Pisa, Italy
Pisa, Italy

The University of Pisa , is an Italian public research university located in Pisa, Italy. It was founded in 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI. It is the 19th oldest extant university in the world and the 10th oldest in Italy. The prestigious university is ranked between first and third places nationally, in the top 30 in Europe and the top 300 in the world. It houses the Orto botanico di Pisa, Europe's oldest academic botanical garden, which was founded in 1544.The University of Pisa is part of the Pisa University System, which includes the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies. The university has about 57,000 students .In the fields of philology and cultural studies, the University of Pisa is a leading member of ICoN, an inter-university consortium of 21 Italian universities supported by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, as well as a member of the European University Association, the Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities network and the Cineca consortium. It's the only university in Italy which has become a member of the prestigious Universities Research Association.Among its notable graduates there are several national and foreign political leaders including two Italian presidents, five Popes, five Italian prime ministers and three Nobel Laureates as students, faculty or staff affiliates.Pisa has an intense athletic rivalry with the University of Pavia, which traditionally culminates in the Pisa-Pavia Regatta , the oldest competition of this kind in Italy, and second in Europe only to the Oxford Cambridge boat race.In 2013, the University of Pisa finished with La Sapienza University of Rome in first place among the Italian universities, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Wikipedia.


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Gambacciani M.,University of Pisa
Minerva ginecologica | Year: 2015

The last decade has been characterized by a careful review of the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Various types and doses as well as different combinations, may offer different advantages in different groups of women. Women with premature or early menopause may benefit from HRT, at least until the age at which natural menopause usually occurs. The most favorable benefits of HRT is in symptomatic younger women (50-59 years) within 10 years since menopause. Beside the effect on symptoms, these patients have additional benefits such as reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD), osteoporotic fractures, and overall mortality. In older women low-dose or ultra-low-dose HRT may have a better safety profile than standard dose oral combinations. Currently, available evidence does not support the use of HRT for the sole osteoporosis or CVD and cognition decline prevention.


Gambacciani M.,University of Pisa
Minerva ginecologica | Year: 2015

AIM: In this study we evaluated the short term effects of vaginal erbium laser (VEL) in the treatment of postmenopausal women (PMW) suffering from genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).METHODS: Sixty-five PMW were evaluated before and after VEL treatment (1 treatment every 30 days, for 3 months). GSM symptoms were evaluated either with subjective (Visual Analog Scale, VAS) and objective (Vaginal Health Index Score, VHIS) measures. In addition, in 21 of these PMW suffering from mild-moderate stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the degree of incontinence was evaluated with the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire - Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF) before and after VEL treatments.RESULTS: VEL treatment induced a significant decrease of VAS of both vaginal dryness, dyspareunia (P<0.01) and a significant (P<0.01) increase of VHIS). In addition, VEL treatment induced a significant (P<0.01) improvement of ICIQ-SF scores in PMW suffering from SUI. VEL was well tolerated with less than 2 % of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse events.CONCLUSION: VEL treatment significantly improves vaginal dryness, dyspareunia and mild-moderate SUI. Larger and long-term studies are needed to investigate the role of laser treatments in the management of GSM.


Cepolina E.M.,University of Pisa
International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling | Year: 2016

The paper refers to the modelling and simulation of an innovative urban freight distribution scheme. Packages destined for receivers in an urban area are firstly delivered to the urban distribution centre (UDC); each package is characterised by an address and dimensions. The load units are consolidated in the UDC with packages. Each load unit is addressed to a temporary unloading bay, where receivers are after in charge of collecting their packages. The paper concerns a methodology for the load units consolidation which minimises the overall distance travelled by receivers, taking into account the load unit capacity and the maximum walking distance the receivers accept to collect their packages. A fuzzy k-means clustering algorithm has been adopted. The fuzzy clustering algorithm is recalled by a simulation model of the proposed transport system. The methodology has been applied to the case study of the historic city centre of Genoa, Italy. Copyright © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.


In this paper the results of static and dynamic tests carried out with an instrumented handle are presented and discussed. The instrumented handle was designed and constructed to be directly mounted on the handlebar of a two-wheeled vehicle and it can measure simultaneously grip, force transmitted by the handlebar to the hand and acceleration at the handle interface. The results of repeatability tests on the hand-arm weight and grip static measurement without and with realtime measure feedback show the importance of the use of an instrumented handle to ensure repeatability and also to estimate the influence of such parameters on the dynamic response. On the basis of preliminary dynamic tests conducted with the handle mounted on a shaker, the hand-arm system was characterized on two subjects, through a spectrum of its mechanical impedance as function of the excitation frequency, for different postures and grip levels. The results were compared to literature ideal impedance curves with acceptable agreement. The effect of grip showed to increase impedance in some specific frequency ranges. © 2017 The Author(s).


Abrardo A.,University of Siena | Moretti M.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications | Year: 2017

The implementation of device-to-device (D2D) underlaying or overlaying preexisting cellular networks has received much attention due to the potential of enhancing the total cell throughput, reducing the power consumption, and increasing the instantaneous data rate. In this paper, we propose a distributed power allocation scheme for D2D OFDMA communications and, in particular, we consider the two operating modes amenable to a distributed implementation: dedicated and reuse modes. The proposed schemes address the problem of maximizing the users' sum rate subject to power constraints, which is known to be nonconvex and, as such, extremely difficult to be solved exactly. We propose here a fresh approach to this well-known problem, capitalizing on the fact that the power allocation problem can be modeled as a potential game. Exploiting the potential games property of converging under better response dynamics, we propose two fully distributed iterative algorithms, one for each operation mode considered, where each user updates sequentially and autonomously its power allocation. Numerical results, computed for several different user scenarios, show that the proposed methods, which converge to one of the local maxima of the objective function, exhibit performance close to the maximum achievable optimum and outperform other schemes presented in the literature. © 2016 IEEE.


