The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as the Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available. Around 36,500 students are currently enrolled in the degree programs of the university spread across 11 faculties and 11 research institutes.As of August 1, 2005, the University complies with the standards of the Europe-wide Bologna Process and offers Bachelor, Master, Licenciate, and Doctoral degrees. Admission to degree programmes is usually determined by entrance examinations, in the case of bachelor degrees, and by prior degree results, in the case of master and postgraduate degrees. Entrance is particularly selective . It has been ranked a top 100 university in the world according to the 2012 QS, Times Higher Education and the Academic Rankings of World Universities.The university is bilingual, with teaching provided both in Finnish and Swedish. Teaching in English is extensive throughout the university at Master, Licentiate, and Doctoral levels, making it a de facto third language of instruction.Remaining true to its traditionally strong Humboldtian ethos, the University of Helsinki places heavy emphasis on high-quality teaching and research of a top international standard. It is a member of various prominent international university networks, such as Europaeum, UNICA, the Utrecht Network, and is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities. Wikipedia.
University of Helsinki | Date: 2015-05-18
The present invention relates to adenoviral vectors, wherein the viral capsid has been coated with polypeptides, which are capable of stimulating a peptide-specific immune response in a subject and uses thereof. Furthermore, the present invention relates to methods of treating diseases, e.g. cancer, by adenoviral vectors which have been coated by polypeptides causing peptide-specific immune response. Also the present invention relates to a method of coating adenoviral vectors by specific peptides as well as to a method of identifying those peptides suitable for coating the capsid of an adenoviral vector.
University of Helsinki | Date: 2015-02-27
This invention relates to bioassay method wherein the presence of a specific soluble antibody in a sample of a bodily fluid, preferably plasma or serum, of an animal, including human, is qualitatively and/or quantitatively determined. The method employs, a first group labelled with an energy donor and a second group labelled with an energy acceptor; the first group, or second group, comprising an antigen of the soluble antibody and the second group, or first group, respectively, comprising a Fab binding moiety capable of binding to a Fab region of antibodies of said animal. The donor and the acceptor form an energy transfer pair capable of energy transfer. The invention further comprises a kit for the bioassay method.
Saarikkomaki E.,University of Helsinki
British Journal of Criminology | Year: 2016
This article examines how young people conceptualize typical narratives of fair and unfair treatment by police and security guards. It offers new insights for procedural justice research of how to constitute trust between citizens and authorities by including private security and by using qualitative methods. 31 youths in 9 focus groups continued stories towards (1) fair and (2) unfair encounters. The key difference in these stories was related to how authorities treat people. Fair narratives consisted of peaceful and predictable interactions and mutual respect. Intervening did not challenge trust when young people perceived that the control agents' work task legitimated the intervention. Unfair narratives consisted of impolite and aggressive treatment. Narratives about the police were closer to fair treatment than narratives about security guards. The article also suggests that prior procedural justice research has neglected the importance of the emotional state of the control agent: ideal control agents had an ability to be empathetic and to control their negative emotions. The findings support the procedural justice in highlighting the importance of fair treatment. © 2015 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press.
Weiste E.,University of Helsinki
Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy | Year: 2017
Background: The therapeutic relationship is an important factor for good therapy outcomes. The primary mediator of a beneficial therapy relationship is clinician–client interaction. However, few studies identify the observable interactional attributes of good quality relational interactions, e.g. offering the client positive feedback. Objective: The present paper aims to expand current understanding of relational interaction by analyzing the real-time interactional practices therapists use for offering positive feedback, an important value in occupational therapy. Methods: The analysis is based on the conversation analysis of 15 video-recorded occupational therapy encounters in psychiatric outpatient clinics. Results: Two types of positive feedback were identified. In aligning feedback, therapists encouraged and complimented clients’ positive perspectives on their own achievements in adopting certain behaviour, encouraging and supporting their progress. In redirecting feedback, therapists shifted the perspective from clients’ negative experiences to their positive experiences. This shift was interactionally successful if they laid the foundation for the shift in perspective and attuned their expressions to the clients’ emotional states. Conclusions: Occupational therapists routinely provide their clients with positive feedback. Awareness of the interactional attributes related to positive feedback is critically important for successful relational interaction. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Poikolainen K.,University of Helsinki
Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire) | Year: 2017
AIMS: To study total alcohol consumption and its correlates, with an emphasis on the direction of causality.METHODS: The associations among total alcohol consumption, abstaining, alcohol dependence (AD) and heavy episodic drinking were compared in 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in 2010.RESULTS: Either total alcohol consumption is determined by the number of abstainers and that of alcohol dependents, or the number of alcohol dependents is determined by total alcohol consumption. The number of non-dependent heavy episodic drinkers does not play a role.CONCLUSION: The number of alcohol dependents and abstainers seemingly determines total alcohol consumption and more efforts should be made to reduce AD.SHORT SUMMARY: The associations between total alcohol consumption, abstaining, alcohol dependence and heavy episodic drinking were compared in 29 OECD countries in 2010. The number of non-dependent heavy episodic drinkers does not play a role. The number of alcohol dependents and abstainers seemingly determine total alcohol consumption. © The Author 2016. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Otero S.,University of Cambridge |
Helariutta Y.,University of Cambridge |
Helariutta Y.,University of Helsinki |
Turner S.,University of Manchester
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2016
Vascular plants have developed highly specialized cells to transport nutrients and developmental signals. The differentiation process includes the degradation of multiple organelles of the sieve element cells (SEs) to facilitate transport and, as a consequence, SEs become dependent on neighboring companion cells (CCs). Despite its importance for phloem function and flowering time control, CCs are still a mysterious cell type. In this review, we gather all the genes known to be expressed in CCs, in different organs and organisms, with the objective of better understanding CC identity and function. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.
Enroth J.,University of Helsinki
Cryptogamie, Bryologie | Year: 2017
This paper presents new distributional records of five Chinese species of Neckera Hedw.: N. bhutanensis Nog. (new to Sichuan and Yunnan), N. borealis Nog. (new to Xinjiang), N. himalayana Mitt. (Yunnan, new to China), N. setschwanica Broth. (new to Bhutan), and N. xizangensis Enroth (new to Sichuan and Yunnan, the first reports of the species since type material from Xizang). Maps showing the distributions of the treated species in China and an updated key to the Chinese species of Neckera sensu lato are provided. © 2017 Adac.
Hemila H.,University of Helsinki
Nutrients | Year: 2017
In the early literature, vitamin C deficiency was associated with pneumonia. After its identification, a number of studies investigated the effects of vitamin C on diverse infections. A total of 148 animal studies indicated that vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The most extensively studied human infection is the common cold. Vitamin C administration does not decrease the average incidence of colds in the general population, yet it halved the number of colds in physically active people. Regularly administered vitamin C has shortened the duration of colds, indicating a biological effect. However, the role of vitamin C in common cold treatment is unclear. Two controlled trials found a statistically significant dose–response, for the duration of common cold symptoms, with up to 6–8 g/day of vitamin C. Thus, the negative findings of some therapeutic common cold studies might be explained by the low doses of 3–4 g/day of vitamin C. Three controlled trials found that vitamin C prevented pneumonia. Two controlled trials found a treatment benefit of vitamin C for pneumonia patients. One controlled trial reported treatment benefits for tetanus patients. The effects of vitamin C against infections should be investigated further. © 2017 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Redchuk T.A.,University of Helsinki
Nature Chemical Biology | Year: 2017
Multifunctional optogenetic systems are in high demand for use in basic and biomedical research. Near-infrared-light-inducible binding of bacterial phytochrome BphP1 to its natural PpsR2 partner is beneficial for simultaneous use with blue-light-activatable tools. However, applications of the BphP1–PpsR2 pair are limited by the large size, multidomain structure and oligomeric behavior of PpsR2. Here, we engineered a single-domain BphP1 binding partner, Q-PAS1, which is three-fold smaller and lacks oligomerization. We exploited a helix–PAS fold of Q-PAS1 to develop several near-infrared-light-controllable transcription regulation systems, enabling either 40-fold activation or inhibition. The light-induced BphP1–Q-PAS1 interaction allowed modification of the chromatin epigenetic state. Multiplexing the BphP1–Q-PAS1 pair with a blue-light-activatable LOV-domain-based system demonstrated their negligible spectral crosstalk. By integrating the Q-PAS1 and LOV domains in a single optogenetic tool, we achieved tridirectional protein targeting, independently controlled by near-infrared and blue light, thus demonstrating the superiority of Q-PAS1 for spectral multiplexing and engineering of multicomponent systems. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Peterson E.,University of Helsinki
Journal of Pragmatics | Year: 2017
This article focuses on the issue of pragmatic borrowing and how it manifests in language contact settings where the language of influence is a nonnative language for the receiving speech community. In this case, the languages under investigation are English and its unidirectional influence on Finnish. The article first establishes the behavior of pragmatic elements in traditional language contact settings, then moves on to problematize the notion within contemporary language contact settings. The article then offers specific examples of pragmatic borrowings from English into Finnish, including pliis ('please'), oh my god, and about. The discussion accounts for the social, pragmatic, semantic and grammatical incorporation of these elements into Finnish, demonstrating that the borrowed forms have characteristics which are distinct from both the source language (English) as well as heritage form in the recipient language (Finnish). Included in the discussion of these forms is a proposed trajectory for how such borrowings enter into native discourse, as well as the success vs. failure of pragmatic borrowings in entering mainstream discourse. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
Pyykko P.,University of Helsinki
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2016
The history of the Periodic Table and its predecessors spans almost 200 years. The present IUPAC PT for Z = 1-118 is still adequate. The remarkable measurement for the Lr atom does not change the chemistry. The extensions up to Z = 172 are discussed and compared. New data for ions are presented. The "Madelung rule" is found to be surprisingly good even in that range. © The Authors, published by EDP Sciences.
Laakso S.,University of Helsinki
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2017
Despite recent political and scientific interest in experiments, there is little research on participants' experiences of experimentation. This article focuses on an experiment during which eleven participants gave up ownership of their cars, and in return, received free travel cards to local buses for six months. The experiment is analysed from two perspectives. Firstly, the impact of the experiment on carbon emissions of the participants' everyday mobility is estimated based on weekly mobility surveillances and travel card data. Secondly, the practice theoretical approach is used to study the change in participants' mobility routines. The results indicate that the processes of de- and re-routinisation depend on multiple structural and individual factors reinforcing each other. Although carbon emissions of everyday mobility were reduced because of the experiment, there was variation in how the new routines were (or were not) acquired among the participants. The article suggests that, when analysed from the practice perspective, experiments might work as tools for mutual learning on how to make local public transportation more attractive among residents. Attention should also be paid to reducing the need for driving in the first place, as well as to providing more support and services for car-free living. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
Tiermas M.,University of Helsinki
Sports Engineering | Year: 2017
An extended offset-eccentric model of an archery twin-round-wheel compound bow is derived. Varying some parameters of the model, the respective effects on the calculated force–draw curve are considered. Two static quality coefficients for the compound bow are introduced. It was found that the twin-round-wheel compound bow can be designed to be more energetic with the help of the model. For a bow with some modifications 18.5% increment of energy was calculated. Also a theoretical limit for the force–draw curve of the compound bow is concluded. © 2017 The Author(s)
Chheda H.,University of Helsinki
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2017
Isolated populations with enrichment of variants due to recent population bottlenecks provide a powerful resource for identifying disease-associated genetic variants and genes. As a model of an isolate population, we sequenced the genomes of 1463 Finnish individuals as part of the Sequencing Initiative Suomi (SISu) Project. We compared the genomic profiles of the 1463 Finns to a sample of 1463 British individuals that were sequenced in parallel as part of the UK10K Project. Whereas there were no major differences in the allele frequency of common variants, a significant depletion of variants in the rare frequency spectrum was observed in Finns when comparing the two populations. On the other hand, we observed >2.1 million variants that were twice as frequent among Finns compared with Britons and 800 000 variants that were more than 10 times more frequent in Finns. Furthermore, in Finns we observed a relative proportional enrichment of variants in the minor allele frequency range between 2 and 5% (P<2.2 × 10-16). When stratified by their functional annotations, loss-of-function variants showed the highest proportional enrichment in Finns (P=0.0291). In the non-coding part of the genome, variants in conserved regions (P=0.002) and promoters (P=0.01) were also significantly enriched in the Finnish samples. These functional categories represent the highest a priori power for downstream association studies of rare variants using population isolates.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 1 February 2017; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2016.205. © 2017 The Author(s)
Tolska H.K.,University of Helsinki
Anesthesia and Analgesia | Year: 2017
BACKGROUND:: Post-tonsillectomy pain is 1 of the most intense postoperative pain conditions. However, optimal and sufficient postoperative analgesic treatment remains unclear. We investigated the effect of topical ropivacaine for post-tonsillectomy pain in 160 adult outpatient surgery patients over 2 postoperative weeks. METHODS:: At the end of tonsillectomy, 2 swabs soaked in either 1% ropivacaine or saline were packed into the tonsillar beds for 5 minutes. We used ibuprofen and a combination of acetaminophen (500 mg)–codeine (30 mg) tablets as postoperative analgesics for 2 weeks. The primary outcome was pain intensity on swallowing measured on a numeric rating scale (NRSs) during the first postoperative week expressed as area under curve (AUC). The secondary endpoints included the worst pain experienced during the 2-hour follow-up in the postanesthesia care unit, pain intensity during the second postoperative week, and the number of ibuprofen and acetaminophen–codeine tablets consumed during the 2 postoperative weeks. RESULTS:: During the first postoperative week, 120 patients out of 160 (75%) provided complete results, including data on their use of analgesics according to the instructions as well as completed and returned a questionnaire daily. A total of 101 patients (63%) did the same during the second postoperative week.Median (interquartile range [IQR]) of the primary outcome NRSs (AUC) was 38 (19) for the ropivacaine group and 37 (24) for the control group during the first postoperative week (P = .77, −1.0 estimated difference; 95% confidence interval [CI] for the difference, −7.0 to 5.0); no difference was found. Median (IQR) of NRS at rest (NRSr) (AUC) was 24.5 (19) for the ropivacaine group and 24 (22) for the control group during the first postoperative week (P = .96, 0.0 estimated difference; 95% CI for the difference, −5.0 to 5.0); no difference was found. Median (IQR) of the worst pain intensity values (NRSs or NRSr) (AUC) was 5 (3) for the ropivacaine group and 5 (3) for the control group (P = .44, 0.0 estimated difference; 95% CI for the difference, −1.0 to 0.5); no difference was found. During the second postoperative week, median (IQR) of the NRSs (AUC) was 17 (13) for the ropivacaine group and 21 (23) for the control group (P = .05, −4.0 estimated difference; 95% CI for the difference, −9.0 to 0.0) and median (IQR) of the NRSr (AUC) 10.5 (10) for ropivacaine group and 11 (13) for the control group (P = .42, −1.0 estimated difference; 95% CI for the difference, −5.0 to 2.0); no difference was found.The number of rescue analgesics (acetaminophen–codeine tablets) consumed during the second postoperative week was lower in the ropivacaine group than in the control group (median [IQR] of the consumption [AUC] was 10  for the ropivacaine group and 16  for the control group; P = .0008, −7.0 estimated difference; 95% CI of difference, −10 to −3.0). The groups showed no differences in overall risk for post-tonsillectomy bleeding. However, bleeding requiring hemostasis under local anesthesia was more common in the ropivacaine group (18% vs 8%, P = .048, 10% estimated difference; 95% CI for the difference, 0%–21%). CONCLUSIONS:: Topical ropivacaine failed to reduce pain intensity during the first postoperative week. We observed no major adverse effects. © 2017 International Anesthesia Research Society
Mutanen A.,University of Helsinki
Annals of Surgery | Year: 2017
OBJECTIVE:: Although liver disease is a major complication of parenteral nutrition (PN) for intestinal failure (IF), its pathogenesis remains unclear. We investigated potential molecular mechanisms of liver injury in pediatric onset IF. METHODS:: Liver expression of canalicular phospholipid (ABCB4), bile acid (ABCB11), and sterol (ABCG5/8) transporters, their upstream regulators LXR and FXR as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) were investigated among patients with IF [age median 3.8 (IQR 1.2 to 11)] in relation to biochemical and histologic liver injury, PN, serum plant sterols, fibroblast growth factor 19, and α-tocopherol. RESULTS:: Patients receiving PN currently (n = 18) showed more advanced liver injury than patients after weaning off PN (n = 30). Histologic portal inflammation strongly segregated PN-dependent (44%) from weaned off patients (3%, P = 0.001) and coupled with progression of cholestasis and liver fibrosis. Patients with portal inflammation demonstrated markedly induced liver RNA expression of IL6 and TNF, repression of FXR and its canalicular bile transporter target gene RNA expression, including ABCB4 and ABCB11 as well as decreased protein expression of ABCB11 and ABCB4. Furthermore, upregulation of LXR and ABCG5/8 RNA expression was suppressed in patients with portal inflammation. Current PN, increased serum levels of plant sterols stigmasterol, avenasterol, and sitosterol along with serum citrulline, a marker of enterocyte mass, predicted portal inflammation. CONCLUSIONS:: In pediatric onset IF, current PN delivery synergistically with intestinal compromise promote liver inflammation, which associates with progression of biochemical and histologic liver injury, while reducing expression of canalicular bile transporters. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
Puskarjov M.,University of Helsinki
Anesthesiology | Year: 2017
BACKGROUND:: General anesthetics potentiating γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)–mediated signaling are known to induce a persistent decrement in excitatory synapse number in the cerebral cortex when applied during early postnatal development, while an opposite action is produced at later stages. Here, the authors test the hypothesis that the effect of general anesthetics on synaptogenesis depends upon the efficacy of GABA receptor type A (GABAA)–mediated inhibition controlled by the developmental up-regulation of the potassium-chloride (K-Cl) cotransporter 2 (KCC2). METHODS:: In utero electroporation of KCC2 was used to prematurely increase the efficacy of (GABAA)–mediated inhibition in layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the immature rat somatosensory cortex. Parallel experiments with expression of the inward-rectifier potassium channel Kir2.1 were done to reduce intrinsic neuronal excitability. The effects of these genetic manipulations (n = 3 to 4 animals per experimental group) were evaluated using iontophoretic injection of Lucifer Yellow (n = 8 to 12 cells per animal). The total number of spines analyzed per group ranged between 907 and 3,371. RESULTS:: The authors found a robust effect of the developmental up-regulation of KCC2–mediated Cl transport on the age-dependent action of propofol on dendritic spines. Premature expression of KCC2, unlike expression of a transport-inactive KCC2 variant, prevented a propofol-induced decrease in spine density. In line with a reduction in neuronal excitability, the above result was qualitatively replicated by overexpression of Kir2.1. CONCLUSIONS:: The KCC2–dependent developmental increase in the efficacy of GABAA–mediated inhibition is a major determinant of the age-dependent actions of propofol on dendritic spinogenesis. Copyright © by 2017, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Eklund L.,Matrix |
Kangas J.,Matrix |
Saharinen P.,University of Helsinki
Clinical Science | Year: 2017
Endothelial cells that form the inner layer of blood and lymphatic vessels are important regulators of vascular functions and centrally involved in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. In addition to the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor pathway, the angiopoietin (Ang)-Tie system is a second endothelial cell specific ligand-receptor signalling system necessary for embryonic cardiovascular and lymphatic development. The Ang-Tie system also regulates postnatal angiogenesis, vessel remodelling, vascular permeability and inflammation to maintain vascular homoeostasis in adult physiology. This system is implicated in numerous diseases where the vasculature has an important contribution, such as cancer, sepsis, diabetes, atherosclerosis and ocular diseases. Furthermore, mutations in the TIE2 signalling pathway cause defects in vascular morphogenesis, resulting in venous malformations and primary congenital glaucoma. Here, we review recent advances in the understanding of the Ang-Tie signalling system, including cross-talk with the vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP) and the integrin cell adhesion receptors, focusing on the Ang-Tie system in vascular development and pathogenesis of vascular diseases. © 2016 The Author(s).
Heikinheimo O.,University of Helsinki |
Fraser I.,University of New South Wales
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Year: 2017
Hormonal treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), especially bleeding related to endometrial causes (AUB-E), ovulatory dysfunction (AUB-O) and coagulopathy (AUB-C), and to some extent, uterine leiomyomas and adenomyosis, has become the first-line evidence-based management strategy during recent years. Hormonal treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is also endorsed as the first line of treatment in several international guidelines. In the present article, we review the efficacy of the commonly used and widely available hormonal treatments of AUB-O, AUB-E and AUB-C. The therapies include combined hormonal contraceptives, progestin-only preparations, and intrauterine release of levonorgestrel through the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system. In addition, we make practical recommendations for patient management. We also review some of the current guidelines and their recommendations concerning the treatment of HMB. Finally, the effects of hormonal treatment on the overall management of AUB and its effects on the health care system and specialist training are discussed. © 2017
Sewry C.A.,University College London |
Sewry C.A.,RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital |
Wallgren-Pettersson C.,University of Helsinki
Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology | Year: 2017
Congenital myopathies are clinically and genetically a heterogeneous group of early onset neuromuscular disorders, characterized by hypotonia and muscle weakness. Clinical severity and age of onset are variable. Many patients are severely affected at birth while others have a milder, moderately progressive or nonprogressive phenotype. Respiratory weakness is a major clinical aspect that requires regular monitoring. Causative mutations in several genes have been identified that are inherited in a dominant, recessive or X-linked manner, or arise de novo. Muscle biopsies show characteristic pathological features such as nemaline rods/bodies, cores, central nuclei or caps. Small type 1 fibres expressing slow myosin are a common feature and may sometimes be the only abnormality. Small cores (minicores) devoid of mitochondria and areas showing variable myofibrillar disruption occur in several neuromuscular disorders including several forms of congenital myopathy. Muscle biopsies can also show more than one structural defect. There is considerable clinical, pathological and genetic overlap with mutations in one gene resulting in more than one pathological feature, and the same pathological feature being associated with defects in more than one gene. Increasing application of whole exome sequencing is broadening the clinical and pathological spectra in congenital myopathies, but pathology still has a role in clarifying the pathogenicity of gene variants as well as directing molecular analysis. © 2016 British Neuropathological Society
Pulkka O.-P.,University of Helsinki
British Journal of Cancer | Year: 2017
Background:The SLUG transcription factor has been linked with the KIT signalling pathway that is important for gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) tumourigenesis. Its clinical significance in GIST is unknown.Methods:Influence of SLUG expression on cell proliferation and viability were investigated in GIST48 and GIST882 cell lines. The association between tumour SLUG expression in immunohistochemistry and recurrence-free survival (RFS) was studied in two clinical GIST series, one with 187 patients treated with surgery alone, and another one with 313 patients treated with surgery and adjuvant imatinib.Results:SLUG downregulation inhibited cell proliferation, induced cell death in both cell lines, and sensitised GIST882 cells to lower imatinib concentrations. SLUG was expressed in 125 (25.0%) of the 500 clinical GISTs evaluated, and expression was associated with several factors linked with unfavourable prognosis. SLUG expression was associated with unfavourable RFS both when patients were treated with surgery alone (HR=3.40, 95% CI=1.67–6.89, P=0.001) and when treated with surgery plus adjuvant imatinib (HR=1.83, 95% CI=1.29–2.60, P=0.001).Conclusions:GIST patients with high tumour SLUG expression have unfavourable RFS. SLUG may mediate pro-survival signalling in GISTs.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication 23 March 2017; doi:10.1038/bjc.2017.82 www.bjcancer.com. © 2017 The Author(s)
Heinolainen K.,University of Helsinki
Circulation Research | Year: 2017
RATIONALE:: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the main driver of angiogenesis and vascular permeability via VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2), while lymphangiogenesis signals are transduced by VEGFC/D via VEGFR3. VEGFR3 also regulates sprouting angiogenesis and blood vessel growth, but to what extent VEGFR3 signaling controls blood vessel permeability remains unknown. OBJECTIVE:: To investigate the role of VEGFR3 in the regulation of VEGF-induced vascular permeability. METHODS AND RESULTS:: Long-term global Vegfr3 gene deletion in adult mice resulted in increased fibrinogen deposition in lungs and kidneys, indicating enhanced vascular leakage at the steady state. Short-term deletion of Vegfr3 in blood vascular endothelial cells increased baseline leakage in various tissues, as well as in tumors, and exacerbated vascular permeability in response to VEGF, administered via intradermal adenoviral delivery or through systemic injection of recombinant protein. VEGFR3 gene silencing upregulated VEGFR2 protein levels and phosphorylation in cultured endothelial cells. Consistent with elevated Vegfr2 activity, vascular endothelial cadherin showed reduced localization at endothelial cell-cell junctions in postnatal retinas after Vegfr3 deletion, or after VEGFR3 silencing in cultured endothelial cells. Furthermore, concurrent deletion of Vegfr2 prevented VEGF-induced excessive vascular leakage in mice lacking Vegfr3. CONCLUSIONS:: VEGFR3 limits VEGFR2 expression and VEGF/VEGFR2 pathway activity in quiescent and angiogenic blood vascular endothelial cells, thereby preventing excessive vascular permeability. © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
Zliobaite I.,University of Helsinki
Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery | Year: 2017
Society is increasingly relying on data-driven predictive models for automated decision making. This is not by design, but due to the nature and noisiness of observational data, such models may systematically disadvantage people belonging to certain categories or groups, instead of relying solely on individual merits. This may happen even if the computing process is fair and well-intentioned. Discrimination-aware data mining studies of how to make predictive models free from discrimination, when the historical data, on which they are built, may be biased, incomplete, or even contain past discriminatory decisions. Discrimination-aware data mining is an emerging research discipline, and there is no firm consensus yet of how to measure the performance of algorithms. The goal of this survey is to review various discrimination measures that have been used, analytically and computationally analyze their performance, and highlight implications of using one or another measure. We also describe measures from other disciplines, which have not been used for measuring discrimination, but potentially could be suitable for this purpose. This survey is primarily intended for researchers in data mining and machine learning as a step towards producing a unifying view of performance criteria when developing new algorithms for non-discriminatory predictive modeling. In addition, practitioners and policy makers could use this study when diagnosing potential discrimination by predictive models. © 2017 The Author(s)
Jauho M.,University of Helsinki
Sociology of Health and Illness | Year: 2017
This study addresses two issues currently under critical discussion in the epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the relative neglect of women and the individualised nature of key risk factors. It focuses on the North Karelia project (NKP), a community programme aimed at coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention in a predominantly rural Finnish region in the early 1970s, that is, during a period when the epidemiological understanding of CVD still was relatively new and actively promoted. Adopting the notions of lay epidemiology and coronary candidacy, culturally mediated explanatory models lay people use to assess who is likely to develop heart disease and why, the study shows that locals targeted by the project critically engaged with both of these bias. Based on the rich materials resulting from project activities the study shows, first, how many locals subsumed the individualised and lifestyle-based approach to CHD prevention promoted by NKP under a more general framework emphasising the health effects of ongoing structural changes in the area, and second, how women constructed themselves as viable coronary candidates. The case supports the position in the current discussions on lay expertise that wants to integrate lay experiences more firmly into epidemiological studies and public health. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the EU North State project has developed a new method of using satellite images to evaluate the forest carbon balance. The carbon balance indicates how much carbon is sequestered or released by forests each year. This enables the carbon balance to be displayed on digital maps, with an accuracy of up to ten metres. The technique involves mapping the key features of forest areas and forests -- such as the location, main tree species, height and biomass -- from images provided by the European Sentinel satellites. These digital images are fed into a model, alongside climate data. The result is carbon sequestration maps. Such maps reveal which areas are carbon sinks or carbon sources. This information can be used for activities such as planning forest management and assessing climate impacts. The simplest maps show the amount of carbon sequestered through photosynthesis, but take no account of carbon released by the decomposition of organic matter. More refined products take account of carbon released by living plants and carbon emissions from the soil. They provide a more precise idea of the carbon balance, but require the best source data. It was possible to create more advanced carbon balance maps of Finnish territory because sufficient ground reference data was available for guiding satellite image interpretation. "The partners in the project developed advanced methods of interpreting satellite and drone images. The University of Helsinki did the computing for the final carbon balance maps, based on VTT's satellite image interpretation. We had to invent a new approach to processing such huge quantities of data," says Research Professor Tuomas Häme. The University of Helsinki also developed a new way of using its carbon balance model to forecast growing stock volumes. The growing stock estimates for Finland yielded almost the same result as national forest inventories. At their most detailed, the maps had a resolution of ten metres. Coarser maps with a resolution of 500 metres were used to calculate the balance for the entire boreal coniferous forest zone from Iceland to the Urals. The same techniques could be used for satellite image interpretation and assessing the carbon balance, despite the major differences in image resolutions. The Sentinel satellite series forms the central part of the Copernicus Programme of the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA), which will provide free satellite data from across the globe over the forthcoming decades. The current total budget for the programme is over seven billion euros.
News Article | May 3, 2017
There is no significant difference between zinc acetate lozenges and zinc gluconate lozenges regarding their efficacy in shortening the duration of common colds according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open. Seven randomized trials with zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges found that the duration of colds was shortened on average by 33%. Zinc lozenges appear to influence the common cold through the release of free zinc ions into the oro-pharyngeal region. However, zinc ions can bind tightly to various chemical complexes in such a way that little or no free zinc ions are released. Previously zinc lozenges containing citric acid were shown to be ineffective in treating colds because citric acid binds zinc ions very tightly and no free zinc is released. Zinc acetate has been proposed as the most ideal salt for zinc lozenges since acetate binds to zinc ions very weakly. Zinc gluconate is another salt that has been frequently used in zinc lozenges. However, gluconate binds the zinc ion more tightly than acetate does. Because of the somewhat stronger binding, zinc gluconate has been proposed to be less suitable constituent for lozenges. Although the binding difference between zinc acetate and zinc gluconate is a fact, it is not evident whether that causes significant differences at the clinical level for treating the common cold. In the meta-analysis, Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, Finland, collected randomized trials on zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges and compared their observed efficacies. Three trials had used zinc acetate lozenges and found that colds were shortened on average by 40%. Four trials had used zinc gluconate lozenges and colds were shortened on average by 28%. The 12% difference between the average effects of the two kinds of lozenges was explained purely by random variation. Furthermore, one of the zinc gluconate lozenge trials was an outlier inconsistent with all the other six zinc lozenge trials. If that outlier trial was excluded, the difference between the three zinc acetate and the three zinc gluconate trials shrinked to just 2%, i.e., a 40% vs. 38% reduction in common cold duration. Thus, properly composed zinc gluconate lozenges may be as effective as zinc acetate lozenges. Dr. Hemilä also analyzed the dose response relationship between the elemental zinc dose and the observed efficacy in reducing common cold duration. There was no difference in the efficacy between five trials that used 80 to 92 mg of zinc per day and the two trials that used 192 and 207 mg of zinc per day. Thus, zinc doses of over 100 mg per day do not seem to provide any more benefit. According to Dr. Hemilä, there is no justification for the popular phrase that "there is no cure for the common cold" because of the strong evidence that zinc lozenges can shorten common cold duration by over 30%. However, in future studies the optimal composition of zinc lozenges should be investigated. The optimum frequency of their administration also warrants further investigation. Nevertheless, he also considers that "the current evidence of efficacy for zinc lozenges is so strong that common cold patients should be encouraged to try them for treating their colds, but the patients should ascertain that the lozenges do not contain citric acid or its salt citrate."
News Article | May 3, 2017
According to a doctoral dissertation being examined at the University of Helsinki, Chinese people of a higher socioeconomic status are on average in better physical and cognitive condition at baseline. According to a doctoral dissertation being examined at the University of Helsinki, Chinese people of a higher socioeconomic status are on average in better physical and cognitive condition at baseline. However, socioeconomic status does not protect people from age-related decreases in the ability to function. The results indicate insufficient financial resources and healthcare services correlated with a decreased ability to function in China. High levels of education and domestic income levels predicted better cognitive skills for Chinese people 65 years of age and older. A high income level was also linked to higher ability to function in terms of daily chores. The study used the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy and Longevity Survey (CLHLS) which was conducted in China between 2002 and 2011. CLHLS is the most extensive population-level study of Chinese people aged 65 years and older. It is based on internationally comparable survey forms, and yielded comprehensive data on socioeconomic status, family structure and background, living arrangements, daily activities, lifestyle and health. According to the dissertation, cohabiting with a highly educated spouse or child was connected to lower mortality. Highly educated spouses reduced mortality among seniors, particularly among men. Highly educated children were linked to reduced mortality, both for men and women. "In addition, men and women who were less educated but who cohabited with more educated children, were healthier. It seems that the health impact of education among seniors is partially influenced by the education level of the children," says Lei Yang, doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki. People in the higher social classes were healthier on average and had lower mortality than lower classes. However, it is not clear whether these differences become less pronounced later in life. "There is still limited data about this in China, even though it has the largest population of seniors in the world," Yang explains. Unlike in western countries, Chinese seniors typically live with their children, and family members play an important role in their healthcare. "The social standing of the family members seems to have even more impact on the health of the senior population in China than it does in western societies," Yang states. The main objective of the study was to investigate the trajectories of health in later life by means of different indicators of socioeconomic status, and to assess how the socioeconomic status of family members affects the health and mortality risk of elderly people in China. The specific aim was to find out whether elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have better physical and cognitive functioning and a lower rate of decline with age. MSocSc Lei Yang will defend the doctoral dissertation entitled "Socioeconomic status and health among the elderly Chinese people - A longitudinal study" on 5 May 2017 at 12.15 at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences. The public defence of the dissertation will take place in Auditorium XIII of the University of Helsinki Main Building. The opponent will be Professor Alastair Leyland, University of Glasgow, and the custos, Professor Pekka Martikainen. The dissertation will be published in the series Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences 50 (2017). The dissertation is also available in electronic.
News Article | April 24, 2017
(University of Helsinki) Analysis methods based on spatial data can help estimate the success of European nature conservation programs. For her doctoral dissertation, Aija Kukkala used Zonation, a conservation and land use planning software program developed at the University of Helsinki, and discovered that the EU's Natura 2000 network protects a reasonably broad variety of endangered animals.
News Article | April 24, 2017
According to a dissertation at the University of Helsinki, multinational elites continue to be committed to an interconnected global economy characterized by the free movement of the factors of production According to a dissertation at the University of Helsinki, multinational elites continue to be committed to an interconnected global economy characterised by the free movement of the factors of production. The collapse of this liberal international order is still unlikely, despite recent geopolitical tensions and the rise of populist leaders, claims the study. MSocSc Markus Ojala's dissertation research focuses on the World Economic Forum and the Financial Times as central forums of elite communication. Ojala examined 11 years of issues of the Financial Times. His study investigates how the communication promotes interconnectedness and dialogue among political, economic and administrative elites. According to Ojala, the elites use these communication forums to shape their shared understanding of the general direction of financial policy and negotiate differences regarding, for example, intervention in market disruptions. The study establishes that the globalisation of the economy and the promotion of an economic system driven by financial markets are linked to the interaction and communication between economic and political elites. After WWII, particularly Western multinational corporations, banks and investors have driven the international forms of interaction between economic and political elites. The goal has been to create a favourable political climate for the deregulation of trade, markets and the movement of capital. "As globalisation has progressed, the intention has been to bring non-Western elites into the international elite networks," says Ojala. According to the dissertation, international economic and political forums and financial media promote the deregulation of trade, markets and the movement of capital. They also strongly support endeavours to guide the global economy and concerted reactions to market disruptions. "This way they serve as pillars of the liberal international order." This liberal international order has been based on the dominant position of the United States and the shared understanding that the deregulation of markets and the movement of capital benefits all parties. "These premises are increasingly being called into question in the 2010s," states Ojala. Several international forums and media focusing on topical financial and political issues have been established during recent decades. They bring decision-makers from politics, business and administration into a shared discussion and connect globally influential people. This dissertation identifies such institutions as spaces of transnational elite communication and evaluates their significance in controlling the global economy. MSocSc Markus Ojala will defend his doctoral dissertation entitled "The Making of a Global Elite - Global Economy and the Davos Man in the Financial Times 2001-2011" on 28 April 2017 at 12.15 at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences. The public defence will be held in Auditorium XII in the University's Main Building, Unioninkatu 34. The opponent will be Professor Aeron Davis, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the custos will be Professor Anu Kantola. The dissertation will be published in the series Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The dissertation will be available for purchase from Unigrafia Bookstore http://shop. . The dissertation is also available in electronic form through the e-thesis service: http://urn.
News Article | May 8, 2017
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Forests of silver birch stretch across Europe, and they are a wonder to behold: stands of slender, white-barked trees sheltering vast swathes of earth. But these woodlands also have value beyond their beauty: They are an economic asset, generating raw material for papermaking, construction, furniture-building and more. A new study illuminates the evolutionary history of birch, a tree that has not been studied much by scientists despite its commercial value. "Birch is one of the major trees for forest products in the Northern Hemisphere. Others, like spruce, pine and poplar, all have genome sequences, but birch did not -- until now," says University at Buffalo biologist Victor Albert, who co-led the Finnish-funded project with Jaakko Kangasjärvi, Ykä Helariutta, Petri Auvinen and Jarkko Salojärvi of the University of Helsinki in Finland. Helariutta is also a professor at the University of Cambridge. "We sequenced about 80 individuals of one species, Betula pendula, the silver birch," says Kangasjärvi. "We sampled populations of this species throughout its range, so up and down Finland, down to Germany, over to Norway and Ireland, and all the way up to Siberia." By analyzing the 80 genomes sequenced, the team was able to identify genetic mutations that may be of interest to industry, including mutations that may affect how well birch trees grow and respond to light at different latitudes and longitudes and under different environmental conditions. The research could be a starting point for breeding trees that better meet the needs of various industries. "What makes a birch tree hardy in different environments? A tree in Finland may die if you plant it in Siberia because plants have local adaptations -- specific genetic mutations -- that help them survive where they are found," Helariutta says. "An understanding of these natural adaptations can facilitate genetic engineering and artificial selection. That's why our research could be very useful for forest biotechnology." The study will be published on May 8 in Nature Genetics. In the study, the researchers identified genetic mutations of interest by hunting for distinctive stretches of DNA within the genomes of individual birch trees. Like people, plants inherit two copies of every gene -- one from each parent -- and these two copies are slightly different from each other. However, in some spots, an organism may have long strips of identical DNA in both copies of a gene. Such stretches of DNA point to genetic regions that are critical to a species' survival and development, as these regions are the product of "selective sweeps" in which all or most organisms in a geographic location come to depend on a certain genetic trait. When the scientists analyzed the genomes of 80 birch trees from across Europe, they discovered a rich array of selective sweeps in genes that influence important qualities such as tree growth and wood production. Moreover, the team found that some selective sweeps appeared to be associated with various environmental conditions. Two genes that help control how birch trees respond to light -- PHYC and FRS10 -- had notable genetic mutations correlating with latitude, longitude and temperature, while the mutations in PHYC were also related to precipitation trends. Similar associations were also identified for two genes tied to wood production -- KAK and MED5A. (Mutations in these genes were correlated with latitude, longitude and temperature.) "The selective sweeps we identified may be the basis for local adaptation for different populations of birch," Salojärvi says. "Trees in Siberia are under different selective pressure from trees in Finland, so genes are being tweaked in different ways in these two places to allow these plants to better adjust to their environment." "The research points to genetic mutations that could be of interest for genetic manuipulation for forest products," says Auvinen.
News Article | May 8, 2017
A large mineral sector does not necessarily turn a country into a metaphorical goldmine and can even hinder economic growth. A large mineral sector does not necessarily turn a country into a metaphorical goldmine and can even hinder economic growth. A phenomenon known as the "resource curse" can make the finance sector accustomed to serving large, established resource firms at the expense of smaller companies, states a doctoral dissertation being examined at the University of Helsinki. Many countries rich in natural resources have been found to be slower to develop than other countries - the phenomenon is known as the "resource curse". "If the finance sector becomes accustomed to serving major, established resource firms, it may not offer services suitable for smaller or young companies. This can slow the growth of the national economy and aggravate the resource curse," says MSSc Sanna Kurronen, a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences. According to the dissertation, countries which are dependent on their natural resources have a smaller banking sector than other countries, and they are more likely to employ market-based financing. "Such an environment can make it more difficult for small and young companies to acquire financing, as they are typically dependent on domestic banks," Kurronen explains. The dissertation indicates that the world's mineral sector firms have less debt and their loan periods are longer than those of other companies. In resource-dependent countries, the same applies to companies in other sectors. "The presence of a large resource sector seems to regulate the finance structure for companies in other sectors as well," Kurronen states. This became apparent when Kurronen studied the financial statements of companies from 70 different countries. When the prices of natural resources collapse, the financing situation of companies in resource-dependent countries becomes more difficult. This is caused both by the weaker growth forecasts for the companies and by the banking sector's weakened ability to provide financing. It seems that the finance sector is one of the channels through which the resource curse takes effect. "Potential methods for easing the curse could be better consideration of the finance needs of companies outside the minerals industry and support for the banking sector so that it could mitigate the external price shocks of natural resources instead of accelerating them," says Kurronen. One example of how the production structure can shape a country's institutions comes from Finland. During Nokia's heyday, the country increased student places in engineering education, meaning that the needs of the IT sector guided education. Kurronen points out: "Just like the large IT sector, a large minerals sector can influence a country's education, legislation and finance sector." MSSc Sanna Kurronen will defend her doctoral dissertation entitled "Natural resources and finance" at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences on 12 May 2017. The opponent will be Professor Laurent Weill, University of Strasbourg, and the custos, Professor Antti Ripatti. The dissertation is also available in electronic form through the e-thesis service.
