistory buildings or motorway bridges, where the timber-concrete composites play an important role. In spite of this higher interest, such development, was not supported by an adequate regulatory framework. The composite timber-concrete systems are, usually, analyzed and designed in accordance with Eurocode 5, which does not address many important issues that are specific for the design of this type of structure. To close this gap, CEN/TC 250/SC 5, the standardization committee responsible for drafting Eurocode 5, decided to establish a Working Group (WG2) on this issue. This Working Group will be supported by a Project Team, mandated to draft the new Eurocode 5 part on timber-concrete composites. This paper presents the main objectives and methodologies used in this task, as well as, the current status of the work and the schedule for the incoming years.

Rocha A.R.,University of Coimbra
Revista de Historia da Sociedade e da Cultura | Year: 2016

This paper aims to present the diet of the lepers from the Leper House or Saint Lazarus Hospital of Coimbra. Starting from the regiment granted by King Afonso IV, in 1329, we describe the individual diet of Coimbra lepers. We also present the several pitances given throughout the year to enrich and complement the lepers' meals. At the same time, we evaluate the therapeutic procedures from classical antiquity and medieval physicians towards lepers and people that feared leprosy. This way, we study the effects of food in the disease's treatment or, at least, the strengthening of the sickened body, delaying the inevitable.

Duarte C.,University of Coimbra | Gouveia J.P.,University of Coimbra | Mendes A.,University of Coimbra
International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy | Year: 2016

Intuitive eating entails the ability to connect with and understand one's internal hunger and satiety signals, instead of engaging in reactive maladaptive eating behaviours. The current study aimed at examining the factorial structure and psychometric properties of the Intuitive Eating Scale-2 (IES-2) in the Portuguese population. Also, it aimed at investigating the correlates of intuitive eating and its moderator effect on the association between negative affect and binge eating symptoms. The factorial structure and psychometric properties of the IES-2 were examined in a sample of 545 women and were further corroborated in a distinct sample comprised by men and women from the general community (N= 642). Results supported the four-factor structure of the IES-2, including the subscales: eating for physical reasons rather than emotional reasons; unconditional permission to eat; reliance on hunger and satiety cues; and body-food choice congruence. The scale presented good internal consistency, construct and discriminant validity, and test-retest reliability. IES-2 presented negative correlations with BMI, eating psychopathology, especially binge eating, body shame, and depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms; and positive correlations with decentering and body image flexibility. Furthermore, intuitive eating significantly moderated the relationship between negative affect and binge eating symptomatology. Findings support that the IES-2 is a valid and adequate measure of intuitive eating. Results further highlight the association between intuitive eating and mechanisms relevant for eating and weight regulation, and the possible buffer effect of intuitive eating against binge eating symptoms, carrying therefore important implications for the treatment and prevention of eating-related problems. © 2016 AAC.

Duarte J.,University of Coimbra | Pinto-Gouveia J.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science | Year: 2017

Objectives: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have received large empirical support for their efficacy. In comparison, few studies have explored the underlying mechanisms and processes through which MBIs impact outcomes. This study aimed to explore the potential role of trait mindfulness, self-compassion and psychological inflexibility as mediators of the effects of a MBI on burnout, compassion fatigue, psychological symptoms and satisfaction with life. Method: This study used data from a non-randomized controlled study with a sample of oncology nurses. Participants were recruited from two large oncology hospitals in Portugal's north and centre regions. A sample of 94 oncology nurses agreed to participate in the study and self-selected into an experimental (n =45) and a wait-list comparison condition (n =48). Participants in the wait-list comparison condition received the intervention at a later date. Complete data was obtained for 48 of the initial 94 participants, mainly due to poor follow-up data rather than high drop-out rate. The data analysed was from both waitlist and intervention participants after the waitlist group had received the intervention. Participants completed self-report measures to assess several processes, such as mindfulness, psychological inflexibility, self-compassion, and several outcomes, such as burnout and compassion fatigue, depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, and satisfaction with life. Results: Changes in mindfulness mediated changes in burnout, anxiety and stress, and satisfaction with life; changes in self-compassion mediated the impact of the intervention on burnout, depression, anxiety, stress and satisfaction with life; and psychological inflexibility mediated reductions in burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, and stress. Conclusions: These findings contribute to the growing body of research examining the underlying mechanisms at work in MBIs, and highlight the importance of mindfulness, self-compassion and psychological inflexibly as key change processes. © 2017 Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Lopes I.C.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira-Brett A.M.,University of Coimbra
Electroanalysis | Year: 2017

Human cytochrome CYP1A2 is one of the major hepatic cytochrome P450s involved in many drugs metabolism, and chemical carcinogens activation. The CYP1A2-dsDNA interaction insitu evaluation using a DNA-electrochemical biosensor and differential pulse voltammetry was investigated. A dsDNA-electrochemical biosensor showed that CYP1A2 interacted with dsDNA causing conformational changes in the double helix chain and DNA oxidative damage. A preferential interaction between the dsDNA guanosine residues and CYP1A2 was found, as free guanine and 8-oxoguanine, a DNA oxidative damage biomarker, oxidation peaks were detected. This was confirmed using guanine and adenine homopolynucleotides-electrochemical biosensors. The CYP1A2-dsDNA interaction and dsDNA conformation changes was also confirmed by UV-Vis spectrophotometry. © 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Hosseini S.J.,University of Coimbra | Araujo H.,University of Coimbra
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2017

This paper deals with the monocular reconstruction of an extensible surface by proposing a novel approach for the determination of the 3D positions of a set of points on images of the deformed surface. Given a 3D template, this approach is applied to each image independently of the others. To proceed with the reconstruction, the surface is divided into small patches that overlap in chain-like form. We model these surface patches as being uniformly extensible. Using a linear mapping from the template onto a patch, the variation of the patch shape is split into a rigid body transformation and a pure deformation. To estimate the pure deformation, we use an optimization procedure that minimizes the reprojection error along with the error over a constraint associated with uniform expansion. Having estimated the pure deformation, the rigid body transformation can be determined by decomposing the essential matrix between the current image and the virtual image that results from projecting the 3D positions that correspond to pure deformation of the template. This enables complete estimation of the linear mapping, thereby obtaining the 3D positions of the surface patch up to scale. To define a common scale, the surface smoothness is enforced by considering that the overlapping points of the patches are the same. The experimental results show the feasibility of the approach and that the accuracy of the reconstruction is good. © Springer International Publishing AG 2017.

van de Ven R.A.H.,Harvard University | Santos D.,Harvard University | Santos D.,University of Coimbra | Haigis M.C.,Harvard University
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2017

Advancing age is the major risk factor for the development of chronic diseases and is accompanied by changes in metabolic processes and mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial sirtuins (SIRT3–5) are part of the sirtuin family of NAD+-dependent deacylases and ADP-ribosyl transferases. The dependence on NAD+ links sirtuin enzymatic activity to the metabolic state of the cell, poising them as stress sensors. Recent insights have revealed that SIRT3–5 orchestrate stress responses through coordinated regulation of substrate clusters rather than of a few key metabolic enzymes. Additionally, mitochondrial sirtuin function has been implicated in the protection against age-related pathologies, including neurodegeneration, cardiopathologies, and insulin resistance. In this review, we highlight the molecular targets of SIRT3–5 and discuss their involvement in aging and age-related pathologies. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Santos S.,University of Coimbra | Crespo C.,University of Lisbon | Canavarro M.C.,University of Coimbra | Kazak A.E.,Center for Healthcare Delivery Science | Kazak A.E.,Thomas Jefferson University
Journal of Pediatric Psychology | Year: 2017

Objective Family functioning is associated with adaptation in pediatric illness. This study examines the role of parents' relationships (specifically romantic attachment) as a predictor of family ritual meaning and family cohesion for parents and their children with cancer. Methods The dyads, 58 partnered Portuguese parents and their children in treatment, reported on family ritual meaning and family cohesion at Time 1 (T1) and after 6 months (T2). Parents also completed the questionnaire assessing romantic attachment at T1. Results Parents' avoidant attachment, but not anxious attachment, predicted lower family ritual meaning and family cohesion after 6 months. T2 family ritual meaning mediated the relationship between T1 avoidant attachment and T2 family cohesion. Conclusions Parents' avoidant attachment may have a negative effect on family functioning in parents and children. Clinical intervention to address avoidant attachment or/and to promote family ritual meaning may help strengthen family ties. © The Author 2016.

Carvalho C.A.S.,University of Coimbra
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series | Year: 2015

Some of the problems faced by Cybertherapy along the last two decades are far from being restricted to technical issues. They entail new challenges of medical education, mainly related with the adequate insertion of new technologies in therapeutic processes without distorting the relation between medical professionals and clients. We contend that the acknowledgment of the effects of the systemic effects of therapeutic applications of virtual reality is not fully predictable and can only be achieved attending to the way the patient enacts certain tasks oriented by goals. Enaction means the patient is placed at the centre of the treatment processes, not only as an informed agent, but also as the agent of change through practice. Focusing on the requirements of Cybertherapy applied to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we propose a theoretic reflection on the conditions of training and treatment in virtual settings. We underline the decisive role of Health Care professionals in applying and improving the potentialities of biometric sensors, graphic and aural engines in virtual (and hybrid) settings. This role can only be adequately understood within a framework of different levels of recursion of the therapeutic system. Two main levels are referred, the first encompassing the patients adaptation and learning to "move within" the interfaces, the second requiring a reflection on the architecture and design of the physical setting and the computerized rendering of sensory data. Further levels concern the larger framework of therapy, relating to its allocation of resources and the social ends that therapeutic technologies, particularly those concerning mental health, must accomplish. © 2015 ACM.

Cunha S.C.,University of Porto | Pena A.,University of Coimbra | Fernandes J.O.,University of Porto
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2017

Diclofenac a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) has been confirmed as an emerging contaminant in the aquatic environment. Toxicology studies have revealed that harmful effects may emerge from diclofenac presence not only for human health, but also for marine organisms, which implies its monitoring. To overcome the demanding challenges of diclofenac quantification in biotic aquatic species, a novel method for the determination of diclofenac in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis and Mytilus edulis) and macroalgae (Laminaria digitata) using high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry was developed and validated according to the EC Decision 2002/657/EC. Additionally, a study was done about diclofenac contamination in mussels collected from 8 sites along the 1115 miles of coastline in Portugal in 2015. The results suggested that levels in mussels are closely related to the environmental contamination. Therefore, mussels can be a potential bioindicator of diclofenac contamination in the coastal environment. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Santos E.S.,University of Coimbra
Architecture and Culture | Year: 2016

American art historian George Kubler travelled and lived in Portugal between the mid-1950s and the late 1960s to research his book Portuguese Plain Architecture: Between Spices and Diamonds 1521–1706 (1972). The premise of the book was to analyze the architectural production of Portugal during a period of political and economic crisis between 1500 and 1700, a period that Kubler called “between Spices and Diamonds.” This paper suggests that the notions in Portuguese Plain, far from being an objective study of Portuguese architecture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, blended with the social, political, and economic situation of the country at the time of the book’s writing. Kubler was likely also influenced by the apparent remoteness of the land, which might itself have suggested the appropriateness of a poor and austere architecture. Kubler’s notions became a standard trope, and from the 1990s onwards the idea of a national austere architecture has become part of the dominant architectural discourse in Portugal. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Published in 1780, the royal cook Lucas Rigaud cookbook Cozinheiro Moderno tried to establish, in the end of the 18th century Portuguese society, a new taste and a new way to cook. Certainly inspired by the fame achieved by his fellow professional, Lucas Rigaud did a work in the image and likeness of the Le Cuisinier Moderne from Vincent La Chappelle, with the clear intention to definitely introduce the nouvelle cuisine in Portugal, as well as the entire range of foreign recipes that characterized it. However, the King Joseph I cook doesn't completely cut with the Lusitanian culinary traditions and includes 14 recipes of dishes made by "the Portuguese way", the analysis of which allows us to understand the persistence of certain dietary practices with ancient roots, creating what today we can call the Portuguese food identity.

Filipe R.,University of Coimbra | Araujo F.,University of Coimbra
Proceedings of the 15th International Conference WWW/Internet 2016 | Year: 2016

Nowadays, the REpresentational State Transfer (REST) architectural style plays a central role in distributed software. All major web and cloud providers, such as Facebook, Dropbox, Google, Instagram, Amazon, among many others, expose public REST interfaces for web, mobile and stand-alone clients. This raises the question of knowing the reliability of these REST services, as they run over the network, thus being inevitably prone to failures. While some of these failures might be harmless, and others might be overcome with a simple repetition of the same request, a few others, e.g., payments, need a much more careful treatment. In these cases, repeating the same request might not be an option, because duplicate executions might be worse than no execution at all. To answer this question, and determine the reliability of top-tier REST interfaces, we evaluated three real services, from leading web and cloud providers. We repeatedly invoked their REST functions for several days, to count the number of unsuccessful interactions. Despite running smoothly for most of the time, our initial results show that all these services suffered perturbations during the course of our experiment. This observation supports a straightforward conclusion: if even at this level we observe this number of problems, then, developers must definitely provide additional logic on the client and server, to ensure reliable interactions in the presence of faults. This experiment is part of a larger effort, to provide clear guidelines for reliable invocation semantics in web pages.

Goncalo Oliveira H.,University of Coimbra
Communications in Computer and Information Science | Year: 2016

This paper revisits PoeTryMe, a poetry generation platform, and presents its most recent instantiation for producing poetry inspired by trends in the Twitter social network. The presented system searches for tweets that mention a given topic, extracts the most frequent words in those tweets, and uses them as seeds for the generation of new poems. The set of seeds might still be expanded with semanticallyrelevant words. Generation is performed by the classic PoeTryMe system, based on a semantic network and a grammar, with a previously used generate &test strategy. Illustrative results are presented using different seed expansion settings. They show that the produced poems use semantically-coherent lines with words that, at the time of generation, were associated with the topic. Resulting poems are not really about the topic, but they are a way of expressing, poetically, what the system knows about the semantic domain set by the topic. © Springer International Publishing AG 2016.

Esteves A.R.,University of Coimbra | Cardoso S.M.,University of Coimbra
Neuroscientist | Year: 2017

Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (lrrk2) gene cause inherited Parkinson's disease (PD), and common variants in lrrk2 are a risk factor for sporadic PD. The neuropathology associated with LRRK2-linked PD is extremely pleomorphic involving inclusions of α-synuclein (SNCA), tau or neither, therefore suggesting that LRRK2 may be central in the pathogenic pathways of PD. This large protein localizes in the cytosol, as well as, in specific membrane domains, including mitochondria and autophagosomes and interacts with a wide range of proteins such as SNCA, tau, α- and β-tubulin. For this reason LRRK2 has been associated with a variety of cellular functions, including autophagy, mitochondrial function/dynamics and microtubule/cytoskeletal dynamics. LRRK2 has been shown to interact with microtubules as well as with mitochondria interfering with their network and dynamics. Moreover, LRRK2 knock-out or mutations affect autophagic efficiency. Here, we review and discuss the literature on how LRRK2 affects mitochondrial function, autophagy, and microtubule dynamics and how this is implicated in the PD etiology. © The Author(s) 2016.

The current article analyzes existing mechanisms for public participation in health systems in the countries of Southern Europe. Results are presented from a literature review focusing on public participation in health systems, highlighting the potentialities and challenges emerging from the principal national experiences in the respective countries: Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal. The article begins by characterizing the health systems, then presents the methodology followed by the results of the analysis in each country, emphasizing the different forms of participation, both institutionalized and non-institutionalized. The study’s principal conclusion is that a legislative discourse has prevailed, which in most cases has not materialized in actual participatory practices; meanwhile, non-institutionalized forms of participation have emerged with a special leading role in the health area, featuring protests, largely spurred by the current economic crisis. © 2017, Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz. All rights reserved.

Fernandes I.P.G.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira-Brett A.M.,University of Coimbra
Bioelectrochemistry | Year: 2017

Calmodulin (CaM) is an essential protein present in all eukaryote cells, ranging from vertebrates to unicellular organisms. CaM is the most important Ca2 + signalling protein, composed of two domains, N- and C-terminal domains, linked by a flexible central α-helix, and is responsible for the regulation of numerous calcium-mediated signalling pathways. Four calcium ions bind to CaM, changing its conformation and determining how it recognizes and regulates its cellular targets. The oxidation mechanism of native and denatured CaM, at a glassy carbon electrode, was investigated using differential pulse voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Native and denatured CaM presented only one oxidation peak, related to the tyrosine amino acid residue oxidation. Calcium-induced calmodulin conformational change and the influence of Ca2 + concentration on the electrochemical behaviour of CaM were evaluated, and significant differences, in the tyrosine amino acid residue peak potential and current, in the absence and in the presence of calcium ions, were observed. Gravimetric measurements were performed with a graphite coated piezoelectric quartz crystal with adsorbed CaM, and calcium aggregation by CaM was demonstrated. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Craveirinha R.,University of Coimbra | Roque L.,University of Coimbra
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series | Year: 2016

This paper describes a case-study on the use of AGE, the Authorial Game Evolution approach, a creativity support tool designed to assist game designers. AGE allows designers to conduct a systematic process of generation and evaluation of game-prototypes, as well as automatically evolve a game-prototype until it mediates a desired form of game-play experience. To assess the tool, a design case study was held where a designer used AGE to create a game. We used a convergent mixed methods experimental design, and analysed quantitative and qualitative data resulting from four design sessions. Creativity Support Index self-report shows the designer found AGE very good in supporting his design, especially for exploration of the design-space. However, he appropriated it exclusively for exploration, not optimization. These show AGE has potential for exploring the design-space, though issues remain before it is an effective medium for high-quality designs.

Lobo J.,University of Coimbra
International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies | Year: 2016

This short paper introduces the basic concepts of Stochastic Computing (SC), and presents additions to a remote lab with reconfigurable logic to allow testing SC circuits. Recently, SC has been revisited and evaluated as a possible way of performing approximate probabilistic computations for artificial perception systems. New modules allow the generation of pseudo-random numbers, given a seed key and using linear feedback shift registers, but also having true random number generation using ring oscillators and embedded PLLs. Stochastic computing allows a tradeoffbetween resource usage and precision, allowing very simple circuits to perform computations, at the expense of a longer integration time to have reasonable results. We provide the basic stochastic computing modules, so that any user can use them to build a stochastic computing circuit and go beyond software simulations, providing a remote hardware device to test real circuits at high clock speeds.

Cunha-Vaz J.,University of Coimbra
Ophthalmologica | Year: 2017

Retinal diseases are the main causes of blindness in the Western world. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration continue to increase in prevalence and as main causes of vision loss. Intravitreal anti-VEGF and steroid injections have raised new expectations for their successful treatment. These agents act by stabilizing the blood-retinal barrier (BRB). Our group defined the BRB by identifying for the first time the tight junctions that unite retinal endothelial cells and are the basis for the inner BRB, an observation later confirmed in retinal pigment epithelial cells and in brain vessels. A major role of active transport processes was also identified. Today, the BRB is understood to play a fundamental role in retinal function in both health and disease. Retinal edema, an ubiquitous manifestation of retinal disease, is directly associated with breakdown of the BRB and with vision loss. In its most common form (i.e., vasogenic edema), due to breakdown of the BRB, Starling's law of capillary filtration may be used to interpret the mechanisms of fluid accumulation in the retina. The main factors involved in the development of retinal edema are BRB permeability, capillary hydrostatic pressure, tissue hydrostatic pressure, tissue osmotic pressure, and plasma osmotic pressure. In the clinical environment, breakdown of the BRB has been identified by fluorescein angiography and vitreous fluorometry, requiring the intravenous administration of fluorescein. An OCT-based method, OCT-Leakage, recently introduced by our group is capable of noninvasively identifying and quantifying sites of alteration of the BRB by mapping areas of lower-than-normal optical reflectivity, thus reflecting changes in the retinal extracellular fluid. We found good correspondence between the location of increased areas of low optical reflectivity identified by OCT-Leakage and the main sites of leakage on fluorescein angiography. Furthermore, with OCT-Leakage the areas of abnormal fluid accumulation can be identified in specific retinal layers, clearly offering more information than previously obtained with fluorescein angiography. OCT angiography has become available, replacing much of the information yielded by fluorescein angiography in a noninvasive manner. However, OCT angiography cannot visualize the leakage, i.e., the alteration of the BRB. OCT-Leakage is able to identify the locations of increases in extracellular fluid in the different layers of the retina. The complementarity of these 2 methods is of potential great interest for the diagnosis and management of several retinal diseases in which the presence and amount of fluid, as a marker of severity and activity, is paramount to treatment and management decisions in clinical practice. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel

Santos P.P.,University of Coimbra | Reis E.,University of Lisbon
Journal of Flood Risk Management | Year: 2017

This study describes a model, which classifies the susceptibility of streams to flooding. Three flood predisposing factors are considered: average slope, accumulated flow, and average relative permeability. Multi-criteria analysis provided results for 11 combinations of weights. Results were compared with the historical record of flood losses reported in newspapers between 1935 and 2010. Lithology appears to function as a relevant factor in differentiating the major sub-basins. Eighty-six percent of flood loss occurrences took place in streams identified by the model. Analysing stream flood susceptibility and flood loss data allow the identification of locations where disaster causes should be searched, apart from those explained by the predisposing factors. The assessment of streams' flood susceptibility through this methodology is useful in (i) data-rich contexts where additional factors may be considered and the availability of historical records helps to validate the model and (ii) data-poor contexts where data to run the model is easily found. © 2017 The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Figueira J.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Architecture | Year: 2017

The intervention in Casa dos Bicos (‘House of Spikes’), in Lisbon, is a transposition of Manuel Vicente’s work in Macau, a territory under Portuguese administration until 1999, now an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. From 1963 to the 1990s, Manuel Vicente designed a set of unique buildings in Macau, a practice interrupted between 1968 and 1969 when he worked with Louis Kahn. The Casa dos Bicos can be seen as in continuity with Vicente’s experience in Macau, which helps to explain the controversy it generated in the 1980s. The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake damaged the Casa dos Bicos (1521/1523) and only two of the original four floors survived. The 1983 intervention restored its façade and introduced elements of contemporary architecture. The ‘spikes’ façade was remade based on a panel of eighteenth-century azulejos (blue-glazed tiles). However, the interior is a fictionalisation of the old city, a mediaevalist figuration intersected wiThexpressionist references in an exercise of fearless post-modernism: a fable with a monumental staircase, arches, alleys and small openings, which are intended to disorient and conceal. Thus the Casa dos Bicos is not a ‘repositioning’, neither does it opt for the morality of distinguishing the new from the old. In this inaccuracy it is radically post-modern. It disqualifies authenticity, preferring a refined set of mirrors. The façade is a replica, where the free historicism of the window frames conveys a spectral dissonance; the interior consists of ‘lights and shadows’; the ‘curtain wall’ on the rear façade has a provisional character that refers to buildings in Macau. The temporal fluency and the spatial randomness display a free enjoyment of history, equivalent to an ‘historical novel’ or perhaps a Hollywood film based on a true story. Here, the ‘presence of the past’ is not only a slogan, but a reality turned into a fantasy. © 2017 RIBA Enterprises.

Rodrigues J.P.C.,University of Coimbra | Laim L.,University of Coimbra
Engineering Structures | Year: 2017

The fire behaviour of composite columns made with concrete filled hollow sections under different structural boundary conditions was experimentally investigated and their results are presented and discussed in this paper. The main objectives of this research were therefore to investigate the influence of the section geometry, slenderness, section factor, boundary conditions, and stiffness of the surrounding structure to the thermal elongation of the columns on the structural performance of such columns exposed to fire. The critical time (fire resistance), the failure temperature distribution and the respective failure modes of the columns were then assessed. These experimental results were still compared with predictions from the currently European design rules (EN 1994-1-2:2005) in order to observe how unsafe they might be. Finally, results of this research study showed that circular composite tubular columns presented an enhanced fire performance, comparing to other sections (square and rectangular sections for instance). As the difference between the principal moments of inertia for the cross-section of a column increases, the effect of the boundary conditions in their fire resistance increases. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Bebiano N.,University of Coimbra | da Providencia J.,University of Coimbra
Linear Algebra and Its Applications | Year: 2017

In this note, we revisit a system of one self-interacting boson, described by a non-Hermitian Hamiltonian H acting on an infinite dimensional Hilbert space H. We determine the eigenfunctions of the Hamiltonian and of its adjoint, which constitute complete biorthogonal sets. The probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics is not compatible with the metric inherited from H, and attempts to overcome this problem are presented. Consequences of losing self-adjointness in the quantum mechanical context are discussed and the necessity of a careful mathematical analysis of unbounded operators is emphasized. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Roque E.,University of Coimbra | Santos P.,University of Coimbra
Buildings | Year: 2017

Lightweight steel-framed (LSF) construction, given its advantages, has the potential to reach high standards in energy and environmental performance of buildings, such as nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB). When compared with traditional construction, LSF system offers distinct benefits in such fields as sustainability, cost-effectiveness, constructive process, and safety at work. Despite the benefits of this constructive system, the effect of thermal bridges in LSF elements, caused by the high thermal conductivity of the steel structure, can be a disadvantage. The excessive heat losses or gains through these thermal bridges are more relevant in buildings' exterior envelope, such as facade walls. These building components' thermal performance is crucial in the buildings' overall energetic behaviour, with a direct impact on energy consumption and resulting monetary costs during their operational stage. In this work the influence of the thermal insulation position on its effectiveness is evaluated in LSF facade walls. For this purpose, several LSF wall types are assessed, namely cold, warm, and hybrid construction. The influence of thermal bridges instigated by the steel studs in the LSF walls' overall thermal performance is evaluated as well. The computations are performed using specialized finite element software (THERM). © 2017 by the authors.

Simao P.D.,INESC Coimbra | Simao P.D.,University of Coimbra
European Journal of Mechanics, A/Solids | Year: 2017

The paper presents a procedure for the stability analysis of columns that are sensitive to shear deformations, the so-called “weak-in-shear” columns that can be found, in the engineering practice, in build-up or composite columns, or in elastomeric bearings. Two distinct formulas are commonly used to compute the critical load for shear sensitive columns: the Engesser and the Haringx formulae, the latter enabling significantly higher loads. They differ on the choice of the cross section's shear stresses resultant, and this duality has been object of much passionate discussion during the last decades. This problem is analysed here under the perspective of the Generalized Beam Theory, and a specific mode for shear deformations was developed using two distinct strategies: i) a linear shear formulation, corresponding to the Timoshenko beam theory for which cross sections remain plane after deformation, and ii) a nonlinear shear formulation, for which shear warping is allowed in order to accomplish with the condition of null shear distortions at the section's contour. A total potential energy is defined, assuming a linear elastic behaviour, and the correspondent functional is rendered discrete by means of the Rayleigh-Ritz method. Finally, the traditional stability procedures are applied and the critical loads are computed. The Engesser critical load is derived by applying the stability procedures to the total potential energy associated with the linear shear formulation. A parametric study on the critical behaviour of a shear deformable column and a set of conclusions end the paper. © 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS

Barros F.J.,University of Coimbra
Proceedings - Winter Simulation Conference | Year: 2017

The representation of time plays a key role in the modeling and simulation of dynamic systems. Traditionally, time has been represented by real numbers for continuous and discrete event models, and integer numbers for what is commonly defined as discrete time models. These choices have been found to be insufficient for achieving deterministic models when representing systems subjected to changes in topology or when simultaneous events occur. In this paper we study the advantages of using the set of hyperreal numbers for the time base. For demonstrating the advantages of Hyperreals over the set of reals we use the Hybrid Flow System Specification (HyFlow) formalism. This formalism uses a single hyperreal time base to achieve a unifying representation of sampling and discrete event semantics. We show that a hyperreal time base (HRTB) enables the definition of deterministic, dynamic topology, hybrid systems, while a real time base cannot achieve these fundamental properties. © 2016 IEEE.

Machini W.B.S.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira-Brett A.M.,University of Coimbra
Electroanalysis | Year: 2017

Daptomycin was the first approved drug from a new class of antimicrobials, the cyclic lipopeptides, and presents a broad spectrum of activity against a wide range of gram-positive bacteria. The daptomycin redox behaviour, by cyclic, differential pulse and square wave voltammetry, in a wide pH range, at a glassy carbon electrode, was investigated. The daptomycin oxidation was a two-step irreversible diffusion-controlled process and the diffusion coefficient DDPT = 2.32 × 10-5 cm2 s-1, was calculated. A detection limit LOD = 0.32 μM, was obtained. For the first time daptomycin, in fetal bovine serum biological fluid, using DP voltammetry, was determined. © 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Simoes L.M.C.,University of Coimbra
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization | Year: 2011

This paper describes a formulation to optimize the dynamic behavior of an integrated cable-stayed bridge and control strategy system during seismic events. The dynamic analysis uses an analytical solution and accounts for spatial variability, sensor placement and actuator delay. The optimization algorithm deals with model geometry, deck sections and control algorithm as design variables. Control devices were used to improve the dynamic properties and energy dissipation. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Rodriguez-Echeverria S.,University of Coimbra | Le Roux J.J.,Stellenbosch University | Crisostomo J.A.,University of Coimbra | Ndlovu J.,Stellenbosch University
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2011

Aim To evaluate the role of rhizobial diversity, and symbiotic promiscuity, on the invasive ability of Australian acacias (Acacia species in subgenus Phyllodineae native to Australia). Location Global. Methods A bibliographic review of the rhizobial diversity associated with Australian Acacia species was performed to assess symbiotic promiscuity for invasive and non-invasive species. The rhizobial diversity associated with Acacia dealbata and A. saligna in Australia and Portugal and with A. pycnantha in Australia and South Africa was assessed by 16S rDNA and intergenic spacer sequencing of bacteria isolated from field-collected nodules. Results All studied Australian acacias are nodulated by strains in the genus Bradyrhizobium, which appears to be the dominant group of acacia symbionts in native and non-native soils. Both literature and experimental data from this study suggest that Australian bradyrhizobia might have been co-introduced with acacias to new geographical regions. The studied Acacia species can also harbour other root-nodulating alpha and betaproteobacteria genera, although these are less abundant than Bradyrhizobium. Main conclusions There is no clear difference in the diversity of rhizobial species associated with invasive and non-invasive Australian acacias. All studied invasive acacias nodulate in both native and non-native regions, harbouring predominantly Bradyrhizobium strains but showing some degree of symbiotic promiscuity. The co-introduction of compatible root-nodulating bacteria from Australia might explain the establishment of invasive populations, but novel associations with rhizobia from the invaded soils are also possible. Invasive legumes might use both strategies but species with low symbiotic promiscuity would become invasive only if compatible bacteria are co-introduced in the new regions. The progress of invasion and the impacts on the invaded ecosystems might also differ depending on the nodulation strategy. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Montesinos D.,CIDE CSIC UV GV | Montesinos D.,University of Coimbra | Villar-Salvador P.,University of Alcalá | Garcia-Fayos P.,CIDE CSIC UV GV | Verdu M.,CIDE CSIC UV GV
New Phytologist | Year: 2012

• Differences in reproductive investment can trigger asymmetric, context-dependent, functional strategies between genders in dioecious species. However, little is known about the gender responses of dioecious species to nutrient availability. • We experimentally fertirrigated a set of male and female Juniperus thurifera trees monthly for 2yr. Water potential, photosynthesis rate and stomatal conductance were measured monthly for 2yr, while shoot nitrogen (N) concentration, carbon isotopic composition (δ 13C), branch growth, trunk radial growth and reproductive investment per branch were measured yearly. • Control males had lower gas exchange rates and radial growth but greater reproductive investment and higher water use efficiency (WUE; as inferred from more positive δ 13C values) than females. Fertirrigation did not affect water potential or WUE but genders responded differently to increased nutrient availability. The two genders similarly increased shoot N concentration when fertilized. The increase in shoot N was associated with increased photosynthesis in males but not in females, which presented consistently high photosynthetic rates across treatments. • Our results suggest that genders invest N surplus in different functions, with females presenting a long-term strategy by increasing N storage to compensate for massive reproductive masting events, while males seem to be more reactive to current nutrient availability, promoting gas-exchange capacity. © 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust.

Robalo J.R.,University of Évora | Ramalho J.P.P.,University of Évora | Loura L.M.S.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2013

Nitrobenzoxadiazole (NBD)-labeled sterols are commonly used as fluorescent cholesterol analogues in membrane biophysics. However, some experimental reports have questioned their ability to emulate the behavior of cholesterol in phospholipid bilayers. For the purpose of a detailed clarification of this matter, atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) bilayers, containing either cholesterol or one of two fluorescent cholesterol analogues, 22-NBD-cholesterol or 25-NBD-cholesterol, were carried out. It is found that these sterol probes tend to adopt conformations in which their tail-labeled fluorophore is oriented toward the lipid/water interface, with a location similar to that observed in molecular dynamics simulations of other NBD probes. This implies that in these molecules the long sterol axis is no longer aligned with the membrane normal, and preferentially adopts orientations approximately parallel to the bilayer plane. In turn, these stretched conformations, together with NBD-POPC atomic interactions, lead to slowed-down lateral diffusion of both fluorescent sterols, compared to cholesterol. From computation of the deuterium order parameter and acyl chain tilts of POPC chains for varying POPC-sterol distance, it is observed that the local ordering effect of sterol is altered in both fluorescent derivatives. In agreement with reported experimental data, both fluorescent sterols are able to increase the order of POPC at 20 mol % concentration (as some molecules adopt an upright conformation, possibly related to formation of transbilayer aggregates), albeit to a smaller extent to that of cholesterol. Altogether, this study indicates that both 22- and 25-NBD-cholesterol are unable to mimic the most important features of cholesterol's behavior in lipid bilayers. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Guerreiro R.J.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Guerreiro R.J.,University of Coimbra | Gustafson D.R.,Gothenburg University | Gustafson D.R.,SUNY Downstate Medical Center | Hardy J.,University College London
Neurobiology of Aging | Year: 2012

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex disorder with a clear genetic component. Three genes have been identified as the cause of early onset familial AD (EOAD). The most common form of the disease, late onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD), is, however, a sporadic one presenting itself in later stages of life. The genetic component of this late onset form of AD has been the target of a large number of studies, because only one genetic risk factor (APOE4) has been consistently associated with the disease. However, technological advances allow new approaches in the study of complex disorders. In this review, we discuss the new results produced by genome wide association studies, in light of the current knowledge of the complexity of AD genetics. © 2012.

Rial D.,University of Coimbra | Lara D.R.,Grande Rio University | Cunha R.A.,University of Coimbra
International Review of Neurobiology | Year: 2014

The management of schizophrenia endophenotypes, namely positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms is still an open goal, justifying the search of novel therapeutic avenues. We now review the evidence supporting the interest in targeting the adenosine modulation system to counteract the core features of schizophrenia. This interest is forwarded by the combined ability of strategies aimed at bolstering adenosine levels together with the increasingly recognized impact of adenosine A2A receptors to control dopaminergic signaling, working memory, and behavioral sensitization; this is further heralded by the suggested clinical effectiveness of therapies increasing extracellular adenosine such as dipyridamole and allopurinol and the emergent recognition of a role for adenosine in neurodevelopment. Finally, the combined role of A1 and A2A receptors in assisting the implementation of adaptive changes and encoding of information salience in neuronal circuits together with the adaptive alterations of A1 and A2A receptor density upon brain dysfunction prompts the novel working hypothesis that the parallel imbalance of adenosine formation and of A1 and A2A receptors blurs the adequate encoding of information salience in neuronal circuits, which we propose to be a core pathogenic feature in the development of schizophrenia endophenotypes. This proposal should also provide a rationale to assist the design of future therapeutic intervention targeting the adenosine modulation system to manage schizophrenia endophenotypes: these should not be based only on an attempt to target adenosine kinase-A1 receptors or only A2A receptors, but should instead simultaneously target these two arms of the adenosine modulation system. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Baldo M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Polls A.,University of Barcelona | Rios A.,University of Surrey | Schulze H.-J.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Vidana I.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

We present calculations of the energy per particle of pure neutron and symmetric nuclear matter with simplified Argonne nucleon-nucleon potentials for different many-body theories. We compare critically the Brueckner-Hartree-Fock results to other formalisms, such as the Brueckner-Bethe-Goldstone expansion up to third order, self-consistent Green's functions, auxiliary field diffusion Monte Carlo, and Fermi hypernetted chain. We evaluate the importance of spin-orbit and tensor correlations in the equation of state and find these to be important in a wide range of densities. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Lopes M.A.R.,INESC Coimbra | Antunes C.H.,University of Coimbra | Antunes C.H.,INESC Coimbra | Martins N.,University of Aveiro
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2012

Energy behaviours represent a significant untapped potential for the increase of end-use energy efficiency in buildings. Although energy behaviours are a major determinant of energy use in buildings, energy savings potential due to behaviour are usually neglected, albeit being referred to be as high as those from technological solutions. This paper presents a review of recent literature on energy behaviours in order to recognise recent trends, quantify energy behaviours potential savings, characterise energy behaviour modelling strategies and identify potential research gaps. Energy behaviour research is vast and has been essentially focused on the residential sector, striving to establish behaviour determinants and the best strategies and instruments to promote more efficient energy behaviours. Potential savings of energy behaviours are referred to reach 20%, but values differ up to 100% between experiences and additional studies to quantify behavioural savings are needed, in particular by using standard quantification techniques. Different modelling techniques have been used to model energy behaviours: qualitative approaches from the social sciences trying to interpret behaviour, here named energy behaviour frameworks; quantitative approaches from the engineering and economics that quantify energy consumption, here designated by energy models; and hybrid approaches that are considered the most relevant since they integrate multiple dimensions of energy behaviours, here referred as energy behaviour modelling. Energy behaviours have a crucial role in promoting energy efficiency, but energy behaviours characteristics and complexity create several research challenges that must be overcome so energy behaviours may be properly valorised and integrated in the energy policy context. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All right reserved.