Sajeva A.,University of Pisa | Menanno G.,University of Pisa
Signal Processing | Year: 2017

We propose a method that identifies a mode of Rayleigh waves and separates it from body waves and from other modes, using quaternions to represent multi-component data. Being well known the abilities of quaternions to handle rotations in space, we use previous results derived from Le Bihan and Mars (2004) [1] to prove that a Rayleigh-wave mode recorded by an array of vector-sensors can be approximated by a sum of trace-by-trace rotating time signals. Our method decomposes the signal into narrow-frequency bands, which undergo both a velocity correction and a polarisation correction. The aim of these corrections is to reduce the mode of interest to a quasi-monochromatic wave packet with infinite apparent velocity and quasi-circular polarisation. Once written in quaternion notation, we refer to this wave packet as “quaternion brick”. Based on theoretical considerations, we prove that this quaternion brick maps into the first quaternion eigenimage of the quaternion singular value decomposition. We apply this method to synthetic datasets derived from two vertically heterogeneous models to extract the fundamental mode and we prove that it is correctly separated from either a higher mode of propagation or body waves with negligible residual. Results are presented in both time–offset and frequency–phase slowness domains. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Rossi A.,University of Pisa
Agriculture (Switzerland) | Year: 2017

The newly-emerged ethical foodscape includes multiple expressions of innovation around food. With reference to the Italian context, this paper focuses on the transformative potential of the experiences of social innovation, innovative grassroots initiatives, which have been significantly contributed to shaping the food culture and production-consumption practices during the last two decades. While still consolidating their fundamentals and facing the challenge of growth, the networks behind them continue to be engaged in an effort of innovation, inside and outside their niche. The paper explores these dynamics. Understanding how these networks are managing their transformative capacity and what are the opportunities and challenges arising in the relation with the mainstream system may help to better capture and value the potential of this innovation niche, drawing useful lessons for fostering its expression and for a broader transition to more equitable and sustainable food systems. © 2017 by the author; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Kolpakov A.,University of Toronto | Slavich L.,University of Pisa
Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society | Year: 2016

We develop a way of seeing a complete orientable hyperbolic 4-manifold M as an orbifold cover of a Coxeter polytope P H4 that has a facet colouring. We also develop a way of finding a totally geodesic sub-manifold N in M, and describing the result of mutations along N. As an application of our method, we construct an example of a complete orientable hyperbolic 4-manifold X with a single non-Toric cusp and a complete orientable hyperbolic 4-manifold Y with a single toric cusp. Both X and Y have twice the minimal volume among all complete orientable hyperbolic 4-manifolds. © 2016 London Mathematical Society.


Dal Bello M.,University of Pisa | Rindi L.,University of Pisa | Benedetti-Cecchi L.,University of Pisa
Global Change Biology | Year: 2017

Understanding how historical processes modulate the response of ecosystems to perturbations is becoming increasingly important. In contrast to the growing interest in projecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning under future climate scenarios, how legacy effects originating from historical conditions drive change in ecosystems remains largely unexplored. Using experiments in combination with stochastic antecedent modelling, we evaluated how extreme warming, sediment deposition and grazing events modulated the ecological memory of rocky intertidal epilithic microphytobenthos (EMPB). We found memory effects in the non-clustered scenario of disturbance (60 days apart), where EMPB biomass fluctuated in time, but not under clustered disturbances (15 days apart), where EMPB biomass was consistently low. A massive grazing event impacted on EMPB biomass in a second run of the experiment, also muting ecological memory. Our results provide empirical support to the theoretical expectation that stochastic fluctuations promote ecological memory, but also show that contingencies may lead to memory loss. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Pucciarelli A.,University of Pisa | Ambrosini W.,University of Pisa
Annals of Nuclear Energy | Year: 2017

The paper discusses the latest improvements obtained in performing heat transfer calculations by RANS turbulence models when dealing with fluids at supercritical pressure. An algebraic heat flux model (AHFM) is adopted as an advanced tool for calculating the turbulent Prandtl number distribution to be used in the energy equation. Though maintaining a simple gradient approach, the proposed model manages to obtain interesting results when dealing with temperatures spanning from low to supercritical values. This is due to the introduction of a correlation for defining one of the relevant AHFM parameters. As stated in previous works, in fact, single fixed constant values could not be sometimes sufficient for dealing with very different operating conditions such as the ones occurring with supercritical fluids. In order to make the relation suitable for different fluids, a dependence on a non-dimensional quantity which proved to be relevant by parallel work is assumed. Some sensitivity analyses are also performed, showing some interesting capabilities in reproducing a sort of threshold behaviour when working in transition regions. Buoyancy induced phenomena are much better captured than in past attempts, though incomplete accuracy is observed for some boundary conditions. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Bouchitte G.,University of Toulon | Buttazzo G.,University of Pisa
ESAIM - Control, Optimisation and Calculus of Variations | Year: 2017

We consider optimization problems for cost functionals which depend on the negative spectrum of Schrödinger operators of the form - Δ + V(x), where V is a potential, with prescribed compact support, which has to be determined. Under suitable assumptions the existence of an optimal potential is shown. This can be applied to interesting cases such as costs functions involving finitely many negative eigenvalues. © EDP Sciences, SMAI 2017.


Bray D.,University of Pisa
Rivista Italiana della Saldatura | Year: 2016

The porpouse of this paper is a short sutnma of the theoretical and experimental knowledge of the mechanical process known as Laser Shock Peening or, alternatively, Laser Shock Processing (LSP). We will briefly analyze the laser shock waves, the role of these waves in the generation of compressive residual stresses, the role of opaque and transparent layers to the laser and we will compare the mechanical process involved with a second mechanical process, with similar effects, which is called the shot peening (SP) or peening. We will study LSP effects on aluminum alloys, which as we know are widely used in aviation. The analysis of titanium alloys is subject to a further discussion. We will conclude the paper with an overview of the new LSP industrial applications.


