Ferrara, Italy

University of Ferrara

Ferrara, Italy

The University of Ferrara is the main university of the city of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. In the years prior to the First World War the University of Ferrara, with more than 500 students, was the best attended of the free universities in Italy. Today there are approximately 16,000 students enrolled at the University of Ferrara with nearly 400 degrees granted each year. The teaching staff number 600, including 288 researchers. It is organized into 12 Departments. Wikipedia.

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Bonora M.,University of Ferrara
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2017

Self-renewing naive mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) contain few mitochondria, which increase in number and volume at the onset of differentiation. KBP (encoded by Kif1bp) is an interactor of the mitochondrial-associated kinesin Kif1Bα. We found that TDH, responsible for mitochondrial production of acetyl-CoA in mESCs, and the acetyltransferase GCN5L1 cooperate to acetylate Lys501 in KBP, allowing its recognition by and degradation via Fbxo15, an F-box protein transcriptionally controlled by the pluripotency core factors and repressed following differentiation. Defects in KBP degradation in mESCs result in an unscheduled increase in mitochondrial biogenesis, enhanced respiration and ROS production, and inhibition of cell proliferation. Silencing of Kif1Bα reverts the aberrant increase in mitochondria induced by KBP stabilization. Notably, following differentiation, Kif1bp-/- mESCs display impaired expansion of the mitochondrial mass and form smaller embryoid bodies. Thus, KBP proteolysis limits the accumulation of mitochondria in mESCs to preserve their optimal fitness, whereas KBP accumulation promotes mitochondrial biogenesis in differentiating cells. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group

The invention provides a modified human U1snRNA molecule, capable of correcting the skipping of an exon caused by a mutation localized in the sequence comprised between 50 base pairs upstream and 20 base pairs downstream of an exon, wherein a portion of a single-stranded nucleotide sequence of the 5 region of the wild-type human U1snRNA is replaced by a single-stranded binding nucleotide sequence, wherein the binding nucleotide sequence is selected from the group consisting of: uggcgcuua, aauggcgcu, aguacaauggcgc (SEQ ID NO: 87), gcaaacaguacaau (SEQ ID NO: 88), ucgcaaacaguaca (SEQ ID NO: 89), gcaaacagu, cuagucgcaaac (SEQ ID NO: 90), uacaaaaguaagauuca (SEQ ID NO: 83), aaaccauaaaguuuuacaa (SEQ ID NO: 84) and caaaccauaaaguuuua (SEQ ID NO: 96).

News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

The quantitative abilities of lizards may have their limits. From horses to salamanders, lots of different species display some form of number sense, but the phenomenon hasn’t been investigated in reptiles. So a team of researchers in Italy set up two experiments for 27 ruin lizards (Podarcis sicula) collected from walls on the University of Ferrara’s campus. In the first test, the team served up two house fly larvae of varying sizes. Lizards consistently chose to scarf down bigger maggots. Then in the second experiment, the researchers gave lizards a choice between different numbers of larvae that were all the same size. The lizards didn’t show a preference. While the data suggest that the reptiles do discriminate between larger and smaller prey, they don't distinguish between higher and lower numbers of maggots in a meal, the scientists report April 12 in Biology Letters. The researchers cite two potential explanations for the discrepancy. Selecting larger prey rather than more prey might sometimes be advantageous for a predator. Or reptiles simply lack the numerical know-how seen in vertebrate relatives, such as fish. Editor’s note: This story was updated April 17, 2017, to replace the previous image of a Podarcis muralis lizard with one that shows P. sicula, the species used in the study.

University of Ferrara | Date: 2017-07-26

A painting plant was achieved with a painting booth (28) defining inside a work environment substantially closed under operative conditions, an air admitting and extracting system (42), a control unit (40) provided with a data entering system (40a) and a data storing memory; at least one sensor (105) of a parameter linked to humidity in the painting booth, for sending to the control unit a signal indicative of a humidity inside the painting booth; a fresh air intake conduit (44) comprises a heating section (101) having means (102) for heating the air to be delivered to the painting booth (28), and a humidifying section (103) having means (104) for humidifying the air to be delivered to the painting booth (28); the control unit (40) is configured for receiving a set value of the humidity inside the painting booth, receiving the signal indicative of a humidity inside the painting booth from the sensor (105) and adjusting the humidifying means (104) as a function of said set value or set range of values and of said humidity indicative signal inside the booth.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: WATER-5c-2015 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2016

