Fribourg, Switzerland

University of Fribourg
Fribourg, Switzerland

The University of Fribourg is a university in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland.The roots of the University can be traced back to 1580, when the notable Jesuit Peter Canisius founded the Collège Saint-Michel in the City of Fribourg. In 1763, an Academy of law was founded by the state of Fribourg which formed the nucleus of the present Law Faculty. The University of Fribourg was finally created in 1889 by an Act of the parliament of the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.The University of Fribourg is Switzerland’s only bilingual university and offers full curricula in those two Swiss national languages. Students number is about 10,000, there are about 200 tenured professors and 700 other academic teaching and research personnel. The Misericorde Campus, constructed between 1939–42, was designed by the architects Honegger and Dumas, students of Swiss architect Le Corbusier.There are five faculties: Catholic theology, law, natural science, humanities, and economics and social science. Wikipedia.

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University of Fribourg | Date: 2016-12-02

Supramolecular polymers or materials that exhibit high stiffness and can efficiently be healed. The supramolecular materials polymer is based on monomers having three or more same or different binding sites that permit non-covalent, directional interactions between multiple monomer molecules. The properties of the supramolecular networks formed from the monomers are governed by cross-linked architecture and the large weight-fraction of the binding motif. The material in one embodiment forms a disordered glass, which in spite of the low-molecular weight of the building block, displays typical polymeric behavior. The material exhibits high stiffness and offers excellent coating and adhesive properties. On account of reversible dissociation and the formation of a low-viscosity liquid upon application of an optical stimulus or thermal stimulus or both, rapid healing as well as (de)bonding are possible.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-22-2016 | Award Amount: 3.22M | Year: 2017

iMuSciCA will through engagement in music activities support mastery of core academic content on STEM subjects (Physics, Geometry, Mathematics, and Technology) for secondary school students (aged 12-16) alongside with the development of their creativity and deeper learning skills. To reach this goal, iMuSciCA introduces new methodologies and innovative technologies supporting active, discovery-based, collaborative, personalised, and more engaging learning. These technologies provide students and teachers with opportunities for collaboration, co-creation, and collective knowledge building. In particular, iMuSciCA will deliver a suite of software tools and services on top of market-ready new enabling technologies integrated on a web-based platform. These include: a 3D design environment for personalized virtual musical instruments; advanced music generation and processing technologies to apply and interpret related physics and mathematics principles; gesture and pen-enabled multimodal interaction functionality for music co-creation and performance; and 3D printing for realizing the actual/tangible physical instrument. The platform will be complemented with a suite of interdisciplinary project/problem based educational scenarios for STEAM integrating innovative and stimulating methods in teaching and learning. The iMuSciCA framework will be pilot-tested and evaluated in real learning contexts by a substantial number of students and teachers in three European countries (Belgium, Greece, and France). The project will be implemented in close collaboration of academic and industrial partners, bringing together existing technologies and promoting ground-breaking research in STEAM pedagogy and the involved core enabling technology. As such, iMuSciCA will be a pioneering approach using music for fostering creativity and deeper learning, thereby setting new grounds in the European curricula of STEAM.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 2.36M | Year: 2016

Modern polymeric materials and surfaces are a corner-stone of Europes economy and research activities. Materials with novel properties are therefore of great interest. Nature provides us with a rich pool of multifunctional materials that can act as concept generators for synthetic materials. The uppermost layer of plant leaves and flower petals, the cuticle, is a smart polymer composite which a variety of functions, ranging from controlled regulation of water permeability, to the formation of structural colour and sticky or non-friction surfaces. The overall aims of PlaMatSu are (1) to address the challenge of creating new functional polymeric materials and surfaces by studying structure formation and function-property relationships in cuticles and (2) to educate the next generation of scientists who have the necessary interdisciplinary knowledge for turning scientific results into innovation. To reach its aims PlaMatSu will: - train 9 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) at PhD level in a network of multi-disciplinary labs composed of biologists, physicists, and chemists. The expertise of the supervisors includes evolution and plant biology, responsive polymeric materials, polymer chemistry, surface sciences, optical properties of materials and polymer physics. - provide ESRs with training in technology transfer, innovation, management, writing, interactions with the public, and intellectual property rights via a set of dedicated workshops. - offer to each ESR secondments in academia, and most importantly, in private companies. Through latter ESRs will be exposed to the research and development environments of top companies in the chemical, food, polymer processing and scientific services industry. New bio-inspired materials offer great potential for knowledge creation and innovation. After having completed the research and doctoral program proposed by PlaMatSu, ESRs will be ready to embark on a career in academia or industry.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: ICT-14-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 2.89M | Year: 2017