Martins J.P.,University of Coimbra | Simoes Da Silva L.,University of Coimbra
Thin-Walled Structures | Year: 2013

A numerical study on the elastic buckling behaviour of simply supported cylindrically curved panels, with longitudinal edges unconstrained and loaded edges constrained, including the influence of curvature, aspect ratio and loading type (from pure compression to full in-plane bending) is presented in this paper. Subsequently, an extension of rules for internal plated members' critical stress calculation from EN 1993-1-5 is proposed that takes into account the effect of curvature. The proposed approach, based on the numerical results, gives a safe but accurate estimate (lower bound) for the elastic critical stress. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Kraehenbuehl T.P.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Kraehenbuehl T.P.,Hoffmann-La Roche | Langer R.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Ferreira L.S.,University of Coimbra
Nature Methods | Year: 2011

The self-renewal and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have typically been studied in flat, two-dimensional (2D) environments. In this Perspective, we argue that 3D model systems may be needed in addition, as they mimic the natural 3D tissue organization more closely. We survey methods that have used 3D biomaterials for expansion of undifferentiated hPSCs, directed differentiation of hPSCs and transplantation of differentiated hPSCs in vivo. © 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Loura L.M.S.,University of Coimbra | Do Canto A.M.T.M.,University of Évora | Martins J.,University of Algarve
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes | Year: 2013

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of bilayers of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) with varying amounts of cholesterol (0, 5, 20, and 40 mol%) were carried out in the absence and presence of inserted pyrene molecules. Both fluorophore and bilayer parameters were computed, for characterization of probe location and dynamics, as well as its effects on the host bilayer. In agreement with previous studies in fluid disordered bilayers, pyrene prefers to be located in the hydrophobic acyl chain region of POPC bilayers, close to the glycerol group of lipid molecules and causes ordering of the lipid acyl chains. However, incorporation of pyrene in binary POPC/cholesterol bilayers decreases the acyl chain order parameter (especially near the end of the chains), opposing the ordering effect of cholesterol. These effects are modest and mainly felt locally. Significantly, as the bilayer is enriched with cholesterol, the relative position of pyrene and the POPC carbonyl and phosphocholine groups is invariant, and the local water density around the probe decreases. This work clarifies and supports the cautious use of pyrene Ham effect to effectively measure equivalent polarity in lipid bilayers. Within the time scale of the MD simulations, which is of the magnitude of the fluorescence lifetime of pyrene, the thermally averaged polarity of lipid bilayers is nearly out of influence of spurious uncertainty in the transverse location of pyrene in the bilayers. This renders the values of equivalent polarity measurements through the pyrene Ham effect more reliable and reproducible than previously expected. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. ALl Rights Reserved.

Loura L.M.S.,University of Coimbra
Molecules | Year: 2011

Due to their sensitivity and versatility, the use of fluorescence techniques in membrane biophysics is widespread. Because membrane lipids are non-fluorescent, extrinsic membrane probes are widely used. However, the behaviour of these probes when inserted in the bilayer is often poorly understood, and it can be hard to distinguish between legitimate membrane properties and perturbation resulting from probe incorporation. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations present a convenient way to address these issues and have been increasingly used in recent years in this context. This article reviews the application of molecular dynamics to the study of fluorescent membrane probes, focusing on recent work with complex design fluorophores and ordered bilayer systems. © 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Roy R.,University of California at Davis | Kramer G.,Broadcom Corporation | Hajduczenia M.,ZTE Corporation | Silva H.J.,University of Coimbra
IEEE Communications Magazine | Year: 2011

10G-EPON system specifications have reached the end of the development cycle, with the release of the final standard version. Recent announcements of first practical 10G-EPON demonstrations [1, 2] indicate rapid adoption of these specifications by system vendors. Given the growing interest in 10G-EPON, it is useful to examine the worst-case scenario performance of this new first-mile access network in both downstream and upstream channels. Due to the number of technical changes introduced to 10G-EPON when compared with 1G-EPON, the obtained performance figures are substantially different from those of its predecessor. The results presented in this article have been obtained through an analytical model and confirmed by detailed simulation. © 2011 IEEE.

Gameiro S.,University of Coimbra | Gameiro S.,University of Cardiff | Boivin J.,University of Cardiff | Peronace L.,Merck Serono S.A. | Verhaak C.M.,Radboud University Nijmegen
Human Reproduction Update | Year: 2012

Background: Chances of achieving parenthood are high for couples who undergo fertility treatment. However, many choose to discontinue before conceiving. A systematic review was conducted to investigate patients' stated reasons for and predictors of discontinuation at five fertility treatment stages. Methods: Six databases were systematically searched. Search-terms referred to fertility treatment and discontinuation. Studies reporting on patients' stated reasons for or predictors of treatment discontinuation were included. A list of all reasons for discontinuation presented in each study was made, different categories of reasons were defined and the percentage of selections of each category was calculated. For each predictor, it was noted how many studies investigated it and how many found a positive and/or negative association with discontinuation. Results: The review included 22 studies that sampled 21 453 patients from eight countries. The most selected reasons for discontinuation were: postponement of treatment (39.18%, postponement of treatment or unknown 19.17%), physical and psychological burden (19.07%, psychological burden 14%, physical burden 6.32%), relational and personal problems (16.67%, personal reasons 9.27%, relational problems 8.83%), treatment rejection (13.23%) and organizational (11.68%) and clinic (7.71%) problems. Some reasons were common across stages (e.g. psychological burden). Others were stage-specific (e.g. treatment rejection during workup). None of the predictors reported were consistently associated with discontinuation. Conclusions: Much longitudinal and theory led research is required to explain discontinuation. Meanwhile, treatment burden should be addressed by better care organization and support for patients. Patients should be well informed, have the opportunity to discuss values and worries about treatment and receive advice to decide about continuing treatment. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Julio E.N.B.S.,University of Coimbra
ACI Materials Journal | Year: 2010

The bond strength of the interface between concrete layers cast at different times is important to ensure the monolithic behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) composite members. The surface roughness of the concrete substrate has a significant influence on the interface strength. The authors developed two methodologies to assess the texture profile of the substrate surface; have proved that numerical parameters can be used to classify its roughness; and showed that some of these correlate well with the interface strength, both in shear and in tension. Because roughness and waviness parameters are obtained from the primary profile using a filter, the selection of the latter has a significant effect on the results. This paper describes a study performed to analyze this effect and to assess if filtering is a necessary step. It was concluded that filtering can be avoided and the surface texture can be characterized only with primary parameters. Copyright © 2010, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved.

Yu B.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Martins I.R.S.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Martins I.R.S.,University of Coimbra | Li P.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | And 5 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2010

Vav proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rho family GTPases. They control processes including T cell activation, phagocytosis, and migration of normal and transformed cells. We report the structure and biophysical and cellular analyses of the five-domain autoinhibitory element of Vav1. The catalytic Dbl homology (DH) domain of Vav1 is controlled by two energetically coupled processes. The DH active site is directly, but weakly, inhibited by a helix from the adjacent Acidic domain. This core interaction is strengthened 10-fold by contacts of the calponin homology (CH) domain with the Acidic, pleckstrin homology, and DH domains. This construction enables efficient, stepwise relief of autoinhibition: initial phosphorylation events disrupt the modulatory CH contacts, facilitating phosphorylation of the inhibitory helix and consequent GEF activation. Our findings illustrate how the opposing requirements of strong suppression of activity and rapid kinetics of activation can be achieved in multidomain systems. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Lima S.M.,University of Coimbra | Corfu F.,University of Oslo | Neiva A.M.R.,University of Coimbra | Ramos J.M.F.,National Laboratory of Energy and Geology
Journal of Petrology | Year: 2012

The build-up of large magmatic complexes can proceed piecemeal over periods of several million years through sequences of complex processes of magma production, differentiation, assimilation, final crystallization and subsequent metasomatic modification. All these stages can produce or modify minerals used as geochronometers, such as zircon, monazite and titanite. The present study exemplifies such complex relationships, also demonstrating how a systematic approach with comprehensive sampling and careful high-resolution U-Pb analyses can yield a coherent picture of the entire magmatic process. The study was conducted on the Pavia pluton, an elongated Variscan intrusion in the Ossa-Morena Zone of Portugal. The geochronological data show that the Pavia pluton was emplaced by the amalgamation of multiple magma pulses into the crust, over a period of c. 11 Myr. An early event at ∼340 Ma, revealed by xenocrystic zircon, preceded the magmatic activity at the exposed level of the pluton, but is recognized as the main magmatic event elsewhere in the Ossa-Morena Zone. A second event at 328 Ma formed tonalite, trondhjemite and granodiorite, and subordinate differentiates in the central domains of the pluton (units I and II). A third event at c. 324 Ma emplaced granodiorite in the flanking domains III-V and the contemporaneous and widespread two-mica granite in domain VI, together with late rhyodacite porphyries, microgranodiorites, aplite-pegmatite and pegmatite dikes. A fourth event at 319-317 Ma was characterized by the emplacement of some microgranites and pegmatite dikes. These two last magmatic events also had an effect on the previously emplaced rocks, causing local overgrowths and isotopic resetting of minerals. The occurrence of a fifth magmatic event at depth at 313 Ma is the inferred cause of the hydrothermal activity responsible for local zircon, monazite and titanite resorption and/or recrystallization and for some of the textures exhibited by the main rock-forming minerals. The magmatic episodes were interspersed with periods of quiescence; this cyclicity presumably reflects an external control by the transtensional tectonic regime of the Ossa-Morena Zone. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Ferreira M.,University of Coimbra | Ferreira M.,Brazilian Technological Institute of Aeronautics | Costa P.,University of Coimbra | Lourenco O.,Federal University of São Carlos | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

The QCD phase diagram at zero chemical potential and finite temperature subject to an external magnetic field is studied within the three-flavor Nambu-Jona-Lasinio (NJL) model and the NJL model with the Polyakov loop. A scalar coupling parameter dependent on the magnetic field intensity is considered. The scalar coupling has been fitted so that the lattice QCD pseudocritical chiral transition temperatures are reproduced and in the limit of large magnetic field decreases with the inverse of the magnetic field intensity. This dependence of the coupling allows us to reproduce the lattice QCD results with respect to the quark condensates and Polyakov loop: due to the magnetic field the quark condensates are enhanced at low and high temperatures and suppressed for temperatures close to the transition temperatures and the Polyakov loop increases with the magnetic field. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2010.1.2-4 | Award Amount: 5.34M | Year: 2010

The aim of the present project is to explore the properties and possible applications of bismuth and bismuth based compounds when they are synthesized at the nanometric scale. This approach is motivated by the uncommon but advantageous properties of bismuth which, in part, have been exploited for many years. However, there are many unexplored possibilities and with the advent of nanotechnology new prospectives may be expected. We believe this approach will lead to new and high-tech applications of bismuth based materials, adding new value to one of the major mining products of Mexico (second most important world production) and boost the related economic benefits which at present are low. In the project, we have integrated complementary research groups from Mexico and Europe covering interdisciplinary fields. In the thematic work-packages, research groups working on the synthesis of the nanostructured materials will collaborate with others doing the physical-chemical materials characterization and the application development. The materials include Bi, Bi2O3 and Bi2S3 nanostructures, Bismuth metal oxide nanostructured ceramics and thin films, bismuth-based nanocomposites where Bi constitutes the nanoscale inclusion and the matrices varied from ceramics, polymers or glasses, and finally Bi superconductors. Extensive chemical and structural characterization will be required to correlate the synthesis parameters with the physical properties. Finally, the project includes the physical evaluation focused on the optical, electrical, magnetic, ferroelectric, etc. properties, according to the proposed applications. The time scale of the project is sufficient for the preparation of masters degree students and the initial years of doctorate students. These students will work in a very academic-rich environment and at the same time have contact with the industrial partners in the project, some of which are leaders in the development of Bi-based commercial products.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SEC-2009-6.1-01 | Award Amount: 3.62M | Year: 2010

The goal of SAFIRE is to improve fundamental understanding of radicalisation processes and use this knowledge to develop principles to improve (the implementation) of interventions designed to prevent, halt and reverse radicalisation. SAFIRE will develop a process model of radicalisation, describing the process from moderation to extremism, based on a non-linear dynamic systems approach and a typology of radical groups. This is an innovative approach that has not been explicitly applied to this area up until now. Principles regarding interventions will be developed in close concert with the models, and will be applied in a longitudinal, empirical study. Important aspects of radicalisation that will also be addressed are: the relationship between national culture and radicalisation, radicalisation on the Internet, and defining observable indicators of the radicalisation process. The main deliverable is a CD containing on one hand a detailed description of the work done in SAFIRE and on the other an interactive, accessible overview of the project designed for quick, user-friendly accessibility to the main points. Envisaged end-users are policy makers, researchers in the field of radicalisation and professionals who work with high-risk individuals. The results of this project will increase the understanding of both conceptual aspects of radicalisation (e.g. the psycho-social dynamics of radical groups and individuals), and practical characteristics and modus operandi of radical groups (e.g. recruitment techniques). In addition, the results will increase understanding of field efforts and interventions when, why and how they work thus helping focus the allocation of resources and the implementation of interventions.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-31-2014 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2015

Health inequities have been increasing in Europe, particularly in a context of an ageing society and economic crisis. In countries with different levels of infrastructures and health system preparedness, inequities create significant policy challenges. The main goal of this project is to advance knowledge of policies that have the highest potential to enhance health and health equity across European regions with particular focus on metropolitan areas. To achieve this goal, the project will develop tools based on a population health index to evaluate the health and wellbeing of European population. This index will be informed by evidence on the relationship between multiple determinants (e.g. demographic, social, economic, environmental, lifestyle, and health care) and health outcomes in the past 15 years. It will be constructed using a multicriteria model structure, following a socio-technical approach: integrating the technical elements of a multicriteria value model and the social elements of interdisciplinary and participatory processes. The index will be applied to evaluate the populations health in 273 NUTS 2 European regions and 9 selected pilot metropolitan areas (covering populations of 28 EU countries). The space-time analysis and comparison of the population health index will be enabled by a user-friendly web-based Geographic Information System. The population health index will be used to foresee and discuss the impact of multilevel policies and combinations of policies in population health and health equity across European regions, thus providing a basis for policy dialogue. Multicriteria resource allocation models, conflict analyses, analysis of policies feasibility, and scenario analyses will then assist in providing evidence on which policies have the highest potential to improve health and reduce health inequities at different geographical levels, and in suggesting alternative policy options for health policy development and regulation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-2-2015 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2016

Euro-BioImaging (EuBI) is the pan-European research infrastructure project for imaging technologies in biological and medical sciences and has been on the ESFRI Roadmap since 2008. In close match with the scope and objectives of the INFRADEV2 call, Preparatory Phase II (PPII) funding will enable EuBI: to finalize the submission and approval procedure of its ERIC statutes with the EC and bring them to signature by the EuBI Member States and EMBL to launch the EuBI-ERIC; obtain commitments for the sustainable funding for the EuBI-ERIC by its Member States; implement the operational EuBI Hub and recruit its staff to provide user access and services; define and sign the service level agreements between EuBI-ERIC and the 1st generation of EuBI Nodes; establish a procedure to increase EuBI-ERIC membership, so that new countries can continuously join the EuBI-ERIC with clear national benefits and contributions. From Dec 2010 until May 2014, EuBI successfully completed its EU FP7-funded Preparatory Phase I, which addressed key technical and strategic questions and provided a blueprint for infrastructure implementation. 14 European countries (BE, BG, CZ, FI, FR, IL, IT, NO, PL, PT, SK, ES, NL, UK), and the PPI coordinator EMBL have signed the EuBI Memorandum of Understanding to jointly undertake the remaining steps required to draft and submit the EuBI ERIC application to the EC. The MoU signatories constitute the EuBI Interim Board (IB), which now governs the Interim Phase. To maintain the successful momentum of Member State engagement, the EuBI PPII project consortium comprises and is fully supported by all IB Members. We have jointly defined clear and measurable objectives that will bring EuBI to full maturity in order to start operation and provide its services to European researchers immediately upon launch of the EuBI-ERIC. The award of PPII funding would leapfrog the start of EuBI-ERIC user access and service provision by at least 1,5 years time or more.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-26-2014 | Award Amount: 4.95M | Year: 2015

Most adults who try to lose weight fail to maintain it. Obesity is a key economic and healthcare challenge for Europe. Effective interventions and commercial programmes for weight loss are widely available, but most people re-gain their lost weight. Currently few comprehensive solutions exist to help Europeans manage weight loss maintenance (WLM). Current research suggests the most promising evidence-based behaviour change techniques for WLM are self-monitoring, goal setting, action control, building self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. Recent research also suggests that stress management and emotion regulation skills are key enablers of relapse prevention and weight-regain. Information technology offers attractive tools for teaching and supporting these techniques, some of which are currently delivered through resource-intensive face-to-face therapies. ICT-delivery includes networked-wireless tracking technologies, weighing-scales and activity sensors, online tools and smart-phone apps, multi-media resources and internet-based support. A broad choice of tools is most likely to be acceptable to users, who can pick and choose their own preferred technologies. The NoHoW project tests whether ICT-based delivery of the most promising evidence-based behavior change techniques is effective for WLM. We will carry out a large-scale international 3-centre trial of information technology tools that implement the most up-to-date behavioural science research. This trial will establish the effectiveness of these ICT tools in supporting WLM, linked to studies of European consumer needs and behaviour. Impact: The project will directly feed results into development of new products and services from the UKs largest commercial weight-loss provider, Slimming World providing immediate benefit to 500,000\ consumers. Commercialisation of project results will provide much needed WLM services that promote health education and long-term weight management programmes.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.3.7 | Award Amount: 4.66M | Year: 2008

Research on wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is at an early stage and, to date, practical experience with deployment has been very limited. The focus of past research has been on fundamental design issues, especially on optimizing the use of scarce energy resources in battery-powered devices. Published studies show relative comparisons between alternative approaches, but there has been a dearth of research on absolute performance in WSNs. In particular, very little attention has been paid to situations where performance assurances are desirable, especially in regard to timeliness and dependability. However, many future WSN applications such as plant automation, vehicle control or health monitoring will demand a degree of certainty in their ability to respond to external stimuli. This proposal will conduct strategic research that will enable the use of WSNs in industrial environments where performance assurances are critical. Key innovations will be produced to enhance the performance and management of WSNs beyond the current state-of-the-art. Working with industry partners, the viability of the research will be demonstrated and evaluated in a large-scale industrial setting.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.8.1 | Award Amount: 3.22M | Year: 2013

ConCrete aims to study conceptual creativity in humans and machines. Hierarchical memory representations and techniques for conceptual blending are implemented in context of a cognitive architecture of creativity based on information theoretic measures. ConCreTe serves a long-term vision of computer systems that can behave in ways comparable with human creativity, autonomously and interactively, with better interaction between human and machine, better autonomous systems in general, and possibly creativity of new kinds, not yet exhibited by humans. We anticipate on-line creative learning environments, to teach or support creative pursuits and promote creativity in humans. We anticipate immersive gaming and edutainment systems that respond creatively to users actions. We anticipate reasoning systems that can propose new technology not intended by their designers. This becomes possible with computationally-creative reasoning when necessary domain knowledge is made available. We use Semantic Web technology to avoid the bottleneck of domain modeling, so creative reasoning can be ready in advance. We focus on mechanisms for generating examples in the creative domain from a learned model, and mechanisms for evaluating generated examples according to novelty and value. We develop AI methodology for creative systems, to exploit the potential of creative computational resources for society. We develop computer systems to simulate conceptualisation by study of deliberately guided methods. We develop computer systems that can conceptualise new meaning in terms of, but not restricted by, its existing knowledge. We develop and implement a cognitive architecture that simulates human creativity, study it as a creative entity in its own right, and behaviourally and neuroscientifically as a model of human creativity. We develop new evaluation methods for computational creativity founded in behavioural study and user responses of software distributed by our exploitation partner.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SST-2007-3.4-01 | Award Amount: 13.33M | Year: 2008

The project outlines a bold package of integrated measures in all the cities of the consortium, and covers all the areas required by the CIVITAS PLUS programme. The project shows ambitious goals which will have a substantial impact on the state of the mobility in the cities and a good visibility at the European level, mixing measures with large scale application actions based in existing and commercially available technologies, and measures with more advanced trials and methodologies. The project has common main targets: - To increase the quality and the effectiveness of the public transport system (from the environmental and from the service point of view), increasing the number of users; - To limit the waste of energy and to support the diffusion of the use of clean fuels among the citizens; - To support the effort of improvement of public transport through a series of measure capable of limiting the circulation of private cars; - To give value at alternative sweet mobility modes improving safety and liveability for their users; - To lower the number of accidents on the roads; - To increase the technological endowment of the cities as a support to more and more intelligent mobility management policies and as a service to citizens; - To diffuse as much as possible the culture of an environmental sustainable mobility among citizens and to increase the social awareness of the vital importance of these themes. The project has 49 different measures within 5 middle-size cities: Craiova (Romania - Project Coordinator), Brescia (Italy), Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain), Coimbra (Portugal), and Ostrava (Czech Republic) and 25 partners with all the Municipalities and all the local PT companies. Another crucial target is to assess a wide communication and debate among the cities at the level of political decision makers and important stakeholders, and a strong cooperation among scientists and technicians of the European team to circulate experiences and best practice.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRA-2012-3.3. | Award Amount: 791.75K | Year: 2012

The Socientize project will coordinate all the agents involved in the citizen science setting the basis of this new open science paradigm promoting the usage of the infrastructures composed by dedicated and external resources which are based on scientists and amateur people. It will set a network where infrastructure providers and scientific researchers will join with the society recruiting volunteers that perform science at home. With the citizen science term we mean both a) the participation of people in the scientific process, i.e. By collecting and analysing scientific data or by contributing with their own resources to form the research infrastructure, and b) the development of socio-artistic activities and dissemination material of scientific results for them.\n\nPeople will contribute with their own knowledge and resources participating in an active way. As we propose to open e-infrastructure to the people, even considering the knowledge and the time of the citizen scientists as part of the resources that constitute the infrastructure, he present here an innovative concept: the human-based e-infrastructure (he-infrastructure). These infrastructure allow researchers to deploy new studies, dealing with large-scale data. For instance, the research over the socio-technological networks is allowing to emerge a new collective intelligence able to deploy innovative scientific tasks.\n\nSOCIENTIZE will deploy a set of applications enabling volunteers as scientists and showing the capabilities of open resources. But the project will be focused in open workshops and conferences where the partnership will set the basis of the interaction with all the stakeholders. As a result of the discussions held in the SOCIENTIZE fora, we will present a white-book with the strategy for the citizen science enhancement, compiling best cases experiences and policy recommendations for he-infrastructure providers, scientific end-users, artists and the society in general.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2011.9.12 | Award Amount: 935.41K | Year: 2013

Creativity is a long-cherished and widely-studied aspect of human behavior that allows us to re-invent the familiar and to imagine the new. Computational Creativity (CC) is a recent but burgeoning area of creativity research that brings together academics and practitioners from diverse disciplines, genres and modalities, to explore the potential of computers to be autonomously creative or to collaborate as co-creators with humans.\n\nAs a scientific endeavor, CC proposes that computational modeling can yield important insights into the fundamental capabilities of both humans and machines. As an engineering endeavor, CC claims that it is possible to construct autonomous software artifacts that achieve novel and useful ends that are deserving of the label creative. Overall, the CC field seeks to establish a symbiotic relationship between these scientific and engineering endeavors, wherein the software artifacts that are produced are not only useful in their own right, but also serve as empirical tests of the adequacy of scientific theories of creativity. If sufficiently nurtured, the products of CC research can have a significant impact on many aspects of modern life, with particular consequences for the worlds of entertainment, culture, science, education, design and art.\n\nSo that CC can achieve its potential as a future and emerging topic of research and technology development, a range of important coordination actions are needed to solidify and promote the field while engaging with neighboring disciplines. These include focused outreach to researchers in cognitive science, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, as well as to practitioners in musicology, literary theory/art theory, design theory, and pedagogy. The goal of the proposed coordinating action is to perform outreach to these related research communities, in a way that maintains the coherence of the CC field without diluting its core principles.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 4.99M | Year: 2012

The TRAINBIODIVERSE ITN will provide professional skills and training for young scientists covering multi-disciplinary aspects of soil biodiversity, ecosystem services, their economic significance and practical implications and implementation. The researchers will gain access to European educational and network facilities and training aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of human populations and the continued availability of sustainable recourses underpinned by soil microbiology. Practical and theoretical training related to monitoring, evaluating and improving the quality of biodiversity in European soils, in combination with training professionals to ensure enhanced intersectorial skills and communications will help to secure the future of European ecosystem services and agricultural production. TRAINBIODIVERSE will fill the gap between specialists in different institutions and administrative bodies providing information and policy on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. The consortium encompasses different academic, non-academic industrial economic and political professions in different sectors. An understanding of the interrelationships and communications between the different sectors involved will be made available to European researchers for the first time. This will coincide with increases in related governmental policy and actions. The training will cover the process for applying scientific rational to political implementation. Initial training will commence with field and laboratory work then proceeding through interpretation of results to economic evaluation for managerial administrative and decision making processes and application of the information.

University of Coimbra | Date: 2013-09-06

The present invention provides a system presenting site-specific accumulation through a ligand that specifically targets a receptor overexpressed on the surface of specific cells within a target organ, like, for example, tumor cells and/or vascular cells of tumor blood vessels. Moreover, this invention provides a method where, upon internalization of the previous-mentioned system by the target cells, triggered release at a high rate of the associated agent takes place, permitting efficient intracellular delivery and, thus, increased concentration of the transported cargo at the target site. Overall, this invention provides a method for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases and disorders.

University of Coimbra | Date: 2012-05-09

The present invention provides a system presenting site-specific accumulation through a ligand that specifically targets a receptor overexpressed on the surface of specific cells within a target organ, like, for example, tumor cells and/or vascular cells of tumor blood vessels. Moreover, this invention provides a method where, upon internalization of the previous-mentioned system by the target cells, triggered release at a high rate of the associated agent takes place, permitting efficient intracellular delivery and, thus, increased concentration of the transported cargo at the target site. Overall, this invention provides a method for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases and disorders.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 10.00M | Year: 2015

LASERLAB-EUROPE is the European consortium of major national laser research infrastructures, covering advanced laser science and applications in most domains of research and technology, with particular emphasis on areas with high industrial and social impact, such as bio- and nanophotonics, material analyses, biology and medicine. Recently the field of advanced lasers has experienced remarkable advances and breakthroughs in laser technologies and novel applications. Laser technology is a key innovation driver for highly varied applications and products in many areas of modern society, thereby substantially contributing to economic growth. Through its strategic approach, LASERLAB-EUROPE aims to strengthen Europes leading position and competitiveness in this key area. It facilitates the coordination of laser research activities within the European Research Area by integrating major facilities in most European member states with a long-term perspective and providing concerted and efficient services to researchers in science and industry. The main objectives of LASERLAB-EUROPE are to: promote, in a coordinated way and on a European scale, the use of advanced lasers and laser-based technologies for research and innovation, serve a cross-disciplinary user community, from academia as well as from industry, by providing access to a comprehensive set of advanced laser research installations, including two free-electron laser facilities, increase the European basis of human resources in the field of lasers by training new users, including users in new domains of science and technology and from geographical regions of Europe where laser user communities are still less developed, improve human and technical resources through technology exchange and sharing of expertise among laser experts and operators across Europe, and through coordinated Joint Research Activities enabling world-class research, innovations and applications beyond the present state-of-the-art.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 2.87M | Year: 2008

Grid systems are currently being used and adopted by a growing number of user groups and diverse application domains. However, there still exist many scientific communities whose applications require much more computing resources than existing Grids like EGEE can provide. The main objective of this project is to support these new communities: - by providing the necessary extensions for existing Grid infrastructures to address the specific needs in these new scientific communities within a coherent pan-European model, regardless of the location of their research facilities - with the adaptation of their applications to the enhanced Grid infrastructure - through the provision of standard APIs and Grid application development tools that facilitate the adaptation of their application to the enhanced Grid infrastructure. In order to support the specific needs of these scientific communities EDGeS will interconnect the existing EGEE Grid infrastructure with existing Desktop Grid (DG) systems in a strong partnership with EGEE. Service Grids (SGs) like EGEE are more flexible than DGs and can accommodate a broader variety of applications, however, they are much more expensive to maintain. Desktop Grids are currently restricted solely to Master/Worker-style compute-intensive applications but can scale very easily and are able to collect 1-2 orders of magnitude more compute power than most SGs are able to, and at a fraction of the cost. The interconnection of these two types of Grid systems will enable more advanced applications and provide extended compute capabilities to more researchers. One other objective of EDGeS is to extend the potential user communities for both Grids and Desktop Grids beyond traditional scientists and current volunteer computing participants to further involve ordinary citizens, secondary school students, and company employees, giving them an opportunity to become involved in science and to apply Grid technology in their every day life.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-4-2014 | Award Amount: 16.42M | Year: 2015

PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing, was established in May 2010 as a permanent pan-European High Performance Computing service providing world-class systems for world-class science. Six systems at the highest performance level (Tier-0) are deployed by Germany, France, Italy and Spain providing researchers with over 9 billion core hours of compute time. HPC experts from twenty-five member states - funded in part in three implementation projects - enabled users from academia and industry to ascertain leadership and remain competitive in the Global Race. Currently PRACE is preparing for PRACE 2.0, the successor of the initial five year period. The objectives of PRACE-4IP are to build on and seamlessly continue the successes of PRACE and start new innovative and collaborative activities proposed by the consortium. These include: assisting the transition to PRACE 2.0; strengthening the internationally recognised PRACE brand; continuing advanced training which so far provided more than 15.000 person-training days to over 4700 persons, preparing strategies and best practices towards exascale computing, coordinating and enhancing the operation of the multi-tier HPC systems and services, and supporting users to exploit massively parallel systems and novel architectures. The proven project structure will be used to achieve each of the objectives in six dedicated work packages. The project will continue to be managed by Jlich. The activities are designed to increase Europes research and innovation potential especially through: seamless and efficient Tier-0 services and a pan-European HPC ecosystem including national capabilities; promoting take-up by industry and special offers to SMEs; analysing new flexible business models for PRACE 2.0; proposing strategies for deployment of leadership systems; collaborating with the ETP4HPC, the coming CoEs and other European and international organisations on future architectures, training, application support and policies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-11-2016 | Award Amount: 16.11M | Year: 2017

PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing is the permanent pan-European High Performance Computing service providing world-class systems for world-class science. Systems at the highest performance level (Tier-0) are deployed by Germany, France, Italy and Spain providing researchers with over 11 billion core hours of compute time. HPC experts from 25 member states enabled users from academia and industry to ascertain leadership and remain competitive in the Global Race. Currently PRACE is in transition to PRACE 2, the successor of the initial five year period. The objectives of PRACE-5IP are to build on and seamlessly continue the successes of PRACE and start new innovative and collaborative activities proposed by the consortium. These include: assisting the transition to PRACE 2 including an analysis of Trans National Access; strengthening the internationally recognised PRACE brand; continuing and extend advanced training which so far provided more than 18 800 persontraining days; preparing strategies and best practices towards Exascale computing; coordinating and enhancing the operation of the multi-tier HPC systems and services; and supporting users to exploit massively parallel systems and novel architectures. A high level Service Catalogue is provided. The proven project structure will be used to achieve each of the objectives in 6 dedicated work packages. The activities are designed to increase Europes research and innovation potential especially through: seamless and efficient Tier-0 services and a pan-European HPC ecosystem including national capabilities; promoting take-up by industry and new communities and special offers to SMEs; implementing a new flexible business model for PRACE 2; proposing strategies for deployment of leadership systems; collaborating with the ETP4HPC, CoEs and other European and international organisations on future architectures, training, application support and policies. This will be monitored through a set of KPIs.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: REV-INEQUAL-06-2016 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2017

ISOTIS addresses the nature, causes and impact of early emerging social and educational inequalities in the context of socioeconomic, cultural and institutional processes. The aim is to contribute to effective policy and practice development to combat inequalities. Quasi-panels and pooled longitudinal datasets will be used to examine the variation in early educational gaps and developmental trajectories across countries, systems and time. To disentangle the complex interactions between characteristics of systems and target groups, ISOTIS will study significant immigrant, indigenous ethnic-cultural and low-income native groups, associated with persistent educational disadvantages. ISOTIS will examine current resources, experiences, aspirations, needs and well-being of children and parents in these groups in the context of acculturation and integration, and in relation to local and national policies. ISOTIS aims to contribute to effective policy and practice development by generating recommendations and concrete tools for (1) supporting disadvantaged families and communities in using their own cultural and linguistic resources to create safe and stimulating home environments for their children; for (2) creating effective and inclusive pedagogies in early childhood education and care centres and primary schools; for (3) professionalization of staff, centres and schools to improve quality and inclusiveness; for (4) establishing inter-agency coordination of support services to children and families; and for (5) developing policies to combat educational inequalities. ISOTIS will develop inter-linked programmes for parents, classrooms and professionals using Virtual Learning Environments for working in linguistically diverse contexts. All this work together is expected to support the education practice and policy field in Europe in meeting the challenges of reducing social and educational inequalities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SEC-2011.2.5-1 | Award Amount: 4.34M | Year: 2012

The protection of the national infrastructures is one of the main issues for national and international security. While FP7 MICIE project has proved that increasing cooperation among infrastructures increases their level of service and predictive capability, it is not enough to effectively counteract threats such as cyber attacks. Such attacks could be performed blocking communication from central SCADA to local equipments or inserting fake commands/measurements in the SCADA-field equipment communications (as happened with STUXNET worm). The paradox is that critical infrastructures massively rely on the newest interconnected (and vulnerable) ICT technologies, while the control equipment is typically old, legacy software/hardware. Such a combination of factors may lead to very dangerous situations, exposing systems to a wide variety of attacks. To overcome such threats, the CockpitCI project aims on one hand to continue the work done in MICIE by refining and updating the on-line Risk Predictor deployed in the SCADA centre, on the other hand to provide some kind of intelligence to field equipment, allowing them to perform local decisions in order to self-identify and self-react to abnormal situations induced by cyber attacks. It is mandatory to operate both at SCADA control centre and at field equipment because it is very dangerous to let field components operate autonomously. To address this issue an hybrid validation system will be implemented: at the Control Centre level an Integrated On-line Risk Predictor will provide the operator with qualitative/quantitative measurements of near future level of risk integrating data coming from the field, from other infrastructures, and from smart detection agents monitoring possible cyber attacks; at field level, the system is complemented with a smart software layer for field equipment and a detection system for the TLC network. The system will be validated on real equipment and scenarios provided by Israel Electric Corp.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS-2010- | Award Amount: 2.62M | Year: 2010

The science education community agrees that pedagogical practices based on IBSE methods are more effective. But the reality on the ground is different. For various reasons, this type of teaching is not practiced in most European classrooms. INSPIRE counteract this by developing and offering a one-year practically based IBSE teacher training course that will reach out to hundreds of teachers, and in turn thousands of children, in 11 European countries. The course is run through 14 Botanic Gardens and Natural History Museums - some of Europes most inspirational cultural and learning institutions. These places act as catalysts, training and supporting teachers and educators to develop their proficiency in IBSE and become reflective practitioners. Most of the partner institutions have experience in delivering IBSE. To ensure excellence, theoretical rigour and project progression, two highly regarded science education research institutions participate: Kings College UK (informal learning; practitioners research) and University of Bremen BRD (research into teacher education). The training locations, the practical nature of the course, the support offered and the subject content encourages teachers and educators to enrol in INSPIRE courses and try out IBSE in their everyday teaching. Biodiversity loss and climate change are the major global issues of the 21st century and many teachers are looking for innovative ways to tackle these subjects. INSPIRE training supports teachers to do just that and introduce them to institutions where children can carry out real investigations and see science in action. INSPIRE training courses are promoted through national systems that support professional development for teachers as well as informal education training networks. The website encourages the uptake of IBSE. It promotes dialogue between partners and teachers, showcase best practice published on other EU websites and highlight the results of practitioner research in IBSE.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.11M | Year: 2010

SPBuild is created and developed by a solid and dynamic network of 11 institutions (EDEN Network for Peace and Conflict) with a proven commitment and capacity to deliver high-quality training in the rapidly developing field of Peace and Conflict research. These universities have undertaken joint research, published, and jointly created a European Doctoral Enhancement Programme on Peace and Conflict Studies. The aim is to provide high quality training and research on sustainable peace building, implying a good understanding of the cross-impacts of the necessary and interdependent peace building activities, especially the promotion of good governance, inclusive development and comprehensive security. The study is comprehensive and trans-disciplinary; it sees peace building as a complex dynamic process of change involving different sectors, levels and actors, and researches the interdependencies or cross-impacts between the diplomatic, political, economic, security, and humanitarian efforts made in post-conflict situations. Each of the 11 participants will belong to one or more of three research programme teams good governance, comprehensive security and inclusive development. Researchers, upon choosing their research tracks, will be closely connected to one of the three teams and receive close professional and academic supervision. This project is based on the idea of participative governance, which reconciles social values with those of a market economy, defending the promotion of peace and economic and social development through the participation of all social agents and actors, including local communities, special interest groups and companies, the public sector and development agencies and the voluntary sector including arts and environmental organisations. The industry partners are major actors in economic life and it is crucial to look at their implication in society, along with the significant role of academia.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-03-2014 | Award Amount: 7.65M | Year: 2015