Benelli G.,University of Pisa | Romano D.,Piaggio
Journal of Pest Science | Year: 2017

Mating trophallaxis represents a fascinating strategy adopted by males of several animal species to affect the decision-making of females during mating. Among tephritids, few species perform mating trophallaxis. However, this phenomenon has been little studied in major tephritid pests. We reported the presence of indirect mating trophallaxis in Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata, showing its influence on the main mating traits, male mating success and female egg load. Of 219 mating pairs, only 27 of them showed mating trophallaxis, indicating that mating trophallaxis may represent a significant male energy investment. The duration of male wing vibration and the whole precopula phase was longer in pairs that mated without trophallaxis compared to the pairs displaying mating trophallaxis. Males that displayed trophallaxis performed a longer whole duration of the courtship and mating sequence, with no differences in copula duration. Male mating success was slightly increased by trophallaxis. The majority of males performing trophallaxis skipped wing vibration during courtship, while all males courting females without trophallaxis relied on wing vibration to attract females within short distances. No egg load differences were reported for females that consumed nuptial gifts over control females. Overall, our research sheds light on the relation between indirect mating trophallaxis and egg load production in medflies, providing a better understanding of sexual selective mechanisms as the basis of courtship and mating behaviour in tephritid flies. Furthermore, this behaviour could be used as a quality control parameter to assess medfly mass-reared strains, in order to improve sterile insect technique programmes. © 2017 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Curutchet C.,University of Barcelona | Mennucci B.,University of Pisa
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2017

The design of optimal light-harvesting (supra)molecular systems and materials is one of the most challenging frontiers of science. Theoretical methods and computational models play a fundamental role in this difficult task, as they allow the establishment of structural blueprints inspired by natural photosynthetic organisms that can be applied to the design of novel artificial light-harvesting devices. Among theoretical strategies, the application of quantum chemical tools represents an important reality that has already reached an evident degree of maturity, although it still has to show its real potentials. This Review presents an overview of the state of the art of this strategy, showing the actual fields of applicability but also indicating its current limitations, which need to be solved in future developments. © 2016 American Chemical Society.


Lamorgese A.,University of Pisa | Mauri R.,University of Pisa | Sagis L.M.C.,ETH Zurich | Sagis L.M.C.,Wageningen University
Physics Reports | Year: 2017

The two main continuum frameworks used for modeling the dynamics of soft multiphase systems are the Gibbs dividing surface model, and the diffuse interface model. In the former the interface is modeled as a two dimensional surface, and excess properties such as a surface density, or surface energy are associated with this sharp interface. Its motion and deformation, and the time evolution of the excess fields associated with it are calculated by a set of partial differential equations (the jump balances), which have to be solved together with the mass, momentum, and energy balances of the bulk phases. A wide range of phenomena have been modeled in this framework, such as the deformation of emulsion droplets in a flow field, the effects of interfacial rheology on multiphase flows, wave phenomena in stratified flows, bubbles rising in a quiescent liquid, phase separation in immiscible mixtures, wetting phenomena, and in-plane and cross-plane mass and heat transfer.In the diffuse interface model the interface is modeled as a three dimensional region of finite thickness, in which order parameters change continuously from their value in one bulk phase to their value in the adjoining bulk phase. The model starts from a free energy functional which contains nonlocal contributions, which to leading order are represented by a square gradient term of the order parameter. The spatial distribution of density or concentration within the interfacial region is then determined by free energy minimization. When a simple pairwise inter-particle potential is assumed, a natural extension of the van der Waals model of phase transitions is obtained. Assuming a simple constitutive relation for the diffusive material fluxes in very viscous binary mixtures, the Cahn-Hilliard theory of spinodal decomposition can be obtained. For systems where convective material fluxes cannot be neglected, a reversible body force, called Korteweg force, must be added to the Navier-Stokes equation, which is proportional to the chemical potential gradient. This force is non-zero only for systems not at equilibrium, and is responsible for the strong convection observed in phase separating mixtures, while it is absent in systems where chemical potentials are uniform. Like the Gibbs dividing surface model, the diffuse interface model has been applied to a wide range of phenomena, such as mixing and demixing in binary mixtures, buoyancy driven detachment of wall-bound droplets, droplet breakup and coalescence, Marangoni effects, and flow in nano- and microchannels.Here we discuss the derivation of the governing equations of these two frameworks, and compare their strengths and weaknesses. We also show how these two frameworks can be combined to solve multiphase problems more effectively. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


We review the most recent theoretical studies of nuclear reactions of astrophysical interest involving few-nucleon systems. In particular, we focus on the radiative capture of protons by deuterons in the energy range of interest for Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. Related to this, we will discuss also the most recent calculation of tritium β-decay. Two frameworks will be considered, the conventional and the chiral effective field theory approach. © 2017, Springer-Verlag Wien.


Cerri S.S.,University of Pisa | Califano F.,University of Pisa
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2017

The understanding of the fundamental properties of turbulence in collisionless plasmas, such as the solar wind, is a frontier problem in plasma physics. In particular, the occurrence of magnetic reconnection in turbulent plasmas and its interplay with a fully-developed turbulent state is still a matter of great debate. Here we investigate the properties of small-scale electromagnetic fluctuations and the role of fast magnetic reconnection in the development of a quasi-steady turbulent state by means of 2D-3V high-resolution Vlasov-Maxwell simulations. At the largest scales turbulence is fed by external random forcing. We show that large-scale turbulent motions establish a -5 /3 spectrum at K perp;di <1and, at the same time, feed the formation of current sheets where magnetic reconnection occurs. As a result coherent magnetic structures are generated which, together with the rise of the associated small-scale non-ideal electric field, mediate the transition between the inertial and the subproton-scale spectrum. A mechanism that boosts the magnetic reconnection process is identified, making the generation of coherent structures rapid enough to be competitive with wave mode interactions and leading to the formation of a fully-developed turbulent spectrum across the so-called ion break. © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


Marazziti D.,University of Pisa
F1000Research | Year: 2017

Serotonin (5-HT) continues to attract researchers' interest after almost a century. However, despite these efforts, its role has not yet been fully elucidated. It is now evident that 5-HT does not modulate single functions but rather a multiplicity of activities and behaviors present in both normal and several pathological conditions in a less deterministic way than previously assumed. This article aims to briefly review some of the latest advancements in the general role of 5-HT in psychiatry, particularly in depression, and offer the author's personal reflections. © 2017 Marazziti D.


