Murcia, Spain

University of Murcia

www.um.es/
Murcia, Spain

The University of Murcia is the main university in Murcia, Spain. With 38,000 students, it is the largest university in the Región de Murcia. The University of Murcia is the third oldest university in Spain, after the University of Salamanca and the University of Valladolid , and the thirteenth in the world. The University of Murcia was established in 1272 by the King Alfonso X of Castile under the Crown of Castile.The majority of the University's facilities and buildings are spread over two campuses: the older is La Merced, situated in the town centre, and the larger is Espinardo, just 5 km to the north of Murcia. A third campus for Medical and Health Studies is currently being built next to the suburban area known as Ciudad Sanitaria Virgen de la Arrixaca, 5 km south of the city. A new campus had been made in San Javier too, that hosts the Sports Science faculty. Wikipedia.


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News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers have made the first detailed map of the regions into which the brain of one of the most closely-related organisms to the vertebrates is divided and which could give us an idea of what our ancestor was like A study recently published in PLOS Biology provides information that substantially changes the prevailing idea about the brain formation process in vertebrates and sheds some light on how it might have evolved. The findings show that the interpretation maintained hitherto regarding the principal regions formed at the beginning of vertebrate brain development is not correct. This research was led jointly by the researchers José Luis Ferran and Luis Puelles of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the UMU; Manuel Irimia of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), and Jordi García Fernández of the Genetics Department of the University of Barcelona. The brain of an invertebrate organism, amphioxus (a fish-like marine chordate), whose place in the evolutionary tree is very close to the origin of the vertebrates, was used for the research. Using the data obtained, researchers have made the first detailed map of the regions into which the brain of this species, which inhabits the seabed and has a very simple life, is divided. "We set out to understand what the brain of the cephalocordate amphioxus was like. It is a very simple invertebrate organism, albeit very close to us in evolutionary terms, therefore it gives us some insights as to what our ancestors might have been like. Hence, by comparing the territories of the modern vertebrate brain to that of amphioxus, we analysed what might have occurred to lead them to multiply and how such a complex structure was formed in the course of our evolution", explained the lecturer of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the University of Murcia (UMU) José Luis Ferrán, one of the researchers. "In this study, we used genoarchitecture as our main experimental framework to determine the regionalization of the amphioxus neural tube and compare it to that of vertebrates. Within this framework, we generated a molecular map of gene expression patterns in amphioxus, whose homologs are known to be involved in establishment and regionalization of the vertebrate brains" explains Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo (Dept Genética, Microbiología y Estadística UB e IBUB), first author of the article. A new model that dismantles many existing ideas This work shows that the brain of vertebrates must have formed initially from two regions (anterior and posterior), and not three (forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain), as proposed by the current prosomeric model. No cerebral cortex or exclusive region giving rise to the formation of the vertebrate midbrain has been detected in amphioxi. However, a common territory inside the forebrain has been found, which they termed DiMes (Di-Mesencephalic primordium), from which both the midbrain and other important structures of the classic forebrain would derive. The DiMes territory yielded three important regions of the vertebrate brain that are used to process sensory information. "The three classic vertebrate cerebral regions (thalamus, pretectum and midbrain) would have emerged evolutionarily through the action of molecular signalling centres that lead to the expansion and division of a DiMes-like portion", said Manuel Irimia of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) of Barcelona, one of the leading investigators of the study. This explains that if the function of these signalling centres, called secondary organizers, is eliminated in vertebrates there remains a single territory similar to the one observed in amphioxi. The study of the formation of these three important parts of the brain, which vertebrates use to process visual, auditory or propioceptive information (on the position and movement of the parts of the body), is useful in understanding how the brain has adapted to the environment and is capable of processing information around it. The idea that these regions were formed independently and that each one of them has given rise to other regions has been proven to be wrong. "The brain has not evolved in isolation, but rather through the interaction of these primitive animals with the environment", clarified the lecturer from the UMU. In summary, both brains, amphioxus and vertebrate, are divided into two main regions: anterior and posterior. In amphioxus, the anterior region splits into two domains, whereas in vertebrates it is divided into many more portions, including the three aforementioned regions which, jointly, would correspond to one of the parts of amphioxus. Knowing the true history of the formation of the brain and the composition of its structures could have a major long-term impact, since it could "help to explain why both the composition and the function of a region are altered. For example, it could lead us to a better understanding of brain-related diseases and why some regions are affected jointly and others are not", concluded the CRG researcher. The brain's structure is the outcome of an evolutionary process The human brain has undergone an evolutionary process that began some 500 million years ago in the marine animals that lived submerged in the sand and which led to its first central nervous system building plan. This system has been progressively modified and is shared by all modern vertebrates. The study of the genetic networks that have given an identity to the different brain regions plays a key role in our understanding of how they have evolved. For this reason, genoarchitecture is a powerful tool for describing the regions of the nervous system, cells and their structures, making it possible to determine which genes are active in each territory or region during development and to characterise the limits between them, as well as to define, with the utmost precision, how many different components originate from each region. It is therefore useful in helping us to recognise, in detail, how the human brain resembles that of another vertebrate.