Microalgae are a source of secondary metabolites useful as new bioactive compounds. Activity of these compounds against bacterial pathogens and biofilm formation has not been determined yet. Biofilm formation is especially important in infections and tissue inflammation related to implants and catheters. These problems finally cause a release of the implant, which must be removed and replaced by a new one, entailing an increase in antibiotic consumption, together with a health costs of about 50,000-90,000 per infection episode. Taking both problems in account, the search of new antimicrobial agents that will be effective against the bacteria in their two ways of life, planktonic and biofilm stage, is a priority need in the clinical practice. For this reason, the overall objective of NOMORFILM project is to search for antibiofilm compounds isolated from microalgae that will be useful in the treatment of this kind of infections and could be incorporated in the manufacturing of medical prosthetic devices. For this purpose, 4,000 microalgae species will be deeply screened specifically for new antibacterial and antibiofilm molecules. Structural elucidation of bioactive compounds from these extracts will assure that only new chemical entities, therefore with anticipated new mechanisms of action, will arise to further project stages, those including toxicity tests and animal models. This project also addresses the biosynthesis of the targeted bioactive compounds in sustainable microalgae co-cultures, diminishing cultivation costs by mimicking natural aquatic ecosystems. Most industrially interesting antibiofilm molecules will be incorporated into nanoparticles in order to develop manufacturing methodologies able to incorporate these compounds into real prosthetic devices matrixes. Marketing of results are assured by the presence of diverse SMEs along the manufacture and distribution of prosthetic devices, and the corresponding consortium agreements with respect to IPRs

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SST.2008.1.1.1. | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2009

Durability and friction control in internal combustion engines is currently delivered from a complex package of lubricant additives in a fully formulated engine oil. These oil additives, through tribochemical interaction with the surface, produce nanostructured composite, self-healing and smart tribofilms at the surface. 2020 Interface involves the design of the complete system; functionalised Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coating and future generation lubricant to enable the Europes stretching targets in fuel economy and durability to be met. There has been much emphasis in research on designing new coatings technology such that the degree of complexity of surface systems has increased dramatically over the last decade. In boundary lubricated contacts, it is the interfacial nanostructured film, which results from tribochemical interactions between the surface and the lubricant additives, which dictates the system performance. No attempts have been made to incorporate design strategies into optimizing this interface and 2020 Interface tackles this through an interdisciplinary integrated experimental and theoretical approach. The benefits of this approach are accrued from substantial improved fuel economy (protection of natural resources), reduced emissions (protection of the environment) and improved durability (lower waste and maintenance). As the number of vehicles in the globe increases year on year without showing signs of reaching a plateau and the internal combustion engine remains the major platform for powertrain for the foreseeable future, the impact of this project will be large and long lasting. 2020 Interface brings together a world class consortium of 4 Universities, 1 research institute and 4 leading multinational companies from 8 EU countries together in complete supply chain to deliver fast track radical innovation in nanoscience through to a full set of novel lubrication technology platforms, for commercial applications in diesel and

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2014

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the most significant EU legislation concerning surface water management. Programs of Measures are required to ensure water bodies achieve a good ecological status. It is important to predict the impact of interventions on water quality. Man-made and natural processes control surface water quality, these are highly complex with a range of sources, transport and transformation processes. Cost estimates by EU governments indicate that billions of euros will be spent over several decades to implement WFD. There is an increasing level of concern on the implementation cost (financial and carbon). Integrated water quality models designed to predict the quality of water across the linked urban and rural scales in a catchment is seen as a tool to optimise this cost. Integrated Catchment Modelling (ICM) is based on linking numerous empirically calibrated sub-models of water quality processes. Catchment scale WQ predictions are then used to justify investment. Current water quality sub-models contain significant uncertainty. Methods have been developed to quantify uncertainty at a level however little work has been carried out to investigate WQ uncertainty propagation between sub-models. QUICS will develop a generalised catchment wide approach to uncertainty assessment that can then be used in WFD implementation studies. It will address uncertainty propagation at the spatial and temporal scales found in catchments and develop tools to reduce uncertainty by optimising sampling and monitoring and the objective selection of model structure. This will reduce uncertainty in WQ predictions and result in better informed investment decisions and so have a significant impact on WFD implementation. QUICS contains leading water quality scientists, uncertainty experts and private sector water management practitioners and modellers. It will train researchers capable of developing and implementing uncertainty management tools into ICM studies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2011-2.3.5. | Award Amount: 35.18M | Year: 2011

PRACE-2IP supports the accelerated implementation of the pan-European HPC Research Infrastructure created in April 2010 as the result of the preparatory phase PRACE project. It complements and extends the work of the PRACE-1IP project that was started in July 2010.\nPRACE-2IP addresses the computational and simulation needs of European scientific communities to keep them at the forefront of discovery. Our vision is the formation of an integrated HPC ecosystem of facilities and services enabling researchers to realise the full potential of computational science within the supportive environment of the European Research Area.\nBuilding on the implementation work of the preceding PRACE and DEISA projects, PRACE-2IP will enable seamless access to HPC systems and services at the Tier-0 and Tier-1 level to users, regardless of their country of work. This provides the means and motivation to undertake ambitious, ground-breaking computational science. In particular, DEISA-like services will be integrated into the ecosystem.\nApplications enabling expertise will support researchers in code development, optimisation and petascaling to help them make effective use of the Tier-0 and Tier-1 systems. Training and dissemination activities will ensure that European scientists have the knowledge and the skills enabling them to take full advantage of the facilities on offer. Through collaboration with technology providers and vendors, novel architectures, systems and technologies will be evaluated to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of HPC and that the future needs of the research community are understood and met. Targeted research activities will investigate possible solutions to challenges in programmability and scalability of future multi-petaflop systems.\nPRACE-2IP will considerably strengthen and deepen the co-operation between HPC centres, funding bodies and research communities in a mutually beneficial partnership to enhance European scientific competitiveness.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2012-2.3.1. | Award Amount: 26.57M | Year: 2012

PRACE-3IP supports the accelerated implementation of the pan-European HPC Research Infrastructure (RI) created in April 2010. It continues, complements, and extends the work of the PRACE-1IP and -2IP projects.\nPRACE-3IP addresses the computational and simulation needs of European scientific communities and of industry to keep them at the forefront of discovery. Our vision is the formation of an integrated HPC ecosystem of facilities and services enabling researchers to realise the full potential of computational science within the supportive environment of the ERA.\nThe project will undertake a joint pre-commercial procurement (PCP) pilot to obtain a solution for a Whole System Design for Energy Efficient HPC. This pilot is the first of its kind on a Europe-wide level and the lessons learned will be invaluable for PRACE in its future procurement strategy and for Europe as a whole in using PCP as a driver for innovation.\nPRACE-3IP will deliver a broad set of services suitable for use by industry and commerce. The PRACE RI will be open for use by SMEs and large European businesses, offering Tier-0 and Tier-1 access, training, and applications support.\nApplications support and enabling will have a bias towards addressing major socio-economic challenges. New tools will be made available under Open Source. Best practises will be identified, documented and made available to the European HPC community in academia and industry.\nPRACE-3IP will have a broad training and outreach activity designed to engage more user communities, including industry, in the use of HPC. The next generation of students and researchers will be introduced to the benefits of HPC and the technologies and knowledge required applying it successfully in their discipline.\nPRACE-3IP will considerably strengthen and deepen the co-operation between HPC centres, funding bodies and research communities in a mutually beneficial partnership to enhance European scientific and industrial competitiveness.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2010-2.3.1 | Award Amount: 27.74M | Year: 2010

Large scale simulations are the third pillar of science today alongside theory and experiment. They produce scientific insights, technological advances, and solve problems in many fields of society. Their tools are high-end computers and effective software. PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing, has been created as a not for profit association in May 2010 as a permanent pan-European High Performance Computing service providing world-class systems for world-class science. Up to six systems at the highest performance level (Tier-0) will be deployed the first one being the already installed BlueGene/P in Germany. Funding for the next three systems has been committed by France, Italy, and Spain. Twenty European states are members of the PRACE Research Infrastructure (RI). Access to the PRACE resources will be through a single peer review process. The Scientific Steering Committee represents the user communities and guides the strategic directions. PRACE works closely with national, regional, and topical centres to shape the European HPC ecosystem.\nThe PRACE-1IP project is designed to support the accelerated implementation of the RI. The project supports the evolution of the RI by refining and extending the administrative, legal and financial framework with focus on the specific requirements of industry. To enable world-class science on novel systems the project assists users in porting, optimising and petascaling applications to the different architectures and deploys consistent services across the RI. The tools and techniques will be selected to have broad applicability across many disciplines. This is accompanied by advanced training in modern programming methods and paradigms, establishing a permanent distributed training infrastructure. The PRACE brand is already well established in the international HPC scene; extensive dissemination and outreach will be continued. The project advises PRACE on procurements of the next generation of systems. Finally, promising technologies, especially with respect to energy efficiency, will be evaluated with the ultimate goal to collaborate with industrial partners to develop products exploiting STRATOS, PRACE advisory group for Strategic Technologies created in the PRACE Preparatory Phase project.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.6.3 | Award Amount: 6.18M | Year: 2010

The main goal of the ENERsip project is to create an adaptive, customizable, and service-oriented ENERgy monitoring and control system for energy grids and decision makers. ENERsip is conceived on the idea that mixing energy, communications, control, computing and construction for the consumption and generation elements, must be active and proactively coordinated. To bring the idea into reality, ENERsip would provide an open Information platform that would allow optimising in near real-time generation and consumption matching in residential, commercial buildings and neighbourhoods.\nFor doing so, ENERsip will create an open service-oriented architectural platform to allow create positive energy buildings and neighbourhoods by coordinating the consumers and the generators, while creating smart energy grids that will self feed with real-time information. Using advanced and novel communication protocols the information will be constantly exchanged through the ENERsip system, between energy grids, decision makers and users, helping consumers save energy using intuitive interfaces while maintaining the desired comfort levels. ENERsip is targeted to allow the emergence of an open electricity market by using components from different suppliers, unifying their protocols and providing reliable data exchange services, thus helping reinforce European industrial and technological position in ICT-enabled energy efficiency technologies.\nThe ENERsip multinational well balanced consortium of industrial and research organizations, strengthened with the utility company, will focus on research, development and demonstration of ENERsip at field tests with concrete targets under real conditions, by introducing a managed positive-energy generation and consumption elements of the positive-energy buildings and neighbourhoods. The outcome of the adoption of ENERsip will allow setting new behavioural patters in the society and reduce overall intense economic dependence on energy.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.2.2 | Award Amount: 25.84M | Year: 2009

The European robotics industry plays a key role in maintaining our continents industrial base. The robotics industry is strong, but fragmented and dispersed. In the future, cutting-edge technology resulting from top-level research will be the decisive factor for success. Europe not only has a powerful robotics industry, but can also boast superb research. By drawing on these resources, ECHORD aims at producing new knowledge through advancing the state of the art in selected research foci and developing novel technology from which new products can be derived. Within ECHORD, opportunities for knowledge advancement and technology transfer between academia and industry will be created across the whole continent. This will be achieved through the solicitation of focused, small-size RTD projects, so-called experiments, which can be rapidly negotiated, funded and executed. Via these experiments, ECHORD will bring about a large-scale introduction of robotic equipment into research institutions. This is expected to result in both tangible and measurable out-comes in terms of the accelerated development of technologies, as well as the deployment of robotics technology into new scenarios for the direct application of research results. For ECHORD, three such scenarios have been defined: human-robot co-working, hyper flexible cells, and cognitive factories. The foremost purpose of the scenarios is to define an environment that is both scientifically challenging to research institutions and commercially relevant to robot manufacturers.

News Article | November 28, 2016

Symposium at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society Congress 2016 discusses the role of nutrition in cognitive function as we age A new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a not-for-profit organisation devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health, highlights the potential role of coffee consumption in reducing the risk of cognitive decline. The report concludes that a moderate intake of coffee (3-5 cups per day) may provide protection against age-related cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The report provides a summary of the research presented at ISIC's symposium, titled 'Nutrition, Coffee and Age-Related Cognitive Decline', held during the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society's 2016 Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. The findings are particularly relevant given Europe's ageing population: the number of people aged 60 years or over is projected to rise to 217.2 million by 20301, therefore understanding and communicating diet and lifestyle factors that may limit age-related cognitive decline will help to improve the quality of life for this growing demographic. Professor Rodrigo A. Cunha, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra and Principal Investigator at the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra (CNC), Portugal, commented: "Healthcare professionals have an important part to play in providing patients with accurate research-based information, to help them to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, and in turn, reduce their risk of age-related cognitive decline. Moderate coffee consumption could play a significant role in reducing cognitive decline which would impact health outcomes and healthcare spending across Europe." In its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that intakes of up to 400mg of caffeine (the equivalent of up to 5 cups of coffee per day), from all sources, do not raise any concerns for healthy adults6. One cup of coffee provides approximately 75-100mg caffeine. To read the report, please click here. 1. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, 'World Population Ageing Report 2015'. Available at: http://www. 2. Liu Q.P. et al. (2016) Habitual coffee consumption and risk of cognitive decline/dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutr, 32(6):628-36. 3. Cao C. et al. (2012) High blood caffeine levels in MCI linked to lack of progression to dementia. J Alzheimers Dis, 30(3):559-72. 4. Van Gelder B.M. et al. (2007) Coffee consumption is inversely associated with cognitive decline in elderly European men: the FINE Study. Eur J Clin Nutr, 61(2):226-32. 5. Khan K.A. et al. (2013) Impact of caffeic acid on aluminium chloride-induced dementia in rats. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 65(12):1745-1752. 6. EFSA (2015) Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine. EFSA Journal, 13(5):4102. The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1990 and devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to "coffee and health." Since 2003 ISIC also supports a pan-European education programme, working in partnership with national coffee associations in nine countries to convey current scientific knowledge on "coffee and health" to health care professionals. ISIC respects scientific research ethics in all its activities. ISIC's communications are based on sound science and rely on evidence and scientific studies derived from peer-reviewed scientific journals and other publications. ISIC members are six of the major European coffee companies: illycaffè, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lavazza, Nestlé, Paulig, and Tchibo. The website http://www. is a science-based resource developed for health care and other professional audiences and provides the latest information and research into coffee, caffeine and health.

News Article | November 29, 2016

A new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a not-for-profit organization devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health, highlights the potential role of coffee consumption in reducing the risk of cognitive decline. The report concludes that a moderate intake of coffee (3-5 cups per day) may provide protection against age-related cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The report provides a summary of the research presented at ISIC's symposium, titled 'Nutrition, Coffee and Age-Related Cognitive Decline', held during the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society's 2016 Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. The findings are particularly relevant given Europe's ageing population: the number of people aged 60 years or over is projected to rise to 217.2 million by 20301, therefore understanding and communicating diet and lifestyle factors that may limit age-related cognitive decline will help to improve the quality of life for this growing demographic. The symposium speakers whose insights and research contributed to ISIC's report were: Key highlights about coffee from the report include: Professor Rodrigo A. Cunha, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra and Principal Investigator at the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra (CNC), Portugal, commented: "Healthcare professionals have an important part to play in providing patients with accurate research-based information, to help them to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, and in turn, reduce their risk of age-related cognitive decline. Moderate coffee consumption could play a significant role in reducing cognitive decline which would impact health outcomes and healthcare spending across Europe." In its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that intakes of up to 400mg of caffeine (the equivalent of up to 5 cups of coffee per day), from all sources, do not raise any concerns for healthy adults6. One cup of coffee provides approximately 75-100mg caffeine. To read the report, please click here.

News Article | March 4, 2016

MIT Portugal PhD and executive master's programs are soliciting applications for 2016-17. Graduate courses are a partnership between five Portuguese universities and MIT, and are funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Doctoral programs offer 40 PhD scholarships (10 in each focus area), take place in both Portugal and at MIT, and cover research in the fields of bioengineering systems, sustainable energy systems, transportation systems, and leaders for technical industries. PhD programs are completed in three to four years, of which six to 12 months may be spent at MIT. The deadline for doctoral applications is April 13, and the deadline for the executive master’s is June 13. Research undertaken in these programs addresses real world challenges, such as developing a surgical superglue for the little hearts of babies born with congenital heart disease, creating a smart meter to save electricity through tailored efficiency measures, designing a Rail Bike adaptor to ride abandoned railways, or optimizing airline allocation and scheduling problems. Some of these innovations have moved to the startup environment, while others continue under development. They are all examples of what happens at MIT Portugal: innovation focussed on industry and sustainable development. Since its foundation in 2006, MIT Portugal has proven to be a fertile environment for entrepreneurship, in which 16 startups have been created. Alumni from both courses work in Portuguese companies, such as Renova or PT, multinationals such as Rolls-Royce, international organizations such as OECD, and hospitals such as Guy’s and St. Thomas in London. Those who chose to pursue an academic career have found positions at Portuguese and international research institutions, from MIT to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). MIT Portugal presents students with a unique opportunity to follow diverse and enriching career paths. Courses are taught in English and held in an international environment with students representing over 28 nationalities. Students may also take part in testbed projects including Sustainable Cities, developed in partnership with EDP, ADENE, and the Lisbon City Council; Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, supported by Crioestaminal and Lisbon’s Santa Marta Hospital; and Introduction of Advanced Materials Technologies, supported by Embraer and Optimal. In Portugal, the University of Lisbon, New University of Lisbon, University of Coimbra, University of Porto and University of Minho take part in the program. Further information on the application process is available on the MIT Portgual application page.

Freire N.M.A.,University of Coimbra | Freire N.M.A.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Estima J.O.,University of Coimbra | Estima J.O.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | And 2 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2013

Condition monitoring and fault diagnosis are currently considered crucial means to increase the reliability and availability of wind turbines and, consequently, to reduce the wind energy cost. With similar goals, direct-drive wind turbines based on permanent magnet synchronous generators (PMSGs) with full-scale power converters are an emerging and promising technology. Numerous studies show that power converters are a significant contributor to the overall failure rate of modern wind turbines. In this context, open-circuit fault diagnosis in the two power converters of a PMSG drive for wind turbine applications is addressed in this paper. A diagnostic method is proposed for each power converter, allowing real-time detection and localization of multiple open-circuit faults. The proposed methods are suitable for integration into the drive controller and triggering remedial actions. In order to prove the reliability and effectiveness of the proposed fault diagnostic methods, several simulation and experimental results are presented. © 1982-2012 IEEE.

Ducoin C.,University of Coimbra | Margueron J.,University Paris - Sud | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra | Vidana I.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

The possibility to draw links between the isospin properties of nuclei and the structure of compact stars is a stimulating perspective. In order to pursue this objective on a sound basis, the correlations from which such links can be deduced have to be carefully checked against model dependence. Using a variety of nuclear effective models and a microscopic approach, we study the relation between the predictions of a given model and those of a Taylor density development of the corresponding equation of state: this establishes to what extent a limited set of phenomenological constraints can determine the core-crust transition properties. From a correlation analysis, we show that (a) the transition density ρt is mainly correlated with the symmetry energy slope L, (b) the proton fraction Yp,t with the symmetry energy and symmetry energy slope (J,L) defined at saturation density, or, even better, with the same quantities defined at ρ=0.1 fm-3, and (c) the transition pressure Pt with the symmetry energy slope and curvature (L,Ksym) defined at ρ=0.1 fm-3. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Duarte J.,University of Granada | Francisco V.,University of Coimbra | Perez-Vizcaino F.,Complutense University of Madrid
Food and Function | Year: 2014

One of the main mechanisms by which dietary flavonoids are thought to influence cardiovascular disease is via protection of the bioactivity of the endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO). Additionally, flavonoids may also interfere with the signalling cascades of inflammation and prevent overproduction of NO and its deleterious consequences in shock and ischemia-reperfusion injury. In the present paper we review the evidence of the effects of flavonoids on NO. Flavonoids exert complex actions on the synthesis and bioavailability of NO which may result both in enhanced or decreased NO levels: (1) in cell free systems, several flavonoids may scavenge NO via its pro-oxidant properties by increasing superoxide. However, under conditions of oxidative stress, flavonoids may also protect NO from superoxide-driven inactivation. (2) In intact healthy tissues, some flavonoids increase eNOS activity in endothelial cells. Paradoxically this effect involves a pro-oxidant effect which results in Ca2+-dependent activation of eNOS. As inhibitors of PI3K, flavonoids may potentially inhibit the PI3K/Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. (3) Under conditions of inflammation and oxidative stress, flavonoids may prevent the inflammatory signalling cascades via inhibition of NFκB and thereby downregulate iNOS. On the other hand, they also prevent the overexpression of ROS generating enzymes, reducing superoxide and peroxynitrite levels, and hence preventing superoxide-induced NO inactivation and eNOS uncoupling. Therefore, the final effect of flavonoids on NO levels will depend on the flavonoid structure and the concentrations used, on the cell type under study and particularly on the presence of inflammatory/oxidative conditions. © the Partner Organisations 2014.

Seena S.,University of Coimbra | Seena S.,University of Minho | Monroy S.,University of the Basque Country
Fungal Ecology | Year: 2016

Aquatic hyphomycetes play a key role in leaf litter decomposition and are mediators of organic matter turnover in streams. Molecular studies have shown that some aquatic fungi are also plant endophytes, however, more evidence is needed to evaluate their multiple ecological abilities. To date, little information is available on fungal lineages that might have undergone convergent evolution to adapt to multiple ecological modes. We examined the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary divergences of aquatic hyphomycetes, endophytic aquatic hyphomycetes and other fungal endophytes of riparian/terrestrial plants by analyzing ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 sequences retrieved from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Sequences with close phylogenetic affinity to aquatic fungi can occur as endophytes of terrestrial plants or in soil far from streams. To fully understand the ecological impact of aquatic hyphomycetes, we need to document and interpret their niches more broadly. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and The British Mycological Society.

Alberto P.,University of Coimbra | Das S.,University of Lethbridge | Vagenas E.C.,Academy of Athens
Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics | Year: 2011

We generalize the work of Alberto, Fiolhais and Gil and solve the problem of a Dirac particle confined in a 3-dimensional box. The non-relativistic and ultra-relativistic limits are considered and it is shown that the size of the box determines how relativistic the low-lying states are. The consequences for the density of states of a relativistic fermion gas are briefly discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Khan E.,University Paris - Sud | Margueron J.,University Paris - Sud | Vidana I.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012

Only one-third of the nucleons in Pb208 occupy the saturation density area. Consequently, nuclear observables related to the average properties of nuclei, such as masses or radii, constrain the equation of state not at the saturation density but rather around the so-called crossing density, localized close to the mean value of the density of nuclei: ρ0.11fm -3. This provides an explanation for the empirical fact that several equation of state quantities calculated with various functionals cross at a density significantly lower than the saturation one. The third derivative M of the energy per unit of volume at the crossing density is constrained by the giant monopole resonance measurements in an isotopic chain rather than the incompressibility at saturation density. The giant monopole resonance measurements provide M=1100±70MeV (6% uncertainty), whose extrapolation gives K ∞=230±40MeV (17% uncertainty). © 2012 American Physical Society.

Ribeiro E.,University of Coimbra | Ribeiro E.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Cardoso A.J.M.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Cardoso A.J.M.,University of Beira Interior | Boccaletti C.,University of Rome La Sapienza
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2013

The photovoltaic (PV) technology has a small impact on the environment and is suitable for a wide range of applications. The main barrier for a more extensive implementation has been the reliability, mainly related to the power converters. According to this consideration, this paper presents an open-circuit fault diagnosis and fault-tolerant scheme for a three-level boost converter in a PV power system using batteries as storage devices. The fault diagnosticmethod takes advantage only of the control variables used for maximum power point tracking and output dc-link capacitor voltage balance. The fault-tolerant strategy requires only a few components added to the original three-level boost converter, so that, under an open-circuit power switch fault, it can be partly reconfigured into a two-level boost converter ensuring battery energy supply. Experimental results verify the proposed fault diagnostic method and reconfiguration for fault-tolerant operation. © 2012 IEEE.

Filaire E.,University Paris - Sud | Ferreira J.P.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira M.,University of Coimbra | Massart A.,University of Coimbra
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2013

We examined the effects of 16 weeks of training on diurnal pattern of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), cortisol, and the ratio of sAA over cortisol (AOC) in 12 national adolescent female tennis players. Stress and recovery were also evaluated using the Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes-RESTQ-Sport. Data were collected after a 2-week rest (January, W0), and 4 months after W0 (W16). Subjects collected five saliva samples throughout a day. While all participants displayed the previously shown decrease after awakening in adolescents at W0, they showed a rise in the alpha-amylase awakening response and a higher alpha-amylase activity output (p<0.01) at W16 compared to W0. For the daily rhythm of cortisol we found subjects having a low overall output of salivary cortisol (p<0.01) and a blunted response to awakening at W16. Furthermore, an increase in the ratio AOC at W16, and a negative correlation between this ratio and Sport-specific recovery score. Our findings offer support for the hypothesis that increase of training load during the study period induced asymmetry activation between the two stress systems, in relation to psychological alterations and performance decrease. These results provide encouragement to continue exploring the impact of training program using a psychobiological approach among young athletes in order to prevent fatigue and preserve the health of these athletes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Maudet C.,University of Würzburg | Mano M.,International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Mano M.,University of Coimbra | Eulalio A.,University of Würzburg
FEBS Letters | Year: 2014

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs with a central role in the post-transcriptional control of gene expression, that have been implicated in a wide-range of biological processes. Regulation of miRNA expression is increasingly recognized as a crucial part of the host response to infection by bacterial pathogens, as well as a novel molecular strategy exploited by bacteria to manipulate host cell pathways. Here, we review the current knowledge of bacterial pathogens that modulate host miRNA expression, focusing on mammalian host cells, and the implications of miRNA regulation on the outcome of infection. The emerging role of commensal bacteria, as part of the gut microbiota, on host miRNA expression in the presence or absence of bacterial pathogens is also discussed. © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Marques M.A.L.,University of Lyon | Marques M.A.L.,University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 | Oliveira M.J.T.,University of Coimbra | Burnus T.,Jülich Research Center
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2012

The central quantity of density functional theory is the so-called exchange-correlation functional. This quantity encompasses all non-trivial many-body effects of the ground-state and has to be approximated in any practical application of the theory. For the past 50 years, hundreds of such approximations have appeared, with many successfully persisting in the electronic structure community and literature. Here, we present a library that contains routines to evaluate many of these functionals (around 180) and their derivatives. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Henriques J.,University of Coimbra | Simoes da Silva L.,University of Coimbra | Valente I.B.,University of Minho
Engineering Structures | Year: 2013

This paper presents the first part of a numerical study to simulate composite beam to reinforced concrete wall joints using the finite element software ABAQUS. In detail, several benchmark examples dealing with different components of the joint are simulated in the validation and calibration process of the finite element package. Moreover, these simulations consider the analysis of: (i) type of finite element, 3D solid first and second order elements; (ii) material constitutive law for steel and concrete; (iii) interactions, reinforcement-concrete bond, composite behavior and mechanical contact. The validation of the simulated benchmark examples is accomplished by means of convergence studies and comparison with experimental tests. The accuracy obtained within these benchmark examples puts in evidence the appropriate simulation of the different phenomena to be dealt within the analysis of composite beam to reinforced concrete wall joints in a companion paper. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Vieira O.V.,University of Coimbra | Jordao L.,National Institute of Health
International Journal of Cell Biology | Year: 2011

Tuberculosis is an ancient infectious disease that remains a threat for public health around the world. Although the etiological agent as well as tuberculosis pathogenesis is well known, the molecular mechanisms underlying the host defense to the bacilli remain elusive. In this paper we focus on the innate immunity of this disease reviewing well-established and consensual mechanisms like Mycobacterium tuberculosis interference with phagosome maturation, less consensual mechanism like nitric oxide production, and new mechanisms, such as mycobacteria translocation to the cytosol, autophagy, and apoptosis/necrosis proposed mainly during the last decade. Copyright © 2011 Luisa Jordao and Otilia V. Vieira.

Fiolhais M.C.N.,University of Coimbra | Essen H.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2013

The most general electrodynamic equations of a perfect conducting state are obtained using a variational principle in a classical framework, following an approach by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes. London equations are derived as the time-independent case of these equations, corresponding to the magnetostatic minimal energy state of the perfect conducting system. For further confirmation, the same equations are also derived in the classical limit of the Coleman-Weinberg model, the most successful quantum macroscopic theory of superconductivity. The magnetic field expulsion is, therefore, a direct consequence of zero resistivity and not an exclusive property of superconductors. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Dudal D.,Ghent University | Oliveira O.,University of Coimbra | Rodriguez-Quintero J.,University of Huelva
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

Either by solving the ghost propagator Dyson-Schwinger equations or through a one-loop computation in the refined Gribov-Zwanziger (RGZ) formalism, we show that a nontrivial ghost-gluon vertex is required to obtain a ghost propagator prediction compatible with the available corresponding lattice data in the SU(3) case. For the necessary gluon propagator input, we present RGZ tree-level fits which account well for the gluon lattice data. Interestingly, this propagator can be rewritten in terms of a running gluon mass. A comparison of both Dyson-Schwinger equations and RGZ results for the ghost propagator is furthermore provided. We also briefly discuss the connection between the RGZ and the operator product expansion d=2 gluon condensate. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Antunes F.V.,University of Coimbra | Chegini A.G.,University of Coimbra | Branco R.,Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra | Camas D.,University of Malaga
International Journal of Fatigue | Year: 2015

The level of plasticity induced crack closure (PICC) is greatly affected by stress state. Under plane strain conditions, however, the level and even the existence of PICC still are controversial. The objective here is to study the influence of the main numerical parameters on plane strain PICC, namely the total crack propagation, the number of load cycles between crack increments, the finite element mesh and the parameter used to quantify PICC. The PICC predictions were included in a parallel numerical study of crack propagation, in order to quantify the impact of plane strain values on fatigue life. The results indicate that literature may be overestimating plane strain PICC due to incorrect numerical parameters. The number of load cycles usually considered is unrealistically small, and its increase was found to vanish crack closure, particularly for kinematic hardening. This effect was linked to the ratcheting effect observed at the crack tip. The total crack increment, Δa, must be large enough to obtain stabilized PICC values, but this may imply a huge numerical effort particularly for 3D models. The size of crack tip plastic zone may be overestimated in literature, which means that the meshes used may be too large. Additionally, the crack propagation study showed that the plane strain PICC has usually a dominant effect on fatigue life, and plane stress PICC is only relevant for relatively thin geometries. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Henriques M.H.P.,University of Coimbra | Canales M.L.,Complutense University of Madrid
Geobios | Year: 2013

This paper describes and characterises the co-occurrence of ammonite and benthic foraminiferal assemblages across the São Gião outcrop (Central Portugal), a reference section for the Lower-Middle Jurassic boundary in the Lusitanian Basin. The upper Toarcian-lower Aalenian marls and marly-limestones in this section provide a precise and detailed ammonite-based biostratigraphic zonation, with a mixed assemblage of northwest European and Mediterranean faunal elements, associated with benthic foraminifera assemblages with northern hemisphere affinities, both correlatable with the Aalenian GSSP at the Fuentelsaz section (Iberian Cordillera, Spain). A total of 447 well-preserved ammonite specimens and 13.116 foraminifera have been studied; no evidence was detected of any taphonomic processes that could have changed the original assemblages. From a biostratigraphic point of view, the ammonite record has enabled four biostratigraphic units to be recognised (the Mactra and Aalensis subzones of the Aalensis Biozone in the upper Toarcian, and the Opalinum and Comptum subzones of the Opalinum Biozone in the lower Aalenian). With regard to the benthic foraminifera, the taxa identified have enabled the Astacolus dorbignyi Zone and 11 bioevents to be identified, most of which representing local biostratigraphic proxies. However, the increase in the relative abundance of Lenticulina exgaleata Dieni from the upper part of the Opalinum Subzone to the lower part of the Comptum Subzone has a regional value. The constant and continuous ammonite record of northwest European taxa, together with typical Mediterranean taxa -namely Grammoceratinae-throughout the section, the high relative abundance of Miliolina representatives-generally interpreted as foraminifers typical of shallow waters- and the absence of foraminiferal forms typical of cool waters, do not support the inference of cool seawater temperatures attributed to the Early Aalenian, or the global character of the "Comptum cooling event", at least with reference to the Lusitanian Basin. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Neto D.M.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira M.C.,University of Coimbra | Menezes L.F.,University of Coimbra | Alves J.L.,University of Minho
Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering | Year: 2014

The accurate solution of large deformation frictional contact problems using the finite element method is still a challenging task due to the strong nonlinearities involved. This paper presents a smoothing method applicable to 3D contact surfaces discretized with an arbitrary mesh topology. The quadratic Nagata patch interpolation is adopted to define the smooth surface. The resulting contact surface passes through all nodes of the mesh while providing a smooth description, with at least G1 continuity at the nodes and quasi-G1 continuity between the patches. Thus, the proposed method avoids the non-physical oscillations in the contact force, which are induced by the traditionally used faceted contact surfaces description, when slave nodes slide over several master segments. Moreover, it allows the accurate evaluation of kinematic variables, leading to important improvements in terms of convergence rate within the Newton-Raphson iteration loop. The developed global and local contact search algorithms, designed for contact surfaces described by Nagata patches, are described in detail. Three numerical examples were selected to illustrate the advantages of the proposed smoothing method, including a complex industrial example of sheet metal forming process. The results show the significant improvements attained with the proposed approach, in terms of efficiency, robustness and accuracy, when compared with the traditional faceted contact surfaces description. © 2014.

Silva R.L.,University of Coimbra | Duarte L.V.,University of Coimbra | Comas-Rengifo M.J.,Complutense University of Madrid | Mendonca Filho J.G.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Azeredo A.C.,University of Lisbon
Chemical Geology | Year: 2011

A high-resolution carbon and oxygen isotopic bulk carbonate record from organic-rich hemipelagic series of Early-Late Pliensbachian age (~. 187. Ma) is presented for the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal) and compared to the record of other sedimentary basins. This dataset provides an excellent basis for discussing newly raised questions concerning the hypothesis of major carbon cycle perturbations prior to the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. In addition to the recognition in the studied series of two positive carbon isotope excursions previously defined elsewhere, corresponding to the Ibex and Margaritatus (uppermost Stokesi-Gibbosus subzones) zones, a third positive excursion is identified here for the first time, at the Davoei Zone. In the Lusitanian Basin these excursions are associated with organic-rich facies intervals. The younger excursion may be related to worldwide enhanced preservation of organic matter in the Margaritatus Zone. We suggest that until these organic-rich facies are well age constrained at a wider scale and high-resolution carbon data are provided from other locations, and that worldwide anoxia is proven, this interval should be referred to as an Organic Matter Preservation Interval (Late Pliensbachian OMPI). This period is probably linked with the complex chain of events that eventually led to the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Estima J.O.,University of Coimbra | Estima J.O.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Marques Cardoso A.J.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Marques Cardoso A.J.,University of Beira Interior
IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology | Year: 2012

One of the most important research topics in drive train topologies applied to electric/hybrid vehicles is the efficiency analysis of the power train components, including the global drive efficiency. In this paper, two basic traction electric drive systems of electric/hybrid vehicles are presented and evaluated, with a special focus on the efficiency analysis. The first topology comprises a traditional pulsewidth-modulation (PWM) battery-powered inverter, whereas in the second topology, the battery is connected to a bidirectional dc-dc converter, which supplies the inverter. Furthermore, a variable-voltage control technique applied to this second topology is presented, which allows for the improvement of the drive overall performance. Some simulation results are presented, considering both topologies and a permanent-magnet synchronous motor (PMSM). An even more detailed analysis is performed through the experimental validation. Particular attention is given to the evaluation of the main drive components efficiency, including the global drive efficiency, presented in the form of efficiency maps. Other parameters such as motor voltage distortion and power factor are also considered. In addition, the comparison of the two topologies takes into account the drive operation under the motoring and regenerative-braking modes. © 2006 IEEE.