Galli G.,University of Pisa | Martinelli E.,University of Pisa
Macromolecular Rapid Communications | Year: 2017

A range of amphiphilic polymers with diverse macromolecular architectures has been developed and incorporated into films and coatings with potential for marine antibiofouling applications, without resorting to addition of currently used biocidal, toxic agents. Novel "green" chemical technologies employ different building blocks to endow the polymer film with surface activity, functionality, structure, and reconstruction according to the outer environment as a result of a tailored amphiphilic character of the polymer platform. We emphasise how these features can interplay and add synergistically to affect antifouling and fouling-release against common, widespread marine micro- and macro-fouling organisms. © 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


We reconstruct the arguments employed by Malthus in the second edition of An Essay on the Principle of Population (1803) concerning the superiority of a balanced growth pattern, and we show their theoretical consistency with Malthus’s food self-sufficiency policy proposal in his 1815 pamphlet, Grounds of an Opinion. Malthus (1803) argued that the contemporary British unbalanced and manufacturing export–led growth pattern was not sustainable in the long term; accordingly, he proposed food self-sufficiency as a safer long-term policy option than free foreign corn imports. Moreover, we investigate the theoretical influences on Malthus’s analysis of international corn trade, particularly the Smithian one. © 2017 by Duke University Press.


Micheletti A.M.,University of Pisa | Pistoia A.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Advanced Nonlinear Studies | Year: 2017

Given (M,g), a smooth compact Riemannian n-manifold, we prove that for a generic Riemannian metric g the critical points of the function Wg(ξ) := |Weylg(ξ)|g 2 with Wg (ξ) ≠=0 are nondegenerate. © 2017 by De Gruyter.


To identify the most promising targets when exploring geothermal reservoirs it is crucial to infer the crack density value (the fracture density per volume) in the subsurface. In this work a geophysical forward modeling approach and statistical techniques were used to estimate the crack density within the deepest geothermal reservoir of the Larderello-Travale field where fractured intrusive/metamorphic rocks constitute the main drilling targets of geothermal exploration. Waveform sonic recording and circumferential borehole imager log, acquired in the investigated area, evidenced the presence of several vertically aligned fractures with a preferential orientation NNW-SSE at the depth of the productive levels, whereas the encasing rocks appeared to be quite isotropic. This characteristic permitted to approximate the target level as a transverse isotropic medium with a horizontal axis of symmetry (HTI medium). Then, basing on borehole data, several models were developed that keep the encasing medium and the strike of the fractures within the target constant, but change the crack density from 0 (no fractures) to 0.1 (highly fractured). For each given crack density value, the associated P-wave and S-wave velocity values within the fractured zone were derived. Then, comparing the probability distribution of the simulated velocities with the logged velocities it was possible to estimate the most likely crack density value. The proposed methodology applied to two wells returned plausible and similar results for the crack density value © Società Geologica Italiana, Roma 2017.


Mauri R.,University of Pisa
Meccanica | Year: 2017

The flow of a fluid through a spatially periodic porous medium is studied using the momentum tracer approach, that is by monitoring the temporal spread of an instantaneous source of momentum (the “momentum tracer”), following its initial introduction into the interstitial fluid. The fluid flow is described macroscopically by a Brinkman-like effective equation, containing three effective tensorial quantities, namely the permeability dyadic, the generalized viscosity tetradic and a coupling triadic term. These phenomenological coefficients are shown to be expressible in terms of the solution of the characteristic eigenvalue problem associated with the (tensorial) Stokes operator, defined within the interstitial region of a single unit cell of the periodic porous medium. The phenomenological coefficients are shown to be independent of the initial position of the momentum tracer as well as of the choice of weight function used in averaging the microscale momentum density over the unit cell. Finally, we show that the analytical expressions for the phenomenological coefficients identically satisfy the symmetry requirements that can be obtained by applying the reciprocal theorem at the macro-scale level. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht


Cataldo E.,University of Pisa
Journal of Electrostatics | Year: 2017

We measure the coefficients of self capacitance C11and of interelectrode capacitance C12of a pair of square parallel plates, by using commercial models of capacitance to digital converters. The measured coefficient depends on which charge is sampled, that of the excited electrode or that of the other one. The analysis of the data at large distances is in agreement with the asymptotic formulas for the capacitance coefficients. The different leading behaviour as a function of the distance gives coherent independent estimations of the intrinsic capacitance of a single plate, in good agreement with the calculated one. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


Chew S.A.,University of Texas at Brownsville | Danti S.,University of Pisa
Advanced Healthcare Materials | Year: 2017

This review article focuses on the current local therapies mediated by implanted macroscaled biomaterials available or proposed for fighting cancer and also highlights the upcoming research in this field. Several authoritative review articles have collected and discussed the state-of-the-art as well as the advancements in using biomaterial-based micro- and nano-particle systems for drug delivery in cancer therapy. On the other hand, implantable biomaterial devices are emerging as highly versatile therapeutic platforms, which deserve an increased attention by the healthcare scientific community, as they are able to offer innovative, more effective and creative strategies against tumors. This review summarizes the current approaches which exploit biomaterial-based devices as implantable tools for locally administrating drugs and describes their specific medical applications, which mainly target resected brain tumors or brain metastases for the inaccessibility of conventional chemotherapies. Moreover, a special focus in this review is given to innovative approaches, such as combined delivery therapies, as well as to alternative approaches, such as scaffolds for gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy and metastatic cell capture, the later as promising future trends in implantable biomaterials for cancer applications. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


