Konstanz, Germany
Konstanz, Germany

The University of Konstanz is a university in the city of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was founded in 1966, and the main campus on the Gießberg was opened in 1972. The University is situated on the shore of Lake Constance just four kilometers from the Swiss border. As one of eleven German Excellence Universities, University of Konstanz is consistently ranked among the global top 250 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings .Over 10,000 students from close to 100 countries are enrolled at the university, while over 220 links to European partner universities and numerous exchange programmes facilitate global networking. All in all students can choose from more than 100 degree programs. Moreover, Konstanz University cooperates with a large number of foreign universities such as Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, the University of Chicago and the University of Zurich. Its library is open 24 hours a day and has more than two million books. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-33-2015 | Award Amount: 30.12M | Year: 2016

The vision of EU-ToxRisk is to drive a paradigm shift in toxicology towards an animal-free, mechanism-based integrated approach to chemical safety assessment. The project will unite all relevant disciplines and stakeholders to establish: i) pragmatic, solid read-across procedures incorporating mechanistic and toxicokinetic knowledge; and ii) ab initio hazard and risk assessment strategies of chemicals with little background information. The project will focus on repeated dose systemic toxicity (liver, kidney, lung and nervous system) as well as developmental/reproduction toxicity. Different human tiered test systems are integrated to balance speed, cost and biological complexity. EU-ToxRisk extensively integrates the adverse outcome pathway (AOP)-based toxicity testing concept. Therefore, advanced technologies, including high throughput transcriptomics, RNA interference, and high throughput microscopy, will provide quantitative and mechanistic underpinning of AOPs and key events (KE). The project combines in silico tools and in vitro assays by computational modelling approaches to provide quantitative data on the activation of KE of AOP. This information, together with detailed toxicokinetics data, and in vitro-in vivo extrapolation algorithms forms the basis for improved hazard and risk assessment. The EU-ToxRisk work plan is structured along a broad spectrum of case studies, driven by the cosmetics, (agro)-chemical, pharma industry together with regulators. The approach involves iterative training, testing, optimization and validation phases to establish fit-for-purpose integrated approaches to testing and assessment with key EU-ToxRisk methodologies. The test systems will be combined to a flexible service package for exploitation and continued impact across industry sectors and regulatory application. The proof-of-concept for the new mechanism-based testing strategy will make EU-ToxRisk the flagship in Europe for animal-free chemical safety assessment.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMP-11-2015 | Award Amount: 8.29M | Year: 2016

PRECIOUS aims at scaling-up biodegradable nanomedicines for multimodal precision cancer immunotherapy. With 3.5 million cancer patients in Europe every year, new cancer medicines are eagerly awaited, notably for prostate and ovarian cancer. Systemically applied new immunotherapies are promising, but their toxicity is a hurdle. Vaccination against cancer is safe but rather disappointing: the microenvironment shuts down anti-tumour immunity. PRECIOUS will tackle 2 bottlenecks: 1. Production of non toxic multimodal nanomedicines, which induce vigorous immune responses, and at the same time reverse immunosuppression 2. Large scale GMP production of nanomedicines, and initiate multimodal immunotherapy Phase I trials. We want to solve these bottlenecks by: Objective 1: Two types of GMP biodegradable nanoparticles: 1) a nanovaccine, containing tumour antigens and immune activators, and 2) a nanoparticle composed of compounds, which reverses the suppression and reactivates immunity in the tumour. Objective 2: Clinical Phase I trials to show efficacy. Both nanomedicines will be used by 1) local delivery of vaccines in lymphnodes to evoke immune responses and 2) local injection of nanoparticles in the tumour microenvironment, which slowly release compounds that reverse suppression. To achieve this, a platform is formed with 6 leading industrial partners to produce large scale GMP nanomedicines and an excellent immunomodulator track record, together with 5 renowned academic partners to perform clinical studies. Local delivery will avoid toxicity, reduce dose, lower costs by 75%, and have major impact on the European health care system Relevance to call: Large scale GMP production, industrial leadership, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing KET technologies, translation to the clinic, marketing development.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FCT-01-2015 | Award Amount: 11.99M | Year: 2016