Essen H.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Fiolhais M.C.N.,University of Coimbra
American Journal of Physics | Year: 2012

We review the literature on what classical physics says about the Meissner effect and the London equations. We discuss the relevance of the Bohr-van Leeuwen theorem for the perfect diamagnetism of superconductors and conclude that the theorem is based on invalid assumptions. We also point out results in the literature that show how magnetic flux expulsion from a sample cooled to superconductivity can be understood as an approach to the magnetostatic energy minimum. These results have been published several times but many textbooks on magnetism still claim that there is no classical diamagnetism, and virtually all books on superconductivity repeat Meissner's 1933 statement that flux expulsion has no classical explanation. © 2012 American Association of Physics Teachers.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: FoF-12-2015 | Award Amount: 5.92M | Year: 2015

ComMUnion enables productive and cost effective manufacturing of 3D metal/ Carbon Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic (CFRT) multi-material components. ComMUnion will develop a novel solution combining tape placement of CFRTs with controlled laser-assisted heating in a multi-stage robot solution. High-speed laser texturing and cleaning will overcome the limitations of current joining technology to provide greatest performance joints. ComMUnion will rely on a robot-based approach enabling on-line inspection for layer-to-layer self-adjustment of the process. Moreover, tools for multi-scale modelling, parametric offline programming, quality diagnosis and decision support will be developed under a cognitive approach to ensure interoperability and usability. ComMUnion will address the following key innovations: - Texturing and cleaning based on high speed laser scanning for surface condition. - High-speed spatially resolved control of surface temperature profile. - Multi-scale metal/CFRP modelling, self-adaptive process control, and quality diagnosis based on multimodal active imaging. ComMUnion approach will decrease by 30% the consumption of titanium and boron steel, (costly alloys requiring critical materials). Besides, reinforcement of textured metallic surfaces with CFRT tapes will increase mechanical performance of multi-material components over 30% without cost increase. Manufacturing of two pilot-cases for automotive and aeronautics will demonstrate the scalability of the joining process. It will be possible trough a consortium with a strong involvement of industrial partners (73% of which 55% are SMEs). The outline of the business plan ensures the exploitation of the project results. With a target market of 2.000 companies and a fair estimate of 2% market penetration (5 years after the commercialization start), ComMUnion will result in 40M/year incomes.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.77M | Year: 2014

The BIopolymer BAsed FOOd Delivery Systems (BIBAFOODS) network will train young researchers for the advancement of food science and technology, by providing them with the complementary skills necessary to develop the future sustainable food industry and entrepreneurial skills crucial for creating biotechnological food oriented start-up companies. This collaborative training network will combine the complementary training capabilities of each individual partner institution to improve the trainees chances for employment and promote health and welfare in the EC by providing the capability to develop novel functional foods. The scientific focus of the research training is on colloidal delivery systems to protect and deliver active components via foods, resulting in novel functional foods. The development of these systems is to be based on only food-grade ingredients and upon economical feasible processes. The hypothesis is that the materials and coatings can be made responsive to the external chemical conditions and therefore suitable for controlled releases targeted at a desired stage during food processing or at a specific point during digestion of the food, e.g. in the intestinal tract. This will involve probiotic bacteria and enzymes that are liberated and allowed to be active in a controllable way. The ultimate successful materials ensure stability of the active component during long term storage prior to food production, during food production or during digestion, but at the same time liberating the active component at the right point. The behaviour and interaction of the delivery systems will be studied by simulation of gastric and intestinal conditions and by implementation in food production and formulation into probiotic products. To summarize, through the training in BIBAFOODS, 14 young researchers will achieve superior qualifications that will make them highly competitive and attractive for the European food and bio-tech industry.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.2.2 | Award Amount: 8.19M | Year: 2009

The field of robotics is undergoing a major revolution as it is increasingly being applied to general purposes outside the production line: for health, rehabilitation and professional services, in domestic and leisure environments, as well as hazardous environments. There, one keystone for robots to carry out accurate and intelligent tasks, with and for people, is their ability both to handle autonomously all sorts of objects and to use human tools. However, todays robots are unable to achieve dexterous and fine manipulation, especially when this requires in-hand manipulation. They are far from being able to understand and reason about their environments, their goals and their own capabilities, to learn skills and improve their performance by what they have been taught and their own experience, to interact with their environments with the efficiency of humans.\nThe HANDLE project aims at understanding how humans perform the manipulation of objects in order to replicate grasping and skilled in-hand movements with an anthropomorphic artificial hand, and thereby move robot grippers from current best practice towards more autonomous, natural and effective articulated hands. The project implies not only focusing on technological developments but also working with fundamental multidisciplinary research aspects in order to endow the robotic hand system with advanced perception capabilities, high level feedback control and elements of intelligence that allow recognition of objects and context, reasoning about actions and a high degree of recovery from failure during the execution of dexterous tasks.\nIntegrating findings from disciplines such as neuroscience, developmental psychology, cognitive science, robotics, multimodal perception and machine learning, the method we will develop is based on an original blend of learning and predicting behaviours from imitation and babbling to allow the robot to be capable of responding to gaps in its knowledge.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-CSA | Phase: WIDESPREAD-1-2014 | Award Amount: 499.85K | Year: 2015

This proposal aims to develop the necessary endeavours to elaborate a robust and feasible Business Plan that will be the basis for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence in Portugal The Discoveries Centre for Regenerative and Precision Medicine. It is an initiative of the Portuguese Foundation for Science & Technology, scientifically coordinated by the University of Minho and involving a national partnership formed by the 6 top-ranked Portuguese universities. The new Centre will result from a teaming process with the University College London, an institution of research and innovation excellence from the UK. The experience and expertise of all these entities future founding members of the new Centre will be used to design the necessary strategies and approaches to build the final business plan. The Discoveries Centre to be created will perform world-leading research, by anchoring research activities of the best research groups in Portugal, promoting excellence, advanced training, translational research outputs and commercialisation strategies. In the long-run, these are expected to generate an important economic impact, as well as a positive social effect by contributing to the increase of the quality of life of an ageing European population affected by neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases. Therefore, it is anticipated that The Discoveries Centre will be able to foster a knowledge-based economy aligned with national and regional strategic priority areas and European societal challenges, thus reinforcing Portugals scientific capabilities and social and economic development. It will also contribute to a global recognition of the national scientific production, having a structuring effect in the Portuguese science, generating high value-added products, attracting top-level international scientists, as well as enhancing the capacity to retain the best Portuguese researchers.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-IAPP-2008 | Award Amount: 1.25M | Year: 2009

The CRITICAL STEP aims to establish the basis for a long term strategic research collaboration between partners in the growing and challenging domain of software for large-scale Safety-Critical Systems (SCSs) based on the use of Off-The-Shelf (OTS) software components for the control of complex distributed infrastructures (e.g. systems for Air Traffic Management, Process Control in Chemical and Nuclear factories, Network Control in the Oil and Gas Industry). The global demand for such systems is high and it is expected to increase in the next years. The actual trend is to use middleware platforms with modular OTS components as a way to: 1) master the complexity in software design by creating, developing a managing an information control system and interconnection between federated systems; 2) reduce development and maintenance time and cost; 3) improve efficiency. Due to the critical nature of the infrastructures to be controlled, these goals must be achieved while assuring quantifiable requirements for safety and security. The CRITICAL STEP project proposes a Transfer of Knowledge (ToK) programme between Industry and Academy through secondments of their internal staff and integration of new recruited staff. The Tok objectives regard 3 main research topics: 1) qualitative evaluation of OTS software for SCS applications; 2) quantitative evaluation of dependability and robustness of OTS based SCSs; 3) R&D of techniques for on-line fault diagnosis. The partners involved in this project feel they are in need of sharing and combining their knowledge and use the existing synergies/complementarities to set long term strategic bases to deal with the complexity of the next generation SCSs, resist market competition and win the challenge of developing new safe technologies and standards. The involved researchers will share their expertise, absorb knowledge, develop original competences and integrate their new acquired know-how back to their home companies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.5.1 | Award Amount: 21.96M | Year: 2008

Each year Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) causes over 1.9 million deaths in the EU, causing direct health costs of 105 billion. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), half of all CVD deaths, is the single most cause of death in Europe. Heart Failure (HF) a CHD being the most frequent cause of hospitalization for people over 65 has 10 million patients in the EU. Current treatment of HF entails recommendations from clinicians on medication, diet and lifestyle. Patients only receive feedback at doctors visits, or when facing symptoms. Daily monitoring, close follow up, and help on treatment routine is lacking. Non-adherence to the treatment regime is a major cause of suboptimal clinical benefit.HeartCycle will provide a closed-loop disease management solution to serve both HF and CHD patients, including hypertension, diabetes and arrhythmias as possible co-morbidities. This will be achieved by multi-parametric monitoring of vital signs, analysing the data and providing automated decision support, to derive therapy recommendations.The system will contain a patient loop interacting directly with the patient to support the daily treatment. It will show the health development, including treatment adherence and effectiveness. Being motivated, compliance will increase, and health will improve. The system will also contain a professional loop involving medical professionals, e.g. alerting to revisit the care plan. The patient loop is connected with hospital information systems, to ensure optimal and personalised care.Europes health system is undergoing radical changes due to an aging population. Its moving from reactive towards preventative care, and from hospital care to care at home. Tomorrows patients will become more empowered to take their health into their own hands. New ICT is required to enable this paradigm shift.HeartCycle, coordinated by Philips leading in electronics and health care , includes experts on textiles, ICT, decision support and user interaction.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.2.1 | Award Amount: 2.91M | Year: 2008

The project intends to establish a link between fundamental sensing tasks and automated cognition processes that concern the understanding a short-term prediction of human behaviour as well as complex human interaction. The analysis of human behaviour is unrestricted environments, including localization and tracking of multiple people and recognition of their activities, currently constitutes a topic of intensive research in the signal processing and computer vision communities. This research is driven by diferent important applications, including unattended surveillance and intelligent space monitoring. \nThe overall goal of the project is the development of principled methods to link fundamental sensing tasks using multiple modalities, and automated cognition regarding the understanding of human behaviour in complex indoor environments, at both individual and collective levels. Given the two above principles, the consortium will conduct research on three core scientific and technological objectives: \n1) sersor modelling and information fusion from multiple, heterogeneous perceptual modalities \n2) modelling, localization, and tracking of multiple people \n3) modelling, recognition, and short-term prediction of continuous complex human behaviour

Machado H.,University of Minho | Machado H.,University of Coimbra | Silva S.,University of Porto
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2014

The creation and expansion of forensic DNA databases might involve potential threats to the protection of a range of human rights. At the same time, such databases have social benefits. Based on data collected through an online questionnaire applied to 628 individuals in Portugal, this paper aims to analyze the citizens' willingness to donate voluntarily a sample for profiling and inclusion in the National Forensic DNA Database and the views underpinning such a decision. Nearly one-quarter of the respondents would indicate 'no', and this negative response increased significantly with age and education. The overriding willingness to accept the inclusion of the individual genetic profile indicates an acknowledgement of the investigative potential of forensic DNA technologies and a relegation of civil liberties and human rights to the background, owing to the perceived benefits of protecting both society and the individual from crime. This rationale is mostly expressed by the idea that all citizens should contribute to the expansion of the National Forensic DNA Database for reasons that range from the more abstract assumption that donating a sample for profiling would be helpful in fighting crime to the more concrete suggestion that everyone (criminals and non-criminals) should be in the database. The concerns with the risks of accepting the donation of a sample for genetic profiling and inclusion in the National Forensic DNA Database are mostly related to lack of control and insufficient or unclear regulations concerning safeguarding individuals' data and supervising the access and uses of genetic data. By providing an empirically-grounded understanding of the attitudes regarding willingness to donate voluntary a sample for profiling and inclusion in a National Forensic DNA Database, this study also considers the citizens' perceived benefits and risks of operating forensic DNA databases. These collective views might be useful for the formation of international common ethical standards for the development and governance of DNA databases in a framework in which the citizens' perspectives are taken into consideration. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.2.1 | Award Amount: 2.44M | Year: 2010

EDGIs aim is to deploy desktop grid (DG) and cloud services for EGI user communities that are heavy users of DCIs and require extremely large multi-national e-infrastructure. In order to achieve this goal software components of ARC, gLite, Unicore, BOINC, XWHEP, ADICS, 3G Bridge, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus will be integrated into SG?DG?Cloud platforms for service provision and as a result EDGI will extend ARC, gLite and Unicore grids with volunteer and institutional DG systems. EDGI will create novel QoS support for the DG systems and will explore new service provision models in order to ensure harmonised DG?Cloud interfaces to ARC, gLite, Unicore resources. EDGI will provide a workflow-oriented science gateway to enable user communities to more easily access the EDGI infrastructure. EDGI will establish the EuroCivis organization to coordinate DG-related activities in Europe both for solving technical issues as well as to attract volunteer DG resource donors by disseminating results of the EDGI and EGI projects. EuroCivis and EDGI will work in strong collaboration with EGI, EMI, NorduGrid, Unicore Forum and interested NGIs.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: EUB-1-2015 | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

The EUBrasilCloudFORUM Coordination and Support Action aims at establishing an organisational cooperation model that enables the EU and Brazil to formulate and develop a common strategy and approach for Research & Innovation in Cloud Computing in line with the priorities of each region. Shaping the Digital Single Market (DSM) requires revitalising industry with a strong focus on cloud computing and the data economy. Europe & Brazil understand the potential global importance of the DSM, where both parties within EUBrasilCloudFORUM, agree that an open exchange with stakeholders is critical for building consensus amongst the regions and for delivering practical guides on how Cloud Services can help business and research activity. The on-going evolution of cloud computing will radically transform business processes and bring about the most sweeping changes to the structure of the global economy since the Industrial Revolution. A structured channel as the EUBrasilCloudFORUM is needed to exchange views on the digital economy can support better access for consumers and businesses around innovative cloud services and solutions and maximise the growth potential of the digital economy. Four main objectives have been set by the EU & BR consortium: 1) structure a community driven engagement forum for EU-Brazil policy and research and innovation dialogues; 2) deliver an EU-Brazil Research and Innovation Roadmap and Action Plan related to cloud computing; 3) build a web based EUBR Service platform to promote and market the results from the EU-Brazil community as well as showcasing the success stories; and 4) organize and deliver focused EU-BR Cloud Computing Events.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2013

Our proposal is based on the idea that real-time functional neuroimaging can be used to train patients to regulate their own brain activity via neurofeedback training and thus modulate the brain networks of mental disorder, restore function, improve symptoms and promote resilience. We have brought together the core groups that have been instrumental in the development of methods for real-time functional imaging and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance)-based neurofeedback and have led the initial clinical applications in neuropsychiatric disorders. Our proposal has three main components, the development and refinement of methods for the real-time analysis and feedback of fMRI data and combination with other imaging modalities (WP2), the adaptation of fMRI mapping techniques to localise disease-relevant networks and development of protocols for their self-regulation through neurofeedback (WP3) and the assessment of feasibility and clinical effects in several mental disorders that are characterised by dysfunctional brain systems for motivation, emotion regulation and social communication and by important therapeutic gaps (autism spectrum disorders, alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood anxiety disorders, binge-eating disorder) (WP4). We will also explore the potential transfer of (laboratory-based) imaging feedback training into everyday settings through ambulatory and assistive technologies such as electroencephalography (EEG) and gaming (WP5). We will engage with potential users of these technologies (healthcare professionals and providers, medical instrument and software manufacturers, patient and carer associations) through several workshops, liaise with regulatory authorities and disseminate findings to the academic and user communities in WP6.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRA-2011-3.4. | Award Amount: 1.16M | Year: 2011

The Discover the COSMOS coordination action aims to demonstrate innovative ways to involve teachers and students in eScience through the use of existing e-infrastructures in order to spark young peoples interest in science and in following scientific careers. It aims to support policy development by a) demonstrating effective community building between researchers, teachers and students and empowering the latter to use, share and exploit the collective power of unique scientific resources (research facilities, scientific instruments, advanced ICT tools, simulation and visualisation applications and scientific databases) in meaningful educational activities, that promote inquiry-based learning and appreciation of how science works, b) demonstrating effective integration of science education with e-infrastructures through a monitored-for-impact use of eScience activities, which will provide feedback for the take-up of such interventions at large scale in Europe and c) documenting the whole process through the development of a roadmap that will include guidelines for the design and implementation of effective educational and outreach activities that could act as a reference to be adapted for stakeholders in both scientific research outreach and science education policy.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.5.2 | Award Amount: 4.33M | Year: 2008

Epilepsy is the commonest serious brain disorder in every country, and probably the most universal of all medical disorders. In Europe six million people currently have epilepsy and fifteen million will have epilepsy at some time of their lives. Currently nearly 30% of these people cannot be treated by therapeutics based on pharmacological anticonvulsive medication or resective surgery and are completely subjected to the sudden and unforeseen seizures strike that has a strong impact on their everyday life, with temporary impairments of motoricity, perception, speech, memory or conscience.\nEpilepsy costs the countries of Europe over 20 billion ECU every year, most of which related to the untreatable patients, an amount that could be significantly reduced with effective action.\nThe project intends to develop an intelligent alarming system, transportable by the patient, measuring the brain dynamical activity, capable of predicting the seizures, allowing the patient to assess the risk of his actual situation and improving his safety The system is based on multisignal information (EEG, ECG and others), intelligent data processing and wireless communications.\nThe project will develop knowledge (in data analysis), algorithms (of seizure prediction) and technologies (of data acquisition and wireless transmission) that integrated into an intelligent system will be an important step forward in economical affordable personal healthcare systems for neurological applications.\nA European Epilepsy Database, replicated in the three clinical partners, will also be built by the project, including all the available information about epileptic patients, allowing semantic mining based on multimodal, multisignal and multidimensional data.\nThe EPILEPSIA consortium consists of seven partners from 4 countries: 3 academic, 3 clinics, 1 industrial SME company, covering the whole value chain from theoretical conception to market products and final users.

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: IA | Phase: ICT-24-2015 | Award Amount: 4.34M | Year: 2016

Manufacturing competitiveness depends largely on its productivity, flexibility and agility to react to market demands. Robots are a key element to achieve such competitiveness, especially if they are able to collaborate with humans in a shared workspace in the shop-floor, creating a co-working partnership. The paradigm for robot usage has changed from an idea in which robots work with complete autonomy to a scenario in which robots collaborate with humans. This means taking the best of each partner, human and robot, by exploring the cognitive and dexterity capabilities of humans (focus on value-added tasks) and the capacity of robots to produce repetitive work and provide assistance. ColRobot combines cutting-edge European robot technology and end-user requirements for assembly processes to create an integrated system for collaborative robotics in which a mobile manipulator acts as a third hand by delivering kits, tools, parts, and holding work pieces while the operator works on it. Humans will cognitively and physically interact with ColRobot robots using gestures, touch commands and demonstrations. The robot will be able to navigate autonomously in the factory floor to pick up the required parts and tools, and prepare kits for assembly. A safety system that pushes the limits of standardization in collaborative robotics supervises the process. The technology readiness level (TRL) will be increased by means of continuous iterative real world testing (performance, usability, relevance in manufacturing), validation and improvement. Two use cases in automobile and aerospace industry will be implemented and validated in real world operational environments. The ColRobot vision and the consortium competences in technology transfer will allow to reduce the technological innovation gap that halts the transition from science to economic and social impact.

Estima J.O.,University of Coimbra | Estima J.O.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Cardoso A.J.M.,University of Coimbra | Cardoso A.J.M.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal
IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications | Year: 2011

Practically all the diagnostic methods for opencircuit faults in voltage-source inverters (VSI) developed during the last decades are focused on the occurrence of single faults and do not have the capability to handle and identify multiple failures. This paper presents a new method for real-time diagnostics of multiple open-circuit faults in VSI feeding ac machines. In contrast with the majority of the methods found in the literature which are based on the motor phase currents average values, the average absolute values are used here as principal quantities to formulate the diagnostic variables. These prove to be more robust against the issue of false alarms, carrying also information about multiple open-circuit failures. Furthermore, by the combination of these variables with the machine phase currents average values, it is possible to obtain characteristic signatures, which allow for the detection and identification of single and multiple open-circuit faults. © 2006 IEEE.

Estima J.O.,University of Coimbra | Estima J.O.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Marques Cardoso A.J.,Telecommunications Institute of Portugal | Marques Cardoso A.J.,University of Beira Interior
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2013

Three-phase inverters are currently utilized in an enormous variety of industrial applications, including variable-speed ac drives. However, due to their complexity and exposure to several stresses, they are prone to suffer critical failures. Accordingly, this paper presents a novel diagnostic algorithm that allows the real-time detection and localization of multiple power switch open-circuit faults in inverter-fed ac motor drives. The proposed method is quite simple and just requires the measured motor phase currents and their corresponding reference signals, already available from the main control system, therefore avoiding the use of additional sensors and hardware. Several experimental results using a vector-controlled permanent-magnet synchronous motor drive are presented, showing the diagnostic algorithm effectiveness, its relatively fast detection time, and its robustness against false alarms. © 1982-2012 IEEE.

News Article | December 9, 2016

Francisco Duarte, a PhD Student in Transportation Systems of the MIT Portugal Program at University of Coimbra, was honored today with the first prize at the initiative promoted by Automóvel Clube Portugal in a partnership with BP Portugal, National Council of Rectors and National Innovation Agency. The 10 000€ will later be invested in the venture's prototype is currently under construction and it is expected that the laboratory tests will take place early next year and that the project pilot will be implemented in the second half of 2017. The project entitled VENEX presents a speed reduction system that induces the deceleration of vehicles without causing damage, noise or any discomfort to the passengers. The VENEX - Vehicle Energy Efficient Extractor - equipment acts as in a similar fashion to a carpet that when placed on the floor actively reduces the speed of the vehicles by extracting kinetic energy, with a minimal impact on the automobile. Contrary to existing systems, this one absorbs the vehicles' energy and makes it slow down safely, without any action of the driver and even without being perceptible since it causes no discomfort. By acting directly on the vehicles, this solution can be effective in different places such as crossings, intersections, roundabouts, residential areas, schools and hospital areas, among others where it is crucial to control the speed limits. Drivers who move within the legal velocity limits will not be penalized, and the energy will just be withdrawn according to the necessity of each place. Currently, road safety is an issue of global importance, especially due to the number of traffic-related victims, which increases annually and has high social and economic costs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.24 million people lose their lives annually in road accidents, and the number of seriously injured exceeds 7.8 million. In a study carried out in Portugal in 2012, the economic costs related to traffic accidents goes up to 2.5 million euros, which represents about 1.54% of the country's GDP. A large number of accidents occur in urban areas, involving especially pedestrians. WHO has pointed out several measures to promote the decrease of the number of accidents, and being speed reduction the first and most important. Several solutions have been developed but the one that has the best results to date are still road humps, managing to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents by more than 40%.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2013

Modular construction is used in housing and residential buildings because it is fast to construct and of high quality. This proposal provides the research necessary to extend two types of modular building systems into high-rise building applications where means of providing stability and in some areas, seismic resistance are very important. In addition, the proposal will lead to quantification of the sustainability benefits and acoustic performance, that affect the use of modular construction in the residential building sector. With this information, it is possible to develop design guidance to support the use of these modular systems and to create new markets in high-rise and mixed use buildings. The research will involve full-scale physical tests on modules and on groups of modules, and supprted by finite element analyses as well as on -site measurements of performance. The tests will cover the basic structural performance of the modules and their connections and in particular, their robustness to removal of supports. This will aslso simulate the loss of support and tying action in seismic events. The structural guidance will be presented in the form of application rules to Eurocode 3. Case studies and architectural information will be presented to support the use of the modular systems in practice. This will extend to building typologies using the developed modular systems. seminars and other dissemination activities will be carried out to exploit the results of this research and to create market awareness.

Oliveira O.,University of Coimbra | Oliveira O.,Brazilian Technological Institute of Aeronautics | Bicudo P.,University of Lisbon
Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics | Year: 2011

The interpretation of the Landau gauge lattice gluon propagator as a massive-type bosonic propagator is investigated. Three different scenarios are discussed: (i) an infrared constant gluon mass; (ii) an ultraviolet constant gluon mass; (iii) a momentum-dependent mass. We find that the infrared data can be associated with a massive propagator up to momenta ∼500 MeV, with a constant gluon mass of 723(11) MeV, if one excludes the zero momentum gluon propagator from the analysis, or 648(7) MeV, if the zero momentum gluon propagator is included in the data sets. The ultraviolet lattice data are not compatible with a massive-type propagator with a constant mass. The scenario of a momentum-dependent gluon mass gives a decreasing mass with the momentum, which vanishes in the deep ultraviolet region. Furthermore, we show that the functional forms used to describe the decoupling-like solution of the Dyson-Schwinger equations are compatible with the lattice data with similar mass scales. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Carvalho J.,University of Coimbra | Francisco R.,University of Lisbon | Relvas A.P.,University of Coimbra
Computers in Human Behavior | Year: 2015

The advances and incorporation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in everyday family life has earned a place of prominence in the research field. This paper provides a research synthesis of the literature published between 1998 and 2013 examining the relationship of ICTs and family functioning. Searching through databases, 45 papers were located and analyzed which enabled the conceptualization of this relationship in five domains: (1) attitudes toward ICTs, (2) types of ICTs and using patterns, (3) family cohesion, (4) family roles, rules and intergenerational conflicts, and (5) family boundaries. Results show that ICTs have implied qualitative changes in family functioning, creating new interaction scenarios and rearranging current family relational patterns. Some gaps in the literature are pointed out, such as the difference operationalization of variables and the use of non-standard instruments in the studies. Suggestions are made for clinical interventions and future research in this domain. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,University of Granada | Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,University of Coimbra | Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,Institute Fisica Of Cantabria Csic Uc | Benbrik R.,Institute Fisica Of Cantabria Csic Uc | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

We obtain constraints on the mixing of vectorlike quarks coupling predominantly to the third generation. We consider all (seven) relevant types of vectorlike quarks, individually. The constraints are derived from oblique corrections and Z→bb̄ measurements at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) Collider and the Stanford Linear Collider. We investigate the implications of these constraints on LHC phenomenology, concerning the decays of the heavy quarks and their single production. We also explore indirect effects of heavy quark mixing in top and bottom couplings. A remarkable effect is the possibility of explaining the anomalous forward-backward asymmetry in Z→bb̄ at the LEP with a hypercharge -5/6 doublet. We also study the impact of the new quarks on single Higgs production at the LHC and Higgs decay. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Silveirinha M.G.,University of Pennsylvania | Silveirinha M.G.,University of Coimbra | Engheta N.,University of Pennsylvania
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

It is theoretically demonstrated that electron states in semiconductors or graphene can be perfectly transmitted through a complementary material with dual properties, independent of the angle of incidence. It is shown that such complementary material may also provide a strong spatial delocalization of bounded electronic states, changing dramatically the confinement of the wave function, and acting effectively as a lens for the probability wave. The results are the electron analogue of a perfect lens for electromagnetic waves proposed in an earlier work. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Coito S.,University of Lisbon | Rupp G.,University of Lisbon | van Beveren E.,University of Coimbra
European Physical Journal C | Year: 2011

The nature of the X(3872) enhancement is analyzed in the framework of the Resonance-Spectrum Expansion, by studying it as a regular JPC=1++ charmonium state, though strongly influenced and shifted by open-charm decay channels. The observed but Okubo-Zweig-Iizuka-forbidden ρ0J/ψ and ωJ/ψ channels are coupled as well, but effectively smeared out by using complex ρ0 and ω masses, in order to account for their physical widths, followed by a rigorous algebraic procedure to restore unitarity. A very delicate interplay between the D0 D*0, ρ0 J/ψ, and ωJ/ψ channels is observed. The data clearly suggest that the X(3872) is a very narrow axial-vector cc̄ resonance, with a pole at or slightly below the D0 D*0 threshold. © 2011 Springer-Verlag / Società Italiana di Fisica.

Morais M.C.,University of Coimbra | Pereira H.,University of Lisbon
Wood Science and Technology | Year: 2012

The variation in extractives content in sapwood and heartwood was investigated among 12 trees in each of four commercial plantations of Eucalyptus globulus in central Portugal. The study was carried out at the 15% height level and extractions used successively dichloromethane, ethanol and water. At all sites, heartwood had significantly more extractives than sapwood, on average 3.8 and 2.4%, respectively. Most extractives consisted of ethanol soluble material (on average 52% of total extractives). Among the sites, there was a statistically significant difference in the content of extractives but the most important source of variation was the within-tree variation between sapwood and heartwood. Differences in the content of extractives were also observed among trees. A strong relation between extractives content and heartwood proportion was found. The potential loss of pulp yield and problems associated with accumulation of extractives are directly related to the heartwood proportion in the eucalypt stems. Forest management should take into account heartwood development and selection for minimising heartwood extractives. © Springer-Verlag 2011.

Van Beveren E.,University of Coimbra | Rupp G.,University of Lisbon | Segovia J.,University of Salamanca
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

We argue that the X(4260) enhancement contains a wealth of information on 1- cc̄ spectroscopy. We discuss the shape of the X(4260) observed in the Okubo-Zweig-Iizuka-forbidden process e+e -→π+π-J/ψ, in particular, at and near vector charmonium resonances as well as open-charm threshold enhancements. The resulting very broad X(4260) structure does not seem to classify itself as a 1- cc̄ resonance, but its detailed shape allows us to identify new vector charmonium states with higher statistics than in open-charm decay. Here, we estimate the resonance parameters of the ψ(3D). Our approach also provides an explanation for the odd dip in the π+π -J/ψ data precisely at the ψ(4415) resonance. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Silveirinha M.G.,University of Pennsylvania | Silveirinha M.G.,University of Coimbra | Engheta N.,University of Pennsylvania
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

The speed of integrated circuits is ultimately limited by the mobility of electrons or holes, which depend on the effective mass in a semiconductor. Here, building on an analogy with electromagnetic metamaterials and transformation optics, we describe a transport regime in a semiconductor superlattice characterized by extreme anisotropy of the effective mass and a low intrinsic resistance to movement-with zero effective mass-along some preferred direction of electron motion. We theoretically demonstrate that such a regime may permit an ultrafast, extremely strong electron response, and significantly high conductivity, which, notably, may be weakly dependent on the temperature at low temperatures. These ideas may pave the way for faster electronic devices and detectors and functional materials with a strong electrical response in the infrared regime. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Silveirinha M.G.,University of Pennsylvania | Silveirinha M.G.,University of Coimbra | Engheta N.,University of Pennsylvania
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

Based on an analogy with electromagnetic metamaterials, we develop an effective medium description for the propagation of electron matter waves in bulk semiconductors with a zinc-blende structure. It is formally demonstrated that even though departing from a different starting point, our theory gives results for the energy stationary states consistent with Bastard's envelope-function approximation in the long-wavelength limit. Using the proposed approach, we discuss the time evolution of a wave packet in a bulk semiconductor with a zero-gap and linear energy-momentum dispersion. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Costa P.,University of Coimbra | Ferreira M.,University of Coimbra | Hansen H.,University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 | Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

The location of the critical end point (CEP) in the QCD phase diagram is determined under different scenarios. The effect of strangeness, isospin/charge asymmetry and an external magnetic field is investigated. The discussion is performed within the 2+1 flavor Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model with Polyakov loop. It is shown that isospin asymmetry shifts the CEP to larger baryonic chemical potentials and smaller temperatures. At large asymmetries the CEP disappears. However, a strong enough magnetic field drives the system into a first order phase transition. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Ljungberg B.,Umeå University | Bensalah K.,University of Rennes 1 | Canfield S.,University of Houston | Dabestani S.,Skåne University Hospital | And 11 more authors.
European Urology | Year: 2015

Context The European Association of Urology Guideline Panel for Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) has prepared evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for RCC management. Objectives To provide an update of the 2010 RCC guideline based on a standardised methodology that is robust, transparent, reproducible, and reliable. Evidence acquisition For the 2014 update, the panel prioritised the following topics: percutaneous biopsy of renal masses, treatment of localised RCC (including surgical and nonsurgical management), lymph node dissection, management of venous thrombus, systemic therapy, and local treatment of metastases, for which evidence synthesis was undertaken based on systematic reviews adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant databases (Medline, Cochrane Library, trial registries, conference proceedings) were searched (January 2000 to November 2013) including randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and retrospective or controlled studies with a comparator arm. Risk of bias (RoB) assessment and qualitative and quantitative synthesis of the evidence were performed. The remaining sections of the document were updated following a structured literature assessment. Evidence synthesis All chapters of the RCC guideline were updated. For the various systematic reviews, the search identified a total of 10 862 articles. A total of 151 studies reporting on 78 792 patients were eligible for inclusion; where applicable, data from RCTs were included and meta-analyses were performed. For RCTs, there was low RoB across studies; however, clinical and methodological heterogeneity prevented data pooling for most studies. The majority of studies included were retrospective with matched or unmatched cohorts based on single or multi-institutional data or national registries. The exception was for systemic treatment of metastatic RCC, in which several RCTs have been performed, resulting in recommendations based on higher levels of evidence. Conclusions The 2014 guideline has been updated by a multidisciplinary panel using the highest methodological standards, and provides the best and most reliable contemporary evidence base for RCC management. Patient summary The European Association of Urology Guideline Panel for Renal Cell Carcinoma has thoroughly evaluated available research data on kidney cancer to establish international standards for the care of kidney cancer patients. © 2015 European Association of Urology.

Coito S.,University of Lisbon | Rupp G.,University of Lisbon | van Beveren E.,University of Coimbra
European Physical Journal C | Year: 2013

A solvable coordinate-space model is employed to study the cc̄ component of the X(3872) wave function, by coupling a confined 3P1cc̄ state to the almost unbound S-wave D0D*0 channel via the 3P0 mechanism. The two-component wave function is calculated for different values of the binding energy and the transition radius a, always resulting in a significant cc̄ component. However, the long tail of the D0D*0 wave function, in the case of small binding, strongly limits the cc̄ probability, which roughly lies in the range 7-11 %, for the average experimental binding energy of 0. 16 MeV and a between 2 and 3 GeV-1. Furthermore, a reasonable value of 7. 8 fm is obtained for the X(3872) r. m. s. radius at the latter binding energy, as well as an S-wave D0D*0 scattering length of 11. 6 fm. Finally, the S-matrix pole trajectories as a function of coupling constant show that X(3872) can be generated either as a dynamical pole or as one connected to the bare cc̄ confinement spectrum, depending on details of the model. From these results we conclude that X(3872) is not a genuine meson-meson molecule, nor actually any other mesonic system with non-exotic quantum numbers, due to inevitable mixing with the corresponding quark-antiquark states. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and Società Italiana di Fisica.

Janicic P.,University of Belgrade | Narboux J.,University of Strasbourg | Quaresma P.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Automated Reasoning | Year: 2012

The area method for Euclidean constructive geometry was proposed by Chou, Gao and Zhang in the early 1990's. The method can efficiently prove many non-trivial geometry theorems and is one of the most interesting and most successful methods for automated theorem proving in geometry. The method produces proofs that are often very concise and human-readable. In this paper, we provide a first complete presentation of the method. We provide both algorithmic and implementation details that were omitted in the original presentations. We also give a variant of Chou, Gao and Zhang's axiom system. Based on this axiom system, we proved formally all the lemmas needed by the method and its soundness using the Coq proof assistant. To our knowledge, apart from the original implementation by the authors who first proposed the method, there are only three implementations more. Although the basic idea of the method is simple, implementing it is a very challenging task because of a number of details that has to be dealt with. With the description of the method given in this paper, implementing the method should be still complex, but a straightforward task. In the paper we describe all these implementations and also some of their applications. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

Pearson J.M.,University of Montréal | Chamel N.,Free University of Colombia | Goriely S.,Free University of Colombia | Ducoin C.,University of Coimbra | Ducoin C.,University Claude Bernard Lyon 1
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

The equation of state and composition of the inner crust of neutron stars at zero temperature are calculated, using the T = 0 version of the temperature-dependent extended Thomas-Fermi plus Strutinsky integral method, for each of a family of three functionals based on Skyrme-type forces BSk19, BSk20, and BSk21, which are characterized by different degrees of symmetry-energy stiffness, and also for the SLy4 functional. We also solve the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff equations to calculate the distribution of mass within the inner crust. Qualitatively similar results are found for all four functionals, and in particular the number of protons per Wigner-Seitz cell is in all cases equal to 40 throughout the inner crust. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Abreu J.M.,University of Lisbon | Camara Pereira F.,University of Coimbra | Ferrao P.,University of Lisbon
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2012

Recognizing habitual behavior and providing feedback in context are key to empower individuals to take control over residential electricity consumption. Yet, it is a challenge to change habitual behavior, embedded in everyday routines. This paper intends to discover whether habitual behavior can be identified by pattern recognition techniques. The data source is an experiment similar to a utility led advanced metering infrastructure implementation. The analysis discovers: (1) persistent daily routines and (2) patterns of consumption or baselines typical of specific weather and daily conditions. Approximately 80% of household electricity use can be explained within these two patterns, with several applicable "profiles" for this population, including: unoccupied baseline, hot working days, temperate working days, cold working days, and cold weekend days. The proposed methodology demonstrates that it is possible to use pattern recognition methodologies to recognize habitual electricity consumption behavior given the intrinsic characteristics of the family. This approach could be useful to improve small scale forecast, and as a mechanism to enable the provision of tailor-made information to the families. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Duarte B.,University of Lisbon | Santos D.,University of Lisbon | Marques J.C.,University of Coimbra | Cacador I.,University of Lisbon
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry | Year: 2013

Halimione portulacoides and Sarcocornia fruticosa commonly exhibit a reddish coloration especially in high evaporation periods, due to betacyanin production in response to stress. Although sharing the same area in salt marshes, they present different strategies to overcome salinity stress. While S.fruticosa present a dilution strategy, increasing succulence, H.portulacoides appears to have developed an ionic compartmentalization strategy. Nevertheless, there's still a decrease in the photosynthetic activity in different extents. While in S.fruticosa, the impairment of photosynthetic activity is due to a decrease in the flow from the electron transport chain to the quinone pool; in H.portulacoides the process is affected far more early, with high amounts of energy dissipated at the PSII light harvesting centers. This photosynthetic impairment leads to energy accumulation and consequently to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). SOD was particularly active in stressed individuals, although this increment is rather more significant in S.fruticosa than in H.portulacoides suggesting that H.portulacoides may have a maximum salt concentration at which can sustain cellular balance between ROS production and scavenging. These different ecophysiological responses have great importance while evaluating the impacts climate change driven increase of sediment salinity on halophyte physiology and on the marsh community and ecosystem services. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Fomena R.T.,University of Rennes 1 | Tahri O.,University of Coimbra | Chaumette F.,French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation
IEEE Transactions on Robotics | Year: 2011

This paper is concerned with the use of a spherical-projection model for visual servoing from three points. We propose a new set of six features to control a 6-degree-of-freedom (DOF) robotic system with good decoupling properties. The first part of the set consists of three invariants to camera rotations. These invariants are built using the Cartesian distances between the spherical projections of the three points. The second part of the set corresponds to the angle-axis representation of a rotation matrix measured from the image of two points. Regarding the theoretical comparison with the classical perspective coordinates of points, the new set does not present more singularities. In addition, using the new set inside its nonsingular domain, a classical control law is proven to be optimal for pure rotational motions. The theoretical results and the robustness to points range errors of the new control scheme are validated through simulations and experiments on a 6-DOF robot arm. © 2011 IEEE.