Fornaciari G.,University of Pisa
International Journal of Paleopathology | Year: 2017

Ancient neoplasms diagnosed in the soft tissues of mummies are limited to 18 cases so far, with only 5 malignant tumors. The apparent paucity of neoplasms in ancient populations is sometimes attributed to shorter life spans and fewer oncogenic substances in the environment. However, this paucity may also be a result of the scarcity of autopsies of mummies, together with technical difficulties in detecting neoplastic lesions in mummified tissues. An exception, and example of the benefits of thorough systematic analysis, is the small sample of 10 Renaissance mummies from Naples (15th-16th centuries), in which 3 cases of cancer were found. In order to increase detection of soft tissue tumors, it is imperative that mummies undergo systematic autopsies and histological examinations performed by skilled paleopathologists. This review of the known ancient soft tissue neoplasms demonstrates the state of histology of malignant and benign soft tissue neoplasms in mummies, and the potential for further study. The limitations of paleopathological diagnosis will be discussed and an argument will be made for the use of autopsies and histological analysis on mummified human remains. © 2017.


Petrini I.,University of Pisa
Annals of Translational Medicine | Year: 2015

MNNG HOS transforming gene (MET) is a class IV receptor tyrosine kinase, expressed on the surface of epithelial cells. The interaction with the hepatocyte grow factor (HGF) induces MET dimerization and the activation of multiple intracellular pathways leading to cell proliferation, anti-apoptosis, morphogenic differentiation, motility, invasion, and angiogenesis. Knock out mice have demonstrated that MET is necessary for normal embryogenesis including the formation of striate muscles, liver and trophoblastic structures. The overexpression of MET and HGF are common in solid tumors and contribute to determine their growth. Indeed, MET has been cloned as a transforming gene from a chemically induced human osteosarcoma cell line and therefore is considered a proto-oncogene. Germline MET mutations are characteristic of hereditary papillary kidney cancers and MET amplification is observed in tumors including lung and gastric adenocarcinomas. The inhibition of MET signaling is the target for specific drugs that are raising exciting expectation for medical treatment of cancer. © Annals of Translational Medicine. All rights reserved.


Carmignani G.,University of Pisa
International Journal of Production Research | Year: 2017

In this work, an innovative methodology to improve the Supply Scrap Management Process (SSMP), based on Value Stream Mapping (VSM), is presented. VSM is one of the best tools to map a process and eliminate its critical issues, that produces good results if applied to production processes, but can be ineffective for management processes as the SSMP. Therefore, the main objective of this work is to overcome this limitation. The proposed approach taking the name Scrap Value Stream Mapping (S-VSM) and integrates concepts from VSM and other Lean Production (LP) and World Class Manufacturing tools. It is structured in five steps. The definition of the process borders and the identification of categories of loss through the first four steps of Cost Deployment is the first step. Then, the SSMP is subdivided in its Accounting and Physical Streams and the current state is drawn. Next, wastes and critical issues are analysed and their root causes are determined using some of LP tools. In step four, improvements are proposed and the future state is drawn. Furthermore, potential savings, in terms of €, are estimated. In the last step, a methodology to monitor the effects of implemented improvements is defined. A case study taken from the application of the S-VSM within automotive company is presented. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


Berselli L.C.,University of Pisa | Ruzicka M.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications | Year: 2017

In this paper we study the regularity of weak solutions to systems of p-Stokes type, describing the motion of shear thinning fluids in certain steady regimes. In particular we address the problem of regularity up to the boundary improving previous results especially in terms of the allowed range for the parameter p. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.


Franco A.,University of Pisa | Versace M.,University of Pisa
Energy Conversion and Management | Year: 2017

The aim of the paper is to define optimal operational strategies for Combined Heat and Power plants connected to civil/residential District Heating Networks. The role of a reduced number of design variables, including a Thermal Energy Storage system and a hybrid operational strategy dependent on the storage level, is considered. The basic principle is to reach maximum efficiency of the system operation through the utilization of an optimal-sized Thermal Energy Storage. Objective functions of both energetic and combined energetic and economic can be considered. In particular, First and Second Law Efficiency, thermal losses of the storage, number of starts and stops of the combined heat and power unit are considered. Constraints are imposed to nullify the waste of heat and to operate the unit at its maximum efficiency for the highest possible number of consecutive operating hours, until the thermal tank cannot store more energy. The methodology is applied to a detailed case study: a medium size district heating system, in an urban context in the northern Italy, powered by a combined heat and power plant supported by conventional auxiliary boilers. The issues involving this type of thermal loads are also widely investigated in the paper. An increase of Second Law Efficiency of the system of 26% (from 0.35 to 0.44) can be evidenced, while the First Law Efficiency shifts from about 0.74 to 0.84. The optimization strategy permits of combining the economic benefit of cogeneration with the idea of reducing the energy waste and exergy losses. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Degano I.,University of Pisa | La Nasa J.,University of Pisa
Topics in Current Chemistry | Year: 2016

The separation, detection and quantitation of specific species contained in a sample in the field of Cultural Heritage requires selective, sensitive and reliable methods. Procedures based on liquid chromatography fulfil these requirements and offer a wide range of applicability in terms of analyte types and concentration range. The main applications of High Performance Liquid Chromatography in this field are related to the separation and detection of dyestuffs in archaeological materials and paint samples by reversed-phase liquid chromatography with suitable detectors. The relevant literature will be revised, with particular attention to sample treatment strategies and future developments. Reversed phase chromatography has also recently gained increasing importance in the analysis of lipid binders and lipid materials in archaeological residues: the main advantages and disadvantages of the new approaches will be discussed. Finally, the main applications of ion chromatography and size exclusion chromatography in the field of Cultural Heritage will be revised in this chapter. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Marchese L.,University of Pisa
Italianistica | Year: 2016

First of all, the article proposes to divide Primo Levi's poetic work in two main time periods: 1) from the beginnings (1945) to the publication of the first poetry book (The Bremen Beer-Hall, All'insegna del pesce d'oro, 1975); 2) from 1975 to the death of the author, occurred in 1987. This distinction mirrors the concept of a poetic itinerary which seems to be a heterogeneous studio of topics and languages originally developed, if compared with Levi's prose. Therefore, a textual analysis of some significant poems from the first time period is proposed. An interpretation of the short unpublished correspondence between Primo Levi and his publisher Vanni Scheiwiller concerning the forthcoming (in 1975) The Bremen Beer-Hall concludes the article.