ASGARD has a singular goal, contribute to Law Enforcement Agencies Technological Autonomy and effective use of technology. Technologies will be transferred to end users under an open source scheme focusing on Forensics, Intelligence and Foresight (Intelligence led prevention and anticipation). ASGARD will drive progress in the processing of seized data, availability of massive amounts of data and big data solutions in an ever more connected world. New areas of research will also be addressed. The consortium is configured with LEA end users and practitioners pulling from the Research and Development community who will push transfer of knowledge and innovation. A Community of LEA users is the end point of ASGARD with the technology as a focal point for cooperation (a restricted open source community). In addition to traditional Use Cases and trials, in keeping with open source concepts and continuous integration approaches, ASGARD will use Hackathons to demonstrate its results. Vendor lock-in is addressed whilst also recognising their role and existing investment by LEAs. The project will follow a cyclical approach for early results. Data Set, Data Analytics (multimodal/ multimedia), Data Mining and Visual Analytics are included in the work plan. Technologies will be built under the maxim of It works over Its the best. Rapid adoption/flexible deployment strategies are included. The project includes a licensing and IPR approach coherent with LEA realities and Ethical needs. ASGARD includes a comprehensive approach to Privacy, Ethics, Societal Impact respecting fundamental rights. ASGARD leverages existing trust relationship between LEAs and the research and development industry, and experiential knowledge in FCT research. ASGARD will allow its community of users leverage the benefits of agile methodologies, technology trends and open source approaches that are currently exploited by the general ICT sector and Organised Crime and Terrorist organisations.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.97M | Year: 2016

This network brings together world-leading experts in nano-science and technology from 6 European countries in order to achieve breakthroughs in understanding and successful utilization of nanoscale solid-state spin systems in emerging quantum technologies. The proposed innovative science in the supra-disciplinary field of physics and applications of spin nano-systems will underpin breakthrough developments in quantum computing, quantum communications and networks, and nano-imaging. Important innovative step consolidating the joint effort of the whole consortium is the focus on crystalline solids where magnetic interactions of electron spins with lattice nuclei are negligible and well-controlled. We will develop electrically-controlled spin-quantum-bits (qubits) in Si-Ge quantum dots and nanowires; will optically manipulate spin impurities in diamond in applications for quantum computing and networks and in nano-magnetometry; will achieve new understanding of quantum phenomena due to the spin-valley coupling in atomically thin 2D semiconductors, an emerging class of materials with a promise for quantum technologies. Research training to 15 early stage researchers will be delivered by 14 academic and 7 industrial groups. Network-wide training course in transferable skills will be specially developed and delivered by the Think Ahead (Sheffield), an award winning initiative at the University of Sheffield (award by the Times Higher Education, 2014). Current proposal is designed to advance this multi-disciplinary research field significantly beyond the state-of-the-art, and train a new cohort of researchers capable of developing spin-based solid-state quantum technologies towards real-life applications in the next 5 to 10 years.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETPROACT-01-2016 | Award Amount: 10.00M | Year: 2017

The hybrid optomechanical technologies (HOT) consortium will lay the foundation for a new generation of devices, which connect, or indeed contain, several platforms at the nanoscale in a single hybrid system. As hybrid interfaces they will allow to harness the unique advantages of each subsystem within a nano-scale footprint, while as integrated hybrid devices they will enable entirely novel functionalities. A particular focus will be on nano-optomechanical devices that comprise electrical, microwave or optical systems with micro- and nano-mechanical systems. Research in the past decade, in particular by European groups, has shown the significant technological potential that such nano-optomechanical systems can offer, in particular by establishing a new way in which optical, radio-frequency and microwave signals can be interfaced. The present consortium includes leading academic groups and industrial partners to explore the potential of these hybrid-nano-optomechanical systems. It will explore hybrid opto- and electro-mechanical devices operating at the physical limit for conversion, synthesis, processing, sensing and measurement of EM fields, comprising radio, microwave frequencies to the terahertz domain. These spectral domains open realistic applications in the existing application domains of medical (e.g. MRI imaging), security (e.g. Radar and THz monitoring), positioning, timing and navigations (Oscillators) and for future quantum technology. The research aims at specific technological application, with realistic operating conditions and seeks to develop actual system demonstrators. In addition, it will explore how these hybrid transducers can be fabricated within standard CMOS processing, and thereby be made compatible with current manufacturing methods. The HOT devices will thereby impact todays technology and likewise address potential future need for the manipulation of quantum signals.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2016

The proposed project is built on the successful training and research experience of the leading European research groups working in the field of cavity optomechanics. Our ENT unites a total of 14 leading groups in the field, of which two are major industrial players that utilize MEMS and NEMS - Bosch and IBM. The main goal of the project is to exploit optomechanical interactions in views of novel functionality and possible applications of cavity optomechanical systems that were envisioned by consortium partners during their previous research activities. The possible applications include for instance MEMS sensors based on two-dimensional materials like graphene, quantum limited microwave amplifiers, and low noise optical to microwave frequency photon converters. While the majority of the experiments will firmly reside in the realm of classical, albeit weak, signals or fields, the aspired performance will also allow exploiting schemes in scenarios where quantum nature of the signal is relevant.

