San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica

For the association football club, see Club de Futbol Universidad de Costa Rica.The University of Costa Rica is a public university in the Republic of Costa Rica, in Central America. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, is located in San Pedro Montes de Oca, in the province of San José. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica, originally established as the Universidad de Santo Tomás in 1843. It is also the most important research university in the country, and Central America. Approximately 39,000 students attend UCR throughout the year.Within the Webometrics ranking, the UCR ranks at #580 worldwide, and at #21 in Latin America. Wikipedia.

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Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-03a-2014 | Award Amount: 6.92M | Year: 2015

This proposal SFS-03a-2014-aligned focuses to minimize the risk of introduction/impact of emerging pests threatening EU agriculture and forestry. The targets are: 1) Xylella fastidiosa and its vectors in olive, grapevine, citrus, stone fruit, ornamentals and landscape trees of high socio-economic importance; 2) Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum and its vectors affecting a number of strategic crops such as potato, tomato and carrot; and 3) Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (anomorph. Chalara fraxinea) and Phytophtora spp. seriously affecting broadleaf and conifer species in forest ecosystems. Targeted pests, their vectors and the host response will be explored using innovative approaches (NGS, transcriptomic). Diseases surveillance and epidemiology given by current methods will integrate improved survey protocols and remote sensing. Innovative IPM will include studies of microbiome to develop sustainable solutions in line with the EU plant health legislation. New knowledge gained with POnTE will result in an outcome-based pest prevention and management work plan to: a) implement area-wide pest risk assessments; b) prevent the entry and develop surveillance and early detection tools (diagnostic kits, lab-on-chip, new biomarkers); c) mitigate the spread and reduce the socio-economic impact; d) IPM based on disease resistance, disease-free seeds, cultural practices and physical environmentally-friendly treatments; e) support knowledge-based decision-making policies at EU level. The proposal fosters and promotes a multi-actor approach and transnational research collaborations among 25 Partners at the forefront of research in plant protection, agro-engineering and economics. It involves key industries/SMEs that develop diagnostic kits and services, agrochemical and seed companies, stakeholder groups. End-users will participate in the development of the project and immediately implement the practical solutions derived from the outcomes to solve these serious emerging diseases.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-09-2016 | Award Amount: 7.06M | Year: 2016

XF-ACTORS aims to establish a multidisciplinary research program to answer the urgent need to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf). Recently, Xf was introduced into Italy, where it is causing severe damage to olive crops, and in France, where so far it is limited to ornamental plants and some landscape trees. The overall goal of the research program is to assess Xf potential to spread throughout EU territory, while maximizing its impact through a multifactor approach, based on a seamless integration amongst the 29 partners involved. Proposed actions will be complementary to those carried out under the Project POnTE - 635646, thus ensuring an unbroken continuity with currently ongoing efforts. Specific objectives have been outlined following a step-by-step route, from preventing its introduction into pest-free areas to the establishment of successful eradication strategies in infected zones. Preventive measures against Xf will be strengthened by implementing EU certification programs and developing a plan for establishing a EU Clean Plant Network. EU policy makers will be supported through the development of pest risk assessment tools, focused on current outbreaks and forecasting potentially threatened regions. Surveillance will be properly implemented, supporting the development of early detection tools for field use, remote sensing technology and predictive modelling. Critical information on the pathogen biology, epidemiological traits and hosts under threat, will be gathered with the guidance of the American research groups with long-established research. At the same time, the insect-bacteria interactions will be determined, for developing strategic control measures. The final overall objective is a comprehensive integrated management strategy for diseases associated with Xf, applicable both IPM and organic farming systems, to prevent Xf spread, control its economic, environmental/social impact, when an outbreak would occur.

Brodsky S.J.,SLAC | de Teramond G.F.,University of Costa Rica | Dosch H.G.,Institute For Theoretische Physik | Erlich J.,College of William and Mary
Physics Reports | Year: 2015

In this report we explore the remarkable connections between light-front dynamics, its holographic mapping to gravity in a higher-dimensional anti-de Sitter (AdS) space, and conformal quantum mechanics. This approach provides new insights into the origin of a fundamental mass scale and the physics underlying confinement dynamics in QCD in the limit of massless quarks. The result is a relativistic light-front wave equation for arbitrary spin with an effective confinement potential derived from a conformal action and its embedding in AdS space. This equation allows for the computation of essential features of hadron spectra in terms of a single scale. The light-front holographic methods described here give a precise interpretation of holographic variables and quantities in AdS space in terms of light-front variables and quantum numbers. This leads to a relation between the AdS wave functions and the boost-invariant light-front wave functions describing the internal structure of hadronic bound-states in physical space-time. The pion is massless in the chiral limit and the excitation spectra of relativistic light-quark meson and baryon bound states lie on linear Regge trajectories with identical slopes in the radial and orbital quantum numbers. In the light-front holographic approach described here currents are expressed as an infinite sum of poles, and form factors as a product of poles. At large q2 the form factor incorporates the correct power-law fall-off for hard scattering independent of the specific dynamics and is dictated by the twist. At low q2 the form factor leads to vector dominance. The approach is also extended to include small quark masses. We briefly review in this report other holographic approaches to QCD, in particular top-down and bottom-up models based on chiral symmetry breaking. We also include a discussion of open problems and future applications. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Arguedas J.A.,University of Costa Rica
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