Andrade A.I.A.S.S.,University of Coimbra | Stigter T.Y.,University of Lisbon
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2013

In this study multivariate and geostatistical methods are jointly applied to model the spatial and temporal distribution of arsenic (As) concentrations in shallow groundwater as a function of physicochemical, hydrogeological and land use parameters, as well as to assess the related uncertainty. The study site is located in the Mondego River alluvial body in Central Portugal, where maize, rice and some vegetable crops dominate. In a first analysis scatter plots are used, followed by the application of principal component analysis to two different data matrices, of 112 and 200 samples, with the aim of detecting associations between As levels and other quantitative parameters. In the following phase explanatory models of As are created through factorial regression based on correspondence analysis, integrating both quantitative and qualitative parameters. Finally, these are combined with indicator-geostatistical techniques to create maps indicating the predicted probability of As concentrations in groundwater exceeding the current global drinking water guideline of 10 μg/l. These maps further allow assessing the uncertainty and representativeness of the monitoring network. A clear effect of the redox state on the presence of As is observed, and together with significant correlations with dissolved oxygen, nitrate, sulfate, iron, manganese and alkalinity, points towards the reductive dissolution of Fe (hydr)oxides as the essential mechanism of As release. The association of high As values with rice crop, known to promote reduced environments due to ponding, further corroborates this hypothesis. An additional source of As from fertilizers cannot be excluded, as the correlation with As is higher where rice is associated with vegetables, normally associated with higher fertilization rates. The best explanatory model of As occurrence integrates the parameters season, crop type, well and water depth, nitrate and Eh, though a model without the last two parameters also gives quite satisfactory results. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Barros A.F.M.,University of Lisbon | Barros M.H.F.M.,University of Coimbra | Ferreira C.C.,University of Coimbra
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization | Year: 2012

A minimum cost problem for ultimate strength in bending of rectangular reinforced concrete sections is investigated. The design variables are section depth and steel reinforcement areas. State equations are those of equilibrium with compression depth as state variable. The Kuhn-Tucker optimality conditions are solved analytically and formulas for nondimensional design and state variables are obtained in four cases: Two singly-reinforced solutions with either maximum allowable depth or smaller; Two doubly-reinforced with maximum allowable depth and either maximum compression depth or smaller. Each of the solutions is optimal in a region of the plane 'nondimensional bending moment'-'cost-effectiveness ratio of concrete to steel'. The formulas are for an arbitrary concrete constitutive law with tension cut-off and are specialized for the parabola-rectangle law of Eurocode 2. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Feio M.J.,University of Coimbra | Poquet J.M.,University of Granada
International Review of Hydrobiology | Year: 2011

In the last three decades, predictive models have been developed and applied worldwide for freshwater bioassessment. They consist of statistical tools that follow the concept of the Reference Condition Approach. Composed of several sequential steps, these assessment tools assess the deviation of given site assemblages from the expected biological condition in the absence of human disturbance. The most common approaches (RIVPACS/AUSRIVAS and BEAST) are based on a posteriori classifications that use the biological composition of a community to classify reference sites in groups, and afterwards to establish which environmental features best discriminate the biological groups obtained. Here, we review the predictive modeling procedures used in freshwaters bioassessment (RIVPACS/AUSRIVAS, BEAST, ANNA, Artificial Neural Networks, Bayesian Belief Networks and others) as well as the biological elements to which they have been applied. We also review the Spanish and Portuguese experiences in the development and application of predictive models, with particular attention to regional environmental conditions, the different modeling approaches, and the available implementation tools. Moreover, and considering the natural continuity within the Iberian Peninsula (which include several transnational rivers), we discuss the possibilities of the development of common predictive models across the region, considering all factors that may influence their performance, such as the target scale used to develop the models (regional or peninsular); common reference criteria; sampling and sorting procedures; the taxonomic resolution used in the models; the temporal variability (mainly in the Iberian Mediterranean region); and the biological elements to consider. We concluded that there are good technical conditions for the implementations of a common predictive approach throughout the Iberian Peninsula, which should allow a global biological assessment of streams with different biological elements and seasons that could be used by water managers in the context of the Water Framework Directive. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Falcao G.,University of Coimbra | Sousa L.,University of Lisbon | Silva V.,University of Coimbra
IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems | Year: 2011

Unlike usual VLSI approaches necessary for the computation of intensive Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) code decoders, this paper presents flexible software-based LDPC decoders. Algorithms and data structures suitable for parallel computing are proposed in this paper to perform LDPC decoding on multicore architectures. To evaluate the efficiency of the proposed parallel algorithms, LDPC decoders were developed on recent multicores, such as off-the-shelf general-purpose x86 processors, Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), and the CELL Broadband Engine (CELL/B.E.). Challenging restrictions, such as memory access conflicts, latency, coalescence, or unknown behavior of thread and block schedulers, were unraveled and worked out. Experimental results for different code lengths show throughputs in the order of 1 ∼ 2 Mbps on the general-purpose multicores, and ranging from 40 Mbps on the GPU to nearly 70 Mbps on the CELL/B.E. The analysis of the obtained results allows to conclude that the CELL/B.E. performs better for short to medium length codes, while the GPU achieves superior throughputs with larger codes. They achieve throughputs that in some cases approach very well those obtained with VLSI decoders. From the analysis of the results, we can predict a throughput increase with the rise of the number of cores. © 2010 IEEE.

Intaite M.,University of Coimbra | Koivisto M.,University of Turku | Revonsuo A.,University of Turku | Revonsuo A.,University of Skövde
Psychophysiology | Year: 2013

During prolonged viewing of ambiguous stimuli, such as Necker cubes, sudden perceptual reversals occur from one perceptual interpretation to another. The role of attention in such reversals is not clear. We tested whether perceptual reversals depend on attentional resources by manipulating perceptual load and recording event-related potentials (ERPs) during intermittent presentation of Necker stimuli. The results did not reveal any influence for perceptual load on the frequency of reversals. The ERPs showed that perceptual load influenced electrophysiological activity over parieto-central areas in the P1 time window (110-140ms), but load did not modify the early enhancements of positivity (30-140ms), which correlated with perceptual reversals at occipito-temporal sites. We conclude that disambiguation of ambiguous figures is based on early mechanisms that can work efficiently with only a minimal amount of attentional resources. © 2012 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Carvalheiro H.,University of Coimbra | da Silva J.A.P.,University of Coimbra | da Silva J.A.P.,Centro Hospitalar Universitria Of Coimbra | Souto-Carneiro M.M.,University of Coimbra
Autoimmunity Reviews | Year: 2013

CD8+ T cells have long been suggested to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The current paradigm on the pathogenesis and maintenance of the disease would endorse these cells with predominantly protective and minor influences. However, several animal studies suggest that these cells may have a predominantly proinflammatory (cytotoxic) effect in the disease. Other studies claim otherwise, that they have a mainly regulatory role in inflammatory joints. The evidence in human disease is remarkably scarce. Studies in human samples indicate that CD8+ T cells play an important role in the establishment of germinal centers observed in nearly 50% of RA patients, which may have a decisive role in the initiation and maintenance of the disease process.The conflicting results of experimental studies, the scarcity of data and the complexity of research needed to unravel these complex interactions may explain the relative oblivion of CD8 cells in the field of arthritis over recent decades. Is this a wise decision or may we run the risk of not finding the key to RA because we search for it where there is light as opposed to its probable location? The present review brings together available data on the potential role of CD8+ T cells in inflammation, with emphasis on rheumatoid arthritis, hoping to foster interest and fresh research in this area. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Falcao G.,University of Coimbra | Silva V.,University of Coimbra | Sousa L.,University of Lisbon | Andrade J.,University of Coimbra
IEEE Signal Processing Magazine | Year: 2012

This article proposes to address, in a tutorial style, the benefits of using Open Computing Language [1] (OpenCL) as a quick way to allow programmers to express and exploit parallelism in signal processing algorithms, such as those used in error-correcting code systems. In particular, we will show how multiplatform kernels can be developed straightforwardly using OpenCL to perform computationally intensive low-density parity-check (LDPC) decoding, targeting them to run on a large set of worldwide disseminated multicore architectures, such as x86 general purpose multicore central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). Moreover, devices with different architectures can be orchestrated to cooperatively execute these signal processing applications programmed in OpenCL. Experimental evaluation of the parallel kernels programmed with the OpenCL framework shows that high-performance can be achieved for distinct parallel computing architectures with low programming effort. © 2012 IEEE.

Couto D.S.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Couto D.S.,IBB Institute for Biotechnology And Bioengineering | Couto D.S.,University of Lisbon | Perez-Breva L.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews | Year: 2012

Drug-device combination products introduced a new dynamic on medical product development, regulatory approval, and corporate interaction that provide valuable lessons for the development of new generations of combination products. This paper examines the case studies of drug-eluting stents and transdermal patches to facilitate a detailed understanding of the challenges and opportunities introduced by combination products when compared to previous generations of traditional medical or drug delivery devices. Our analysis indicates that the largest barrier to introduce a new kind of combination products is the determination of the regulatory center that is to oversee its approval. The first product of a new class of combination products offers a learning opportunity for the regulator and the sponsor. Once that first product is approved, the leading regulatory center is determined, and the uncertainty about the entire class of combination products is drastically reduced. The sponsor pioneering a new class of combination products assumes a central role in reducing this uncertainty by advising the decision on the primary function of the combination product. Our analysis also suggests that this decision influences the nature (pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or medical devices) of the companies that will lead the introduction of these products into the market, and guide the structure of corporate interaction thereon. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Ruivo C.R.,University of Algarve | Ruivo C.R.,University of Coimbra | Goldsworthy M.,CSIRO | Intini M.,Polytechnic of Milan
Energy | Year: 2014

The desiccant wheel is a key component of open desiccant air-conditioning systems. Development of a simplified method of assessing their dynamic performance would assist the growth of the industry. Important errors can occur when constant values of the effectiveness parameters are assumed in the effectiveness method. The present work investigates the feasibility of using different interpolation methods to predict the influence of the inlet states of the process and regeneration airflows on the global behaviour of a desiccant wheel. The procedures require a set of reference operating cases. One approach considers interpolation on a grid of known reference points, in a triangular arrangement, for each inlet state domain. The second approach is based on the radial basis function, where all points of the reference grid influence the estimated values. The reference cases are simulated by a validated numerical model. Comparison of the methods shows that the second approach requires fewer reference cases and so is more suitable for the development of a generic simplified tool that takes into account the influence of variable airflow rates and rotation speed on the performance. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Ghafari E.,University of Lisbon | Costa H.,Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra | Julio E.,University of Lisbon | Portugal A.,University of Coimbra | Duraes L.,University of Coimbra
Materials and Design | Year: 2014

The experimental study herein presented was conducted aiming to evaluate the influence of nanosilica (nS) addition on properties of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC). Thermo gravimetric analysis results indicated that nS consumes much more Ca(OH)2 as compared to silica fume, specifically at the early ages. Mercury intrusion porosimetry measurements proved that the addition of nS particles leads to reduction of capillary pores. Scanning electron microscope observation revealed that the inclusion of nS can also efficiently improve the interfacial transition zone between the aggregates and the binding paste. The addition of nS also resulted in an enhancement in compressive strength as well as in transport properties of UHPC. The optimum amount of cement replacement by nS in cement paste to achieve the best performance was 3 wt.%. However, the improper dispersion of nS was found as a deterrent factor to introduce higher percentage of nS into the cement paste. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,University of Granada | Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,University of Coimbra | Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,Institute Fisica Of Cantabria Csic Uc
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2013

We argue why vector-like quarks are usually expected to mix predominantly with the third generation, and discuss about the expected size of this mixing and its naturalness. © 2013 Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences.

Pereira C.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra | Ramalho A.L.,University of Coimbra | Ambrosio J.A.,University of Lisbon
Nonlinear Dynamics | Year: 2011

Most of the analytical models found in the literature, to study the contact between cylindrical bodies, are based on the Hertz pressure distribution. The major shortcomings associated with these cylindrical models concern their nonlinearity. Firstly, the indentation is expressed as an implicit function of the contact force, thus a numerical iterative technique is required to evaluate the contact force for a given indentation. In a dynamic analysis code, it is implied that at each integration time step, the iterative process for the solution of the nonlinear equations has to be solved. Secondly, the current cylindrical contact models include logarithmic functions, which impose mathematical and physical limitations on their application, particularly for conformal contact conditions with lower clearance values. The validity domain of each contact model is identified in this work with relation to the clearance value and material properties of the contacting cylinders. A comparative assessment of the performance of each model is performed calculating the relative difference of each one in relation to Johnson's model. The results show that, in general, different models exhibit distinct behavior for both the internal and external contact between cylinders. The load limit of each model and the restrictions on its application is identified using two simple examples of mechanical engineering practice in which internal contacting cylinders are involved and analyzed to include: journal bearings and roller chain drives. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Guliashvili T.,General Electric | Mendonca P.V.,University of Coimbra | Serra A.C.,University of Coimbra | Popov A.V.,University of Pennsylvania | Coelho J.F.J.,University of Coimbra
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2012

The field of transition-metal-mediated controlled/"living" radical polymerization (CLRP) has become the subject of intense discussion regarding the mechanism of this widely-used and versatile process. Most mechanistic analyses (atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) vs. single-electron transfer living radical polymerization (SET-LRP)) have been based on model experiments, which cannot correctly mimic the true reaction conditions. We present, for the first time, a determination of the [Cu IBr]/[L] (L=nitrogen-based chelating ligand) ratio and the extent of Cu IBr/L disproportionation during CLRP of methyl acrylate (MA) in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) with Cu 0 wire as a transition-metal catalyst source. The results suggest that Cu 0 acts as a supplemental activator and reducing agent of Cu IIBr 2/L to Cu IBr/L. More importantly, the Cu IBr/L species seem to be responsible for the activation of SET-LRP. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Domingues A.,University of Lisbon | Domingues A.,University of Coimbra | Custodio S.,University of Coimbra | Cesca S.,University of Hamburg
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2013

In this paper we apply the KInematic Waveform Inversion (KIWI) tools to the study of smallto- moderate earthquakes in southwest (SW) Iberia. The earthquakes have magnitudes in the range ML 3.5-4.9, with the exception of one earthquake with magnitude ML 6.0. Most events are located offshore, are recorded with a large azimuthal gap and generate waves that travel through a strongly heterogeneous crustal structure.We obtain new estimates of centroid, depth, seismic moment, strike, dip and rake for 12 of the 29 studied events. The earthquakes whose waveforms we cannot successfully model are (1) located too far from the stations, (2) have small magnitude, hence low signal-to-noise ratio or (3) are located within the Cadiz basin, which is a major sedimentary basin that affects wave propagation notably. Our results indicate that onshore earthquakes occur at shallow depths (<15 km), whereas offshore earthquakes occur deeper, down to 46 km. Focal mechanisms indicate transpressive faulting. © The Authors 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

Van Beveren E.,University of Coimbra | Rupp G.,University of Lisbon
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2010

We comment on the recent observation of the decay mode DsJ*(2860) +→D*K by the BABAR Collaboration [B. Aubert et al. (BABAR Collaboration), arXiv:0908.0806], and contest their conclusion that the data exclude a 0+ assignment for the DsJ*(2860) +. In particular, we argue that the observed branching fraction B(DsJ*(2860)+→D*K)/B(DsJ*(2860) +→DK)=1.1±0.15±0.19 supports the existence of two largely overlapping resonances at about 2.86 GeV, namely, a pair of radially excited tensor (2+) and scalar (0+) cs̄ states. This scenario is further justified by comparing with the corresponding excited charmonium states. Also other aspects of the charm-strange spectrum are discussed. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Dias J.C.Q.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon | Calado J.M.F.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon | Mendonca M.C.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2010

The aim of this paper is concerned with the design and development of a functional framework for maritime mode integration in European automotive supply chain management when considering outbound distribution. Furthermore, it provides a readjustment of traditional concepts and terminology with findings that the role of ro-ro port terminals should be considered as decoupling points, poles and postponement platforms. Case studies examine relevant Western European ro-ro port terminals for cars and respective links to assembly/factories of vehicles localized in the hinterland and concludes that ro-ro port terminals reduce logistical friction and impedance, as well as promote space/time compression. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Quina M.J.,University of Coimbra | Bordado J.C.M.,University of Lisbon | Quinta-Ferreira R.M.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2010

The by-products of the municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) generally contain hazardous pollutants, with particular relevance to air pollution control (APC) residues. This waste may be harmful to health and detrimental to the environmental condition, mainly due to soluble salts, toxic heavy metals and trace organic compounds. Solidification/stabilization (S/S) with binders is a common industrial technology for treating such residues, involving however, a significant increase in the final mass that is landfilled. In our work, the chemical stabilization of APC residues by using NaHS·xH2O, H3PO4, Na2CO3, C5H10NNaS2·3H2O, Na2O·SiO2 was investigated, and it was possible to conclude that all these additives lead to an improvement of the stabilization process of the most problematic heavy metals. Indeed, compliance leaching tests showed that after the stabilization treatment the waste becomes non-hazardous with respect to heavy metals. Chromium revealed to be a problematic metal, mainly when H3PO4, Na2CO3 and Na2O·SiO2 were used for stabilization. Nevertheless, soluble phosphates are the most efficient additives for stabilizing the overall metals. The effect of the additives tested on the elements associated with soluble salts (K, Na, Cl-) is almost negligible, and therefore, the soluble fraction is hardly reduced without further treatment, such as pre-washing. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Coito S.,University of Lisbon | Rupp G.,University of Lisbon | Van Beveren E.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2011

Masses and widths of the axial-vector charmed mesons D1(2420), D1(2430), Ds1(2536), and Ds1(2460) are calculated nonperturbatively in the resonance-spectrum-expansion model, by coupling various open and closed meson-meson channels to the bare JP=1 + cq̄ (q=u, d) and cs̄ states. The coupling to two-meson channels dynamically mixes and lifts the mass degeneracy of the spectroscopic P13 and P11 states, as an alternative to the usual spin-orbit splitting. Of the two resulting S-matrix poles in either case, one stays very close to the energy of the bare state, as a quasibound state in the continuum, whereas the other shifts considerably. This is in agreement with the experimental observation that the D1(2420) and Ds1(2536) have much smaller widths than one would naively expect. The whole pattern of masses and widths of the axial-vector charmed mesons can thus be quite well reproduced with only two free parameters, one of which being already strongly constrained by previous model calculations. Finally, predictions for pole positions of radially excited axial-vector charmed mesons are presented. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Poss M.,Compiègne University of Technology | Poss M.,University of Coimbra
4OR | Year: 2013

We introduce a new model for robust combinatorial optimization where the uncertain parameters belong to the image of multifunctions of the problem variables. In particular, we study the variable budgeted uncertainty, an extension of the budgeted uncertainty introduced by Bertsimas and Sim. Variable budgeted uncertainty can provide the same probabilistic guarantee as the budgeted uncertainty while being less conservative for vectors with few non-zero components. The feasibility set of the resulting optimization problem is in general non-convex so that we propose a mixed-integer programming reformulation for the problem, based on the dualization technique often used in robust linear programming. We show how to extend these results to non-binary variables and to more general multifunctions involving uncertainty set defined by conic constraints that are affine in the problem variables. We present a computational comparison of the budgeted uncertainty and the variable budgeted uncertainty on the robust knapsack problem. The experiments show a reduction of the price of robustness by an average factor of 18 %. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Loura L.M.S.,University of Coimbra | Prieto M.,University of Lisbon
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2011

Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), in most applications used as a " spectroscopic ruler," allows an easy determination of the donor-acceptor intermolecular distance. However, the situation becomes complex in membranes, since around each donor there is an ensemble of acceptors at non-correlated distances. In this review, state-of-the-art methodologies for this situation are presented, usually involving time-resolved data and model fitting. This powerful approach can be used to study the occurrence of phase separation (" rafts" or other type of domains), allowing their detection as well as size evaluation. Formalisms for studying lipid-protein and protein-protein interactions according to specific topologies are also addressed. The advantages and added complexity of a specific type of FRET (energy homotransfer or energy migration) are described, as well as applications of FRET under the microscope. © 2011 Loura and Prieto.

Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,University of Granada | Aguilar-Saavedra J.A.,CERN | Amor Dos Santos S.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

We define three orthogonal axes to investigate the top-quark polarization in the t-channel single-top process. We provide expressions for the polarization in these axes in terms of anomalous Wtb couplings. It is found that the polarizations in the two axes orthogonal to the spectator quark axis are very sensitive to an anomalous coupling involving a b̄LσμνtR dipole term. In particular, an asymmetry based on the polarization normal to the production plane is more sensitive to the imaginary part of this coupling than previously studied observables. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Fernandes D.E.,University of Coimbra | Engheta N.,University of Pennsylvania | Silveirinha M.G.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2014

The theory of transformation optics for light has fascinated the scientific community for almost one decade due to its revolutionary and groundbreaking implications. Because the propagation of electrons in condensed-matter systems is also described by a wave equation, one may also envision the extension of this idea to matter waves. Here, we suggest that graphene can be used as a platform to demonstrate a "tunnel" or "wormhole" for electrons. Based on an effective medium approach, we theoretically demonstrate that two properly designed graphene-based nanomaterials can effectively "annihilate" one another from an electronic point of view, and provide for the delocalization of the wave-function stationary states, similar to a wormhole. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Silveirinha M.G.,University of Pennsylvania | Silveirinha M.G.,University of Coimbra | Engheta N.,University of Pennsylvania
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2014

Using an effective medium approach, we describe how, by combining mercury-cadmium-telluride semiconductor alloys with band gap energies of opposite signs, it may be possible to design a superlattice where the electrons have isotropic zero-effective mass and a single valley linear energy-momentum dispersion. We demonstrate that, because of the zero-mass property, the superlattice may have a strong nonlinear optical response. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Quina M.J.,University of Coimbra | Bordado J.C.M.,University of Lisbon | Quinta-Ferreira R.M.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2014

This study focuses on the stabilisation/solidification (S/S) treatment of air pollution control (APC) residues from municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration. Six formulations (T1-T6) were tested based on different cements as binders, for the immobilisation of pollutants and to prevent their entering into the environment at unacceptable rates. Soluble phosphates and silicates were considered in some cases to fix heavy metals. The performance of T1-T6 products was measured in terms of initial and final setting times, mechanical strength, total availability and leaching from S/S products. Two monolithic leaching tests were used to estimate emissions of pollutants over 48. h and 64 days. The results showed that the setting time was reduced when soluble phosphates were used. Moreover, although all the treatments have met the threshold of 1. MPa for unconfined compressive strength, this parameter was significantly reduced due to matrix dissolution during immersion. After three cycles of leaching, the limit of 10% for solubilisation was exceeded for all treatments with the exception of T5 (with phosphates).This study demonstrated that the S/S treatment used at the industrial level can be improved with respect to toxic heavy metals, by using soluble silicates or phosphates, but not regarding soluble salts. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Cardoso C.M.P.,University of Coimbra | Jordao L.,University of Lisbon | Vieira O.V.,University of Coimbra
Traffic | Year: 2010

Phagosome maturation follows a defined biochemical program and, in the vast majority of cases, the microbe inside the phagosome is killed and digested. Although, an important number of pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills around two million people every year, have acquired the ability to survive, and even replicate by arresting phagosomal maturation. To identify more of the machinery involved in phagocytosis and phagosomal maturation, we investigated the function of Rab10 in engulfment and maturation of inert particles and Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). We showed that Rab10 association with phagosomes is transient and confocal microscopy revealed detectible levels of Rab10 on phagosomal membranes at very early time-points, occurring even before Rab5 acquisition. Rab10 recruitment had strong functional consequence, as the knockdown of endogenous Rab10 by RNA interference or overexpression of Rab10 dominant-negative mutant delayed maturation of phagosomes of IgG-opsonized latex beads or heat killed-mycobacteria. These results can be explained, at least in part, by the involvement of Rab10 in recycling of some phagosomal components. More importantly, overexpression of the constitutively active mutant of Rab10 partially rescued live-Mycobacterium-containing phagosomes maturation. Indeed, we found that the membrane harbouring Mycobacterium acquired early endosome antigen 1 (EEA-1), a marker excluded from phagosomes in control cells. Altogether these results indicate that Rab10, acting upstream of Rab5, plays a prominent role in phagolysosome formation and can modulate Mycobacterium-containing phagosomes maturation. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Ascione Kenov I.,University of Lisbon | Garcia A.C.,University of Coimbra | Neves R.,University of Lisbon
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2012

The residence time of water is widely used as an indicator of how long a substance will remain in an estuary, a harbour, or a lagoon, and it is used to enable comparisons among different water bodies. In this work, the residence time in the Mondego Estuary, Portugal, is calculated by using two methodologies: the first one is based on field data and a freshwater fraction model, and the second one is based on a Lagrangian transport model. The Lagrangian model is coupled to a two-dimensional hydrodynamic numerical model that solves the depth-averaged advection and diffusion equations. Boundary conditions are provided by the Portuguese Coastal Operational Model, downscaled by using four nested domains with increasing resolution from the large to the local scale. The spatial variation of the residence time is characterized by subdividing the Mondego Estuary into boxes. The observed average salinity for each box is applied to the freshwater fraction model. With the Lagrangian model, boxes are filled with tracers and the path of the particles passing through them is quantified. The overall results of the two methodologies are similar, with a value of the residence time varying over the year between 1 and 12 days computed with the Lagrangian transport model and 2 and 9 days with the freshwater fraction model. Several scenarios were built by applying the Lagrangian transport model to investigate the history of water renewal and the influence of freshwater inflows and geomorphologic factors on the residence time. The overall results indicate that freshwater inflow is the main factor influencing the residence time. The analysis of the history of the water renewal was carried out by calculating the water exchange among boxes inside the estuary, pointing to the river flow as the main factor contributing to the water renewal of boxes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Costenla A.R.,University of Lisbon | Cunha R.A.,University of Coimbra | De Mendonca A.,University of Lisbon
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2010

Few studies to date have looked at the effects of caffeine on synaptic plasticity, and those that did used very high concentrations of caffeine, whereas the brain concentrations attained by regular coffee consumption in humans should be in the low micromolar range, where caffeine exerts pharmacological actions mainly by antagonizing adenosine receptors. Accordingly, rats drinking caffeine (1 g/L) for 3 weeks, displayed a concentration of caffeine of circa 22 μM in the hippocampus. It is known that selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonists facilitate, whereas selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonists attenuate, long term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. Although caffeine is a non-selective antagonist of adenosine receptors, it attenuates frequency-induced LTP in hippocampal slices in a manner similar to selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonists. These effects of low micromolar concentration of caffeine (30 μM) are maintained in aged animals, which is important when a possible beneficial effect for caffeine in age-related cognitive decline is proposed. Future studies will still be required to confirm and detail the involvement of A1 and A2A receptors in the effects of caffeine on hippocampal synaptic plasticity, using both pharmacological and genetic approaches. © 2010 IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

Quina M.J.,University of Coimbra | Bordado J.C.M.,University of Lisbon | Quinta-Ferreira R.M.,University of Coimbra
Waste Management | Year: 2011

In this study, percolation and batch leaching tests were considered in order to characterize the behaviour of air pollution control (APC) residues produced in a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) as a function of the liquid to solid ratio (L/S). This waste is hazardous, and taking into account their physical and chemical properties, leaching of contaminants into the environment is the main concern. In our work the leaching behaviour of toxic heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cr, Ni and Cu) and inorganics associated with soluble salts (Na, K, Ca and Cl) was addressed. Although pH of the leaching solution is the most important variable, L/S may also play an important role in leaching processes. In our work, results from column and batch tests were compared in terms of concentration (mg/L) and releasing (mg/kg). The APC residues revealed to be hazardous according to both tests, and both Pb and Cl- far exceeded the regulatory thresholds. The material exhibits high solubility, and when the liquid to solid ratio was high, more than 50% can be solubilised. The patterns of release may be in some cases availability or solubility controlled, and the former was easier to identify. When the results from column and batch experiments were compared by representing the cumulative released amounts (in mg/kg) as a function of L/S, both curves match for Zn, Ni, Cu, K, Na, Cl and Ca, but for Cr and Pb a significant difference was observed. In fact, the column experiments revealed that under percolation conditions it should be expected slow releasing of Pb along time. From this study, it can be concluded that the released amounts obtained in batch experiments for a certain L/S should be considered as the worst case for medium term. Some simple models proposed on the literature and based on local equilibrium assumption showed good fitting to experimental data for soluble species (non-reactive solutes). © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Gilbert P.,Kingsway Hospital | McEwan K.,Kingsway Hospital | Matos M.,University of Coimbra | Rivis A.,University of Nottingham
Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice | Year: 2011

Objectives. There is increasing evidence that helping people develop compassion for themselves and others has powerful impacts on negative affect and promotes positive affect. However, clinical observations suggest that some individuals, particularly those high in self-criticism, can find self-compassion and receiving compassion difficult and can be fearful of it. This study therefore developed measures of fear of: compassion for others, compassion from others, and compassion for self. We also explored the relationship of these fears with established compassion for self and compassion for others measures, self-criticism, attachment styles, and depression, anxiety, and stress. Method. Students (N= 222) and therapists (N= 53) completed measures of fears of compassion, self-compassion, compassion for others, self-criticism, adult attachment, and psychopathology. Results. Fear of compassion for self was linked to fear of compassion from others, and both were associated with self-coldness, self-criticism, insecure attachment, and depression, anxiety, and stress. In a multiple regression, self-criticism was the only significant predictor of depression. Conclusion. This study suggests the importance of exploring how and why some people may actively resist engaging in compassionate experiences or behaviours and be fearful of affiliative emotions in general. This has important implications for therapeutic interventions and the therapeutic relationship because affiliative emotions are major regulators of threat-based emotions. © 2010 The British Psychological Society.

Correia G.,University of Coimbra | Viegas J.M.,University of Lisbon
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice | Year: 2011

The increase of urban traffic congestion calls for studying alternative measures for mobility management, and one of these measures is carpooling. In theory, these systems could lead to great reductions in the use of private vehicles; however, in practice they have obtained limited success for two main reasons: the psychological barriers associated with riding with strangers and poor schedule flexibility. To overcome some of the limitations of the traditional schemes, we proposed studying a carpooling club model with two main new features: establishing a base trust level for carpoolers to find compatible matches for traditional groups and at the same time allowing to search for a ride in an alternative group when the pool member has a trip schedule different from the usual one. A web-based survey was developed for the Lisbon Metropolitan Region (Portugal), including a Stated Preference experiment, to test the concept and confirm previous knowledge on these systems' determinants. It was found through a binary logit Discrete Choice Model calibration that carpooling is still attached with lower income strata and that saving money is still an important reason for participating in it. The club itself does not show promise introducing more flexibility in these systems; however, it should provide a way for persons to interact and trust each other at least to the level of working colleagues. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES | Award Amount: 584.80K | Year: 2013

Oncologists still rely heavily on biological characterisation of tumours and a limited number of biomarkers which have demonstrated clinical utility. Routine cancer diagnostic tools may not be always sensitive enough and may only detect proteins at levels corresponding to an advanced stage of the disease. Recently, new genomic and proteomic molecular tools (molecular signatures) are being employed which include genetic and epigenetic signatures, changes in gene expression, protein profiles and post-translational modification of proteins. Such advanced diagnostic tools are not always readily adapted to clinical cancer screening due to their complexity, costs and the requirement for highly-qualified operators. Novel bioanalytical methodologies for detection of specific biomarkers/ biomolecules, based on nanostructured electronic sensors (rapid, sensitive devices capable of miniaturisation and deployment on site or in small clinics), fulfill the necessary requirements and have the potential to compliment time- and labour consuming clinical analysers used in medical laboratories currently. The primary objective of this proposal, therefore, is to gather together an international and interdisciplinary consortium of ten research teams from EU Member States, Third (including ENP) countries with EU agreements on S&T, in order to share and jointly exploit knowledge and expertise in the development of micro/nanosensors as tools in early cancer diagnosis. A key scientific target is the realisation of intelligent electronic devices which respond to biomolecules such as formaldehyde, amines, metal ions, saccharides, activities of amine oxidases, arginase and glutathione-S-transferase. This will entail design, development and characterisation of nano-scale transducers suitable for testing in clinical samples.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.2.2-1 | Award Amount: 13.07M | Year: 2012

As the European population is ageing rapidly, the growing number of seniors with age-related chronic diseases poses a challenge on European societies and health care systems. Therapeutic interventions that are effective, affordable and well-tolerated in the prevention of chronic disease are urgently needed and will have an outstanding impact on public health as a whole. Among the most promising interventions that meet these requirements are vitamin D, marine omega-3 fatty acids and physical exercise. However, their individual and combined effects have yet to be confirmed in a clinical trial. The DO-HEALTH will close this knowledge gap in a large 3-year multi-centre clinical trial that will establish long-term efficacy and safety data for the 3 interventions in the prevention of age-related diseases in seniors. The DO-HEALTH trial will enrol 2152 community-dwelling men and women aged 70 and older, when chronic diseases increase substantially. The randomized-controlled trial will test the individual and the combined benefit of 2000 IU vitamin D/day, 1 g of omega-3 fatty acids/day and a simple home exercise program in an efficient factorial trial design. DO-HEALTH will establish evidence in 5 primary endpoints: the risk of incident non-vertebral fractures; the risk of functional decline; the risk of blood pressure increase; the risk of cognitive decline; and the rate of any infection. Key secondary endpoints include risk of hip fracture, rate of falls, pain in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, glucose tolerance, gastro-intestinal symptoms, mental and oral health, quality of life, and mortality. Follow-up will be in-person, in 3-monthly intervals (4 clinical visits and 9 phone calls). DO-HEALTH will further assess the comparative effectiveness of the interventions by evaluating reasons why or why not seniors adhere to them, and will assess their cost-benefit in a health economic model based on documented health care utilization and observed incidence of chronic disease.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: WASTE-6b-2015 | Award Amount: 4.97M | Year: 2016

The scope of the project is to develop and test methods for designing and implementing innovative and sustainable Strategic Plans for Waste Prevention and Management in various urban contexts that will enhance urban environmental resilience and guarantee progress towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns together with improvements waste recovery and recovered materials use. Urban_Wins will define a data set, based on material flow indicators, capable of supporting and orienting decision making processes for urban waste prevention and management. Knowledge of the factors that influence the metabolism of cities will be improved together with the understanding of how those factors can be transformed in positive drivers of technological, non-technological and governance changes. The information set produced by the consortium will also focus on how a more efficient use of resources and a better management of waste can improve urban quality and citizens welfare, key points for urban stakeholders involvement, both in the planning and implementation of actions. The proposal reunites diverse actors such as cities, research institutes and universities, environmental NGOs, IT&C, technological innovation and waste management companies, professional associations that represent EU regions, sectors and levels of governance. The complex partnership guarantees that advancement in EU research in the field of urban metabolism and waste management strategies is directly linked to stakeholder engagement and mutual learning and contributes to the achievement of resource efficiency and waste management objectives. Urban_Wins analytical tools will be built on the base of datasets and experiences of 24 EU cities from 6 European countries and the Strategic Plans will be tested by 8 EU cities and will encompass regulatory measures, educational initiatives and sector specific actions.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.81M | Year: 2015

As wind energy is considered one of the most promising renewable energy resources, energy production technologies relying on wind energy are currently flourishing under the EU ambitious plan for 2020. Market demands to prepare a generation of researchers within the EU that are able to face the challenge of fulfilling the EU ambitious plan, to sustain the production of wind energy and to innovate and promote wind energy systems (WES) for the future needs, are clearly met in AEOLUS4FUTURE. The primary research aim is to develop a sustainable WES for a variety of EU needs. There are a number of detailed scientific and technical issues that will be addressed by the project starting from identifying the wind energy potential (off-shore and on-shore, including the built environment) to the design of a sustainable and highly efficient WES. Also the new challenging load conditions imposed on wind farms located on places where existing type of wind turbine towers are not suitable require the development of new type of support structures for wind energy converters. This fosters new structural concepts taking advantage of high performance materials e.g. high strength steel and novel maintenance free fasteners. In addition, while most research efforts and practical applications of wind energy have focused on large-scale wind installations in remote offshore or onshore areas, much less attention has been given to wind energy installations near buildings. The project has a major training aim to create technical experts who will be able to lead the necessary industrial developments in the WES, and have a broad overview of a new and emerging multi-disciplinary field. The project will thus enable a number of young scientists and engineers to obtain high level training in various technical aspects of the problem, to gain an overall understanding of how this work fits into the wider EU Directives and plans for the future and in doing so to improve their career prospects.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-09-2016 | Award Amount: 6.20M | Year: 2017

Due to lack of targeted interventions, compliance issues, insufficient effect sizes and a high non-responder rate to currently available interventions, there is an urgent need to develop innovative and new interventions for chronic paediatric neuropsychiatric disorders, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to be an innovative, effective and safe alternative treatment approach for neuropsychiatric disorders in adults. Here, for the first time, the effect of tDCS on core neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes will be proven in children and adolescents. First, effect sizes and safety of standard tDCS in the clinical setting targeting core brain regions and disorder specific cognitive tasks will be established by three phase-IIa randomized, double blind, sham-controlled studies in ADHD and ASD. Second, the impact of brain development and age-dependent anatomical / functional features on effects of tDCS will be studied systematically using methods of modern neurophysiology, neuroimaging and electric current modeling. This involves an additional phase-I clinical trial. Third, mechanisms of tDCS on brain function will be studied, and biomarkers will be developed in order to predict individual response to standard and individualized stimulation protocols. Finally, the applicability of tDCS in children and adolescents will be improved by developing an innovative personalized home-based treatment option in combination with a telemental health service, which will be tested by a fifth, phase-IIa clinical trial. Throughout the entire project, ethical concerns of the target population will be addressed. This project opens a new avenue for the application of tDCS as an alternative treatment for a great number of chronic neuropsychiatric disorders in children and adolescents and will allow flexible integration of tDCS in the daily routine of families.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: H2020-TWINN-2015 | Award Amount: 1.01M | Year: 2016

The goal of LINK is to deepen cooperation between two international leading research centres and a research institution of a widening region in the area of intelligent processing to support cardiovascular disease management in PHC. A twofold strategy shall be followed. (i) Using a status assessment of the Portuguese research on PHC and an international research forum, a roadmap for excellence shall be established. From this roadmap, specific cutting edge research tracks shall developed by common workgroups. These will foster knowledge transfer between partners by using a learn by doing approach, but also increase the research excellence momentum. These research tracks will support Concept definition activities that will be the basis for new project, network and PhD grant proposals, leading to a continuum of widening. (ii) Existing links to international leading organisations (e.g., IFMBE, IEEE-EMBS) and key actors in PHC (academic, industrial and users) will be exploited to launch a research and innovation forum to define a research agenda and the design of curricula for advanced training. Activities to increase the Consortium members involvement in chairing major international events in the field and to link to reputed summer schools. Active involvement of consortium members in existing international working groups in the field will be pursued.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-NIGHT | Award Amount: 84.69K | Year: 2010

Continuing the SettingTheStage project organized in 2009, scientists will be called again on stage to celebrate the Researchers Night 2010 not only through performing arts (incl. theatre) but also through sports. These media will allow scientists to express themselves, their visions and their work. SettingTheStage II brings back together entities from four major cities across Portugal (North, Centre, South) with the aim of creating multiple spaces where scientists and the public can actively engage in the reality of being a scientist. At the core of the project is a series of arts performances to be specifically produced for RN2010, designed to stimulate reflection, discussion and debate on topics related to researchers and their everyday lives: the power and limits of their research, the impact of their research in society. Researchers and arts performers will work together to produce several performances, aimed at different age groups. In the same way, researchers and the public will share and discuss scientific concepts linked to the sports activities that will be organized during the event. Themes for the activities will be, among others, linked to the celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity and the World Day of the Heart, which will be celebrated at the end of September. Artistic performances and sport activities will be complemented with interactive hands-on activities, from small experiments and demos for youngsters, to speed-dating sessions with scientists, science cafe/bar and visits to museums. Awareness will be achieved through a concerted marketing campaign, bringing together the expertise and resources of all partners involved, including the maintenance/updating of the 2009 project design/image, website and blog. SettingTheStage II brings back together a large number of partners involved in the 2009 edition committed to guarantee a successful action.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-NIGHT | Award Amount: 106.98K | Year: 2013

This proposal aims to raise awareness of the prominent role researchers and how their work plays in our currently every day and for the future. Bearing in mind Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges, the ERN2013 will promote and disseminate what in terms of science and innovation is being done in Portugal. The extensive and nationwide range of activities already planned and being prepared have one major aim: to show that researchers are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs! This will be done through direct engagement of both the general public and researchers in science awareness, across 26 main cities and villages in several venues. Coordinated by Cincia Viva (Lisbon), there is a regional coordinator in each NUTS II region in Portugal. The role of each regional coordinator is to mobilize the research community, local companies and associations, as well as regional/local press, using the same coordination rational from 2012. This is an inclusive proposal welcoming all interest research-related entities. The key message agreed between partners and all associated/participating entities is that we should take up this opportunity to bring research close to the people and not only expect that people come to a specific venue. Outdoor activities will be organized in partnership with municipalities/regional authorities as an added value of their service and a way to show the richness existing in each territory. In parallel, a very diverse range of edutainment indoor activities is planned and more are on the making.

