University of Piemonte Orientale
Vercelli, Italy

The University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro is a university located in Alessandria, Novara and Vercelli, Italy. It was founded in 1998 and is organized in 7 faculties. Before 1998 the seven faculties were part of the University of Turin. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2015 | Award Amount: 706.50K | Year: 2016

NanoMaterials safety is of great societal concern and raises many questions for the general public, governments, industry, scientists and regulators. Identifying and controlling the hazards associated with NMs is required to ensure the safety in parallel to exploiting the technological benefits. NANOGENTOOLS answers this challenge by creating a collaborative excellence-based knowledge exchange network that will: i) push forward knowledge via method development and pre-validation, ii) train scientists in new methodologies to assess long term nanosafety, and iii) support their inclusion in standardization and EU regulations. NANOGENTOOLS combines toxicogenomics, proteomics, biophysics, molecular modeling, chemistry, bio/chemoinformatics to develop fast in vitro high throughput (HTS) assays, with molecular based computational models for nanotoxicity. Its objectives are to: Provide solutions for faster, more reliable assessment of NM toxicity and propose HTS and omics tools for predicting toxicological properties of NMs. Develop new bioinformatics methodologies for analyzing -omics data and create an open database in collaboration with the EU Nanosafety Cluster. Conduct research and training on biophysical techniques and mathematical models for accurate and fast nanotoxicity prediction. Build/improve the safe by design concept, demonstrated using carbon-NMs and nanosensors. Place our new knowledge in the context of regulations and EU roadmaps. NANOGENTOOLS brings together cutting edge research, innovative knowledge-transfer and co-development, and cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary secondments linking EU academic institutes/networks with industry and policy makers across 8 countries. Expected impacts include pre-validated tools for efficient cost-effective nanosafety assessment applicable to SMEs for incorporation into regulatory frameworks, and translation of knowledge via development of a CNT-based nanosensor based on safe-by-design principles.

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: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.1-01 | Award Amount: 8.88M | Year: 2013

Mankind is continually screening low-molecular-weight compounds from a plethora of synthetic and natural sources in the search for molecules with novel or superior pharmaceutical, agrochemical or other biological activities. In this regard, plants are a potentially rich source of bioactive molecules. Because of their extreme diversity and complex chemistry, however, plant metabolism is still underexplored. Consequently, the full potential of plant-derived, low-molecular weight, bioactive compounds is still largely untapped. The TriForC consortium will tackle this issue by establishing an integrative and innovative pipeline for the exploitation of plant triterpenes, one of the largest classes of plant bioactive compounds with an astonishing array of structural diversity and spectrum of biological activities. The TriForC partners each bring to the consortium the necessary tools, resources, methods and production systems required to assemble the pipeline and produce high value plant bioactives for commercialisation for use as e.g. new drugs or agrochemicals. The TriForC consortia will identify new bioactive triterpenes from natural resources by exploring biodiversity. To increase diversity and bioactivity, new-to-nature triterpenes will be derived by semi-synthesis and by an elaborate metabolic engineering platform in plant and microalgal bioreactor-based production systems. To unleash the potential of triterpenes for green biotechnology, structure-activity relationships for triterpenoids will be explored via high throughput screenings for novel chemical entities with potential agrochemical and pharmacological applications. TriForC will further develop and upscale plant-based bioreactors for sustainable commercial production and bio-refining of high-value triterpenes. The TriForC project will guarantee a sustainable and industrially exploitable supply of high value plant compounds with new or superior biological activities ready for commercialisation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2012.10.2.1 | Award Amount: 3.97M | Year: 2013