When treating elevated blood pressure (BP), doctors often want to know what blood pressure target they should try to achieve. The standard blood pressure target in clinical practice for some time has been less than 140 - 160/90 - 100 mmHg for the general population of people with elevated blood pressure. Several clinical guidelines published in recent years have recommended lower targets (less than 130/80 mmHg) for people with diabetes mellitus. It is not known whether attempting to achieve targets lower than the standard target reduces mortality and morbidity in those with elevated blood pressure and diabetes. To determine if 'lower' BP targets (any target less than 130/85 mmHg) are associated with reduction in mortality and morbidity compared with 'standard' BP targets (less than 140 - 160/90 - 100 mmHg) in people with diabetes. We searched the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for related reviews. We conducted electronic searches of the Hypertension Group Specialised Register (January 1946 - October 2013), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2013, Issue 9), MEDLINE (January 1946 - October 2013), EMBASE (January 1974 - October 2013) and The most recent search was performed on October 4, 2013.Other search sources were the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP), and reference lists of all papers and relevant reviews. Randomized controlled trials comparing people with diabetes randomized to lower or to standard BP targets as previously defined, and providing data on any of the primary outcomes below. Two review authors independently assessed and established the included trials and data entry. Primary outcomes were total mortality; total serious adverse events; myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure and end-stage renal disease. Secondary outcomes were achieved mean systolic and diastolic BP, and withdrawals due to adverse effects. We found five randomized trials, recruiting a total of 7314 participants and with a mean follow-up of 4.5 years. Only one trial (ACCORD) compared outcomes associated with 'lower' (< 120 mmHg) or 'standard' (< 140 mmHg) systolic blood pressure targets in 4734 participants. Despite achieving a significantly lower BP (119.3/64.4 mmHg vs 133.5/70.5 mmHg, P < 0.0001), and using more antihypertensive medications, the only significant benefit in the group assigned to 'lower' systolic blood pressure (SBP) was a reduction in the incidence of stroke: risk ratio (RR) 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39 to 0.88, P = 0.009, absolute risk reduction 1.1%. The effect of SBP targets on mortality was compatible with both a reduction and increase in risk: RR 1.05 CI 0.84 to 1.30, low quality evidence. Trying to achieve the 'lower' SBP target was associated with a significant increase in the number of other serious adverse events: RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.70 to 3.91, P < 0.00001, absolute risk increase 2.0%.Four trials (ABCD-H, ABCD-N, ABCD-2V, and a subgroup of HOT) specifically compared clinical outcomes associated with 'lower' versus 'standard' targets for diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in people with diabetes. The total number of participants included in the DBP target analysis was 2580. Participants assigned to 'lower' DBP had a significantly lower achieved BP: 128/76 mmHg vs 135/83 mmHg, P < 0.0001. There was a trend towards reduction in total mortality in the group assigned to the 'lower' DBP target (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.53 to 1.01), mainly due to a trend to lower non-cardiovascular mortality. There was no difference in stroke (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.05), in myocardial infarction (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.40) or in congestive heart failure (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.92), low quality evidence. End-stage renal failure and total serious adverse events were not reported in any of the trials. A sensitivity analysis of trials comparing DBP targets < 80 mmHg (as suggested in clinical guidelines) versus < 90 mmHg showed similar results. There was a high risk of selection bias for every outcome analyzed in favor of the 'lower' target in the trials included for the analysis of DBP targets. At the present time, evidence from randomized trials does not support blood pressure targets lower than the standard targets in people with elevated blood pressure and diabetes. More randomized controlled trials are needed, with future trials reporting total mortality, total serious adverse events as well as cardiovascular and renal events.

Araya M.,University of Costa Rica
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2013