Vaz D.A.,University of Coimbra | Vaz D.A.,University of Lisbon | Silvestro S.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute
Icarus | Year: 2014

A new set of methodologies, which allow a simple and fast mapping and characterization of small-scale aeolian structures on Mars is introduced in this work. We follow an object-based approach in which the bedform crestlines are automatically mapped and characterized.From the methodology validation, we conclude that the quality of the obtained results is comparable with human-produced photointerpretations. We show that the accuracy associated with the measurement of mean trends from the automatically mapped patterns is less than 10°. Through the analysis of two areas located near the MSL landing site in Gale Crater, we explore some of the possibilities that the automatic mapping technique enables. Namely, for multitemporal surveys and ripple pattern analysis.We demonstrate how the mapped ripple patterns can be used to assess local wind orientations, and we analyze some examples that illustrate the diversity of wavelength spatial distributions that can be found on Mars. We try to relate these pattern wavelength variations with the possible local influence of granulometry and wind shear velocity. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Santos P.P.D.,University of Coimbra | Tavares A.O.,University of Coimbra | Zezere J.L.,University of Lisbon
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2014

This article describes the applications of a hydro-geomorphologic disaster database allowing a more appropriate local risk management. Two databases of loss and damage with different criteria, using Central Portugal occurrences, were constructed upon national and regional newspapers: one included all the disaster occurrences regardless of the level of loss and damage reported and the other only the major disasters for which casualties and other human losses were reported.Risk matrices, exploring likelihood and consequence, were analysed along with data regarding urban and demographic dynamics over time and risk profiles by municipality were obtained. The results show that the database which only included major disasters produced a risk matrix with lower levels of risk in comparison to the one produced from the more inclusive database. The most densely urbanised municipalities represent a greater number of disaster occurrences, but when considering only major losses, other peripheral municipalities emerge as high risk. Changes in territorial forcers are shaping the impact patterns in the region. Along with an increase in the housing density, an increase in disasters is observed, although the decrease of inhabitants.Impacts and territorial forcers cluster analysis and risk matrices' results conduced to municipal risk profiles supporting management. Those profiles conduce to different frames of action from specific emergency planning, warning and alert, multi-hazard planning, or prevention measures involving land use planning or insurance and mutualisation solutions.Disaster databases that allow differentiating local patterns of impacts-and their respective contexts - contribute to define locally adequate risk management policies. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SEC-2011.1.4-3 | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2012

The new methodologies and protocols of forensic identification by craniofacial superimposition (MEPROCS) project aims to propose a common EU framework to allow the extensive application of the CS technique in practical forensic identification scenarios commonly tackled by the European scientific police units. This framework will include: i) the implementation of an existing semi-automatic method to assist the forensic experts in the application of the CS technique, resulting in a simple, quick, and systematic approach; ii) the definition of standard protocols at European level, leading to the objective application of the CS technique in different forensic identification scenarios; and iii) the specification of a forensic science methodology to provide an objective evaluation of the forensic identification results achieved by CS, avoiding particular assumptions that could bias the process. Hence, the project clearly promotes the validation and exchange of CS protocols and methodologies among different organisations. The particular objectives of this project concern supporting the development of a trustable CS methodological framework by fulfilling requirements covering educational, technical, economic, social, and security aspects.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2014 | Award Amount: 122.05K | Year: 2014

The active participation of citizens in science related issues has significantly increased in the past decades and citizen science is top-priority in many institutions and governments across Europe. Portugal, however, is still lagging a little behind. This proposal for the European Researchers Night 2014 and 2015 in Portugal CITSCI has two broad aims. First, CITSCI aims at addressing this national insufficiency, through i) the active mobilisation of university researchers, science museum professionals, municipal authorities and the civil society (associations, NGOs) and ii) the compilation and broader dissemination of what is already being done in terms of citizenship-based research activities in Portugal. It is hoped that these activities become more mainstream in Portugal after CITSCI. Secondly, in Portugal the relations between contemporary science, socio-economic development, environmental sustainability, and employment, are not yet clearly perceived by the public. Through a broad range of scientific activities, CITSCI aims at raising awareness of the role of research in the citizens daily lives and encourage their direct and active participation in the construction of scientific knowledge. Special attention will be given to the engagement of minorities, citizens with special needs and women. The University of Lisbon (ULisboa), through its National Museum of Natural History and Science (MUHNAC), coordinates CITSCI. It will mobilise, together with the University of Coimbra, the research community, science centres, NGOs, and local authorities to act as associated partners in their respective regions. The proposal will also have the Municipality of Lisbon as partner, which will play an important role in mobilizing the participation of citizens, local companies and associations, as well as the regional and national media. The Municipality of Lisbon and the NGOs will have a very important role in the co-organization of the build-up and outdoor activities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-SEC-2007.1.7 | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2008

MICIE project, being in line with EU initiative to establish a Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN), will design and implement a so-called MICIE alerting system that identifies, in real time, the level of possible threats induced on a given CI by undesired events happened in such CI and/or other interdependent CIs. Whenever such events occur, the MICIE alerting system will support the CI operators providing them with a real time risk level (e.g. expressed in a chromatic scale such as green, yellow, red).\nThe alarm conditions will be evaluated by means of an on-line prediction tool making use of properly designed abstract CI models. \nThe CI model will make use of hierarchical modelling in order to evaluate the level of interdependency existing among the different CIs, which will be characterized through proper thresholds values. The MICIE alerting system will also include a proper discovery, communication infrastructure able to operate in a heterogeneous CI framework, aiming at discovering the sensible data in the different CIs, at translating them in CI-independent metadata and transporting them via a communication network.\nKey activities of MICIE project will be:\n1.\tDesign and analysis of qualitative and quantitative interdependency metrics and indicators accounting the service continuity and data integrity of the ICT infrastructure of the CIs\n2.\tDesign and analysis of a hierarchical modelling framework for interdependency analysis based on the integration of heterogeneous modelling techniques\n3.\tDevelopment of an on-line (real-time) cascade failure induced alarm level predictor able to provide a qualitative indication of the actual level of exposure to cascade failure\n4.\tDesign of a suitable commutation network able to assure availability, authenticity, integrity, of metadata exchanged\n5.\tValidation of the interdependency alarm -predictor system on the infrastructure of an Electric Company, Israel Electric Corp, partner.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: DS-03-2015 | Award Amount: 8.11M | Year: 2016

Over recent years, Industrial and Automation Control Systems (IACS) adopted in Critical Infrastructures (CIs) have become more complex due to the increasing number of interconnected devices, and to the large amount of information exchanged among system components. With the emergence of such an Internet of Things generation of IACS, the boundaries to be protected have grown well beyond that of the single or aggregated-plant, typical of the mono-operator or silos vision. That poses new challenges, as more operators become involved in a scenario that naturally demands the introduction of multi-tenancy mechanisms. New ICT paradigms, where virtualization is playing an important role, provide innovative features for flexible and efficient management, monitoring and control of devices and data traffic. With the OT/IT convergence, OT (Operation Technologies) will benefit from IT innovation, but at the same time, they will also inherit new IT threats that can potentially impact CIs. ATENA project, with reference to the above-mentioned interdependent scenario, aims at achieving the desired level of Security and Resilience of the considered CIs, while preserving their efficient and flexible management. ATENA, leveraging the outcomes of previous European Research activities, particularly the CockpitCI and MICIE EU projects, will remarkably upgrade them by exploiting advanced features of ICT algorithms and components, and will bring them at operational industrial maturity level; in this last respect, ATENA outcomes will be tailored and validated in selected Use Cases. In particular, ATENA will develop a Software Defined Security paradigm combining new anomaly detection algorithms and risk assessment methodologies within a distributed environment, and will provide a suite of integrated market-ready ICT networked components and advanced tools embedding innovative algorithms both for correct static CI configuration and for fast dynamic CI reaction in presence of adverse events.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-NIGHT | Award Amount: 160.46K | Year: 2012

This proposal aims to raise awareness of the prominent role researchers and their work play in our everyday life. The extensive and nationwide range of activities already planned and being prepared have one major aim: to show that researchers are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs! This will be done through direct engagement of both the general public and researchers in science awareness activities, across the streets of 22 main cities and villages. Coordinated by Cincia Viva (Lisbon), there is a regional coordinator in each NUTS II region in Portugal. The role of each regional coordinator is to mobilize the research community, local companies and associations, as well as regional/local press. This is an inclusive proposal welcoming all interested research-related entities. The key message agreed between partners and all associated/participating entities is that we all should take up this opportunity to bring research close to the people and not only expect that people come to a specific venue. Outdoor activities will be organized in partnership with municipalities/regional authorities as an added value of their service and a way to show the richness existing in each territory. In parallel, a very diverse range of edutainment indoor activities is planned (see Annex I) and more are on the making.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EUB-1-2015 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2016

EUrope-BRAzil Collaboration on BIG Data Scientific REsearch through Cloud-Centric Applications aims at providing services in the cloud for the processing of massive data coming from highly connected societies, which impose multiple challenges on resource provision, performance, Quality of Service and privacy. Processing those data require rapidly provisioned infrastructures customised to Big Data requirements. The three main aims of the proposal will be: - The development of innovative Big Data services for capturing, federating and annotating on the order of PB of data on top of efficient programming models. Despite that MapReduce is a successful model in BigData (with a high impact on massive Geo-spatial and textual data), it has many limitations specially when dealing with real-time transactions or streamed data, the proposal would aim to introduce innovative evolutions on the capture, federation & annotation experience it can bring to the table with its partners. - The Development of advanced cloud services to support Big Data. This cloud services will address three main challenges: a) the advance on SLAs to support privacy (boundaries of protected data to be moved) and performance restrictions (convenience of moving data to computing resources or vice-versa); b) Quality of Service (vertical and horizontal elastic adjustment of resources allocates to meet deadlines and dynamic adjustment of workloads); and c) Business models (price-based dynamic re-scheduling of data searching for the best usage of resources invested). - The demonstration of such services on applications with high social and business impact, addressing main scenarios of high interest for both Europe and Brazil.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2011.2.2-02 | Award Amount: 2.57M | Year: 2012

The main purpose of this project is to create an European Supplying Unit for one of the Critical Space Technologies for Europoean Strategic Non-Dependence, the advanced thermal control materials. Currently, the thermal protection of the hardware of spacecrafts is assured by underlying advanced thermal control materials, typically Multi Layer Insulations (MLI). One of the basic materials for MLI, the Kapton, is used in several thermal control applications and easily falls under access restrictions. In this project it is intended to develope the manufacturing technology for the material that is considered to be the next generation of thermal insulation in space, the aerogel. Aerogels are the materials with the greater potential to substitute MLI in thermal insulation of spacecrafts, due to its very low density, its veryt high thermal insulation efficiencies, the providing of the thermal insulation as single material that can be industrially producible and the tailorability for different applications. The combination of the know-how of the entities involved in the proposal, which cover the research and development of aerogels at a laboratory scale, the design and construction of semi-industrial equipments for aerogels manufacture, and the design, integration and qualification of thermal insulation materials inspace applications, will create tremendous synergies to put Europe in a front position as a supplier of the material that is likely to be the future of the thermal insulation in space. The collaborative efforts of the partners, which have already been working in the development of these systems in the last few years, is expected to allow establishing in Europe on a shor-term the required technical capabilities to supply aerogels for space applications, such as (re)-entry vehicles, Mars rovers, cryogenic propulsion tanks, or pressurised compartments.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-NIGHT | Award Amount: 172.02K | Year: 2009

Through the medium of theatre and visual arts, SettingTheStage brings together research centres, universities, an SME, a science museum and theatre groups from four major cities in Portugal, to create multiple spaces where scientists and the public can actively engage in the reality of being a scientist and in the two big scientific celebrations of 2009: the 400th anniversary of Galileos first use of the telescope, and the 200th anniversary of Darwins birth. At the core of this proposal is a series of theatre performances, to be specifically produced for Researchers Night 2009, designed to stimulate reflection, discussion and debate on topics related to researchers and their everyday lives: the power and limits of their research, their excitements and disappointments, the decisions they face, the impact of their research in society. Emphasis will be on empowering researchers and the public to express their views to the issues being raised. Researchers and theatre performers will work together to produce several performances, aimed at different age groups. A range of interactive activities will complement the performances, including hands-on activities, speed-datingwith scientists and new-media installations. Researchers will be involved in all these activities: they will facilitate the interactive activities, co-author scripts, and be actors in the performances. Awareness for these events will be achieved through a concerted marketing campaign, bringing together the expertise and resources of all partners involved, including a dedicated blog, which will register the experiences of the researchers-actors. SettingTheStage brings together the largest ever number of partners in Portugal for Researchers Night and, thus, is ideally placed to recruit researchers across the board, to reach large audiences, from north to south and to contribute significantly to greater awareness of the reality of being a researcher in Europe.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.1.1-04 | Award Amount: 2.84M | Year: 2012

PREFER aims at responding to major fire prevention needs in Southern Europe. All reports on the state of Europes forests indicate that the broad Mediterranean area is systematically affected by uncontrolled forest fires with large impact on ecosystems, soil erosion, slope instability, desertification trends, and local economies as a whole, whit a negative mid-to-long term prospect because of Climate Change. In this scenario, the need to improve the information and the intelligence support to forest fire prevention is widely recognized to be relevant. Fire prevention is still the most cost-effective strategy when compared to firefighting and extinguishing that are costly, local, and triggered only in response to already ongoing crises. PREFER intends to contribute to responding to such a pragmatic need of Southern Europes forests by : 1) providing timely multi-scale and multi-payload information products based on exploitation of all available spaceborne sensors within the project time frame (the next 3 years) ; 2) offering a portfolio of EO products focused both on Pre-crisis and Post-crisis forest fire emergency cycle in the EU Mediterranean area; 3) preparing the exploitation of new spaceborne sensors available by 2020 (e.g. : Sentinels) and 4) contributing to the definition of User requirements for the new EO missions. PREFER capitalizes on the experience gained in the last decade by the Partners, in the frame of European and national applied research programs focusing on the management of forest fire hazards with spaceborne observation means. It will set up a regional service, able to process and distribute the information to end users, developed and maintained by a regional R&D cluster of core users, industries and research institutes. Through the exploitation of the synoptic character of spaceborne EO data, the regional service is intended to stimulate further the coordination between countries on forest fires prevention in the EU Mediterranean region.

Adhikari S.,Indian Association for The Cultivation of Science | Varandas A.J.C.,University of Coimbra
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2013

We have implemented the coupled three-dimensional wave packet approach in hyperspherical coordinates for time-dependent reactive scattering calculations of triatomic systems. The coupling of these wave packets arises through the rotation of the three particle plane by the Euler angles. The necessary transformation from Jacobi to hyperspherical coordinates for the initialization and the reverse transformation for the projection of the wave packet by the asymptotic state(s), and the coupled equation of motion are presented briefly. We demonstrate the workability and convergence profiles of the approach on the D+H 2 system for total angular momentum equal to zero and non-zero situations. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Freitas A.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Investigacao Veterinaria | Barbosa J.,Laboratorio Nacional Of Investigacao Veterinaria | Ramos F.,University of Coimbra
Meat Science | Year: 2014

A multi-residue quantitative screening method covering 41 antibiotics from 7 different families, by ultra-high-performance-liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS), is described. Sulfonamides, trimethoprim, tetracyclines, macrolides, quinolones, penicillins and chloramphenicol are simultaneously detected after a simple sample preparation of bovine muscle optimized to achieve the best recovery for all compounds. A simple sample treatment was developed consisting in an extraction with a mixture of acetonitrile and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), followed by a defatting step with n-hexane. The methodology was validated, in accordance with Decision 2002/657/EC by evaluating the required parameters: decision limit (CCα), detection capability (CCβ), specificity, repeatability and reproducibility. Precision in terms of relative standard deviation was under 20% for all compounds and the recoveries between 91% and 119%. CCα and CCβ were determined according the maximum residue limit (MRL) or the minimum required performance limit (MRPL), when required. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Dabestani S.,Skåne University Hospital | Marconi L.,University of Coimbra | Hofmann F.,Sunderby Hospital | Stewart F.,University of Aberdeen | And 6 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2014

Local treatment of metastases such as metastasectomy or radiotherapy remains controversial in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. To investigate the benefits and harms of various local treatments, we did a systematic review of all types of comparative studies on local treatment of metastases from renal cell carcinoma in any organ. Interventions included metastasectomy, radiotherapy modalities, and no local treatment. The results suggest that patients treated with complete metastasectomy have better survival and symptom control (including pain relief in bone metastases) than those treated with either incomplete or no metastasectomy. Nevertheless, the available evidence was marred by high risks of bias and confounding across all studies. Although the findings presented here should be interpreted with caution, they and the identified gaps in knowledge should provide guidance for clinicians and researchers, and directions for further research. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Puig L.,University of Zaragoza | Bastanlar Y.,Middle East Technical University | Sturm P.,French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation | Guerrero J.J.,University of Zaragoza | Barreto J.,University of Coimbra
International Journal of Computer Vision | Year: 2011

In this study, we present a calibration technique that is valid for all single-viewpoint catadioptric cameras. We are able to represent the projection of 3D points on a catadioptric image linearly with a 6×10 projection matrix, which uses lifted coordinates for image and 3D points. This projection matrix can be computed from 3D-2D correspondences (minimum 20 points distributed in three different planes). We show how to decompose it to obtain intrinsic and extrinsic parameters. Moreover, we use this parameter estimation followed by a non-linear optimization to calibrate various types of cameras. Our results are based on the sphere camera model which considers that every central catadioptric system can be modeled using two projections, one from 3D points to a unitary sphere and then a perspective projection from the sphere to the image plane. We test our method both with simulations and real images, and we analyze the results performing a 3D reconstruction from two omnidirectional images. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Roiloa S.R.,University of Coimbra | Hutchings M.J.,University of Sussex
Plant Ecology | Year: 2013

Morphological and physiological plasticity are crucial attributes enabling plants to acquire resources from heterogeneous habitats. Although physiological integration can modify biomass partitioning in modules, especially when connected modules experience different conditions, its ecological importance has been largely overlooked. This experiment examined its effects on above- and belowground biomass partitioning by modules in the stoloniferous herb Glechoma hederacea. We studied how biomass allocation to roots by younger ramets was affected by connection to older ramets, and by nutrient conditions. A lower proportion of biomass was allocated to roots by younger ramets growing under low nutrient (LN) conditions when connected to older ramets in high nutrient (HN) conditions than when they were isolated, demonstrating localised modification of biomass partitioning due to physiological integration. The proportion of biomass allocated to roots by younger ramets was also lower when connected to older ramets in HN conditions than when connected to older ramets in LN conditions. Thus, the effect of integration on biomass partitioning depended on the nutrient conditions experienced by connected ramets. Such changes in biomass partitioning would result in more extensive stolon growth, and greater lateral displacement of new ramets. Understanding the ecological implications of phenotypic plasticity in plants will require further examination of the effects of physiological integration when connected modules experience contrasting growing conditions. This study demonstrates that such integration affects the biomass allocation strategy of connected ramets, enhancing resource acquisition in heterogeneous habitats. The widespread success of clonality in many communities is likely to be strongly promoted by this characteristic. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Johansen H.D.,University of Sao Paulo | Johansen H.D.,University of Coimbra | Brett C.M.A.,University of Coimbra | Motheo A.J.,University of Sao Paulo
Corrosion Science | Year: 2012

The corrosion protection of AA6063 aluminium alloy by cerium conversion, polyaniline conducting polymer and by duplex coatings has been investigated. The electrochemical behaviour was evaluated in aerated 3.5. wt.% NaCl. All coatings tested shifted the corrosion and pitting potentials to more positive values, indicating protection against corrosion. The duplex coatings are significantly more effective than each coating alone: corrosion and pitting potentials were shifted by +183 and +417. mV(SCE), respectively, by duplex coatings in relation to the untreated aluminium alloy. Optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy are in agreement with the electrochemical results, reinforcing the superior performance of duplex coatings. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Empadinhas N.,University of Coimbra | da Costa M.S.,University of Coimbra | da Costa M.S.,Biotechnology Innovation Center
Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

A decade ago the compatible solutes mannosylglycerate (MG) and glucosylglycerate (GG) were considered to be rare in nature. Apart from two species of thermophilic bacteria, Thermus thermophilus and Rhodothermus marinus, and a restricted group of hyperthermophilic archaea, the Thermococcales, MG had only been identified in a few red algae. Glucosylglycerate was considered to be even rarer and had only been detected as an insignificant solute in two halophilic microorganisms, a cyanobacterium, as a component of a polysaccharide and of a glycolipid in two actinobacteria. Unlike the hyper/thermophilic MG-accumulating microorganisms, branching close to the root of the Tree of Life, those harbouring GG shared a mesophilic lifestyle. Exceptionally, the thermophilic bacterium Persephonella marina was reported to accumulate GG. However, and especially owing to the identification of the key-genes for MG and GG synthesis and to the escalating numbers of genomes available, a plethora of new organisms with the resources to synthesize these solutes has been recognized. The accumulation of GG as an 'emergency' compatible solute under combined salt stress and nitrogen-deficient conditions now seems to be a disseminated survival strategy from enterobacteria to marine cyanobacteria. In contrast, the thermophilic and extremely radiation-resistant bacterium Rubrobacter xylanophilus is the only actinobacterium known to accumulate MG, and under all growth conditions tested. This review addresses the environmental factors underlying the accumulation of MG, GG and derivatives in bacteria and archaea and their roles during stress adaptation or as precursors for more elaborated macromolecules. The diversity of pathways for MG and GG synthesis as well as those for some of their derivatives is also discussed. The importance of glycerate-derived organic solutes in the microbial world is only now being recognized. Their stress-dependent accumulation and the molecular aspects of their interactions with biomolecules have already fuelled several emerging applications in biotechnology and biomedicine. © 2010 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Blanco Jaimes M.C.,University of Heidelberg | Rominger F.,University of Heidelberg | Pereira M.M.,University of Coimbra | Carrilho R.M.B.,University of Coimbra | And 3 more authors.
Chemical Communications | Year: 2014

New and highly active mononuclear phosphite gold(i) catalysts are described. Turn-over numbers up to 37-000 for the furan-yne reaction and up to 28-000-000 for the two-fold hydroalkoxylation of alkynes are reported. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Nagia L.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | Lemos J.,University of Coimbra | Abusamra K.,Michigan State University | Cornblath W.T.,University of Michigan | Eggenberger E.R.,Michigan State University
Ophthalmology | Year: 2015

Purpose To calculate the rate and timing of conversion from ocular myasthenia gravis to generalized myasthenia gravis. Design Retrospective multicenter analysis. Subjects Patients included in the study were diagnosed with ocular myasthenia gravis without the presence of generalized disease at onset. Methods We conducted a retrospective multicenter analysis. We reviewed charts of 158 patients who met diagnostic criteria for ocular myasthenia gravis. Patients were divided into 2 subgroups: an immunosuppressant treatment group and a nonimmunosuppressant treatment group. Timing of conversion to generalized disease and duration of follow-up also was evaluated. Additional data such as clinical symptoms at presentation, laboratory test results, and chest imaging results also were recorded. Main Outcome Measures Conversion rates to generalized myasthenia at 2 years, effect of immunosuppression on conversion, and timing of conversion. Results The 158-patient cohort included 76 patients who received immunosuppressant therapy; the remaining 82 patients did not. The overall conversion rate to generalized disease was 20.9%. At 2 years, generalized myasthenia developed in 8 of 76 patients in the treated group and in 15 of 82 patients in the nonimmunotherapy group (odds ratio, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.20-1.32). Median time for conversion to generalized disease was 20 months in the nonimmunosuppressant group and 24 months in the immunosuppressant group. Conversion occurred after 2 years of symptom onset in 30% of patients. Conclusions Conversion rates from ocular to generalized myasthenia gravis may be lower than previously reported both in immunosuppressed and nonimmunosuppressed patients. A subset of patients may continue to convert to generalized disease beyond 2 years from onset of symptoms, and close monitoring should be continued. © 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Cesarino I.,University of Sao Paulo | Cavalheiro E.T.G.,University of Sao Paulo | Brett C.M.A.,University of Coimbra
Electroanalysis | Year: 2010

A new sensor has been developed for the simultaneous detection of cadmium, lead, copper and mercury, using differential pulse and square wave anodic stripping voltammetry (DPASV and SWASV) at a graphite-polyurethane composite electrode with SBA-15 silica organofunctionalized with 2-benzothiazolethiol as bulk modifier. The heavy metal ions were preconcentrated on the surface of the modified electrode at 1.1 V vs. SCE where they complex with 2- benzothiazolethiol and are reduced to the metals, and are then reoxidized. Optimum SWASV conditions lead to nanomolar detection limits and simultaneous determination of Cd2{thorn}, Pb2{thorn}, Cu2{thorn} and Hg2{thorn} in natural waters was achieved. © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH&Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Zahradnik J.,Charles University | Custodio S.,University of Coimbra
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America | Year: 2012

We present a method to assess the uncertainty of earthquake focal mechanisms based on the standard theory of linear inverse problems. We compute the uncertainty of the moment tensor, M, then map it into uncertainties of the strike, dip, and rake. The inputs are: source and station locations, crustal model, frequency band of interest, and an estimate of data error. The output is a six-dimensional (6D) error ellipsoid, which shows the uncertainty of the individual parameters of M. We focus on the double-couple (DC) part of M. The method is applicable both with and without waveforms. The latter is particularly useful for network design. As an example we present maps of DC resolvability for earthquakes in southwest Europe, computed without waveforms. We find that the resolvability depends critically on frequency range and source depth. Shallow DC sources (10 km) are theoretically better resolved than deeper sources (40 km and 60 km). The DC resolvability of a 40-km-deep event improves considerably when the Portuguese network is supplemented by stations in Spain and Morocco. The DC resolvability can be further improved by using a few ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) stations or a dense land network. A dense land network is able to resolve M well in spite of the large azimuthal gap, which spans ∼200°. The theoretical resolution analysis also explains the success of single-station inversions when using a broad frequency range, as exemplified by an application using waveforms of a M w 6 earthquake offshore Iberia.

Almeida J.,University of Coimbra | Fintzi A.R.,University of Rochester | Mahon B.Z.,University of Rochester
Cortex | Year: 2013

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), we find that object manipulation knowledge is accessed by way of the ventral object processing pathway. We exploit the fact that parvocellular channels project to the ventral but not the dorsal stream, and show that increased neural responses for tool stimuli are observed in the inferior parietal lobule when those stimuli are visible only to the ventral object processing stream. In a control condition, tool-preferences were observed in a superior and posterior parietal region for stimuli titrated so as to be visible by the dorsal visual pathway. Functional connectivity analyses confirm the dissociation between sub-regions of parietal cortex according to whether their principal afferent input is via the ventral or dorsal visual pathway. These results challenge the 'Embodied Hypothesis of Tool Recognition', according to which tool identification critically depends on simulation of object manipulation knowledge. Instead, these data indicate that retrieval of object-associated manipulation knowledge is contingent on accessing the identity of the object, a process that is subserved by the ventral visual pathway. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Ruivo C.R.,University of Algarve | Ruivo C.R.,University of Coimbra | Angrisani G.,University of Sannio
Applied Thermal Engineering | Year: 2014

The desiccant wheel is a key component in solid-desiccant systems. At present, the analysis of the behaviour of air handling units based on desiccant wheels is a complex task. It is difficult to access a simple model that can represent the behaviour of commercialized desiccant wheels with sufficient accuracy. Experimental data measured in an air handling unit equipped with a desiccant wheel are considered in the present work. The air handling unit belongs to a test facility with a microcogeneration system located at Università degli Studi del Sannio (in Benevento, Southern Italy). Thermal energy from the microcogenerator is used to heat up the regeneration airflow. An attempt of investigating the validity of the simplified effectiveness method in predicting the global behaviour of a desiccant wheel is performed. Two approaches are used with different pair of effectiveness parameters. Only one sensor of temperature and one sensor of relative humidity were used in each measuring section of the air handling unit. This constraint is most crucial at both outlet sections of the desiccant wheel due to the strong dependence of the air state on the angular position. An empirical correction of the measured state of the process air at the outlet of the desiccant wheel is used. The corrected data are used in the investigation of the validity of the effectiveness method by using constant values in a large set of cases where the rotation speed of the desiccant wheels and the fans are kept constant. Important deviations between the predicted and the experimental results were found in a significant number of cases, therefore there is the need of improving the method by taking into account the effect on the effectiveness parameters of varying the inlet states of both airflows. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Picado J.,University of Coimbra | Pultr A.,Charles University
Applied Categorical Structures | Year: 2013

Due to the nature of product in the category of locales, the entourage uniformities in the point-free context only mimic the classical Weil approach while the cover (Tukey type) ones can be viewed as an immediate extension. Nevertheless the resulting categories are concretely isomorphic. We present a transparent construction of this isomorphism, and apply it to the natural uniformities of localic groups. In particular we show that localic group homomorphisms are uniform, thus providing natural forgetful functors from the category of localic groups into any of the two categories of uniform locales. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Cardoso J.C.,University of Coimbra | Calonje E.,St Johns Institute of Dermatology
Histopathology | Year: 2015

Cutaneous adnexal tumours can be a diagnostic challenge for the pathologist. This is particularly true in the case of tumours with sweat gland differentiation, due to a large number of rare entities, a multiplicity of names to designate the same neoplasms and consequent lack of consensus regarding their classification and nomenclature. In the traditional view, sweat gland tumours were divided into eccrine and apocrine. However, this has been challenged in recent years, and in fact many of these tumours may have both eccrine and apocrine variants. Some display more complex features and defy classification, due to the presence of other lines of differentiation, namely follicular and/or sebaceous (in the case of apocrine tumours, due to the close embryological relationship between apocrine glands, hair follicles and sebaceous glands). The present paper reviews and updates the basic concepts regarding the following malignant sweat gland tumours: apocrine carcinoma, porocarcinoma, hidradenocarcinoma, spiradenocarcinoma, cylindrocarcinoma, microcystic adnexal carcinoma and related entities, squamoid eccrine ductal carcinoma, digital papillary adenocarcinoma, primary cutaneous mucinous carcinoma, endocrine mucin-producing sweat gland carcinoma and primary cutaneous signet ring cell carcinoma. Particular emphasis is put in recent findings that may have implications in the diagnosis and management of these tumours. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Jacquemin D.,University of Nantes | Zhao Y.,Hewlett - Packard | Valero R.,University of Coimbra | Adamo C.,École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation | Year: 2012

We assess the accuracy of eight Minnesota density functionals (M05 through M08-SO) and two others (PBE and PBE0) for the prediction of electronic excitation energies of a family of four cyanine dyes. We find that time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) with the five most recent of these functionals (from M06-HF through M08-SO) is able to predict excitation energies for cyanine dyes within 0.10-0.36 eV accuracy with respect to the most accurate available Quantum Monte Carlo calculations, providing a comparable accuracy to the latest generation of CASPT2 calculations, which have errors of 0.16-0.34 eV. Therefore previous conclusions that TDDFT cannot treat cyanine dyes reasonably accurately must be revised. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2011.1.3.4-1 | Award Amount: 2.15M | Year: 2011

CreativeCH will promote cooperation and mutual innovation among organisations of Science & Technology (S&T), Cultural Heritage (CH) and Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI), and highlight the contribution of such cooperations and innovations to vital European economic, social and cultural objectives. The goals of the CreativeCH Action Plan are, a) enable cities and regions across Europe to benefit from CH assets through the cooperation of S&T, CH and CCI organisations, b) encourage and involve students in such cooperations. On the European level CreativeCH will promote sharing of knowledge and experiences in S&T CH - CCI cooperation through an open peer-learning network, a series of workshops at major European events, and a virtual forum for students and practitioners. These activities will include collecting examples of innovative S&T - CH - CCI cooperations, identifying success factors, and providing recommendations on good practice. On the Local level, CreativeCH will realise showcases of S&T - CH - CCI cooperations that demonstrate how such cooperations can help overcome barriers in the access to, and understanding of, cultural heritage. The focus is on issues of glocal character, i.e., that are common to cultural heritage worldwide but tackled in an exemplary way in a concrete local setting. The showcases will also have a particular focus on involving and training students.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.5.1 | Award Amount: 8.27M | Year: 2013

WELCOME is an ambitious project aiming to develop an integrated care approach for continuous monitoring, early diagnosis and detection of worsening events and treatment of patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) with comorbidities Chronic Heart Failure, Diabetes, Anxiety and Depression.The WELCOME solution for the patient will be based on:1. An adjustable, wearable and washable vest providing continuous monitoring of a large number of sensors each one measuring various physiological signals, like chest sounds, pleural effusion, tachycardia or arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation etc,. The vest will be comfortable, inconspicuous, and easy to put on by the patient, it will require simple maintenance (simultaneous sensor recharging, normal washing procedure) and can be modified according to each patients individual needs.2. Wearable sensors for measuring blood trends like glucose, cholesterols, triglycerides, potassium, serum creatinine, blood pressure etc in a periodic basis.3. Inhaler devices for measuring and evaluating the medical adherence of the patients.Remote, continuous monitoring and analysis of patient multi-parametric data, such as physiological, environmental, emotional and genetic data, will be used for designing the personalized integrated care programs ranging from self-care guidance and regulation (e.g e-coaching) at home and outdoors to professional primary and secondary health-care support (e.g including telemonitoring and remote support or comprehensive expert support at the clinic). The process will be facilitated by a cloud based Decision Support System, providing statistical/intelligent analysis of the therapy policies and patient conditions enhanced by multiple patients data fusion and discovery of patterns on the patients disease progress.Great attention will be paid to the small-scale validation of the project and its impact on healthcare in five countries (Greece, UK, Ireland, Germany and Nethelands).