Luscher T.F.,University of Zürich | Taddei S.,University of Pisa | Kaski J.-C.,St George's, University of London | Jukema J.W.,Leiden University | And 3 more authors.
European Heart Journal | Year: 2012

Aims: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is inversely associated with cardiovascular (CV) events and thus an attractive therapeutic target. However, in spite of marked elevations in HDL-C, the first cholesterol transport protein (CETP) inhibitor torcetrapib raised blood pressure (BP), impaired endothelial function, and increased CV mortality and morbidity. Dalcetrapib is a novel molecule acting on CETP with a different chemical structure to torcetrapib. As HDL stimulates nitric oxide (NO), suppresses inflammation, and exerts protective CV effects, we investigated the effects of dalcetrapib on endothelial function, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and lipids in patients with, or at risk of, coronary heart disease (CHD) in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial (clinicaltrials.gov number NCT00655538). Methods and results: Patients with target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels received dalcetrapib 600 mg/day or placebo for 36 weeks on top of standard therapy (including statins). The primary outcome measures were the change from baseline of flow-mediated dilatation (%FMD) of the right brachial artery after 5 min of cuff occlusion at 12 weeks and the 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) at week 4. Secondary outcomes included change from baseline in FMD after 36 weeks and the change in ABPM at 12 and 36 weeks, changes in HDL-C, LDL-C, triglycerides, CETP activity, as well as standard safety parameters. Four hundred seventy-six patients were randomized. Baseline FMD was 4.1 ± 2.2 and 4.0 ± 2.4% with placebo or dalcetrapib, respectively and did not change significantly from placebo after 12 and 36 weeks (P = 0.1764 and 0.9515, respectively). After 4, 24, and 36 weeks of treatment with dalcetrapib, CETP activity decreased by 51, 53, and 56% (placebo corrected, all P < 0.0001), while at weeks 4, 12, and 36 HDL-C increased by 25, 27, and 31% (placebo corrected, all P < 0.0001). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels did not change. At baseline, ABPM was 125 ± 12/74 ± 8mmHg in the placebo and 128 ± 11/75 ± 7mmHg in the dalcetrapib group (P = 0.3372 and 0.1248, respectively, placebo-corrected change from baseline) and did not change for up to 36 weeks. Biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and coagulation did not change during follow-up except for Lp-PLA2 mass levels which increased by 17% (placebo corrected). Overall 7 patients given dalcetrapib and 8 patients given placebo experienced at least one pre-specified adjudicated event (11 events with dalcetrapib and 12 events with placebo). Conclusion: The dal-VESSEL trial has established the tolerability and safety of CETP-inhibition with dalcetrapib in patients with or at risk of CHD. Dalcetrapib reduced CETP activity and increased HDL-C levels without affecting NO-dependent endothelial function, blood pressure, or markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. The dal-OUTCOMES trial (NCT00658515) will show whether dalcetrapib improves outcomes in spite of a lack of effect on endothelial function. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2012.


Kerstjens H.A.M.,University of Groningen | Engel M.,Boehringer Ingelheim | Dahl R.,Aarhus University Hospital | Paggiaro P.,University of Pisa | And 6 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2012

BACKGROUND: Some patients with asthma have frequent exacerbations and persistent airflow obstruction despite treatment with inhaled glucocorticoids and long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs). METHODS: In two replicate, randomized, controlled trials involving 912 patients with asthma who were receiving inhaled glucocorticoids and LABAs, we compared the effect on lung function and exacerbations of adding tiotropium (a total dose of 5 μg) or placebo, both delivered by a soft-mist inhaler once daily for 48 weeks. All the patients were symptomatic, had a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV 1) of 80% or less of the predicted value, and had a history of at least one severe exacerbation in the previous year. RESULTS: The patients had a mean baseline FEV 1 of 62% of the predicted value; the mean age was 53 years. At 24 weeks, the mean (±SE) change in the peak FEV 1 from baseline was greater with tiotropium than with placebo in the two trials: a difference of 86±34 ml in trial 1 (P = 0.01) and 154±32 ml in trial 2 (P<0.001). The predose (trough) FEV 1 also improved in trials 1 and 2 with tiotropium, as compared with placebo: a difference of 88±31 ml (P = 0.01) and 111±30 ml (P<0.001), respectively. The addition of tiotropium increased the time to the first severe exacerbation (282 days vs. 226 days), with an overall reduction of 21% in the risk of a severe exacerbation (hazard ratio, 0.79; P = 0.03). No deaths occurred; adverse events were similar in the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with poorly controlled asthma despite the use of inhaled glucocorticoids and LABAs, the addition of tiotropium significantly increased the time to the first severe exacerbation and provided modest sustained bronchodilation. (Funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00772538 and NCT00776984.) Copyright © 2012 Massachusetts Medical Society.


Diani M.,University of Pisa | Corsini G.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2011

In this paper, a new algorithm for striping noise reduction in hyperspectral images is proposed. The new algorithm exploits the orthogonal subspace approach to estimate the striping component and to remove it from the image, preserving the useful signal. The algorithm does not introduce artifacts in the data and also takes into account the dependence on the signal intensity of the striping component. The effectiveness of the algorithm in reducing striping noise is experimentally demonstrated on real data acquired both by airborne and satellite hyperspectral sensors. © 2006 IEEE.