Diederichs K.,University of Konstanz | Karplus P.A.,Oregon State University
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography | Year: 2013

In macromolecular X-ray crystallography, typical data sets have substantial multiplicity. This can be used to calculate the consistency of repeated measurements and thereby assess data quality. Recently, the properties of a correlation coefficient, CC1/2, that can be used for this purpose were characterized and it was shown that CC1/2 has superior properties compared with 'merging' R values. A derived quantity, CC*, links data and model quality. Using experimental data sets, the behaviour of CC1/2 and the more conventional indicators were compared in two situations of practical importance: merging data sets from different crystals and selectively rejecting weak observations or (merged) unique reflections from a data set. In these situations controlled 'paired-refinement' tests show that even though discarding the weaker data leads to improvements in the merging R values, the refined models based on these data are of lower quality. These results show the folly of such data-filtering practices aimed at improving the merging R values. Interestingly, in all of these tests CC1/2 is the one data-quality indicator for which the behaviour accurately reflects which of the alternative data-handling strategies results in the best-quality refined model. Its properties in the presence of systematic error are documented and discussed.

Brehm W.,University of Konstanz | Diederichs K.,University of Konstanz
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography | Year: 2014

In serial crystallography, a very incomplete partial data set is obtained from each diffraction experiment (a 'snapshot'). In some space groups, an indexing ambiguity exists which requires that the indexing mode of each snapshot needs to be established with respect to a reference data set. In the absence of such re-indexing information, crystallographers have thus far resorted to a straight merging of all snapshots, yielding a perfectly twinned data set of higher symmetry which is poorly suited for structure solution and refinement. Here, two algorithms have been designed for assembling complete data sets by clustering those snapshots that are indexed in the same way, and they have been tested using 15 445 snapshots from photosystem I [Chapman et al. (2011), Nature (London), 470, 73-77] and with noisy model data. The results of the clustering are unambiguous and enabled the construction of complete data sets in the correct space group P63 instead of (twinned) P6322 that researchers have been forced to use previously in such cases of indexing ambiguity. The algorithms thus extend the applicability and reach of serial crystallography. © 2014 International Union of Crystallography.

Rendle S.,University of Konstanz
ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology | Year: 2012

Factorization approaches provide high accuracy in several important prediction problems, for example, recommender systems. However, applying factorization approaches to a new prediction problem is a nontrivial task and requires a lot of expert knowledge. Typically, a new model is developed, a learning algorithm is derived, and the approach has to be implemented. Factorization machines (FM) are a generic approach since they can mimic most factorization models just by feature engineering. This way, factorization machines combine the generality of feature engineering with the superiority of factorization models in estimating interactions between categorical variables of large domain. libFM is a software implementation for factorization machines that features stochastic gradient descent (SGD) and alternating least-squares (ALS) optimization, as well as Bayesian inference using Markov Chain Monto Carlo (MCMC). This article summarizes the recent research on factorization machines both in terms of modeling and learning, provides extensions for the ALS and MCMC algorithms, and describes the software tool libFM. © 2012 ACM 2157-6904/2012/05-ART57 $10.00.

Stuermer C.A.O.,University of Konstanz
Trends in Cell Biology | Year: 2010

The proteins reggie-1 and reggie-2 were originally discovered in neurons during axon regeneration. Subsequently, they were independently identified as markers of lipid rafts in flotation assays and were hence named flotillins. Since then, reggie/flotillin proteins have been found to be evolutionarily conserved and are present in all vertebrate cells - yet their function has remained elusive and controversial. Recent results now show that reggie/flotillin proteins are indeed necessary for axon regeneration and growth: no axons form when reggies/flotillins are downregulated and signaling pathways controlling actin dynamics are perturbed. Their widespread expression and conservation, however, suggest that these proteins regulate basic cellular functions beyond regeneration. It is argued here that the reggie/flotillin proteins regulate processes vital to all cells - the targeted delivery of bulk membrane and specific membrane proteins from internal vesicle pools to strategically important sites including cell contact sites, the T cell cap, regenerating axons and growth cones and other protrusions. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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