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Researchers have made the first detailed map of the regions into which the brain of one of the most closely related organisms to the vertebrates is divided, and which could give us an idea of what our ancestor was like. A study recently published in PLOS Biology provides information that substantially changes the prevailing idea about the brain formation process in vertebrates and sheds some light on how it might have evolved. The findings show that the interpretation maintained previously regarding the principal regions formed at the beginning of vertebrate brain development is not correct. This research was led jointly by the researchers José Luis Ferran and Luis Puelles of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the UMU; Manuel Irimia of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), and Jordi García Fernández of the Genetics Department of the University of Barcelona. The brain of an invertebrate organism, amphioxus (a fish-like marine chordate), whose place in the evolutionary tree is very close to the origin of the vertebrates, was used for the research. Using the data obtained, researchers have made the first detailed map of the regions into which the brain of this species, which inhabits the seabed and has a very simple life, is divided. “We set out to understand what the brain of the cephalocordate amphioxus was like. It is a very simple invertebrate organism, albeit very close to us in evolutionary terms, therefore it gives us some insights as to what our ancestors might have been like. Hence, by comparing the territories of the modern vertebrate brain to that of amphioxus, we analysed what might have occurred to lead them to multiply and how such a complex structure was formed in the course of our evolution,” explained the lecturer of the Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology of the University of Murcia (UMU) José Luis Ferrán, one of the researchers. “In this study, we used genoarchitecture as our main experimental framework to determine the regionalization of the amphioxus neural tube and compare it to that of vertebrates. Within this framework, we generated a molecular map of gene expression patterns in amphioxus, whose homologs are known to be involved in establishment and regionalization of the vertebrate brains,” explains Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo (Dept Genética, Microbiología y Estadística UB e IBUB), first author of the article. A new model that dismantles many existing ideas This work shows that the brain of vertebrates must have formed initially from two regions (anterior and posterior), and not three (forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain), as proposed by the current prosomeric model. No cerebral cortex or exclusive region giving rise to the formation of the vertebrate midbrain has been detected in amphioxi. However, a common territory inside the forebrain has been found, which they termed DiMes (Di-Mesencephalic primordium), from which both the midbrain and other important structures of the classic forebrain would derive. The DiMes territory yielded three important regions of the vertebrate brain that are used to process sensory information. “The three classic vertebrate cerebral regions (thalamus, pretectum and midbrain) would have emerged evolutionarily through the action of molecular signalling centres that lead to the expansion and division of a DiMes-like portion,” said Manuel Irimia of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) of Barcelona, one of the leading investigators of the study. This explains that if the function of these signalling centres, called secondary organizers, is eliminated in vertebrates there remains a single territory similar to the one observed in amphioxi. The study of the formation of these three important parts of the brain, which vertebrates use to process visual, auditory or propioceptive information (on the position and movement of the parts of the body), is useful in understanding how the brain has adapted to the environment and is capable of processing information around it. The idea that these regions were formed independently and that each one of them has given rise to other regions has been proven to be wrong. “The brain has not evolved in isolation, but rather through the interaction of these primitive animals with the environment,” clarified the lecturer from the UMU. In summary, both brains, amphioxus and vertebrate, are divided into two main regions: anterior and posterior. In amphioxus, the anterior region splits into two domains, whereas in vertebrates it is divided into many more portions, including the three aforementioned regions which, jointly, would correspond to one of the parts of amphioxus. Knowing the true history of the formation of the brain and the composition of its structures could have a major long-term impact, since it could “help to explain why both the composition and the function of a region are altered. For example, it could lead us to a better understanding of brain-related diseases and why some regions are affected jointly and others are not,” concluded the CRG researcher. The brain’s structure is the outcome of an evolutionary process The human brain has undergone an evolutionary process that began some 500 million years ago in the marine animals that lived submerged in the sand and which led to its first central nervous system building plan. This system has been progressively modified and is shared by all modern vertebrates. The study of the genetic networks that have given an identity to the different brain regions plays a key role in our understanding of how they have evolved. For this reason, genoarchitecture is a powerful tool for describing the regions of the nervous system, cells and their structures, making it possible to determine which genes are active in each territory or region during development and to characterise the limits between them, as well as to define, with the utmost precision, how many different components originate from each region. It is therefore useful in helping us to recognise, in detail, how the human brain resembles that of another vertebrate.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FCT-09-2015 | Award Amount: 2.25M | Year: 2016