Diani M.,University of Pisa | Corsini G.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2011

In this paper, a novel method to characterize random noise sources in hyperspectral (HS) images is proposed. Noise is described using a parametric model that accounts for the dependence of noise variance on the useful signal. Such model takes into account the photon noise contribution and is therefore suitable for noise characterization in the data acquired by new-generation HS sensors where electronic noise is not dominant. A new algorithm is developed for the estimation of noise parameters which consists of two steps. First, the noise and signal realizations are extracted from the original image by resorting to the multiple-linear-regression-based approach. Then, the model parameters are estimated by using a maximum likelihood approach. The new method does not require the intervention of a human operator and the selection of homogeneous regions in the scene. The performance of the new technique is analyzed on simulated HS data. Results on real data are also presented and discussed. Images acquired with a new-generation HS camera are analyzed to give an experimental evidence of the dependence of random noise on the signal level and to show the results of the estimation algorithm. The algorithm is also applied to a well-known Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer data set in order to show its effectiveness when noise is dominated by the signal-independent term. © 2011 IEEE.


Canale A.,University of Pisa | Benelli G.,University of Pisa | Benelli G.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
Journal of Pest Science | Year: 2012

Psyttaliaconcolor (Szépligeti) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a koinobiont larval-pupal endoparasitoid of a large number of tephritids. P. concolor can be commonly reared on fully grown Ceratitiscapitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) larvae. In our laboratory, over 180 consecutive generations have been completed on C. capitata. In this study, we tested the possibility that the uninterrupted mass-rearing of P. concolor on C. capitata may influence its host location and parasitisation behaviours when used against Bactroceraoleae (Rossi) (Diptera: Tephritidae), the fruit fly commonly targeted in mass release of P. concolor in olive-groves. Choice and no-choice tests were used with naïve and experienced P. concolor females exposed to B. oleae and/or C. capitata larvae. The study showed no significant difference in oviposition behaviours and host acceptance when provided either C. capitata or B. oleae. However, the study did show that experience on a host plus a substrate complex could influence host preferences, since females that had previous oviposition experience on a given host species searched and chose significantly more when the same host species was presented, both in choice and no-choice conditions. Therefore, within the context of the pest management of fruit flies, it could be very useful to incorporate procedures in insectary-propagated fruit fly parasitoids designed to provide adequate training (i. e. oviposition experience) on the fruit fly species needing to be controlled. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Diani M.,University of Pisa | Corsini G.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2010

In this paper, we investigate the problem of signal subspace identification (SSI) and dimensionality reduction in hyperspectral images. We consider two recently proposed SSI algorithms: the Maximum Orthogonal Complement Analysis (MOCA) algorithm and the Robust Signal Subspace Estimator (RSSE) algorithm. Such algorithms are robust to the presence of rare signal components and are particularly effective in reducing the number of features in the preprocessing step for small target detection applications. In this paper, MOCA and RSSE are briefly revisited and integrated in a common theoretical framework in order to better highlight and understand their peculiarities. Furthermore, their performances are compared in terms of computational complexity and of their ability to address both the abundant and the rare signal components. A modified version of the MOCA is also introduced, which is computationally more efficient than the original algorithm. Results on simulated data are discussed, and a case study is presented concerning real Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer data. © 2009 IEEE.


Migheli F.,University of Pisa | Migliore L.,University of Pisa | Migliore L.,Instituto Toscano Tumori
Clinical Genetics | Year: 2012

Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through a multistep process that results from the progressive accumulation of mutations and epigenetic alterations in tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes. Epigenetic modifications, that have a fundamental role in the regulation of gene expression, involve DNA methylation, specific histone modifications and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) interventions. Many genes have been until now studied to detect their methylation status during CRC carcinogenesis; and the functions of many of these genes in cancer initiation and progression are being clarified. Less is known about the patterns of histone modification alterations in CRC. Epigenetic deregulation of the ncRNAs or the genes involved in their biogenesis have been described in tumor progression and some examples of dysregulated microRNA were found also in CRC cells. Diet has an important role in the etiology of colon cancer. Folate is involved via 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which is then used to form the main DNA methylating agent S-adenosylmethionine. However, the role of folate in protecting from or in promoting CRC, depending on conditions, is still debated. The study of epigenetic marks to better characterize CRC and to identify new tools for diagnosis and prognosis as well as for therapeutic interventions is extremely promising. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


DeFronzo R.A.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | DeFronzo R.A.,Audie L Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital | Davidson J.A.,University of Texas at Dallas | del Prato S.,University of Pisa
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism | Year: 2012

The maintenance of normal glucose homeostasis requires a complex, highly integrated interaction among the liver, muscle, adipocytes, pancreas and neuroendocrine system. Recent studies have showed that the kidneys also play a central role in glucose homeostasis by reabsorbing all the filtered glucose, an adaptive mechanism that ensures sufficient energy is available during fasting periods. This mechanism becomes maladaptive in diabetes, however, as hyperglycaemia augments the expression and activity of the sodium-glucose cotransporter (SGLT) 2 in the proximal tubule of the kidney. As a result, glucose reabsorption may be increased by as much as 20% in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes. SGLT2 is a low-affinity, high-capacity glucose transport protein that reabsorbs 90% of filtered glucose, while the high-affinity, low-capacity SGLT1 transporter reabsorbs the remaining 10%. SGLT2 represents a novel target for the treatment of diabetes. In animal studies, SGLT2 inhibition reduces plasma glucose levels, resulting in improved β-cell function and enhanced insulin sensitivity in liver and muscle. Human studies have confirmed the efficacy of SLGT2 inhibitors in improving glucose control and reducing the A1c. Because the mechanism of SGLT2 inhibition is independent of circulating insulin levels or insulin sensitivity, these agents can be combined with all other antidiabetic classes, including exogenous insulin. Although the long-term efficacy and safety of SGLT2 inhibitors remain under study, the class represents a novel therapeutic approach with potential for the treatment of both type 2 and 1 diabetes. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Papucci M.,Institute for Advanced Study | Strumia A.,University of Pisa | Strumia A.,CERN
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2010

We derive robust model-independent bounds on Dark Matter (DM) annihilations and decays from the first year of FERMI γ-ray observations of the whole sky. These bounds only have a mild dependence on the DM density profile and allow the following DM interpretations of the PAMELA and Fermi excesses: primary channels μ+μ-, μ+μ -μ+μ- or e+e-e +e-. An isothermal-like density profile is needed for annihilating DM. In all such cases, FERMI γ spectra must contain a significant DM component, that may be probed in the future. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd and SISSA.