The primary goal of each retailer is to understand your customers. Our interviews with retailers show a primary demand from the retail industry for predicting a customers next demand. Surprisingly , even a complete record of past purchases (and returns) is not sufficient to understand how items in a companys catalog do or do not connect with the customers general tastes, lifestyle and aspirations. Moverover, from a business perspective, any efficiency gains in the logistics of supplier management, shipping and handling are rather minor, compared to the gains one could obtain from a better understanding of the customers personalities and habits. Given that the customer demands trigger proactive stocking and fashion production, this appears as a logical consequence. In this project, we want to consolidate and extend existing European technologies in the area of database management, data mining, machine learning, image processing, information retrieval, and crowdsourcing to strengthen the positions of European fashion retailers among their world-wide competitors. Our choice for the fashion sector is a concise one: i) as a multi-billion euro industry, the fashion sector is extremely important for the European economy; ii) Europe already has a solid position in the world fashion stage, however, to maintain its position and keep up with the competitors, European fashion industry needs the help of advanced technology; and iii) European fashion industry provides an excellent exercise for new technologies, because it is a multi-sectorial by itself (i.e., imposes challenging data integration issues), it has a short life-cycle (i.e., requires timely reaction to the current events) and it involves diverse languages and cultures. The main outcome of the FashionBrain project is the improvement of the fashion industry value chain obtained thanks to the creation of novel on-line shopping experiences, the detection of influencers, and the prediction of upcoming fashion trends. Tangible outcomes will include software, demonstrators, and novel algorithms for a data-driven fashion industry.

Albrecht U.,University of Fribourg
Neuron | Year: 2012

The mammalian circadian system, which is comprised of multiple cellular clocks located in the organs and tissues, orchestrates their regulation in a hierarchical manner throughout the 24 hr of the day. At the top of the hierarchy are the suprachiasmatic nuclei, which synchronize subordinate organ and tissue clocks using electrical, endocrine, and metabolic signaling pathways that impact the molecular mechanisms of cellular clocks. The interplay between the central neural and peripheral tissue clocks is not fully understood and remains a major challenge in determining how neurological and metabolic homeostasis is achieved across the sleep-wake cycle. Disturbances in the communication between the plethora of body clocks can desynchronize the circadian system, which is believed to contribute to the development of diseases such as obesity and neuropsychiatric disorders. This review will highlight the relationship between clocks and metabolism, and describe how cues such as light, food, and reward mediate entrainment of the circadian system. Here, Albrecht reviews the relationship between central and peripheral circadian clocks and how cues such as light, food, and reward mediate entrainment of the circadian system. The implications of desynchronization of these clocks for human health and disease are also discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Schwaller B.,University of Fribourg
Frontiers in Neuroanatomy | Year: 2014

The hexa-EF-hand Ca2+-binding protein calretinin (CR) is predominantly expressed in specific neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. However, CR expression is also observed in non-neuronal cells, e.g., during embryonic development and in mesothelioma cells. Of the 6 EF-hand domains, 5 are functional; the first 4 domains form 2 pairs showing high cooperativity within a pair that results in non-linear modulation of intracellular Ca2+ signals by CR. EF-hand domain 5 has a low affinity and represents the identified interaction site with CR-binding partners present in mouse cerebellar granule cells. CR binding to other targets including the pore-forming α1 subunit of the Ca2+ channel Caν2.1, as well as to huntingtin indicates additional Ca2+ sensor functions besides the well-known Ca2+-buffering functions. The absence of CR in cerebellar granule cells of CR-/- mice results in increased excitability and altered firing of Purkinje cells and promotes cerebellar 160-Hz oscillations impairing motor coordination. The putative role of CR in neuroprotection is still highly discussed. Altogether, CR emerges as a multi-functional protein also associated with development, i.e., cell proliferation, differentiation, and cell death. © 2014 Schwaller.

de Virgilio C.,University of Fribourg
FEMS Microbiology Reviews | Year: 2012

Like all microorganisms, yeast cells spend most of their natural lifetime in a reversible, quiescent state that is primarily induced by limitation for essential nutrients. Substantial progress has been made in defining the features of quiescent cells and the nutrient-signaling pathways that shape these features. A view that emerges from the wealth of new data is that yeast cells dynamically configure the quiescent state in response to nutritional challenges by using a set of key nutrient-signaling pathways, which (1) regulate pathway-specific effectors, (2) converge on a few regulatory nodes that bundle multiple inputs to communicate unified, graded responses, and (3) mutually modulate their competences to transmit signals. Here, I present an overview of our current understanding of the architecture of these pathways, focusing on how the corresponding core signaling protein kinases (i.e. PKA, TORC1, Snf1, and Pho85) are wired to ensure an adequate response to nutrient starvation, which enables cells to tide over decades, if not centuries, of famine. © 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-STG | Phase: ERC-2016-STG | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2017