This project focuses on a major challenge in African countries: In the 15 sub-Saharan African countries 108 million people have limited or even no access to clean water. The SafeWaterAfrica project will research and develop an autonomous and decentralized water treatment system for rural and peri-urban areas which is highly efficient in the degradation of harmful pollutants and at the same time very effective in killing microbiological contaminants. The system will be designed to provide 300 people in rural areas. With a market penetration of 3000 systems the project has the potential to supply 900,000 people within app. four years after the end of the project. The project includes capacity building and business development so that system ownership and responsibility are in the hands of the local rural communities. The joint European-African development will result in a low-cost solution easy to handle and operate. It will take into account the specific cultural aspects of the region and will be designed for operation with local staff and in the responsibility of local communities or local water service providers, respectively. These Made in Africa systems will therefore have a high level of acceptance in the rural areas which promotes the implementation of the technology. Ten transdisciplinary partners from Europe and Africa, assisted by eight enterprises and organisations in the Advisory Board, will work jointly over a project duration of 42 months to adapt a specific European water treatment technology into an African water treatment system solution. Besides, SafeWaterAfrica will generate the technological basis for innovative business models related to the development of water treatment products, which are produced, installed, operated and maintained in Africa. The resulting creation of new jobs will contribute to the social well-being and will promote economic growth in the rural and peri-urban areas of the southern African countries.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-04-2016 | Award Amount: 7.35M | Year: 2017

Over 130,000 children born in Europe every year will have a congenital anomaly (CA; birth defect). These CAs, which are often rare diseases, are a major cause of infant mortality, childhood morbidity and long-term disability. EUROCAT is an established European network of population-based registries for the epidemiologic surveillance of CAs. EUROlinkCAT will use the EUROCAT infrastructure to support 21 EUROCAT registries in 13 European countries to link their CA data to mortality, hospital discharge, prescription and educational databases. Each registry will send standard aggregate tables and analysis results to a Central Results Repository (CRR) thus respecting data security issues surrounding sensitive data. The CRR will contain standardised summary data and analyses on an estimated 200,000 children with a CA born from 1995 to 2014 up to age 10, enabling hypotheses on their health and education to be investigated at an EU level. This enhanced information will allow optimisation of personalised care and treatment decisions for children with rare CAs. Registries will be supported in using social media platforms to connect with families who live with CAs in their regions. A novel sustainable e-forum, ConnectEpeople, will link these families with local, national and international registries and information resources. ConnectEpeople will involve these families in setting research priorities and ensuring a meaningful dissemination of results. Findings will provide evidence to inform national treatment guidelines, such as concerning screening programs, to optimise diagnosis, prevention and treatment for these children and reduce health inequalities in Europe. An economic evaluation of the hospitalisation costs associated with CA will be provided. The CRR and associated documentation, including linkage and standardisation procedures and ConnectEpeople forum will be available post-EUROlinkCAT thus facilitating future local and EU level analyses.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-ADG | Phase: ERC-ADG-2015 | Award Amount: 2.38M | Year: 2016

One of the great mysteries in the natural sciences is the dominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. According to our present understanding, the early universe contained the same amount of matter and antimatter. If the universe had behaved symmetrically as it developed, every particle would have been annihilated by one of its antiparticles. We therefore owe our very existence to mechanisms that have led to a world where something that we call matter remains. We propose to study such mechanisms by searching for electric dipole moments (EDMs) of charged hadrons in a new class of precision storage rings. Our project will lay the foundations for a new European flagship research infrastructure. The breaking of the combined charge conjugation and parity symmetries (CP-violation) in the Standard Model is not strong enough to explain the observed excess of matter and further sources of CP-violation must be sought. These sources could manifest themselves in Electric Dipole Moments of elementary particles, which occur when the centroids of positive and negative charges are mutually and permanently displaced. The observation of an electric dipole moment will elucidate the mechanisms which led to the matter that dominates the universe. Although the measurement principle, the time development of the polarization vector subject to a perpendicular electric field, is simple, the smallness of the effect makes this an enormously challenging project. This can only be mastered through the common effort of an international team of accelerator and particle physicists, working closely with engineers. The proponents of this design study and the research environment at the Forschungszentrum Jlich (Germany), including the conventional storage ring COSY, provide the optimal basis for one of the most spectacular possibilities in modern science: finding an EDM as a signal for new physics beyond the Standard Model and perhaps explaining the puzzle of our existence.