News Article | April 21, 2017
Optogenetics utilizes methods where light can be used to control cellular functions. In contrast to traditional methods, optogenetic methods allow more temporally and spatially accurate way to control cells. In brain research, these tools have been used successfully to regulate individual nerve cells in millisecond time scale using light instead of electrical stimulus. Optogenetic methods and tools have evolved fast, and in addition to be able to control cellular activity, researchers can now control the activity of gene function. In the study published in Nucleic Acids Research, the researchers were able to induce and inhibit the expression of genes in mammalian cell cultures and were able to regulate intracellular protein levels using light signals. The approach was also used to regulate gene transcription at endogenous genomic sites when combined with CRISPR/Cas9 technology. "The research carried out in zebrafish unit of the University of Helsinki showed that in addition to cell cultures, these optogenetic tools worked also in living tissues," says Academy Research Fellow Jari Rossi. The field has many medical applications, and it is possible that optogenetics may be applied in the future to treat human illnesses. First clinical studies are undergoing to restore vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. "Although the medical applications utilizing light regulated gene expression are in the distant future, the first applications will be probably found among life science basic research areas which are in the need of accurate control of gene function" Dr. Rossi says. "I am myself interested in using these tools for example in obesity- and diabetes research." On the other hand, the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals still rely on using old technologies. "The pharmaceutical- and bioindustry might benefit from using these more up-to-date methods, which can be used to control pharmaceutical production processes in cell factories more accurately and efficiently," Dr. Rossi states. Explore further: Biochemists develop new way to control cell biology with light More information: Gopal P. Pathak et al. Bidirectional approaches for optogenetic regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells using Arabidopsis cryptochrome 2, Nucleic Acids Research (2017). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx260
News Article | May 8, 2017
But these woodlands also have value beyond their beauty: They are an economic asset, generating raw material for papermaking, construction, furniture-building and more. A new study illuminates the evolutionary history of birch, a tree that has not been studied much by scientists despite its commercial value. "Birch is one of the major trees for forest products in the Northern Hemisphere. Others, like spruce, pine and poplar, all have genome sequences, but birch did not—until now," says University at Buffalo biologist Victor Albert, who co-led the Finnish-funded project with Jaakko Kangasjärvi, Ykä Helariutta, Petri Auvinen and Jarkko Salojärvi of the University of Helsinki in Finland. Helariutta is also a professor at the University of Cambridge. "We sequenced about 80 individuals of one species, Betula pendula, the silver birch," says Kangasjärvi. "We sampled populations of this species throughout its range, so up and down Finland, down to Germany, over to Norway and Ireland, and all the way up to Siberia."By analyzing the 80 genomes sequenced, the team was able to identify genetic mutations that may be of interest to industry, including mutations that may affect how well birch trees grow and respond to light at different latitudes and longitudes and under different environmental conditions. The research could be a starting point for breeding trees that better meet the needs of various industries."What makes a birch tree hardy in different environments? A tree in Finland may die if you plant it in Siberia because plants have local adaptations—specific genetic mutations—that help them survive where they are found," Helariutta says. "An understanding of these natural adaptations can facilitate genetic engineering and artificial selection. That's why our research could be very useful for forest biotechnology." The study will be published on May 8 in Nature Genetics. In the study, the researchers identified genetic mutations of interest by hunting for distinctive stretches of DNA within the genomes of individual birch trees. Like people, plants inherit two copies of every gene—one from each parent—and these two copies are slightly different from each other. However, in some spots, an organism may have long strips of identical DNA in both copies of a gene. Such stretches of DNA point to genetic regions that are critical to a species' survival and development, as these regions are the product of "selective sweeps" in which all or most organisms in a geographic location come to depend on a certain genetic trait. When the scientists analyzed the genomes of 80 birch trees from across Europe, they discovered a rich array of selective sweeps in genes that influence important qualities such as tree growth and wood production. Moreover, the team found that some selective sweeps appeared to be associated with various environmental conditions. Two genes that help control how birch trees respond to light—PHYC and FRS10—had notable genetic mutations correlating with latitude, longitude and temperature, while the mutations in PHYC were also related to precipitation trends. Similar associations were also identified for two genes tied to wood production—KAK and MED5A. (Mutations in these genes were correlated with latitude, longitude and temperature.) "The selective sweeps we identified may be the basis for local adaptation for different populations of birch," Salojärvi says. "Trees in Siberia are under different selective pressure from trees in Finland, so genes are being tweaked in different ways in these two places to allow these plants to better adjust to their environment." "The research points to genetic mutations that could be of interest for genetic manuipulation for forest products," says Auvinen. Explore further: Genetic legacy of rare dwarf trees is widespread More information: Genome sequencing and population genomic analyses provide insights into the adaptive landscape of silver birch, Nature Genetics (2017). nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/ng.3862
News Article | May 4, 2017
Financial statements release for the period January 1 - March 31, 2017 The first quarter 2017 in brief (previous-year figures in brackets): The operating profit of the company is expected to improve compared to 2016. “During the first quarter of 2017, our business continued to develop into the same positive direction as in the last quarter of 2016. In January, we announced the frame agreement that we concluded with the University of Helsinki concerning digital design services. The agreement is extremely significant for us, not only because of the new customer relationship, but also because it is a good example of business model of long-term, close collaboration that we are aiming for. The turnover increased compared to the corresponding period last year as well as EBIT, even though it was still negative. This was for example due to non-recurring expenses related to acquisition and delayed project starts. We were able to react quickly to these deviations and to correct the direction towards the end of Q1 back to the targeted level. In alignment with our strategy, we want to serve our customers with a turnkey delivery by combining the seamless collection of deep user understanding, innovative design with uncompromised technological implementation. These kind of deliveries are related to either improving areas where most development needs are discovered or ground-breaking solutions based on entirely new service innovations. Our experience and knowledge in user understanding and LeanLab strongly support our customers effectively through the life cycle of a product or service instead of just working as single purpose tools when updating customers’ strategies. In the end of the review period we published an important acquisition of InterQuest Oy, which is very important step in the execution of our strategy. We have built with determination our knowledge and services related to user- and user experience research. The acquisition of user research capabilities in August 2015 was one significant step in this direction. As we see it, different industries have difficulties in finding the right elements to create meaningful and successful products and services in the quickly changing and digitalising world. InterQuest’s LeanLab-service development platform strengthens both qualitative and quantitative user- and usability research at Ixonos. We can provide our customers better information about the behaviour of a selected customer segment and through that support our customers in making successful decisions. LeanLab is a forerunner in its own area of co-creation tools and it has tens of satisfied customers both in Finland and abroad. In our foreign subsidiaries, the key accounts in North America have started to become stronger. It is very satisfying that the positive trend in winning new customers has continued. In addition, in the UK our business has developed into the desired direction and winning new customers over there creates conditions for a continuation of the same positive direction this year. In Singapore our presence in strengthened through the acquisition of InterQuest and we are aiming to grow our business into a new level there. Our journey as a turnaround company is coming to the point where sustainable profitability and controlled growth are becoming our main goals. We are working very decisively towards these goals as a united, global Ixonos-team.” // CEO Sami Paihonen Turnover in the fourth quarter was EUR 4.2 (EUR 3.9) million, which represents 8.6% growth compared to the corresponding period. Especially In-Venue focus area has grown strongly. The comparison period revenue included divested Cloud business (EUR 0.3 million). During the review period, no single customer generated a dominating share of the turnover or exceeded 10 % of the total turnover. The combined turnover of companies controlled by Savox SA was 21.3% of the Group turnover. The operating result (EBIT) for the first quarter was EUR -0.8 (EUR -2.2) million and the result before taxes was EUR -1.2 (EUR 2.8) million. The net result for the first quarter was EUR -1.2 (EUR -2.8) million, earnings per share were EUR 0.00 (EUR -0.01), and cash flow from operating activities per share in the first quarter was EUR 0.00 (EUR -0.01). The main reasons for the result improvement during the review period are the revenue growth and lightened cost structure. The Group's equity was negative EUR -5.4 (EUR 0.2) million and Return on equity (ROE) was 309.6 (-900.8)%. Gross investments during the first quarter totalled EUR 0.0 (0.1) million. All R&D costs are included in the Group's profit and nothing is capitalised in the balance sheet. The balance sheet totalled EUR 16.1 (EUR 18.3) million. Shareholders’ equity was EUR -5.4 (EUR 0.2) million. The equity to total assets ratio was -33.5 (1.3) % The Group’s liquid assets at the end of the review period amounted to EUR 0.4 (EUR 1.8) million. Non-controlling interest of the equity was EUR 0.0 (EUR 0.2) million. The change in shareholders’ equity during the review period was due to a negative result. At the end of the review period, the balance sheet included EUR 2.8 (EUR 3.1) million in loans from the financial institutions. This amount covers the overdrafts in use. The loan agreements from the financial institutions include covenants regarding equity ratio, which will be considered at the first time 31 December 2017. In addition to that, the company has loan agreements and convertible bond from its main owner. The total amount of interest bearing debts 31 March 2017 are EUR 14.4 million, of which EUR 11.6 million are from related party companies. New loan agreements with related party companies during the review period are described in detail in 'related party transactions'. Consolidated cash flow from operating activities during the first quarter was EUR – 2.0 (EUR -1.8) million, showing a change of -8.5 %. The Group sells part of its Finnish trade receivables to reduce the turnaround time of its receivables. During the review period, EUR 1.7 (EUR 1.7) million trade receivables were sold. On 31 March, 2017, the consolidated balance sheet included EUR 11.5 million in goodwill (EUR 12.0 million). The following parameters were used in the goodwill impairment testing: · 1 % growth estimate used for terminal value calculation Ixonos conducted an impairment test on 31 March 2017, confirming that there is no need for any other impairment. The present value of future cash flows exceeded the carrying value of assets by EUR 20.1 million. The present value of the cash flow calculation of EUR 31.6 million is lower than the sum of the Company's financial liabilities (i.e. EUR 14.4 million) and the market price of the shares (i.e. EUR 46.0 million) as of 31 March 2017. The average number of employees during the first quarter was 168 (201), and at the end of the period, there were 166 (199) employees. At the end of the review period, the Group had 133 (161) employees stationed in Finnish companies, while Group companies in other countries employed 33 (38). During the review period, the number of employees decreased by three. During the first quarter, the highest price of the Ixonos’ share was EUR 0.16 (0.07) and the lowest price was EUR 0.10 (0.06). The closing price on 31 March 2017 was EUR 0.13 (0.06). The weighted average price was EUR 0.14 (0.06). The number of shares traded during the review period was 17.664.167 (3.255.707), which corresponds to 4.99 % (0.9) of the total number of shares at the end of the review period. The market value of the share capital was EUR 45.963.437 (21.213.894) at closing on 31 March 2017. At the beginning of the review period, the company’s registered share capital was EUR 585.394.16 and the number of shares was 353.564.898. At the end of the review period, the registered share capital was EUR 585.394.16 and the number of shares was 353.564.898. Ixonos Plc has three Option plans: 2011, 2014 and 2016 plans, The maximum total number of new company shares to be subscribed for based on these stock options shall be 42.018.526. The option plans are described on company’s website www.ixonos.com. On 31 March 2017, Ixonos had 3.706 shareholders (3.055). Private persons owned 12.72% (12.6), institutions owned 86.74% (86.8), and foreigners owned 0.54% (0.5). Nominee-registered ownership was 1.41% (1.8) of all shares. Tremoko Oy Ab, a related party, owns 82.2% of the Company’s shares. Options held by Tremoko can increase their ownership to 82.3%. On 3 February 2017, the company has secured a loan agreement in order to strengthen its working capital with Tremoko Oy Ab. The loan agreement enables, if necessary, additional financing for a maximum of 1.0 million Euros. On 3 March 2017, the company has accepted the binding offer of its main owner Tremoko Oy Ab of a financial arrangement based on borrowed capital of at most EUR 2.0 million (“Financial Arrangement”). The Financial Arrangement is combined with the additional financial arrangement of EUR 1.0 million implemented earlier and announced on 3 February 2017. Thus, the Financial Arrangement executed now enables, if necessary, Ixonos Plc to obtain EUR 1.0 million more than earlier in additional financing. The additional financing under the Financial Arrangement falls due 31 January 2019 at the latest. The Company held its Annual General Meeting on 29 March 2017. The minutes of the Annual General Meeting and decisions are presented on the Company’s internet page, www.ixonos.com. Paul Ehrnrooth, Bo-Erik Ekström, Pekka Eloholma, Samu Konttinen, Päivi Marttila and Pekka Pylkäs were re-elected as members of the Board of Directors and Peter Eriksson was elected as a new member. At its constitutive meeting following the Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors elected Paul Ehrnrooth as Chairman of the Board and Päivi Marttila as Deputy Chairman. Accordingly, the members of the audit committee of the Board were selected in the meeting. Päivi Marttila was elected as Chairman of the Audit Committee and Bo-Erik Ekström and Pekka Eloholma as its members. Stock Exchange releases during the period are available on company’s website 13.4.2017 Ixonos Plc has concluded an agreement by which the Finnish company Interquest Oy becomes part of the Ixonos group. With the sale, Ixonos further strengthens its global position as a leading end-to-end digital transformation service provider and enables Ixonos clients to enjoy broader, deeper and faster service globally. As a result of the acquisition, Ixonos will also become the biggest User Insight company in the Nordics, specialized in modern user experience research. In the transaction, all Interquest shares apart from shares owned by the company itself were transferred to the ownership of Ixonos. As consideration, Ixonos issued a total of 12 012 990 new Ixonos shares (“Consideration Shares”) in a directed share issue (“Share Issue”) to be subscribed for by the current owners of Interquest. The Share Issue shall be carried out in derogation from the pre-emptive subscription right of the shareholders by the decision of Ixonos’ Board of Directors on the authorisation of the Annual General Meeting held on 7 April 2016. The Consideration Shares issued in the Share Issue were issued in order to develop the group’s business and finance the corporate transaction, so there is a weighty financial reason for the Share Issue and the deviation from the pre-emptive right of the shareholders within the meaning of the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act. The subscription price of the Consideration Shares (“Subscription Price”) in the Share Issue was EUR 0,115 per Consideration Share. The Subscription Price was defined as the mean price weighted with the trading amounts of the Ixonos share of the period 28 September 2016 – 28 March 2017. The Owners have subscribed the Consideration Shares in total and the Board of Directors of Ixonos has accepted the share subscription made in the Share Issue on 13 April 2017 when the acquisition of Interquest was concluded. The Consideration Shares will represent 3.3 per cent of Ixonos shares and votes after the Share Issue. The Consideration Shares will entitle to full dividends possibly distributed by Ixonos and to other distribution of assets as well as carry other shareholder rights in the company starting from when the Consideration Shares have been entered in the Trade Register and the shareholders’ register of the company. A certain part of the Consideration Shares of Ville Österlund, continuing to work for the group, are subject to a lock-up period of six (6) months to two (2) years starting from the issue of such shares. In connection with closing of the acquisition of shares in Interquest Oy on 13 April 2017 Ixonos Plc issued a total of 12,012,990 new shares. The shares have been registered with the Finnish Trade Register on 19 April 2017 and were admitted to public trade on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange approximately on 20 April 2017 in the same class of shares as the company’s old shares. Ixonos now has a total of 365,577,888 shares and votes. The acquisition price EUR 1.432.709 will preliminary be recognised in customer agreements and IPR rights. 26 April 2017, Ixonos Plc signed an agreement whereby it acquired the Digitalist business of the Finnish Rome Advisors Oy together with the associated intellectual property rights and brands . By combining Ixonos’ know-how of research, design and technology with the Digitalist business’ unique way of bringing together experts, know-how and companies, the combination of the business operations and the resulting Digitalist Network will enable a new kind of co-operation and create tomorrow’s experiences already today. The corporate transaction supports the realisation of the company’s strategy, and the reborn company will lead the way in implementing digitalisation-related know-how in different fields of business. Rome Advisors Oy is a Finnish company, which provides management consulting services and specialises in creating digital strategies. The company helps corporations to understand the opportunities of growth, change and digitalisation, and teaches them to use the network in business and to build new ways to operate in the digital age. Ville Tolvanen, CEO of of Rome Advisors, has also founded the Digitalist Network and acts as its General Secretary. With the transaction, Rome Advisors Oy’s #DIGITALIST business and related assets and rights have transferred to Ixonos. Ixonos has paid the Purchase Price by a directed share issue (“Share Issue 1”) in which it directed altogether 2 677 074 new Ixonos shares (“Consideration Shares”) to be subscribed for by Rome Advisors Oy. In connection with the Transaction, Ixonos also directed altogether 2 294 635 new Ixonos shares (“Share”) to be subscribed for by Rome Advisors Oy in a directed share issue which is to be paid in cash (“Share Issue 2”) and is separate from the Transaction. Share Issue 1 and Share Issue 2 (jointly “Share Issues”) were carried out in derogation from the pre-emptive subscription right of the shareholders by the decision of Ixonos’ Board of Directors on the authorisation of the Annual General Meeting held on 29 March 2017. The Consideration Shares issued in Share Issue 1 are issued in order to develop the group’s business and finance the corporate transaction, so the company has a weighty financial reason for Share Issue 1 and for the deviation from the pre-emptive right of the shareholders within the meaning of the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act. The funds derived from Share Issue 2 will be used to maintain and improve the solvency of the group, so the company has weighty financial reasons for Share Issue 2 and for deviating from the pre-emptive right of the shareholders within the meaning of the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act. The subscription price of the Shares in the Share Issues is approximately EUR 0.131 per Consideration Share and Share. The Subscription Price has been determined as the mean price weighted with the trading amounts of the Ixonos share of the period 25 January 2017 – 25 April 2017. The subscription of the Consideration Shares and Shares has taken place at the signing of the transaction and the Board of Directors of Ixonos has accepted the share subscriptions. The Consideration Shares and Shares will represent altogether 1.3 per cent of Ixonos shares and votes after the Share Issues. The Consideration Shares and Shares will entitle to full dividends possibly distributed by Ixonos and to other distribution of assets as well as carry other shareholder rights in the company starting from when the Consideration Shares and Shares have been entered in the Trade Register and the shareholders’ register of the company. The Consideration Shares are subject to a lock up period of one (1) – two (2) years starting from the issue of such shares. 27 April 2017 Ixonos Plc gave notice to the Shareholders to an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held 19 May 2017 at 5 pm at the company’s head office. The Board of Directors proposes that section “§ 1 Company name and domicile” of Ixonos Plc’s Articles of Association be amended to be the following: The company’s name is Digitalist Group Oyj, Digitalist Group Abp in Swedish and Digitalist Group Plc in English. The company’s registered office is in Helsinki. The Notice of Ixonos Plc’s extraordinary general meeting is available on company’s website Ixonos Plc’s risk management aims to ensure undisturbed continuity and development of the Company’s operations, support attainment of the commercial targets set by the Company and promote increasing Company value. Details on risk management organisation and process, as well as on recognised risks, are presented on the Company’s website at www.ixonos.com. Despite efficiency actions taken, Ixonos Plc results have been negative during recent years, which has directly impacted Ixonos’ sufficiency of working capital. The risk related to sufficient working capital is managed by maintaining readiness for various financing methods. Changes in key customer accounts may have adverse effects on Ixonos’ operations, earning power and financial position. Should a major customer switch its purchases from the Company to its competitors or make forceful changes to its own operating model, Ixonos would have limited ability to acquire, in the short term, new customer volume to compensate for such changes. The Group’s turnover consists primarily of relatively short-term customer contracts. Forecasting the starting dates and scope is from time to time is challenging; yet at the same time, the cost structure is fairly rigid. This may result in unexpected fluctuations in turnover and profitability. Part of the Company’s business operations is based on fixed-price project deliveries. Fixed-price projects may include risks related to their duration and content. These risks are being managed by means of contract management as well as project management. Some part of the Group’s turnover is invoiced in foreign currency. Risks related to currency fluctuation are managed through different means. The Group has a subsidiary in Great Britain. The Brexit influence on the operations of the subsidiary has been evaluated and the influence is estimated to be insignificant. The Company’s balance sheet includes a significant amount of goodwill, which may still be impaired should internal or external factors reduce the profit expectations of the Company’s cash flow. Goodwill is tested each quarter and, if necessary, at other times. The company’s financial agreements have covenants attached to them. A covenant breach may increase the company’s financial expenses or lead to a call for swift partial or full repayment of non-equity loans. The main risks related to covenant breaches are associated with EBITDA fluctuation due to the market situation and with a potential need to increase the company’s working capital through non-equity funding. The company manages these risks by negotiating with financiers and by maintaining readiness for various financing methods. In the long term, Ixonos aims to achieve an operating result of at least 10 per cent. To reach its long-term goals, Ixonos focuses its strategy on deepening the company’s service and solution business and combining user- and user experience research, design and technology. The company aims to grow with new accounts within different industries by repeating Ixonos unique way to offer business advantage through digitalisation and mobility. The financial statement for the period 1 April – 30 June, 2017 will be published on Wednesday, 23 August, 2017. For more information, please contact: SUMMARY OF INTERIM REPORT AND NOTES TO THE INTERIM REPORT 1 January – 31 March, 2017 STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN CONSOLIDATED SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY, EUR 1.000 G: Total equity attributable to equity holders of the parent This interim report has been prepared in accordance with IAS 34 (Interim Financial Reporting) and the accounting policies for the annual financial statement of December 31, 2014. The IFRS amendments and interpretations that entered into force on January 1, 2016 have not affected the consolidated financial statements. For IFRS 15 implementation the Group has assessed all customer agreements whre the project delivery has taked place during the review period. Based on these agreemtnts there will not be significant effects on revenue when IFRS 15 is implemented. Preparing interim reports in accordance with IFRS requires Ixonos’ management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts of assets and liabilities on the balance sheet date as well as the amounts of income and expenses for the financial period. In addition, judgement must be used in applying the accounting policies. As the estimates and assumptions are based on views prevailing at the time of releasing the interim report, they involve risks and uncertainty factors. Actual results may differ from estimates and assumptions. The figures in the income statement and balance sheet are consolidated. The consolidated balance sheet includes all group companies. The original annual report is in Finnish. The annual report in English is a translation of the original report. As the figures in the report have been rounded, sums of individual figures may differ from the sums presented. The annual report is unaudited. This annual report has been prepared according to the going concern principle taking into account the realized financial arrangements during the financial year 2017 and financial estimations made up for the year 2017. The estimations take into consideration probable or foreseeable changes in future expectations in revenues as well as in costs. On the balance sheet day, the company estimated that its existing working capital is sufficient to cover the company’s funding needs over the next 12 months. Loan agreements include semi-annual covenants regarding equity ratio, which will be considered at the first time on 31 December 2017. The total amount of loan agreements that include loan covenants are 2.5 million euros. Ixonos made an impairment testing for the goodwill value on the balance sheet on 31 March, 2017. The goodwill is attributed to the one cash generating unit (CGU) starting from November 1, 2013. The impairment test showed a surplus of EUR 20.1 million based on discounted cash flow valuation compared to tested amount and no impairment was recognized. The carrying amount of goodwill is EUR 11.5 million. The present value of the cash flows calculated, EUR 31.6 million is lower than the sum of the company's financial liabilities (EUR 14.4 million) and the market price of the shares (EUR 46 million) on 31 March 2016. The impairment test of the company is based on operative company value. The forecasting period used in impairment testing at 31 March 2016 was Q2 2017 to Q1 2021. In the forecast, the year 2017 is a year of relatively small growth. For the years 2018-2021 the company expects to reach stronger growth, on average of 16 per cent, as digitalization will impact an ever growing part of the business community. The forecasted EBIT level is assumed to increase to on average of 10 per cent. Even though the company’s long-term target level for EBIT is 10 per cent the uncertainty of forecasts has been taken into consideration and therefore the average, normalized EBIT level has been used in the calculation. The impairment test is done by comparing the carrying value of assets to present value of future cash flow taking into consideration forecasted cash flows during the forecast period, discount factor and growth rate used in calculating terminal value. The discount factor used is 11 per cent p.a. and growth rate used in calculating terminal value is 1 per cent p.a. When calculating the terminal value, the weighted average EBIT %age level for the period was used. The impairment test is most sensitive besides to the cash flow forecast itself and the assumptions behind it, to the growth rate used when calculating the terminal value and to the discount factor. If the growth rate -31 per cent had been used instead of 1 per cent, the tested value would have been equal to the discounted cash flow. If the discount factor had been 24.6 per cent instead of 11 per cent, the tested value would have been equal to the discounted cash flow. If the EBIT %age used had been 0.4 per cent instead of 10 per cent, the tested value would have been equal to the discounted cash flow. The Company has a total amount of bank loans on 31 March 2017 EUR 2.8 million. The amount of loans that include covenants are 2.4 (5.2) million euros 31 March 2017. The loan agreements include covenants regarding equity ratio, which will be considered at the first time on 31 December, 2017. Should the company not be within the limits of a covenant, the creditor is entitled to call in the loans to which that covenant applies. The covenant levels are reviewed semi-annually on a rolling twelve-month basis after 31 December 2017. The equity ratio must be minimum 30 per cent. On 31 March 2017 the company's equity ratio was -33.5 per cent (1.3 per cent) EBITDA = Earnings before Interest, Taxes and Depreciation and Amortization Diluted earnings per share = result for the period ∕ number of shares, adjusted for issues and dilution, average Earnings per share = result for the period ∕ number of shares, adjusted for issues, average Shareholders’ equity per share = shareholders’ equity ∕ number of shares, undiluted, on the closing date Cash flow from operating activities, per share, diluted = net cash flow from operating activities ∕ number of shares, adjusted for issues and dilution, average Return on investment = (result before taxes + interest expenses + other financial expenses) ∕ (balance sheet total - non-interest-bearing liabilities, average) × 100
News Article | May 8, 2017
Dr. Mansikka brings significant and relevant experience to Chromocell, having served as medical director at AbbVie across multiple therapeutic areas, including pain management. In his role at AbbVie, Dr. Mansikka provided strategic oversight for multiple preclinical-stage, small molecule compounds across the spectrum of pain management. This work enabled the advancement of multiple candidates into clinical testing. Dr. Mansikka also led cross-functional development, evaluation, and clinical validation of various translational tools supporting the Company's pain portfolio. Dr. Mansikka was also responsible for leading clinical development of multiple assets targeting immune mediated inflammatory diseases. Before his tenure at AbbVie, Dr. Mansikka held positions of increasing responsibility at several biopharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Mundipharma Research Limited, and Grünenthal. In these roles, he made impactful contributions across many functions, including clinical research, regulatory and commercial, spanning multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Mansikka has experience from all phases of drug development from translational medicine up to Phase III leading clinical development program through approval. Dr. Mansikka has specialist training in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and has authored more than 30 publications in the areas of pain and inflammation research. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and completed his post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University. About CC8464/ASP1807 Chromocell's lead compound, CC8464 (Astellas' Development Code:ASP1807), is an oral, potent, highly selective, peripherally-restricted inhibitor of NaV1.7, which is believed to be efficacious in the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. NaV1.7 is an ion channel, involved in pain transmission. CC8464 was developed using Chromocell's proprietary drug discovery platform, Chromovert®. This technology enables the company to identify rare cells suited for effective high-throughput screening resulting in the discovery of promising drug candidates. About Chromocell Corporation Chromocell is a life sciences company which improves consumer products and patient lives through breakthrough science and technologies. Chromocell is focused on the discovery and development of therapeutics and flavors through the use of pioneering Chromovert® technology. Chromovert® technology enables Chromocell to use rare cells ideally suited for effective high-throughput screening. Chromocell's therapeutics pipeline is currently focused on analgesics and rare diseases, where Chromovert® technology has proven highly effective in the rapid identification of potential new drug candidates, as well as discovery and development of novel flavor ingredients and natural taste enhancers. For more information, please visit our website at www.chromocell.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chromocell-appoints-heikki-mansikka-md-phd-vice-president-of-clinical-development-300452999.html
News Article | May 2, 2017
The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,290 and the total number of foreign associates to 475. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States. Newly elected members and their affiliations at the time of election are: Bates, Frank S.; Regents Professor, department of chemical engineering and materials science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Beilinson, Alexander; David and Mary Winton Green University Professor, department of mathematics, The University of Chicago, Chicago Bell, Stephen P.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, department of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Bhatia, Sangeeta N.; John J. (1929) and Dorothy Wilson Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Buzsáki, György; professor, Neuroscience Institute, departments of physiology and neuroscience, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City Carroll, Dana; distinguished professor, department of biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City Cohen, Judith G.; Kate Van Nuys Page Professor of Astronomy, department of astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Crabtree, Robert H.; Conkey P. Whitehead Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Cronan, John E.; professor and head of microbiology, professor of biochemistry, and Microbiology Alumni Professor, department of microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Cummins, Christopher C.; Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Darensbourg, Marcetta Y.; distinguished professor of chemistry, department of chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station DeVore, Ronald A.; The Walter E. Koss Professor and distinguished professor, department of mathematics, Texas A&M University, College Station Diamond, Douglas W.; Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, The University of Chicago, Chicago Doe, Chris Q.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene Duflo, Esther; Co-founder and co-Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Edwards, Robert Haas; professor of neurology and physiology, University of California, San Francisco Firestone, Mary K.; professor and associate dean of instruction and student affairs, department of environmental science policy and management, University of California, Berkeley Fischhoff, Baruch; Howard Heinz University Professor, department of social and decision sciences and department of engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Ginty, David D.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Glass, Christopher K.; professor of cellular and molecular medicine and professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego Goldman, Yale E.; professor, department of physiology, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia González, Gabriela; spokesperson, LIGO Scientific Collaboration; and professor, department of physics and astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Hagan, John L.; John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law, department of sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Hatten, Mary E.; Frederick P. Rose Professor, laboratory of developmental neurobiology, The Rockefeller University, New York City Hebard, Arthur F.; distinguished professor of physics, department of physics, University of Florida, Gainesville Jensen, Klavs F.; Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Kahn, Barbara B.; vice chair for research strategy and George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Kinder, Donald R.; Philip E. Converse Collegiate Professor of Political Science and Psychology and research scientist, department of political science, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Lazar, Mitchell A.; Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, and director, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia Locksley, Richard M.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of medicine (infectious diseases), and Marion and Herbert Sandler Distinguished Professorship in Asthma Research, University of California, San Francisco Lozano, Guillermina; professor and chair, department of genetics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Mavalvala, Nergis; Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics and associate head, department of physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Moore, Jeffrey Scott; Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Moore, Melissa J.; chief scientific officer, mRNA Research Platform, Moderna Therapeutics, Cambridge, Mass.; and Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Nunnari, Jodi M.; professor, department of molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis O'Farrell, Patrick H.; professor of biochemistry and biophysics, department of biochemistry and biophysics, University of California, San Francisco Ort, Donald R.; research leader and Robert Emerson Professor, USDA/ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, departments of plant biology and crop sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Parker, Gary; professor, department of civil and environmental engineering and department of geology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Patapoutian, Ardem; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of molecular and cellular neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Pellegrini, Claudio; distinguished professor emeritus, department of physics and astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles Pikaard, Craig, S.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; and distinguished professor of biology and molecular and cellular biochemistry, department of biology, Indiana University, Bloomington Read, Nicholas; Henry Ford II Professor of Physics and professor of applied physics and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Roediger, Henry L.; James S. McDonnell Distinguished and University Professor of Psychology, department of psychology and brain sciences, Washington University, St. Louis Rosenzweig, Amy C.; Weinberg Family Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences, and professor, departments of molecular biosciences and of chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Seto, Karen C.; professor, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, Conn. Seyfarth, Robert M.; professor of psychology and member of the graduate groups in anthropology and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Sibley, L. David; Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor in Molecular Microbiology, department of molecular microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Spielman, Daniel A.; Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, departments of computer science and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Sudan, Madhu; Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Tishkoff, Sarah; David and Lyn Silfen University Professor, departments of genetics and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Van Essen, David C.; Alumni Professor of Neurobiology, department of anatomy and neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Vidale, John E.; professor, department of earth and space sciences, University of Washington, Seattle Wennberg, Paul O.; R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Wilson, Rachel I.; Martin Family Professor of Basic Research in the Field of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Zachos, James C.; professor, department of earth and planetary sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Newly elected foreign associates, their affiliations at the time of election, and their country of citizenship are: Addadi, Lia; professor and Dorothy and Patrick E. Gorman Chair of Biological Ultrastructure, department of structural science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (Israel/Italy) Folke, Carl; director and professor, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden (Sweden) Freeman, Kenneth C.; Duffield Professor of Astronomy, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Weston Creek (Australia) Lee, Sang Yup; distinguished professor, dean, and director, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea (South Korea) Levitzki, Alexander; professor of biochemistry, unit of cellular signaling, department of biological chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Israel) Peiris, Joseph Sriyal Malik; Tam Wah-Ching Professorship in Medical Science, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China (Sri Lanka) Robinson, Carol Vivien; Dr. Lee's Professor of Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, England (United Kingdom) Thesleff, Irma; academician of science, professor, and research director, developmental biology program, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki (Finland) Underdal, Arild; professor of political science, department of political science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (Norway) The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine -- provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
Loehr J.,University of Helsinki |
O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Biology Letters | Year: 2013
We investigated fitness, military rank and survival of facial phenotypes in large-scale warfare using 795 Finnish soldiers who fought in the Winter War (1939-1940). We measured facial width-to-height ratio-a trait known to predict aggressive behaviour in males-and assessed whether facial morphology could predict survival, lifetime reproductive success (LRS) and social status. We found no difference in survival along the phenotypic gradient, however, wider-faced individuals had greater LRS, but achieved a lower military rank.
Bryant D.M.,University of California at San Francisco |
Datta A.,University of California at San Francisco |
PeraCurrency Signnen J.,University of Helsinki |
Mostov K.E.,University of California at San Francisco
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2010
To form epithelial organs cells must polarize and generate de novo an apical domain and lumen. Epithelial polarization is regulated by polarity complexes that are hypothesized to direct downstream events, such as polarized membrane traffic, although this interconnection is not well understood. We have found that Rab11a regulates apical traffic and lumen formation through the Rab guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), Rabin8, and its target, Rab8a. Rab8a and Rab11a function through the exocyst to target Par3 to the apical surface, and control apical Cdc42 activation through the Cdc42 GEF, Tuba. These components assemble at a transient apical membrane initiation site to form the lumen. This Rab11a-directed network directs Cdc42-dependent apical exocytosis during lumen formation, revealing an interaction between the machineries of vesicular transport and polarization. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Linden A.,University of Oslo |
Mantyniemi S.,University of Helsinki
Ecology | Year: 2011
A Poisson process is a commonly used starting point for modeling stochastic variation of ecological count data around a theoretical expectation. However, data typically show more variation than implied by the Poisson distribution. Such overdispersion is often accounted for by using models with different assumptions about how the variance changes with the expectation. The choice of these assumptions can naturally have apparent consequences for statistical inference. We propose a parameterization of the negative binomial distribution, where two overdispersion parameters are introduced to allow for various quadratic mean-variance relationships, including the ones assumed in the most commonly used approaches. Using bird migration as an example, we present hypothetical scenarios on how overdispersion can arise due to sampling, flocking behavior or aggregation, environmental variability, or combinations of these factors. For all considered scenarios, mean-variance relationships can be appropriately described bthe negative binomial distribution with two overdispersion parameters. To illustrate, we apply the model to empirical migration data with a high level of overdispersion, gaining clearly different model fits with different assumptions about mean-variance relationships. The proposed framework can be a useful approximation for modeling marginal distributions of independent count data in likelihood-based analyses. © 2011 by the Ecological Society of America..
Kaila K.,University of Helsinki |
Price T.J.,University of Texas at Dallas |
Payne J.A.,University of California at Davis |
Puskarjov M.,University of Helsinki |
Voipio J.,University of Helsinki
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2014
Electrical activity in neurons requires a seamless functional coupling between plasmalemmal ion channels and ion transporters. Although ion channels have been studied intensively for several decades, research on ion transporters is in its infancy. In recent years, it has become evident that one family of ion transporters, cation-chloride cotransporters (CCCs), and in particular K + -Cl â ' cotransporter 2 (KCC2), have seminal roles in shaping GABAergic signalling and neuronal connectivity. Studying the functions of these transporters may lead to major paradigm shifts in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying brain development and plasticity in health and disease. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Nunnari J.,University of California at Davis |
Suomalainen A.,University of Helsinki
Cell | Year: 2012
Mitochondria perform diverse yet interconnected functions, producing ATP and many biosynthetic intermediates while also contributing to cellular stress responses such as autophagy and apoptosis. Mitochondria form a dynamic, interconnected network that is intimately integrated with other cellular compartments. In addition, mitochondrial functions extend beyond the boundaries of the cell and influence an organism's physiology by regulating communication between cells and tissues. It is therefore not surprising that mitochondrial dysfunction has emerged as a key factor in a myriad of diseases, including neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders. We provide a current view of how mitochondrial functions impinge on health and disease. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.1.1-2 | Award Amount: 16.31M | Year: 2008
ENGAGE (European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology) has, as its central objective, the translation of the wealth of data emerging from large-scale research efforts in molecular epidemiology into information of direct relevance to future advances in clinical medicine. ENGAGE will do this through the integration of very large-scale genetic and phenotypic data already available from a substantial number of large and well-characterised European (and other) sample sets of various types. The initial focus will be an integrated analysis of >80,000 genomewide association scans available to the consortium, thereby identifying the large number of novel disease-susceptibility variants undetectable in individual studies. Early studies will concentrate on metabolic and cardiovascular phenotypes, with subsequent expansion to apply the methods developed and lessons learned in other disease areas. The ENGAGE framework has been designed to be adaptable to advances that enable global analyses of other sources of genomic variation (eg structural and epigenetic variants), and to broadening of the phenotypic spectrum (to genomic endophenotypes in particular). The clinical and public health relevance of the novel disease- and trait-susceptibility variants we identify will be evaluated using the breadth and diversity of ENGAGE cohorts (DNAs and serum/plasma samples from over 600,000 individuals). The final step will be to effect responsible clinical translation of our major findings. As well as advances in the understanding of disease pathogenesis which may underpin novel therapeutic advances, we expect to provide clear proof-of-principle that genetic and genomic discoveries can be translated into diagnostic indicators for common diseases with the capacity to stratify risk, monitor disease progression and predict and monitor therapeutic response. ENGAGE has assembled the best researchers, clinical samples and statistical and technical expertise in Europe to realise these goals.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 16.62M | Year: 2011
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in both males and females, and it is perhaps the best understood of all epithelial tumors in terms of its molecular origin. Yet, despite large amount of work that has concentrated on understanding of colon tumorigenesis, we still do not know the full complement of molecular lesions that are individually necessary and together sufficient to cause colorectal cancer. Neither do we understand why some specific mutations that are relatively rare in other tumors (e.g. loss of the APC tumor suppressor) are extremely common in colorectal cancer. We propose here to use the tools of systems biology to develop a quantitative and comprehensive model of colorectal tumorigenesis. The model will include a wiring diagram that identifies cell-type specific and oncogenic pathways that contribute to colon tumorigenesis, and explains in molecular detail how a genotype of an individual CRC leads to activation of downstream genes that drive uncontrolled cell growth. This model will subsequently be used to find novel therapeutic targets, to guide genetic screening to identify individuals with elevated risk for developing CRC, and to classify patients into molecular subgroups to select the treatment combination which is optimal for each patient (personalized medicine). The specific objectives of the SYSCOL project are: 1. Identify genetic markers for individual risk using genotyping and sequencing of germline DNA from sporadic and familial CRC cases and controls 2. Identify genes and regulatory elements that contribute to colorectal cancer cell growth 3. Use data from Aims 1-2 to develop a quantitative model for colorectal tumorigenesis 4. Apply the model for identification of high-risk individuals, for molecular classification of the disease, and for identification of novel molecular treatment targets
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 5.44M | Year: 2007
Subject of this EU project is the implementation of the FAIR GmbH for the construction of the new research infrastructure FAIR. The "Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research" is an integrated system of particle accelerators which will provide high energy and high intensity beams of ions from antiprotons to uranium with unprecedented quality for basic research in different fields of physics. The total costs of the FAIR project is 1002 M (investment) and 185 M for personnel. Under the supervision of the International Steering Committee the scientific and technical preparations of the project have been evaluated and completed. The necessary legal documents for the establishment of international company FAIR GmbH have been worked out. This EU project concentrates on activities which still have to be successfully completed for the implementation of the FAIR project. The most important task is to achieve an agreement on financial / In-kind contributions to the construction of the facility between the 14 FAIR Member countries and the signing of the Convention, the intergovernmental agreement for FAIR. The Work packages of this proposal are legal issues, finances, governance, FAIR line-management and project management, coordination of research and coordination of accelerator. These activities cover also the start-up phase of the FAIR GmbH, until the FAIR project is successfully implemented. The participants of this application are 12 ministries or funding agencies and 14 research institutions. The activities, subject of this EU project, will be performed by the international project team "FAIR Joint Core Team".
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.75M | Year: 2015
Many tumor cells are characterized by the overexpression of certain antigens. Molecules that specifically recognize these structures are suitable as homing devices in tumor therapy. Conjugates of anticancer drugs with such a delivery vector targeting tumors would be a magic bullet according to the Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich. Three antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) have already been approved for anticancer therapy. However, ADC have e.g. limitations with respect to tumor penetration, high manufacturing costs, and require challenging conjugation chemistry. Peptide-drug conjugates can have a high drug loading, easily penetrate tissue, and can be easily prepared in a homogenous form with straightforward and well-defined conjugation chemistry. The ETN MAGICBULLET will focus on chemistry-driven approaches toward conjugates between peptides (delivery vectors) that recognize tumors and anticancer drugs (payloads or warheads) in order to selectively fight cancer, a topic with a high demand of research activities. The ETN will develop and validate an array of new peptide-drug conjugates combining either known tumor-specific peptides or newly discovered tumor-homing peptides with potent cytotoxic drugs. The tumor-selective peptides are designed for cellular uptake mediated either by endocytosis or by cell-penetrating peptides. The consortium of the ETN MAGICBULLET covers tumor biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, synthetic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, spectroscopy, conformational analysis, and computational chemistry. The training program focuses on multidisciplinary research to explore and validate molecular targets for innovative treatment or investigations on the molecular mechanisms in organ-specific metastatic growth processes. It aims at scientific multilingualism and relies e.g. on concerted learning, a combination of introductory training, hands-on learning on the bench, teaching by peers, and training in additional skills.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 2.79M | Year: 2015
Antimicrobial resistance is posing a continuously-rising threat to global health. Indeed, one key recommendation from the recent Action plan against the rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance report (submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and Council (15.11.2011)) is the development of effective antimicrobials or alternatives for treatment of human and animal infections. The INTEGRATE project is a direct response to this. We have assembled a team of 10 beneficiaries from eight EU member states, encompassing both academic and non-academic sectors and different disciplines, to form a consortium committed to training Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the discovery and preclinical validation of novel Gram-negative antibacterial agents and antibacterial targets. The principle aim of the consortium is to provide a training platform where students are exposed to every aspect of the antimicrobial discovery process, ranging from target identification and validation, through organic synthesis, in silico design and compound screening, to mode-of-action and possible resistance mechanisms. This exposure will be accomplished through a concrete secondment plan, coupled with a series of high-level consortium-wide training events and networking programmes. Our intention is to reverse the current fragmentation of approaches towards antibacterial discovery through mutual cooperation. The INTEGRATE training framework is built on an innovative research project aimed at targeting important but non-essential gene products as an effective means of reducing bacterial fitness, thereby facilitating clearance of the pathogen by the host immune system. To achieve this, the individual work programmes have been designed to seamlessly inter-mesh contributions from the fields of in silico design, organic synthesis, molecular biology and biochemistry, and the very latest in vitro and in vivo screening technologies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-3 | Award Amount: 8.74M | Year: 2014
Aggression inflicts a huge personal, psychological and financial burden on affected individuals, their relatives, and society at large. Despite large scientific, preventive, and treatment investments, no decrease in aggressive behavior is seen. This calls for a shift to new approaches. By capitalising on comprehensive longitudinal cohorts, recent advances in genetic, biological, epidemiological, and clinical fields, and combining such interdisciplinary expertise the ACTION consortium will dissect the etiology and pathogenesis of aggression. Based on new insights, ACTION will inform the development of novel diagnostic tools and causative targets and guide the development of treatment and prevention strategies. ACTION is built on interrelated work packages with a focus on a) clinical epidemiology and current classification and treatment problems; b) genetic epidemiology, including Genome Wide Association studies and epigenetics; c) gene-environment correlation and interaction; d) biomarkers and metabolomics. ACTION will deliver an overarching framework that combines a thorough understanding of pathways leading to aggression with a map of current gaps, best practices on clinical, ethical, legal, and social issues. Based on this framework, ACTION will develop novel biomarkers suitable for large-scale applications in children and combine biomarker data with new insights into the effects of gender, age, and comorbidity. ACTION will provide guidance in optimising current intervention programs and deliver new biological targets to pave the way for novel therapeutic interventions. ACTION will provide a decision tree to guide personalised intervention programmes and will have direct and sustained impact on reducing paediatric aggression. Its overarching aim is to reduce aggression by developing approaches that take individual differences in genetic and environmental susceptibility into account, thereby leading to better understanding of personalised intervention programs.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2008-1-3-01 | Award Amount: 3.97M | Year: 2009
Low input farming occurs under non-SPF (specific pathogen free) conditions. The European ban on in-feed antibiotics exposes the piglets to a higher microbial environmental pressure. The postnatal priming of piglets with a diverse microbiota may affect the development of the piglets host-defense and gut functionality. By reversal, the piglets developing host-defense may affect the development of the gastro-intestinal microbiota. Moreover, this intricate interplay between gut microbiota and its host during the early phases of life is expected to also affect animal health and performance later in life. The gut microbiome is an immensely diverse ecosystem that has co-evolved with its host. Recent research on microbe-host interactions has provided novel insights into the role of commensal intestinal microbes in several physiological processes, i.e., from epithelial barrier development to immune development as well as neurological aspects. Nevertheless, we only start to understand the molecular mechanisms of the host microbe cross-talk. Recent conceptual as well as technological advances have set the stage for the integrated application of a complementary set of high throughput approaches for the comprehensive profiling of GIT microbiota composition and functionality as well as the animals intestinal function. In a multidisciplinary consortium, comprising 11 public and private partners from across and beyond Europe with complementary expertise in gut microbiomics, immunology and physiology, and animal genomics and nutrition, INTERPLAY will apply an integrated approach to arrive at a sound understanding of the interaction of early colonization of the intestine and the development of gut function. This knowledge will be exploited for the identification of innovative management strategies that address host genotype as well as nutritional means to provide a framework for sustainable animal production at high food and consumer safety and improved animal health and welfare.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2011.3.5-01 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2011
The project aims at 1 providing baseline data on biodiversity in agro-ecosystems in the EU, 2 translating regional protection goals in measurable assessment endpoints, 3 defining lists of suitable bioindicators for various European regions, 4 improving knowledge on potential long term environmental effects of genetically modified plants (GMPs), 5 testing the efficacy of the EFSA Guidance Document (GD) for the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of GMPs, 6 exploring new strategies for post market monitoring, 7 estimating the compatibility of GMPs with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles implemented in the EU, 8 providing a systematic analysis of economical aspects of GMPs cultivation in the EU, and 9 setting a training and communication plan addressing public concerns about GMPs. The consortium includes 22 partners (Research institutes, Universities, State Agencies and SMEs) located in 15 EU countries and. An ICPC country (Argentina) will contribute in validating the monitoring methodology in areas where GM crops are cultivated on larger scales. A cornerstone is the application of the EFSA ERA GD, which is the basis for the update of the regulatory process of GMPs in the EU. The GD has provided ecologically sound principles for ERA, triggering the need of practically testing them. Partners of the consortium participated to the preparation of GD and 3 of them are senior authors of relevant chapters. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers. To be implemented in 4 years, the project estimated costs are 7779852.15 , requested grant 5997963 .