ARIES main goal is to deliver a comprehensive framework for reliable e-identity ecosystem comprising new technologies, processes and security features that ensure highest levels of quality in eID based on trustworthy security documents and biometrics for highly secure and privacy-respecting physical and virtual identity management, with the specific aim to tangibly achieve a reduction in levels of identity theft, fraud and associated crimes. The set of solutions will be designed to achieve required levels of multi-party trust with efficiency, ease of adoption and convenience for all end-users (citizens, law enforcement, businesses), consolidating Europe as world leader in enhanced identity-based services as a basis to boost the competitiveness of its economy. ARIES will leverage virtual and mobile IDs cryptographically derived from strong eID documents in order to prevent identity theft and related crimes in the physical (e.g. an airport) and virtual (e.g eCommerce) domains. Both, the derivation process, and the derived IDs will be univocally linked to citizens biometric features, increasing the level of identity assurance during the credential issuance process and during authentication. Highest data protection standards will be followed to provide digital privacy-preserving features. Thus, the project will provide a global approach for ID Ecosystem in Europe to address European-specific concerns to improve identity, trust and security, and better support the law enforcement to address the new threats in cybersecurity while achieving far-reaching socio-economic positive impacts. ARIES will demonstrate its outcomes and the levels of identity prevention reduction achieved in two use case demonstrators (secure eCommerce and identity virtualization for secure travel), covering the complete vision of virtual id ecosystem and its practical application.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-14-2014 | Award Amount: 6.87M | Year: 2015

The proposed SELFNET project will design and implement an autonomic network management framework to achieve self-organizing capabilities in managing network infrastructures by automatically detecting and mitigating a range of common network problems that are currently still being manually addressed by network operators, thereby significantly reducing operational costs and improving user experience. SELFNET explores a smart integration of state-of-the-art technologies in Software-Defined Networks (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Self-Organizing Networks (SON), Cloud computing, Artificial intelligence, Quality of Experience (QoE) and Next-generation networking to provide a novel intelligent network management framework that is capable of assisting network operators in key management tasks: automated network monitoring by the automatic deployment of NFV applications to facilitate system-wide awareness of Health of Network metrics to have more direct and precise knowledge about the real status of the network; autonomic network maintenance by defining high-level tactical measures and enabling autonomic corrective and preventive actions against existing or potential network problems. SELFNET is driven by use cases designed to address major network management problems including Self-protection capabilities against distributed cyber-attacks, Self-healing capabilities against network failures, and Self-optimization to dynamically improve the performance of the network and the QoE of the users. SELFNET is designed within this economic and business context to substantially reduce operational costs of network operators by automating a significant number of current labour-intensive network management tasks. Therefore, SELFNET directly addresses the Strand Network Management challenge highlighted by the EC.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-11b-2015 | Award Amount: 6.92M | Year: 2016