Dondoni A.,University of Ferrara | Marra A.,University of Ferrara
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2012

There has been over the past decades a resurgence of the free-radical thiol-ene coupling (TEC) as a method for assembling crosslinked networks and polymer functionalization. On the other hand the use of TEC in carbohydrate chemistry, a field of special importance due to the key role of carbohydrates in living organisms, is represented only by a handful of papers. Nevertheless it appears that TEC possesses many if not all the attributes of a click process proceeding with the assistance of the greenest catalyst such as visible light. This tutorial review focuses on the application of TEC on different topics, all related to glycochemistry, including: (a) carbohydrate modification, (b) oligosaccharide and glycosyl amino acid synthesis, (c) assembly of glycoclusters on rigid molecular platforms (calixarene, cyclodextrin, silsesquioxane, dendrimer), (d) peptide and protein glycosylation. Also the very recent development in peptide glycosylation by the closely related thiol-yne chemistry is described. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Di Virgilio F.,University of Ferrara
Pharmacological Reviews | Year: 2013

Inflammasomes are the central processing units (CPUs) responsible for decoding and integrating signals of foreignness, damage, danger, and distress released by pathogens, cells, and tissues. It was initially thought that the inflammasomes participated only in pathogen recognition and in the pathogenesis of a few, rare, hereditary inflammatory disorders. On the contrary, it is now clear that they have a central role in the pathogenesis of basically all types of chronic inflammation, in metabolic diseases and cancer. So far, six or possibly eight inflammasome subtypes have been identified. Their main, but by no means exclusive, function is to catalyze conversion of pro-IL-1b and pro-IL-18 into their respective mature forms. However, the different inflammasome subtypes may also participate in additional responses, e.g., proliferation, regulation of glycolytic metabolism, or cell activation, albeit it is not clear whether these effects are still mediated through IL-1b release or via modulation of other caspase-1-dependent or -independent pathways. Central to inflammasome organization and activity are proteins belonging to the nucleotide binding domain, leucinerich repeat, or NOD-like receptor family. One relevant exception is the AIM2 inflammasome. NOD-like receptors belong to the superfamily of pattern recognition receptors, a group of highly conserved molecules specialized in the recognition of invariant molecular patterns diffused across species. Given their potent proinflammatory activity, it is anticipated that inflammasome activation is tightly controlled. In this review, I will summarize essential features of the known NOD-like receptors, the basic molecular structure of inflammasomes, their participation in pathophysiological responses, and their possible exploitation for therapy. © 2013 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Di Virgilio F.,University of Ferrara
Cancer Research | Year: 2012

Purines were long thought to be restricted to the intracellular compartment, where they are used for energy transactions, nucleic acid synthesis, and a multiplicity of biochemical reactions. However, it is now clear that both adenosine and adenosine triphosphate are (i) abundant biochemical components of the tumor microenvironment, (ii) potent modulators of immune cell responses and cytokine release, and (iii) key players in host-tumor interaction. Moreover, both ATP and adenosine directly affect tumor cell growth. Adenosine is a powerful immunosuppressant (mainly acting at A2A receptors) and a modulator of cell growth (mainly acting at A3 receptors). ATP is a proinflammatory (acting at P2Y1, P2Y2, P2Y4, P2Y6, and P2Y12, and at P2X4 and P2X7 receptors), an immunosuppressant (acting at P2Y11), and a growth-promoting agent (acting at P2Y1, P2Y2, and P2X7 receptors). This complex signaling network generates an array of inhibitory and stimulatory responses that affect immune cell function, tumor growth, and metastatic dissemination. Investigation of purinergic signaling has increased our understanding of the tumor microenvironment and opened new and exciting avenues for the development of novel therapeutics. Copyright © 2012 American Association for Cancer Research.

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