GLOBASOL will develop new concepts, materials and devices for advanced light harvesting and light management for a panchromatic collection of the solar energy and an unprecedented power conversion efficiency. This will be accomplished by integrating in a single device three light-to-electricity converters, exploiting different regions of the solar spectrum based on sensitized mesoscopic solar cells (SMSC), photonic crystals, thermoelectric (TE) cells. The key elements of the project are: 1) new absorbers for SMSC, with a very high conversion efficiency in the UV-vis region; 2) novel photonic materials for the collection/split of the IR spectrum; 3) advanced nanostructured materials for TE conversion of the IR part of the spectrum; 4) radically new architectures for the integrated devices, to increase the total efficiency. The innovative materials will include organometallics, organic dyes and quantum dots as sensitizers, quasi-solid electrolytes, nanostructures and nanowires alloys as well as quantum dots for TE. The devices will be engineered either in tandem arrangements or with optical splitting of the incident radiation, and concentration of the IR fraction to the TE. The targeted power conversion efficiencies are above 15% and 10% for SMSC in high and medium energy spectral regions, respectively, and 6% for TE, to reach a global efficiency above 30%, well beyond the present limits, along with cost-effectiveness and environmental safety. Five Universities and one Research Institution guarantee a scientific and technological multidisciplinary research, based on top level theoretical and experimental approaches. The high degree of knowledge in solid-state physics and chemistry, nanoscience and nanotechnology and engineering of the researchers assures that the new concepts and the objectives proposed will be successfully developed/pursued. A high-tech SME will provide proof-of-concept prototypes to validate the innovative GLOBASOL devices.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2016 | Award Amount: 271.75K | Year: 2016

The European Researchers Night (ERN) has become an annual tradition in Piedmont thanks to an extraordinary 10 years experience that has made citizens of all ages eagerly awaiting this appointment with the scientific vocation of our district and the European Commission. The CLOSER project will involve all the 8 provinces of Piedmont and the major city of the Aosta Valley (who recently joined the project), treasuring the capitalized experience of the past editions: it will build on the results achieved along this thrilling journey and move forward, also on the basis of the European agenda defined by H2020 in relation to the science and society issues. The acronym CLOSER reflects the whole thread of this proposal, which aims at establishing an alliance between researchers and the various societal actors by bringing them closer to one another, using the RRI approach to encourage them to take responsibility and work together to design a sustainable, ethically acceptable and socially desirable future. For this purpose, specific actions will be devised to actively engage citizens, schools and young people, policy makers and industries, who wont be just the audience but the protagonists of each of the proposed action. A special programme will particularly target young people to foster their interest in scientific careers. In addition, CLOSER aims at strengthening the European citizenship feeling of the public involved as well as increasing their awareness of the importance of the European dimension in research through specific activities such as the European Stage for Research and Innovation, A talk with young research! and The Human Face of Research. To realise such an ambitious programme, the engagement of a large, trans-disciplinary, gender-balanced community of researchers committed to public engagement will be vital: CLOSER will provide them with innovative, creative formats of communication that will strengthen their capability of communicating their research.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-16-2015 | Award Amount: 5.56M | Year: 2015

The main objective of the HemAcure project is to develop and refine the tools and technologies for a novel ex vivo prepared cell based therapy to treat the bleeding disease haemophilia A (caused by genetic deficiency in clotting factor VIII (FVIII)) that should ultimately lead to improved quality of life of the patients. The concept is a further development of our approach, established during the FP7 ReLiver project led by Medicyte. From the very beginning, we balance two important goals, maximizing the products efficacy and safety profile on one side and minimizing production cost on the other by enhancing the products manufacturability. HemAcure relates to the work program as we focus on the refinement of all steps and tools of our ex vivo gene therapy approach. These steps involve 1) isolation and culture of cells from patients blood, 2) manipulation of patient cells to repair its genetic defect by ex vivo introducing the correct genetic copy of FVIII (mutations in this gene lead to hemophilia A), 3) automation of cell expansion in a novel and passage-less scalable bioreactor, 4) continuously monitoring of cells during and after expansion with respect to their safety profile and functionality, 5) cell implantation into a worldwide unique medical device for targeted delivery of therapeutic Factor VIII and 6) proof-of-concept and safety studies in appropriate haemophilia A animal models. The aim of adapting the proof-of-concept to GMP requires a risk based approach, by means of a clear understanding of the whole process from design to production of the therapeutic cells and a systematic way to identify and prevent risks that are not acceptable for the patient. All steps will be designed and conducted according to European GMP-regulations to ensure that the product will fully comply to the requirements for quality of the European authorities.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EE-12-2014 | Award Amount: 1.01M | Year: 2015