Transducing information to and from biological environments is essential for bioresearch, neuroscience and healthcare. There has been recent focus on using organic semiconductors to interface the living world, since their structural similarity to bio-macromolecules strongly favours their biological integration. Either water-soluble conjugated polyelectrolytes are dissolved in the biological medium, or solid-state organic thin films are incorporated into bioelectronic devices. Proof-of-concept of versatile applications has been demonstrated sensing, neural stimulation, transduction of brain activity, and photo-stimulation of cells. However, progress in the organic biosensing and bioelectronics field is limited by poor understanding of the underlying fundamental working principles. Given the complexity of the disordered, hybrid solid-liquid systems of interest, gaining mechanistic knowledge presents a considerable scientific challenge. The objective of OSIRIS is to overcome this challenge with a high-end spectroscopic approach, at present essentially missing from the field. We will address: 1) The nature of the interface at molecular and macroscopic level (assembly of polyelectrolytes with bio-molecules, interfacial properties of immersed organic thin films). 2) How the optoelectronics of organic semiconductors are affected upon exposure to aqueous environments containing electrolytes, biomolecules and cells. 3) How information is transduced across the interface (optical signals, thermal effects, charge transfer, electric fields, interplay of electronic/ionic transport). Via spectroscopy, we will target relevant optoelectronic processes with ultrafast time-resolution, structurally characterize the solid-liquid interface using non-linear sum-frequency generation, exploit Stark shifts related to interfacial fields, determine nanoscale charge mobility using terahertz spectroscopy in attenuated total reflection geometry, and simultaneously measure ionic transport.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-COG | Phase: ERC-CoG-2015 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2016

The present proposal tackles fundamental problems in data management, leveraging expressive, large-scale and heterogeneous graph structures in order to integrate both unstructured (e.g., text) and structured (e.g., relational) content. Integrating heterogeneous content has become a key hurdle in the deployment of Big Data applications, due to the meteoric rise of both machine and user-generated data storing information in a variety of formats. Traditional integration techniques cleaning up, fusing and then mapping heterogeneous data onto rigid abstractions fall short of accurately capturing the complexity and wild heterogeneity of todays information. Having closely followed the emergence of heterogeneous information sources online, I am convinced that only an interdisciplinary approach drawing both from classical data management and from large-scale Web information processing techniques can solve the formidable data integration challenges that they pose. The following project proposes an ambitious overhaul of information integration techniques embracing the scale and heterogeneity of todays data. I propose the use of expressive and heterogeneous graphs of entities to continuously and dynamically interrelate disparate pieces of content while capturing their idiosyncrasies. The following project focuses on three core issues related to large-scale and heterogeneous information graphs: i) the effective extraction of fined-grained information from unstructured sources and their proper integration into large-scale heterogeneous and probabilistic graphs, ii) the creation of novel physical storage structures and primitives to durably and efficiently manage the profusion of data considered by such graphs using clusters of commodity machines, and iii) the development of logical data abstraction mechanisms facilitating the effective and efficient resolution of complex analytic and data integration queries on top of the physical layer.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-STG | Phase: ERC-StG-2015 | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2016

Sleep is critical for optimal cognitive functioning and health. Sleep disturbances are highly frequent in our society and strongly influenced by cognitive factors, e.g. rumination, expectations and thoughts. However, the mechanism of how cognition influences sleep architecture is not yet understood. To explain how cognition influences sleep, I propose the Memories-of-Sleep (MemoSleep)-Hypothesis. Based on the theory of embodied cognition and evidence that memories are reactivated during sleep, the MemoSleep-Hypothesis makes the following assumptions: (1) Cognitions related to sleep/wake states are embodied. I will call them embodied sleep/wake memories. Embodied sleep/wake memories encompass not only their semantic meaning, but also their sensorimotor body representation. Thus, the mental representation of the word wake is directly linked to our body sensation of wakefulness. (2) If embodied sleep/wake memories are activated before sleep, they will have a higher probability of being reactivated during sleep. (3) During sleep, increased reactivation of embodied sleep/wake memories activates associated body responses and thereby affects sleep architecture. Thus, increased reactivation of the mental representation of wake will activate wake-related physiological responses and disrupt sleep. Here I aim at empirically testing these assumptions using brain imaging (high-density EEG, EEG/fMRI) and cognitive testing in humans. I will show that activation of embodied sleep/wake memories before and during sleep influences sleep architecture and affects post-sleep cognitive performance. In addition, I will apply these findings to the elderly and patients with sleep disorders. The results will greatly enhance our theoretical understanding of how cognition influences sleep. Furthermore, they will provide a solid basis for the development of effective cognitive interventions for sleep disorders, with a high potential to improve sleep and cognition also in every-day life.

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