University of Coimbra and Ion Beam Applications S.A. | Date: 2016-12-07

The present invention relates to a process for purifying and concentrating ^(68)Ga isotope produced by the irradiation with an accelerated particle beam of a ^(68)Zn target in solution. The process according to the invention allows for the production of pure and concentrated ^(68)Ga isotope in hydrochloric acid solution. The present invention also relates to a disposable cassette (500) suitable to perform the steps of purification and concentration of the process.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2011.3.4 | Award Amount: 466.09K | Year: 2011

The RISC project aims at deepening strategic R&D cooperation between Europe (EU) and Latin America (LA) in the field of High Performance Computing (HPC) by building a multinational and multi-stakeholder community that will involve a significant representation of the relevant HPC R&D EU and LA actors (researchers, policy makers, users). RISC will identify common needs, research issues and opportunities for cooperative R&D on HPC between EU and LA in the transition to multi-core architectures across the computing spectrum and relevant programming paradigms, algorithms and modelling approaches, thus setting the basis for the formulation of a global strategy for future research. The project will achieve its overall aim via a range of activities: 1. Assessing the ICT collaboration potential in the High Performance Computing and Computational Science area for the two regions; producing a Green Paper on High Performance Computing Drivers and Needs in Latin America; mapping the LA HPC actors and trends; identifying the opportunities for LA ICT actors in the EU and for EU HPC actors in LA; aligning EU and LA HPC policies and strategies; 2. Sharing and disseminating information and results in the focus area of EU HPC to a number of research, policy and practice actors dealing with technology applications in the LA region; making available existing Latin American HPC research to EU research, policy and practice actors;\n3.\tOrganising awareness-raising events about the ECs ICT R&D programmes, in particular those ones relevant to HPC and exascale computing for LA HPC actors. Organising Summer Schools and Advanced Workshops between EU and LA ICT actors to inform and initiate research collaborations between them. Networking, capacity building and training components of these events will enhance the impact 4. Actively engaging the relevant industry by focusing on industrial problems and problems with impact for the society. Providing advanced support services to a selected number of competent Latin American ICT actors to build long-term relationships with key EU counterparts. The target areas are: Innovation and HPC and its impact, Mathematical Models enhancing HPC and key areas such as Life Sciences, Climate Change, Financial Modelling etc with the corresponding research clusters concentrated around these areas.\n5.\tExtending HPC with links and relationships with complementary technology and tools in the areas of virtualization, data visualization, data analysis and simulation, aligned with industrial-driven application fields, creating a value chain for final users and practitioners. 6. Enhancing HPC R&D policy dialogue between policy makers and stakeholders from EU and Latin American HPC communities; develop a Road Map towards a Joint Strategy in HPC R&D. At the end of the project we expect a fully functioning network focusing on activities to support and to promote coordination of the HPC and Computational Science research between EU and LA.

Gomes L.C.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | Gomes L.C.,University of Coimbra | Scorrano L.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | Scorrano L.,University of Geneva
Autophagy | Year: 2011

Mitochondrial morphological and structural changes play a role in several cellular processes, including apoptosis. We recently reported that mitochondrial elongation is also critical to sustain cell viability during macroautophagy. During macroautophagy unopposed mitochondrial fusion leads to organelle elongation both in vitro and in vivo. Longer mitochondria are protected from being degraded and possess more cristae where activity of the ATP synthase is increased, optimizing ATP production in times of nutrient restriction. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.

Alves M.,University of Algarve | Goncalves T.,University of Coimbra | Quintas C.,University of Algarve
Food Control | Year: 2012

Cracked green table olives, from the Manzanilla variety, are a fermented food produced and consumed in Portugal. The objective of the present work was to study the microbiological characteristics and yeast population evolution during the fermentation of cracked green olives. The predominant microorganisms were yeasts while lactic acid bacteria were not detected and a clear decrease of the mould population was observed. At the end of the fermentations, no viable counts of Enterobacteriaceae were found. Yeast isolates were identified by the 5.8S rRNA-ITS region restriction analysis and by sequencing the D1/D2 region of the 26S rRNA gene. During the initial phases of the fermentations a great diversity of yeasts was observed. However, as the processes evolved the biodiversity decreased with the fermentative yeasts Citeromyces matritensis, Zygotorulaspora mrakii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae becoming the dominant species. The presence of these fermentative yeasts at the end of the production process is associated to a risk of spoilage. The results obtained represent a first attempt towards the comprehension of the microbiota of this type of " Natural olives" that constitute an important component of the Mediterranean diet. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Bandeira A.S.,Princeton University | Scheinberg K.,Lehigh University | Vicente L.N.,University of Coimbra
Mathematical Programming | Year: 2012

Interpolation-based trust-region methods are an important class of algorithms forDerivative-Free Optimizationwhich rely on locally approximating an objective function by quadratic polynomial interpolation models, frequently built from less points than there are basis components. Often, in practical applications, the contribution of the problem variables to the objective function is such that many pairwise correlations between variables are negligible, implying, in the smooth case, a sparse structure in the Hessian matrix. To be able to exploit Hessian sparsity, existing optimization approaches require the knowledge of the sparsity structure. The goal of this paper is to develop and analyze a method where the sparse models are constructed automatically. The sparse recovery theory developed recently in the field of compressed sensing characterizes conditions under which a sparse vector can be accurately recovered from few random measurements. Such a recovery is achieved by minimizing the l1-norm of a vector subject to the measurements constraints. We suggest an approach for building sparse quadratic polynomial interpolationmodels byminimizing the l1-norm of the entries of themodel Hessian subject to the interpolation conditions. We show that this procedure recovers accurate models when the function Hessian is sparse, using relatively few randomly selected sample points. Motivated by this result, we developed a practical interpolation-based trust-region method using deterministic sample sets and minimum l1-norm quadratic models. Our computational results show that the new approach exhibits a promising numerical performance both in the general case and in the sparse one. © Springer and Mathematical Optimization Society 2012.

Alberto P.,University of Coimbra | De Castro A.S.,São Paulo State University | Malheiro M.,Brazilian Technological Institute of Aeronautics
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2013

We derive the node structure of the radial functions which are solutions of the Dirac equation with scalar S and vector V confining central potentials, in the conditions of exact spin or pseudospin symmetry, i.e., when one has V=±S+C, where C is a constant. We show that the node structure for exact spin symmetry is the same as the one for central potentials which go to zero at infinity but for exact pseudospin symmetry the structure is reversed. We obtain the important result that it is possible to have positive energy bound solutions in exact pseudospin symmetry conditions for confining potentials of any shape, including naturally those used in hadron physics, from nuclear to quark models. Since this does not occur for potentials going to zero at large distances, which are used in nuclear relativistic mean-field potentials or in the atomic nucleus, this shows the decisive importance of the asymptotic behavior of the scalar and vector central potentials on the onset of pseudospin symmetry and on the node structure of the radial functions. Finally, we show that these results are still valid for negative energy bound solutions for antifermions. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Gomes L.C.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute | Gomes L.C.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | Gomes L.C.,University of Coimbra | Benedetto G.D.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | And 4 more authors.
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2011

A plethora of cellular processes, including apoptosis, depend on regulated changes in mitochondrial shape and ultrastructure. The role of mitochondria and of their morphology during autophagy, a bulk degradation and recycling process of eukaryotic cells constituents, is not well understood. Here we show that mitochondrial morphology determines the cellular response to macroautophagy. When autophagy is triggered, mitochondria elongate in vitro and in vivo. During starvation, cellular cyclic AMP levels increase and protein kinase A (PKA) is activated. PKA in turn phosphorylates the pro-fission dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), which is therefore retained in the cytoplasm, leading to unopposed mitochondrial fusion. Elongated mitochondria are spared from autophagic degradation, possess more cristae, increased levels of dimerization and activity of ATP synthase, and maintain ATP production. Conversely, when elongation is genetically or pharmacologically blocked, mitochondria consume ATP, precipitating starvation-induced death. Thus, regulated changes in mitochondrial morphology determine the fate of the cell during autophagy. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Candido-Martins J.P.S.,University of Coimbra | Costa-Neves L.F.,University of Coimbra | Vellasco P.C.G.D.S.,State University of Rio de Janeiro
Engineering Structures | Year: 2010

This paper presents an experimental study of the structural response of the Perfobond connector with various geometry configurations. The experimental programme was performed at the Civil Engineering Department, University of Coimbra, Portugal, and consisted of eight push-out tests conducted in accordance with the Eurocode 4 (2005) [18]. The investigated variables were the number of connector holes and the presence of reinforcing steel bars at the connector holes. In addition, the possible interaction of two Perfobond connectors side by side was also investigated. Other parameters such as the connector shape, concrete resistance and slab geometry kept constant values throughout this study. The experimental results are presented and discussed, focusing on the connection resistance, ductility and failure modes. Finally, the experimental results are compared to the existing analytical model formulae to predict the shear connector load carrying capacity. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Gomes L.C.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | Gomes L.C.,University of Coimbra | Scorrano L.,Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine | Scorrano L.,University of Geneva
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research | Year: 2013

Mitochondria are critical organelles in energy conversion, metabolism and amplification of signalling. They are however also major sources of reactive oxygen species and when dysfunctional they consume cytosolic ATP. Maintenance of a cohort of healthy mitochondria is therefore crucial for the overall cell fitness. Superfluous or damaged organelles are mainly degraded by mitophagy, a selective process of autophagy. In response to the triggers of mitophagy, mitochondria fragment: this morphological change accompanies the exposure of "eat-me" signals, resulting in the engulfment of the organelle by the autophagosomes. Conversely, during macroautophagy mitochondria fuse to be spared from degradation and to sustain ATP production in times of limited nutrient availability. Thus, mitochondrial shape defines different types of autophagy, highlighting the interplay between morphology of the organelle and complex cellular responses. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mitochondrial dynamics and physiology. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Rodriguez-Echeverria S.,University of Coimbra | Fajardo S.,Institute Ciencias Agrarias ICA | Ruiz-Diez B.,Institute Ciencias Agrarias ICA | Fernandez-Pascual M.,Institute Ciencias Agrarias ICA
Oecologia | Year: 2012

The degree of specialization in the legume-rhizobium mutualism and the variation in the response to different potential symbionts are crucial factors for understanding the process of invasion by exotic legumes and the consequences for the native resident plants and bacteria. The enhanced novel mutualism hypothesis predicts that exotic invasive legumes would take advantage of native rhizobia present in the invaded soils. However, recent studies have shown that exotic legumes might become invasive by using exotic introduced microsymbionts, and that they could be a source of exotic bacteria for native legumes. To unravel the role of novel and old symbioses in the progress of invasion, nodulation and symbiotic effectiveness were analyzed for exotic invasive plants and native co-occurring legumes in a Mediterranean coastal dune ecosystem. Although most of the studied species nodulated with bacteria from distant origins these novel mutualisms were less effective in terms of nodulation, nitrogenase activity and plant growth than the interactions of plants and bacteria from the same origin. The relative effect of exotic bradyrhizobia was strongly positive for exotic invasive legumes and detrimental for native shrubs. We conclude that (1) the studied invasive legumes do not rely on novel mutualisms but rather need the co-introduction of compatible symbionts, and (2) since exotic rhizobia colonize native legumes in invaded areas, the lack of effectiveness of these novel symbiosis demonstrated here suggests that invasion can disrupt native belowground mutualisms and reduce native legumes fitness. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Ruivo C.R.,University of Algarve | Costa J.J.,University of Coimbra | Figueiredo A.R.,University of Coimbra
International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer | Year: 2011

A study was conducted to investigate the influence of the atmospheric pressure, from 101,325 to 60,000 Pa (corresponding from 0 to 4217 m of altitude), on the heat and mass transfer rates of desiccant wheels (hygroscopic matrix of silica gel RD), assuming fixed-mass airflow rates and fixed inlet states for the process and regeneration airflows, defined by the respective inlet temperatures and water vapour contents. The results show a generic reduction of the heat and mass transfer rates as the atmospheric pressure decreases, an effect that is more pronounced for short channel wheels and high airflow rates. Correlations based on the numerical results are presented for the correction of the heat and mass transfer rates when the desiccant wheels are operating at non-standard atmospheric pressure. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Dudal D.,Ghent University | Oliveira O.,University of Coimbra | Silva P.J.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

We consider the problem of "measuring" the Källén- Lehmann spectral density of a particle (be it elementary or bound state) propagator by means of 4D lattice data. As the latter are obtained from operations at (Euclidean momentum squared) p2≥0, we are facing the generically ill-posed problem of converting a limited data set over the positive real axis to an integral representation, extending over the whole complex p2 plane. We employ a linear regularization strategy, commonly known as the Tikhonov method with the Morozov discrepancy principle, with suitable adaptations to realistic data, e.g. with an unknown threshold. An important virtue over the (standard) maximum entropy method is the possibility to also probe unphysical spectral densities, for example, of a confined gluon. We apply our proposal here to "physical" mock spectral data as a litmus test and then to the lattice SU(3) Landau gauge gluon at zero temperature. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Dudal D.,Ghent University | Oliveira O.,University of Coimbra | Vandersickel N.,Ghent University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2010

We consider the gluon propagator D(p2) at various lattice sizes and spacings in the case of pure SU(3) Yang-Mills gauge theories using the Landau gauge fixing. We discuss a class of fits in the infrared region in order to (in)validate the tree level analytical prediction in terms of the (refined) Gribov-Zwanziger framework. It turns out that an important role is played by the presence of the widely studied dimension two gluon condensate □A2□. Including this effect allows to obtain an acceptable fit around 1 to 1.5 GeV, while corroborating the refined Gribov-Zwanziger prediction for the gluon propagator. We also discuss the infinite volume extrapolation, leading to the estimate D(0)=8.3±0.5GeV-2. As a by-product, we can also provide the prediction □g2A2□≈3GeV2 obtained at the renormalization scale μ=10GeV. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Matias G.,ITeCons Institute for Research and Technological Development in Construction science | Faria P.,New University of Lisbon | Torres I.,University of Coimbra
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2014

The formulation and use of lime mortars with ceramic particles has, in the past, been a very common technique. Knowledge of such used techniques and materials is fundamental for the successful rehabilitation and conservation of the built heritage. The durability that these mortars have shown encourages the study of the involved mechanisms, so that they may be adapted to the current reality. The considerable amount of waste from old ceramics factories which is sent for disposal might present an opportunity for the production of reliable improved lime mortars. In this paper a number of studies that characterize old building mortars containing ceramic fragments are reviewed. The most important research undertaken on laboratory prepared mortars with several heat treated clays types is presented, specifically with incorporated ceramic waste. Some studies on the pozzolanicity of heat treated clays are examined and the heating temperatures that seem most likely to achieve pozzolanicity are presented. It was verified that some heating temperatures currently used by ceramic industries might correspond to the temperatures that will achieve pozzolanicity. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Canhoto C.,University of Coimbra | Goncalves A.L.,University of Coimbra | Barlocher F.,Mount Allison University
Fungal Ecology | Year: 2016

The average global temperature is predicted to increase by 4 °C by the end of this century. Biotas of running waters, especially of low order streams, depend heavily on imports from the riparian vegetation. Autumn-shed leaves are decomposed and conditioned for invertebrate consumption by aquatic hyphomycetes. Overall metabolism, growth and reproduction of these fungi will be directly affected by rising temperatures and associated changes. Both resource (leaves) and consumers/competitors (leaf-eating invertebrates) will react to the same changes; their responses may indirectly influence fungal activities. Published studies on fungal reactions to climate change often reach contradictory and location-specific conclusions. Most commonly, at least in temperate streams, higher temperatures stimulate fungal metabolism, though there may be shifts in fungal allocations to enzyme activities, growth and reproduction. On a global scale, there is some evidence that rising temperatures will increase the contribution of aquatic hyphomycetes to litter processing in streams at the expense of invertebrates. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and The British Mycological Society.

Ion A.,Vienna University of Technology | Carreira J.,University of Coimbra | Sminchisescu C.,Lund University | Sminchisescu C.,Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy
International Journal of Computer Vision | Year: 2014

We propose a layered statistical model for image segmentation and labeling obtained by combining independently extracted, possibly overlapping sets of figure-ground (FG) segmentations. The process of constructing consistent image segmentations, called tilings, is cast as optimization over sets of maximal cliques sampled from a graph connecting all non-overlapping figure-ground segment hypotheses. Potential functions over cliques combine unary, Gestalt-based figure qualities, and pairwise compatibilities among spatially neighboring segments, constrained by T-junctions and the boundary interface statistics of real scenes. Building on the segmentation layer, we further derive a joint image segmentation and labeling model (JSL) which, given a bag of FGs, constructs a joint probability distribution over both the compatible image interpretations (tilings) composed from those segments, and over their labeling into categories. The process of drawing samples from the joint distribution can be interpreted as first sampling tilings, followed by sampling labelings conditioned on the choice of a particular tiling. We learn the segmentation and labeling parameters jointly, based on maximum likelihood with a novel estimation procedure we refer to as incremental saddle-point approximation. The partition function over tilings and labelings is increasingly more accurately approximated by including incorrect configurations that are rated as probable by candidate models during learning. State of the art results are reported on the Berkeley, Stanford and Pascal VOC datasets, where an improvement of 28 % was achieved for the segmentation task only (tiling), and an accuracy of 47.8 % was obtained on the test set of VOC12 for semantic labeling (JSL). © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 735.30K | Year: 2014

The strategic objective of the whole FP7 is to support research in all areas, including the Science in Society. The major goal of the Seventh Framework Programme for research and Technological Development is to keep the EU as a world leader. The European identity, cultural diversity and political changes could be the key issue in the encouragement of societal dialog on research policy, stimulating all players to be more active in research, promoting shared values among EU countries and the third countries. The proposed research project brings together 8 European universities and research centres from France, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Belguim, Poland, Hungary ( EU MS coutries), Moldova (AC) and 7 participant institutions from Russian Federation (third country). It builds on existing cooperation in frame of international networks and associations of European Studies and will enhance the already active collaboration in the fields of European identity and cultural diversity. The establishment of this staff exchange program will in addition promote and strengthen the complementarity of the participants involved and will boost collaborative research activities. The primary objective of this international and interdisciplinary group of research team is to form an excellent center of synergy in research and knowledge transfer in the area of European studies. It is supposed to establish long lasting collaborations through exchange of people and realization of different activities, including meetings and workshops. The main aim of the proposal is to contribute to mutual understanding between nations, development of intercultural communications, identification of similarities and differences of views from European and Russian, Ukrainian sides and search for overcoming of contradictions on the issue of perception of what Europe is, its geographical and cultural borders, what people in project partner countries put into the words being a European.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 2.64M | Year: 2009

ENGLOBE (Enlightenment and Global History) is a projected network of researchers concerned with Europes role in the process of globalization. Its thematic aims are located in the newly emerging supra-disciplinary field of Global History which provides a highly useful mode of reflection on the cultural and historical dimension of globalization processes. The Enlightenment has a double significance within this field. It was the first moment in history when questions and problems arising out of globalization processes became an issue. Even more importantly, in view of recent debates on the so-called clash of civilizations, Enlightenment issues have attained outstanding significance. The perspectives on Europe from outside are still inextricably linked to the Enlightenment. With its thematic aims, ENGLOBE addresses the strategic objective 8.4 Europe in the World in the FP7-Cooperation Work Programme. With respect to this scientific field, the Initial Training Network ENGLOBE bridges a specific gap in existing academic training programmes: (1.) In contrast to the USA where Global History has reached a high level of organizational consolidation ranging from high school to university level, the Global History approach is still in its infancy in Europe. (2.) ENGLOBE links together existing bi-national and multi-national doctoral students training structures and at the same time expands, or englobes, them in two directions: in direction of the extra-European regions of Asia, Africa and North and South America, in accordance with the thematic aims of the network; and in direction of the non-academic field of foreign cultural policy affairs, with the aim to broaden the doctoral students career opportunities. Because of this gap, the network can be expected to attract the interest of a significant number of young scientists.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-19-2014 | Award Amount: 3.42M | Year: 2015

GrowMeUps main aim is to increase the years of independent and active living, and the quality of life of older persons (age of 65\) with light physical or mental health problems who live alone at home and can find pleasure and relief in getting support or stimulation to carry out their daily activities over the ageing process. GrowMeUp will provide an affordable service robotic system able to learn the older persons needs and habits over time and enhance (grow up/scale up) its functionality to compensate for the elders degradation of abilities, to support, encourage and engage the older persons to stay longer active, independent and socially involved, in carrying out their daily life at home. State of the art cloud computing technologies and machine learning mechanisms will be used, enabling the GrowMeUp robot to extend and increase its knowledge continuously over time. Robots will share and distribute their knowledge through the cloud, so that other connected robots can learn from each others experience, increasing thus their functionality/competencies and simultaneously reduce learning effort. Implicit daily activities support will be provided in a human like way characterized by behaviour and emotional understanding, intelligent dialoguing and personalized services provision. GrowMeUp will be introduced early enough to the elder person, creating thus a positive long-term relationship between the elder and the robot, considering persons as active collaborators with whom the robot can interact, so as to increase its knowledge about their personalized needs. Furthermore, the robot will be connected to a virtual care network that will provide for continuous care, but also motivation and education to the older persons of how to best use the platform. A group of relevant stakeholders will use the system over a nine month pilot period. The goal is to achieve global leadership in advanced solutions supporting active and healthy ageing.

Oertel M.,University Paris Diderot | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra | Gulminelli F.,University of Caen Lower Normandy | Raduta Ad.R.,IFIN HH
Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics | Year: 2015

Since the discovery of neutron stars with masses around 2 M the composition of matter in the central part of these massive stars has been intensively discussed. Within this paper we will (re)investigate the question of the appearance of hyperons. To that end we will perform an extensive parameter study within relativistic mean field models. We will show that it is possible to obtain high mass neutron stars with (i) a substantial amount of hyperons, (ii) radii of 12-13 km for the canonical mass of 1.4 M, and (iii) a spinodal instability at the onset of hyperons. The results depend strongly on the interaction in the hyperon-hyperon channels, on which only very little information is available from terrestrial experiments up to now. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Bruze M.,Skåne University Hospital | Engfeldt M.,Skåne University Hospital | Goncalo M.,University of Coimbra | Goossens A.,Catholic University of Leuven
Contact Dermatitis | Year: 2013

Background Methylisothiazolinone (MI) is used as a preservative in occupational and household products, and cosmetics. It is a part of the preparation of methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)/MI, which is patch tested in water in the European baseline series. However, this preparation fails to detect a significant percentage of allergic contact reactions to MI. Objectives To investigate whether a separate test preparation with MI should be included in the European baseline series. Methods Literature survey. Results In consecutively tested dermatitis patients, the contact allergy rate for MI varies between 0.6% and 6%, with a marked increase in recent years. The contact allergy rate for MI alone, not detected with MCI/MI, varies between 0% and 1.6%. Most cases are relevant, as shown by repeated open application test studies, and are mainly related to exposure from cosmetic products. Conclusions Owing to the increase in contact allergy to MI not detected with MCI/MI, it is recommended that MI in water at 2000 ppm be included in the European baseline series. With the Finn Chamber® (diameter, 8 mm) technique, a volume of 15 μl should be applied, giving a dose of 60 μg/cm2. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Rodriguez-Echeverria S.,University of Coimbra | Lozano Y.M.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Bardgett R.D.,University of Manchester
Functional Ecology | Year: 2016

Facilitation by nurse plants is a key process involved in the organization of plant communities and maintenance of biodiversity, particularly in harsh environments. Nurse plants increase plant diversity and productivity in these ecosystems, but our knowledge on the mechanisms through which such facilitation operates is still expanding. Despite growing evidence that soil microbiota impact plant fitness and community dynamics, their role in plant facilitation has been little explored. Here, we synthesize available evidence on the effect of nurse plants on the abundance, composition and activity of soil microbial communities, and the effect of these soil communities on beneficiary plant species. Studies conducted mostly in arid and semi-arid systems show that nurse plants promote the development of differentiated soil microbial communities characterized by a higher microbial abundance and activity, the dominance of competitive bacteria and larger mycorrhizal networks, compared to gaps and to coexisting non-nurses. There is also evidence that differentiated soil microbiota associated with nurse plants has positive effects on the establishment, growth and fitness of beneficiary plant species, although the mechanisms involved remain unclear. We suggest that they include increased nutrient availability for plants, a better use of resources through functional complementarity in the microbial community, soil stabilization and also direct molecular signalling between soil microbes and plants that affect plant defence and plant interactions. Evidence for the role of soil microbiota as mediators of facilitation by nurse plants is growing, but there are still too few studies on which to draw generalizable conclusions. Future studies are needed to assess the effect of plant ontogeny and environmental conditions on soil microbial communities under nurse plants and other coexisting species, and to determine the microbial groups and specific mechanisms involved in facilitation by nurse plants. © 2016 British Ecological Society.

Finley L.,Harvard University | Carracedo A.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Lee J.,Harvard University | Souza A.,The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | And 8 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2011

Tumor cells exhibit aberrant metabolism characterized by high glycolysis even in the presence of oxygen. This metabolic reprogramming, known as the Warburg effect, provides tumor cells with the substrates required for biomass generation. Here, we show that the mitochondrial NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT3 is a crucial regulator of the Warburg effect. Mechanistically, SIRT3 mediates metabolic reprogramming by destabilizing hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α), a transcription factor that controls glycolytic gene expression. SIRT3 loss increases reactive oxygen species production, leading to HIF1α stabilization. SIRT3 expression is reduced in human breast cancers, and its loss correlates with the upregulation of HIF1α target genes. Finally, we find that SIRT3 overexpression represses glycolysis and proliferation in breast cancer cells, providing a metabolic mechanism for tumor suppression. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Hogg R.E.,Royal Victoria Hospital | Silva R.,University of Coimbra | Silva R.,Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image | Staurenghi G.,University of Milan | And 4 more authors.
Ophthalmology | Year: 2014

Purpose To describe associations between reticular pseudodrusen, individual characteristics, and retinal function. Design Cohort study. Participants We recruited 105 patients (age range, 52-93 years) who had advanced neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in only 1 eye from 3 clinical centers in Europe. Methods Minimum follow-up was 12 months. The eye selected for study was the fellow eye without advanced disease. Clinical measures of vision were distance visual acuity, near visual acuity, and results of the Smith-Kettlewell low-luminance acuity test (SKILL). Fundus imaging included color photography, red-free imaging, blue autofluorescence imaging, fluorescein angiography, indocyanine green angiography, and optical coherence tomography using standardized protocols. These were used to detect progression to neovascular AMD in the study eye during follow-up. All imaging outputs were graded for the presence or absence of reticular pseudodrusen (RPD) using a multimodal approach. Choroidal thickness was measured at the foveal center and at 2 other equidistant locations from the fovea (1500 μm) nasally and temporally. Metrics on retinal thickness and volume were obtained from the manufacturer-supplied automated segmentation readouts. Main Outcome Measures Presence of RPD, distance visual acuity, near visual acuity, SKILL score, choroidal thickness, retinal thickness, and retinal volume. Results Reticular pseudodrusen was found in 43 participants (41%) on 1 or more imaging method. The SKILL score was significantly worse in those with reticular drusen (mean score ± standard deviation [SD, 38±12) versus those without (mean score ± SD, 33±9) (P = 0.034). Parafoveal retinal thickness, parafoveal retinal volume, and all of the choroidal thickness parameters measured were significantly lower in those with reticular drusen than in those without. The presence of RPD was associated with development of neovascular AMD when corrected for age and sex (odds ratio, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-28.8; P = 0.042). All participants in whom geographic atrophy developed during follow-up had visible RPD at baseline. Conclusions Significant differences in retinal and choroidal anatomic features, visual function, and risk factor profile exist in unilateral neovascular AMD patients with RPD compared with those without; therefore, such patients should be monitored carefully because of the risk of developing bilateral disease. © 2014 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Leitao C.,University of Coimbra | Louro R.,Weld and Quality Institute | Rodrigues D.M.,University of Coimbra
Journal of Materials Processing Technology | Year: 2012

The use of Friction Stir Processing (FSP) techniques for the joining and/or transforming of metallic materials is being object of intensive research since the earliest development of the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology in 1991. Despite of this, an accurate understanding of the main welding/processing mechanisms and its relation with the process parameters is still missing. Current paper intends to provide some further insight on this subject by discussing the relations between processing parameters, classified as independent variables, and the corresponding welding results, classified as dependent variables, using torque sensitivity analysis. The relation between base materials properties, plate thickness, welding conditions and torque evolution were also explored, which constitutes a novelty relative to the previous studies on this subject. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Armas C.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Rodriguez-Echeverria S.,University of Coimbra | Pugnaire F.I.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas
Journal of Vegetation Science | Year: 2011

Aims: The stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH) predicts how plant interactions change along environmental stress gradients. We tested the SGH in an aridity gradient, where support for the hypothesis and the specific shape of its response curve is controversial. Location: Almería, Cáceres and Coimbra, three sites in the Iberian Peninsula that encompass the most arid and wet habitats in the distribution range of a nurse shrub species -Retama sphaerocarpa L. (Boiss) - in Europe. Methods: We analysed the effect of Retama on its understorey plant community and measured the biomass and species richness beneath Retama and in gaps. We estimated the frequency (changes in species richness), importance and intensity of the Retama effects, and derived the severity-interaction relationship pattern, analysing how these interaction indices changed along this aridity gradient. Results and conclusions: The intensity and frequency of facilitation by Retama increased monotonically with increasing environmental severity, and the importance tended to have a similar pattern, overall supporting the SGH. Our data did not support predictions from recent revisions of the SGH, which may not apply to whole plant communities like those studied here or when interactions are highly asymmetrical. Facilitation by Retama influenced community composition and species richness to the point that a significant fraction of species found at the most arid end of the gradient were only able to survive beneath the nurse shrub, whereas some of these species were able to thrive in gaps at more mesic sites, highlighting the ecological relevance of facilitation by nurse species in mediterranean environments, especially in the driest sites. © 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science.

Barah F.,University of Coimbra | Whiteside S.,University of Manchester | Whiteside S.,Wythenshawe Hospital | Batista S.,University of Coimbra | And 2 more authors.
Reviews in Medical Virology | Year: 2014

Parvovirus B19 has been linked with various clinical syndromes including neurological manifestations. However, its role in the latter remains not completely understood. Although the last 10years witnessed a surge of case reports on B19-associated neurological aspects, the literature data remains scattered and heterogeneous, and epidemiological information on the incidence of B19-associated neurological aspects cannot be accurately extrapolated. The aim of this review is to identify the characteristics of cases of B19-associated neurological manifestations. A computerized systematic review of existing literature concerning cases of B19-related neurological aspects revealed 89 articles describing 129 patients; 79 (61.2%) were associated with CNS manifestations, 41 (31.8%) were associated with peripheral nervous system manifestations, and 9 (7.0%) were linked with myalgic encephalomyelitis. The majority of the cases (50/129) had encephalitis. Clinical characteristic features of these cases were analyzed, and possible pathological mechanisms were also described. In conclusion, B19 should be included in differential diagnosis of encephalitic syndromes of unknown etiology in all age groups. Diagnosis should rely on investigation of anti-B19 IgM antibodies and detection of B19 DNA in serum or CSF. Treatment of severe cases might benefit from a combined regime of intravenous immunoglobulins and steroids. To confirm these outcomes, goal-targeted studies are recommended to exactly identify epidemiological scenarios and explore potential pathogenic mechanisms of these complications. Performing retrospective and prospective and multicenter studies concerning B19 and neurological aspects in general, and B19 and encephalitic syndromes in particular, are required. © 2014 The Authors. Reviews in Medical Virology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Nicolay B.N.,Harvard University | Gameiro P.A.,Harvard University | Gameiro P.A.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Gameiro P.A.,University of Coimbra | And 7 more authors.
Genes and Development | Year: 2013

Inactivation of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor (pRB) alters the expression of a myriad of genes. To understand the altered cellular environment that these changes create, we took advantage of the Drosophila model system and used targeted liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to profile the metabolic changes that occur when RBF1, the fly ortholog of pRB, is removed. We show that RBF1-depleted tissues and larvae are sensitive to fasting. Depletion of RBF1 causes major changes in nucleotide synthesis and glutathione metabolism. Under fasting conditions, these changes interconnect, and the increased replication demand of RBF1-depleted larvae is associated with the depletion of glutathione pools. In vivo 13C isotopic tracer analysis shows that RBF1-depleted larvae increase the flux of glutamine toward glutathione synthesis, presumably to minimize oxidative stress. Concordantly, H2O2 preferentially promoted apoptosis in RBF1-depleted tissues, and the sensitivity of RBF1-depleted animals to fasting was specifically suppressed by either a glutamine supplement or the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine. Effects of pRB activation/inactivation on glutamine catabolism were also detected in human cell lines. These results show that the inactivation of RB proteins causes metabolic reprogramming and that these consequences of RBF/RB function are present in both flies and human cell lines. © 2013 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Graca M.A.S.,University of Coimbra | Cressa C.,Central University of Venezuela
International Review of Hydrobiology | Year: 2010

We tested the hypotheses that (1) plant defenses against consumers increase in the tropics, and that these differences in quality are perceived by detritivores; and (2) microbial conditioning of leaf litter is important for the feeding ecology of shredders from both geographical regions. We compared quality parameters of 8 tree species from Portugal and 8 from Venezuela. The tropical leaves were tougher, but did not differ from temperate leaves in terms of N, C: N, and polyphenols. In multiple-choice experiments, shredders from Portugal (Sericostoma vittatum and Chaetopteryx lusitanica) and from Venezuela (Nectopsyche argentata and Phylloicus priapulus) discriminated among conditioned leaves, preferentially consuming softer leaves. In another set of experiments, all shredders preferentially fed on conditioned rather than unconditioned leaves, grew faster when fed conditioned than unconditioned leaves and fed more on temperate than tropical leaves. We conclude that leaf litter from the tropics is a low-quality resource compared to leaves in temperate systems, because of differences in toughness, and that tropical shredders benefit from microbial colonization, as previously demonstrated for temperate systems. We suggest that leaf toughness could be one explanation for the reported paucity of shredders in some tropical streams. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Castilho A.,University of Bergen | Castilho A.,University of Coimbra | Ambrosio A.F.,University of Coimbra | Ambrosio A.F.,Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Diabetes leads to dysfunction of the neural retina before and independent of classical microvascular diabetic retinopathy, but previous studies have failed to demonstrate which neurons and circuits are affected at the earliest stages. Here, using patch-clamp recording and two-photon Ca 2+ imaging in rat retinal slices, we investigated diabetes-evoked changes in a microcircuit consisting of rod bipolar cells and their dyad postsynaptic targets, AII and A17 amacrine cells, which play an essential role in processing scotopic visual signals. AII amacrines forward their signals to ON- and OFF-cone bipolar cells and A17 amacrines provide GABAergic feedback inhibition to rod bipolar cells. Whereas Ca 2+-permeable AMPA receptors mediate input from rod bipolar cells to both AII and A17 amacrines, diabetes changes the synaptic receptors on A17, but not AII amacrine cells. This was expressed as a change in pharmacological properties and single-channel conductance of the synaptic receptors, consistent with an upregulation of the AMPA receptor GluA2 subunit and reduced Ca 2+ permeability. In addition, two-photon imaging revealed reduced agonist-evoked influx of Ca 2+ in dendritic varicosities of A17 amacrine cells from diabetic compared with normal animals. Because Ca 2+-permeable receptors in A17 amacrine cells mediate synaptic release of GABA, the reduced Ca 2+ permeability of these receptors in diabetic animals leads to reduced release of GABA, followed by disinhibition and increased release of glutamate from rod bipolar cells. This perturbation of neuron and microcircuit dynamics can explain the decreased dynamic range and sensitivity of scotopic vision that has been observed in diabetes. © 2015 the authors.