Improving energy efficiency can deliver a range of benefits to the economy and society. However, energy efficiency programmes are often evaluated only on the basis of the energy savings they deliver, without considering the many other socio-economic and environmental intangible benefits delivered. As a result, the full value of energy efficiency improvements in both national and global economies may be significantly underestimated. The main aim of IN-BEE is to address the theme of energy efficiency and to describe and provide evidence for the many intangible benefits of improving energy efficiency through a multi-disciplinary approach, combining methods, datasets, and techniques from cutting edge research in law and economics, humanities and consumer behavior, regulation and environmental sciences, as well as engineering. The overall outcome of IN-BEE is to consolidate a set of policy recommendations for the EU and public/private institutions in charge of promoting energy efficiency, competitiveness and environmental and social sustainability. IN-BEE will impact on both consumers (residential and companies) and policy makers, by: Developing a set of indicators to measure intangible benefits of energy efficiency Developing Key Performance Indicators to assess the impact of energy efficiency strategies Studying relevant cases and identifying best practices Bridging policy makers and researchers through a web platform Involving a vast audience of stakeholders IN-BEE combines a strong scientific base with a concrete and focused approach (based on real-life case studies), aiming to involve primarily regional and local stakeholders and to support them in assessing results of previous plans and initiatives on energy efficiency and, above all, in designing new effective strategies.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMBP-01-2016 | Award Amount: 5.35M | Year: 2017

The main goal of MULTI2HYCAT is to design, obtain proof of concept (2 gr.) and upscale in a pre-pilot reactor (20-50 gr.) a new class of hierarchically-porous organic-inorganic hybrid materials, which will be used as active catalysts to carry out multi-step asymmetric catalytic processes with predominantly high conversions (up to 90%) and selectivity (in the range of 80-90%) towards the desired final products. The project promises to solve, for the first time, the low conversion and selectivity of current organosiliceous solids, while at the same time improving the flexibility and versatility and reducing costs of the obtained catalysts, making them attractive for a wide range of industrial applications. To this end, during the project, these novel catalysts will be demonstrated for specialty chemical and pharmaceutical applications, as a concrete prime-mover for subsequent replication. The MULTI2HYCAT project will contribute to the implementation of the EU policies and Directives on competitiveness and sustainability (e.g. Circular Economy Strategy and Resource Efficiency), through the validation of novel concepts in hybrid materials design for heterogeneous catalysis. This includes the preparation and validation of innovative hierarchical porous organic-inorganic materials with several active sites (organocatalysts) perfectly located in specific structural positions in their framework which will be used as single-solid reusable hybrid active catalyst to carry out multi-step catalytic processes. The new material will allow avoiding the extra-efforts associated with isolation of intermediate products, wastes and solvents elimination and purification processes thus enabling more efficient and sustainable catalytic routes from the economic, energetic as well as the environmental points of view.

Appendino G.,University of Piemonte Orientale
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2014

Hit the mark: The development of a short synthesis of ingenol may mark the beginning of a new era of natural products synthesis, an era where structural complexity does not deter the development of processes amenable to scale up. This may foster the exploration of biologically relevant chemical space and pave the way to the development of commercial syntheses of natural products. Copyright © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-AG | Phase: ERC-AG-LS7 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2014

Gene expression studies rely on high throughput techniques, which do not take in account conceptual limits. I will overcome this situation by exploiting two biological facts. First, RNAs that are important in tissue function are a subset of the global mass, but are always associated with the ribosomal machinery and as such should be identified. Second, gene expression is the outcome of dynamic fluctuations that with time create a unique expression pattern. We need to dynamically label cell populations that undergo stress and follow them to generate a gene expression signature. To achieve my goal, I will consider: 1. Translational stress generated by viral infection or accumulation of misfolded proteins; 2. human CD4\ T lymphocyte subsets which are key to orchestrate immune responses; 3. EIF6 model of metabolic reprogramming. 1. Activation of eIF2alpha phosphorylation by viral infection generates a translational response in which silent mRNAs containing upstream ORFs (uORF) are translated. I will exploit this observation to construct the first in vivo reporter model of translational stress. We will label genetically cells that have translational stress, to identify all the changes that a single cell undergoes after viral infection/accumulation of undegraded proteins. 2. I will selectively sequence for the first time mRNAs and ncRNAs associated with the ribosomal machinery in human cells with a defined functional status. 3. Spectacular data have shown that translation factor eIF6 regulates tumorigenesis by inducing a profound metabolic reprogramming. This observation suggests that, in vivo, translation acts upstream of transcription. We will model how a short translational input results in a complex epigenetic change. Significance: a revolution in finding biomarkers/drug targets. Generate a map of predictors of the process from stress to disease. Dscriminate biologically active sequences from background. Define how transient translation reshapes gene expression.

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