52 months of accumulated observations by the Large Area Telescope onboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in the region of the supernova remnants G296.5+10.0 (PKS 1209-51/52) and G166.0+4.3 (VRO 42.05.01) are analysed. GeV emission is detected coincident with the position of the sources at the {minus tilde}5σ and 11σ levels above the background, respectively, for the best-fitting spectral and spatial scenarios. The gamma-ray spectrum of the sources can be described with a power law in energy. G166.0+4.3 shows a soft GeV spectrum while that of G296.5+10.0 is flat (in the νFν representation). The origin of the gamma-ray emission from the sources is explored. Both leptonic and hadronic mechanisms can account for the high-energy emission from G296.5+10.0, while a leptonic scenario is preferred for G166.0+4.3. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The larva of the ichneumonid wasp Polysphincta gutfreundi induces its host, the orb-weaving spider Allocyclosa bifurca, to build a highly modified, physically stable orb web, to which the larva then attaches its pupal cocoon, and to add an otherwise unusual linear silk stabilimentum to this web that may camouflage the cocoon. The effects of the larva are apparently due to a chemical product or products that it introduces into the spider. Behavioural modification is gradual, and various behavioural effects arise in a consistent order. If the wasp larva is experimentally removed just before it kills the spider, the spider's behaviour recovers gradually in the reverse order. In addition, a greater delay in removing the larva leads to more pronounced and enduring behavioural changes, so the larval effects may depend on a cumulative or dose-dependent process. Changes in numbers and lengths of radii and numbers of sticky spiral loops could result from correlated larval effects on the reduction in the amount of silk in the spider's sticky spiral silk glands (or a signal thereof), but several other types of behavioural change are probably under separate controls; multiple larval products may be involved. The larvae may affect higher levels of behavioural decisions by spiders that determine overall web 'design', rather than lower levels, such as control of particular behaviour patterns, as may be affected by related wasps. The larva's effects are fine-tuned to details of the host's natural history.

Eberhard W.G.,University of Costa Rica
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2011

Because of scaling trends in physiology and morphology, very small animals are expected to suffer especially strong selection to reduce the cost of the central nervous system, which may make them more likely to sacrifice behavioural capacities to economize on nervous tissue. This 'size-limitation' hypothesis predicts reduced behavioural capabilities in smaller animals. I tested this hypothesis by comparing web construction behaviour of young nymphs and adults of a very small orb-weaving spider, Anapisona simoni (young nymphs ∼0.005mg, adults ∼0.8mg), with those of relatives up to 10 4 times larger. In these comparisons I took advantage of the special opportunities offered by orb webs to study fine behavioural details during web construction, because the webs represent precise records of large numbers of behavioural decisions. Combining these results with those of a previous study, the size-limitation hypothesis was not supported: very small spiders failed to show three predicted trends, and they showed four other trends that were in directions opposite to those predicted by the hypothesis. Two additional intraweb comparisons (at least one of which was probably biased against equal performance by the smallest species) gave a mix of support and lack of support for the predictions, while only one interspecific difference supported the predictions. Other studies have shown that small spiders have relatively large central nervous systems for their body sizes, suggesting that they may maintain behavioural capabilities comparable to those of larger orb weavers by paying the material and metabolic costs of building and maintaining large volumes of nervous tissue. These considerations may have general consequences for the probability of evolving small body sizes and egg sizes in spiders and other animals. © 2011.

West-Eberhard M.J.,University of Costa Rica
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2014

Darwinian sexual selection can now be seen in the broader context of social selection, or social competition for resources (under sexual selection, mates or fertilization success). The social-interaction aspects of sexually selected traits give them special evolutionary properties of interest for neurobiological studies of stimulus-response systems because they can account for highly complex systems with little information content other than stimulatory effectiveness per se. But these special properties have a long history of being forgotten when other factors dominate the analysis of male-female interactions, such as the mistaken belief that differential responsiveness to signals produced by competing rivals ("female choice") requires an esthetic sense; that species recognition explains all species-specific sexual signals; and, more recently, that successful signals must reflect good survival genes; or that male-female conflict involves female resistance rather than stimulus evaluation. A "conflict paradox" results when male-female conflict is seen as driven by natural selection, whose costs should often move the hypothesized "sexually antagonistic co-evolution" of sensory-response systems toward the powerful domain of sexually synergistic co-evolution under sexual selection. Special properties of sexual selection apply to other forms of social competition as well, showing the wisdom of Darwin's setting it apart from natural selection as an explanation of many otherwise puzzling and extreme traits. © 2014.

Boulay J.N.,University of Costa Rica
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2014

Porites corals are foundation species on Pacific reefs but a confused taxonomy hinders understanding of their ecosystem function and responses to climate change. Here, we show that what has been considered a single species in the eastern tropical Pacific, Porites lobata, includes a morphologically similar yet ecologically distinct species, Porites evermanni. While P. lobata reproduces mainly sexually, P. evermanni dominates in areas where triggerfish prey on bioeroding mussels living within the coral skeleton, thereby generating asexual coral fragments. These fragments proliferate in marginal habitat not colonized by P. lobata. The two Porites species also show a differential bleaching response despite hosting the same dominant symbiont subclade. Thus, hidden diversity within these reef-builders has until now obscured differences in trophic interactions, reproductive dynamics and bleaching susceptibility, indicative of differential responses when confronted with future climate change.

The invention relates to a method for producing injectable pharmaceutical formulations of blood-derived protein materials, including the steps of fractioning the source material in a polymer/salt aqueous two-phase system in the presence of phenol, purifying the top phase of the system by means of precipitation with caprylic acid and purifying the bottom phase by means of thermocoagulation, increasing the purity of the materials in both phases through chromatography, removing viral particles by means of the nanofiltration of both preparations, and formulating, stabilizing, and packaging the resulting materials.

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