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 5.18M | Year: 2009
New and recent developments have revolutionized the prostate cancer research and clinical arenas, requiring the next generation scientists to have comprehensive knowledge and expertise in basic, clinical and applied research. PRO-NEST offers young researchers a European integrated, multi-disciplinary training programme to become an independent and all-round scientist and team leader in (prostate) cancer research. This network is driven by recognised and experienced scientists from 17 academic and industrial partners. The joint PRO-NEST research programme focuses on the understanding of the molecular events responsible for the initiation and progression of prostate cancer as well as on the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets, with the ultimate goal to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention of this major European health problem. The fellows will strongly contribute to this programme by their individual research projects that will be carried out in a high standard and collaborative scientific infrastructure under the supervision of experts in the field. In this way, they will become technical specialists in a dedicated area of cancer research. The scientific and complementary skills of the fellows will be expanded and deepened by secondments and by theoretical and practical network-wide training courses on basic and clinical aspects of prostate cancer, biomarkers, technology, valorisation, scientific writing and presentation, project management, communication skills and job application skills. In an international conference entitled The European prostate cancer research floor on stage organised at the end of PRO-NEST, the fellows are given the opportunity to present themselves to potential coming academic and industrial employers. The expertise, state of the art tools and technological skills provided by each of the partners are competitive at the world scale, and form the comprehensive basis of top-level research and training in PRO-NEST. The available support from professional organizations and the existing collaborations in large research consortia ensures the successful realization of the PRO-NEST goals.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.72M | Year: 2014
To tackle its (critical) raw material dependency, Europe needs comprehensive strategies based on sustainable primary mining, substitution and recycling. Freshly produced flows and stocks of landfilled industrial residues such as mine tailings, non-ferrous slag and bauxite residue (BR) can provide major amounts of critical metals and, concurrently, minerals for low-carbon building materials. The European Training Network for Zero-Waste Valorisation of Bauxite Residue (REDMUD) therefore targets the vast streams of new and stockpiled BR in the EU-28. BR contains several critical metals, is associated with a substantial management cost, whereas spills have led to major environmental incidents, including the Ajka disaster in Hungary. To date, zero-waste valorisation of BR is not occurring yet. The creation of a zero-waste BR valorisation industry in Europe urgently requires skilled scientists and engineers, who can tackle the barriers to develop fully closed-loop environmentally-friendly recovery flow sheets. REDMUD trains 15 researchers in the S/T of bauxite residue valorisation, with emphasis on the recovery of Fe, Al, Ti and rare earths (incl. Sc) while valorising the residuals into building materials. An intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration of EU-leading institutes and scientists has been established, which covers the full value chain, from BR to recovered metals and new building materials. Research challenges include the development of efficient extraction of Fe, Al, Ti and rare earths (incl. Sc) from distinct (NORM classified) BRs and the preparation of new building materials with higher than usual Fe content. By training the researchers in pyro-, hydro- and ionometallurgy, electrolysis, rare-earth extraction and separation technology, inorganic polymer and cement chemistry, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), NORM aspects and characterisation, they become the much needed scientists and engineers for the growing European critical raw materials industry.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ISSI-2-2014 | Award Amount: 3.41M | Year: 2015
CIMULACT has as a main objective to add to the relevance and accountability of European research and innovation Horizon 2020 as well as national - by engaging citizens and stakeholders in co-creation of research agendas based on real and validated societal visions, needs and demands. The project will expand the outlook and debate on STI issues, increase scientific literacy in a broad sense, which includes the understanding of the societal role of Science, Technology and innovation (STI), and create shared understanding between scientific stakeholders, policy-makers and citizens. This multi-actor approach will embrace EU28 plus Norway and Switzerland. The CIMULTACT builds on the principle/conviction that the collective intelligence of society gives Europe a competitive advantage, which may be activated to strengthen the relevance of the European science and technology system. By establishing genuine dialogue between citizens, stakeholders, scientists, and policymakers visions and scenarios for the desirable futures will be developed and debated, and transformed into recommendations and suggestions for research and innovation policies and topics. In short, CIMULACT will Create vision and scenarios that connect societal needs with future expected advances in Science and their impact on technology, society, environment etc. in connection to the grand challenges Provide concrete input to Horizon 2020 through recommendations and policy options for R&I and simulated calls for the Horizon2020 Work Programmes Engage citizens and stakeholders in a highly participatory debate/consultation/process on scenarios for desirable sustainable futures and research Build capacities in citizen and multi-actor engagement in R&I through development, experimentation, training and assessment of methods for engagement Facilitate dialogue and shared understanding between policymakers, citizens, and stakeholders Reveal the relative merits of the citizen focussed consultations
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2009-3-2-01 | Award Amount: 7.90M | Year: 2010
Biodiversity in the seas is only partly explored, although marine organisms are excellent sources for many industrial products. Through close co-operation between industrial and academic partners, the MAREX project will collect, isolate and classify marine organisms, such as micro- and macroalgae, cyanobacteria, sea anemones, tunicates and fish from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as from the Mediterranean, Baltic and Arabian Seas. Extracts and purified compounds of these organisms will be studied for several therapeutically and industrially significant biological activities, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticoagulant activities by applying a wide variety of screening tools, as well as for ion channel/receptor modulation and plant growth regulation. Chromatographic isolation of bioactive compounds will be followed by structural determination. Sustainable cultivation methods for promising organisms, and biotechnological processes for selected compounds will be developed, as well as biosensors for monitoring the target compounds. The work will entail sustainable organic synthesis of selected active compounds and new derivatives, and development of selected hits to lead compounds. The project will expand marine compound libraries. MAREX innovations will be targeted for industrial product development in order to improve the growth and productivity of European marine biotechnology. MAREX aims at a better understanding of environmentally conscious sourcing of marine biotechnology products and increased public awareness of marine biodiversity and potential. Finally, MAREX is expected to offer novel marine-based lead compounds for European industries and strengthen their product portfolios related to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic, agrochemical, food processing, material and biosensor applications.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERA-NET-Cofund | Phase: SC5-15-2015 | Award Amount: 52.36M | Year: 2016
In the last decade a significant number of projects and programmes in different domains of environmental monitoring and Earth observation have generated a substantial amount of data and knowledge on different aspects related to environmental quality and sustainability. Big data generated by in-situ or satellite platforms are being collected and archived with a plethora of systems and instruments making difficult the sharing of data and knowledge to stakeholders and policy makers for supporting key economic and societal sectors. The overarching goal of ERA-PLANET is to strengthen the European Research Area in the domain of Earth Observation in coherence with the European participation to Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Copernicus. The expected impact is to strengthen the European leadership within the forthcoming GEO 2015-2025 Work Plan. ERA-PLANET will reinforce the interface with user communities, whose needs the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) intends to address. It will provide more accurate, comprehensive and authoritative information to policy and decision-makers in key societal benefit areas, such as Smart cities and Resilient societies; Resource efficiency and Environmental management; Global changes and Environmental treaties; Polar areas and Natural resources. ERA-PLANET will provide advanced decision support tools and technologies aimed to better monitor our global environment and share the information and knowledge in different domain of Earth Observation.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.2-5 | Award Amount: 7.21M | Year: 2013
GREEN SURGE will identify, develop and test ways of connecting green spaces, biodiversity, people and the green economy, in order to meet the major urban challenges related to land use conflicts, climate change adaptation, demographic changes, and human health and wellbeing. It will provide a sound evidence base for green infrastructure planning and implementation, exploring the innovation potential, and linking environmental, social and economic services with local communities. Working from the local to the city-regional level, the project aims to: 1) Develop urban green infrastructure as a planning concept for both integration and promotion of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and adapt it to local contexts; 2) apply an innovative biocultural diversity perspective to develop successful governance arrangements facilitating socio-ecological integration and local engagement in planning of urban green spaces; and 3) explore how valuation and real market integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services can facilitate choices in favour of the development of multifunctional green spaces in urban areas. Approaches and tools under these three interlinked objectives will be developed and implemented through an integrative, iterative and transdisciplinary process. GREEN SURGE will embrace a three-tiered approach of comparative European cases, synthesis of good practices, and establishment of five Urban Learning Labs strategically selected to represent different urban situations in Europe. GREEN SURGE will work within cooperative Learning Alliances, a specific type of multi-stakeholder involvement designed to enhance a process of shared learning and understanding in situations with a high degree of complexity and un-predictability. Two-loop learning applied combines a project-wide science-driven approach based on a common framework methodology with a bottom-up knowledge or experience-based approach at the local level.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2013.1.1-07 | Award Amount: 2.60M | Year: 2013
Boreal forest is the largest terrestrial biome and will be strongly affected by climate warming, which is predicted to be strongest at high latitudes, with significant impacts on the European economy. North State will demonstrate how innovative methods applied to the new Sentinel data streams can be combined with models to monitor carbon and water fluxes for pan-boreal Europe, with intensive study sites in Finland, Iceland and Russia. This will reduce the high uncertainty in current estimates of flux rates. Key model parameters will be derived from Sentinel and other EO data, in situ and ancillary data, including relevant FP7 and ESA CCI projects. Parameter types include forest characteristics such as area and species, model drivers such as incoming radiation, and indicators of the dynamic state of the forest, such as fAPAR and tree height. Many of these parameters will also be applicable for other purposes, such as operational forest management. The project brings together leading experts and organisations, including an SME experienced in developing value adding services, needed to address key research challenges that require innovative remote sensing methods: adaptation of the carbon and water cycle models for effective use of EO data; effective pre-processing and data management techniques to exploit high temporal frequency time series; assessing the potential of hyper-spectral data; developing powerful data fusion techniques; and developing an intelligent, automated framework to learn from and interpret multi-source data to address a key societal problem. It responds to the Lund declaration and the recommendations of the Space Advisory Group. It will strengthen European leadership in the provision of EO-based services and will be a paradigm for exploiting opportunities offered by the new generation of EO satellites in developing products for future GMES services.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.1.1-5 | Award Amount: 15.72M | Year: 2008
The European Drug Initiative on Channels and Transporters, EDICT, allies for the first time, partners with world-class expertise in both the structural and functional characterisation of membrane channels and transporters. State-of-the-art facilities and personnel for X-ray crystallography, Electron Microscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and the latest throughput technology, will provide infrastructure for scientists characterising channel and transport functions in man and pathogenic microorganisms. Our experts in the analyses of all the databases of these membrane proteins and molecular modelling will work with our industrial partners on specific targets chosen for their potential to improve the health of European citizens, increase the competitiveness of European health-related industries and businesses and address global health issues. EDICT will increase knowledge of biological processes and mechanisms involved in normal health and in specific disease situations, and transpose this knowledge into clinical applications. By combining computational and experimental analyses, existing detailed molecular models of channel and transporter proteins, and novel structures derived by our partners, will be analysed to identify the critical regions constituting drug targets. These basic discoveries will be translated via in silico and experimental strategies with our industrial partners into the design of novel drugs that modify activities of the membrane proteins for the benefit of the patients. The range of human proteins covered includes potassium channels, anion and cation transporters, neurotransmitter transporters, cation-transporting ATPases and mitochondrial transporters. Structures of bacterial homologues to the human proteins are exploited to inform the studies of their human counterparts
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: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 4.07M | Year: 2015
The proposed European Training Network, MARmaED, connects science, policy and people and transcends national borders, disciplinary barriers and sectorial divides. By building a greater knowledge base and train the next generation of scientists to think across disciplines, MARmaED contributes to reinforce Europes position as a global leader in marine science and ensure blue growth and sustainable exploitation of marine living resources. The objectives of MARmaED are: - To increase the marine scientific knowledge base by integrating traditionally separate scientific disciplines within a unified learning platform. - To train a new generation of innovative researchers with interdisciplinary experience and skilled in promoting marine science to a wide audience. MARmaED integrates education and research in complementary marine sciences in Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and France. Specifically, the network links state-of-the-art competences in genetics, ecophysiology, ecology, climatology, physical oceanography, statistics and economics. By so doing, the network unifies essential disciplines needed to achieve a good understanding and management of the marine environment. The research will provide new insights into how the cumulative stress from biodiversity loss, climate change and harvesting affects Europes complex marine systems and the consequences for optimal resource use - knowledge that is needed for sustainable, ecosystem-based management. MARmaED has a strong focus on training, with a mobility programme facilitating inter-disciplinarity and training modules of transferrable skills such as communication. Targeted secondments in the non-academic sector will provide the networks students with inter-sectorial training and favourable employment opportunities. MARmaED will thus create novel standards in the training of a new generation of multi-disciplinarily skilled and creative marine scientists, fit to address Europes future challenges.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-10 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2010
The general aim of the ECOKNOWS project is to improve the use of biological knowledge in fisheries science and management. The lack of appropriate calculus methods and fear of statistical overparameterisation has limited biological reality in fisheries models. This reduces biological credibility perceived by many stakeholders. We solve this technical estimation problem by using up-to date methodology supporting more effective use of data. The models suggested will include important knowledge about biological processes and the applied statistical inference methods allow to integrate and update this knowledge in stock assessment. We will use the basic biological data (such as growth, maturity, fecundity, maximum age and recruitment data sets) to estimate general probabilistic dependencies in fish stock assessments. In particular, we will seek to improve the use of large existing biological and environmental databases, published papers and survey data sets provided by EU data collection regulations and stored by ICES and EU member countries. Bayesian inference will form the methodological backbone of the project and will enable realistic estimations of uncertainty. We develop a computational learning approach that builds on the extensive information present in FishBase (www.fishbase.org).The developed methodology will be of fundamental importance, especially for the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management. It has been a difficult challenge even for target species with long data series, and now the same challenge is given for new and poorly studied species. We will improve ways to find generic and understandable biological reference points, such as the required number of spawning times per fish, which also supports the management needs in the developing countries. ECOKNOWS applies decision analysis and bioeconomic methods to evaluate the validity and utility of improved information, helping to plan efficient EU data collection.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.8.2 | Award Amount: 4.36M | Year: 2013
CultAR will provide a mobile platform that 1) actively increases users awareness of their cultural surroundings with advanced, adaptable and personalized interfaces, 2) increase users social engagement with culture via a leap in social media technologies and contextual inference methods. To reach these goals, CultAR will advance the State of the Art in mobile 3D, augmented reality and tactile technologies, combining them into a completely new mobile experience interface. The CultAR platform achieves personalised and engaging digital cultural experiences through enhanced representation, hybrid space mediation, social engagement and awareness.\nAdaptability and context awareness will be enhanced through dynamic 3D models of urban environments with an ability to control all aspects of the representation, including dynamic content such as the presence of other users (real and virtual) and user created Culture Ghosts, applying various emphasis methods that draw the attention of the user to potentially interesting cultural content.\nA user-centric approach is applied throughout the development. During the first phase, scenarios are designed together with cultural stakeholders. Application design is iterative, where end user input is directly taken into the development loop. Cultural stakeholders will provide content and expert users for CultAR.\nAdvances in technology are verified and analyzed not just by technical benchmarking, but with both specialist analysis and on-location field experiments in Padua, Italy and Aalborg, Denmark. Methodology in measuring user experiences is developed with thorough monitoring using eye trackers, physiological sensors, gesture tracking and gesture recognition in pursue of inferring emotional states quantitatively.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SEAC-1-2015 | Award Amount: 1.79M | Year: 2016
Nowadays we are lucky to have many exciting new technologies available, like Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp), Mobile Computing (MobiCom) and the Internet of Things (IoT); in the following, we shall refer to them collectively as UMI. These technologies are so modern and powerful that can be both an educational means and end, thus fostering innovation and supporting promising scientific careers. The broad aim of the project is to investigate the introduction of UMI technologies in education. By carefully exploiting state of the art technologies in order to design educational tools and activities, the project aims to offer novel educational services, implement innovative pedagogies and enhance students and teachers creativity, socialisation and scientific citizenship. We intend to put these technologies in practice, so as to enhance the level of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education young girls and boys are receiving and at the same time make attractive the prospect of pursuing a career in domains pervaded by UMI. Inspired by M. Weisers idea, a tranquil environment for educational activities will be provided, where technology itself will not star but support the stakeholders of education, including, the educational community (teaching institutions, students, professors, tutors, etc), the industry (UMI companies, VET providers, publishers, etc), career consultants and educational authorities and policy makers. To this end, communities of practice (CoP) will be formed dynamically around UMI projects implemented at schools, including representatives of all necessary stakeholders. In this project we aim to develop an integrated yet open training framework for upper high school students.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-22-2015 | Award Amount: 5.74M | Year: 2016
Major depressive disorder, dementia, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse affect a substantial part of the European older population. Over 70% of Europeans reside in cities, and this percentage will increase in the next decades. Urbanization and ageing have enormous implications for public mental health. Cities pose major challenges for older citizens, but also offer opportunities for the design of policies, clinical and public health interventions that promote mental health. The overall aim of the MINDMAP project is to identify the opportunities offered by the urban environment for the promotion of mental wellbeing and cognitive function of older individuals in Europe. The project will advance understanding by bringing together longitudinal studies across cities in Europe, the US and Canada to unravel the causal pathways and multi-level interactions between the urban environment and the social, behavioural, psychosocial and biological determinants of mental health and cognitive function in older adults. Specifically, the project will (a) assess the impact of the urban environment on the mental wellbeing and disorders associated with ageing, and estimate the extent to which exposure to specific urban environmental factors and policies explain differences in ageing-related mental and cognitive disorders both within as well as between European cities, (b) assess the causal pathways and interactions between the urban environment and the individual determinants of mental health and cognitive ageing in older adults, (c) use agent-based modelling to simulate the effect of urban environmental, prevention and care policies on the trajectories of mental health and cognitive ageing across cities in Europe. Knowledge will significantly contribute to future-proof preventive strategies in urban settings favouring the mental dimension of healthy ageing, the reduction of the negative impact of mental disorders on co-morbidities, and maintaining cognitive ability in old age.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: H2020-TWINN-2015 | Award Amount: 996.69K | Year: 2016
The exploitation of the ocean unraveled a huge diversity of organisms producing innovative compounds used as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and antifoulings. The aim of BLUEandGREEN is to strength the performance of CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, from the low performing Member State Portugal, in the emergent area of marine biotechnology. This will be done by the establishment of a scientific strategy for stepping up and stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity in partnership with four internationally-leading counterparts at the EU level: the University of Helsinki, Finland, the University of Bergen, Norway, GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany, and Fundacin MEDINA, Spain. BLUEandGREEN scientific strategy includes: to review the latest research and innovation advances in the sector, identify and address institutional network gaps and deficiencies; to raise staffs research profile and excellence by training and mentoring; to increase stakeholder interaction and mobilization to research and innovation partnerships; to guide research to contribute to economic growth; to deliver a framework for strengthening a long-term research and innovation environment in marine biotechnology. The network enhancement will enforce cluster dynamics in close interaction with industrial partners to contribute to regional, national and EU Blue Growth strategies, especially to marine biotechnology industry. The implementation of brokerage with stakeholders and market-oriented projects will dismantle trade barriers, increase the ways of communication among partners and promote knowledge enhancements and its conversion in business. Being Portugal, especially North Portugal, a peripheral region, this will contribute to the change its economic landscape, giving new opportunities for development and job creation and reinforcing the role of marine biotechnology in the economic development of Europe.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-18-2015 | Award Amount: 6.31M | Year: 2016
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a major cause of death or long-term disability in infants born at term in the western world, affecting about 1-4 per 1.000 life births and consequently about 5-20.000 infants per year in Europe. Hypothermic treatment became the only established therapy to improve outcome after perinatal hypoxic-ischemic insults. Despite hypothermia and neonatal intensive care, 45-50% of affected children die or suffer from long-term neurodevelopmental impairment. Additional neuroprotective interventions, beside hypothermia, are warranted to further improve their outcome. Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and reduces the production of oxygen radicals and brain damage in experimental, animal, and early human studies of ischemia and reperfusion. This project aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of allopurinol administered immediately after birth to near-term infants with HIE in addition to hypothermic treatment. Beyond this primary objective, the project will provide information on the effect of hypothermia on pharmacokinetics of drugs with a similar metabolism as allopurinol in neonates. Furthermore it will give the opportunity to further develop and validate biomarkers for neonatal brain injury using advanced magnetic resonance imaging, biochemistry, and electroencephalogramms, which will then be available for future studies testing neuroprotective interventions. Finally, this trial will extend our knowledge about incidence of and risk factors for perinatal asphyxia and HIE possibly enabling generation of more preventive strategies for the future.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-2-2015 | Award Amount: 975.52K | Year: 2015
EMBRC is a distributed infrastructure of marine biology and ecology, encompassing aquaculture and biotechnology, exploiting the latest omics, analytical and imaging technologies, and providing on site and remote scientific and technical services to the scientific community of the public and private sector. EMBRC successfully completed a preparatory phase in early in 2014 with the production of a business plan and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by 9 countries. A host for its headquarters has been chosen and and an ERIC application is in preparation. Since only institutions from 5 MoU signatory countries went through the preparatory phase, the present proposal has as objectives: 1) to harmonize the access mechanism to the operational EMBRC-ERIC across all the partners, putting all the practical tools in place, including host contracts and single point online access platform, to enable EMBRC-ERIC to commence its access program; 2) to put in place practical guidelines towards the full implementation of the new European and international legislation and commitments on access and fair benefit sharing of the use of marine biological resources, thus providing clarity to future users of EMBRC-ERIC about their legal rights over obtained biological resources, and positioning itself globally as a broker between users and the supplying countries ; 3) to focus the smart specialization of the regions onto the opportunities marine biological resources offer for blue-biotech development and innovation, thus demonstrating the member states that EMBRC is a tool towards economic development of their maritime regions, and enticing them to sign the EMBRC-ERIC, and prioritize its sustained support, particularly from regions which are now underrepresented in EMBRC (Black and Baltic Seas). These activities will ensure that the beneficiary research communities can exploit the results obtained at EMBRC-ERIC facility from the start with the highest efficiency.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-3-2015 | Award Amount: 31.03M | Year: 2015
The nations of Europe are distributed around some of the most complex and dynamic geological systems on the planet and understanding these is essential to the security of livelihoods and economic power of Europeans. Many of the solutions to the grand challenges in the geosciences have been led by European scientists the understanding of stratigraphy (the timing and distribution of layers of sediment on Earth) and the discovery of the concept of plate tectonics being among the most significant. Our ability to monitor the Earth is rapidly evolving through development of new sensor technology, both on- and below-ground and from outer space; we are able to deliver this information with increasing rapidity, integrate it, provide solutions to geological understanding and furnish essential information for decision makers. Earth science monitoring systems are distributed across Europe and the globe and measure the physico-chemical characteristics of the planet under different geological regimes. EPOS will bring together 24 European nations and combine national Earth science facilities, the associated data and models together with the scientific expertise into one integrated delivery system for the solid Earth. This infrastructure will allow the Earth sciences to achieve a step change in our understanding of the planet; it will enable us to prepare for geo-hazards and to responsibly manage the subsurface for infrastructure development, waste storage and the use of Earths resources. With a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) to be located in Rome (Italy), EPOS will provide an opportunity for Europe to maintain world-leading European Earth sciences and will represent a model for pan-European federated infrastructure.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016
Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Such an understanding can provide profound insights into our humanity, leading to fundamentally new computing technologies, and transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Modern ICT brings this prospect within reach. The HBP Flagship Initiative (HBP) thus proposes a unique strategy that uses ICT to integrate neuroscience data from around the world, to develop a unified multi-level understanding of the brain and diseases, and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The goal is to catalyze a global collaborative effort. During the HBPs first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project will outline the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific Community with unique resources and capabilities. Partnering Projects will enable independent research groups to expand the capabilities of the HBP Platforms, in order to use them to address otherwise intractable problems in neuroscience, computing and medicine in the future. In addition, collaborations with other national, European and international initiatives will create synergies, maximizing returns on research investment. SGA1 covers the detailed steps that will be taken to move the HBP closer to achieving its ambitious Flagship Objectives.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.1-3 | Award Amount: 4.84M | Year: 2008
Genomic instability is a characteristic of practically all human cancers. Recent results generated by members of this Consortium suggest that signs of genomic instability are evident from the very beginning of human cancer development, even in precancerous lesions. In these early lesions, the genomic instability affects primarily specific genomic loci, called common fragile sites. Because common fragile sites are very sensitive to perturbations in DNA replication, we proposed that cancer development from its very beginning is associated with DNA replication stress. A separate set of observations focused on telomeres and showed that short telomeres mimick DNA ends, activate the DNA damage checkpoint and promote genomic instability and cancer development. We propose here to study the role of DNA replication stress and short telomeres on driving genomic instability particularly in human precancerous lesions. Our studies will investigate the most common forms of cancer in the EU and will benefit from access to some of the largest databases of cancerous and precancerous lesions in Europe. Genomic instability will be explored using high resolution genomic arrays and the data will be correlated to clinical information on tumor progression. Further, analysis of proteins and genes involved in the cellular response to DNA replication stress and short telomeres will be explored using high throughput and targeted approaches and will be used to identify novel targets for cancer therapy.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 32.30M | Year: 2009
Particle physics stands at the threshold of a new era of discovery and insight. Results from the much awaited LHC are expected to shed light on the origin of mass, supersymmetry, new space dimensions and forces. In July 2006 the European Strategy Group for Particle Physics defined accelerator priorities for the next 15 years in order to consolidate the potential for discovery and conduct the required precision physics. These include an LHC upgrade, R&D on TeV linear colliders and studies on neutrino facilities. These ambitious goals require the mobilisation of all European resources to face scientific and technological challenges well beyond the current state-of-the-art and the capabilities of any single laboratory or country. EuCARD will contribute to the formation of a European Research Area in accelerator science, effectively creating a distributed accelerator laboratory across Europe. It will address the new priorities by upgrading European accelerator infrastructures while continuing to strengthen the collaboration between its participants and developing synergies with industrial partners. R&D will be conducted on high field superconducting magnets, superconducting RF cavities which are particularly relevant for FLASH, XFEL and SC proton linacs, two-beam acceleration, high efficiency collimation and new accelerator concepts. EuCARD will include networks to monitor the performance and risks of innovative solutions and to disseminate results. Trans-national access will be granted to users of beams and advanced test facilities. Strong joint research activities will support priority R&D themes. As an essential complement to national and CERN programmes, the EuCARD proposal will strengthen the European Research Area by ensuring that European accelerator infrastructures further improve their performance and remain at the forefront of global research, serving a community of well over 10,000 physicists from all over the world.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.1-6 | Award Amount: 4.27M | Year: 2008
The MICROENVIMET project proposes innovative approaches for building a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between cancer cells and their microenvironment both at primary and secondary sites. The objectives are to identify molecular pathways involved in the regulation of metastatic dissemination to lung, liver, lymph node and bone. To achieve these objectives, the original experimental approach proposed is to modulate the production/activity of proteases or their inhibitors. Proteases are now recognized as key regulators of a complex network of interacting molecules that modulate the properties of cancer cells and their microenvironment. The project is intended to identify key molecular pathways underlying early steps of metastatic dissemination by interfering with the protease network and studying the impact of such experimentally manipulated microenvironment on metastasis formation. In addition to identifying key regulators of metastasis, we aim at developing blocking antibodies towards these new candidates, with efficacy for therapeutic intervention, by using the most advanced state-of-the-art technologies. The study of cancer stem cells will be integrated into current concepts that consider and attempt to explain the importance of the microenvironment during cancer progression. The 9 academic and 1 SME Participants will combine expertise in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, in vivo imaging, transgenic mice, mouse models of metastasis, genetic manipulation of transplantable tumour cells, computerized image analysis, virus-mediated gene transfer, phage display and production of neutralizing antibodies. This consortium will facilitate shared access to a new microRNA platform, innovative technologies, human tumour tissue banks, in vivo and in vitro models mimicking different steps of metastatic dissemination, as well as know how in tumour-host cell interplay, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, cancer stem cell biology and generation of database.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NOE | Phase: ICT-2007.2.1 | Award Amount: 7.78M | Year: 2008
PASCAL2 builds on the FP6 PASCAL Network of Excellence that has created a distributed institute pioneering principled methods of pattern analysis, statistical modeling, and computational learning (see http://www.pascal-network.org/). While retaining some of the structuring elements and mechanisms (such as the semi-annual Themes, and the Pump-Priming and Challenges programmes) of its predecessor NoE, PASCAL2 refocuses the institute towards the emerging challenges created by the ever expanding applications of adaptive systems technology and their central role in the development of artificial cognitive systems of different scales. Learning technology is key to, for instance, making robots more versatile, effective and autonomous, and to endowing machines with advanced interaction capabilities. The PASCAL2 Joint Programme of Activities (JPA) responds to these challenges not only through the research topics it addresses but also by engaging in technology transfer through an Industrial Club to effect rapid deployment of the developed technologies into a wide variety of applications. In addition, its Harvest sub-programme provides opportunities for close collaboration between academic and industry researchers. Other noteworthy outreach activities include curriculum development, brokerage of expertise, public outreach, and liaison with relevant R&D projects. Furthermore, PASCAL2 has adopted an open membership policy allowing for active inclusion in Network activities, of researchers working at non-beneficiary institutions.
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: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS-2009-22.214.171.124 | Award Amount: 5.34M | Year: 2010
European authorities and the international scientific community acknowledge the importance of Inquiry-Based Science and Mathematics Education (IBSME) to develop an integrated strategy for scientific literacy and awareness from primary to secondary school, reinforcing scientific careers. Scienceduc and Pollen FP6 projects as well as SINUS-Transfer have successfully implemented IBSME in a large number of European cities. Europe is now facing the urgent need to disseminate such approaches and enable all member States to have access, understand and implement them in a way that fits their own specificities. To go beyond best practices sharing and to provide effective know-how transfer at European level requires a dissemination model based on a systematic approach of IBSME at grassroots level, ensured by intermediary structures with successful experience in local IBSME implementation. The FIBONACCI project defines a dissemination process from 12 Reference Centres to 24 Twin Centres, based on quality and global approach. This will be done through the pairing of the former, selected for their large school-coverage and capacities for transfer of IBSME, with 12 Twin Centres 1 and 12 Twin Centres 2. These will receive training and tutoring for 2 years in order to become in turn Reference Centres and start disseminating. Transversal work between partners is organised through 5 major topics which will be explored through European training sessions and will lead to European guidelines in order to structure a common approach at European level. An external evaluation will be done to check achievement and quality. FIBONACCI will thus lead to the blueprint of a transfer methodology, valid for further Reference centre building in Europe. The project will be coordinated for 36 months by the Superior Normal School (France), with a shared scientific coordination with Bayreuth University. The Consortium will include 24 members over 21 countries, with endorsement from major institutions.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.17 | Award Amount: 9.41M | Year: 2010
EXPEER will bring together, major observational, experimental, analytical and modelling facilities in ecosystem science in Europe. By uniting these highly instrumented ecosystem research facilities under the same umbrella and with a common vision, EXPEER will form a key contribution to structuring and improving the European Research Area (ERA) within terrestrial ecosystem research. EXPEER builds on an ambitious plant for networking research groups and facilities. The joint research activities will provide a common framework and roadmap for improving the quality, interaction and individual as well as joint performance of these infrastructures in a durable and sustainable manner. EXPEER will provide a framework for increased use and exploitation of the unique facilities through a strong and coordinated programme for Transnational Access to the infrastructures. Extensive outreach and collaboration with related networks, infrastructures as well as potential funding bodies will ensure that EXPEER will contribute with its key experiences to the shaping and designing of future research networks and infrastructures, and that it has full support from all stakeholders in reaching its long-term objectives. The establishment of the EXPEER Integrated Infrastructure will enable integrated studies of the impacts of climate change, land use change and loss of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems through two major steps: 1. Bringing together the EXPEER Infrastructures to enable collaboration and integration of observational, experimental and modelling approaches in ecosystem research (in line with the concept developed in ANAEE); 2. Structuring existing network of ecosystem observational, monitoring and experimental sites across Europe (LTER-Europe). Through its integrated partnership, uniting both the experimental, observational, analytical and modelling research communities, EXPEER has the multidisciplinary expertise and critical mass to integrate and structure the European long-term ecosystem research facilities providing improved services and benefits to the whole research community as well as the society in general.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra-PP | Phase: INFRA-2010-2.2.6 | Award Amount: 5.05M | Year: 2010
The EU-OPENSCREEN Preparatory Phase forms the basis for the construction and operation of a pan-European infrastructure of open screening platforms for Chemical Biology. EU-OPENSCREEN will bring together leading laboratories from 14 European countries covering all aspects of Chemical Biology from high-throughput screening with a dedicated compound library to assay development, chemical synthesis for hit-optimisation, bio-profiling and in vivo studies, as well as a central database, training for scientists and platform staff and dissemination activities. The infrastructure will be used by researchers from universities, research institutes and SMEs across Europe, who either have only limited in-house facilities or no access at all to such resources and expertise. The EU-OPENSCREEN infrastructure will keep Europe at the forefront of the biological and medical sciences and will stimulate industrial research and commercial exploitation. In order to prepare the creation of an efficient network of centres which provide users with optimal resources, the EU-OPENSCREEN Preparatory Phase will address the following issues: - A user-focused access strategy. - The physical infrastructure requirements. - Suitable data standards and the framework for a database to archive and make the results available to the scientific community. - A financial management plan for the construction and sustainable operation of the infrastructure in co-operation with national funding bodies. - The legal approach regarding intellectual property issues. - An appropriate legal and governance structure. - The development of a Chemical Biology education package to ensure adequate training of scientists and platform staff. - A central Chemical Biology information gateway in form of a website. - The dissemination of the business plan to stakeholders and decision makers and co-ordination with national funding strategies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 9.29M | Year: 2016
Atmospheric simulation chambers are the most advanced tools for elucidating processes that occur in the atmosphere. They lay the foundations for air quality and climate models and also aid interpretation of field measurements. EUROCHAMP-2020 will further integrate the most advanced European atmospheric simulation chambers into a world-class infrastructure for research and innovation. A co-ordinated set of networking activities will deliver improved chamber operability across the infrastructure, as well as standard protocols for data generation and analysis. Outreach and training activities will foster a strong culture of cooperation with all stakeholders and users. Collaborative links will be established with other environmental research infrastructures to promote integration and sustainability within the European Research Area. Cooperation with private sector companies will be actively promoted to exploit the innovation potential of the infrastructure by supporting development of scientific instruments, sensor technologies and de-polluting materials. Trans-national access will be extended to sixteen different chambers and four calibration centres. A new, upgraded data centre will provide virtual access to a huge database of experimental chamber data and advanced analytical resources. Joint research activities will enhance the capability of the infrastructure to provide improved services for users. Measurement techniques and experimental protocols will be further developed to facilitate new investigations on climate change drivers, impacts of air quality on health and cultural heritage, while also stimulating trans-disciplinary research. Advanced process models will be developed for interpretation of chamber experiments and wider use in atmospheric modelling. Overall, EUROCHAMP-2020 will significantly enhance the capacity for exploring atmospheric processes and ensure that Europe retains its place as the world-leader in atmospheric simulation chamber research.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-22-2016 | Award Amount: 2.87M | Year: 2017
The STORIES project aims to contribute to a dynamic future of childrens ebooks evolution by a) developing user-friendly interfaces for young students (10-12 years old) to create their own multi-path stories expressing their imagination and creativity and b) by integrating the latest AR, VR and 3D printing technologies to visualize their stories in numerous innovative ways. In the heart of this intervention lies the vision for integrated curricula and deeper learning outcomes. The project will offer these innovations through a single environment, the STORIES Storytelling Platform which will be the place for students artistic expression and scientific inquiry at the same time. The creations of the students (paintings, models, dioramas and constructions, 3D objects and landscapes, animations, science videos and science theatre plays) will be captured and integrated in the form of interactive ebooks. The STORIES technical team will design advanced interfaces in which students will be able to augment characters, buildings, greenhouses and different 3D geometrical structures on a tablet or their computer and inspect their work using a mobile device. The outcome of their work will be detected and tracked, and the video stream is augmented with an animated 3D version of the character or the artefact. The platform will be tested in real settings in Germany, Greece, Portugal, France, Finland and Japan, involving 60 teachers and 3000 students (5th and 6th grade). To achieve this, the proposed project is developing a novel cooperation between creative industries and electronic publishing, educational research institutions in the field of STEM, schools and informal learning centres. The consortium includes 15 partners from Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. But STORIES is going beyond that: The consortium will cooperate in the design of the platform and in the development of the storyline mechanism with Eugene (Eugenios) Trivizas, well known writer of childrens books.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-09-2016 | Award Amount: 15.49M | Year: 2016
The overall objective of INTAROS is to develop an integrated Arctic Observation System (iAOS) by extending, improving and unifying existing systems in the different regions of the Arctic. INTAROS will have a strong multidisciplinary focus, with tools for integration of data from atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and terrestrial sciences, provided by institutions in Europe, North America and Asia. Satellite earth observation data plays an increasingly important role in such observing systems, because the amount of EO data for observing the global climate and environment grows year by year. In situ observing systems are much more limited due to logistical constraints and cost limitations. The sparseness of in situ data is therefore the largest gap in the overall observing system. INTAROS will assess strengths and weaknesses of existing observing systems and contribute with innovative solutions to fill some of the critical gaps in the in situ observing network. INTAROS will develop a platform, iAOS, to search for and access data from distributed databases. The evolution into a sustainable Arctic observing system requires coordination, mobilization and cooperation between the existing European and international infrastructures (in-situ and remote including space-based), the modeling communities and relevant stakeholder groups. INTAROS will include development of community-based observing systems, where local knowledge is merged with scientific data. An integrated Arctic Observation System will enable better-informed decisions and better-documented processes within key sectors (e.g. local communities, shipping, tourism, fisheries), in order to strengthen the societal and economic role of the Arctic region and support the EU strategy for the Arctic and related maritime and environmental policies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 10.00M | Year: 2017
Experimentation in mesocosms is arguably the single most powerful approach to obtain a mechanistic quantitative understanding of ecosystem-level impacts of stressors in complex systems, especially when embedded in long-term observations, theoretical models and experiments conducted at other scales. AQUACOSM builds on an established European network of mesocosm research infrastructures (RI), the FP7 Infra project MESOAQUA (2009-2012), where 167 users successfully conducted 74 projects. AQUACOSM greatly enhances that network on pelagic marine systems in at least 3 ways: first by expanding it to 10 freshwater (rivers and lakes), 2 brackish and 2 benthic marine facilities, and by involving 2 SMEs and reaching out to more, thereby granting effective transnational access to world-leading mesocosm facilities to >340 users on >11500 days; second, by integrating scattered know-how between freshwater and marine RI; and third, by uniting aquatic mesocosm science in an open network beyond the core consortium, with industry involved in an ambitious innovation process, to promote ground-breaking developments in mesocosm technology, instrumentation and data processing. A new dimension of experimental ecosystem science will be reached by coordinated mesocosm experiments along transects from the Mediterranean to the Arctic and beyond salinity boundaries. These efforts will culminate in a joint research activity (JRA) to assess aquatic ecosystem responses across multiple environmental gradients to a selected climate-related key stressor with repercussions for ecosystem services. Overall, AQUACOSM will fill a global void by forging an integrated freshwater and marine research infrastructure network. Long-term sustainability is sought through assessing governance models based on science priorities and economic innovation opportunities. Linkages to and synergies with ESFRI RI and other large initiatives are ensured by AQUACOSM partners and Advisory Board members in those programs.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-01-2016 | Award Amount: 15.04M | Year: 2017
The complex interactions between genetic and non-genetic factors produce heterogeneities in patients as reflected in the diversity of pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, response to therapies, disease development and progression. Yet, the full potential of personalized medicine entails biomarker-guided delivery of efficient therapies in stratified patient populations. MultipleMS will therefore develop, validate, and exploit methods for patient stratification in Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease and a leading causes of non-traumatic disability in young adults, with an estimated cost of 37 000 per patient per year over a duration of 30 years. Here we benefit from several large clinical cohorts with multiple data types, including genetic and lifestyle information. This in combination with publically available multi-omics maps enables us to identify biomarkers of the clinical course and the response to existing therapies in a real-world setting, and to gain in-depth knowledge of distinct pathogenic pathways setting the stage for development of new interventions. To create strategic global synergies, MultipleMS includes 21 partners and covers not only the necessary clinical, biological, and computational expertise, but also includes six industry partners ensuring dissemination and exploitation of the methods and clinical decision support system. Moreover, the pharmaceutical industry partners provide expertise to ensure optimal selection and validation of clinically relevant biomarkers and new targets. Our conceptual personalized approach can readily be adapted to other immune-mediated diseases with a complex gene-lifestyle background and broad clinical spectrum with heterogeneity in treatment response. MultipleMS therefore goes significantly beyond current state-of-the-art thereby broadly affecting European policies, healthcare systems, innovation in translating big data and basic research into evidence-based personalized clinical applications.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: RUR-10-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2016
Organic/low input cereal food systems in the EU are emerging in answer to the sustainability crisis of the conventional agri-food sector. Alternative systems are based on local, decentralized approaches to production and processing, regard to quality and health, and short supply chains for products with strong local identities. Diversity is deeply embedded in these food systems, from the agro-biodiversity grown in farmers fields, which improves resilience and adaptation, to diverse approaches, contexts and actors in food manufacturing and marketing. Diversity thus becomes a cross-sectoral issue, underlying innovations in the agronomic, processing, and marketing phases which respond to consumers demand for healthy products. CEREREs objective is to foster and speed up these innovations to strengthen the economic, social and environmental sustainability of these cereal food systems, consolidate links among practitioners and with researchers, further enhance the resilience of agro-ecosystems and make the overall sector more competitive and better recognized by society. By creating a multi-actor network of researchers and communities of practice, by adopting a bottom-up approach, and by liaising with EIP-AGRI Operational Groups, CERERE will synthesize, share and disseminate existing best practices, research results and co-innovative solutions in organic/low-input cereal food systems, focusing particularly on agro-biodiversity and the associated values of quality and health. Through its activities and training products, CERERE will address the key issues and most urgent needs of these systems: availability/ management of adapted germplasm, use of rotations, soil fertility, weed competitiveness and crop protection strategies, quality-oriented processing techniques, alternative marketing schemes. For each of these, CERERE will identify opportunities for better integrating science and practice, paving the way for more dynamic interactions between the two domains.