Aquaculture is one of five sectors in the EUs Blue Growth Strategy, aimed at harnessing untapped potential for food production and jobs whilst focusing on environmental sustainability. TAPAS addresses this challenge by supporting member states to establish a coherent and efficient regulatory framework aimed at sustainable growth. TAPAS will use a requirements analysis to evaluate existing regulatory and licensing frameworks across the EU, taking account of the range of production environments and specificities and emerging approaches such as offshore technologies, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, and integration with other sectors. We will propose new, flexible approaches to open methods of coordination, working to unified, common standards. TAPAS will also evaluate existing tools for economic assessment of aquaculture sustainability affecting sectoral growth. TAPAS will critically evaluate the capabilities and verification level of existing ecosystem planning tools and will develop new approaches for evaluation of carrying capacities, environmental impact and future risk. TAPAS will improve existing and develop new models for far- and near-field environmental assessment providing better monitoring, observation, forecasting and early warning technologies. The innovative methodologies and components emerging from TAPAS will be integrated in an Aquaculture Sustainability Toolbox complemented by a decision support system to support the development and implementation of coastal and marine spatial planning enabling less costly, more transparent and more efficient licensing. TAPAS partners will collaborate with key industry regulators and certifiers through case studies to ensure the acceptability and utility of project approach and outcomes. Training, dissemination and outreach activities will specifically target improvement of the image of European aquaculture and uptake of outputs by regulators, while promoting an integrated sustainable strategy for development.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EE-11-2014 | Award Amount: 2.44M | Year: 2015

Taking into account the fact that buildings constitute the largest end-use energy consuming sector, the design and development of solutions targeted at reducing their energy consumption based on the adoption of energy efficient techniques and the active engagement of citizens/occupants is considered crucial. Innovative solutions have to be implemented upon properly understanding the main energy consuming factors and trends, as well as properly modeling and understanding the citizens behaviour and the potential for lifestyle changes. The ENTROPY project addresses this challenge by building upon the integration of technologies that facilitate the deployment of innovative energy aware IT ecosystems for motivating end-users behavioural changes and namely: (1) the Internet of Things that provides the capacity for interconnecting numerous devices and applying energy-efficient communication protocols, (2) the evolvement of advanced Data Modelling and Analysis techniques that support the realization of semantic models and knowledge extraction mechanisms and (3) the Recommendation and Gamification eras that can trigger interaction with relevant users in social networks, increase end users awareness with regards to ways to achieve energy consumption savings in their daily activities and adopt energy efficient lifestyles as well as provide a set of energy efficient recommendations and motives. Novel practices that fully integrate information collected from a set of sensor networks and mobile crowd sensing activities are going to be exploited along with processes for monitoring, reporting and analysing sets of data with regards to energy consumption and the behavioural profile of citizens. The engagement and inclusion of end users will be strongly supported upon the development of a set of serious games and personalised applications. The designed IT ecosystem is planned to be validated in three pilot sites.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: DS-01-2016 | Award Amount: 5.42M | Year: 2017

The main objective of the ANASTACIA is to address the constant discovery of vulnerabilities in ICT components providing assurance that ICT systems are secure and trustworthy by design. To this end, ANASTACIA will research and develop a holistic security framework, which will address all the phases of the ICT Systems Development Lifecycle and will be able to take autonomous decisions using new networking technologies (SDN/NFV), and dynamic security enforcement and monitoring methodologies and tools. The ANASTACIA framework will include a comprehensive suite of tools and enablers: - A security development paradigm based on the compliance to security best practices and the use of the security components and enablers. - A suite of distributed trust and security components and enablers, able to dynamically orchestrate and deploy user security policies and actions within complex and dynamic CPS and IoT architectures. - Online monitoring and testing techniques that will allow more automated adaptation of the system to mitigate new and unexpected security vulnerabilities. - A holistic Dynamic Security and Privacy Seal, combining security and privacy standards and real time monitoring and online testing. This will provide quantitative and qualitative run-time evaluation of privacy risks and security levels, which can be easily understood and controlled by the final users. ANASTACIA results will be driven and demonstrated in three high impact Use Cases: Mobile Edge Computing, Smart Building and IoT networks. Bringing together leading partners with wide-ranging expertise, the ANASTACIA Consortium will combine the philosophy and business models of communication technologies with inherently integrated security and privacy solutions, creating a security framework where the end users will be able to control their security and privacy policies enforcement, and application developers, in particular SMEs, will find an open and sustainable ecosystem for secure SLCD.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INSO-2-2014 | Award Amount: 3.10M | Year: 2015