Ribeiro P.S.,Cancer Research UK Research Institute | Josue F.,Cancer Research UK Research Institute | Josue F.,University of Coimbra | Wepf A.,ETH Zurich | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2010

The Hippo (Hpo) pathway is a central determinant of tissue size in both Drosophila and higher organisms. The core of the pathway is a kinase cascade composed of an upstream kinase Hpo (MST1/2 in mammals) and a downstream kinase Warts (Wts, Lats1/2 in mammals), as well as several scaffold proteins, Sav, dRASSF, and Mats. Activation of the core kinase cassette results in phosphorylation and inactivation of the progrowth transcriptional coactivator Yki, leading to increased apoptosis and reduced tissue growth. The mechanisms that prevent inappropriate Hpo activation remain unclear, and in particular, the identity of the phosphatase that antagonizes Hpo is unknown. Using combined proteomic and RNAi screening approaches, we identify the dSTRIPAK PP2A complex as a major regulator of Hpo signaling. dSTRIPAK depletion leads to increased Hpo activatory phosphorylation and repression of Yki target genes in vivo, suggesting this phosphatase complex prevents Hpo activation during development. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Amit H.,CNRS Nantes Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics | Pais M.A.,University of Coimbra
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2013

Core flows inverted from time-dependent geomagnetic field models image the geodynamo at the top of its generation region, the Earth's outer core. Physical assumptions incorporated in these inversions affect the resulting flows. Based on rapid rotation dominance, two assumptions similar in form yet different in essence have been proposed: tangential geostrophy (TG, LeMouël 1984) and columnar flow (CF, Amit&Olson 2004).We recall that CF is theoretically consistent with the quasi-geostrophy (QG) theory for an incompressible fluid with spherical solid boundaries whereas TG is not. As such, we highlight the importance of applying the CF assumptionwhen inverting geomagnetic data for interior core (columnar) flows that can be used in kinematic dynamo and thermal convection models in the Boussinesq approximation. Next we evaluate the non-uniqueness associated with CF flows. The areas of ambiguous patches at the core surface where invisible TG or CF flows reside are roughly comparable. The spatial distribution of ambiguous patches for both TG and CF is quite asymmetric about the equator, so assuming equatorial symmetry is expected to reduce the non-uniqueness significantly. In fact, for assumed equatorial symmetry, the only possible non-unique flows will be those along hypothetical -contours in the opposite hemispheres that their equatorial plane projections are parallel. TG flows exhibit a strong Atlantic/Pacific hemispheric dichotomy and a well-defined eccentric gyre whereas in CF flows the dichotomy between these two hemispheres is weaker and the gyre is less clear suggesting that the eccentric gyre might not conserve mass. Both TG and CF upwelling/downwelling patterns are strongly localized in the equatorial region. In addition, in both cases upwelling/downwelling is correlated with equatorward/poleward flow respectively, as expected for QG convection. CF upwelling is more intense than TG upwelling but the magnitude ratio is smaller than the factor 2 distinguishing the analytical expressions of the two assumptions. This smaller magnitude ratio is due to the fact that presently observed geomagnetic secular variation features are mostly explained by magnetic field advection by toroidal core flow in the frozen-flux approximation. Robust upwelling features below India/Indonesia may be viewed as geomagnetic evidence for whole core convection. © The Authors 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.1.4 | Award Amount: 1.05M | Year: 2008

AMBER aims to coordinate the study of resilience measuring and benchmarking in computer systems and components, fostering European research in order to address the big challenges on resilience assessment posed by current and forthcoming computer systems and computer-based infrastructures. The AMBER Coordination Action directly addresses the IST strategic objective 1.4 - Secure, dependable and Trusted Infrastructures, as it is of utmost importance to assess the resilience of these networks and information infrastructures to achieve the necessary trustworthiness. AMBER will bring together leading research teams on assessment, measurement, and benchmarking of resilience in computer systems in order to coordinate the effort of defining metrics and benchmarks for comparative evaluation of the resilience of computer systems and components. The consortium includes six university partners (Coimbra, Budapest, City, Chalmers, Florence, and Newcastle) from five EU countries, which constitute core research groups on resilience assessment, and relies on a large and representative Advisory Board that constitutes the necessary link between the coordination action and the influential parties in industry and government, thus ensuring that the views of major stake-holders are being taken into account by the AMBER Consortium. The two-years AMBER Coordination Action has the following main goals: - build consensus on common understanding, methodologies and practices for resilience assessment; - integrate and coordinate European research and practice on resilience assessment; - establish a resilience assessment and benchmarking research forum through AMBER web portal and build and maintain a repository to analyse and share resilience measurement data; - define a research agenda on the key topics for enhancing and advancing European research and industry on assessing resilience and benchmarking resiliency of systems and infrastructures.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 354.90K | Year: 2014

The DEVASSES project aims at taking a step forward in the design and deployment of large-scale, dynamic service-based software systems by supporting the transfer of knowledge on novel state of the art methods, techniques, and tools for both design time and run time verification and validation. The goal is to reinforce existing partners cooperation through a coordinated program of exchange of researchers, taking as context a common research problem, which provides the frame for the project scientific activities and cannot currently be tackled by any of the partners individually. The project includes joint research activities, focused training activities, and joint workshops, designed to exploit complementary expertise and to create synergies among the partners, establishing the basis for sustainable future cooperation at different levels, including: co-advising of PhD students, joint organization of international events (workshops, conferences, summer schools, etc.), participation in bilateral project proposals, participation in large-scale international project proposals, etc.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2013.1.4-1 | Award Amount: 5.11M | Year: 2014

The objective of the NanoSim project is to create an efficient and cost effective multi-scale simulation platform based on free and open-source codes. This platform will connect models spanning a wide range of scales from the atomic scale through the particle and cluster scales, the industrial equipment scale and the full system scale. To support the information flow and data sharing between different simulation packages, the NanoSim project will develop an open and integrated framework for numerical design called Porto to be used and distributed in terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). A core co-simulation platform called COSI (also licensed as LGPL) will be established based on existing CFDEMcoupling (an open source particle and continuum modelling platform). To establish this software tool, the project will develop and improve models to describe the relevant phenomena at each scale, and will then implement them on the next coarser scale. This scientific coupling between scales will be supported by sophisticated software and data management in such a way that the actual model implementation in various software packages will be fully automatic. The resulting open source software platform will be used to facilitate the rational design of second generation gas-particle CO2 capture technologies based on nano-structured materials with a particular focus on Chemical Looping Reforming (CLR). However, the final NanoSim platform will be sufficiently generic for application in a wide range of gas-particle contacting processes. Finally, the NanoSim project will demonstrate the capabilities of this multi-scale software platform to custom design an industrial scale reactor/process in a way that most effectively leverages the superior reactivity and tailored selectivity of any specific nano-structured material. Such efficient process optimization capabilities will maximize the economic benefits of nano-structured materials through process intensification.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2011

The main goal of the proposed project is to provide an answer to the demographic change challenge, through knowledge transfer and the creation of strategic synergies between the projects participating academia and industry regarding the development of an integrated Social Robotics system (SocialRobot) for Ageing Well. The work focuses on bringing together the Robotic and Computer Science fields by integrating state of the art Robotic and Virtual Social Care Communities technologies and services to provide solutions to key issues of relevance for improved independent living and quality of life of elderly people and efficiency of care. The SocialRobot development will be based on a human centred approach in which the elderly individual needs and requirements are met. The project will give the opportunity to participating SMEs with excellent credit in their domain and peripheral European regions, to reach excellence and compete with innovative products in the elderly care market, at European and International level. The major challenges to be addressed in the project include the adaptation of state of the art robotic mobile platforms and their integration with a virtual collaborative social network to provide: Detection of individual needs and requirements related to ageing (e.g. physical mobility limitations or/and cognitive decline), and provision of support through timely involvement of care teams, consisting of different groups of people (family members, neighbors, friends) that collaborate dynamically and virtually; means independently of time and their physical locations; Behavior analysis to adapt social relationships and contexts of the elderly people as they age. Navigate indoors and unstructured environments and provide affective and empathetic user-robotic interaction, taking into account the capabilities of and acceptance by elderly users.

Grill F.,University of Coimbra | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra | Avancini S.S.,Federal University of Santa Catarina
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

The cell structure of clusters in the inner crust of a cold β-equilibrium neutron star is studied within a Thomas-Fermi approach and compared with other approaches that include shell effects. Relativistic nuclear models are considered. We conclude that the symmetry energy slope L may have quite dramatic effefcts on the cell structure if it is very large or small. Rodlike and slablike pasta clusters have been obtained in all models except one with a large slope L. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Cavagnoli R.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Cavagnoli R.,University of Coimbra | Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

The effect of the symmetry energy on the properties of compact stars is discussed. It is shown that, for stars with masses above 1M, the radius of the star varies linearly with the symmetry energy slope L. We also analyze the dependence of the hyperon content and onset density of the direct Urca process on the symmetry energy and meson coupling parametrization. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Valero R.,University of Coimbra | Illas F.,University of Barcelona | Truhlar D.G.,University of Minnesota
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation | Year: 2011

Spin-flip time-dependent density functional theory (SF-TDDFT) has been applied to predict magnetic coupling constants for a database of 12 spin-1/2 homobinuclear transition-metal complexes previously studied by Phillips and Peralta employing spin-projected broken-symmetry density functional theory (Phillips, J. J.; Peralta, J. E. J. Chem. Phys.2011, 134, 034108). Several global hybrid density functionals with a range of percentages of Hartree-Fock exchange from 20% to 100% have been employed within the collinear-spin formalism, and we find that both the high-spin reference state and low-spin state produced by SF-TDDFT are generally well adapted to spin symmetry. The magnetic coupling constants are calculated from singlet-triplet energy differences and compared to values arising from the popular broken-symmetry approach. On average, for the density functionals that provide the best comparison with experiment, the SF-TDDFT approach performs as well as or better than the spin-projected broken-symmetry strategy. The constrained density functional approach also performs quite well. The SF-TDDFT magnetic coupling constants show a much larger dependence on the percentage of Hartree-Fock exchange than on the other details of the exchange functionals or the nature of the correlation functionals. In general, SF-TDDFT calculations not only avoid the ambiguities associated with the broken-symmetry approach, but also show a considerably reduced systematic deviation with respect to experiment and a larger antiferromagnetic character. We recommend MPW1K as a well-validated hybrid density functional to calculate magnetic couplings with SF-TDDFT. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Najafi M.,University of Tehran | Abbasi A.,University of Tehran | Masteri-Farahani M.,Kharazmi University | Rodrigues V.H.,University of Coimbra
Inorganic Chemistry Communications | Year: 2014

A new Co2 +-centered heteropolyoxomolybdate nanocluster containing the bipy ligand (4,4′-bipy = 4,4′-bipyridine), with formula [4,4′-H2bipy][Co0.23Mo6O 20]·2H2O (1), has been hydrothermally synthesized and structurally characterized by means of FT-IR, atomic absorption spectroscopy, single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). The catalytic investigations disclosed that 1 displayed both good activity and stability in the epoxidation of cyclooctene. It can also be recovered easily and reused in the reaction without significant loss of activity or selectivity. Furthermore, the effect of the type of oxidant and solvent on the conversion of the reaction was investigated. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Cavagnoli R.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Cavagnoli R.,University of Coimbra | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra | Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

In the present work we study the hadron-quark phase transition with boson condensation in asymmetric matter by investigating the binodal surface and extending it to finite temperature to mimic the QCD phase diagram. We consider a system with two conserved charges (isospin and baryon densities) using the Gibbs' criteria for phase equilibrium. To obtain these conditions we use two different models for the two possible phases, namely, the nonlinear Walecka model (NLWM) for the hadron matter (also including hyperons) and the MIT bag model for the quark phase. It is shown that the phase transition is very sensitive to the density dependence of the equation of state and the symmetry energy. For an isospin asymmetry of 0.2 and a mixed phase with a fraction of 20% of quarks, a transition density in the interval 2ρ0<ρ t<4ρ0 was obtained for temperatures 30

Avancini S.S.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

In this paper, we use the mean-field approximation to investigate quark matter described by both SU(2) and SU(3) versions of the Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model at temperatures below 150 MeV and subject to a strong magnetic field. This kind of matter is possibly present in the early stages of heavy-ion collisions and in the interior of protoneutron stars. We have studied symmetric and asymmetric quark matter. The effect of the magnetic field on the effective quark masses and chemical potentials is only felt for quite strong magnetic fields, above 5×1018 G, with larger effects for the lower densities. Spin polarizations are more sensitive to weaker magnetic fields and are larger for lower temperatures and lower densities. Temperature tends to wash out the magnetic field effects. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Costa P.M.,University of Coimbra | Cardoso A.L.,University of Coimbra | Nobrega C.,University of Coimbra | Pereira de almeida L.F.,University of Coimbra | And 3 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2013

Highly malignant glioblastoma (GBM) is characterized by high genetic heterogeneity and infiltrative brain invasion patterns, and aberrant miRNA expression has been associated with hallmark malignant properties of GBM. The lack of effective GBM treatment options prompted us to investigate whether miRNAs would constitute promising therapeutic targets toward the generation of a gene therapy approach with clinical significance for this disease. Here, we show that microRNA-21 (miR-21) is upregulated and microRNA-128 (miR-128) is downregulated in mouse and human GBM samples, a finding that is corroborated by analysis of a large set of human GBM data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Moreover, we demonstrate that oligonucleotide-mediated miR-21 silencing in U87 human GBM cells resulted in increased levels of the tumor suppressors PTEN and PDCD4, caspase 3/7 activation and decreased tumor cell proliferation. Cell exposure to pifithrin, an inhibitor of p53 transcriptional activity, reduced the caspase activity associated with decreased miR-21 expression. Finally, we demonstrate for the first time that miR-21 silencing enhances the antitumoral effect of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib, whereas no therapeutic benefit is observed when coupling miR-21 silencing with the first-line drug temozolomide. Overall, our results provide evidence that miR-21 is uniformly overexpressed in GBM and constitutes a highly promising target for multimodal therapeutic approaches toward GBM. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Marchante H.,Center for Studies of Natural Resources | Freitas H.,University of Coimbra | Hoffmann J.H.,University of Cape Town
American Journal of Botany | Year: 2010

Premise of the study: Worldwide, invasive plants threaten biodiversity, by disrupting habitats and ecosystem processes, and cause major economic losses. Invasiveness in plants is frequently associated with prolific production of seeds that accumulate in the soil. Knowledge of the extent and persistence of invasive seed banks helps explain invasion processes and enables management planning. A study of Acacia longifolia, an invasive species in Portuguese dune ecosystems, provides an informative example. Methods: Seed rain and dispersal (seed traps), the persistence of seeds in the soil (burial), and the extent of seed banks were measured and analyzed. Key results: Seed rain is concentrated under the canopy with about 12000 seeds · m-2 falling annually. The number of seeds in the soil declined with time, with only 30% surviving after 75 mo. Losses were lowest at greater depths. Seed germinability was low (<12%), but viability was high (>85%) for surviving seeds. The seed bank under the canopy was approximately 1500 and 500 seeds · m-2 in long- and recently invaded stands, respectively. Some seeds were found up to 7 m from the edge of stands, indicating that outside agencies facilitate dispersal. Conclusions: Acacia longifolia produces large numbers of seeds, some of which are lost through germination, decay, and granivory. The remainder form vast and persistent seed banks that serve as a source of replenishment and make it difficult to control the invader once it is established. Control costs escalate as the duration of an invasion increases, highlighting the urgency of initiating and persevering with control efforts. © 2010 Botanical Society of America.

Logoteta D.,University of Coimbra | Bombaci I.,University of Pisa
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

A phase of strong interacting matter with deconfined quarks is expected in the core of massive neutron stars. In this article, we perform a study of the hadron-quark phase transition in cold (T=0) neutron star matter and we calculate various structural properties of hybrid stars. For the quark phase, we make use of an equation of state (EOS) derived with the field correlator method (FCM) recently extended to the case of nonzero baryon density. For the hadronic phase, we consider both pure nucleonic and hyperonic matter, and we derive the corresponding EOS within a relativistic mean field approach. We make use of measured neutron star masses, and particularly the mass M=1.97±0.04M ⊙ of PSR J1614-2230 to constrain the values of the gluon condensate G2, which is one of the EOS parameters within the FCM. We find that the values of G2 extracted from the mass measurement of PSR J1614-2230 are consistent with the values of the same quantity derived within the FCM from recent lattice QCD calculations of the deconfinement transition temperature at zero baryon chemical potential. The FCM thus provides a powerful tool to link numerical calculations of QCD on a space-time lattice with measured neutron star masses. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Polcar T.,Czech Technical University | Polcar T.,University of Coimbra | Cavaleiro A.,University of Coimbra
Surface and Coatings Technology | Year: 2011

In this paper, we review the results on the tribological behavior of nanocomposite coatings composed of nanoplatelets of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) immersed in a C-rich amorphous matrix. It is shown that such a microstructure produces low friction coefficients under different operating conditions such as air humidity, contact pressure or temperature. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the worn surfaces after the tests by Raman spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Nanoscale analysis of the wear track has revealed the formation of a thin tribolayer exclusively consisting of TMD platelets oriented to exhibit the lowest friction. In some cases, the depth reorientation of the originally randomly oriented TMD platelets as a reaction to the sliding process has been observed. This self-adaptation explains the low friction coefficient together with a high load-bearing capacity and a limited sensitivity to air humidity. Finally, future perspectives for self-lubricant nanocomposite coatings based on the TMD-C concept are presented. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Polcar T.,Czech Technical University | Polcar T.,University of Coimbra | Cavaleiro A.,University of Coimbra
Thin Solid Films | Year: 2011

This paper deals with three fundamentally different concepts of self-lubricant coatings based on the transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) and deposited by magnetron sputtering. The first two designs could be considered as traditional: the TMD films doped by carbon or nitrogen. The main attention is aimed at qualitative description of surface and sub-surface modification of the films as the result of the sliding process. Based on a thorough analysis of the worn surfaces, two features emerge: self-adaptability, where originally randomly oriented TMD phase becomes well oriented (i.e. with basal planes parallel to the surface), and limited role of carbon or nitrogen in the contact. The films doped with carbon are the best solution for humid environment, while those doped with nitrogen are ideal for use in dry environment or vacuum. The last concept deals with the combination of a hard TiN matrix deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering with fullerene-like TMD nanoclusters, which are directly injected into the growing TiN film. Despite the embryonic stage of the process development limiting in many ways the final properties of the film, the mechanical properties seem to be promising. The fullerene-like structure of TMD is well maintained and the composite hardness is relatively high compared to the competitive self-lubricant coating designs. On the other hand, the tribological tests did not show any effect of the embedded TMD nanoclusters in the sliding process. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Popa O.M.,University of Coimbra | Popa O.M.,University of Bucharest | Diculescu V.C.,University of Coimbra
Electrochimica Acta | Year: 2013

The electrochemical oxidation mechanism of the anti-cancer drug and kinases inhibitor danusertib was studied by cyclic, differential pulse, square wave voltammetry and a glassy carbon electrode. Danusertib undergoes oxidation in a cascade mechanism and depending on the pH of the supporting electrolyte several oxidation peaks were observed. The number of electrons and protons involved in each oxidation step as well as the pKa ∼ 10.0 were determined. The analytical determination of danusertib was carried out in pH = 7.0 by square wave voltammetry with LOD = 27.4 nM and UV-VIS spectrophotometry with LOD = 0.5 μM. Different electroactive centres of danusertib were identified through comparative studies with similar compounds such as imatinib and piperazine, and an oxidation mechanism of danusertib proposed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Pinto M.B.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Castro L.B.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Costa P.,University of Coimbra | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2014

The effect of the vector interaction on three-flavor magnetized matter is studied within the SU(3) Nambu-Jona-Lasinio quark model. We considered cold matter under a static external magnetic field within two different models for the vector interaction in order to investigate how the form of the vector interaction and the intensity of the magnetic field affect the equation of state as well as the strangeness content. It was shown that the flavor-independent vector interaction predicts a smaller strangeness content and, therefore, harder equations of state. On the other hand, the flavor-dependent vector interaction favors larger strangeness content the larger the vector coupling. We confirmed that, at low densities, the magnetic field and the vector interaction have opposite competing effects: the first one softens the equation of state while the second hardens it. Quark stars and hybrid stars subject to an external magnetic field were also studied. Larger star masses are obtained for the flavor-independent vector interaction. Hybrid stars may bare a core containing deconfined quarks if neither the vector interaction nor the magnetic field are too strong. Also, the presence of strong magnetic fields seems to disfavor the existence of a quark core in hybrid stars. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Avancini S.S.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Pinto M.B.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We use the three-flavor Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model, which includes strangeness and quark physical masses in the mean field approximation, to investigate the influence of strong magnetic fields on the QCD phase diagram covering the whole T-μ plane. It is found that the first order segment of the transition line becomes longer as the field strength increases so that a larger coexistence region for hadronic and quark matter should be expected for strong magnetic fields. The location of the critical end point is also affected by the presence of magnetic fields that invariably increase the temperature value at which the first order line terminates. On the other hand, at low temperatures, the critical chemical potential displays an oscillation around the B=0 value for magnetic fields within the 1017-1020G range. These findings may have nontrivial consequences for the physics of magnetars and heavy ion collisions. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Burgeiro A.,University of Coimbra | Mollinedo F.,University of Salamanca | Oliveira P.J.,University of Coimbra
Current Cancer Drug Targets | Year: 2013

Melanoma, a malignant tumor of melanocytes, causes the majority (75%) of all skin cancer-related deaths. The overall efficacy of different anti-cancer therapies on metastatic melanoma is quite limited, due to its high resistance to all forms of conventional treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, leading to low patient survival rates. The present review identifies possible strategies for the treatment of advanced melanoma and describes two novel agents, Ipilimumab and Vemurafenib, which may now be useful for clinical practice. Ipilimumab, a humanized, IgG1 monoclonal antibody, acts through immune-modulation since it blocks cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), producing favourable antitumor immune system responses and reducing tolerance to tumor-associated antigens. Vemurafenib is a novel oral small-molecule kinase inhibitor with high selectivity and efficacy toward a specific mutated oncogenic BRAF-signalling mediator. The mechanism of action of Vemurafenib involves selective inhibition of the mutated BRAFV600E kinase that leads to reduced signalling through the aberrant MAPK pathway. However, as patients commonly develop Vemurafenib resistance, clinical trials of Vemurafenib in combination with Ipilimumab or other targeted or cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents may provide more effective regimens with long-term clinical benefits, emphasizing the importance of simultaneously targeting several pathways. As both drugs had only modest effects on median survival, new therapeutic combinations are needed, such as BRAF inhibitors with MEK inhibitors or combinations of immunomodulators and pathway inhibitors. Such strategies should have the potential of maximizing antitumor effect while minimizing and improving clinical benefit. Nevertheless, these two new agents open a promising view into an effective management of melanoma. © 2013 Bentham Science Publishers.

Marques F.C.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Marques F.C.,University of Coimbra | Volovik Y.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Cohen E.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease | Year: 2015

Numerous disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancer, manifest late in life. This common feature raises the prospect that an aging-associated decline in the activity of cellular and organismal maintenance mechanisms enables the emergence of these maladies in late life stages. Accordingly, the alteration of aging bears the promise of harnessing the mechanisms that protect the young organism to prevent illness in the elderly. The identification of aging-regulatory pathways has enabled scrutiny of this hypothesis and revealed that the alteration of aging protects invertebrates and mammals from toxic protein aggregation linked to neurodegeneration and from cancer. Here we review the current knowledge on the regulation of aging at the cellular and organismal levels, delineate the mechanistic links between aging and late-onset disorders, describe efforts to develop compounds that protect from these maladies by selectively manipulating aging, and discuss future research directions and possible therapeutic implications of this approach. © 2015 by Annual Reviews.

Volovik Y.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Marques F.C.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Marques F.C.,University of Coimbra | Cohen E.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Methods | Year: 2014

Toxicity arising from protein misfolding and aggregation (proteotoxicity) is tightly mechanistically linked to the emergence of late-onset neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Why these maladies manifest in late stages of life and what mechanisms protect the young organism from disease are key enigmas. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans offers key advantages that enable systematic exploration of many cell biological and functional aspects of neurodegeneration-linked proteotoxicity. Here we review the abundantly used nematode-based proteotoxicity models and delineate common techniques for the measurement of protein aggregation and rate of proteotoxicity. We also discuss the advantages offered by the worm for genetic screening, drug development and for the exploration of the links between proteotoxicity and the aging process. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Logoteta D.,University of Coimbra | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra | Vidana I.,University of Coimbra | Bombaci I.,University of Pisa
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

The nucleation process of quark matter in cold (T=0) stellar matter is investigated using the microscopic Brueckner-Hartree-Fock approach to describe the hadronic phase and using the MIT bag model, the Nambu-Jona-Lasinio, and the chromodielectric models to describe the deconfined phase of quark matter. The consequences of the nucleation process for neutron star physics are outlined. Hyperonic stars are metastable only for some of the quark matter equations of state considered. The effect of a hyperonic three-body force on the metastability of compact stars is estimated, and it is shown that, except for the Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model and the MIT bag model with a large bag pressure, the other models predict the formation of hybrid stars with a maximum mass not larger than ∼1.62M âŠ". © 2012 American Physical Society.

Pandolfo P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Pandolfo P.,University of Coimbra | Machado N.J.,University of Coimbra | Kofalvi A.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | And 2 more authors.
European Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2013

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) likely involves dopaminergic dysfunction in the frontal cortex and striatum, resulting in cognitive and motor abnormalities. Since both adenosine and dopamine modulation systems are tightly intertwined, we tested ifcaffeine(anon-selective adenosine receptorantagonist) attenuated the behavioral and neurochemical changes in adolescent spontaneously hypertensive rats(SHR, a validated ADHD animal model) compared to their controls train (Wistar Kyoto rats, WKY). SHR were hyperactive and had poorer performance in the attentional set-shifting and Y-maze paradigms and also displayed increased dopamine transporter (DAT) density and increased dopamine uptake in frontocortical and striatal terminals compared with WKY rats. Chronic caffeine treatment was devoid of effects in WKY rats while it improved memory and attention deficits and also normalized dopaminergic function in SHR. Additionally, we provide the first direct demonstration for the presence of adenosine A2A receptors(A2AR) in frontocortical nerve terminals, whose density was increased in SHR. These findings under score the potential for caffeine treatment to normalize frontocortical dopaminergic function and to abrogate attention and cognitive changes characteristic of ADHD. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP.

Barbosa I.A.,University of Coimbra | Machado N.G.,University of Coimbra | Skildum A.J.,University of Minnesota | Scott P.M.,University of Minnesota | Oliveira P.J.,University of Coimbra
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer | Year: 2012

Mitochondria are semi-autonomous organelles that play essential roles in cellular metabolism and programmed cell death pathways. Genomic, functional and structural mitochondrial alterations have been associated with cancer. Some of those alterations may provide a selective advantage to cells, allowing them to survive and grow under stresses created by oncogenesis. Due to the specific alterations that occur in cancer cell mitochondria, these organelles may provide promising targets for cancer therapy. The development of drugs that specifically target metabolic and mitochondrial alterations in tumor cells has become a matter of interest in recent years, with several molecules undergoing clinical trials. This review focuses on the most relevant mitochondrial alterations found in tumor cells, their contribution to cancer progression and survival, and potential usefulness for stratification and therapy. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Polcar T.,Czech Technical University | Cavaleiro A.,University of Coimbra
Surface and Coatings Technology | Year: 2011

Cr-Al-Si-N coatings with high and low Cr/Al ratios (CrAlSiN and AlCrSiN, respectively) were deposited on WC substrates by cathodic arc and compared with a reference Cr-Al-N coating. The silicon content was close to 3. at.%. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that CrAlN and CrAlSiN coatings exhibited the cubic Cr(Al)N structure, whereas in AlCrSiN a mixture of cubic Cr(Al)N and wurtzite-type AlN was identified. All three coatings showed excellent thermal stability and oxidation resistance up to 800°C. The tribological properties were evaluated by ball-on-disk tribometer in the temperature range 25-600°C. Two materials were used as counterparts: alumina and 440C steel. Sliding against 440C steel balls led to the extensive wear of the balls and transfer of the ball material to the surface of the coatings. The coatings were not damaged. When sliding against alumina balls, the coating wear was low up to testing temperature 300°C. At 400°C, CrAlSiN coating was partially worn through. CrAlN and AlCrSiN coatings were almost immediately worn out at 600°C. The analysis of the wear debris identified high-temperature adhesive failure of the coatings. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Richardson P.L.,California Institute of Technology | Perdigoto M.L.N.,University of Coimbra | Wang W.,California Institute of Technology | Lopes R.J.G.,University of Coimbra
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2013

Copper- and gallium-doped titania photocatalysts prepared by means of sol-gel technique were comparatively evaluated with commercial TiO2 (P25) for the photo-reduction of carbon dioxide to formic acid. The laboratory-made Cux-Ga1-x/TiO2 nanocomposites have been thoroughly characterized in crystallographic, structural, morphological, and elemental composition analyses. XRD revealed photocatalysts owning the specific crystalline phases of anatase, β-Ga2O3 and Cu2O, which allowed inferring on the doping phenomena of both transition and post-transition metals. The quasi-homogeneous deposition of a Ga and Cu layer has been identified from the TEM morphological characterization and the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller and Barrett-Joyner-Halenda techniques unveiled quantitative differences in textural properties among the mesoporous Ga- and Cu-doped titania photocatalysts by underlining a decrease of surface area when augmenting the gallium dose. The laboratory-made photocatalysts presented bandgaps higher than 3eV and the DRS spectra underlined the optical absorption edge of the nanocomposites with a considerable shift to the visible light region. The elemental composition quantified by means of XPS reproduced the binding energies relative of Ti, Cu and Ga (2p3/2, 2p1/2), and the K-edge XANES characterization confirmed the effective doping and modulation of the electronic properties of the laboratory-made photocatalysts. Several experimental runs have been carried out with Cu0.78-Ga0.22/TiO2 exhibiting the highest formic acid yields (394μmol/gcat) as well as superior quantum efficiency (49%) and selectivity (0.84). Accordingly, the photo-reduction of CO2 was considerably promoted by doping Ga and Cu into the titania substrate, which ultimately avoided the surface recombination of electron-hole pairs, thereby enhancing the photo-activity of Cux-Ga1-x/TiO2 nanocomposites. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Moreira P.I.,University of Coimbra | Carvalho C.,University of Coimbra | Zhu X.,Case Western Reserve University | Smith M.A.,Case Western Reserve University | Perry G.,University of Texas at San Antonio
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease | Year: 2010

Mitochondria are uniquely poised to play a pivotal role in neuronal cell survival or death because they are regulators of both energy metabolism and cell death pathways. Extensive literature exists supporting a role for mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. This review discusses evidence indicating that mitochondrial dysfunction has an early and preponderant role in Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and autophagy in Alzheimer's disease is also discussed. As a result of insufficient digestion of oxidatively damaged macromolecules and organelles by autophagy, neurons progressively accumulate lipofuscin that could exacerbate neuronal dysfunction. Since autophagy is the major pathway involved in the degradation of protein aggregates and defective organelles, an intense interest in developing autophagy-related therapies is growing among the scientific community. The final part of this review is devoted to discuss autophagy as a potential target of therapeutic interventions in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Richardson P.L.,California Institute of Technology | Perdigoto M.L.N.,University of Coimbra | Wang W.,California Institute of Technology | Lopes R.J.G.,University of Coimbra
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2012

In this work, the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 is comprehensively investigated with commercial and laboratory-made catalysts by doping their surface with an electron acceptor based on Mn and Cu metals. Manganese- and copper-doped titania has been prepared via the sol-gel route as to obtain different nanocomposites for the CO2 conversion to methanol. First, the XRD characterization demonstrated that both Mn and Cu were finely dispersed on the surface of the titanium oxide support preserving the crystalline structure. Second, the TEM morphological characterization pointed out representative titania grain sizes 15-25nm as to avoid the surface recombination of electron-hole pairs and concomitantly enhancing the photoactivity. The structural analyses provided by BET and BJH techniques revealed a considerable shrinkage of the volume absorbed for both fresh and used titania specimens when increasing the Mn loading on the TiO2 substrate, and all the sol-gel derived titania photocatalysts exhibited a mesoporous structure for Mn- and Cu-dopped formulations. Afterwards, XPS spectra presented equivalent binding energies characteristic of pure Mn, Cu and Ti (2p3/2, 2p1/2) by underlining the chemical composition and crystallographic structure of laboratory-made photocatalysts. Finally, several photocatalytic reductions of CO2 were performed with Mn- and Cu-doped titania catalysts by evaluating the methanol production. The Mn0.22-Cu0.78/TiO2 specimen was found to yield a maximum of 238.6μmol-MeOH/gcat with the highest energy (18.4%) and quantum (26.5%) efficiencies thereby acting as a potential candidate catalyst for the photocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Wilson D.,California Institute of Technology | Wang W.,California Institute of Technology | Lopes R.J.G.,University of Coimbra
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2012

Aiming to gain further insights into the heterogeneous catalysis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), several catalysts have been investigated by embedding TiO2 and CeO2 into CNTs for the photo-oxidation of high-strength liquid pollutants. First, the CNT/TiO2-CeO2 nanocomposites were synthetized by the surfactant wrapping sol-gel technique with titanium isopropoxide precursor. The photocatalytic activity in parent compound depletion was evaluated comparatively with the photocatalytic efficiency in total organic carbon (TOC) abatement at UV-254 and 420nm. Here, the higher photodegradation efficiencies in pollutant (88.2%) and TOC (61.9%) were achieved with the CNT0.5/(TiO2)9-(CeO2)0.5 catalyst. Second, the nanocomposites have been characterized by FESEM and TEM techniques indicating a highly heterogeneous porous structure with equivalent nanotube length and wall thickness as well as confirming the existence of a continuous titanium and cerium oxide layer coating the surface of CNTs. Afterwards, the XRD structure and chemical composition has been used to query the effect of the calcination temperature. The CNT/TiO2-CeO2 nanocomposites exhibited remarkable differences concerning the crystalline morphology and the BET/porosity analysis pointed out the presence of mesopores in the nanoparticle matrix. Finally, several sequential mineralization trials were accomplished by recycling the most active catalyst, and CNT0.5/(TiO2)9-(CeO2)0.5 has preserved 61% of TOC conversion for long-term photo-oxidation experiments. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Soares Jr. D.,Federal University of Juiz de fora | Godinho L.,University of Coimbra | Pereira A.,University of Coimbra | Dors C.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering | Year: 2012

Acoustic wave propagation in heterogeneous media is a topic of significant interest in many areas of science and engineering, including aeroacoustics and sound propagation in oceans. In the present work, numerical frequency domain models based on the joint use of the method of fundamental solutions and of the radial basis function collocation method (also known as Kansa's method) are discussed. In this context, the method of fundamental solutions is used to model the homogeneous part of the propagation domain, while Kansa's method is employed to model the presence of heterogeneities. The coupling between the two parts of the propagation domain is performed iteratively, allowing independent spatial discretization between the different subdomains of the model (i.e. matching collocation points at common surfaces are not necessary). Additionally, an optimised algorithm, based on the use of a varying relaxation parameter, is employed to speed up and/or to ensure the convergence of the iterative coupling process. At the end of the paper, numerical results illustrate the applicability and potentialities of the proposed formulations. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Bombaci I.,University of Pisa | Logoteta D.,University of Coimbra
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters | Year: 2013

We study the hadron-quark phase transition in neutron star matter and the structural properties of hybrid stars using an equation of state (EOS) for the quark phase derived with the field correlator method (FCM).We make use of the measured neutron star masses, and particularly the mass of PSR J1614-2230, to constrain the values of the gluon condensate G2 which is one of the EOS parameter within the FCM. We find that the values of G2 extracted from the mass measurement of PSR J1614-2230 are fully consistent with the values of the same quantity derived, within the FCM, from recent lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD) calculations of the deconfinement transition temperature at zero baryon chemical potential. The FCM thus provides a powerful tool to link numerical calculations of QCD on a space-time lattice with neutron stars physics. © 2013 The Authors.

Menezes D.P.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Pinto M.B.,Federal University of Santa Catarina | Providencia C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2015

The anisotropies in the pressure obtained from the energy-momentum tensor are studied for magnetized quark matter within the su(3) Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model for both β-equilibrium matter and quark matter with equal quark chemical potentials. The effect of the magnetic field on the particle polarization, magnetization, and quark matter constituents is discussed. It is shown that the onset of the s quark after chiral symmetry restoration of the u and d quarks gives rise to a special effect on the magnetization in the corresponding density range: A quite small magnetization just before the s onset is followed by a strong increase of this quantity as soon as the s quark sets in. It is also demonstrated that for B<1018 G within the two scenarios discussed, always considering a constant magnetic field, the two components of pressure are practically coincident. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Ribeiro M.J.,University of Coimbra | Violante I.R.,University of Coimbra | Bernardino I.,University of Coimbra | Edden R.A.E.,Johns Hopkins University | And 2 more authors.
Cortex | Year: 2015

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a broad spectrum of cognitive deficits. In particular, executive dysfunction is recognized as a core deficit of NF1, including impairments in executive attention and inhibitory control. Yet, the neural mechanisms behind these important deficits are still unknown.Here, we studied inhibitory control in a visual go/no-go task in children and adolescents with NF1 and age- and gender-matched controls ( n=16 per group). We applied a multimodal approach using high-density electroencephalography (EEG), to study the evoked brain responses, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure the levels of GABA and glutamate+glutamine in the medial frontal cortex, a brain region that plays a pivotal role in inhibitory control, and also in a control region, the occipital cortex. Finally, we run correlation analyses to identify the relationship between inhibitory control, levels of neurotransmitters, and EEG markers of neural function.Individuals with NF1 showed impaired impulse control and reduced EEG correlates of early visual processing (parieto-occipital P1) and inhibitory control (frontal P3). MRS data revealed a reduction in medial frontal GABA+/tCr (total Creatine) levels in the NF1 group, in parallel with the already reported reduced occipital GABA levels. In contrast, glutamate+glutamine/tCr levels were normal, suggesting the existence of abnormal inhibition/excitation balance in this disorder. Notably, medial frontal but not occipital GABA levels correlated with general intellectual abilities (IQ) in NF1, and inhibitory control in both groups. Surprisingly, the relationship between inhibitory control and medial frontal GABA was reversed in NF1: higher GABA was associated with a faster response style whereas in controls it was related to a cautious strategy.Abnormal GABAergic physiology appears, thus, as an important factor underlying impaired cognition in NF1, in a level and region dependent manner. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2012

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by an accumulation of plaques within the walls of the arteries that supply the myocardium with oxygen and nutrients. After decades of progression, some of these plaques may rupture and along with the activation of the blood clotting system limit blood flow to the myocardium, resulting in an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). This may be either a heart attack (myocardial infarction) meaning that muscle cell necrosis in the affected regions of the myocardium has occurred) or unstable angina (meaning that the patient has persistent or recurrent chest pain at rest but without evidence of myocardial necrosis). Risk factors comprise age, sex, family history but also lifestyle-related aspects such as smoking habits, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity etc. Despite the advantages, utilization of cardiac rehabilitation phase III remains low. Recent research is supportive of the beneficial effects of cardiac rehabilitation in patients with heart