Leinonen T.,University of Helsinki |
McCairns R.J.S.,University of Helsinki |
O'Hara R.B.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center |
Merila J.,University of Helsinki
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2013
Comparative studies of the divergence of quantitative traits and neutral molecular markers, known as Q ST -F ST comparisons, provide a means for researchers to distinguish between natural selection and genetic drift as causes of population differentiation in complex polygenic traits. The use of Q ST -F ST comparisons has increased rapidly in the last few years, highlighting the utility of this approach for addressing a wide range of questions that are relevant to evolutionary and ecological genetics. These studies have also provided lessons for the design of future Q ST -F ST comparisons. Methods based on the Q ST -F ST approach could also be used to analyse various types of 'omics' data in new and revealing ways. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-3 | Award Amount: 7.70M | Year: 2011
Modern lifestyle has dramatically changed the daily rhythms of life. Physical activity, diet and light exposure are no longer restricted to daytime hours, as technical and economical de-mands fuel the necessity to work outside usual working hours. Recent studies show that al-tered light exposure, shifted exercise patterns and untimely food intake following extended active periods into the night disturb the circadian clocks and severely disrupt endocrine and metabolic processes, contributing to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes/obesity. Especially shift workers constituting 20% of the European working population are affected by this prob-lem. Until now only few studies investigating circadian rhythm disturbances in the context of type 2 diabetes/obesity have been conducted in man. Within EuRhythDia a consortium of leading scientists supported by research-intensive SMEs aims to close this gap. The objective of the project is to achieve breakthroughs in the understanding of the causality between inner clock rhythm disturbances and the development of type 2 diabetes/obesity, and to verify whether re-setting the circadian clock through lifestyle interventions (exercise, diet, light exposure and melatonin intake) alters cardiometabolic risk to a clinically relevant degree. The project is based on shift workers as a model and combines genetic, epigenetic, proteomic, metabolomic, physiological, and clinical approaches. The consortium has direct access to well characterised human data incl. individuals predisposed to type 2 diabetes via LUPS co-hort. Additional small interventional and validation cohorts of shift workers and high risk juveniles will be recruited, and supportive animal studies will be conducted. Through the de-velopment of novel diagnostic assays enabling identification of patients at risk and elaboration of targeted prevention guidelines focusing on shift workers and juveniles, EuRhythDia will contribute to a positive impact on European citizens` health.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008.2.1.4.4. | Award Amount: 10.33M | Year: 2009
Our capacity to effectively sustain biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales is an essential component of European environmental sustainability. Anthropogenic and environmental pressures on biodiversity act differently at different scales. Consequently, effective conservation responses to these threats must explicitly consider the scale at which effects occur, and therefore it is crucial that administrative levels and planning scales match the relevant biological scales. The SCALES project will provide the scientific and policy research needed to guide scale-dependent management actions. It will assess and model the scaling properties of natural and anthropogenic processes and the resulting scale-dependencies of the impacts of these pressures on various levels of biodiversity from genes to ecosystem functions. To facilitate these assessment methods for upscaling and downscaling biodiversity data will be reviewed and improved. SCALES will further evaluate the effectiveness of management and policy responses to biodiversity loss in terms of their scale-relevance and will develop new tools for matching their scales to relevant biological scales. Finally, a resulting methodological and policy framework for enhancing the effectiveness of European biodiversity conservation across scales will be developed and tested. This framework focuses on networks of protected areas and regional connectivity. This framework will be disseminated to a wide range of relevant users via a web based support tool kit (SCALE-TOOL) and by means of further dissemination channels, such as conferences, publications, and the mass media.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: ICT-2013.9.9 | Award Amount: 72.73M | Year: 2013
Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain diseases and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT has brought these goals within sight. The goal of the Human Brain Project, part of the FET Flagship Programme, is to translate this vision into reality, using ICT as a catalyst for a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The Human Brain Project will last ten years and will consist of a ramp-up phase (from month 1 to month 36) and subsequent operational phases.\nThis Grant Agreement covers the ramp-up phase. During this phase the strategic goals of the project will be to design, develop and deploy the first versions of six ICT platforms dedicated to Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, High Performance Computing, Medical Informatics, Neuromorphic Computing and Neurorobotics, and create a user community of research groups from within and outside the HBP, set up a European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience, complete a set of pilot projects providing a first demonstration of the scientific value of the platforms and the Institute, develop the scientific and technological capabilities required by future versions of the platforms, implement a policy of Responsible Innovation, and a programme of transdisciplinary education, and develop a framework for collaboration that links the partners under strong scientific leadership and professional project management, providing a coherent European approach and ensuring effective alignment of regional, national and European research and programmes. The project work plan is organized in the form of thirteen subprojects, each dedicated to a specific area of activity.\nA significant part of the budget will be used for competitive calls to complement the collective skills of the Consortium with additional expertise.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 4.38M | Year: 2014
The proposal responds to the Horizon 2020 challenge called Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials. In addition, it addresses the second specific challenge of the Mobilising and Mutual Learning Action Plans (MMLAP) topics, listed in the Science in Society call for proposals of the Capacities Work Programme 2013, namely Assessment of sustainable innovation. The projects main objective will be to develop a methodological framework for assessing sustainable innovation and managing multi-disciplinary solutions through public engagement in the RTDI system by ensuring the commitment of a broad spectrum of societal stakeholders into its implementation, including industry, policy-makers, research organisations and academia, civil society organisations and the general public. In achievement to the overall objective of the proposed action, the specific objectives include the development of: - a working definition of sustainable innovation, building on common definitions, academic literature as well as expert advice internal and external to the project consortium; - ways to include general public concerns in assessing the social impact of these innovations on society in consultation workshops. Issues such as participation in the development of innovation, inclusiveness, ethics, gender and open access will be considered in these sessions; - a common understanding of best practices in sustainable innovation management; - a framework for assessment and management of sustainable innovations; - specific policy recommendations on how to improve innovation management and how sustainability considerations can be incorporated into it based on the findings of the assessment framework and public consultations. CASI mobilises 19 partners from 12 EU Member States. Through a network of country correspondents CASI will cover the whole of Europe. The work is structured in 11 work packages, and the mandatory work packages as outlined in the call are included.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.5-01 | Award Amount: 11.91M | Year: 2013
The AQUAVALENS consortium has brought together SMEs, Industries, Universities and Research Institutes with the mission of protecting the health of European Citizens from contaminated drinking water and water used in food processing. We will achieve this by developing sustainable technologies to enable water system managers whether in large or small water systems or within food growers or manufacturers to better control the safety of their water supplies. The work of the project is divided into four main clusters of work packages that sequentially lead to the development of appropriate technologies. These four clusters are: 1. Platform targets, 2. Platform development, 3. Field studies in European drinking water systems, and 4. Improving Public Health through safer water. In cluster 1 we shall generate new knowledge on the molecular genetics of viral, bacterial and parasitic waterborne pathogens. This will enable us to identify gene targets for the identification, and characterisation of these pathogens, that will also enable the determination of their virulence for humans. In cluster 2 we shall use the knowledge gained to develop new technologies that integrate sample preparation and detection into a single platform. These platforms will then be subject to a rigorous process of validation and standardisation. In cluster 3 we will use the validated platforms to undertake a series of field studies in large and small drinking water systems, and in food production. These field studies will generate new knowledge about the risk to public health from waterborne pathogens in Europe and also test the value of the technologies in the field. Finally in cluster 4 we test how these technologies can be used to protect human health, though improving the effectiveness of Water Safety Plans, adaptation to climate change, and control of outbreaks of infectious disease. We will also determine the sustainability and potential economic impacts of these technologies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.94M | Year: 2013
The goal of a sustainable society requires the efficient use of renewable or sustainable materials and demands the development of selective new methodologies for the preparation of desirable products. In this context we require: (i) a change from traditional stoichiometric, high energy methods that produce huge amounts of chemical waste to mild and clean catalytic processes and (ii) a major step change in chemicals production with fossil fuels being replaced by renewable resources as chemical starter units. In this proposal we have identified a series of collaborative projects that would benefit from the mutual exchange of scientific expertise between several European academic and industrial partners. This collaboration will provide new links within the EU to be established in order to train a new generation of scientists to deliver research excellence in the challenging change from fossil to renewable resources. The challenge to change our societies reliance for chemical production from fossil-fuel based to all-renewable resources is a challenge of enormous scale.This change must be broken down into smaller, manageable components capable of demonstrating the effectiveness of this strategy in order to showcase the transition necessary. In this proposal we will establish links with world leading experts to develop leading examples of this approach and have identified several areas where we believe collaboration can impact. Using the complementary multidisciplinary expertise from the network partners we will: Develop optimal catalysts for ether cleavage in real life samples of lignin for maximising the potential of lignocellulose as a source of fuels and fine chemicals. The most successful catalyst systems developed will be immobilized using advanced fluids and these systems will be fully explored and optimised through collaboration within this ITN consortium.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.20. | Award Amount: 12.58M | Year: 2012
The Project promotes the access to five European Research Infrastructures, and it is structured into nine Networking Activities, plus the Management of the Consortium, and fourteen Joint Research Activities. The Project will profit of the success of the previous HadronPhysics project in FP6 and the current HadronPhysics2 in FP7, and originates from the initiative of more than 2.500 European scientists working in the field of hadron physics. Hadron physics deals with the study of strongly interacting particles, the hadrons. Hadrons are composed of quarks and gluons. Their interaction is described by Quantum Chromo Dynamics, the theory of the strong force. Hadrons form more complex systems, in particular atomic. Under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, hadrons may loose their identity and dissolve into a new state of matter similar to the primordial matter of the early Universe. The Networking Activities are related to the organization of experimental and theoretical collaborative work concerning both ongoing activities at present Research Infrastructures and planned experiments at future facilities. In hadron physics the close interaction between experimentalists and theoreticians is of paramount importance. The Joint Research Activities concentrate on technological innovations for present and future experiments. Applications in material science, medicine, information, technology, etc., represent natural fall-outs. The main objective of this Integrating Activity is to optimize the use and development of the Research Infrastructures existing in Europe working in the field of hadron physics. The Project aims as well at structuring, on European scale, the way Research Infrastructures operate, and at fostering their joint development in terms of capacity and performance. The approach used is the bottom up approach, to respond to the needs of the scientific community in all fields of science and technology.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.1.3-01 | Award Amount: 2.60M | Year: 2013
The fundamental objective of the ICOS-INWIRE project is to enhance the capabilities of the ICOS infrastructure and fill in critical gaps for monitoring fluxes and concentrations of greenhouse gases, in order to meet the needs of operational users in the GMES program. It will achieve this by: Developing and testing autonomous sensors systems for greenhouse gas fluxes and concentration, enhancing the data processing operational capabilities of the ICOS concentration and flux measurement network and developing inter-operability between ICOS and other in-situ GHG monitoring networks while assuring the convergence with space systems and the harmonization of exchange mechanisms. These activities will contribute to Europes capacity to set up pan-European and global networks.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INFRA-2007-3.0-01 | Award Amount: 1.48M | Year: 2008
To face the increase in the complexity of facilities, and the cost and technical demands in a global context of international user groups and expertise, 18 European Funding Agencies representing 14 countries have decided to submit an ERA-NET project to provide Europe with a more coherent funding of its Nuclear Physics Infrastructures and equipments. The project will ensure exchange of information, the definition of joint activities, and their launch through one or more concrete pilot actions. The success of the activities within the scope of the project will be a major achievement in the field and will have a strong impact on the present and future European landscape of Research Infrastructures.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2009-1.2.3 | Award Amount: 5.03M | Year: 2009
The proposed project will deliver an electronic infrastructure and supporting mechanisms for the identification, deposition, access, and monitoring of FP7 and ERC funded articles, where the main supporting mechanism will be the establishment and operation of the European Helpdesk System. Additionally, the project will offer a special repository for articles that can be stored neither in institutional nor in subject-based/thematic repositories, while it will also prepare the way for similar functionality on scientific data. All deposited articles and data will be freely accessible worldwide through a new portal to the products of EU-funded research, built as part of this project. It will also connect research input (project contracts) with research output (publications and data) and monitor the system use to obtain statistically-significant trends about both. Thematically, the project will focus on peer-reviewed publications (primarily, journal articles in final or pre-print form, but also conference articles, when considered important) in at least the seven disciplines highlighted in the Open Access pilot (energy, environment, health, cognitive systems-interaction-robotics, electronic infrastructures, science in society, and socioeconomic sciences-humanities) and on research datasets in a subset of them. Geographically, however, it will have a definitive European footprint by covering the European Union in its entirety, engaging people and scientific repositories in almost all 27 member states and beyond. The electronic infrastructure built by the project will be based on state-of-the-art software services of the D-NET package developed within the DRIVER and DRIVER-II projects and the Invenio digital repository software developed at CERN. These will be further enhanced and complemented with services developed within OpenAIRE to address critical requirements and issues that arise in the target environment and require further investigation.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2012.6.1-6 | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2013
The overall objective of this Coordination and Support Action is to coordinate and support the development and the implementation plans of the Joint Programming Initiative Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (JPI Climate). The CSA will serve as a tool integrated in JPI Climate to enable it to address the challenges of climate change. Hence, it will contribute to the EU objective of building the European Research Area through enhanced cooperation and coordination of national research programmes. The CSA will coordinate preparatory activities within JPI Climate and will support the capacity-building process, with the aim of shortening the time required to reach the implementation phase. This will be done by further developing the common strategic research agenda and by refining the mapping exercise. With regard to the implementation a general concept for JPI Climate as a whole will be developed with preparing a catalogue of possible joint activities, developing and revising implementation schemes. Another main task of the CSA will be developing of a network strategy and the establishment of JPI Climate as the leading European platform to align policies in the area of climate research. This includes the coordination and development of synergies with the existing research and innovation schemes in the EU. The development of a strategy how to engage with member states not yet involved in JPI Climate and involve international institutions outside of Europe will complement this task. Further, the adaptation of the Framework Conditions will be an important step towards the implementation of JPI Climate. An appropriate use of the research findings requires effective communication strategies (web-sites, conferences, brochures). Therefore, the development of an optimized dissemination strategy will be part of the CSA as well.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 5.48M | Year: 2008
Efficient translation of research discoveries into industrial application is an essential element to maintain Europes competitiveness in the biomedical and health industry. The main bottleneck is the lack and the fragmented nature of essential research infrastructure and know-how, leading to unacceptable delays and/or preventing the development of new innovative medicines. The aim of EATRIS is to fill this gap by developing a European Advanced Translation Research InfraStructure consisting of key preclinical and clinical components necessary to support the development of new diagnostic or therapeutic strategies at all stages of the biomedical R&D-process. EATRIS will operate through a network of biomedical translation research centres across Europe which will provide user access to: State of the art animal facilities for preclinical proof of principle and proof of concept studies Small molecule screening facilities to identify and characterize new drug targets High-resolution imaging facilities for preclinical and clinical validation Disease-specific patient and population cohorts to develop and validate new innovative diagnostic and therapeutic strategies Centralized GMP facilities for bioprocess development and manufacturing Facilities for Clinical Phase I studies. During the preparatory phase EATRIS will work out a master plan describing in detail the establishment and mode of operation of the planned pan-European infrastructure during a later construction phase: This will include an agreement on the key legal, governance, strategic and financial issues as well as a concept to train and educate the next generation of biomedical translation researchers. Users of EATRIS will be biomedical researchers and clinical scientists located at universities, research institutions or SMEs that need to use this infrastructure in order to overcome specific bottlenecks and to move their research projects from a discovery to a preclinical and clinical stage.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-2.2.6. | Award Amount: 4.73M | Year: 2012
ANAEE will provide Europe with a distributed and coordinated set of experimental, analytical and modelling platforms to analyse and predict in a precise manner the response of the main continental ecosystems to environmental and land use changes. ANAEE will consist of highly equipped in natura and in vitro experimental platforms associated with sophisticated analytical and modelling platforms coupled to networks of instrumented observation and monitoring sites throughout Europe. ANAEE will bring together, for the first time, the major experimental, analytical and modelling facilities in ecosystem science, agriculture and forestry in Europe. In uniting under the same umbrella and with a common vision these highly instrumented ecosystem research facilities, ANAEE will be a key instrument in both structuring and improving the European Research Area in this field. ANAEE will be the reference point for rigorously assessing ecosystem services and their responses to management by agriculture, forestry and to global change. In the context of the development of European bio-economy, critical political, environmental and scientific questions related to ecosystems functioning and services will be answered. ANAEE will therefore be a key instrument for the implementation of forthcoming national and joint programming initiatives notably the JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2007-2.1-2 | Award Amount: 4.74M | Year: 2008
The aim of this project is to develop high density defect-free ultra-thin sealing coatings with excellent barrier properties and improved corrosion resistance. Their successful functioning will be provided by the synergy of the coating perfect morphology and its complex structural design, which can be tailored at the nanoscale. The study will be focused on development of novel nanostructured coating systems, such as nanoscale multilayers, mixed and composite coatings. These impermeable sealing layers must be able to block the ion exchange between the substrate material and an aggressive environment, thus offering an efficient protection against corrosion over a long term. The coatings will be deposited by four alternative vapour deposition techniques, Filtered Cathodic Arc Deposition (FCAD), High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS), Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Plasma Enhanced Atomic layer Deposition (PEALD)). These techniques possess a unique advantage offering the deposition of highly conformal and uniform films of high density, free of defects. The technological objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of corrosion protection by FCAD, HIPIMS and ALD techniques on an industrial scale. To fulfil this objective, a complete industrial process for the multi-stage surface treatment, including cleaning, pre-treatment, coating deposition, must be defined. All techniques will be evaluated in terms of technical effectiveness, production costs, environmental impact and safety, and the most suitable technique(s) will be selected for further development on a large scale for the applications in some targeted industrial sectors. The applications, tested within this project, concern high precision mechanical parts (bearings), aerospace components (break systems) and gas handling components. The coating application in the decorative and biomedical domains will be assessed.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 5.69M | Year: 2008
The ICOS project will build an infrastructure for co-ordinated, integrated, long-term high-quality observational data of the greenhouse balance of Europe and of adjacent key regions of Siberia and Africa. Consisting of a centre for co-ordination, calibration and data in conjunction with networks of atmospheric and ecosystem observations, ICOS is designed to create the scientific backbone for a better understanding and quantification of greenhouse gas sources and sinks and their feedback with climate change. The overarching objectives of ICOS are: To provide the long-term observations required to improve understanding of the present state and future behavior of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions, and the factors that control the changing atmospheric composition in greenhouse gases. To monitor and assess the effectiveness of carbon sequestration and/or greenhouse gases emission reduction activities on global atmospheric composition levels, including attribution of sources and sinks by region and sector at atmospheric and ecosystem level. These objectives will be achieved by: Establishing a central facility, the ICOS-centre, which is responsible for co-ordination, calibration and data handling. Maintaining a co-ordinated, integrated, long-term high-quality network of atmospheric and ecosystem observations. Improving access to existing and future atmospheric and ecosystem data for research, and forpolitical decisions. Improving access to state-of-the-art facilities for ecosystem measurements for the European research community. Providing European terrestrial ground-truth data for the validation of emerging remotely sensed datasets on atmospheric composition and land cover as provided e.g. by GMES. Contributing the European share to a global greenhouse gas observation network under IGCO and UNFCCC. (Total characters: 1843)
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007.2.1.5.1. | Award Amount: 4.10M | Year: 2008
Like any living system, urban communities consume material and energy inputs, process them into usable forms, and eliminate the wastes from the process. This can be seen as metabolism of industry, commerce, municipal operations, and households. Understanding the pattern of these energy and material flows through a communitys economy provides a systemic reading of the present situation for goal and objective setting and development of indicators for sustainability. At present, planning policies often reflect the logic of the market. They would better reflect a vision of urban development, in which environmental and social considerations are fully embedded in spatial planning policies at all steps of the policy cycle from problem identification and policy design through to the implementation and ex-post evaluation stages. Therefore, the widespread inclusion of sustainability objectives in urban planning at all scales (from regional to site level) is necessary, providing the opportunity for the incorporation of bio-physical sciences knowledge into the planning process on a routine basis. To this end, the proposed project BRIDGE (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aims at bridging the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners and to illustrate the advantages of accounting for environmental issues on a routine basis in design decisions. BRIDGE will provide the means to quantitative estimate the various components of the urban metabolism (observation of physical flows and modelling), the means for quantitative estimate their impacts (socio-economic and environmental impact assessments and indicators), as well as the means for resource optimisation in urban fabric (support the decision making in urban planning). BRIDGE will focus on the interrelation between energy and material flows and urban structure.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-3-2-06 | Award Amount: 8.10M | Year: 2009
The NEMO project provides novel efficient enzymes and microbes for 2nd generation bioethanol production. It generates through metabolic engineering and mutagenesis & screening approaches robust yeast strains that have a broad substrate range and can (co-)ferment C6 and C5 sugars to ethanol with high productivity (rate and yield), and that are significantly more stress tolerant, i.e. inhibitor, ethanol and thermotolerant than the current S.cerevisiae strains used in ethanol production. The NEMO project also identifies and improves enzymes for hydrolysis of biomasses relevant for Europe. Novel enzymes are identified and improved through various approaches, based on screening, broad comparative genomics analyses, and protein engineering. These efforts will generate more thermostable enzymes for high temperature hydrolysis, more efficient enzymes for hydrolysis of the resistant structures in lignocellulose such as crystalline cellulose and lignin-hemicellulose complexes, enzymes with reduced affinity on lignin, and efficient thermo and mesophilic enzyme mixtures that are optimised and tailor-made for the relevant biomasses for Europe and European industry. These novel biocatalysts are tested in an iterative manner in process relevant conditions, including also pilot-scale operations, which ensure that the novel enzymes and microbes will be superior in real process conditions. Furthermore, optimal enzyme, microbe and process regime combinations are identified, providing basis for the development of the most economic and ecoefficient overall processes. The impact of the NEMO project on 2nd generation bioethanol production is significant because it provides most realistic but widely applicable technologies that could be exploited broadly by European industry. Its impact goes also much beyond bioethanol because NEMO provides technology improvements that are directly applicable and crucial for efficient and economic production of also other biofuels and bulk chemicals.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007.1.1.2.1. | Award Amount: 5.10M | Year: 2008
The MEGAPOLI project brings together leading European research groups, state-of-the-art scientific tools and key players from third countries to investigate the interactions among megacities, air quality and climate. MEGAPOLI will bridge the spatial and temporal scales that connect local emissions, air quality and weather with global atmospheric chemistry and climate. The main objectives are: (i) to assess impacts of megacities and large air-pollution hot-spots on local, regional and global air quality, (ii) to quantify feedbacks among megacity air quality, local and regional climate, and global climate change, (iii) to develop improved integrated tools for prediction of air pollution in megacities. In order to achieve these objectives we will: - Develop and evaluate integrated methods to improve megacity emission data; - Investigate physical and chemical processes starting from the megacity street level, continuing to the city, regional and global scales; - Assess regional and global air quality impacts of megacity plumes; - Determine the main mechanisms of regional meteorology/climate forcing due to megacity plumes; - Assess global megacity pollutant forcing on climate; - Examine feedback mechanisms including effects of climate change on megacity air quality; - Develop integrated tools for prediction of megacity air quality; - Evaluate these integrated tools and use them in case studies; - Develop a methodology to estimate the impacts of different scenarios of megacity development on human health and climate change; - Propose and assess mitigation options to reduce the impacts of megacity emissions. We will follow a pyramid strategy of undertaking detailed measurements in one European major city, Paris, performing detailed analysis for 12 megacities with existing air quality datasets and investigate the effects of all megacities on climate. The results will be disseminated to authorities, policy community, researchers and the other megacity stakeholders.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-1-2014 | Award Amount: 19.05M | Year: 2015
EUDAT2020 brings together a unique consortium of e-infrastructure providers, research infrastructure operators, and researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines under several of the ESFRI themes, working together to address the new data challenge. In most research communities, there is a growing awareness that the rising tide of data will require new approaches to data management and that data preservation, access and sharing should be supported in a much better way. Data, and a fortiori Big Data, is a cross-cutting issue touching all research infrastructures. EUDAT2020s vision is to enable European researchers and practitioners from any research discipline to preserve, find, access, and process data in a trusted environment, as part of a Collaborative Data Infrastructure (CDI) conceived as a network of collaborating, cooperating centres, combining the richness of numerous community-specific data repositories with the permanence and persistence of some of Europes largest scientific data centres. EUDAT2020 builds on the foundations laid by the first EUDAT project, strengthening the links between the CDI and expanding its functionalities and remit. Covering both access and deposit, from informal data sharing to long-term archiving, and addressing identification, discoverability and computability of both long-tail and big data, EUDAT2020s services will address the full lifecycle of research data. One of the main ambitions of EUDAT2020 is to bridge the gap between research infrastructures and e-Infrastructures through an active engagement strategy, using the communities that are in the consortium as EUDAT beacons and integrating others through innovative partnerships. During its three-year funded life, EUDAT2020 will evolve the CDI into a healthy and vibrant data-infrastructure for Europe, and position EUDAT as a sustainable infrastructure within which the future, changing requirements of a wide range of research communities are addressed.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2015
A collective effort is needed to create the environmental research infrastructure for answering pressing questions in a world of rapid social, economic and environmental change. The overall aim of the eLTER project is to advance the European network of Long-Term Ecosystem Research sites and socio-ecological research platforms to provide highest quality services for multiple use of a distributed research infrastructure. eLTERs major objectives and methods are to: (1) identify user needs for the research infrastructure in relation to major societal challenges through consultations with scientific, policy and business stakeholders and horizon scanning; (2) streamline the design of a cost-efficient pan-European network, able to address multiple ecosystem research issues, in collaboration with related global and European research infrastructures, e.g. LifeWatch; (3) develop the organisational framework for data integration and enable virtual access to the LTER data by enabling data publishing through distributed Data Nodes and by providing access to data on key research challenges through a Data Integration Platform; (4) foster the societal relevance, usability and multiple use of information, data and services through new partnerships with the providers of remotely sensed data, analytical services and scenario testing models, and via the adoption of new measurement technologies. The LTER-Europe network and the European Critical Zone community will collaborate to achieve these goals. 162 sites in 22 countries will provide data on long-term trends in environmental change, some reaching back 100 years. Test cases using these data will address a range of environmental and social issues to push innovation in network level services and steer conceptual developments. The envisaged LTER Infrastructure will enable European-scale investigation of major ecosystems and socio-ecological systems, and support knowledge-based decision making at multiple levels.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-4-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 15.00M | Year: 2015
ENVRIPLUS is a cluster of research infrastructures (RIs) for Environmental and Earth System sciences, built around ESFRI roadmap and associating leading e-infrastructures and Integrating Activities together with technical specialist partners. ENVRIPLUS is driven by 3 overarching goals: 1) favoring cross-fertilization between infrastructures, 2) implementing innovative concepts and devices across RIs, and 3) facilitating research and innovation in the field of environment to an increasing number of users outside the RIs. ENVRIPLUS organizes its activities along a main strategic plan where sharing multi-disciplinary expertise will be most effective. It aims to improve Earth observation monitoring systems and strategies, including actions towards harmonization and innovation, to generate common solutions to many shared information technology and data related challenges, to harmonize policies for access and provide strategies for knowledge transfer amongst RIs. ENVRIPLUS develops guidelines to enhance trans-disciplinary use of data and data-products supported by applied use-cases involving RIs from different domains. ENVRIPLUS coordinates actions to improve communication and cooperation, addressing Environmental RIs at all levels, from management to end-users, implementing RI-staff exchange programs, generating material for RI personnel, and proposing common strategic developments and actions for enhancing services to users and evaluating the socio-economic impacts. ENVRIPLUS is expected to facilitate structuration and improve quality of services offered both within single RIs and at pan-RI level. It promotes efficient and multi-disciplinary research offering new opportunities to users, new tools to RI managers and new communication strategies for environmental RI communities. The produced solutions, services and other project results are made available to all environmental RI initiatives, thus contributing to the development of a consistent European RI ecosystem.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2016
Nanomedicine (NM) is regarded as one of the most promising applications of nanotechnology, as it would allow the development of tailored therapies, with a high level of selectivity and efficacy. Although much research has been performed over the past decades, translation from academia to commercial application remains disappointingly low. Reasons that explain the current moderate success of NM are: (1) promising preclinical results are often poorly predictive for clinical safety and effectiveness, (2) the efficient, scalable and reproducible GMP production of nanocarriers has proven to be challenging and (3) regulatory frameworks are not yet fully equipped to efficiently facilitate the introduction of novel nanomedicines. These obstacles are often encountered since the developmental process from carrier design to clinical assessment is performed by a range of scientists from different backgrounds who have difficulty interacting and communicating with each other to clearly understand the necessary design criteria and the scope and limitations of NM. NANOMED brings together all the necessary expertise to oversee the entire development trajectory required for NM. This is achieved by the combined effort of 7 beneficiaries from academia and industry and 5 non-academic partner organisations, which are all thoroughly rooted in nanosciences and pharmaceutical sciences. Our objective is to develop scalable and highly controllable design and synthesis methods for the most promising nanomedicine types in a preclinical setting. NANOMED will train the next generation of NM scientists by offering an extensive joint training programme to 15 incoming ESRs. It focuses on promoting scientific excellence and exploits the specific research and commercial expertise and infrastructure of the NANOMED network as a whole. The exposure to all elements of NM design enables NANOMED to translate expertise from all disciplines to the ESRs, to educate the future leading scientists in the NM field.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: HEALTH.2013.4.1-5 | Award Amount: 2.34M | Year: 2013
The overall goal of InterConnect is to establish a global network that will facilitate the co-ordination of population research on the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of obesity and diabetes. We aim to establish mechanisms for identification and classification of studies and the data that they hold and create a forum for harmonization of methods as a foundation for optimizing the use of existing data for the study of gene-environment interaction. We aim to establish a funders forum and a forum for stakeholders and bring these groups together with subject-specific researchers and methodologists to create an appropriately governed framework for sharing existing data, harmonizing the addition of new data and planning new studies. With the involvement of strong funders and stakeholders fora in InterConnect from the outset, the project will provide a network to link, co-ordinate and eventually integrate EU funded research activities with those in other continents. InterConnect will provide a forum for exchange of information and best practice between projects. This will be relevant both to the research community and also the funders. The engagement of stakeholders and our dissemination programme will ensure that the knowledge that is ultimately gained through collaborative work in this network will be translated into policy, social and economic benefits. Through its work on an ethical and legal framework, InterConnect will create a sustainable framework that will facilitate data sharing that is transparent and dynamic.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRASUPP-6-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2016
The COOP\ project is motivated by the interest of several Research Infrastructures in Europe to benefit from extending international collaboration with other Research Infrastructures in their areas of expertise at global, worldwide level. The general goal of COOP\ is to strengthen the links and coordination of the ESFRI Research Infrastructures related to marine science, Arctic research and biodiversity with international counterparts and to leverage international scientfic cooperation and data exchange with non-EU countries aiming at creating a common ground for the development of a global network of research infrastructures that are able to address Global environmental challenges. The project will be the central hub for worldwide collaboration of the RIs involved, coordinating all their common activities and fostering international agreements. As the EC communication emphasized, Global Challenges are very important drivers for research and innovation, and COOP\ will focus on them, and, according to the experience in COOPEUS (FP7), will try to reinforce the cross-disciplinary view, adding participants for other regions. COOP\ will use the methodology of case studies to assess the cooperation capabilities of international RIs, and to learn how to cope with global environmental challenges. This cross-disciplinary and global collaboration among Research Infrastructures tha is required to address these challenges implies a significant effort on common practices including access and sharing of data. COOP\ will promote an open coordination framework for Global Cooperation, with initial participation from relevant RI from EU, US, Canada, Australia and Brazil, and providing support to new agreements on reciprocal use or access to RI, openness, joint development of new resources including co-financing.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 549.00K | Year: 2017
This two-year project involves an international and inter-sector research and training network that focuses on the potential of makerspaces, which are specific spaces that enable creative design and the production of both digital and non-digital artefacts, to foster the digital literacy and creative skills of young children. A key aim of the project is to inform educational policy and practice in this area, enabling formal learning institutions (early years settings and primary schools) to learn from practice in non-formal learning spaces, and vice-versa, and also to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the makerspace sector, enabling SMEs to develop robust business models and appropriate resources for future work in this area. The project involves 16 academic and non-academic beneficiaries and 10 non-academic, non-beneficiary partners across 6 EU countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Romania, UK), an Associated Country (Colombia) and 4 Third Countries (Australia, Canada, South Africa and USA). This global network of university scholars, cultural industry partners in makerspaces, early years practitioners, museum educators and librarians will engage in a collaborative research and training programme that addresses 4 objectives, which are to: 1. Conduct a comprehensive review of the role of makerspaces in the formal and non-formal educational experiences of children and young people. 2. Undertake empirical research to determine how makerspaces can foster the digital literacy and creativity skills and knowledge of young children. 3. Develop a conceptual framework for analysing young childrens engagement in makerspaces. 4. Make recommendations for policy and practice that will foster innovation and entrepreneurship in SME makerspaces and facilitate the use of makerspaces for enhancing digital literacy in early childhood educational institutions and non-formal learning spaces.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-04-2016 | Award Amount: 9.71M | Year: 2017
The projects overall aim is to improve the health, development and quality of life of children and adults born very preterm (VPT, < 32 weeks of gestation) or very low birth weight (VLBW, < 1500g) approximately 50 000 births each year in Europe by establishing an ICT platform to integrate, harmonise and exploit the wealth of data from 20 European cohorts of VPT/VLBW children and adults and their families constituted from the early 1980s to the present, together with data from national registries. VPT/VLBW births have higher risks of cerebral palsy, visual and auditory deficits, impaired cognitive ability, psychiatric disorders and social problems than infants born at term and account for more than a third of the health and educational budgets for children. They may also face higher risks of non-communicable disease as they age. There is emerging evidence of reduced mental health, quality of life, partnering, family life and employment chances and wealth in adulthood. The platform will enable stratified sub-group analyses of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, neonatal complications, and otherwise rare medical conditions that cannot be studied in national population cohorts. The broad temporal, geographic, cultural and health system diversity makes it possible to study the impact of socioeconomic and organisational contexts and determine the generalisability of outcomes for VPT/VLBW populations. The RECAP platform creates a value chain to promote research and innovation using population cohorts, beginning with the integration of VPT/VLBW cohorts to the translation and dissemination of new knowledge. It will be based on a sustainable governance framework, state-of-the art data management and sharing technologies, tools to strengthen research capacity, a hypothesis-driven research agenda and broad stakeholder participation, including researchers, clinicians, educators, policy makers and very preterm children and adults and their families.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: REV-INEQUAL-07-2016 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2017
IMAJINE aims to formulate new integrative policy mechanisms to enable European, national and regional government agencies to more effectively address territorial inequalities within the European Union. It responds to evidence that spatial inequalities within the EU are increasing, contrary to the principle of territorial cohesion embedded as a third dimension of the European Social Model in the Treaty of Lisbon, and is particularly timely in examining the geographically differentiated impacts of the post-2008 economic crisis and the adoption of austerity policies. IMAJINE uniquely proposes to address the problem of territorial inequalities through an inter-disciplinary and multi-scalar approach that integrates perspectives from economics, human geography, political science and sociology and combines macro-scale econometric analysis and the generation and analysis of new quantitative survey data with regionally-focused qualitative empirical case study research in 11 EU member states; delivered by a multi-disciplinary and multi-national consortium. As such the research builds on the conceptual and methodological state of the art in several disciplines and advances conceptual understanding and the empirical knowledge base by producing new primary data, applying new analytical tests to secondary data and integrating the results along with insights from relational geographical theory and the concept of spatial justice. In particular, the centrality of spatial justice emphasizes the political as well as economic dimensions of territorial inequalities, and IMAJINE will move beyond existing knowledge by considering relationships between measured and perceived inequalities, models of multi-level policy-making and public service delivery, and support for territorial autonomy movements. IMAJINE will further translate these scientific insights into policy applications through participatory scenario building exercises with governance and civil society stakeholders.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.1.2-08 | Award Amount: 7.75M | Year: 2014
MareFrame seeks to remove barriers preventing a more widespread use of an Ecosystem-based Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM). It will develop assessment methods and a Decision Support Framework (DSF) for management of marine resources and thereby enhance the capacity to provide integrated assessment, advice and decision support for an EAFM. Enabling comparisons between relevant what-if scenarios and their likely consequences, DSF will support the implementation of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The project SMEs, together with RTD institutions and stakeholders, will develop and demonstrate the use of innovative decision support tools through training actions, role-play and workshops. Indicators of Good Environmental Status (GES) will be developed along with models for ecosystem-based management. The models will take multi-species approaches into account and be developed and compared through seven datasets of six European regional seas. The models will draw on historical data sets and data from new analytical methods. Model performance will be compared and evaluated using a simulated ecosystem as an operating model. Learning from the experience of previous and on-going research, MareFrame integrates stakeholders at its core using a co-creation approach that combines analytical and participatory processes to provide knowledge that can be applied to policy-making, improving management plans and implementation of EAFM. The project dissemination will use innovative ways to ensure effective usage of project outcomes. The work packages and the allocation of roles have been designed to ensure effective collaboration through the projects lifetime. MareFrame liaises with other national and international research projects and is of high relevance to the future management of living marine resources in Europe in a changing environment, taking a holistic view incorporating socio-economic and legislative issues.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SIS-2008-126.96.36.199 | Award Amount: 5.24M | Year: 2009
Helping teachers raise the quality of science teaching and its educational environment has the potential to increase student engagement, attainment, scientific literacy and science career choices. S-TEAM will achieve this by connecting existing science education research and teacher knowledge to teacher education. This task requires the power of coordinated action across a wide range of institutions and national contexts. The 26 partners and 15 nations engaged in S-TEAM have a unique opportunity to systematically integrate their knowledge of teaching, research and teacher education, and to adapt science education to the diverse needs of citizens and the economy in Europe, focusing on inquiry-based methods. These involve problem-solving, hands-on experimentation, authentic, student-led content and critical dialogue, but they require wider development of teacher skills and knowledge. Many teachers are already competent in these methods, and are thus the best source of learning for others. S-TEAM will achieve its aims by disseminating research on, and teachers' experiences of inquiry-based methods to existing and future science teachers. Its actions will involve listening to teachers, working with teacher educators and researchers, and providing support for better science education. This support will include workshops, training packages, video case-studies, teaching materials and publications. S-TEAM will involve not only teachers, but also teacher educators, researchers, students, parents and policymakers in dialogue, to ensure that this dissemination is effective. S-TEAM is sustainable since learning through teacher collaboration and education can be continually regenerated, but also necessary because science teacher education needs to be shared across Europe. By enabling teachers to deliver more efficient and efficacious learning, S-TEAM will improve the attitudes, motivation and learning of young people, including girls, in science education.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS-2010-188.8.131.52 | Award Amount: 4.14M | Year: 2011
Following the recommendations of the Science Education Now: A renewed Pedagogy for the Future of Europe report, the Pathway Supporting Action is bringing together experts in the field of science education research and teachers communities, scientists and researchers involved in pioneering scientific research, policy makers and curriculum developers to promote the effective widespread use of inquiry and problem based science teaching techniques in primary and secondary schools in Europe and beyond. The proposed approach is based on three main axes that could facilitate the uptake of IBSE (Inquiry-Based Science Education): It a) proposes a standard-based approach to teaching science by inquiry that outlines instructional models that will help teachers to organise effectively their instruction, b) deploys a series of methods to motivate teachers to adopt inquiry based techniques and activities in their classrooms and c) offers access to a unique collection of open educational resources and teaching practices (linked with the science curricula) that have proven their efficiency and efficacy in promoting inquiry based education and that are expanding the limitations of classroom instruction. Such an approach enables all stakeholders (teachers, teachers trainers, curriculum developers, policy-makers) to examine their own practices in the light of the best performing approaches that set the standards on what can be achieved and provides them with a unique tool to bring about improvements in their everyday practice.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-31-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 3.72M | Year: 2016
Considerable challenges remain today regarding Europes transition towards a decarbonised energy system that meets the economic and social needs of its citizens. Rebound effects, that is, a full or partial cancelling-out of efficiency gains over time through increased overall energy use, highlight the centrality of consumption in multi-scalar decarbonisation efforts, urgently requiring attention from scientists and policy makers. Calls also abound for innovative, research-led programmes to enhance the social acceptability of energy transition initiatives and technologies. Understanding how culture-specific views and practices and energy policy and governance both shape and reflect individual and collective energy choices is of paramount importance for the success of the Energy Union. ENERGISE responds directly to these challenges by engaging in frontier energy consumption scholarship. Recognising the persistence of diverse energy cultures, both within and between countries, ENERGISE offers an ambitious social science programme to enhance understanding of changes in energy consumption practices across 30 European countries. Moving beyond state-of-the-art research, ENERGISE theoretically frames and empirically investigates socio-economic, cultural, political and gender aspects of the energy transition. It also examines how routines and ruptures (re)shape household energy consumption practices. Adopting a cutting-edge Living Labs approach, designed specifically to facilitate cross-cultural comparisons, ENERGISE fuses tools for changing individual- and community-level energy consumption with a novel method for energy sustainability assessment. ENERGISE will open new research horizons and greatly enhance Europes capacity for high-impact, gender-sensitive consumption research. It also offers timely support for public- and private-sector decision-makers who grapple with the design and implementation of measures to effectively reduce household energy consumption.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-SICA | Phase: KBBE-2008-3-3-01 | Award Amount: 3.74M | Year: 2009
The production of fine and industrial chemicals and bioactive compounds based on renewable, naturally occurring raw materials has become an exciting research topic, but so far only few studies concern side products of the forest industry. We will focus on bark and on peat. Bark is a high-volume waste product, currently largely unutilised as a raw material. Northern Europe and Russia have abundant peat reserves, offering a rich source of complex molecules for many application areas. White birch, pine and spruce form the basis for a very large wood industry. Betulin and suberin are the major components of the bark of birch trees. Betulin is a precursor of triterpenoid compounds having important pharmacological, physiological or biological properties useful in pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Interesting possibilities for betulin exist also in cosmetics and in agricultural applications. Suberin is the other main component of birch outer bark, and it can be used to produce new industrially potential products such as binders for coatings and composite materials, biodegradable lubricants, and surface-active agents. Bark from other tree species (Pinus, Picea, Populus, Larix), their properties, and possible uses will also be researched in this project, along with humic substances from peat. Our work includes innovative natural products chemistry, extraction and process technology; as well as basic research on mode of action and structure-function relationships within the application areas (e.g., in plant protection products: insect pest antifdeedants, antifungal and antibacterial products; in pharmaceutical/medical applications, cosmetics, and bioremediation).We plan to ensure that promising results from this project will have a higher than the average probability of becoming products of significant importance to the forest, farming, medical and pharmaceutical sectors, with major positive spin-off impacts to human health and the environment.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2008.1.1.4.1. | Award Amount: 11.43M | Year: 2009
The European integrating project COMBINE brings together research groups to advance Earth system models (ESMs) for more accurate climate projections and for reduced uncertainty in the prediction of climate and climate change in the next decades. COMBINE will contribute to better assessments of changes in the physical climate system and of their impacts in the societal and economic system. The proposed work will strengthen the scientific base for environmental policies of the EU for the climate negotiations, and will provide input to the IPCC/AR5 process. COMBINE proposes to improve ESMs by including key physical and biogeochemical processes to model more accurately the forcing mechanisms and the feedbacks determining the magnitude of climate change in the 21st century. For this purpose the project will incorporate carbon and nitrogen cycle, aerosols coupled to cloud microphysics and chemistry, proper stratospheric dynamics and increased resolution, ice sheets and permafrost in current Earth system models. COMBINE also proposes to improve initialization techniques to make the best possible use of observation based analyses of ocean and ice to benefit from the predictability of the climate system in predictions of the climate of the next few decades. Combining more realistic models and skilful initialization is expected to reduce the uncertainty in climate projections. Resulting effects will be investigated in the physical climate system and in impacts on water availability and agriculture, globally and in 3 regions under the influence of different climate feedback mechanisms. Results from the comprehensive ESMs will be used in an integrated assessment model to test the underlying assumptions in the scenarios, and hence to contribute to improved scenarios. COMBINE will make use of the experimental design and of the scenarios proposed for IPCC AR5. Therefore the project will be able to contribute to the AR5, by its relevant research and by the contribution of experiments to the IPCC data archives.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 39.56M | Year: 2013
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability, leading to great personal suffering to victim and relatives, as well as huge direct and indirect costs to society. Strong ethical, medical, social and health economic reasons therefore exist for improving treatment. The CENTER-TBI project will collect a prospective, contemporary, highly granular, observational dataset of 5400 patients, which will be used for better characterization of TBI and for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). The generalisability of our results will be reinforced by a contemporaneous registry level data collection in 15-25,000 patients. Our conceptual approach is to exploit the heterogeneity in biology, care, and outcome of TBI, to discover novel pathophysiology, refine disease characterization, and identify effective clinical interventions. Key elements are the use of emerging technologies (biomarkers, genomics and advanced MR imaging) in large numbers of patients, across the entire course of TBI (from injury to late outcome) and across all severities of injury (mild to severe). Improved characterization with these tools will aid Precision Medicine, a concept recently advocated by the US National Academy of Science, facilitating targeted management for individual patients. Our consortium includes leading experts and will bring outstanding biostatistical and neuroinformatics expertise to the project. Collaborations with external partners, other FP7 consortia, and international links within InTBIR, will greatly augment scientific resources and broaden the global scope of our research. We anticipate that the project could revolutionize our view of TBI, leading to more effective and efficient therapy, thus improving outcome and reducing costs. These outcomes reflect the goals of CER to assist consumers, clinicians, health care purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions, and will improve healthcare at both individual and population levels.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2013.2.2-03 | Award Amount: 7.95M | Year: 2013
Vitamin D deficiency has significant implications for human health and impacts on healthy growth and development and successful aging. Fundamental knowledge gaps are barriers to implementing a safe and effective public health strategy to prevent vitamin D deficiency and optimize status. ODIN will provide the evidence to prevent vitamin D deficiency in Europe and improve nutrition and public health through food. By establishing an internationally standardized analytical platform for 25OHD, ODIN will measure the distribution of circulating 25OHD and describe the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Europe. Using available biobanks and databases from National nutrition surveys ODIN will delineate the relative contributions of sun and dietary sources of vitamin D to circulating 25OHD. In support of planned EFSA revisions of vitamin D recommendations, ODIN will carry out three RCT in pregnant women, children and teenagers and a fourth RCT in ethnic immigrant groups to provide experimental data to specify vitamin D intake requirements. Using dietary modeling, innovative food-based solutions to increase vitamin D in the food supply through a combination of bio-fortification of meats, fish, eggs, mushrooms and yeast will be developed and ODIN will test the efficacy and safety of these products in food-based RCT varying in scale from small product-specific trials to a large total diet study in vulnerable indigenous and immigrant sub-groups. ODIN has assembled the largest critical mass of prospective adult, pregnancy and birth cohort studies to date and will conduct meta-analyses and individual subject-level meta-regression analyses to integrate standardized data on vitamin D status, a priori defined clinical endpoints and genotype to examine relationships between vitamin D and human health, including beneficial and adverse effects, on perinatal outcomes, bone growth and body composition and allergic disease in children and cardiovascular disease and mortality in adults.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2012.2.1.2-2 | Award Amount: 13.68M | Year: 2013
Through combining basic pre-clinical and clinical research, network analysis and computational modelling, RESOLVE aims at resolving the disturbed dynamics and mechanisms underlying the high triglyceride (HTG) and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) phenotype and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its associated co-morbidities (cardiovascular disease, CVD; type 2 diabetes, T2DM; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD). RESOLVE will deliver on 6 specific objectives: i) build a computational model for analyzing the kinetics of plasma lipids, lipoproteins and their interactions with glucose metabolism. ii) apply the iterative systems biology cycle for calibrating, validating and improving the computational model in dedicated studies in mice iii) build, calibrate and validate the computational model for use in humans. iv) analyze based on model and experimental data which processes in the murine metabolic network regulate the physiological response to perturbations in lipid, lipoprotein and glucose metabolism and how these interact. v) analyze based on model and experimental data which processes in the human metabolic network regulate the physiological response to perturbations in lipid, lipoprotein and glucose metabolism and how these interact vi) use the human model to identify network-based drug targets aimed at restoring the metabolic dyslipidemia and glycemic control in patients with MetS and associated comorbidities. RESOLVE 60-months project will result into a novel strategy for development of therapeutic strategies for MetS patients with T2DM, NAFLD or CVD.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.10.;INFRA-2011-1.1.11. | Award Amount: 10.44M | Year: 2011
InGOS will support and integrate the observing capacity of Europe for non-CO2 greenhouse gases (NCGHG: CH4, N2O, SF6, H2 and halocarbons). The emissions of these gases are very uncertain and it is unknown how future climate change will feedback into the land use coupled emissions of CH4 and N2O. The NCGHG atmospheric abundances will increase further in the future and the emissions of these gases are an attractive target for climate change mitigation policies. InGOS aims to improve the existing European observation system so that this will provide us insight into the concentration levels and European and extra-European emissions of the NCGHGs. The data from the network will enable to better constrain the emissions of NCGHGs within the EU and show whether emission reduction policies are effective. The data from the network is designed to allow to detect the spatial and temporal distribution (hotspots) of the sources and to detect changes in emissions due to mitigation and feedbacks with climate change. To strengthen the European observation system, the project has several objectives: Harmonize and standardize the measurements. Provide capacity building in new member states and countries with inadequate existing infrastructure. Support existing observation sites and transfer of selected sites into supersites. Integrate and further integrate marine observations of the NCGHGs with land-based observations Improve measurement methods by testing new innovative techniques and strategies. Test advanced isotope techniques for application in the network to enable attribution of the atmospheric fractions to source categories Integrate data for network evaluation by using inverse modeling and data-assimilation methods and developments in bottom up inventories Link the network to remote sensing data of column abundances from in-situ and satellite observations Prepare for the integration of the NCGHG network with the Integrated Carbon Observation System
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-09-2014 | Award Amount: 6.24M | Year: 2015
The complexity of the problem of banning discards and bringing all unwanted catches to land makes it necessary to follow a multi-actor approach, whereby scientists, fisheries technologists, fish producers and NGOs work collaboratively to provide the scientific and technical basis to achieve the gradual elimination of discards in European marine fisheries. The projects overall objective is to minimise unwanted catches by incentivising the adoption of fishing technologies and practices that reduce pre-harvest mortality and post-harvest discards, while avoiding damage to sensitive marine species and habitats. The general approach is based on technical/technological and socioeconomic solutions on a case-by-case analysis of the main types of European fisheries. The project will analyze existing and potential discard-mitigating innovative technologies in workshop roundtables with participation of fishers, technologists and scientists. The technologies selected will be tested in field trials to experimentally assess their efficiency: among other, improved precatch identification with observational technologies and pre-harvest loss reduction by gear modification and switching to light impact gear. The results will be analyzed in terms of technological advances, marketability and cost-benefit analysis. Other actions included in the project are social and economic instruments to incentivise selective fishing and discourage discarding practices, such as ecolabelling, fisheries certification and promoting awareness among industry and consumers, and mathematical modelling of ecosystem effects of unwanted catches reduction.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.1-2 | Award Amount: 11.46M | Year: 2013
Clouds are a very important, yet not well understood feedback factor in climate change and they contribute to the effective radiative forcing (ERF) from aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI). The uncertainty in ERFaci is larger than for any other forcing agent. Also, feedbacks between the terrestrial and marine biosphere and the atmosphere involving ACI are thought to play an important role in regulating climate change but their relevance remains poorly quantified. BACCHUS proposes to quantify key processes and feedbacks controlling ACI, by combining advanced measurements of cloud and aerosol properties with state-of-the-art numerical modelling. The analysis of contrasting environments will be the guiding strategy for BACCHUS. We will investigate the importance of biogenic versus anthropogenic emissions for ACI in regions that are key regulators of Earths climate (Amazonian rain forest) or are regarded as tipping elements in the climate system (Arctic). BACCHUS will generate a unique database linking long-term observations and field campaign data of aerosol, cloud condensation and ice nuclei and cloud microphysical properties; this will enable a better quantification of the natural aerosol concentrations and the anthropogenic aerosol effect. BACCHUS will advance the understanding of biosphere aerosol-cloud-climate feedbacks that occur via emission and transformation of biogenic volatile organic compounds, primary biological aerosols, secondary organic aerosols and dust. Integration of new fundamental understanding gained in BACCHUS in Earth Systems Models allows to reduce the uncertainty in future climate projections. This will have a direct impact on decision-making addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation. BACCHUS brings together a critical mass of experimentalists and modellers with the required scientific expertise to address these complex topics and a high commitment to communicate their findings in many ways in order to ensure a high-impact project.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-1.4-7 | Award Amount: 4.23M | Year: 2008
The liver is associated with many types of diseases which can only be treated by Orthotopic liver transplants. However, shortage of organ donors represents a major limitation for wide-application of this therapy. Additionally, expansion of fully-functional hepatocytes in vitro remains an important challenge for the drug discovery industry. Human Embryonic Stem cells (hESCs) offer a promising new solution to these problems. hESCs are able to grow indefinitely in vitro while maintaining their capacity to differentiate to all types of cells. Here we propose to develop standardized, animal-free culture conditions to promote the differentiation and expansion of fully-functional hepatocytes from hESCs using four complementary Workpackages (WPs): Development of novel tools: WP1 will develop 3-D growth matrices, lentivirus-based reporter systems, liver-specific endothelial cells and a miRNA platform to facilitate the sequential process of establishing standardized, animal-free conditions to produce ES-derived hepatocytes. Generation of Anterior Definitive Endoderm multipotent stem cells: WP2 will define culture conditions to drive differentiation of hESCs to ADE cells, the earliest progenitors of liver cells during mammalian development. Proof-of-principle of conditions will be validated using the various hESC lines available from partners. Differentiation and expansion of hepatic progenitors from multipotent ADE cells using defined conditions: WP3 will be devoted to the generation of hepatic progenitors from ADE cells. Function will be validated in vitro and in vivo using human foetal hepatic progenitors and HepaRG human hepatoma cells as positive controls. Generation of mature hepatocytes from ES-derived hepatic progenitors: WP4 will generate functional hepatocyte lines suitable for drug testing and future preclinical evaluation. Results of the LIV-ES project will provide new insights into stem cell biology and establish a rationale basis for cell-based therapies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.1.1-6 | Award Amount: 16.02M | Year: 2008