Reaching the ambitions of the Europe 2020 and the Innovation Union requires much more than just technological innovations. In the academic community, Business Model Innovation (BMI) has for a long time been recognized as the key to improved competitiveness and innovativeness. However, BMI does not reach SMEs yet nor is there knowledge on how SMEs conduct BMI in practice. Empowering SMEs to conduct BMI requires new approaches. By leveraging existing networks and communities, we will gather examples, best practices and insights into Business Models (BM) from case studies from each and every European region or industry, complemented with insights from other leading countries worldwide. The BM vortex will thus generate an enormous and rich library of business models patterns and managerial structures, provided on a platform, to support SMEs in these communities. We will also develop innovative tooling and provide them on the platform to makes it easy for SMEs to develop, evaluate and plan new business models. The ENVISION consortium covers Northern, Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. In each region a top-ranked academic institution in the field of BMI is present as well as innovative businesses that deliver smart and tailored BMI tooling and reach out to SMEs. We build on over a decade of joint work on BMI and BM tooling. We will build and maintain regional and thematic communities. In the communities, support is delivered to help SMEs transform and improve their BMs. The consortium also includes partners and associated partners that will realize our pan-European reach to SMEs: on a pan-European level (e.g., UAEPME and female entrepreneurs network), on a national and regional level (e.g., chambers of commerce, family business organizations and statistical offices). The consortium also has linkages to EIT/ICT Labs and the European Service Innovation Centre (ESIC).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EJD | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-EJD | Award Amount: 3.81M | Year: 2015

The main objective of the European Doctorate in Biology and Technology of the Reproductive Health (REP-BIOTECH) is to build a research, training and academic programme in the interdisciplinary domain of reproductive health and fertility. Basic knowledge of mechanisms involved in mammalian fertilization and embryo development provides useful strategies to improve food quality (by implementation of efficient and secure animal reproductive technologies), human health (by contributing to the control of reproductive diseases and epidemiologic factors) and human and animal fertility (by identifying target molecules for successful conception or contraception). REP-BIOTECH is a PhD programme with the aim of training a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs). ESRs must carry out independent research on a specific topic to be awarded a European Joint Degree from 5 European Universities (Beneficiaries). The PhD project will be jointly supervised within a joint governance structure in which the beneficiaries as well as the partner organisations will be actively involved. The Doctorate programme will expose ESRs to different sectors and they will acquire a comprehensive set of transferable skills working in the specific research area relating to their doctoral thesis. The consortium has a proven track record in their area and they have a history of fruitful scientific collaboration. Moreover, giving the diversity amongst the participating institutions, the ESRs will be able to face current and future challenges in order to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit. The strength of the partnership lies in being a multidisciplinary group (animal and human fertility, reproductive health and reproductive technologies) within the cooperation of 7 different European countries, the collaboration of Universities from Japan and United States and partners from the non academic sector.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.54M | Year: 2016

The proposed ETN Myopia: fundamental understanding needed (MyFUN) provides an international, interdisciplinary platform to train young scientists at the interface of physics and biology, to study unresolved questions about the visual control of eye growth. It has been extensively documented that the growth of the eye is controlled by closed-loop visual feedback, using retinal image defocus as an error signal. However, with tense education, predominant indoor activity and extensive near work, the eyes of young people grow too long and become near-sighted (myopic), reaching a prevalence of 95% in some Asian cities and 50% at German universities. While myopia is clearly a civilization disorder, it is strikingly unclear by which visual stimuli it is triggered, and how it can be stopped. Emerging optical interventions have still only moderate effects. There are fundamental questions, like Why does myopia not limit itself?, Why does undercorrection not reduce its progression?, Why are the effects of new spectacle designs to inhibit myopia so small?, What determines when it starts and can we find biological markers to predict myopia in individual cases?. We propose a scheme of novel experiments, divided into 14 research projects that all have sufficient scientific depth and merit to merge into 14 successful PhD theses. The answers to the research questions will fundamentally improve our understanding of myopia, will be recognized worldwide and will represent a major contribution of the European Community to the global problem of the rising incidence of myopia. Our consortium consists of 7 Beneficiaries, combining the expertise of 5 academic partners with excellent research and teaching records and 2 fully integrated private sector partners. MyFUN will be supported by a management team experienced in multi-site training activities and counselled by a scientifically accomplished External Advisory Board.

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