Lipids are central to the regulation and control of cellular processes by acting as basic building units for biomembranes, the platforms for the vast majority of cellular functions. Recent developments in lipid mass spectrometry have set the scene for a completely new way to understand the composition of membranes, cells and tissues in space and time by allowing the precise identification and quantification of alterations of the total lipid profile after specific perturbations. In combination with advanced proteome and transcriptome analysis tools and novel imaging techniques using RNA interference, it is now possible to unravel the complex network between lipids, genes and proteins in an integrated lipidomics approach. This project application of the European Lipidomics Initiative (ELife; www.lipidomics.net) will address lipid droplets (LD) as dynamic organelles with regard to composition, metabolism and regulation. LD are the hallmark of energy overload diseases with a major health care impact in Europe. The project will exploit recent advances in lipidomics to establish high-throughput methods to define drugable targets and novel biomarkers related to LD lipid and protein species, their interaction and regulation during assembly, disassembly and storage. Translational research from mouse to man applied to LD pathology is a cornerstone of this project at the interface between research and development. To maximize the value of the assembled data generated throughout the project, LipidomicNet as a detailed special purpose Wiki formate data base will be developed and integrated into the existing Lipidomics Expertise Platform (LEP) established through the SSA ELife project (www.lipidomics-expertise.de). ELife collaborates with the NIH initiative LIPID MAPS (www.lipidmaps.org) and the Japanese pendant Lipidbank (www.lipidbank.jp) and is connected to the Danubian Biobank consortium (SSA DanuBiobank, www.danubianbiobank.de) for clinical lipidomics.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.2.2. | Award Amount: 5.16M | Year: 2011
OpenAIREplus will build a 2nd-Generation Open Access Infrastructure by significantly expanding in several directions the outcomes of the OpenAIRE project, which implements the EC Open Access (OA) pilot. Capitalizing on the OpenAIRE infrastructure, built for managing FP7 and ERC funded articles, and the associated supporting mechanism of the European Helpdesk System, OpenAIREplus will develop an open access, participatory infrastructure for scientific information. It will significantly expand its base of harvested publications to also include all OA publications indexed by the DRIVER infrastructure (more than 270 validated institutional repositories) and any other repository containing peer-reviewed literature that complies with certain standards. It will also generically harvest and index the metadata of scientific datasets in selected diverse OA thematic data repositories. It will support the concept of linked publications by deploying novel services for linking peer-reviewed literature and associated data sets and collections, from link discovery based on diverse forms of mining (textual, usage, etc.), to storage, visual representation, and on-line exploration. It will offer both user-level services to experts and non-scientists alike as well as programming interfaces for providers of value-added services to build applications on its content. Deposited articles and data will be openly accessible through an enhanced version of the OpenAIRE portal, together with any available relevant information on associated project funding and usage statistics. OpenAIREplus will retain its European footprint, engaging people and scientific repositories in almost all 27 EU member states and beyond. The technical work will be complemented by a suite of studies and associated research efforts that will partly proceed in collaboration with different European initiatives and investigate issues of intellectual property rights, efficient financing models, and standards.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.3.2-1 | Award Amount: 3.26M | Year: 2008
Although HIV-1 Nef was originally named negative factor, it has been shown to be critical for efficient persistance of HIV-1 infected humans thus playing a major role in the progression to AIDS. Remarkably; until now Nef has not been evaluated as an antiretroviral drug target. It is well established that Nef promotes HIV-1 replication and facilitates viral immune evasion by interacting with various host factors. Disrupting these essential interactions may delay or even prevent disease progression. Partners in this consortium have already identified small molecule inhibitors targeting Nef function. The first objective of this project is therefore to validate the molecular events elicited by these molecules in both virus-free as well as in HIV infection in vitro assays. In a complementing approach, small compound libraries already available to the consortium will be used and adapted to screen for inhibitors of Nef induced modulation of cellular receptors, NFAT activation and the Nef SH3 binding domain, that likely contribute to the importance of Nef in HIV-1 pathogenicity. In addition, functional screenings to discover drugable cellular Nef partners using RNA interference libraries will be performed. After validation of their importance in relation to the established host proteins co-interacting in the Nef cellular pathways, a selection will be additionally targeted by the developed small molecule inhibitors. Our ultimate goal is to deliver a complementary portfolio of candidate drugs that target the most important parameters in the Nef-host interaction pathway. Critical cellular interaction partners are much more conserved than viral enzymes that are usually targeted in highly-active-antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Therefore, it is believed by the partners that the novel approach presented in this project proposal will yield compounds less likely to be subject to the occurrence of drug resistance
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.4.5-2 | Award Amount: 7.90M | Year: 2011
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an inflammatory process which damage insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas. It is one of the most common chronic diseases and its incidence is rapidly increasing. Due to its complications it causes a significant medical and economic burden to European society. A causal association between enterovirus and type 1 diabetes has become more and more likely. The aim of the present research programme is to create a new research strategy aligned to a concerted scientific research effort and creation of a network of unique resources which makes it possible to achieve a significant breakthrough in this field. The main focus is in the detection of persistent enterovirus infection leading to inflammation and tissue damage in the pancreas and its role in mediating the inflammatory response that causes type 1 diabetes. The goal is to take the critical steps towards therapeutic translation of research findings by employing a novel research design and synergistic networks of excellence based on the combination of a multidisciplinary research strategy and availability of unique biobanks existing in Europe. This research programme will also create a completely new type of biobank which facilitates a wide range of new analyses of fresh tissues. The programme includes a strong translational component which facilitates the ongoing efforts to develop vaccines against diabetogenic enteroviruses and other targeted therapies. The program also has a wider impact on the entire field of research on pathogen-disease associations, since the same innovative research strategy can be applied to other diseases as well. Altogether, this research program will take full advantage of the excellent biobank networks and a long tradition in biomedical and clinical research in Europe and creates an exceptional opportunity to take the final steps towards proving causality in the enterovirus-diabetes association.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-2.3.2. | Award Amount: 13.73M | Year: 2012
The ESFRI infrastructures in Biological and BioMedical Sciences face substantial challenges in accessing and sharing data and resources. The BioMedBridges consortium brings together the six established ESFRI infrastructures with common goals to define, implement and deliver data interoperability across the biological and biomedical domains. The first objective is to ensure that interoperable standards are available across all data resources and services shared by two of more ESFRI infrastructure. The identified standards will be implemented to enable data interoperation between ESFRI projects in biomedical sciences. Public data in life sciences will be freely accessible through these standard interoperable services. Private data, however, is a major concern in this domain, for medical information or for data with intellectual property issues. Where projects need to share sensitive data, standards for secure and restricted access will be identified and implemented. BioMedBridges is a practical solution to the data interoperability requirements of infrastructures in the biological and biomedical domains. A suite of use cases will guide the development and deployment of standards and services with emphasis on the issues arising between specific projects. These may cover the exchange of biomedical and genetic data, linking mouse model organism data with human clinical information, and the deposition of large volumes of data from one project to another. BioMedBridges is inclusive of emerging infrastructures which can contribute additional data classes and challenges such as bioimaging, ecosystems, small molecules and infectious diseases. The ESFRI infrastructures leading BioMedBridges are ELIXIR, BBMRI, EATRIS, ECRIN, InfraFrontier and INSTRUCT.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-1 | Award Amount: 8.25M | Year: 2012
Background: A significant proportion of pre-diabetics, show macro and micro vascular complications associated with hyperglycaemia. Although many trials have demonstrated the efficacy of lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions in diabetes prevention, no trial has evaluated the extent to which mid- and long-term complications can be prevented by early interventions on hyperglycaemia. Aims: To assess the long-term effects on multiple complications of hyperglycaemia of early intensive management of hyperglycaemia with sitagliptin, metformin or their combination added to lifestyle intervention (LSI) (diet and physical activity), compared with LSI alone in adults with non-diabetic intermediate hyperglycaemia (IFG, IGT or both). Study Design: Long-term, multi-centre, randomised, partially double blinded, placebo controlled, phase-IIIb clinical trial with prospective blinded outcome evaluation. Participants will be randomised to four parallel arms: 1) LSI \ 2 placebo tablets/day; 2) LSI \ 2 Metformin tablets of 850 mg/day; 3) LSI \ 2 Sitagliptin tablets of 50 mg/day; 4) LSI \ 2 tablets of a fixed-dose combination of Sitagliptin 50mg and Metformin 850 /day. Active intervention will last for at least 3 years, and additional follow-up up to 5 years. Setting and population: Males and Females with pre-diabetes (IFG, IGT or both) aged 45 to 74 years selected from primary care screening programs in 15 clinical centres from 12 countries: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. (N=3000) Main Outcomes: The primary endpoint is a combined continuous variable: the microvascular complication ndex (MCI) composed by a linear combination of the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Scale (ETDRS) score (based on retinograms), the level of urinary albumin to creatinine ratio, and a measure of distal small fibre neuropathy (sudomotor test by SUDOSCAN), measured during baseline visit and at 36th and 60th month visits after randomisation. In addition, this project will include the evaluation of early novel serological biomarkers of systemic inflammation, early micro-vascular damage, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion, and measures of quality of life, sleep quality (somnograms) and neuropsychological evaluation. Vascular function and structure will be evaluated in a subset of participants (n=1000), including cIMT and microvascular endothelial function measured by EndoPAT. Expected results: By evaluating the effect of aggressive treatments in pre-diabetes for the early prevention of diabetes complication, this project has the potential of changing the current paradigm of early management of hyperglycaemia. The ultimate goal is the development of a standardized core protocol for the early prevention of microvascular and other complications, impacting social cost as a result not only in health care, but also in disabilities at work.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.3-04 | Award Amount: 9.11M | Year: 2013
OPTIBIOCAT is a 48 months project aimed at developing biocatalysts based on feruloyl esterases (FAEs) and glucuronoyl esterases (GEs) for production of phenolic fatty- and sugar- esters with antioxidant activity for cosmetic industry, expanding the number/type of industrial biotransformations. Selected FAEs and GEs available within the consortium will be improved for their thermo- and solvent- resistance and substrate specificity by site-directed mutagenesis and directed evolution. Novel enzymes will be discovered by mining for new genes from available genomes. An inventory of novel FAEs and GEs will be developed including 50 fungal and 500 bacterial esterases, 25 site-directed and 20 directed evolved mutants. Enzymatic performances will be optimized to enhance the yield (up to the theoretical yield of 100%) and productivity (up to 0.5-1 g/l/h) of reactions giving the main targeted antioxidants: butyl ferulate, p-coumarate, caffeate, sinapate and 5-O-(trans-feruloyl)-arabinofuranose (using FAEs), glucuronate and benzyl glucuronate (using GEs). FAEs and GEs will be also tested for production of other compounds with improved biological activity and properties of hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity for cosmetic applications. Cost-effective methods will be developed for production of the new biocatalysts, in the g/L scale, and for their technical application to produce antioxidants for cosmetic industry, up to 20L. Enzyme immobilization will increase their recyclability up to ten cycles. The ability of the developed catalysts to work in conditions miming the industrial ones with reduced use of solvents and lower temperature than the chemical routes will be demonstrated. The techno-economic viability and environmental friendliness will be assessed considering a full industrial scale scenario. OPTIBIOCAT involves a highly skilled and multidisciplinary partnership of 16 partners from 8 EU countries, and it is a strongly industry driven project through the participation of 8 SMEs and 1 large company.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-1.2-2;HEALTH-2007-2.4.1-4 | Award Amount: 5.54M | Year: 2008
The overall objective of this proposal is to develop and validate a quantitative, minimally invasive diagnostic tool for early and conclusive detection, diagnosis and monitoring of disease and disease progression of breast and prostate cancer. A methodology will be developed making use of a combination of the probably most exciting recent advances in the field of light microscopy, for fluorescence-based optical imaging of individual sample cells. It includes advances which will take the spatial resolution far beyond the fundamental limits of optical resolution, the sensitivity down to an ultimate single-molecule level, and multi-parameter detection schemes significantly increasing the fluorescence information by which these cellular images can be analysed. Apart from detecting and identifying tumour markers in the samples, tumour-specific spatio-temporal molecular distributions within the intact sample cells will be exploited. This is to date an almost unexploited dimension of diagnostic information. By combining and supporting these novel optical methods with state-of-the-art affinity molecule biotechnology, , tumor biomarkers, fluorophore chemistry, and bioinformatic validation tools, all possible means will be exploited to extract a maximum amount of information out of very small amounts of sample material. We thereby expect that an improved, early and reliable diagnosis of breast and prostate cancer will be possible, from amounts of sample material small enough that a minimally invasive procedure such as Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) can be used. In addition, by the minimally invasive FNA-based sampling, serious sampling-related side-effects, such as seeding and spread of cancer cells can be completely avoided. Given the high incidence of breast and prostate cancer, and the utmost importance of an early and conclusive diagnosis for the prognosis of these diseases, the relevance of this project can not be overestimated.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 7.83M | Year: 2014
Background: Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (HH) is a potentially lethal disease caused by over functioning beta cells derived from the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Lethal HH and brain damage is a problem especially in infants with congenital HH. Current therapeutic approaches are associated with severe side effects/morbidity (diabetes, exocrine pancreas insufficiency etc.) considered acceptable in relation to the lethal outcome of HH although massively reducing quality of life and also life expectancy. Aims and objectives: In order to significantly improve therapy of this awful disorder, we propose to develop a simultaneous imaging/therapy platform allowing diagnostic imaging as well as image guided surgical, photodynamic or radiopeptide therapy to selectively resect/destroy diseased beta cells. This platform will enable delivery of patient-individual tailored therapy, increasing cure rate while significantly reducing or even avoiding side effects. The platform will integrate information from pre-clinical imaging for optimal therapy planning with intra-operative imaging for image guided surgery. By implementation of extended field optical coherence tomography, information on a histopathological level will allow increased precision of therapy. Highly innovative photodynamic therapy will enable selective (endoscopic) destruction of diseased beta cells without resection of pancreatic tissue. Outcome: Our highly-innovative integrated imaging/therapy (theranostic) platform will allow diagnosis and monitoring of disease, support and guide therapeutic intervention, predict outcome of intervention and individual prognosis. This technology will massively improve therapy, especially in infants, by improving cure rates while significantly reducing morbidity for improved quality of life and increased life expectancy. We will contribute to the goals of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC): 200 new therapies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.2.1-04;SPA.2010.2.3-1 | Award Amount: 2.41M | Year: 2010
The Electric Solar Wind Sail (E-sail) is a recent invention of ultra-efficient propellantless in-space propulsion technology. It uses the solar wind charged ions as natural source for producing spacecraft thrust. The E-sail is composed of a set of long, thin, conducting and positively charged tethers which are centrifugally stretched from the main spacecraft and kept electrically charged by an onboard electron gun powered by solar panels. The E-sail concept is an enabling technology for reducing significantly the time, cost and mass required for spacecraft to reach their destinations. It has been estimated that it has the potential to improve the state of the art of propulsion systems by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude if using the lifetime integrated total impulse versus propulsion system mass as the figure of merit. Furthermore, the E-sail propulsion technology is truly a green propellantless method reducing significantly the mission launch masses and the amount of chemical propellant burnt in the atmosphere. As an electromechanical device it does not need any poisonous, explosive or radioactive substances or dangerous construction procedures. In the proposed project, we develop the key E-sail technologies (tethers, tether reels, spinup and guidance/control method based on gas and FEEP thrusters) to prototype level. The goal is that after the project, the decision to build and fly the first E-sail demonstration mission in the solar wind can be made. As a secondary technological goal, the project will raise the FEEP and gas thruster readiness level for general-purpose satellite attitude control purposes.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: HEALTH.2013.4.1-4 | Award Amount: 645.12K | Year: 2013
The Health Directorate of the European Commissions DG Research and Innovation recently stated that Personalized Medicine is one of the most innovative areas in the future of health research with a high potential for patients, citizens and the economy. However, today the full potential can not be developed due to fragmented activities, insufficient communication and lack of generic solutions in the different areas of Personalized Medicine.The implementation of Personalized Medicine is, therefore, a major challenge in Europe and beyond. It calls for appropriate governance strategies at the European and global level as it challenges the way in which healthcare systems worldwide are set up. Thus, the EC itself, EuroBioForum, the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) and others have organized conferences to tackle these challenges. Furthermore, key European organizations and institutions have come up with reports, guidelines, roadmaps aiming to give guidance in this emerging and important health research field amongst others the European Science Foundation (ESF) Forward Look, the Manifesto of the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM), the European Best Practice Guidelines of the Public Health Genomics European Network (PHGEN), the Roche report on Personalized Medicine or the report of the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE). Based on these initiatives European and national decision-makers and funding bodies not only have expressed the urgent need for a CSA, but also initiated this specific CSA to step up coordination efforts between the European key stakeholders to allow synergies and avoid duplication or competition, to ensure maximum transparency and openness preparing Europe for leading the global way.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.2-03 | Award Amount: 14.15M | Year: 2013
The primary goal of PREVIEW is to identify the most efficient lifestyle pattern for the prevention of type-2 diabetes in a population of pre-diabetic overweight or obese individuals. The project comprises two distinct lines of evidence, both embracing European and overseas countries: 1) A multicentre, clinical randomized intervention trial with a total of 2,500 pre-diabetic participants, including children and adolescents, adults and elderly. The duration will be 3 years for the adults and elderly, and 2 years for the children and adolescents. 2) Large population studies using data from all age groups. Focus in both lines of evidence will be on diet (specifically protein and glycemic index) and intensity of physical activity, as well as their interaction with the lifestyle factors, habitual stress and sleeping pattern as well as behavioural, environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic variables. PREVIEW will significantly increase our knowledge on how specific lifestyle factors can help preventing type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all cases of diabetes, primarily caused by the worldwide obesity epidemic. Diabetes is a costly disease and according to WHO, the direct health care costs of diabetes range from 2.5% to 15% of annual national health care budgets. This worrying trend calls for action and a need for a variety of innovative approaches. PREVIEW aims to be such an innovative attempt including all necessary disciplines and stakeholders, who can contribute to developing new ways for the prevention of this wide-spread life-style related disease. The strategic impact of PREVIEW concerns the massive problems associated with the global diabesity epidemic (obesity and type-2 diabetes) and therefore includes partners from Europe (East, West, North and South) and Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. PREVIEW will thereby contribute to improving health over the life-span of the population in Europe as well as worldwide. Overall the public health and socio-economic impact of PREVIEW is expected to be very significant.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-2-4-03 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2008
The concept of VITAL is the integrated monitoring and control of contamination of the European food supply chain by pathogenic viruses. VITAL will use advanced methods for virus detection throughout selected food supply chains from farm to market, to gather data on virus contamination of food and environmental sources suitable for quantitative viral risk assessment. Supply chains will be monitored for the presence of indicator viruses commonly found in faecal contamination events. These viruses can be distinguished into strains of human and animal origin, which will indicate contamination from a specific source. Modelling tools will be developed to define the quantitative viral risk for each scenario, and to assess foodborne viral risks for determining high risk situations and efficacy of interventions. Modular process risk models will be developed to build up specific HACCP recommendations. Recent developments in risk management will be evaluated for their use in reducing foodborne viral infections. Survival of viruses in foods will be modelled, and disinfection procedures used in the food industry will be evaluated, to elucidate the critical points where virus contamination may be controlled. VITAL will disseminate its findings by producing handbooks and guidelines on appropriate control practices, and communicate requirements necessary for establishing reliable monitoring of food chains for viruses on a regular or as-needed basis. Therefore VITAL will provide to Europe a framework for monitoring, risk modelling, and procedures for control of foodborne virus contamination, which will be applicable to any virus, whether existing, emerging or re-emerging, that poses the danger of being transmitted by food. Implementation of such a framework of preventive or proactive virus contamination management will form a first line of defence against transmission of foodborne viral diseases in Europe.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-4-20 | Award Amount: 3.65M | Year: 2008
The project will investigate how different actors in the marine sector, including fisheries, make use of scientific knowledge, how the roles that scientists play help formulate policies and how governance approaches can be developed which enable policy decisions to address uncertainty and complexity based on research and with the participation of stakeholders. The project will collect and build on experiences from a diverse range of EU policy areas which address interactions between human activities and nature. The main objectives of the proposal are to examine and develop the institutions, practices and tools that allow complexity and uncertainty to be dealt with effectively within participatory decision making processes. The proposal will develop these institutions, practices and tools in respect to European marine management with a particular focus on fish harvesting and marine spatial plannin via two linked strategies. Where Strategy One is to develop tools to facilitate participatory decision making processes based on recently developed bio-economic modeling techniques. While Strategy Two carries out a sociological analysis of the practices and institutional forms that can most effectively involve the wider community in debates over developing science-based policies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-2.3.3. | Award Amount: 5.08M | Year: 2011
Frontier environmental research increasingly depends on a wide range of data and advanced capabilities to process and analyse them. The ENVRI project, Common Operations of Environmental Research infrastructures is a collaboration in the ESFRI Environment Cluster, with support from ICT experts, to develop common e-science components and services for their facilities. The results will speed up the construction of these infrastructures and will allow scientists to use the data and software from each facility to enable multi-disciplinary science. The target is on developing common capabilities including software and services of the environmental and e-infrastructure communities. While the ENVRI infrastructures are very diverse, they face common challenges including data capture from distributed sensors, metadata standardisation, management of high volume data, workflow execution and data visualisation. The common standards, deployable services and tools developed will be adopted by each infrastructure as it progresses through its construction phase. Two use cases, led by the most mature infrastructures, will focus the development work on separate requirements and solutions for data pre-processing of primary data and post-processing toward publishing. The project will be based on a common reference model created by capturing the semantic resources of each ESFRI-ENV infrastructure. This model and the development driven by the testbed deployments result in ready-to-use systems which can be integrated into the environmental research infrastructures. The project puts emphasis on synergy between advanced developments, not only among the infrastructure facilities, but also with ICT providers and related e-science initiatives. These links will facilitate system deployment and the training of future researchers, and ensure that the inter-disciplinary capabilities established here remain sustainable beyond the lifetime of the project.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-3-2-01 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2008
The aim of the proposed DISCO project is to develop more efficient and therefore more cost-effective cellulosic and hemicellulosic enzyme tools for the enhanced hydrolysis of pre-treated lignocellulosic biomass in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) conditions for bioethanol production. The focus will be on enzymes having increased catalytic activity on various types of relevant European lignocellulosic biomass. In addition enzymes with lower affinity for lignin shall also be developed. Such enzymes would increase the effective amount of cellulases/ hemicellulases for cellulose hydrolysis. Furthermore the recycling of these enzymes would be applicable. The approach in this proposal is to discover the desired activities by combining classical and modern screening technologies. The enzymes will be produced in suitable host systems for industrial enzyme production. The project also focuses on elucidation of enzymatic hydrolysis mechanisms, about which there is a paucity of knowledge. The project will determine the limiting structural factors in these mechanisms by characterisation of the substrate during the course of the hydrolysis and the remaining recalcitrant residue. Synergy between different cellulase and hemicellulases components will also be addresses on the chosen lignocellulosic substrates. Furthermore, the project seeks to demonstrate the proof of concept with the cellulolytic enzymes in a pilot scale using the most relevant European feedstock pretreated wheat straw and related high-volume co-products.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2009.2.1.3.1;ENV.2009.1.1.3.1 | Award Amount: 8.93M | Year: 2010
The GHG-Europe project aims to improve our understanding and capacity for predicting the European terrestrial carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) budget by applying a systematic, comprehensive and integrative approach. GHG-Europe quantifies the annual to decadal variability of the carbon and GHG budgets of terrestrial ecosystems in EU27 plus Switzerland and in six data-rich European regions via data-model integration, diagnostic and predictive modelling. Models are calibrated by multi-site observations. Research includes CO2, CH4 and N2O in forests, croplands, grasslands, shrublands, peatlands and soils. Via an integrated approach, GHG Europe scales up consistently from local to regional and continental scale via scale dependent error propagation and systematic quantification of uncertainties, model validation at different scales and top-down verification by atmospheric inversion models. At regional and European scale lateral C transport by land use, trade and rivers are included. Variability in C and GHG budgets is attributed to natural (climate) and anthropogenic drivers (N deposition, land use, past and present management) by synthesis of past and emerging experiments, targeted observations in hot spots and hot moments and model sensitivity analyses. For this purpose, observations are extended to under-sampled regions and ecosystems with likely high importance for the European C budget: forests and land use change in Eastern Europe and Mediterranen shrublands. The future vulnerability of carbon pools and risks of positive feedbacks in the climate-carbon system are assessed by scenario analyses with biophysical models and by integrating feedbacks with socio-economic changes and EU climate and land use policies. GHG-Europe uses a bidirectional interaction with stakeholders to provide regular and timely scientific advice targeted to the emerging needs of the UNFCCC process and for implementing post-2012 climate commitments in Europe.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2009-1.1-1 | Award Amount: 5.45M | Year: 2010
This project will develop methodology for the manufacture of novel peptide-based nanoparticles and nanocapsules to satisfy an unmet clinical need: sustained drug delivery to the posterior segment of the eye. The proposed consortium brings together internationally leading groups in self-assembling polypeptide nanoparticle and nanocapsule preparation by chemical (Durham) and genetic (Nijmegen) approaches, drug loading and in vitro release studies (Helsinki & Madrid), in vitro and in vivo assessment of nanoparticle biocompatibility and functionality (Helsinki, Madrid & Tbingen) and polymer synthesis, processing and industrial validation of manufacturing processes (DSM). Polyester micro- and nanoparticles that have been proposed for ocular drug delivery have several major drawbacks: acidic degradation products cause inflammation; drug release is difficult to control; and peptides and proteins are difficult to encapsulate. A platform of novel, peptide-based nanomaterials, formed through bio-inspired self-assembly processes, will be developed to overcome these problems. Peptide-based materials have a number of attractive features: biodegradation gives non-inflammatory products; self-assembly occurs under mild conditions; they possess a rich chemical diversity; they are defined at the sequence level. Polypeptides and peptide hybrid materials will be processed into nanoparticles, polymeric vesicles (polymersomes) and nanocapsules. These biodegradable and biocompatible materials will be used as containers for the loading, controlled release and cellular delivery of therapeutic molecules. The consortium therefore will enable the industrial manufacture of as-yet unobtainable, high value nanotechnology-based products utilising intrinisically low-energy demand nanobiotechnological phenomena. These will produce a step change improvement in the quality of products for sustained drug delivery to the posterior segment of the eye, enhancing the competitiveness of European industry.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2008-1-4-04 | Award Amount: 3.03M | Year: 2009
The Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact the Rural Development Dimension (CAPRI-RD) aims to develop and apply an operational, Pan-European tool including all Candidate and Potential Candidate countries to analyse the regional impacts of all policy measures under CAP Pillar I and II across a wide range of economic, social and environmental indicators, aligned with the CMEF. CAPRI-RDs core contains consistently linked economic models at the NUTS 2 level, the CAPRI model for agriculture, and a newly developed layer of regional CGEs. Given the importance of the EUs agricultural trade, CAPRI includes a global agricultural market model. The project will improve price transmission modelling inside the EU market, review the implementation of de-coupled payments, and maintain the CAPRI farm type layer. Harmonised and regularly updated databases, including regional Social Accounting Matrices, act as the models sources. Quality management for data and results is ensured by clearly documented procedures that are partly based on statistical methods and sensitivity analysis. Spatial down-scaling algorithms will break down land use results to 1x1 km grid cells to facilitate the spatially explicit calculation of environmental impacts. During the projects lifetime, CAPRI-RD will be improved and expanded stepwise. This will enable an annual policy impact assessment of scenarios defined by a user board comprising major stakeholders at the European level, and allow contributions to be made to the yearly DG-AGRI outlook work. Further, yearly training sessions will develop the necessary capacity in the European Research Area to successfully apply CAPRI-RD during and after the project. A Graphical User Interface (GUI) will allow the scenarios to be defined, the model to be steered, and the results to be explained through tables, graphs and maps. Dissemination activities will include the distribution of reports, model documentation, GUI, code and data via the internet.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH.2011.4.2-1 | Award Amount: 8.99M | Year: 2012
In order to gauge its significance, conceptual change in the study of borders must be seen in relation to fundamental social, economic and geopolitical transformations that have taken place in the past decades. In addition, major paradigmatic shifts in scientific debate, and in the social sciences in particular, must also be considered. Recognising the close interrelationships between social change and paradigm shifts, the EUBORDERSCAPES project will analyse the evolving concept of borders in terms of a mutually linked emergence of post-national, post-colonial, post-modernist and post-Communist strands of inquiry. State borders are the frame of reference, rather than ethnographic/anthropological boundaries. However, this approach emphasises the social significance and subjectivities of state borders while critically interrogating objective categories of state territoriality and international relations. The research proposed here will, furthermore, not only be focused at the more general, at times highly abstract, level of conceptual change. This approach will also allow us to compare and contrast how different and often contested conceptualisations of state borders (in terms of their political, social, cultural and symbolic significance) resonate in concrete contexts at the level of everyday life.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-4 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2011
This project focuses on identification of epigenetic risk factors underlying the increased rates of type-2 diabetes (T2D) amongst South Asians in their home countries, migrants to Europe and other parts of the world. Known environmental and genetic factors explain only a small part of the increased risk of T2D among South Asians, who constitute the highest numbers of people with T2D worldwide. We hypothesise that epigenetic modification contributes to the increased T2D risk amongst South Asians. We will carry out an epigenome-wide scan of DNA methylation in whole blood, among T2D cases and controls from non-migrant (living in India or Pakistan) and migrant (living in the UK) South Asians. Further testing of top-ranking markers will be carried out in South Asian T2D cases and controls from UK, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka. We will use results to investigate the mechanisms underlying the epigenetic modifications identified, to develop a predictive panel of lifestyle, environmental, genetic and epigenetic markers increasing susceptibility to incident T2D in South Asians, and to quantify the contribution of these risk factors to T2D amongst South Asians in diverse regional settings. This research will improve understanding of epigenetic mechanisms underlying T2D, and may enable development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of T2D amongst South Asians worldwide.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SEC-2009-4.3-01 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2010
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), the most toxic substances known, are susceptible for use as bioweapons (listed as class A agents by CDC). Currently licensed animal derived antibodies or F(ab)2 preparations, are at a high risk of inducing adverse effects and their privately-owned stockpiles are limited. In this project, we will target the most lethal types of BoNTs: A (subtypes A1 and A2), B (B1 and B2) and E (E1). The antibodies will be directed against the C-terminus of the heavy chain and the light chain of each of these three BoNTs, as these domains contain neutralizing epitopes, according to the latest scientific data. The six corresponding immunogens will be produced in recombinant form, and utilized to immunize macaques (Macaca fascicularis), from which phage-displayed immune libraries will be built. Utilizing the phage technology, scFvs cross- reacting with A1 and A2, or B1 and B2subtypes will be panned. The best scFv from each library will be selected according to its high affinity and in vitro neutralization property. The six most neutralizing scFvs will then be super-humanized (germline-humanized) and expressed as IgGs, which will be tested in vivo, in a standardised model of protection and against toxins obtained from collections of clostridia strains. The project includes representatives of medical first-responders who will disseminate our results, and help create a market so that the necessary clinical studies could be performed in future. The project will offer an unequalled level of security against biothreats in Europe, based upon a family of well-tolerated and effective molecules.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.1-01;KBBE.2013.1.4-07 | Award Amount: 1.29M | Year: 2013
The main objective of ProLarix is to facilitate the translation of an innovation developed under FP7 project ForestSpeCs from an intriguing concept to a business model for European SMEs in forestry and the agricultural sector. The potential use of bioactive extracts of by-products of the forest industry was evaluated under FP7 project ForestSpecs. Constituents of Larix by-products (Larixyne) were demonstrated to have a high potential to be developed into a fungicide (plant protection product, PPP) with (i) high efficacy against a key disease of agriculture, (ii) an favourable environmental profile with respect to environmental impact and use of renewable resources, as well as (iii) a high potential to generate added value in the forest industry and European production of smart crop protection technologies. Bringing potential plant protection products to the market necessitates substantial investments in the development of the registration dossier and market development. It is therefore essential to provide a priori information in order to predict the scale of investments as well as the time needed for registration of a novel PPP under EU legislation. ProLarix will therefore (i) pilot production and uses of Larixyne, (ii) validate efficacy and demonstrate its value as a PPP in European grapevine production systems, (iii) demonstrate the avenue to large scale production of high quality product, (iv) fill in data gaps and provide an initial data set to be used for future registration and (v) develop a road map for the development of a full dossier and capture of the market.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: Fission-2013-5.1.1 | Award Amount: 2.15M | Year: 2013
The skills in nuclear chemistry are of strategic, as well as immediate, importance for the maintenance of European nuclear operations. The demand for these skills would not decrease even if Europe decides to phase out its nuclear energy because they are even more indispensable for decommissioning the nuclear installations than for their operation, and a substantial demand for these skills exists in non-energy sectors. The CINCH-II project will be a direct continuation of the CINCH-I project; its main objectives, expected to have the broadest impact to the target groups, are further development and implementation of the EuroMaster in Nuclear Chemistry, completion of a pan-European offer of modular training courses for the customers from the end users, development of a Training Passport in Nuclear Chemistry and preparing the grounds for the ECVET application in nuclear chemistry, implementation of modern e-learning tools developed in CINCH-I and further development of new tools for the distance learning, laying the foundations of a Nuclear Chemistry Education and Training Platform as a future sustainable Euratom Fission Training Scheme (EFTS) in Nuclear Chemistry, or development of methods of raising awareness of the possible options for nuclear chemistry in potential students, academia and industry. The CINCH-II project will mobilise the identified existing fragmented capabilities to form the critical mass required to implement the courses and meet the nuclear chemistry postgraduate education and training needs, including the high-level training of research workers, of the European Union. The CINCH-II consortium includes partners from all key European nuclear countries; both academia and national nuclear laboratories are represented, supported by an outer shell of Associated Partners. Networking on the national level and with existing platforms in Europe, such as the ENEN, as well as in the non-European countries will be an important feature of the project.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.2-01 | Award Amount: 7.65M | Year: 2012
The main objective of the BACCHUS project is to develop tools and resources that will facilitate the generation of robust and exploitable scientific evidence that can be used to support claims of a cause and effect relationship between consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols, and beneficial physiological effects related to cardiovascular health in humans. To achieve this, the BACCHUS consortium has assembled 12 leading Research & Technological centres and 16 SMEs (with ca 30% of the EC requested contribution allocated to the SMEs). BACCHUS thus contains SMEs directly involved in developing food products and pursuing health claims, experts in health claims legislation and the EFSA review process, and academic and industry partners who provide high quality food and health research that can underpin health claims. Existing SME-developed products that have clear potential for obtaining favourable opinions for health claims have been selected as test cases for study. These have been aligned with a series of work-packages each of which addresses key aspects of the EFSA health claim evaluation process (legislation and dossiers; product/bioactive characterisation; habitual intakes; bioavailability; mechanisms and biomarkers; clinical trials evidence of health benefit) that will deliver tools, processes and high quality original science. Scientific results and best practice guidelines will be made publically available and thus support future claims for industry. The scope and completeness of the existing bioactive database (eBASIS) that includes both compositional and biological effects data will be extended and developed as a sustainable tool with various training materials. All outcomes will be disseminated broadly by direct engagement with SMEs via an existing European SME association, with stakeholders via seminars, newsletters and press releases, as well as through traditional scientific routes (high quality publications, and conference presentations).
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: INFRA-2011-2.1.1. | Award Amount: 10.17M | Year: 2011
Key questions in physics can be answered only by constructing a giant underground observatory to search for rare events and study terrestrial and astrophysical neutrinos. The Astroparticle Roadmap of ApPEC/ASPERA strongly supports this, recommending that: a new large European infrastructure of 100000-500000 ton for proton decay and low-energy neutrinos be evaluated as a common design study together with the underground infrastructure and eventual detection of accelerator neutrino beams. The latest CERN roadmap also states: a range of very important non-accelerator experiments takes place at the overlap of particle and astroparticle physics exploring otherwise inaccessible phenomena; Council will seek with ApPEC a coordinated strategy in these areas of mutual interest. Reacting to this, uniting scientists across Europe with industrial support to produce a very strong collaboration, the LAGUNA FP7 design study has had a very positive effect. It enabled, via study of seven pre-selected locations (Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and UK), a detailed geo-technical assessment of the giant underground cavern needed, concluding finally that no geo-technical show-stoppers to cavern construction exist. Building on this, the present design study will address two challenges vital to making a final detector and site choice: (i) to determine the full cost of construction underground, commissioning and long-term operation of the infrastructure, and (ii) to determine the full impact of including long baseline neutrino physics with beams from CERN.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SiS-2009-184.108.40.206;SiS-2009-220.127.116.11 | Award Amount: 906.08K | Year: 2011
EURECNET is a network that brings together national REC associations, networks or comparable initiatives but also other bodies relevant in the field of research involving human participants like National Ethics Councils and the European Commissions ethical review system. Such a network forms the infrastructural basis to promote awareness of specific working practices of RECs across Europe, to enhance the shared knowledge base of European RECs, to support coherent reviews and opinions and to meet new challenges and emerging ethical issues. The central objective of EURECNET as a Coordinating Action is to foster the already existing network of European REC networks (in short EUREC). In particular, the contribution of EURECNET aims at five different levels: - fostering a sustainable infrastructure for European RECs (including a statute and a secretariat) to promote exchange and cooperation and to allow for international cooperation; - gathering information on RECs in Europe to build a basis for mutual exchange - collecting and evaluating training materials for REC members to enhance the quality of review; - conducting capacity building to facilitate the development of national REC networks (as future partners of EUREC); - identifying emerging ethical issues to develop common solutions for challenges posed by new technologies and scientific methodologies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-1.1.1. | Award Amount: 3.52M | Year: 2010
The GOETE project will analyse the role of school in re-conceptualising education in terms of lifelong learning by combining a life course and a governance perspective. In European knowledge societies adequacy of education means a balance of individual, social and economic aspects. This is operationalised by exploring how educational institutions conceptualise and organise individual educational trajectories. The study covers the period from transition into lower secondary education to transition into upper secondary education/vocational education and training, i.e. the age group between 10 and 16 years. Comparative analysis will focus on the regulation of access to education, of support measures for coping with education and of securing the relevance of education for social integration and the labour market. In 8 EU countries the mixed-method study involves surveys with students, parents and school principals; comparison of teacher training; case studies of local school spaces; discourse analysis; expert interviews with policy makers and stakeholders. On a scientific level, the comparison of the regulation of educational trajectories involves re-conceptualising the social aspects of learning and education under conditions of late modern knowledge societies. It reflects the need for formal education to be embedded in social life worlds, enabled by social support, and complemented by informal and non-formal learning. On a practice and policy level, it will provide information about alternative means of providing children and young people with access to education; of supporting them in coping with education and ensuring the relevance of education by communication and cooperation between school, labour market, other educational actors, students and parents. The communication of findings will include a dialogic model of educational policy planning at local level, training workshops with teachers, youth workers and policy makers, and a European policy seminar.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2011.1.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 10.93M | Year: 2011
CLAIRE investigates the ways in which climate change alters the threat of air pollution on European land ecosystems including soils. Based on field observations, experimental data and models, it establishes new flux, concentration and dose-response relationships, as a basis to inform future European policies. Starting with biosphere-atmosphere exchange measurements, CLAIRE quantifies how global warming and altered precipitation will affect emissions of key European primary pollutants (NOx, NH3, VOCs), including interactions with increasing aerosol and hemispheric O3 background concentrations, modifying atmospheric transport and deposition. An ensemble of chemistry transport models will be applied to assess uncertainty in response to harmonized scenarios for climate, emissions and land-use, while high resolution studies will investigate how climate change alters local patterns of pollutant exposure and threshold exceedance. A network of European experiments for contrasting ecosystems and climates, combined with meta-analysis of unpublished datasets, will quantify how climate change alters ecosystem vulnerability to tropospheric O3 and N deposition, including interaction with increased CO2. Combined with special topics on interactions with N form (wet/dry, NHx/NOy), aerosol-exacerbated drought stress and BVOC self-protection of O3 effects, novel threshold and dose-response approaches will be developed. These will be combined with regional atmospheric and biogeochemical models to estimate interactions and feedbacks on plant/soil carbon stocks, greenhouse gas balance and plant species change. The new risk assessment chain to be developed will be applied at the European scale, quantifying how projected climate change will alter damage estimates. Combined with economic valuation of ecosystem services, improved integrated assessment modelling will allow a cost-benefit analysis to inform future mitigation and adaptation strategies on air pollution and climate change.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRA-2007-3.0-03 | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2008
PESI provides standardised and authoritative taxonomic information by integrating and securing Europes taxonomically authoritative species name registers and nomenclators (name databases) that underpin the management of biodiversity in Europe.\nPESI defines and coordinates strategies to enhance the quality and reliability of European biodiversity information by integrating the infrastructural components of four major community networks on taxonomic indexing into a joint work programme. This will result in functional knowledge networks of taxonomic experts and regional focal points, which will collaborate on the establishment of standardised and authoritative taxonomic (meta-) data. In addition PESI will coordinate the integration and synchronisation of the European taxonomic information systems into a joint e-infrastructure and the set up of a common user-interface disseminating the pan-European checklists and associated user-services results\nThe organisation of national and regional focal point networks as projected not only assures the efficient access to local expertise, but is also important for the synergistic promotion of taxonomic standards throughout Europe, for instance to liaison with national governmental bodies on the implementation of European biodiversity legislations. In addition PESI will start with the geographic expansion of the European expertise networks to eventually cover the entire Palaearctic biogeographic region.\nPESI supports international efforts on the development of a Global Names Architecture by building a common intelligent name-matching device in consultation with the principal initiatives (GBIF, TDWG, EoL, SpeciesBase). PESI contributes the development of a unified cross-reference system and provides of high quality taxonomic standards. PESI will further involve the Europe-based nomenclatural services and link the planned joint European taxonomic e-infrastructures middle-layer to the global e-gateway.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.8.0 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2011
CADMAD aims to make a foundational breakthrough in the way computers and computer-aided design and manufacturing is employed in DNA-based research and development, making a radically new use of information technologies in biology and biotechnology.Biology and biotechnology research involves DNA programming, which is akin to computer programming. Researchers modify and combine DNA of interest in a programmatic way to uncover its function, to improve its function, or to create new functions. Whereas the composition and editing of computer programs is as easy as using a word-processor, the design, construction and editing of DNA in a programmatic fashion is still a slow, expensive, labour-intensive wet-lab process.CADMADs vision is to replace the labour-intensive DNA processing carried out today by tens of thousands of skilled wet-lab workers around the world, by high-throughput computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA, which would be fundamentally more efficient than plain de novo DNA synthesis by effectively reusing existing DNA. Computed-aided design and manufacturing of semiconductor chips has enabled the computer revolution, the Internet revolution, and the mobile phone revolution. Computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA may similarly enable a revolution in biology and biotechnology, in which high-throughput computer-aided and robotically executed experiments replace manual wet-lab work, resulting in accelerated progress in key areas of research and development.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SSH-2010-3.2-1 | Award Amount: 10.21M | Year: 2011
ALICE RAP is a Europe wide project of 43 partner research institutions involving 107 researchers from 25 European countries providing 1000 months of a plurality of scientific endeavour to analyse the place and challenges of addictions and lifestyles to the cohesion, organization and functioning of contemporary European society. Through integrated multidisciplinary research, a wide range of factors will be studied through a foresight approach to inform a redesign of effective addictions governance. Ownership will be described by an historical study of addiction through the ages, an analysis of public and private stakeholder views, and through image analyses, of professional and citizenship views. A study of how addictions are classified and defined will be followed by estimates of their health, social and economic impact. Determinants of addiction will be investigated through a coordinated and cohesive social, economic and biological analysis of initiation, transition into problem use and transition into and out of dependence. The business of addiction will be analyzed through studies of revenues, profits and participants in legal and illegal trade, the impact of suppliers on addictive substance use and behaviours, and analyses of webs of influence on policy responses. Addictions governance will be studied by describing the views and forces that determine the ways societies steer themselves and by stock taking of present governance practices to old and emerging addictions. Youth as customers will be analyzed through considering the impacts of new technologies on promoting and mitigating use, by studying the interrelations of culture and biology, and by determining features that promote resilience and nudge young people to reduce problematic use. The programme itself will be professionally managed from a partnership perspective to promote a coordinated and integrated approach to the high volume of research and its policy implications.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.8.0 | Award Amount: 2.38M | Year: 2008
The concept of association is at the heart of many of todays powerful ICT technologies such as information retrieval and data mining. These technologies typically employ association by similarity or co-occurrence to discover new information relevant to the evidence already known to the user. However, domains that are characterized by the need to develop innovative solutions require a form of creative information discovery from increasingly complex, heterogeneous and geographically distributed information sources. These domains, including design and engineering (drugs, materials, processes, devices), areas involving art (fashion and entertainment), and scientific discovery disciplines, require a different ICT paradigm that can help users to uncover, select, re-shuffle, and combine diverse contents to synthesize new features and properties leading to creative solutions. People working in these areas employ creative thinking to connect seemingly unrelated information, for example, by using metaphors or analogical reasoning. These modes of thinking allow the mixing of conceptual categories and contexts, which are normally separated. The functional basis for these modes is a mechanism called bisociation (see Arthur Koestler The Act of Creation).\nThe goal of the BISON project is to develop a fundamentally new ICT paradigm based on the concept of bisociation. The key vision of the BISON project is to develop a bisociative information discovery framework and an implemented open-source BISON platform for interactive and scalable processing of massive, dispersed collections of heterogeneous contents. The BISON project will develop a novel knowledge representation formalism (a bisociation network) and a bisociative reasoning mechanism enabling information discovery from the resulting network, using novel graph analysis, visualization and explanation techniques. The developed BISON technology will be tested in four scenarios to validate the new paradigm.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-2-2-07 | Award Amount: 7.77M | Year: 2009
Europe is facing major diet related health problems. Attitudes to eating habits have to be changed and the benefits of alternative treatment regimes substantiated. This can only be achieved by providing guidelines regulating health claims based on scientific data. Thus, there is a unique opportunity to use gut flora in potential treatment regimes and as a preventive target for major diet related health problems. TORNADO consortium proposes a systemic and comprehensive mechanistic approach to deliver scientific data that can be compiled as guidelines for European authorities. TORNADO will determine the influence of diet on the gut flora and highlight the impact of gut flora on the immune system/other organ systems. TORNADO aims to investigate molecular targets that are subject to regulation by gut flora and diet that sustain health. This will be done by an increasing level of specificity, from (1) investigations of dietary habits and health in population cohorts, through (2) intervention studies in humans and animals and (3) analyses of the intestine and immune system, and also organs like adipocyte tissue, liver & brain, to pinpointing the impact of dietary influence on (4) cells and (5) potential functional molecular targets. TORNADO will deliver data that can be used to recommend biomarkers for evaluating effects of diet or microbes; refute, substantiate or improve health claims of existing products; generate novel functional food products. TORNADOs approach of microbe-to-mouse-to-man validation of dietary influence will enable more solid evidence for health claims and provide concrete deliverables e.g. Roadmaps to Health, Tailor-made Health-monitoring. Continuous state-of-the-art dissemination programs will increase impact. TORNADOs program will accelerate future design of personalized functional food for specific target groups. The evidence-based data delivered by TORNADO will have long lasting effects on health among European citizens well beyond 2012.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-4 | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2012
Despite a strong genetic component to diabetes and obesity, the rapidly rising prevalence of these disorders is due to adaptation to a changing environment. The epicentre of the diabetes epidemic is in South Asia and this is reflected in the migrant populations in Europe. Current prevention strategies are focused on adult life and target over-nutrition in high-risk adults. However, for many population groups across the globe, these strategies ignore many key principles that underlie the increasing global prevalence of these diseases. A substantial portion of the South Asian people, living in their home countries experience nutrition deprivation, while after migration to Europe, may encounter nutritional abundance resulting in imbalance during their lifecourse. These conditions are of particular importance during foetal and early developmental stages where environmental insults may interact with genetic risk to induce foetal programming of adult metabolic disease. Few groups have targeted early life programming as an opportunity for the prevention of diabetes/obesity in childhood and subsequent adult life and there are limited guidelines on this topic. The proposed grant will bring together a unique group of investigators in South Asia (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) and Europe (UK, Norway, Germany and Finland) with SMEs of complementary expertise (Germany and Spain) combining prevention strategies, state-of-the-art genomics, social sciences and public health that focus on these early life predictors of disease. The major objective behind this collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach is to combine knowledge from the work packages on lifestyle, nutrition and genomics to both inform public health policy through guideline development and design a large-scale pragmatic intervention to prevent the metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes in South Asian populations aimed at early life taking into account multi-generational effects.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.6.6 | Award Amount: 9.85M | Year: 2011
The SUPERHUB project aims at realizing a new services mobility framework supporting an integrated and eco-efficient use of multi-modal mobility systems in an urban setting.\nSUPERHUB provides a user-centric, integrated approach to multi-modal smart urban mobility systems, through an open platform able to consider in real time various mobility offers and provide a set of mobility services able to address user needs, promote user participation and to foster environmental friendly and energyefficient behavioural changes. Moreover, the take-up of virtuous behaviours, characterized by a reduced environmental footprint, is also facilitated by the SUPERHUB open platform matchmaking and negotiation capabilities between (public-private) providers and consumers of mobility offers and by the use of persuasive technologies to achieve wide adoption of results.\nTo achieve these objectives SUPERHUB will develop a persuasive engine based on captology principles to facilitate the voluntary adoption of environmentally-friendly multi-mobility habits, novel methods and tools for real-time reasoning on large data streams coming from heterogeneous sources, new algorithms and protocols for inferring traffic conditions from mobile users by coupling data from mobile operator networks with information coming from GPS based mobile phones and for dynamic matchmaking or resources that will generate journey plans best fulfilling user mobility needs and preferences while minimizing negative environmental impact.\nSpecific services and user studies will be realized to demonstrate the SUPERHUB concepts and technologies through field trials in Barcelona, Helsinki and Milan, involving large end-users communities. Results of SUPERHUB field trials shall influence local policy makers and municipalities in the definition of new energy-aware mobility strategies and planning.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.76M | Year: 2013
The main research goal of HEXACOMM is to apply scientifically-based modelling and experimental methods to relate concentrations of particulate matter in the indoor domestic environment to its sources and human exposure implications. The second research objective is to determine the human exposure arising from such exposure at both individual and collective (population) scales at modern microenvironments. Contributions from outdoor air will be taken into account. The central idea of HEXACOMM is that a combination of tools and methods will enable us to relate indoor air quality to aerosol contaminants in urban homes, offices, vehicles with human exposure in a quantitative manner. To achieve our goal and objectives we propose to undertake, in parallel, a carefully designed validation programme at the European scale combining specifically targeted indoor air quality measurements, source apportionment studies, micro-environmental modelling, dosimetry modelling and exposure studies. Ultimately, our vision is that such enhanced understanding of the underpinning science will lead to improved indoor air quality in European domestic environments, while facilitating development of strategies to mitigate the impacts of aerosols on human exposure.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.2.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 2.80M | Year: 2013
IRRESISTIBLE In the project IRRISITIBLE partners work together to make young people more aware about Responsible Research and Innovation issues. Universities and science centres will cooperate in the project using the expertise they have in linking formal land informal learning. For a long term effect the project focusses on teacher training. Each partner will form a Community of Learners in which teachers work together with formal education experts and informal education experts. The topics they will work on are derived from cutting edge research taking place at the partners university. Researchers and people from industry will complement the Community of Learners. The Community of Learners will develop material to be used both in the classroom as well as in the science centres. During the first part content knowledge about the research will be introduced using the well established IBSE methodology. In the second part students will discuss and work on Responsible Research and Innovation issues regarding the research they have studied. Each partner will develop one module to be used in the classroom During the module students will be developing exhibits about the RRI issues that they have studied. These exhibits will be presented in the science centres.The best exhibits from each partner will be brought together during the yearly conferences of the project. By using new techniques like digital fabrication (ie. 3D printing) the exchange of exhibits will be easy between partners. In the second round of the project the teachers from the first Community of Learners will work in a new Community with 4 to 5 new teachers. They will help these teachers introduce the developed modules in their own classroom. This way the number of teachers involved grows. After receiving feedback from the first two rounds the 10 modules will be published and disseminated using www.scientix.eu and through workshops at local and (inter)national conferences
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 18.74M | Year: 2009
The Project promotes the access to five European Research Infrastructures, and it is structured intop eight Networking Activities, plus the Management of the Consortium, and fourteen Joint Research Activities. The Project represents the continuation of the successful HadronPhysics project in FP6 and originates from the initiative of more than 2.500 European scientists working in the field of hadron physics. Hadron physics deals with the study of strongly interacting particles, the hadrons. Hadrons are composed of quarks and gluons. Their interaction is described by Quantum Chromo Dynamics, the theory of the strong force. Hadrons form more complex systems, in particular atomic. Under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, hadrons may loose their identity and dissolve into a new state of matter similar to the primordial matter of the early Universe. The Networking Activities are related to the organization of experimental and theoretical collaborative work concerning both ongoing activities at present Research Infrastructures and planned experiments at future facilities. In hadron physics the close interaction between experimentalists and theoreticians is of paramount importance. The Joint Research Activities concentrate on technological innovations for present and future experiments. Applications in material science, medicine, information, technology, etc., represent natural fall-outs. The main objective of this Integrating Activity is to optimize the use and development of the Research Infrastructures existing in Europe working in the field of hadron physics. The Project aims as well at structuring, on European scale, the way Research Infrastructures operate, and at fostering their joint development in terms of capacity and performance. The approach used is the bottom up approach, to respond to the needs of the scientific community in all fields of science and technology.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.8.0 | Award Amount: 797.38K | Year: 2008
One of the most important challenges of the emerging Information Age is to effectively utilise the immense wealth of information and data acquired, computed and stored by modern information systems. On the one hand, the appropriate use of available information volumes offers large potential to realize technological progress and business success. On the other hand, there exists the severe danger that users and analysts easily get lost in irrelevant, or inappropriately processed or presented information, a problem which is generally called the information overload problem. Visual Analytics is an emerging research discipline developing technology to make the best possible use of huge information loads in a wide variety of applications. The basic idea is to appropriately combine the strengths of intelligent automatic data analysis with the visual perception and analysis capabilities of the human user. We propose a Coordination Action to join European academic and industrial RandD excellence from several individual disciplines, forming a strong Visual Analytics research community. An array of thematic working groups set up by this consortium will focus on advancing the state of the art in Visual Analytics. Specifically, the working groups will join excellence in the fields of data management, data analysis, spatial-temporal data, and human visual perception research with the wider visualisation research community. This Coordination Action will (1.) form and shape a strong European Visual Analytics community, (2.) define the European Visual Analytics Research Roadmap, (3.) expose public and private stakeholders to Visual Analytics technology and (4.) set the stage for larger follow-up Visual Analytics research initiatives in Europe.
News Article | October 4, 2016
Professor Hannes Lohi's research group from the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Centre has studied the blood count of hyperactive and impulsive dogs, together with the LC-MS Metabolomics Centre of Biocentre Kuopio (University of Eastern Finland). The results indicate that the metabolites of phospholipids, tryptophan in particular, differ from the blood counts of the control dogs. These results are similar to previous research done on ADHD patients. The study was published in the Behavioral and Brain Functions journal on 29 September 2016.
News Article | February 15, 2017
The Fun Academy Kindergarten global network is expanding to partner with Countryside Children’s Academy (CCA), a top-rated childcare center in Virginia, U.S. This partnership enables children enrolled at CCA to embrace the innovative Fun Learning approach; an early childhood education initiative that builds on the best of the world-renowned Finnish educational system, and combines this with the strength of an international network of teaching professionals. “I’m driven to continually improve the level of service I provide to children. I looked at the most successful educational systems around the world, and discovered the breakthrough innovations made by Finnish Fun Learning," says Meenoo Labana, director of CCA. Fun Learning is a child-centric approach that guides children to innovative and scientific thinking. It encourages the fundamental element of the natural development process: a child learns through exploration, fun and play. The Fun Academy Kindergarten Fun Learning implementation gives children a hunger to explore and learn in a safe, playful and encouraging environment. “Learning how to learn, think innovatively and participate actively at an early age develops the 21st century skills necessary to evolve as creative and responsible citizens and leaders,” CCA’s Labana emphasizes. Most importantly, Fun Learning promotes the overall well-being of the child. This partnership gives children enrolled at CCA access to the most up-to-date learning methodologies. They will have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and inspiring environment, and receive support to become socially adept creative and scientific thinkers prepared for a world of lifelong learning. “I'm delighted that our initiative is becoming truly global," says CEO of Fun Academy, Sanna Lukander. “This again proves our Fun Learning philosophy adapts naturally with local curricula and cultural settings. Our diverse network shares best teaching practices, and teachers benefit with peer support from colleagues in different countries and cultures.” This Thursday, Countryside Children’s Academy and Fun Academy take part in a Centennial Education event at the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C. Fun Academy will present the Fun Learning approach, and the benefits of global collaboration and learning together. Fun Academy Kindergarten focuses on continuous professional development of educators; answering their needs with on-going access to training sessions, principle guidelines, practical examples and peer collaboration. The Fun Academy & CCA partnership is proceeding at full steam with training of teaching staff and management starting next week. Fun Academy is a Finnish education company with a global mindset and works in the areas of early childhood education and digital solutions. Professional development of teachers is a core focus for the company as well as the Fun Learning approach that supports children to become lifelong learners by identifying their learning strengths and areas of interest or passion. Rovio Entertainment, the University of Helsinki and Polkuni Ltd are among the shareholders of Fun Academy. Founded in 1993, Countryside Children’s Academy is the premier independent child care center in Sterling, VA. Our aim is simple: to provide an outstanding education experience for all the children in our care. We do that by leveraging a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) environment for your child that is both fun and stimulating. We understand that every child is an individual with great potential, which is why our teachers tailor their STEAM curriculum to ensure each class is working at a level that encourages optimal learning and development.
News Article | September 14, 2016
In an unprecedented move, the group that selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine — the Nobel Assembly — has asked two of its members to resign following a scandal at the institute that supplies the assembly’s members. But scientists around the world don’t see the events at the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm as a threat to the reputation of the medical prize. They say that the assembly is sufficiently separate to the KI and has handled the affair well so far. “Everything is exploding now, but the long-term credibility won’t be affected,” says cancer researcher Julio Celis, associate scientific director of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen. The scandal involves the surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. Multiple inquiries have alleged that he committed scientific misconduct and subjected patients to unethical, experimental tracheal transplant operations, three of which occurred at the affiliated Karolinska University Hospital. Two of the patients have since died, and the third has required continuous hospital care since the transplant. In June, Swedish public prosecutors opened investigations following preliminary charges against Macchiarini of involuntary manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm. Macchiarini has denied the allegations. On 5 September, an independent report that revealed institutional problems at the KI mentioned Nobel Assembly members Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson and Anders Hamsten — both former KI vice-chancellors — for their roles in hiring Macchiarini in 2010 and subsequently extending his contracts. (Hamsten resigned as vice-chancellor in February after acknowledging that he had misjudged Macchiarini; the KI dismissed Macchiarini in March.) The call for Wallberg-Henriksson and Hamsten to resign came a day after the report and is a first for the 115-year-old panel, says neuroscientist Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee, whose fixed-term members are elected from the more permanent assembly. “The professionalism of some of the faculty at the Karolinska Institute has been called into question, and this won’t go away,” says Erwin Neher of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, who won the medicine prize in 1991. “But I don’t think this discredits the Nobel prize — they are two different things.” When Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left the bulk of his fortune — amassed from his explosives businesses — to the Nobel prizes. His will specified which institutions would select each prize, and declared the KI in charge of medicine. The first prizes were awarded in 1901. At first, the entire KI faculty selected the medicine winners, but by the 1970s it had grown too large for this to be practical — and a new law made all documents at state institutions accessible to the public, ruling out secret deliberations. So in 1977, the Nobel Assembly was created, comprising 50 KI professors; the Nobel Foundation pays for its operations. The Nobel Committee has also done a good job of separating itself from the Macchiarini affair since it began, says neuroscientist Eero Castrén at the University of Helsinki. KI geneticist Urban Lendahl, who participated in the decision to hire Macchiarini, resigned his position as secretary-general of the Nobel Committee in February, notes Castrén. (Lendahl stepped down because he anticipated that he would be involved in the investigation.) Two other assembly members — clinical immunologist Katarina Le Blanc, who co-authored a paper with Macchiarini that is under investigation by the Central Ethical Review Board, and Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, who was dean of research at the KI from 2013 until February — have not been asked to resign because there is still “uncertainty over their roles” in the Macchiarini affair, says Perlmann. “To protect the brand”, he adds, none of the three, nor Wallberg-Henriksson, nor Hamsten, has participated in assembly activities since February. Perlmann says that the Nobel Committee is not taking further action, but will monitor perceptions of the prize to see whether it needs to do more. “It is important that institutions deal in a fair way with those whose judgement or moral probity has been called into question,” says Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, who has nominated prize candidates to the Nobel Committee. “The Nobel Assembly seems to be doing this.” He adds: “There is no benefit to the world, or to patients who have been harmed, by using a very serious incident to undercut a globally important institute.” The assembly has survived other challenges, usually relating to complaints about its choices. In 1994, it encountered accusations — quickly discredited — that it had allowed a drug company to buy the 1986 medicine prize for Italian neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini. Just as the Swedish king never comments on politics, the Nobel Assembly never comments on such complaints. But during its 100th anniversary celebrations, it acknowledged some regrets — such as awarding a share of the 1923 prize for the discovery of insulin to John Macleod, whose role is now questioned, and the failure to recognize Oswald Avery, who identified DNA as the genetic material in the 1940s. “The prize has survived many things,” says cell biologist Måns Ehrenberg of Uppsala University, who has served on the committee that selects the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. “The standard of evaluation no one can criticize.”
News Article | April 4, 2016
Organized by researchers from the University of Helsinki in collaboration with an international team of conservation and land use change scientists the study concludes that immediate action is needed to prevent habitat loss and conflict with humans in priority areas for carnivore conservation. Lead author Dr. Enrico Di Minin of University of Helsinki explained, "We assessed how expected land use change will affect priority areas for carnivore conservation in the future. The analysis revealed that carnivores will suffer considerable range losses in the future. Worryingly, it seems that the most important areas for carnivore conservation are located in areas where human-carnivore conflicts are likely to be most severe." Di Minin continued, "Presently, South American, African, and South East Asian countries, as well as India, were found to contribute mostly to carnivore conservation. While some of the most charismatic species, such as the tiger and giant panda were found to be at high risk under future land use change, smaller, less charismatic species, with small ranges were found to be equally threatened by habitat loss." Carnivores include some of the most iconic species that help generate funding for biodiversity conservation and deliver important benefits to humans. Protecting carnivores will conserve many other bird, amphibian, reptile and mammal species that live in priority areas for carnivore conservation. Dr. Luke Hunter, President and Chief Conservation Officer of Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and a co-author of the paper shared, "Carnivores like big cats have been squeezed out of their ranges at alarming rates for decades now, and we can now see that habitat loss and its shock waves on wildlife are only on the rise. In order to protect our planet's landscape guardians, a far greater financial investment from the international community is needed for range-wide conservation approaches, both within and outside of protected areas where carnivores roam." Professor Rob Slotow from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, another co-author in the paper, in South Africa emphasizes that reducing conflict with humans outside of protected areas is pivotal. "Most priorities for carnivore conservation are in areas in the global south where human populations are increasing in size, agriculture is intensifying, and human development needs are the highest. There is need to implement conservation strategies that promote tolerance for carnivores outside protected areas and focus on the benefits that people derive from these species." More information: Enrico Di Minin et al. Global priorities for national carnivore conservation under land use change, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep23814
News Article | December 8, 2016
For the first time, information retrieval is possible with the help of EEG interpreted with machine learning In a study conducted by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference (COIN), laboratory test subjects read the introductions of Wikipedia articles of their own choice. During the reading session, the test subjects' EEG was recorded, and the readings were then used to model which key words the subjects found interesting. 'The aim was to study if EEG can be used to identify the words relevant to a test subject, to predict a subject's search intentions and to use this information to recommend new relevant and interesting documents to the subject. There are millions of documents in the English Wikipedia, so the recommendation accuracy was studied against this vast but controllable corpus', says HIIT researcher Tuukka Ruotsalo. Due to the noise in brain signals, machine learning was used for modelling, so that relevance and interest could be identified by learning the EEG responses. With the help of machine learning methods, it was possible to identify informative words, so they were also useful in the information retrieval application. 'Information overload is a part of everyday life, and it is impossible to react to all the information we see. And according to this study, we don't need to; EEG responses measured from brain signals can be used to predict a user's reactions and intent', tells HIIT researcher Manuel Eugster. Based on the study, brain signals could be used to successfully predict other Wikipedia content that would interest the user. 'Applying the method in real information retrieval situations seems promising based on the research findings. Nowadays, we use a lot of our working time searching for information, and there is much room in making knowledge work more effective, but practical applications still need more work. The main goal of this study was to show that this kind of new thing was possible in the first place', tells Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Director of COIN Samuel Kaski. 'It is possible that, in the future, EEG sensors can be worn comfortably. This way, machines could assist humans by automatically observing, marking and gathering relevant information by monitoring EEG responses', adds Ruotsalo. The study was carried out in cooperation by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), which is jointly run by Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, and the Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference (COIN). The study has been funded by the EU, the Academy of Finland as a part of the COIN study on machine learning and advanced interfaces, and the Revolution of Knowledge Work project by Tekes. Video: https:/ HIIT augmented research http://augmentedresearch. Tekes Re:Know https:/ EU:n MindSee project http://mindsee. Department of Computer Science http://cs. HIIT http://www. The Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference (COIN) http://research.
News Article | January 8, 2016
Professor Corey Bradshaw, from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, along with Enrico Di Minin from the University of Helsinki and Nigel Leader-Williams from the University of Cambridge, argue that banning trophy hunting would do more harm than good in African countries that have little money to invest in critical conservation initiatives. The researchers have developed a list of 12 guidelines that could address some of the concerns about trophy hunting and enhance its contribution to biodiversity conservation. Their paper was published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. "The story of Cecil the lion who was killed by an American dentist in July 2015 shocked people all over the world and reignited debates surrounding trophy hunting," says Professor Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling in the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute. "Understandably, many people oppose trophy hunting and believe it is contributing to the ongoing loss of species; however, we contend that banning the US$217 million per year industry in Africa could end up being worse for species conservation," he says. Dr Di Minin says trophy hunting brings in substantial money and can be less disruptive than ecotourism. "Conserving biodiversity can be expensive, so generating money is essential for environmental non-government organisations, conservation-minded individuals, government agencies and scientists," says Dr Di Minin. "Financial resources for conservation, particularly in developing countries, are limited. As such, consumptive (including trophy hunting) and non-consumptive (ecotourism safaris) uses are both needed to generate funding. Without these, many natural habitats would otherwise be converted into agricultural or pastoral uses. "Trophy hunting can also have a smaller carbon and infrastructure footprint than ecotourism, and it generates higher revenue from a lower number of uses," he says. Professor Leader-Williams says there is however a need for the industry to be better regulated. "There are many concerns about trophy hunting beyond the ethical that currently limit its effectiveness as a conservation tool," says Professor Leader-Williams. "One of the biggest problems is that the revenue it generates often goes to the private sector and rarely benefits protected-area management and the local communities. "However, if this money was better managed, it would provide much needed funds for conservation," he says. Guidelines to make trophy hunting more effective for conservation: Explore further: Trophy hunting may be a key to saving wildlife More information: Enrico Di Minin et al. Banning Trophy Hunting Will Exacerbate Biodiversity Loss, Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.12.006
News Article | December 8, 2016
A child mummy from the 17th century, found in a crypt underneath a Lithuanian church, was discovered to harbor the oldest known sample of the variola virus that causes smallpox. Researchers who sequenced the virus say it could help answer lingering questions about the history of smallpox, including how recently it appeared in humans (perhaps more recently than we thought) and when specific evolutionary events occurred. Their study appears December 8 in Current Biology. "There have been signs that Egyptian mummies that are 3,000 to 4,000 years old have pockmarked scarring that have been interpreted as cases of smallpox," says first author Ana Duggan, a postdoctoral fellow at the McMaster University Ancient DNA Center in Canada. "The new discoveries really throw those findings into question, and they suggest that the timeline of smallpox in human populations might be incorrect." The research team gathered the disintegrated variola virus DNA from the mummy after obtaining permission from the World Health Organization. Using RNA baits designed from existing variola sequences, the researchers targeted variola sequences found within the extracted DNA from the mummy's skin. Then they reconstructed the entire genome of the ancient strain of the virus and compared it to versions of the variola virus genome dating from the mid-1900s and before its eradication in the late 1970s. They concluded that these samples shared a common viral ancestor that originated sometime between 1588 and 1645--dates that coincide with a period of exploration, migration, and colonization that would have helped spread smallpox around the globe. "So now that we have a timeline, we have to ask whether the earlier documented historical evidence of smallpox, which goes back to Ramses V and includes everything up to the 1500s, is real," says co-author Henrik Poinar, the director of the Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University in Canada. "Are these indeed real cases of smallpox, or are these misidentifications, which we know is very easy to do, because it is likely possible to mistake smallpox for chicken pox and measles." In addition to providing a more accurate timeline for the evolution of smallpox, the researchers were also able to identify distinct periods of viral evolution. One of the clearest instances of this occurred around the time that Edward Jenner famously developed his vaccine against the virus in the 18th century. During this period, the variola virus appears to have split into two strains, variola major and variola minor, which suggests that vaccination, which led to eradication of smallpox, may have changed the selection pressures acting on the virus and caused it to split into two strains. The researchers hope to use this work to identify how the sample they discovered in Lithuania compares to others that were sweeping throughout other countries in Europe at the same time. But in the bigger context of smallpox research, the scientists are optimistic that their work will provide a stepping stone to allow virologists to continue to trace smallpox and other DNA viruses back through time. "Now we know all the evolution of the sampled strains dates from 1650, but we still don't know when smallpox first appeared in humans, and we don't know what animal it came from, and we don't know that because we don't have any older historical samples to work with," says co-author Edward Holmes, a professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. "So this does put a new perspective on this very important disease, but it's also showing us that our historical knowledge of viruses is just the tip of the iceberg." This work was supported by the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University, the Department of Virology at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology at Vilnius University, the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Science and Biotechnology at the University of Melbourne, the Department of History at Duke University, the Department of Biology at McMaster University, UC Irvine, the Mycroarray in Michigan, the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University, the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Biologique Paul Broca at the PSL Research University, Helsinki University Hospital, the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University and the Humans & the Microbiome Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Current Biology, Duggan, Marciniak, Poinar, Emery, Poinar et al: "17th Century Variola Virus Reveals the Recent History of Smallpox" http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)31324-0 Current Biology (@CurrentBiology), published by Cell Press, is a bimonthly journal that features papers across all areas of biology. Current Biology strives to foster communication across fields of biology, both by publishing important findings of general interest and through highly accessible front matter for non-specialists. Visit: http://www. . To receive Cell Press media alerts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
News Article | November 11, 2016
Scientists around the world are concentrated on the two main problems of the industry. The first is environmental degradation -- both above and below ground. The second is new, more efficient extraction technologies. The Biocontrol Lab now works on replacing synthetic surfactants with their biological analogues. Lab Head, Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Sciences Polina Galitskaya explains, "Microbes have endless potential, and we have just learnt to use some of them. One of the areas for that is oil recovery. Some microorganisms produce surfactants -- essentially the same as synthetic ones but less toxic, easily biodegradable and therefore not dangerous to the environment". Surfactants serve to reduce interfacial tension. Due to that oil becomes less viscous and fluid, so less energy is required to extract it. However, surfactants also have side effects, such as the degradation of oil quality. Microbes can synthesize several types of surfactants depending on external conditions. They are more universal and flexible. Dr. Galitskaya adds, "We cooperate with Mirrico on this project. The company specializes in chemical products for upstream, and this cooperation has a positive influence on our research. There are some issues that we have not even approached. Mirrico's representatives posed a question: what are maximum pressure and temperature parameters for these surfactants? We are looking into that now together with the Institute of Geology and Petroleum Technologies - they have the necessary equipment". The group often works together with Martin Romantschuk, Professor of Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. He tests the newly discovered surfactants in the Arctic. The Biocontrol Lab has achieved some impressive results and plans to work further on finding ways to protect the environment while making progress in industrial technologies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2007-1.2-03 | Award Amount: 49.02M | Year: 2008
A globally distributed computing Grid now plays an essential role for large-scale, data intensive science in many fields of research. The concept has been proven viable through the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE project (EGEE and EGEE-II, 2004-2008) and its related projects. EGEE-II is consolidating the operations and middleware of this Grid for use by a wide range of scientific communities, such as astrophysics, computational chemistry, earth and life sciences, fusion and particle physics. Strong quality assurance, training and outreach programmes contribute to the success of this production Grid infrastructure. \nBuilt on the pan-European network GANT2, EGEE has become a unique and powerful resource for European science, allowing researchers in all regions to collaborate on common challenges. Worldwide collaborations have extended its reach to the benefit of European science.\nThe proposed EGEE-III project has two clear objectives that are essential for European research infrastructures: to expand, optimize and simplify the use of Europes largest production Grid by continuous operation of the infrastructure, support for more user communities, and addition of further computational and data resources; to prepare the migration of the existing Grid from a project-based model to a sustainable federated infrastructure based on National Grid Initiatives. \nBy strengthening interoperable, open source middleware, EGEE-III will actively contribute to Grid standards, and work closely with businesses to ensure commercial uptake of the Grid, which is a key to sustainability. \nFederating its partners on a national or regional basis, EGEE-III will have a structuring effect on the European Research Area. In particular, EGEE-III will ensure that the European Grid does not fragment into incompatible infrastructures of varying maturity. EGEE-III will provide a world class, coherent and reliable European Grid, ensuring Europe remains at the forefront of scientific excellence.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.2.1 | Award Amount: 24.95M | Year: 2010
The European Middleware Initiative is a collaboration of the three major middleware providers in Europe, ARC, gLite and UNICORE, and other consortia. EMI aims to deliver a consolidated set of middleware components for deployment in EGI, PRACE and other DCIs; extend the interoperability between grids and other computing infrastructures; strengthen the reliability of the services; and establish a sustainable model to maintain and evolve the middleware, fulfilling the requirements of the user communities.\nEuropean scientific research has benefited recently from the increasing availability of computing and data infrastructures with unprecedented capabilities for large scale distributed initiatives. These infrastructures are largely defined by enabling middleware. After the necessary initial period of research and consolidation that has taken place in the past several years, the growing usage of these resources now requires the transformation of the computing infrastructures into a professionally managed and standardized service. It is of strategic importance for the establishment of permanent, sustainable research infrastructures to lower the technological barriers still preventing resource owners from federating the resources, and potential communities of tens of thousands of researchers from using grids as a commodity tool in their daily activities.\nThe EMI project will make the realization of this vision possible by addressing a number of problems that still prevent users from easily accessing and using the whole capacity of the existing computing infrastructures. It will focus on improving the usability and accessibility for scientific users and the interoperability and manageability for service providers. The sustainability of the grid services will be directly addressed by replacing wherever possible proprietary technology with off-the-shelf components, improving their standardization and implementing industry standard quality assurance methodologies.
News Article | November 16, 2016
Knowing the likely course of cancer can influence treatment decisions. Now a new prediction model published today in Lancet Oncology offers a more accurate prognosis for a patient's metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The approach was as novel as the result – while researchers commonly work in small groups, intentionally isolating their data, the current study embraces the call in Joe Biden's "Cancer Moonshot" to open their question and their data, collecting previously published clinical trial data and calling for worldwide collaboration to evaluate its predictive power. That is, researchers crowdsourced the question of prostate cancer prognosis, eventually involving over 550 international researchers and resulting in 50 computational models from 50 different teams. The approach was intentionally controversial. "Scientists like me who mine open data have been called 'research parasites'. While not the most flattering name, the idea of leveraging existing data to gain new insights is a very important part of modern biomedical research. This project shows the power of the parasites," says James Costello, PhD, senior author of the paper, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine, and director of Computational and Systems Biology Challenges within the Sage Bionetworks/DREAM organization. The project was overseen as a collaborative effort between 16 institutions, led by academic research institutions including CU Cancer Center, open-data initiatives including Project Data Sphere, Sage Bionetworks, and the National Cancer Institute's DREAM Challenges, and industry and research partners including Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Challenge organizers made available the results from five completed clinical trials. Teams were challenged to connect a deep set of clinical measurements to overall patient survival, organizing their insights into novel computational models to better predict patient survival based on clinical data. "The idea is that if a patient comes into the clinic and has these measurements and test results, can we put this data in a model to say if this patient will progress slowly or quickly. If we know the features of patients at the greatest risk, we can know who should receive standard treatment and who might benefit more from a clinical trial," Costello says. The most successful of the 50 models was submitted by a team led by Tero Aittokallio, PhD, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM, at University of Helsinki, and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Turku, Finland. "My group has a long-term expertise in developing multivariate machine learning models for various biomedical applications, but this Challenge provided the unique opportunity to work on clinical trial data, with the eventual aim to help patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer," Aittokallio says. Basically, the model depended on not only groups of single patient measurements to predict outcomes, but on exploring which interactions between measurements were most predictive – for example, data describing a patient's blood system composition and immune function were only weakly predictive of survival on their own, but when combined became an important part of the winning model. The model used a computational learning strategy technically referred to as an ensemble of penalized Cox regression models, hence the model's name ePCR. This model then competed with 49 other entries, submitted by other teams working independently around the world. "Having 50 independent models allowed us to do two very important things. First when a single clinical feature known to be predictive of patient survival is picked out by 40 of the 50 teams, this greatly strengthens our overall confidence. Second, we were able to discover important clinical features we hadn't fully appreciated before," Costello says. In this case, many models found that in addition to factors like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) that have long been known to predict prostate cancer performance, blood levels of an enzyme called asparate aminotransferease (AST) is an important predictor of patient survival. This AST is an indirect measure of liver function and the fact that disturbed levels of AST are associated with poor patient performance implies that studies could evaluate the role of AST in prostate cancer. "The benefits of a DREAM Challenge are the ability to attract talented individuals and teams from around the world, and a rigorous framework for the assessment of methods. These two ingredients came together for our Challenge, leading to a new benchmark in metastatic prostate cancer," says paper first author, Justin Guinney, PhD, director of Computational Oncology for Sage Bionetworks located at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “A goal of the Project Data Sphere initiative is to spark innovation – to unlock the potential of valuable data by generating new insights and opening up a new world of research possibilities. Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge did just that. To witness cancer clinical trial data from Project Data Sphere be used in research collaboration and ultimately help improve patient care in the future is extremely rewarding!” says Liz Zhou, MD, MS, director of Global Health Outcome Research at Sanofi. The goal now is to make the ePCR model publicly accessible through an online tool with an eye towards clinical application. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has contracted the winning team to do exactly this. Soon, when patients face difficult decisions about the best treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, ePCR tool could be an important piece of the decision-making process. Challenge winners and results can be found on the Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge homepage. The clinical trial data can be found at Project Data Sphere. The research article describing this work can be found at The Lancet Oncology. Additional papers that describe individual team methods can be found in the DREAM Channel at F1000Research. About University of Colorado Cancer Center The University of Colorado Cancer Center, located at the Anschutz Medical Campus, is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center’s clinical partner University of Colorado Hospital is ranked 15th by US News and World Report for Cancer and the CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines. CU Cancer Center is a consortium of more than 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and three institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life. For more information visit Coloradocancercenter.org and follow CU Cancer Center on Facebook and Twitter. About the DREAM Challenges Initiative Founded in 2006 by A. Califano (Columbia University) and Gustavo Stolovitzky (IBM Research) the Dialogue on Reverse Engineering Assessment and Methods (DREAM) Challenges Initiative poses fundamental questions about systems biology and translational medicine. Designed and run by a community of researchers from a variety of organizations, the DREAM challenges invite participants to propose solutions — fostering collaboration and building communities in the process. Expertise and institutional support are provided by Sage Bionetworks, along with the infrastructure to host challenges via their Synapse platform. Together, the leaders of the DREAM Challenges Initiative share a vision allowing individuals and groups to collaborate openly so that the “wisdom of the crowd” provides the greatest impact on science and human health. More information is available at: http://dreamchallenges.org/. About the Project Data Sphere Initiative Project Data Sphere, LLC, an independent, not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer's Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), operates the Project Data Sphere® platform (http://www.ProjectDataSphere.org). Launched in April 2014, the Project Data Sphere platform provides one place where the cancer community can broadly share, integrate, analyze and discuss historical patient-level comparator arm data sets (historical patient-level cancer phase III) from multiple providers, with the goal of advancing research. With its broad-access approach, the initiative brings diverse minds and technology together to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data and speed innovation by generating collective insights that may lead to improved trial design, disease modeling and beyond. The platform currently contains 27,600 patient lives of data; 9,400 of those are across a wide spectrum of prostate cancer populations. In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable on Cancer Member, SAS Institute Inc. SAS, a leader in data and health analytics, developed and hosts the site and provides free state-of-the-art analytic tools to authorized users within the Project Data Sphere environment. About Sage Bionetworks Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit biomedical research organization, founded in 2009, with a vision to promote innovations in personalized medicine by enabling a community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. Sage Bionetworks strives to activate patients and to incentivize scientists, funders and researchers to work in fundamentally new ways in order to shape research, accelerate access to knowledge and transform human health. It is located on the campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and is supported through a portfolio of philanthropic donations, competitive research grants, and commercial partnerships. More information is available at http://www.sagebase.org.
News Article | November 15, 2016
Knowing the likely course of cancer can influence treatment decisions. Now a new prediction model published today in Lancet Oncology offers a more accurate prognosis for a patient's metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The approach was as novel as the result - while researchers commonly work in small groups, intentionally isolating their data, the current study embraces the call in Joe Biden's "Cancer Moonshot" to open their question and their data, collecting previously published clinical trial data and calling for worldwide collaboration to evaluate its predictive power. That is, researchers crowdsourced the question of prostate cancer prognosis, eventually involving over 550 international researchers and resulting in 50 computational models from 50 different teams. The approach was intentionally controversial. "Scientists like me who mine open data have been called 'research parasites'. While not the most flattering name, the idea of leveraging existing data to gain new insights is a very important part of modern biomedical research. This project shows the power of the parasites," says James Costello, PhD, senior author of the paper, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine, and director of Computational and Systems Biology Challenges within the Sage Bionetworks/DREAM organization. The project was overseen as a collaborative effort between 16 institutions, led by academic research institutions including CU Cancer Center, open-data initiatives including Project Data Sphere, Sage Bionetworks, and the National Cancer Institute's DREAM Challenges, and industry and research partners including Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Challenge organizers made available the results from five completed clinical trials. Teams were challenged to connect a deep set of clinical measurements to overall patient survival, organizing their insights into novel computational models to better predict patient survival based on clinical data. "The idea is that if a patient comes into the clinic and has these measurements and test results, can we put this data in a model to say if this patient will progress slowly or quickly. If we know the features of patients at the greatest risk, we can know who should receive standard treatment and who might benefit more from a clinical trial," Costello says. The most successful of the 50 models was submitted by a team led by Tero Aittokallio, PhD, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM, at University of Helsinki, and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Turku, Finland. "My group has a long-term expertise in developing multivariate machine learning models for various biomedical applications, but this Challenge provided the unique opportunity to work on clinical trial data, with the eventual aim to help patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer," Aittokallio says. Basically, the model depended on not only groups of single patient measurements to predict outcomes, but on exploring which interactions between measurements were most predictive - for example, data describing a patient's blood system composition and immune function were only weakly predictive of survival on their own, but when combined became an important part of the winning model. The model used a computational learning strategy technically referred to as an ensemble of penalized Cox regression models, hence the model's name ePCR. This model then competed with 49 other entries, submitted by other teams working independently around the world. "Having 50 independent models allowed us to do two very important things. First when a single clinical feature known to be predictive of patient survival is picked out by 40 of the 50 teams, this greatly strengthens our overall confidence. Second, we were able to discover important clinical features we hadn't fully appreciated before," Costello says. In this case, many models found that in addition to factors like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) that have long been known to predict prostate cancer performance, blood levels of an enzyme called asparate aminotransferease (AST) is an important predictor of patient survival. This AST is an indirect measure of liver function and the fact that disturbed levels of AST are associated with poor patient performance implies that studies could evaluate the role of AST in prostate cancer. "The benefits of a DREAM Challenge are the ability to attract talented individuals and teams from around the world, and a rigorous framework for the assessment of methods. These two ingredients came together for our Challenge, leading to a new benchmark in metastatic prostate cancer," says paper first author, Justin Guinney, PhD, director of Computational Oncology for Sage Bionetworks located at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "A goal of the Project Data Sphere initiative is to spark innovation - to unlock the potential of valuable data by generating new insights and opening up a new world of research possibilities. Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge did just that. To witness cancer clinical trial data from Project Data Sphere be used in research collaboration and ultimately help improve patient care in the future is extremely rewarding!" says Liz Zhou, MD, MS, director of Global Health Outcome Research at Sanofi. The goal now is to make the ePCR model publicly accessible through an online tool with an eye towards clinical application. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has contracted the winning team to do exactly this. Soon, when patients face difficult decisions about the best treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, ePCR tool could be an important piece of the decision-making process. Challenge winners and results can be found on the Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge homepage. The clinical trial data can be found at Project Data Sphere. The research article describing this work can be found at The Lancet Oncology. Additional papers that describe individual team methods can be found in the DREAM Channel at F1000Research. The University of Colorado Cancer Center, located at the Anschutz Medical Campus, is Colorado's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center's clinical partner University of Colorado Hospital is ranked 15th by US News and World Report for Cancer and the CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines. CU Cancer Center is a consortium of more than 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and three institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life. For more information visit Coloradocancercenter.org and follow CU Cancer Center on Facebook and Twitter. Founded in 2006 by A. Califano (Columbia University) and Gustavo Stolovitzky (IBM Research) the Dialogue on Reverse Engineering Assessment and Methods (DREAM) Challenges Initiative poses fundamental questions about systems biology and translational medicine. Designed and run by a community of researchers from a variety of organizations, the DREAM challenges invite participants to propose solutions -- fostering collaboration and building communities in the process. Expertise and institutional support are provided by Sage Bionetworks, along with the infrastructure to host challenges via their Synapse platform. Together, the leaders of the DREAM Challenges Initiative share a vision allowing individuals and groups to collaborate openly so that the "wisdom of the crowd" provides the greatest impact on science and human health. More information is available at: http://dreamchallenges. . Project Data Sphere, LLC, an independent, not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer's Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), operates the Project Data Sphere® platform. Launched in April 2014, the Project Data Sphere platform provides one place where the cancer community can broadly share, integrate, analyze and discuss historical patient-level comparator arm data sets (historical patient-level cancer phase III) from multiple providers, with the goal of advancing research. With its broad-access approach, the initiative brings diverse minds and technology together to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data and speed innovation by generating collective insights that may lead to improved trial design, disease modeling and beyond. The platform currently contains 27,600 patient lives of data; 9,400 of those are across a wide spectrum of prostate cancer populations. In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable on Cancer Member, SAS Institute Inc. SAS, a leader in data and health analytics, developed and hosts the site and provides free state-of-the-art analytic tools to authorized users within the Project Data Sphere environment. Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit biomedical research organization, founded in 2009, with a vision to promote innovations in personalized medicine by enabling a community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. Sage Bionetworks strives to activate patients and to incentivize scientists, funders and researchers to work in fundamentally new ways in order to shape research, accelerate access to knowledge and transform human health. It is located on the campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and is supported through a portfolio of philanthropic donations, competitive research grants, and commercial partnerships. More information is available at http://www. .
News Article | November 1, 2016
Home > Press > The Sustainable Nanotechnologies Projects Final Events: Bringing Nano Environmental Health and Safety Assessment to the Wider Discussion on Risk Governance of Key Enabling Technologies Abstract: The EU FP7 Sustainable Nanotechnologies (SUN) Project is coming to its end in March 2017. The project has designed its final events to serve as an effective platform to communicate the main results achieved in its course within the Nanosafety community and bridge them to a wider audience addressing the emerging risks of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). The series of events include the New Tools and Approaches for Nanomaterial Safety Assessment: A joint conference organized by NANOSOLUTIONS, SUN, NanoMILE, GUIDEnano and eNanoMapper to be held on 7 9 February 2017 in Malaga, Spain, the SUN-CaLIBRAte Stakeholders workshop to be held on 28 February 1 March 2017 in Venice, Italy and the SRA Policy Forum: Risk Governance for Key Enabling Technologies to be held on 1- 3 March in Venice, Italy. Jointly organized by the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and the SUN Project, the SRA Policy Forum will address current efforts put towards refining the risk governance of emerging technologies through the integration of traditional risk analytic tools alongside considerations of social and economic concerns. The parallel sessions will be organized in 4 tracks: Risk analysis of engineered nanomaterials along product lifecycle, Risks and benefits of emerging technologies used in medical applications, Challenges of governing SynBio and Biotech, and Methods and tools for risk governance. The SRA Policy Forum has announced its speakers and preliminary Programme. Confirmed speakers include: Keld Alstrup Jensen (National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark) Elke Anklam (European Commission, Belgium) Adam Arkin (University of California, Berkeley, USA) Phil Demokritou (Harvard University, USA) Gerard Escher (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) Lisa Friedersdor (National Nanotechnology Initiative, USA) James Lambert (President, Society for Risk Analysis, USA) Andre Nel (The University of California, Los Angeles, USA) Bernd Nowack (EMPA, Switzerland) Ortwin Renn (University of Stuttgart, Germany) Vicki Stone (Heriot-Watt University, UK) Theo Vermeire (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands) Tom van Teunenbroek (Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, The Netherlands) Wendel Wohlleben (BASF, Germany) The New Tools and Approaches for Nanomaterial Safety Assessment (NMSA) conference aims at presenting the main results achieved in the course of the organizing projects fostering a discussion about their impact in the nanosafety field and possibilities for future research programmes. The conference welcomes consortium partners, as well as representatives from other EU projects, industry, government, civil society and media. Accordingly, the conference topics include: Hazard assessment along the life cycle of nano-enabled products, Exposure assessment along the life cycle of nano-enabled products, Risk assessment & management, Systems biology approaches in nanosafety, Categorization & grouping of nanomaterials, Nanosafety infrastructure, Safe by design. The NMSA conference key note speakers include: Harri Alenius (University of Helsinki, Finland,) Antonio Marcomini (Ca Foscari University of Venice, Italy) Wendel Wohlleben (BASF, Germany) Danail Hristozov (Ca Foscari University of Venice, Italy) Eva Valsami-Jones (University of Birmingham, UK) Socorro Vázquez-Campos (LEITAT Technolоgical Center, Spain) Barry Hardy (Douglas Connect GmbH, Switzerland) Egon Willighagen (Maastricht University, Netherlands) Nina Jeliazkova (IDEAconsult Ltd., Bulgaria) Haralambos Sarimveis (The National Technical University of Athens, Greece) During the SUN-caLIBRAte Stakeholder workshop the final version of the SUN user-friendly, software-based Decision Support System (SUNDS) for managing the environmental, economic and social impacts of nanotechnologies will be presented and discussed with its end users: industries, regulators and insurance sector representatives. The results from the discussion will be used as a foundation of the development of the caLIBRAtes Risk Governance framework for assessment and management of human and environmental risks of MN and MN-enabled products. The SRA Policy Forum: Risk Governance for Key Enabling Technologies and the New Tools and Approaches for Nanomaterial Safety Assessment conference are now open for registration. Abstracts for the SRA Policy Forum can be submitted till 15th November 2016. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News Article | December 12, 2016
"Through the Installation Grants we encourage some of the best early-career researchers to share their expertise across Europe by setting up laboratories in selected EMBC Member States," explains EMBO Director Maria Leptin. "Each year, we receive applications from outstanding scientists, and it is a pleasure to be able to support them during this challenging career phase in order to establish scientific excellence across the whole continent." EMBO Installation Grants are awarded annually. They are funded primarily by the participating Member States Estonia, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Grantees are selected by a committee of EMBO Members on the basis scientific excellence as the primary selection criterion. Each Installation Grantee receives 50,000 euros annually for three to five years to support the establishment of an independent research group. In addition to financial support, the recipients receive networking opportunities and practical support by becoming part of the EMBO Young Investigator network. Since 2006, EMBO has supported 89 group leaders through Installation Grants. Of the most recent awardees, four will establish laboratories in Turkey, two in Poland, two in Portugal, one in Estonia, and one in the Czech Republic. The next application deadline for EMBO Installation Grants is 15 April 2017. Melih Acar, Hematopoietic stem cell regulation, moving to Bahcesehir University, School of Medicine, Istanbul, TR, from UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, US Jaan-Olle Andressoo, Gene knock-up to treat Parkinson's disease, moving to Tallinn Institute of Technology, EE, from University of Helsinki, FI Claus Maria Azzalin, Telomeres, cancer and aging, moving to Institute of Molecular Medicine, Lisbon, PT, from Institute of Biochemistry, ETH Zurich, CH Murat Alper Cevher, Characterization of mediator-estrogen receptor interaction, moving to Bilkent University, Ankara, TR, from Rockefeller University, NY, US Rafal Ciosk, Cell fate plasticity in development and tissue homeostasis, moving to Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Poznan, PL, from Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, CH Elif Nur Firat-Karalar, Function and regulation of the centrosome/cilium complex, moving to Koç University, Istanbul, TR, from Stanford University, CA, USA Catarina Homem, Temporal and metabolic regulation of stem cells, Chronic Diseases Research Center, moving to Nova Medical School, PT, from Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of Austria, Vienna, AT Abdullah Kahraman, Non-coding cancer driver mutations in isoform networks, moving to Sabanci University, Istanbul, TR, from Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, CH Vladimír Varga, Construction of the eukaryotic flagellum, moving to Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR, Prague, CZ, from University of Oxford, UK Piotr Ziolkowski, Crossover control in plants, moving to Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, PL, from University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work. EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. ?For more information: http://www. The European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) is an intergovernmental organization comprising 29 Member States. EMBC promotes a strong transnational approach to the life sciences. Within EMBC, Member States pool their resources to improve the quality of research at a national level and to contribute to the advancement of basic research in Europe. For more information: http://www.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-2-2014 | Award Amount: 13.13M | Year: 2015
OpenAIRE2020 represents a pivotal phase in the long-term effort to implement and strengthen the impact of the Open Access (OA) policies of the European Commission (EC), building on the achievements of the OpenAIRE projects. OpenAIRE2020 will expand and leverage its focus from (1) the agents and resources of scholarly communication to workflows and processes, (2) from publications to data, software, and other research outputs, and the links between them, and (3) strengthen the relationship of European OA infrastructures with other regions of the world, in particular Latin America and the U.S. Through these efforts OpenAIRE2020 will truly support and accelerate Open Science and Scholarship, of which Open Access is of fundamental importance. OpenAIRE2020 continues and extends OpenAIREs scholarly communication infrastructure to manage and monitor the outcomes of EC-funded research. It combines its substantial networking capacities and technical capabilities to deliver a robust infrastructure offering support for the Open Access policies in Horizon 2020, via a range of pan-European outreach activities and a suite of services for key stakeholders. It provides researcher support and services for the Open Data Pilot and investigates its legal ramifications. The project offers to national funders the ability to implement OpenAIRE services to monitor research output, whilst new impact measures for research are investigated. OpenAIRE2020 engages with innovative publishing and data initiatives via studies and pilots. By liaising with global infrastructures, it ensures international interoperability of repositories and their valuable OA contents. To ensure sustainability and long-term health for the overall OpenAIRE infrastructure, the proposed OpenAIRE2020 project will establish itself as a legal entity, which will manage the production-level responsibilities securing 24/7 reliability and continuity to all relevant user groups, data providers and other stakeholders.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.19 | Award Amount: 9.36M | Year: 2011
Environmental change and particularly amplified global climate change are accelerating in the Arctic. These changes already affect local residents and feedback from the Arctics land surface to the climate system, will have global implications. However, climate change and its impacts are variable throughout the wide environmental and land use envelopes of the Arctic. Unfortunately, the Arctic is generally remote, sparsely populated and research and monitoring activities are more restricted in time and space than elsewhere. This limitation comes when there is a rapidly expanding need for knowledge as well as increasing technological opportunities to make data collection in the field and accessibility more efficient. INTERACT is a network under the auspices of SCANNET, a circumarctic network of terrestrial field bases. INTERACT specifically seeks to build capacity for research and monitoring in the European Arctic and beyond. Partnerships will be established between Station Managers and researchers within Joint Research Activities that will develop more efficient networks of sensors to measure changing environmental conditions and make data storage and accessibility more efficient through a single portal. New communities of researchers will be offered access to Arctic terrestrial infrastructures while local stakeholders as well as major international organisations will be involved in interactions with the infrastructures. This will lead to increased public awareness of environmental change and methods to adapt to them, increased access to information for education at all levels, and input to major international research and assessment programmes.The whole consortium will form a coherent and integrated unit working within a concept of a wide environmental and land use envelopes in which local conditions determine the directions and magnitudes of environmental change whereas the balance and synergies of processes integrated across the whole region have global impacts.
Januzzi J.L.,Massachusetts General Hospital |
Filippatos G.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens |
Nieminen M.,University of Helsinki |
Gheorghiade M.,Northwestern University
European Heart Journal | Year: 2012
Cardiac troponin testing is commonly performed in patients with heart failure (HF). Despite being strongly linked to spontaneous (Type I) acute myocardial infarction (MI)a common cause of acute HF syndromesit is well recognized that concentrations of circulating troponins above the 99th percentile of a normal population in the context of both acute and chronic HF are highly prevalent, and frequently unrelated to Type I MI. Other mechanism(s) leading to troponin elevation in HF syndromes remain elusive in many cases but prominently includes supplydemand inequity (Type II MI), which may be associated with coronary artery obstruction and endothelial dysfunction, or may occur in the absence of coronary obstruction due to increased oxygen demand related to increased wall tension, anaemia, or other factors provoking subendocardial injury. Non-coronary triggers, such as cellular necrosis, apoptosis, or autophagy in the context of wall stress may explain the troponin release in HF, as can toxic effects of circulating neurohormones, toxins, inflammation, and infiltrative processes, among others. Nonetheless, across a wide spectrum of HF syndromes, when troponin elevation occurs, independent of mechanism, it is strongly predictive of an adverse outcome. Clinicians should be aware of the high frequency of troponin elevation when measuring the marker in patients with HF, should keep in mind the possible causes of this phenomenon, and, independent of a diagnosis of 'acute MI', should recognize the considerable ramifications of troponin elevation in this setting. © 2011 The Author.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.1.1-7 | Award Amount: 15.68M | Year: 2008
Despite major efforts, identifying susceptibility genes for common human diseases - cancer, cardiovascular, inflammatory and neurological disorders - is difficult due to the complexity of the underlying causes. The dog population is composed of ~ 400 purebred breeds; each one is a genetic isolate with unique characteristics resulting from persistent selection for desired attributes or from genetic drift / inbreeding. Dogs tend to suffer from the same range of diseases than human but the genetic complexity of these diseases within a breed is reduced as a consequence of the genetic drift and due to long-range linkage disequilibrium the number of SNP markers needed to perform whole genome scans is divided by at least ten. Here, we propose a European effort gathering experts in genomics to take advantage of this extraordinary genetic model. Veterinary clinics from 12 European countries will collect DNA samples from large cohorts of dogs suffering from a range of thoroughly defined diseases of relevance to human health. Once these different cohorts will be built, DNA samples will be sent to a centralized, high-throughput SNP genotyping facility. The SNP genotypes will be stored in central database and made available to participating collaborating centres, who will analyze the data with the support of dedicated statistical genetics platforms. Following genome wide association and fine-mapping candidate genes will be followed up at the molecular level by expert animal and human genomics centers. This innovative approach using the dog model will ultimately provide insights into the pathogenesis of common human diseases its primary goal.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.2.1-7 | Award Amount: 6.29M | Year: 2008
At present more than 5 million people in the EU suffer from dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases and that number will grow as the average age of the population continues to increase. The efficacy of current medicines is limited and new therapeutic targets are sorely needed. Several independent lines of evidence have established an important role of prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) in brain function and dysfunction. Aberrant PREP activity is involved in the progression of neurodegenerative disorders and PREP inhibitors are being developed for the treatment of memory and cognition deficits. Now a consortium of expert scientists from 8 academic institutes and 3 SMEs come together for 4 years in this NEUROPRO project to boost European research aimed at 1) unravelling the biological role of PREP and PREP-like proteins in neuropathology, 2) determining the mode of action of PREP inhibitors and 3) firmly establishing their therapeutic potential. Specialists from different disciplines cell and molecular biology, enzymology, chemistry, crystallography, biology and pharmacology will work in a concerted and focussed way to achieve the goals using 6 work packages concentrating on PREP-regulated pathways in health and disease, PREP substrates, inhibitor target identification, drug development and validation, and generation of specific cell lines and animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. The SMEs involved are leaders in PREP inhibitor development and peptide analysis, and have in the past already brought novel therapeutics on the market. By the end of the project we expect to have proof of concept that PREP inhibition is a valid therapeutic target which will ultimately lead to new methods for the early detection, prevention or restoration of PREP-related neurodegeneration. The project also comprises instruments to translate basic research into clinical applications and will thus broaden the scope of treatments available to Europes ageing population.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: Fission-2009-5.1.1 | Award Amount: 1.23M | Year: 2010
The renaissance of nuclear power will require a significant increase of the numbers of the respective specialists, among others also nuclear chemists. Because the current situation in nuclear chemistry education and training in Europe is quite diverse, the project aims at its coordination. The system developed should enable formation of a long-term Euratom Fission Training Scheme (EFTS) providing a common basis to the fragmented activities in this field and thus move the education and training in nuclear chemistry to a qualitatively new level. The main target group will be not only the doctoral students and research workers but also the students at the master level. Including these students into the system should increase attractiveness of the studies of nuclear chemistry and thus enlarge the source of highly qualified professionals for the future employers. The envisaged consortium includes both academia and future employers, representatives of all the key players/countries in the field have been included. The EU experience will be faced with the Russian expertise; Think-tank activities will be organized for gathering the views as broad as possible. The experience gained by ENEN association during the coordination of nuclear engineering education will be directly applied, among others to design the common qualification criteria, the mutual recognition system, and in the development of a sustainable system of long-term financing of the scheme. The expected results of the project with the broadest impact to students, teachers, industries, and research community are a set of compact joint modular courses in different branches of modern nuclear chemistry, an electronic tool in the form of a virtual educational platform available for both education and training (both conceived as applicable at the Ph.D., life-long learning, and MSc. levels), and a long term sustainable strategy for the nuclear chemistry education including a roadmap for its implementation.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2007.2.1.4.1. | Award Amount: 4.58M | Year: 2008
European soil biodiversity is pivotal for delivering food, fiber and biofuels and carbon storage. However, the demand is greater than the amount of soil available, as production of biofuels competes with areas for food production and nature. Moreover, intensified land use reduces soil biodiversity and the resulting ecosystem services. SOILSERVICE will value soil biodiversity through the impact on ecosystem services and propose how these values can be granted through payments. SOILSERVICE will combine interdisciplinary empirical studies and soil biodiversity surveys to construct soil food web models and determine effects of changing soil biodiversity on stability and resilience of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, as well as assess consequences for outbreaks of pests or invasive species. SOILSERVICE will link ecological and economic models to develop a system for valuing soil biodiversity in relation to ecosystem services. Objectives: Develop methods to value soil ecosystem services during different pressure of land use and changes in soil biodiversity. Field and modelling studies will determine to what spatial and temporal scales soil biodiversity and soil ecosystem services are vulnerable to disturbance. Detecting processes that indicate when ecosystems are approaching the limits of their natural functioning or productive capacity. Establishing methods to determine and predict sustainability of ecosystem services at different types of land use Building scenarios to identify economical and social drivers of how land use such as biofuel production and land abandonment can influence soil biodiversity and ecosystem services over European scale. Interacting with EU policies and strategies with results on which services are at threat and mitigating changes in soil biodiversity to achieve a sustainable use of soils. Our results contribute to a European knowledge-based competitive economy and to a future EU directive on soils.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BIOTEC-02-2016 | Award Amount: 6.56M | Year: 2017
The transition to a biobased economy puts strong challenges on researchers and industry to develop sustainable processes. 2G biofuel plants use waste streams as substrates, but themselves generate a new waste stream of lignin-rich sludge that is left after saccharification of the carbohydrates. This waste stream is expected to exponentially increase with an increasing number of 2G bioethanol plants being built, according to a report of the International Energy Agency. FALCON aims to convert this lignin-rich industrial waste of 2G biofuel plants to higher value products, in particular shipping fuels, fuel additives and chemical building blocks. This would be the next consecutive step in turning waste to products, thus minimizing waste and simultaneously providing new alternatives for fossil resource based processes. The FALCON process is based on enzymatic and mild chemical conversion of the lignin waste stream, providing a more environmentally friendly approach to the production of fuels and chemical building blocks. FALCON takes full advantage of the lessons learned over the last 150 years in the petrochemical industry with respect to design of the processes. This implies an initial treatment at the 2G bioethanol plant, converting the waste to a lignin oil that can be more easily transported and also directly used as a low sulphur shipping fuel. It will be further converted into fuel additives and chemical building blocks in centralized facilities. To achieve this, FALCON has formed a consortium of industry (3), SME (4) and academics (2) covering the whole value chain from a 2G biofuel plant delivering the lignin waste to enzyme producers, chemists and process engineers to depolymerize the lignin to oil. End-users are a fuel and chemicals producer and a ship engine developer. This unique combination of expertise and infrastructure will ensure the development of three new value chains with a strong emphasis on the economical sustainability.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.3.6-01 | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2011
Better bioinformatics tools are needed to capitalize on vast amounts of data becoming accessible in biotechnology applications. The theme of this collaborative project is protein production for biotechnology applications. The concept is that (1) protein production is an important topic in biotechnology, with application ranging from production of therapeutic proteins for the pharmaceutical industry to uses in industrial biotechnology and in biorefineries, (2) vast amounts of genomic and post-genomic data from industrial microorganisms and mutants are being generated using new technologies such as next-generation sequencing, (3) tools and computational platforms which could capitalize on such new data in the context of protein production for biotechnology applications are lacking, and (4) advanced systems biology modelling tools exist or are being developed which aim to reconstruct biological networks from the genomic and post-genomic data, opening new opportunities in biotechnology applications. The overall objective is to develop bioinformatics and related modelling and computing platforms to support biotechnology application in the domain of protein production. The expected impact is that the development of bioinformatics tools and platforms to better exploit the currently available and newly generated data in specific industrial biotechnology application will (1) open new opportunities in industrial biotechnology applications and (2) benefit the participating SMEs as tool/platform providers or end users. The project has brought together scientists and industry partners in domains of bioinformatics, high-performance computing, systems biology, knowledge management, and industrial biotechnology. The individual participants are highly experienced scientists with excellent publication records and most of them also have experience in the participation in EU programmes. Each individual participant contributes relevant experiences to the project.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.66M | Year: 2014
The scientific objective of the project is to develop new and highly sophisticated instruments of metric analysis with applications to the large spectrum of emergent technological fields from human to computer vision, to traffic dynamics. New European Doctoral Programme will be devoted to the training of young researchers on this new frontier of mathematics and its applications. Metric analysis, allows to reconsider differential problems, in rich geometrical setting, non isotropic or non regular. Totally non isotropic geometrical settings, arise while describing the motion of a system in which some directions are not allowed by a constraint, as models of the visual cortex, robotics, and will be studied with instruments of differential subriemannian analysis. They non regular counter part, as rectifiable objects can be studied with instruments of metric measure, mass transportation, and singular integrals. Long standing open problems in mathematics, which cannot be solved a single instrument of differential, metric or of measure theory, will be afforded with this unitary theory. At the same time these results will open the possibility of affording challenging technological problems. Geometric analysis in Lie groups provides an elegant tool for modelling the modular structure of the visual cortex. New Brain-inspired models of computer vision allow to efficiently handle medical images and MRI data. A mathematical theory can model with the same instruments transport of the visual signal and in a road net. Hence we propose a new training through research programme within a consrtium of 9 Academic partners and 3 private. The aspects of the program are Individual Research program with structured courses Network-wide multidisciplinary training events with private sector participation, Secondments through other research centres or private companies, The training program can open a large spectrum of opportunities of career development, in academic and private world
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 445.50K | Year: 2017
Effective collaboration between mental health (MHS) and correctional services (CS) impacts on mental illness and reduces reoffending rates. Service leaders have indicated a need for more effective models of collaboration. Researchers have identified the Change Laboratory Model (CLM) of workplace transformation as a more effective means of supporting interagency collaborative practice than current integration tools. It provides a way to optimise the effectiveness of mental healthcare provision to offenders through a model that fosters innovation and collaborative processes. However, the change laboratory, highly successful internationally and in other clinical contexts, is a new idea in prison development, none as yet being applied to the challenges facing the MHS and CS. The wickedness, complexity and unpredictability of challenges facing interagency working in these secure environments means that piloting the CLM is premature and it must first be adapted to the MHS/CS context. The aim of this study is to validate the change laboratory model ready for implementation in practice. This RISE application builds a community of practice that enriches international research capacity and cooperation to achieve this aim. It brings academic knowledge of the Change Laboratory model to the market of interagency practices between mental health and correctional services for the development of innovation and the advancement of integrated service provision to mentally ill offenders. Knowledge exchange takes place through secondments, interactive workshops, the development of workforce training programmes, study tours, shadowing opportunities and ethnographic research. Through this knowledge exchange, the consortium delivers a user-informed prototype of change laboratory model ready for implementation in the MHS and CS field. This validated change laboratory model, offers the ERA a clear strategy with which to promote integrated care for mentally ill offenders.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 10.13M | Year: 2015
ACTRIS-2 addresses the scope of integrating state-of-the-art European ground-based stations for long term observations of aerosols, clouds and short lived gases capitalizing work of FP7-ACTRIS. ACTRIS-2 aims to achieve the construction of a user-oriented RI, unique in the EU-RI landscape. ACTRIS-2 provides 4-D integrated high-quality data from near-surface to high altitude (vertical profiles and total-column), relevant to climate and air-quality research. ACTRIS-2 develops and implements, in a large network of stations in Europe and beyond, observational protocols that permit harmonization of collected data and their dissemination. ACTRIS-2 offers networking expertise, upgraded calibration services, training of users, trans-national access to observatories and calibration facilities, virtual access to high-quality data products. Through joint research activities, ACTRIS-2 develops new integration tools that will produce scientific or technical progresses reusable in infrastructures, thus shaping future observation strategies. Innovation in instrumentation is one of the fundamental building blocks of ACTRIS-2. Associated partnership with SMEs stimulates development of joint-ventures addressing new technologies for use in atmospheric observations. Target user-groups in ACTRIS-2 comprise a wide range of communities worldwide. End-users are institutions involved in climate and air quality research, space agencies, industries, air quality agencies. ACTRIS-2 will improve systematic and timely collection, processing and distribution of data and results for use in modelling, in particular towards implementation of atmospheric and climate services. ACTRIS-2 invests substantial efforts to ensure long-term sustainability beyond the term of the project by positioning the project in both the GEO and the on-going ESFRI contexts, and by developing synergies with national initiatives.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SEC-2011.5.4-1 | Award Amount: 1.59M | Year: 2012
The features of biological toxins like ricin, botulinum toxins, staphylococcal enterotoxins and saxitoxin place them at the interface of classical biological and chemical agents. They could be used for terrorist attacks on the basis of their availability, ease of preparation, the high toxicity and/or the lack of medical countermeasures. Some of the toxins are considered among the most relevant agents in the field of bioterrorism, for which the current preparedness within European countries should be further improved to limit casualties in the case of an intentional release. While different technologies for toxin detection and analysis have been established, hardly any universally agreed gold standards are available. Generally, proficiency tests and certified reference materials for the mentioned toxins are lacking. In this context, the recent results of the first international proficiency test on the detection of one of the toxins provided highly relevant insights and a basis for further development. EQuATox will address these issues by creating a network of expert laboratories among EU 27 and associated countries, focussing on the detection of biological toxins and integrating experts from the security, verification, health and food sector. Four large EU-wide proficiency tests on the mentioned toxins will be organised with 27 laboratories from 20 countries worldwide so far being interested in participating and joining the network. The task will include the generation and characterisation of toxin reference materials which in the future can be further developed into ISO-compliant certified reference materials. Based on the status quo of toxin detection described in EQuATox, good practices and critical gaps in detection technology will be identified as foundation to harmonise and standardise detection capabilities. Furthermore, recommendations will be given on how to close these gaps and to minimise potential health and security risks for European citizens.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE.2011.4-04 | Award Amount: 614.55K | Year: 2011
Until now energy efficiency in agriculture has received little attention, except for energy use in greenhouses. Nevertheless, it is considerable, especially when indirect energy use is taken into account. AGREE has the objective of showing the potential of short term energy efficiency gains and the promise of the long term potential. Environmental effects of savings on direct and indirect energy use in agriculture are integrally considered, as energy use efficiency also implies reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Because energy savings in agriculture depend highly on the agri-environment (climate), AGREE will bring together south-eastern, south-western, north-eastern and north-western agroproduction systems. Evidence from energy saving potential and corresponding environmental and economical effects on country level are brought to the transnational level to identify an agenda for transnational collaboration to increase the learning curve on energy use efficiency. AGREE will set up a participatory process for two reasons. 1. Stakeholders will be involved in the set-up of the agenda which will facilitate the implementation of the results. 2. AGREE needs the opinions and views of stakeholders to produce an agenda that reflects the needs of and opportunities by practice. To ensure implementation, a link has been created with a European network of researchers committed to adopt the issue. This network (ENGAGE) is closely associated with the European Society of Agricultural Engineers (EuAgEng). This link will facilitate the adoption process. To ensure that the results will create relevant and effective R&D programmes, AGREE has established a close link with the Collaborative Working Group on Agriculture and Energy. This group is embedded in SCAR and the KBBE-Net and is thus positioned to translate the AGREE agenda, into commitment for effective R&D on energy efficiency. To this end, it is important that AGREE provides evidence of the added value of such research.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.4.5-2 | Award Amount: 7.83M | Year: 2011
Allergy and autoimmunity cause increasing burden to societies worldwide. We study the effect of microbiome on the skin, the forefront barrier to environment, on autoimmunity and allergy, using atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis (PSO) as paradigmatic examples. We have detailed information about the genetic risk factors, as well as the molecular and cellular players in AD and PSO, but we know very little how microbe-host interaction triggers and regulate inflammatory cascade leading to allergic or autoimmune reaction. We propose that environmental and genetic factors, characteristic to particular disease, initiate a cascade of inflammatory events through the modulation of anti-microbial defence. The dysregulation of innate as well as adaptive immune responses leads to inappropriate responses to physical, microbial or allergen challenge, finally manifesting in the clinical symptoms of AD or PSO. We propose to use high-throughput whole microbiome and transcriptomics analysis with bioinformatics and systems biology to unravel the pathways during the host-pathogen interactions which may trigger an allergic or autoimmune reaction. We will identify key microbes and molecular targets to develop novel intervention strategies to decrease and prevent the burden of allergy and autoimmunity.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-03-2015 | Award Amount: 6.00M | Year: 2016
COSYN integrates outstanding European academic and three large Pharma to exploit genomic findings for intellectual disability (ID), autism, and schizophrenia. We capitalise on comorbidity, from clinic to cells and synapses, and have access to large existing samples. We focus on rare genetic variants of strong effect in patients with clinical comorbidity. Our aims are: (1) Understand comorbidity by comparing symptom and syndrome overlap with novel neurobiological criteria; (2) Elucidate mechanisms of comorbidity using neurobiology for the major genomic clue of synaptic dysfunction to unravel the cellular mechanisms of comorbidity; (3) Generate novel neuronal cell models by using advanced technologies to make neurons from carefully selected patients, and use genome editing to create or correct genetic variants. Multiple advanced neuroscience platforms are in place to evaluate an extensive set of molecular and cellular parameters, and to identify alterations in synaptic biology characteristic of ID, autism, and schizophrenia. These cellular models will, with Pharma partners, be up-scaled to provide industry-standard cellular assays for compound screening; (4) Refine diagnostic tools, use novel genomic and cellular features to improve disease classification and discriminate specific patient subtypes; and (5) Case studies in precision medicine: with Pharma partners, identify patients with a genetic change whose consequences can be reproducibly ameliorated in vitro by an approved medication. Recommend to the patient and clinician a double-blinded, N-of-one crossover case study to evaluate the clinical utility of a medication precisely indicated for that person. COSYN is an integrated, state-of-art, bench-to-bedside programme focused on personalised therapeutics. COSYN is a crucial next step in decoding the genetic findings via intensive focus on the clinical and molecular comorbidities of ID, autism, and schizophrenia.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2017
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a severe mental disorder affecting more than 0.7% of the adult population. One of the most disabling and emotionally devastating illnesses known to man, SZ is also associated with considerable socioeconomic burden. In general, the chronic nature and the high degree of patient disability make SZ the fourth leading cause of disease burden across the globe with the management costs making up ~3% of the total healthcare budget in the Western countries. The situation is even direr in some regions, including northern Sweden and Finland, where relative prevalence of SZ exceeds two to three times corresponding national or regional averages. Poorly understood aetiology and limited diagnostic arsenal make it difficult to detect and treat SZ in a timely and efficient manner. This underscores a critical need for better understanding of the mechanisms underlying SZ and development of new diagnostic possibilities allowing its early detection, ideally prior to the onset of psychosis. The SZ_TEST will address these challenges by coordinating efforts with complementary areas of expertise in genetics, epigenetics, neurodevelopment, molecular psychiatry, clinical immunology and biotech R&D. The overarching hypothesis underlying our work is that genetic vulnerabilities, neurodevelopmental defects, exposure to pathogens, immune system status and specific lifestyle choices may compound the risk of SZ and that a systematic multivariate analysis of these factors should result in substantially improved diagnostic tools. SZ_TEST will work towards the development of molecular diagnostics tools for early detection of SZ, by using relevant cohorts of human subjects, unique animal and cell models, and combining unbiased high-throughput omic screens with knowledge-based candidate marker analyses. SZ_TEST training network is expected to have a major impact on improving the quality of life and reducing the health care costs in Europe and worldwide.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-03-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 2.72M | Year: 2017
Europe has a long and rich tradition as a centre for the arts and humanities. However, the digital transformation poses challenges to the arts and humanities research landscape all over the world. Responding to these challenges the Digital Research Infrastructure for Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) was launched as a pan-European network and research infrastructure. After expansion and consolidation, which involved DARIAHs inscription on the ESFRI roadmap, DARIAH became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in August 2014. The DESIR project sets out to strengthen the sustainability of DARIAH and firmly establish it as a long-term leader and partner within arts and humanities communities. By DESIRs definition, sustainability is an evolving 6-dimensional process, divided into the following challenges: Dissemination: DESIR will organise a series dissemination events, including workshops in the US and Australia, to promote DARIAH tools and services and initiative collaborations. Growth: DESIR sets out to prepare the ground for establishing DARIAH membership in six new countries: the UK, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Israel. Technology: DESIR will widen the DARIAH research infrastructure in three areas, vital for DARIAHs long-term sustainability: entity-based search, scholarly content management, visualization and text analytic services. Robustness: DESIR will make DARIAHs organizational structure and governance fit for the future and develop a detailed business plan and marketing strategy. Trust: DESIR will measure the acceptance of DARIAH, especially in new communities, and define mechanisms to support trust and confidence in DARIAH. Education: Through training and teaching DESIR will promote the use of DARIAH tools and services. The DESIR consortium is composed of core DARIAH members, representatives from potential new DARIAH members and external technical experts. It is balanced between the different European regions.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-10-2016 | Award Amount: 4.51M | Year: 2017
Requirements engineering is a key activity in ICT projects: What are current user needs and what requirements satisfy them? How much effort would a requirement cost and in which release should it be delivered? Which requirements can be reused from similar projects? Are there hidden dependencies or inconsistencies? What trade-offs are acceptable for users and other stakeholders? A satisfactory, efficient answer to these questions is essential for the success for nowadays software projects. OPENREQ leverages modern recommender algorithms, semantic technologies and data-mining to provide intelligent, proactive support for stakeholders survey alternatives and make individual or group decisions. OPENREQ focuses on complex, community-driven ICT projects with various dependencies and stakeholders as in the Telecom, Transportation, and Cross-Platform-Software domain covered in our trials. We will develop, evaluate and disseminate a fully integrated open-source requirements management platform and a set of connectors with the following decision-making capabilities: Requirements Intelligence: monitors the actual software usage, collects stakeholders and users feedback (e.g. from social media), aggregates and visualizes this information as predictive analytics. Stakeholders Personal Recommender: implements advanced recommendation and machine-learning algorithms to assist requirements work, improve a requirements quality, estimate its properties or predict relevant stakeholders. Group Decision Support: enables the stakeholders participation, the resolution of preference conflicts, and the identification of consensus, e.g. during release planning. Dependency Management: semi-automatically identifies requirements dependencies, supports requirements reasoning and reuse of requirements knowledge. With the OPENREQ Interfaces, these capabilities will be integrated into stakeholders workflows and tools including requirements tools, issues trackers and collaboration tools.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2010.2.1-01 | Award Amount: 11.58M | Year: 2012
Nutrition-related diseases caused a loss of over 56 million years of healthy life of European citizens in 2000. I.Family will make a significant contribution to reduce this burden by studying the interplay and impact of the main drivers of dietary behaviour and food choice. It will take advantage of the unique opportunity to follow-up the large IDEFICS childrens cohort to not only provide added value by maintaining the existing cohort but also, exceptionally, assess the dynamic nature of causal factors over time and during transition into adolescence. The projects acronym indicates its focus on the individual and its family. By re-assessing children and their parents I.Family will compare families who developed or maintained a healthy diet with those whose diet developed in an unfavourable direction to study the impact of biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors on dietary behaviour over time. Focus will be on the family environment, socio-behavioural and genetic factors determining familial aggregation. Subgroups with contrasting dietary profiles will undergo an enhanced protocol including measurement of brain activation, expression of genes related to food choice, biological and genetic basis for taste thresholds, role of sleep, sedentary time, physical activity and impact of the built environment. I.Family will also link health outcomes like body composition and cardio-metabolic markers to diet and interacting factors to determine their prognostic value. Thus I.Family provides strength of methodology, breadth of coverage and depth of investigation across the ecological model. Guided by research on ethical implications I.Family will be deriving effective communication strategies to empower European consumers to induce behaviour changes, supported by novel web-based, interactive personalised feedback on dietary behaviour. By building on existing success I.Family will take the research on dietary behaviour to the next level in a short time frame.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NoE | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.1.2-2 | Award Amount: 15.96M | Year: 2011
Biological processes occur in space and time, but current experimental methods for systems biology are limited in their ability to resolve this spatiotemporal complexity of life. In addition, traditional omics methods often suffer from limited sensitivity and need to average over populations of cells at the expense of cell to cell variation. Next-generation systems biology therefore requires methods that can capture data and build models in four dimensions, three-dimensional space and time, and needs to address dynamic events in single living cells. In fact, recent advances in automated fluorescence microscopy, cell microarray platforms, highly specific probes, quantitative image analysis and data mining provide a powerful emerging technology platform to enable systems biology of the living cell. These imaging technologies, here referred to as Systems microscopy, will be a cornerstone for next-generation systems biology to elucidate and understand complex and dynamic molecular, sub-cellular and cellular networks. As a paradigm to enable systems biology at the cellular scale of biological organization, this NoE will have as its core biological theme two basic but complex cellular processes that are highly relevant to human cancer: cell division and cell migration. Methods, strategies and tools established here will be applicable to many disease-associated processes and will be instrumental for obtaining a systems level understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases as manifested at the living cell level. Through close multidisciplinary collaborations in our programme of joint activities this NoE will develop a powerful enabling platform for next-generation systems biology and will apply these tools to understand cellular systems underlying human cancer. This provides a unique opportunity for Europe to acquire a global lead in systems microscopy.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2007-6.2-01 | Award Amount: 1.41M | Year: 2008
The goal to turn the EU into the most competitive and dynamic economy by 2010 demands a full benchmarking system to monitor policy performance and their impact on progress. For this reason, the European Commission has engaged in selecting, collecting and analysing a set of indicators that are published each year. The Stockholm European Council has further emphasised the need for effective, timely and reliable statistics and indicators. A main challenge is to develop indicators for the main characteristics and key drivers. An utmost important and challenging area to be measured is social cohesion. Based on a clear definition of social cohesion, a universally-accepted high-quality and robust statistics to adequately measure social cohesion is required. Further, tools for measuring temporal developments and regional breakdowns to sub-populations of relevance will be of great importance. In order to measure social cohesion with Laeken indicators adequately while regarding national characteristics and practical peculiarities from the newly created EU-SILC, an improved methodology will be elaborated within AMELI. This will ensure that future political decision in the area of quality of life can be based on more adequate and high-quality data and a proper understanding of the Laeken indicators by the users. The study will include research on data quality including its measurement, treatment of outliers and nonresponse, small area estimation and the measurement of development over time. A large simulation study based on EU-SILC data will allow a simultaneous elaboration of the methodology focusing on practical issues aiming at support for policy. Due to the fact that the Laeken indicators are based on a highly sophisticated methodology the projects outcome may also serve as a methodological complement for other FP7 projects in the area of indicators.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: INCO.2011-7.5 | Award Amount: 2.12M | Year: 2012
The general objective of the project is to use the Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NIERSC) established in St. Petersburg, Russia, and funded by Norway and Germany, as the joint research facility to extend, consolidate and strengthen scientific cooperation between researchers from the EU Member States and Associated Countries with those from Russia through the joint studies of climate and environmental changes in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic in the 21st century and their socio-economic impact. NIERSC research facilities, enhanced and expanded in the frame of the project, will be opened to the researchers from other Member States, specifically from Austria, Finland, France, Sweden and UK, additionally to researchers from Germany, Norway and Russia, founders of NIERSC. Increasing and extending scientific cooperation between researchers from the Member States and Associated Countries with Russian researchers will be organized through involvement of additional researchers in the NIERSC ongoing projects and preparation of new future joint scientific projects in the area of environmental and climate research in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic including socio-economic issues via organization of joint scientific workshops and seminars. Since 1992 NIERSC has built a wide network with Russian research institutions, universities and governmental agencies which will serve in the future for further enhancement of European-Russian cooperation in proposed research area far beyond the completion of EuRuCAS. To sustain this cooperation in the future, young generation of researchers will be greatly involved in the project through research periods at NIERSC and organizing Summer School with the focus on environmental and climate research in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic including socio-economic impact. Within EuRuCAS implementation the ways for opening NIERSC institutional arrangements for new members from EU Member States and/or Associated Countries will be defined.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2014 | Award Amount: 328.50K | Year: 2015
On July 4th CERN has announced the discovery of a scalar particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), later identified as the Higgs boson. This scientific breakthrough was accomplished due to the joint efforts of thousands of scientists from all around the globe. This long awaited discovery increased our understanding of the world, providing an explanation for the mechanism from which all elementary particles acquire mass. However, there are still fundamental questions awaiting a clear answer: which model better describes nature when all observed properties of this new particle are taken into consideration? Will these new models help to solve other outstanding problems in elementary particle physics? The goal of this project is to look for answers to these crucial questions regarding our understanding of nature. In order to address the problem we have gathered a group of people with complementary expertises that range from model builders to high-energy tool developers who will finally make the connection to the LHCs experimental collaborations. We expect that this interaction between the different nodes of this international collaboration will result in a database together with high-energy tools where a number of models will be readily available for testing by the experimental groups at the LHC and future colliders. The staff exchange will be planned according to the needs of the project. There have been collaborations in the past between some of the nodes. We now expect that the proposed staff exchange will enhance this Higgs physics network, with an effective skills development both for experienced and early stage researchers. Finally we foresee that the project will not only have an impact on European science but will also contribute to bring together different cultures with a very positive outcome for society as a whole.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.16 | Award Amount: 11.60M | Year: 2011
Climate change is for a large part governed by atmospheric processes, in particular the interaction between radiation and atmospheric components (e.g. aerosols, clouds, greenhouse and trace gases). Some of these components are also those with adverse health effects influencing air quality. Strengthening the ground-based component of the Earth Observing System for these key atmospheric variables has unambiguously been asserted in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and Thematic Strategy on air pollution of the EU. However, a coordinated research infrastructure for these observations is presently lacking. ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds and Trace gases Research InfraStructure Network) aims to fill this observational gap through the coordination of European ground-based network of stations equipped with advanced atmospheric probing instrumentation for aerosols, clouds and short-lived trace gases. ACTRIS is a coordinated network that contributes to: providing long-term observational data relevant to climate and air quality research produced with standardized or comparable procedures; supporting transnational access to large infrastructures strengthening collaboration in and outside the EU and access to high quality information and services to the user communities; developing new integration tools to fully exploit the use of atmospheric techniques at ground-based stations, in particular for the calibration/validation/integration of satellite sensors and for the improvement of global and regional-scale climate and air quality models. ACTRIS supports training of new users in particular young scientists in the field of atmospheric observations and promotes the development of new technologies for atmospheric observation of aerosols, clouds and trace gases through close partnership with SMEs. ACTRIS will have the essential role to support integrated research actions in Europe for building the scientific knowledge required to support policy issues on air quality and climate change.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.8.4 | Award Amount: 8.63M | Year: 2010
The Collective Experience of Empathic Data Systems (CEEDS) project will develop novel, integrated technologies to support human experience, analysis and understanding of very large datasets.\n\nMaking use of humans implicit processing abilities\n\nCEEDS will develop innovative tools to exploit theories showing that discovery is the identification of patterns in complex data sets by the implicit information processing capabilities of the human brain. Implicit human responses will be identified by the CEEDs systems analysis of its sensing systems, tuned to users bio-signals and non-verbal behaviours. By associating these implicit responses with different features of massive datasets, the CEEDs system will guide users discovery of patterns and meaning within the datasets.\n\nImmersion in synthetic reality spaces\n\nTo achieve this goal, users will be immersed in synthetic reality spaces (SRS), allowing them to explore complex data whilst following narrative structures of varying spatio-temporal complexity. Unobtrusive multi-modal wearable technologies will be developed in the project for users to wear whilst experiencing the SRS. These will provide an assessment of the behavioural, physiological and mental states of the user.\n\nTwo brains are better than one collective experience\n\nIndividuals pattern detection abilities will be augmented by linking multiple users together, creating a collective discovery system. Components of the CEEDs system will be integrated using generalized architectures from network robotics, creating a genuinely novel approach to massive distributed synthetic reality applications.\n\nMaking a practical difference\n\nCEEDs effectiveness will be validated through studies involving stakeholders from science, history and design. The consortium envisages genuine benefits from the CEEDs system. Think, for example, of a young pupil using CEEDs being able to see complex patterns in an astronomy data set, patterns which without CEEDs would only be perceptible to an experienced professor. By unleashing the power of the subconscious, CEEDs will make fundamental contributions to human experience. When we look back to life before CEEDs, we may liken our experience to living with our eyes closed.\n\nEnriching theory across disciplines\n\nOn the theoretical level, CEEDs targets a novel integrated computational and empirical framework, merging the delivery of presence with the study of consciousness, its underlying sub-conscious factors and creativity. To do this, CEEDS will follow a multi-disciplinary approach that will significantly further the state of the art across science, engineering and the humanities. By bringing together a team of leading experts in psychology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and other key disciplines, CEEDs will build the foundations for key developments in future confluent technologies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2010.1.1.2-1 | Award Amount: 9.81M | Year: 2011
The Pan-European Gas-AeroSOls-climate interaction Study (PEGASOS) European large scale integrating project brings together most of the leading European research groups, with state-of the-art observational and modeling facilities to: (1) Quantify the magnitude of regional to global feedbacks between atmospheric chemistry and a changing climate and to reduce the corresponding uncertainty of the major ones. (2) Identify mitigation strategies and policies to improve air quality while limiting their impact on climate change. The project is organized into four scientific Themes designed to optimize the integration of methodologies, scales, and ultimately our understanding of air quality and climate interactions: (I) Anthropogenic and biogenic emissions and their response to climate and socio-economy (II) Atmospheric interactions among chemical and physical processes (III) Regional and global links between atmospheric chemistry and climate change (IV) Air quality in a changing climate: Integration with policy PEGASOS will bridge the spatial and temporal scales that connect local surface-air pollutant exchanges, air quality and weather with global atmospheric chemistry and climate. Our major focus for air quality will be Europe including effects of changes in pollutant emissions elsewhere and the time horizon for the study will be the next 50 years. During the project we will provide improved process understanding in areas of major uncertainty for better quantification of feedbacks between air quality and a changing climate. We will present, for the first time, a fully integrated analysis of dynamically changing emissions and deposition, their link to tropospheric chemical reactions and interactions with climate, and emerging feedbacks between chemistry-climate and surface processes. We will target both local and regional scales, taking into account chemistry and climate feedbacks on the global scale.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-01 | Award Amount: 4.10M | Year: 2010
This research will deliver knowledge and technology for the optimisation of the use of legumes in European agricultural systems and promote the partnerships needed to support the public policy outcomes sought. By integrating the Consortiums extensive set of existing field case studies, modelling and knowledge base, the project will test, validate and deliver novel cropping systems. This network of 18 case studies, in 12 countries, will be the focus of interaction with farmers, SMEs, other businesses, and policy makers. Outputs will include system-optimised cropping plans for each pedo-climatic region, input into existing farm-planning tools, local on-farm demonstrations, a socio-economic analysis that will enable local economic assessment of cropping systems, and an ecological assessment of the effects of relevant farming system changes on greenhouse gas and nitrogen budgets, biodiversity and soil health from the farm to the continental scale. A book on legume-supported eco-efficient farming systems covering all aspects of the use of legumes in Europe will be published. The research is planned around the appreciation of how nitrogen fertilisation and the production and use of plant protein lie at the heart of many of the global, regional and local environmental challenges arising from agriculture. The project will take a novel strategic approach to knowledge interaction and delivery, in order to enhance and pool existing knowledge platforms and databases. It will then deliver the results into the farming community, commercial use, and policy practice beyond the life of the project. The project will facilitate wide access to new and existing knowledge and technologies and it will promote awareness of the role of legumes in the development of sustainable supply chains and consumption patterns. All research results and products will be put in the public domain, and partnership with all the agents of change, including policy makers, will be a key element of the work.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EO-3-2014 | Award Amount: 6.00M | Year: 2015
There is a recognised need for establishing sound methods for the characterisation of satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) data by surface-based and sub-orbital measurement platforms - spanning Atmosphere, Ocean and Land observations and the entire radiance spectrum. Robust EO instrument characterisation is about significantly more than simply where and when a given set of EO and ground-based / sub-orbital measurements is taken. It requires, in addition, quantified uncertainty estimation for the reference measurements and an understanding of additional uncertainties that accrue through mismatches in sampling location and time and the distinct measurement footprints to enable a complete mapping of the reference measurements onto EO measurements. It also needs user tools which include statistical tools and the integrating capabilities afforded by data assimilation systems to enable users to access and work with the data in a virtual observatory setting. It is only if robust uncertainty estimates are placed on the ground-based and sub-orbital data and used in the analysis that unambiguous interpretation of EO sensor performance can occur.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2007-4.0-3 | Award Amount: 10.51M | Year: 2008
The project MUST will provide new technologies based on active multi-level protective systems for future vehicle materials. Smart release nanocontainers will be developed and incorporated in commercial paints, lacquers and adhesive systems to prepare new products exhibiting self-healing properties. A multi-level self-healing approach will combine - in a same system - several damage prevention and reparation mechanisms, which will be activated in response to environmental conditions. The main objective of the project will cover design, development, testing and application of coated materials and adhesives used as novel multi-level protection systems for future vehicles. The new active protection systems will be based on different types of smart nanocontainers incorporated in polymer matrixes and adapted to the level of protection. These systems will result in a radical improvement of the long-term performance of metallic or polymer substrates. To achieve the objectives, MUST has been configured in four main activities (WP): WP2 is divided in 6 sub-projects (SP) where SP1 is technology-oriented, and concerns the production of nanocontainers.SP2 and SP3 are directed to basic research, and consider fundamental studies on self-healing mechanisms and development of simulation models. SP4, 5 and 6 consider exploitation, costs and upscaling of the most promising systems in automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors, respectively. The demonstration of the technologies will be performed together with continuous risk management in WP3. WP4 also will manage dissemination of the results and training activities and WP1 will consider the whole coordination of the project. MUST will increase considerably the life cycle of materials and therefore boost the competitive strength of the European transport industry. The multi-level protection approach will also open opportunities for the application of new light materials (magnesium and aluminium alloys) in vehicle manufacturing.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-01-2014 | Award Amount: 7.26M | Year: 2015
The dramatic differentials in healthy ageing, quality of life and life expectancy between individuals of different socioeconomic groups, is a major societal challenge facing Europe. The overarching aim of the LIFEPATH project is to understand the determinants of diverging ageing pathways among individuals belonging to different socio-economic groups. This will be achieved via an original study design that integrates social science approaches with biology (including molecular epidemiology), using existing population cohorts and omics measurements (particularly epigenomics). The specific objectives of the project are: (a) To show that healthy ageing is an achievable goal for society, as it is already experienced by individuals of high socio-economic status (SES); (b) To improve the understanding of the mechanisms through which healthy ageing pathways diverge by SES, by investigating lifecourse biological pathways using omic technologies; (c) To examine the consequences of the current economic recession on health and the biology of ageing (and the consequent increase in social inequalities); (d) To provide updated, relevant and innovative evidence for healthy ageing policies (particularly health in all policies) that address social disparities in ageing and the social determinants of health, using both observational studies as well as an experimental approach based on the existing conditional cash transfer experiment in New York. To achieve these objectives we will use data from three categories of studies: 1. Europe-wide or national surveys combined with population registry data; 2. Cohorts with intense phenotyping and repeat biological samples (total population >33,000); 3. Large cohorts with biological samples (total population >202,000). The cohorts will provide information on healthy ageing at different stages of life, based on the concepts of life-course epidemiology (build-up and decline) and multimorbidity.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-5.2.1. | Award Amount: 3.75M | Year: 2010
Due to new language policies, new forms of mobility, new media and technologies, new methods of research, new dangers to minority languages, and new forms of globalization, the linguistic landscape in Europe is experiencing a profound transformation. There is a wealth of research on the teaching and use of major European languages as vehicular languages, and abundant information on the use of minority and heritage languages in Europe. However, as a basis for coherent language policy-making in Europe, we still need a systematic way to describe and measure the balance between different European languages and the impact of this balance on linguistic and cultural diversity. The project ELDIA (European Linguistic Diversity for All) combines linguistic, sociological, legal, and statistical experts from seven European countries into a consortium committed to investigating multilingualism and linguistic diversity. The research will be based on societal context analyses and fieldwork among both majority and minority speakers from samples of carefully selected multilingual speaker communities along the main cultural watershed of Europe, on both sides of the great East-West frontier and in different socio-political contexts. The central aim of the project is to create an easily applicable measurement instrument, the European Language Vitality Barometer (EuLaViBar), which can be used for the investigation of further language situations within and outside Europe. The project will also create a novel dataset for future research and will substantially contribute to the international networking of early-career researchers. Above all, by departing from the reality of multilingualism and focusing on multicultural identities and the agency of individual speakers, the project will contribute to the practical and scholarly understanding of the mechanisms of language diversity in an unprecedented way.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: HEALTH.2013.4.1-4 | Award Amount: 554.66K | Year: 2013
Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Chronic kidney (DCC) -diseases are relentlessly increasing globally, causing enormous human suffering, premature deaths and unsustainable costs. Leading European research has indisputably pointed that the kidney filtration barrier and its epithelial cell, the podocyte, is a common denominator for the DCC-diseases. However, European excellence and expertise have remained uncoordinated in separate pockets and, consequently, underutilised for full societal benefits and capacity creation to combat the challenges of diabetic, hypertensive and primary kidney diseases. Notably, these diseases are of major healthcare interest and of key importance for discovery intensive biopharma industry. KidneyConnect brings together teams of excellence to underpin nationally funded programs under a) Discovery and Future Technologies b) New Research Platforms c) Translational and d) Clinical Podocyte Research to create connected capacities, access to well trained talents and to optimize strategies for industry-academia cowork. In addition to resource maps, KidneyConnect supports international congresses, training courses, talent coaching, special seminars and builds systematically relations to key stakeholders. Due to the limited funds available, main aims are to provide roadmaps for future efforts, outlines for shared data -and sample repositories, targeted training, societal outreach and, as a result, competitive European funded programs. Our events are arranged as satellites of established meetings and supported by in-kind contribution from partners. The goal is to establish faster translation from discovery to clinical practices by creating dynamic networks, sustainable capacities and outlines for improved kidney disease management. High cohesion and shared resources together with the most prominent European authorities included will guarantee optimized resource usage. Substantial benefits and competitiveness in the huge global markets are to be expected
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2007-1.1-01 | Award Amount: 6.20M | Year: 2008
Main objectives of ReCosy are the sound understanding of redox phenomena controlling the long-term release/retention of radionuclides in nuclear waste disposal and providing tools to apply the results to Performance Assessment/Safety Case. Although redox is not a new geochemical problem, different questions are still not resolved and thus raised by implementers and scientists. From a top-down approach, the reliability of redox measurements for site characterization, redox disturbances by the near-field materials, changes induced by glaciation scenarios or the redox buffer capacity of host-rocks and the kinetics of response to redox perturbations are addressed. From a bottom-up approach, questions concerning the interpretation of mixed potentials, surface mediated reactions, redox states of actinides and long-lived fission products, the source term of spent nuclear fuel in the presence of corroding steel as well as the role of microbes and biofilms on the evolution of the redox state are tackled. Radionuclide redox transformations on minerals are decisive scenarios in the NEA FEP list and in the RETROCK project. In the large FP 6 IPs NF-PRO and FUNMIG, redox phenomena controlling the retention of radionuclides were addressed, although not systematically considered. The ReCosy concept is innovative in the scientific approach to the redox phenomena, including i) advanced analytical tools, ii) investigations of processes responsible for redox control iii) required data on redox controlling processes, and iv) response to disturbances in disposal systems. To this aim, the scientific-technical work program is structured along six RTD workpackages, covering near-field and far-field aspects as well as all relevant host-rocks considered in Europe. The 28 partners of ReCosy include the key European Research Institutes and Universities from 12 European countries, and Russia.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.2.2 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2010
MOLTOs goal is to develop a set of tools for translatingtexts between multiple languages in real time with highquality. Languages are separate modules in the tool andcan be varied; prototypes covering a majority of the EUs23 official languages will be built.As its main technique, MOLTO uses domain-specific semanticgrammars and ontology-based interlinguas. These componentsare implemented in GF (Grammatical Framework), which is agrammar formalism where multiple languages are related bya common abstract syntax. GF has been applied in severalsmall-to-medium size domains, typically targeting up toten languages but MOLTO will scale this up in terms ofproductivity and applicability.A part of the scale-up is to increase the size of domainsand the number of languages. A more substantial part is tomake the technology accessible for domain experts without GFexpertise and minimize the effort needed for building atranslator. Ideally, this can be done by just extending alexicon and writing a set of example sentences.The most research-intensive parts of MOLTO are the two-wayinteroperability between ontology standards (OWL) and GFgrammars, and the extension of rule-based translation bystatistical methods. The OWL-GF interoperability willenable multilingual natural-language-based interaction withmachine-readable knowledge. The statistical methods willadd robustness to the system when desired. New methods willbe developed for combining GF grammars with statisticaltranslation, to the benefit of both.MOLTO technology will be released as open-source librarieswhich can be plugged in to standard translation tools andweb pages and thereby fit into standard workflows. It willbe demonstrated in web-based demos and applied in threecase studies: mathematical exercises in 15 languages,patent data in at least 3 languages, and museum objectdescriptions in 15 languages.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.82M | Year: 2013
Despite the past century witnessing considerable advances in our understanding of genetics, the success of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in detecting putative causal variants has been tinged with disappointment as the effects found have been modest. Epigenetics promises a novel biological foundation of a new way of looking at common diseases because it responds to the environment and governs gene expression - thus potentially mediating a path from environmental effects to gene expression to behavior. The primary objective of the EpiTrain Research Training Network is to promote integrative training-through-research in the field of epigenetics, especially of young researchers, both pre- and post-doctoral level, within the frame of high quality international collaborations. By integrating academic and private institutions with specializations in technological, analytical and computational aspects of epigenetic research, the training program will not only provide insights into research techniques and paradigms complementary to the individual projects, but will also strengthen professional skills and enhance the career prospects of the fellows.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-5 | Award Amount: 8.11M | Year: 2014
Migraine is a common brain disorder, typically characterised by recurring, incapacitating attacks of 1-3 days of severe headache, autonomic dysfunction, and sometimes aura symptoms. The disease affects 15% of all European citizens including children, ranks among the WHO top 12 of most disabling and undertreated disorders, and is responsible for the highest socio-economic burden of any brain ailment in Europe. Migraine attacks typically strike bi-monthly, and in 25% of patients once a week or more. Many patients may progress to chronic migraine with near-daily headaches and high disability (chronification). There is desperate need of effective prophylactic treatments to prevent attacks and chronification. Current medications are only moderately effective and often poorly tolerated, mainly due to lack of understanding of how attacks are triggered and why their frequency may increase so dramatically. Overuse of painkillers and triptans, are recognised risk factors for chronification, as are comorbid depression, stress, and obesity. Central sensitisation of pain signalling pathways appears to be pivotal to the chronification proces. EUROHEADPAIN will use established and evolving human and translational animal models to: (a) identify pathways and biomarkers for the triggering and chronification of migraine attacks; (b) decipher the modulatory effects of (hypothalamic) brain circuitries on trigeminal processing, sensitisation, and chronification; (c) assess the effects and mode of action of migraine-provoking molecules; and (d) evaluate the efficacy and mode of action of neuromodulation (in collaboration with an SME) and second messenger-blocking drugs in the treatment of chronic migraine. We expect important spin-offs to the understanding of other chronic pain disorders. The pharmaceutical industry will be engaged once treatable targets have been identified to develop novel treatments to reduce the disability and socio-economic burden due to migraine.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2015
Bacterial endospores are the most resistant life-forms on earth and the most important single feature of the genus Clostridium. Thus, whilst the pathogenesis of its notorious pathogens (C. botulinum, C. perfringens and C. difficile) is ascribed to the devastating toxins produced (neurotoxins, endotoxins and cytotoxins), it is their capacity to produce spores that lies at the heart of the diseases they cause. This is because spores play the pivotal role in the spread of infection (eg, C. difficile) and in foodstuff contamination and food poisoning (eg, C. botulinum and C. perfringens). The processes of spore formation (sporulation) and germination (return of the dormant spore to toxin-producing, vegetative cells), therefore, represent key intervention points. On the other hand, the majority of clostridia are entirely benign and can sustainably produce all manner of useful chemicals and fuels. Crucially, the regulation of chemical production is intimately linked to that of sporulation. Spores of benign species may also be used as a delivery system for treating cancer. Yet, despite the spores importance, little is known of the developmental processes of sporulation and germination. This is because research and training efforts on Clostridium spores are fragmented and there is no coherence between researchers working on pathogenic and industrially important species. CLOSPORE will address this deficiency by pooling the resources of Europes leading universities, research organisations and companies, to create an intersectorial Research and Training Programme that is multi-facetted, interdisciplinary and focused on clostridial spores. Accordingly, CLOSPORE will produce the innovative, applied research leaders of the future, able to tackle the big societal challenges facing Europe and the world.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.70M | Year: 2009
The multi-site European initial training network ENHANCE New Materials: Innovative Concepts for their Fabrication, Integration and Characterization will be established to deal with the mid and long term issues of concern to the European industry encompassing the whole spectrum of functional materials for microelectronics, nano-electronics, data storage, photovoltaic, with emphasis on emerging nano-technologies. This network consisting of 3 academic groups from chemistry 1 from physics, 3 from Material Science and Engineering and 1 industrial partners from 6 different countries of Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and Austria. Despite the exceptional importance of thin film processing of many new materials and their integration in emerging nanotechnologies, there is no systematic interdisciplinary training of students in the traditional courses of chemistry, materials science and engineering. ENHANCE aims to close this gap by combining the classical knowledge of chemistry, materials science, physics and engineering i.e. the knowledge of precursor molecules, materials properties, study of physical phenomena, to electronic devices and circuit integration. The training of ENHANCE fellows will be based on a structured 3 year academic curriculum, including, generic skills workshops and on-site research training at the state of the art laboratories, facilities under clean room conditions and a training at the industrial laboratories. This will provide the young scientists with necessary in-depth knowledge in materials synthesis and thin film processing as well as experimental skills in operating the instruments and analytical skills in different materials characterization techniques. The training concludes with European doctoral examination and will be reviewed by external experts in the field and their remarks will be addressed during the final disputation.
Tuomi T.,University of Helsinki |
Tuomi T.,Folkhalsan Research Center |
Santoro N.,Yale University |
Caprio S.,Yale University |
And 4 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2014
Diabetes is a much more heterogeneous disease than the present subdivision into types 1 and 2 assumes; type 1 and type 2 diabetes probably represent extremes on a range of diabetic disorders. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes seem to result from a collision between genes and environment. Although genetic predisposition establishes susceptibility, rapid changes in the environment (ie, lifestyle factors) are the most probable explanation for the increase in incidence of both forms of diabetes. Many patients have genetic predispositions to both forms of diabetes, resulting in hybrid forms of diabetes (eg, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults). Obesity is a strong modifi er of diabetes risk, and can account for not only a large proportion of the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in Asia but also the ever-increasing number of adolescents with type 2 diabetes. With improved characterisation of patients with diabetes, the range of diabetic subgroups will become even more diverse in the future.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRASUPP-01-2016 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2017
RISCAPE will provide systematic, focused, high quality, comprehensive, consistent and peer-reviewed international landscape analysis report on the position and complementarities of the major European research infrastructures in the international research infrastructure landscape. To achieve this, RISCAPE will establish a close links with a stakeholder panel representing the main user groups of the report, including representatives from ESFRI, the OECD and Member state funding agencies to ensure usability and the focus of the Report. It will also benefit from close co-operation with other projects and initiatives in the European research infrastructures development to ensure consistency with the existing landscape work. Particularly, RISCAPE builds on the European Research Infrastructures (RIs) in the ESFRI landscape report (2016) and on the landscape analysis done or currently underway in the H2020 cluster projects. RISCAPE leverages the experts on the European RIs with extensive knowledge on the disciplines involved and RI development in Europe and the project benefits from the contacts and tools developed in the cluster- and international RI collaboration projects to maximize the discipline-specific usability of the results. A key factor in the RISCAPE analysis is that the complementarities will be analyzed in a way which is natural and suitable for the discipline and RI in question. The resulting Report and the used methods will be independently peer reviewed to maximize the usability and objectivity of the information provided for the EU strategic RI development and policy. The project answers directly to the European Commission strategy on EU international cooperation in research and innovation, particularly on the need to obtain objective information in order to help implement the (EC) strategic approach.
News Article | November 17, 2015
Researchers of the University of Helsinki, Finland, have identified a genetic mutation which renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behavior when drunk. The research took advantage of the unique Finnish data on impulsive sufferers of alcoholism and their relatives, and the discovery is based on long-term research cooperation between the University of Helsinki Psychiatry Clinic and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.
News Article | February 21, 2017
A collaborative study describes a novel myoclonic epilepsy syndrome in dogs for the first time and discovers its genetic cause at DIRAS1 gene. The affected dogs developed myoclonic seizures at young age - on average 6 months old - and seizures occur typically at rest. In some of the dogs the seizures could be triggered by light. The canine myoclonic epilepsy resembles human juvenile myoclonic syndrome in many aspects and the study has therefore meaningful implications for epilepsy research across species, says Professor Hannes Lohi from the canine gene research group, University of Helsinki. Myoclonic epilepsies are one of the most common forms of epilepsy in human and the canine findings will not only help in diagnostics but also provide a novel entry point to understand the pathophysiology of the disease. The identified DIRAS1 gene may play a role in cholinergic transmission in the brain and provides a novel target for the development of epilepsy treatments. We found a novel epilepsy gene, DIRAS1, which has not been linked to any neurological diseases before. The gene is poorly characterized so far, but some studies suggest that it may play a role in cholinergic neurotransmission, which could be a highly relevant pathway for the myoclonic epilepsies, explains MSc Sarviaho, co-first author of the study. The genetic backgrounds of myoclonic epilepsies are not well known yet, and our study provides a new candidate gene, which helps to further characterize the underlying pathophysiology in future studies. This would be important for the development of new treatment scenarios, summarizes Professor Lohi, senior author of the study. The affected dogs continue to serve as preclinical models when new treatment options are sought in ongoing studies. The results have implications for both veterinary diagnostics and breeding programs. We screened over 600 Rhodesian Ridgebacks and about 1000 epileptic dogs in other breeds and found that the DIRAS1 defect was specific for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in Rhodesian Ridgebacks so far, says MSc Sarviaho. With the help of the genetic test, veterinarians can diagnose this specific epilepsy in their canine patients while breeders will be able to identify carriers and revise the breeding plans to avoid future affected puppies. About 15% of the dogs in the breed carry the DIRAS1 mutation and dogs all over Europe and beyond are affected, says DVM Franziska Wieländer from LMU Munich. To characterize the clinical features, researchers utilized a novel wireless video-EEG recording method. This allows a real-time monitoring of the electrical events prior, during and after the seizure episode in unsedated dogs. All the wires from electrodes are attached to a small portable device on the dog's back that transmits the data straight to our computers. Thus, the dog is free to move around and we can record the EEG for long periods at one go, explains Professor Fiona James. She has been previously developing the method at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Video-EEG is a routine approach in the human epilepsy clinic but only piloted now for the dogs. The beauty of the method is that we can easily correlate the behavioral changes with the recorded electroencephalographs and compare them to human EEG results. Indeed, with this technique we were able to identify epilepsy at an early stage and prior to the development of generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Moreover, we found strikingly similar EEG patterns in dogs that have been described in human myoclonic epilepsy", describes Professor Andrea Fischer from LMU Munich. Video-EEG is a powerful new approach for veterinary epilepsy research compared to previous short, 20-minute interictal measurements under sedation and gives much more accurate results, says Wieländer. Careful clinical studies helped to establish proper study cohorts to identify the genetic cause. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) on 20 February 2017.
News Article | November 10, 2015
A new study shows that the ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings, published in the journal Nature, explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher — and contribute to the further understanding of how genetic differences affect the risk of developing diseases on an individual level. “The genome contains all the information needed to build and maintain an organism, but it also holds the details of an individual’s risk of developing common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” says study lead-author Arttu Jolma, doctoral student at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet Department of Biosciences and Nutrition. “If we can improve our ability to read and understand the human genome, we will also be able to make better use of the rapidly accumulating genomic information on a large number of diseases for medical benefits.” The sequencing of the human genome in the year 2000 revealed how the three billion letters of A, C, G and T, which the human genome consists of, are ordered. However, knowing just the order of the letters is not sufficient for translating the genomic discoveries into medical benefits; one also needs to understand what the sequences of letters mean. In other words, it is necessary to identify the ‘words’ and the ‘grammar’ of the language of the genome. The cells in our body have almost identical genomes, but differ from each other because different genes are active (expressed) in different types of cells. Each gene has a regulatory region that contains the instructions controlling when and where the gene is expressed. This gene regulatory code is read by proteins called transcription factors that bind to specific ‘DNA words’ and either increase or decrease the expression of the associated gene. Under the supervision of Professor Jussi Taipale, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have previously identified most of the DNA words recognized by individual transcription factors. However, much like in a natural human language, the DNA words can be joined to form compound words that are read by multiple transcription factors. However, the mechanism by which such compound words are read has not previously been examined. Therefore, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words to which they bind. Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words. “Our study identified many such words, increasing the understanding of how genes are regulated both in normal development and cancer,” says Arttu Jolma. “The results pave the way for cracking the genetic code that controls the expression of genes.” This project was supported by the Finnish Academy CoE in Cancer Genetics, Center for Innovative Medicine, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Göran Gustafsson Foundations, and the Swedish Research Council. Professor Taipale is also affiliated to the University of Helsinki, Finland. Citation: ‘DNA-dependent formation of transcription factor pairs alters their binding specificity,’ Jolma A, Yin Y, Nitta KR, Dave K, Popov A, Taipale M, Enge M, Kivioja T, Morgunova E and Taipale J., Nature , online November 9, 2015, doi: 10.1038/nature15518.
News Article | November 28, 2016
The aim of this research project was to analyse learning using Augmented Reality (AR) technology and the motivational and cognitive aspects related to it in an informal learning context. The 146 participants were 12-year old Finnish pupils visiting a science centre exhibition. The results showed that AR-technology experience was beneficial especially for the pupils, who otherwise belong to the lowest achieving school success group. They were reaching up the gap with other students while learning science. On the other hand, the students with the high-performance school success gained more challenge and quality for the learning outcomes. Augmented Reality (AR) differs from Virtual reality (VR): VR is totally virtual and illusion, but AR creates mixed reality by adding visual elements into real, physical environment around us. This research group from the University of Helsinki has been doing research related to informal learning and Augmented Reality for more than a decade now. Now, only after the Pokémon phenomenon this AR-technolgoy has become known by wider audiences. However, many experts don't consider the Pokémon technology as AR-solution, but as the recent Scientific American calls it as "location-based entertainment". "Utilizing ICT- and digitalization in education is much hype. The majority of the comments are based on everyday knowledge and anecdotes. The number of evidence-based education research reports is astonishingly small," says Professor Hannu Salmi from the University of Helsinki, Finland. "Several ICT-based educational materials are old-fashioned. The text-books have only been converted into digital form. However, by the latest technologies like AR allow to create totally new type of learning solutions and not only to transport old knowledge into a new format. Our team has been developing clearly defined phenomena like the molecule movement in the gases, gravity, sound waves, or aeroplane wing physics. This is not only for learning the knowledge based facts, but learning by doing to make the observations is developing the thinking skills - learning to learn, as well." "Video games and computer based entertainment and serious pc-educational games have traditionally been more beneficial for the boys. However, in this AR-case there was no gap between boys and girls in post-knowledge testing; thus the girls benefitted more from the informal learning experience than the boys," says Helena Thuneberg, the senior researcher from the University of Helsinki. "Girls had a higher relative autonomy experience (RAI) as an important background factor for high-performance learning. Meanwhile, situation motivation was much more strongly inter-connected among the boys." AR seems to be also a good tool for different learners. It is bridging the gap between formal education and informal learning in an effective way. The research was conducted by the University of Helsinki science centre pedagogy group and the results have been recently published in the Journal of Science Education.
News Article | October 23, 2015
Graduate students in the sciences generally keep a tight focus on their area of study, whether it is mice, molecules or lasers. But when it comes to plans for the future, they are willing to take a wide-angle view. The 2015 Nature survey of graduate students, which drew more than 3,400 responses from early-career researchers across the world, uncovered a strong and far-reaching enthusiasm for jobs in academia. Some 78% of respondents said that they are likely or very likely to pursue a research career in academia, a bold stance given the global shortage of permanent positions at universities. But the survey also revealed uncertainty and ambivalence. More than 60% of respondents said that they are “likely” or “very likely” to pursue a job in industry (see 'Industry appeal'). And 61% said that they are “likely” or “very likely” to pursue a research job with a government or foundation, which makes it clear that many graduate students are unclear about their futures. Indeed, when it comes to job plans, even a firm conviction can quickly fade. Daria Bulanova, a PhD student in molecular biology at the University of Helsinki, noted in her survey response that she expected to pursue a career in industry. “I was influenced by friends and relatives who had careers in big pharma and big biotech,” she explains. “They all had a really good career track.” Yet in the several months since she took the survey, Bulanova, who studies mutations in breast cancer, reveals that she has taken a 180-degree turn towards academia. Through company visits and consultations, she has been able to assess the reality of taking on an industry job. “I decided that I wasn't mature enough for that kind of shark tank,” Bulanova says. In retrospect, she also is uncertain that a job in a large company could satisfy her scientific curiosity. “Research in industry is very narrow and settled,” she says. “It doesn't lead to other questions.” Bulanova's determination to stay in academia solidified after she attended seminars at which research luminaries — such as Peter Jackson, a microbiologist and immunologist at Stanford University School of Medicine in California — discussed their own career paths. “That was inspirational,” she says. “You start dreaming.” The survey tapped into an eclectic, global crowd. Respondents were roughly evenly distributed between Europe, Asia and North America, with some respondents living in South America, Africa and Australia. They are a well-travelled bunch: 40% of respondents live away from their home country, a group that includes Bulanova, who is from Russia. Interest in academia is widespread across the continents. More than 90% of respondents in Asia revealed that they see academia as a possible career option, with more than half declaring that they are “very likely” to go down that path. Enthusiasm for academia is only slightly cooler in North America and in Europe, where 32% and 41% of respondents, respectively, said that they are “very likely” to take the academic route. Respondents in biology, chemistry and medicine — the most common areas of study for survey participants — reported similar career goals. In all three fields, about three-quarters of those polled ticked the “likely” or “very likely” boxes for following an academic career, compared with more than half indicating that they would opt for a career in industry. Dreams of academia endure even in parts of the world in which prospects seem daunting. Parisa Naeli, a PhD student in molecular genetics at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran says that so far, her vision for the future exceeds her actual opportunities. “I don't want to just be a doctor or a professor,” she explains. “I want to be a great researcher. I want to have a fully equipped lab and work on my dream project, but I don't have that.” Naeli is keenly aware of the obstacles ahead. “I think the academic market is better in other countries than in Iran,” she observes. “It's hard to find a teaching job, but it's even harder to get a research job. I could do a lot for people, like drug discovery. But I can't because I don't have the facilities.” Enthusiasm for academia is not evident everywhere, however, and it certainly has not swept the Pennsylvania State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Harrisburg, says Robert Nwokonko, a PhD student in molecular biology there. “It doesn't seem like a lot of people here think that an academic career is the way to go,” he says. “I know a lot of students who decided to finish with a master's degree and get into industry as soon as possible.” For his part, Nwokonko intends to buck the local trend and become an academic. “I'd like to have my principal investigator's job in the future,” he declares. “He gets to set the focus. I want to be able to run my own lab and put out some quality research.” Nwokonko took time to develop that particular ambition. He started out as a medical student but came to realize that he preferred research. A year-long internship at a biotechnology company sealed the deal. “It was very hard work for not much money,” he rues. “I figured if I still liked research after that, I should apply to graduate school.” Nwokonko acknowledges that the really hard part might not be over yet. “I believe I have a sense of the challenges,” he says. “There are a lot of postdocs in their thirties, even late thirties. It takes a long time to get a foot in the door.” Some who see professorships in their future are already thinking about back-up plans. Sean Leonard, a 31-year-old PhD student in bioinformatics at the University of Texas in Austin, states that he wants to give academia a try but is willing to consider other options. Before entering science, he spent four years in the US Army, which included deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Compared to combat, he notes, there is nothing especially scary about academia. “A lot of my peers are stressed out and worried,” he says. “They think, 'If I don't get an academic job, my life is over.' But with my experience, I don't feel that pressure. I'll be able to find something that's fulfilling.” Although he could probably make more money as an army officer, Leonard affirms that he is committed to scientific research. “The intellectual endeavour is a strong motivator for me,” he declares. And whereas many students at his university have given up on the idea of academia, he is sticking with it. “I like the collegiate atmosphere, and I like the idea of teaching.” As for his fallback position, he admits that companies might not be especially interested in his current research subject — microbial communities in the gut of the honeybee. But he hopes that the specialized research skills that he is developing will make him more attractive to industry. Where are early-career researchers getting their zeal for academic jobs? Judging from the survey responses, at least some encouragement comes from their mentors. A little more than one-third of respondents revealed that their advisers had helped to shape their career plans. And notably, only half of respondents stated that their supervisor is open to the possibility of their pursuing a career outside academia. The main source of inspiration — reported by more than half of respondents — was their own online research, which suggests that graduate students do not routinely go to great lengths to explore their career options. Both formal career training and helpful colleagues fell behind advisers and online research as sources of career guidance. Chelsea Lowther, a PhD student in clinical genetics at the University of Toronto, Canada, has sought career advice from many sources. However, her decision to pursue academia is almost entirely her own. “My supervisor is great to talk to about career planning,” Lowther notes. “But she doesn't tell us exactly what she thinks we should do. She doesn't want to influence us.” Lowther has good reason to believe that she is on the right path. Earlier this year, she won a three-year, Can$105,000 (US$80,600) grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study the genetics of schizophrenia and intellectual disabilities. “My adviser expects her graduate students to get their own funding,” she explains. “She thinks it will be good for our careers.” Like Nwokonko, Lowther originally planned to go to medical school until the lure of research pulled her in another direction. Now in her third year of graduate school, she is approaching principal investigators at conferences to scope out potential postdoctoral opportunities. “I'm not concerned about finding a postdoc,” she insists. “That's not where the bottleneck is. I would just love to think that I'll only have to do one postdoc.” Lowther maintains that she is not naive about the difficulties of moving from a postdoctoral role to an elusive tenure-track position. “I don't think I'll be blindsided,” she says. “I'm aware of how bleak the prospects are. I try to stay confident and work as hard as I can. It will fall into place.” Some respondents disclosed that they already knew that a PhD was not for them before embarking on lower-level graduate qualifications. Dan Upsher was finishing a master's degree in fisheries research at the University of Hull, UK, when he filled out the survey. At the time, he stated that he was interested in an industry career — and he has stayed on course. Instead of moving on to a PhD, Upsher has launched an aquatic-rehabilitation consultancy. “River rehabilitation is where my true passion lies.” he says. By his own estimate, the years of practical experience will be better for his career than a few more years of graduate school. Although he could always go back to university later on, for now, Upsher is glad to avoid the crowd. “Getting a PhD has become such a thing to do,” he remarks. “It's a fad.” Students who do move on to PhD programmes often run into unexpected difficulties. Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they were surprised to discover how hard it is to get a grant, and a similar fraction revealed that finding a work–life balance is more challenging than expected. Forty per cent said that they were surprised to discover that many researchers with PhDs have already done multiple postdoctoral stints — an increasingly common scenario. Still, those surprises were not enough to sour most students' opinions of graduate school. Seventy per cent of respondents said that they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their graduate-school experience, and only 3% reported being “very dissatisfied”. Despite her own share of surprises, Bulanova still has her eyes on the academic path: one or two postdoctoral positions in Europe or the United States, followed by a tenure-track job. She accepts that it will not be easy. “In northern Europe, especially in Finland, there are cuts in funding and the positions are very limited,” she says. “Somehow I want to try.” She has ideas that she wants to test, preferably in her own laboratory. Those ideas might not pan out exactly as she planned but, she admits, that is the beauty of science — and, for that matter, of careers in science. “If you already know all of the answers,” she says, “what's the fun?”
News Article | November 2, 2015
The bulk of the protein on our plates originates in Brazil, because the protein fodder consumed by food-producing animals consists mostly of soy grown there. If the vision proposed by the ScenoProt project, coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), becomes reality, by 2030 our food production will no longer be dependent on a handful of large Brazilian companies. "This project seeks to increase Finland's self-sufficiency in protein production from the current less-than-twenty to sixty per cent. A similar change must take place in the whole of Europe, as soy cultivation destroys rain forest in Brazil, accelerating the climate change," says Principal Research Scientist Anne Pihlanto of Luke. New foodstuffs pave the way to a healthier diet Efforts are taken to increase self-sufficiency in protein protection by developing foodstuffs in which protein originates in new sources, such as insects and mushrooms, and by processing vegetable raw materials to form more usable products. By 2030, we will be in better health because we will consume less meat and more vegetables. "Foodstuffs developed in the course of the project will be turned into products, making them well-known brands that are attractive to consumers," Pihlanto says. Consumers are engaged in the planning of foodstuffs The ScenoProt project will span six years, with the protein production problem being investigated from a number of perspectives. The research conducted at Luke is related to plant production, animal nutrition, processing technology and food healthiness, as well as to the bearing capacity of nature. Futurologists at the University of Turku are investigating various ways of achieving the objectives set for the year 2030. The University of Jyväskylä is testing the practical options with a number of companies. Dutch TNO is the best expert concerning the economic aspects associated with the breeding of insects, while the University of Helsinki is involved in the research focused on the various health impacts. In addition, a company called Makery will bring their expertise in product planning and consumer surveys to the project. Consumers will be engaged in the planning of prototypes for new types of foodstuffs within the scope of the project. The marketing potential of new foodstuffs both on the domestic and export markets will be surveyed. Explore further: Products of biotechnological origin using vegetable and fruit by-products generated by the industry
News Article | December 8, 2016
New genetic research from an international team including McMaster University, University of Helsinki, Vilnius University and the University of Sydney, suggests that smallpox, a pathogen that caused millions of deaths worldwide, may not be an ancient disease but a much more modern killer that went on to become the first human disease eradicated by vaccination. The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, raise new questions about the role smallpox may have played in human history and fuels a longstanding debate over when the virus that causes smallpox, variola, first emerged and later evolved in response to inoculation and vaccination. "Scientists don't yet fully comprehend where smallpox came from and when it jumped into humans," says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, senior author of the study, director of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre and a researcher with Michael G. DeGroote Institute of Infectious Disease Research. "This research raises some interesting possibilities about our perception and age of the disease." Smallpox, one of the most devastating viral diseases ever to strike humankind, had long been thought to have appeared in human populations thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, India and China, with some historical accounts suggesting that the pharaoh Ramses V -who died in 1145 BC--suffered from smallpox. In an attempt to better understand its evolutionary history, and after obtaining clearance from the WHO in Geneva, scientists extracted the heavily fragmented DNA, from the partial mummified remains of a Lithuanian child believed to have died between 1643 and 1665, a period in which several smallpox outbreaks were documented throughout Europe with increasing levels of mortality. The smallpox DNA was captured, sequenced and the ancient genome, one of the oldest viral genomes to date, was completely reconstructed. There was no indication of live virus in the sample and so the mummies are not infectious. Researchers compared and contrasted the 17th Century strain to those from a modern databank of samples dating from 1940 up to its eradication in 1977. Strikingly, the work shows that the evolution of smallpox virus occurred far more recently than previously thought, with all the available strains of the virus having an ancestor no older than 1580. "This study sets the clock of smallpox evolution to a much more recent time-scale" said evolutionary biologist Eddie Holmes, a professor at the University of Sydney, Australia. "Although it is still unclear what animal is the true reservoir of smallpox virus and when the virus first jumped into humans." The pox viral strains that represent the true reservoir for human smallpox remains currently unsampled. Both the closest gerbil (Tetarapox) and camel pox are very distantly related and consequently are not the likely ancestors to smallpox, suggesting that the real reservoir remains at large or has gone extinct. Researchers also discovered that smallpox virus evolved into two circulating strains, variola major and minor, after English physician Edward Jenner famously developed a vaccine in 1796. One form of VARV (Variola virus), known as V. major was highly virulent and deadly, the other V, minor much more benign. However, scientists say, the two forms experienced a 'major population bottleneck' with the rise of global immunization efforts. The date of the ancestor of the minor strain corresponds well with the Atlantic Slave trade which was likely responsible for partial worldwide dissemination. "This raises important questions about how a pathogen diversifies in the face of vaccination. While smallpox was eradicated in human populations, we can't become lazy or apathetic about its evolution - and possible reemergence--until we fully understand its origins," says Ana Duggan, a post doctoral fellow in the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre. Whether the date of the ancestor, approximately 1580, precludes the massive destruction of aboriginal populations in central America by smallpox, introduced by the Spanish, remains questionable. To that end, researchers must carefully examine the remains of individuals buried in epidemic burials in central and southern America, say scientists. "This work blurs the line between ancient diseases and emerging infections. Much of smallpox evolution apparently happened in historic time," says Margaret Humphreys, historian of medicine at Duke University. Attention editors: Additional quotes from collaborators are available here: "I am excited to see that these remains from the Holy Spirit crypt, once scheduled to be buried, are now revealing so much about the health conditions of past Vilnius inhabitans. This research is yielding extraordinary information and we should especially be grateful to those unnamed people that still tell us stories after centuries." - Dario Piombino-Mascali - Vilnius University "Indeed, behind our rear window is another world; the time machine through which we call Archaeovirology," say post doctoral fellow Maria Perdomo and professors Klaus Hedman and Antti Sajantila at University of Helsinki. McMaster provides a high definition broadcast studio that can connect with any television broadcaster around the world. To book an interview please contact:
News Article | October 31, 2016
Researchers at the Wihuri Research Institute and the University of Helsinki, Finland, have found that some of the harmful effects of a commonly used cancer drug can be alleviated by using gene therapy that stimulates blood vessel growth in the heart. Doxorubicin treatment, which is commonly used in a variety of cancers, leads to cardiac atrophy and body wasting. The researchers found that in mouse heart, doxorubicin leads to blood vessel rarefaction, which was prevented by treatment with gene therapy using the VEGF-B growth factor. As advances in cancer treatment have decreased deaths from cancer, doxorubicin-induced heart problems have become an increasing problem. The new findings give hope that in future the heart could be protected by gene therapy, allowing more thorough cytostatic cancer treatment. "Thus, the cancer itself would be treated more effectively and the adverse effects could be avoided", explains Markus Räsänen, MD, who made the discovery during his thesis studies. "Doxorubicin, a cytostatic agent of the anthracycline class, that was used in this study has been a target of intensive research in the scientific world for a long time, and its role has been described in thousands of research articles. This research article is the first one, where blood vessel-directed therapy has a clear protective effect against the doxorubicin toxicity", says Dr. Riikka Kivelä, who supervised the study. "Our findings show, that especially the endothelial cells, which form the inner surface of the vessels in the heart, have an essential role in the protection against the cardiotoxicity. More preclinical studies are needed though for the development of VEGF-B gene therapy for cardiac protection in patients" elaborates Räsänen. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This research involved scientists from the Wihuri Research Institute and the Universities of Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Oulu. Funding was provided by the Wihuri Research Institute, the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, the Finnish Cancer Foundation, and the European Union People Programme (Marie Curie Actions).
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-16-2015 | Award Amount: 6.92M | Year: 2016
PROMISS (PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects in the EU) is a multi-country project aiming to turn the challenge of tackling malnutrition in community-dwelling older persons into an opportunity for healthy ageing for the future. The PROMISS consortium contains worldwide expertise in epidemiology, clinical trials, geriatrics, nutrition, physical activity, microbiomics, as well as in behaviour, consumer, sensory and computer sciences. It builds on strong collaborations with food industry and SMEs to strengthen innovation of the European agri-food sector and their market position. Existing data from scientifically well-established prospective aging cohorts and national nutritional surveys from Europe and third countries will be combined with new data from short- and long-term intervention studies in older persons at risk. Its holistic approach will provide insight in the causality of the links between diet, physical activity, appetite and malnutrition and underlying pathways, thereby providing the necessary evidence to develop optimal, sustainable and evidence-based dietary and physical activity strategies to prevent malnutrition and enhance active and healthy aging. PROMISS will also deliver food concepts and products as well as persuasive technology to support adherence to these strategies. The dietary and physical activity strategies and food products will be specifically developed with older user involvement to meet the needs and fit the preferences of older consumers. In close collaboration with stakeholders, PROMISS will translate these strategies into practical recommendations to guide policy and health professionals at EU- and Member States level. Dissemination and implementation takes place through strong dissemination partners operating on an European level and linked to national networks across Member States. PROMISS promises prevention of malnutrition, additional healthy life years and a strengthening of EUs food industry.
News Article | February 23, 2017
Scientists at the Universities of York, Leeds, and Helsinki say they are a step closer to cracking, what researchers have dubbed, the 'Enigma Code' of the common cold virus. The research findings, published in Nature Communications, revealed the workings of a 'hidden code' within the genome of Human Parechovirus, a member of the Picornavirus family that includes the common cold, polio, and hand foot and mouth disease. The work builds on a discovery made in 2015, when scientists at the Universities of Leeds and York, identified a set of encrypted signals in a plant virus with a single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome, not too dissimilar to the structure of the Parechovirus that infect humans and can cause sepsis-like illness and meningitis in children. They found that the details of the decoding mechanism appear identical in all strains of the virus, potentially allowing a single drug to treat them all, something that is not possible with a vaccine. The team is now working to screen for potential anti-viral drugs that target this decoding mechanism. Successful future partnerships with the pharma-industry and further funding support could potentially see drug development results within the next ten years. Professor Reidun Twarock, a mathematical biologist at the University of York's Departments of Mathematics, Biology, and the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, said: "Previously scientists have assumed that the signals regulating the assembly of a virus were located in a unique area of the genome. "Using a combination of biological insight and mathematical modelling, our study suggests that, by contrast, the mechanism relies on multiple dispersed sites in the genome that act together in a cooperative way to enable efficient virus formation. "The common cold infects more than two billion people annually, making it one of the most successful viral pathogens, so we are excited to make this crucial step forward." Scientists had previously attempted to detect assembly signals by genetically recoding these viruses, but failed to find any. The latest results solve this mystery; they show that the additional 'hidden' code, responsible for virus formation, is robust against such genome changes, and is conserved across different viruses in the same family. Professor Peter Stockley, from the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, said: "The coding works like the cogwheels in a Swiss watch. We now need a drug that has the same effect as pouring sand into the watch; every part of the viral mechanism could be disabled. "We need to move away from a vaccine approach, which is what we have for flu and polio. Vaccines, although our best source of defence against polio at the moment, can result in the release of more virulent strains of the disease. Protecting against infection therefore relies on continued worldwide vaccination, which is both very expensive and logistically difficult." The World Health Organisation has a goal of eliminating polio infections worldwide via vaccination but recognises that before vaccination can be terminated there is a need to develop anti-polio drugs to cure residual infections. Professor Sarah Butcher, from the University of Helsinki, said: "This new research means that treatment would be less likely to trigger drug resistance, which is currently one of the major problems in anti-viral therapy. This discovery could be a great leap forward in curing a host of conditions." The research is funded by the Wellcome Trust.
News Article | November 17, 2016
Knowing the likely course of cancer can influence treatment decisions. Now a new prediction model published in Lancet Oncology offers a more accurate prognosis for a patient's metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The approach was as novel as the result -- while researchers commonly work in small groups, intentionally isolating their data, the current study embraces the call in Joe Biden's "Cancer Moonshot" to open their question and their data, collecting previously published clinical trial data and calling for worldwide collaboration to evaluate its predictive power. That is, researchers crowdsourced the question of prostate cancer prognosis, eventually involving over 550 international researchers and resulting in 50 computational models from 50 different teams. The approach was intentionally controversial. "Scientists like me who mine open data have been called 'research parasites'. While not the most flattering name, the idea of leveraging existing data to gain new insights is a very important part of modern biomedical research. This project shows the power of the parasites," says James Costello, PhD, senior author of the paper, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine, and director of Computational and Systems Biology Challenges within the Sage Bionetworks/DREAM organization. The project was overseen as a collaborative effort between 16 institutions, led by academic research institutions including CU Cancer Center, open-data initiatives including Project Data Sphere, Sage Bionetworks, and the National Cancer Institute's DREAM Challenges, and industry and research partners including Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Challenge organizers made available the results from five completed clinical trials. Teams were challenged to connect a deep set of clinical measurements to overall patient survival, organizing their insights into novel computational models to better predict patient survival based on clinical data. "The idea is that if a patient comes into the clinic and has these measurements and test results, can we put this data in a model to say if this patient will progress slowly or quickly. If we know the features of patients at the greatest risk, we can know who should receive standard treatment and who might benefit more from a clinical trial," Costello says. The most successful of the 50 models was submitted by a team led by Tero Aittokallio, PhD, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM, at University of Helsinki, and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Turku, Finland. "My group has a long-term expertise in developing multivariate machine learning models for various biomedical applications, but this Challenge provided the unique opportunity to work on clinical trial data, with the eventual aim to help patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer," Aittokallio says. Basically, the model depended on not only groups of single patient measurements to predict outcomes, but on exploring which interactions between measurements were most predictive -- for example, data describing a patient's blood system composition and immune function were only weakly predictive of survival on their own, but when combined became an important part of the winning model. The model used a computational learning strategy technically referred to as an ensemble of penalized Cox regression models, hence the model's name ePCR. This model then competed with 49 other entries, submitted by other teams working independently around the world. "Having 50 independent models allowed us to do two very important things. First when a single clinical feature known to be predictive of patient survival is picked out by 40 of the 50 teams, this greatly strengthens our overall confidence. Second, we were able to discover important clinical features we hadn't fully appreciated before," Costello says. In this case, many models found that in addition to factors like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) that have long been known to predict prostate cancer performance, blood levels of an enzyme called asparate aminotransferease (AST) is an important predictor of patient survival. This AST is an indirect measure of liver function and the fact that disturbed levels of AST are associated with poor patient performance implies that studies could evaluate the role of AST in prostate cancer. "The benefits of a DREAM Challenge are the ability to attract talented individuals and teams from around the world, and a rigorous framework for the assessment of methods. These two ingredients came together for our Challenge, leading to a new benchmark in metastatic prostate cancer," says paper first author, Justin Guinney, PhD, director of Computational Oncology for Sage Bionetworks located at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "A goal of the Project Data Sphere initiative is to spark innovation -- to unlock the potential of valuable data by generating new insights and opening up a new world of research possibilities. Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge did just that. To witness cancer clinical trial data from Project Data Sphere be used in research collaboration and ultimately help improve patient care in the future is extremely rewarding!" says Liz Zhou, MD, MS, director of Global Health Outcome Research at Sanofi. The goal now is to make the ePCR model publicly accessible through an online tool with an eye towards clinical application. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has contracted the winning team to do exactly this. Soon, when patients face difficult decisions about the best treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, ePCR tool could be an important piece of the decision-making process.
News Article | December 1, 2016
Dramatic media images of crisis and suffering affect their spectators in many different ways. Images of horror are emotional, they evoke empathy, and may result in efforts to protect the lives of those at risk Dramatic media images of crisis and suffering affect their spectators in many different ways. Images of horror are emotional, they evoke empathy, and may result in efforts to protect the lives of those at risk. Images of the suffering of others have been important in the evolution of humanitarianism and protection of humanity, and in the development of human rights. However, they are also central in international politics, as suggested by a doctoral dissertation currently being examined at the University of Helsinki. "Whose suffering we see in images, how the objects are depicted and in what kind of images - all these things impact our understanding of international politics, wars and crises as well as how human dignity seems to be divided globally within the hierarchies of humanity," says MSocSc Noora Kotilainen. Noora Kotilainen maps out the use of images of suffering, war and crisis in the Western sphere, from the mid 18th-century Enlightenment to the present time. The research focuses on Western visual practices in the 21st century, as well as the position of images in recent Western politics. According to the dissertation, emotional images are used in political speech in times of crisis; they are utilized to strategically shape conceptions, and even as justification for military action. Emotional images of crises have a significant role in international politics and in shaping conceptions of the surrounding world. Kotilainen is particularly interested in how images address Western spectators in a variety of international political contexts. The images reflect prevailing modes of thinking while constructing the spectators' understanding of crises, war and international politics, and the practices of presentation as well shape the conceptions of lives considered valuable. The way in which images of suffering are used and presented reveals the spirit of the international politics at the time as well as the way we think about humanity and its protection. Images speak of our divided attitudes towards the value of humanity The dissertation maps recent visual practices in a multitude of different contexts. For example, the dissertation discusses imagery which has been used in Western media to illustrate the "European refugee crisis" of the past few years. "The ways in which refugees, for example, are visually depicted, reveal a divided attitude not only towards refugees and refugeeness, but human rights and the value of humanity in a broader sense," Kotilainen explains. The dissertation also examines the imagery used to depict terrorism, natural disasters and epidemics in recent years, and describes the ways non-Western sufferers and their Western benefactors are shown. "The images present the globally divided roles of humanity: the strong Western humanitarians and weak non-Westerners who need help," Kotilainen summarizes. Using images as part of international power politics The dissertation also discusses the use and influence of images in international political speech and decision-making as well as their role in the strategic communications of military operations. The use of current war images and their spread from social media to conventional media is studied through the ways images were disseminated following the gas attack in Ghouta, Syria in 2013. "Even though there is a great deal of talk about how social media is changing the way we react to crises, the Syrian example proves that even the most shocking images of suffering are subject to interest-based international power politics," Kotilainen states. MSocSc Noora Kotilainen will defend her doctoral dissertation entitled Visual Theaters of Suffering - Constituting the Western Spectator in the Age of the Humanitarian World Politics at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Social Sciences on 9 December 2016 at 12.15. The public defence will be held in the University of Helsinki's Main Building, lecture hall 5, Fabianinkatu 33. The opponent will be Associate professor Shani Orgad, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the custos will be Professor Pauli Kettunen.
News Article | February 15, 2017
New research results are expanding our understanding of the physiological role of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor GDNF in the function of the brain's dopamine systems. In an article recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, University of Helsinki researchers establish that GDNF is an important physiological regulator of the functioning of the brain's dopamine neurons. Dopamine neurons have an important role in cognitive control, learning and motor control. GDNF is best known for its ability to protect dopaminergic neurons from damage, which is why it is currently in clinical trials for treatment of Parkinson's patients. Nevertheless, the significance of endogenous GDNF that is produced in our brains for the regulation of the dopamine systems is still poorly understood. Dr Jaan-Olle Andressoo from the Institute of Biotechnology has developed new transgenic mice which have allowed researchers to gain much more reliable information on the physiological functions of GDNF. The studies were conducted in close cooperation with the research groups led by Professor Mart Saarma and Dr Petteri Piepponen, docent of pharmacology. The new research results indicate that the GDNF produced in the brain regulates dopamine reuptake. Mice with no GDNF in their brains displayed significantly stronger reuptake of dopamine into nerve endings. - The reuptake of dopamine is the most important factor regulating the brain's dopamine balance and signalling. In practice this means that differences in GDNF levels might explain certain differences in people's ability to learn or focus, explains Jaakko Kopra, a researcher in Andressoo's group. In addition, the transgenic mice had an atypically low reaction to amphetamine, which specifically targets the dopamine transporter in the brain. These observations were associated with changes in the functionality, amount and localization of the dopamine transporter in the nerve endings. So we know that GDNF regulates the amount and localization of the dopamine transporter in the neurons, but we suspect that there may be additional mechanisms. It seems that the relationship between GDNF and dopamine transporter is surprisingly complex, which is of course interesting from a researcher viewpoint, explains Kopra. Mice with GDNF removed from their brain in adulthood displayed very similar changes. This indicates that the underlying cause for the changes is not the impact of GDNF on brain development. The group's previously published studies on the same mouse models demonstrated that contrary to expectations, the removal of GDNF does not lead to the destruction of dopamine neurons. This means that these new results significantly expand our understanding of physiological GDNF, from a factor protecting dopamine neurons to a dynamic regulator of their function. This knowledge is crucial for developing new treatments for not just Parkinson's disease, but also for addiction, ADHD and bipolar disorder, as all of these diseases are associated with some type of disorder in the function of the dopamine neurons, and specifically in the dopamine transporter, states Kopra.