Meade P.,Institute for Advanced Study | Papucci M.,Institute for Advanced Study | Strumia A.,University of Pisa | Volansky T.,Institute for Advanced Study
Nuclear Physics B | Year: 2010

The cosmic-ray excess observed by PAMELA in the positron fraction and by FERMI and HESS in e- + e+ can be interpreted in terms of DM annihilations or decays into leptonic final states. Final states into τ's or 4μ give the best-fit to the excess. However, in the annihilation scenario, they are incompatible with photon and neutrino constraints, unless DM has a quasi-constant density profile. Final states involving e's are less constrained but poorly fit the excess, unless hidden sector radiation makes their energy spectrum smoother, allowing a fit to all the data with a combination of leptonic modes. In general, DM lighter than about a TeV cannot fit the excesses, so PAMELA should find a greater positron fraction at higher energies. The DM interpretation can be tested by FERMI γ observations above 10 GeV: if the e± excess is everywhere in the DM halo, Inverse Compton scattering on ambient light produces a well-predicted γ excess that FERMI should soon detect. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Marcucci L.E.,University of Pisa | Marcucci L.E.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Schiavilla R.,Old Dominion University | Schiavilla R.,Jefferson Lab | Viviani M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

The astrophysical S factor for proton-proton weak capture is calculated in chiral effective field theory over the center-of-mass relative-energy range 0-100 keV. The chiral two-nucleon potential derived up to next-to-next-to-next- to leading order is augmented by the full electromagnetic interaction including, beyond Coulomb, two-photon and vacuum-polarization corrections. The low-energy constants entering the weak current operators are fixed so as to reproduce the A=3 binding energies and magnetic moments and the Gamow-Teller matrix element in tritium β decay. Contributions from S and P partial waves in the incoming two-proton channel are retained. The S factor at zero energy is found to be S(0)=(4.030±0.006)×10-23 MeV fm2, with a P-wave contribution of 0.020×10-23 MeV fm2. The theoretical uncertainty is due to the fitting procedure of the low-energy constants and to the cutoff dependence. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Donzella V.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Crea F.,University of Pisa
Journal of Biophotonics | Year: 2011

Many cancer types are characterized by poor survival and unpredictable therapy response. Easy-to-perform molecular analyses may help patient stratification and treatment tailoring. Several integrated devices have been proposed to overcome current analysis equipment limitations. They offer improved sensitivity and easy availability of parallel detection. Particularly, unlabelled optical biosensors combine the manifold advantages of integrated sensors (e.g. easy handling, portability and low-volume requirement) with detection of target molecules in their original form. Here, we review integrated optical biosensor current features, and discuss their possible application to the detection of protein variants from body fluids, with particular regard to histone modifications. Indeed, histone post-translational modifications are a set of epigenetic markers frequently deregulated in cancer. Available technology does not allow a comprehensive analysis of all histone modifications in a single patient. Thus, label-free optical biosensors may pave the way to the discovery and detection of a novel class of biomarkers in oncology. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Porzi C.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Bogoni A.,University of Pisa | Contestabile G.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
IEEE Photonics Technology Letters | Year: 2012

We investigate and experimentally demonstrate a simple method for phase-preserving amplitude regeneration of constant envelope phase-coded signals. This scheme exploits nonlinear interaction between noisy data and a continuous wave beam at a different wavelength in a saturated semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). We show that proper balancing of the input signals' power allows us to exploit the amplitude limiting effect of SOA saturated gain without introducing significant excess phase noise due to suppression of the α-factor in the amplifier. In a 10-Gb/s nonreturn-to-zero differential phase-shift-keying experiment, both four-wave-mixing (FWM) and pass-through signals are remarkably improved with respect to input data in terms of Q-factor and bit error ratio threshold margin, demonstrating wavelength preserving and wavelength converting regeneration. In particular, the FWM signal exhibits better regenerative performance over a broader range of degraded input data and for lower input overall power levels. © 1989-2012 IEEE.


Pellegrino E.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Pellegrino E.,University of Pisa | Bedini S.,University of Pisa
Soil Biology and Biochemistry | Year: 2014

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) establishing beneficial symbiosis with most crop plants have gained a growing interest as agro-ecosystem service providers able to sustain crop productivity and quality. In this study we tested the agronomic relevance of field-inoculated locally sourced and foreign inocula on chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), one of the most important worldwide grain legumes. The foreign AMF Funneliformis mosseae and Rhizophagus irregularis were used as single and dual species inocula. Crop growth and productivity, plant nutrient uptakes and protein, Fe and Zn grain biofortification were assessed under a rainfed low-input cropping system after autumn and spring sowings. Uni- and multivariate analyses of data showed that AM fungal field inoculation increased chickpea AM fungal root colonization as well as plant biomass and yield. In addition, AMF were also effective in improving the nutritional value of grain by protein, Fe and Zn biofortification. The locally sourced AM fungal inoculum was more efficient then the foreign ones in Fe and Zn grain biofortification and, in the spring sowing treatment, also in improving yield and grain protein content. These findings enhance our understanding of the field potential role of AMF showing that a mycorrhiza-friendly approach in agriculture may have great potential in biofertilization of crops and biofortification of foods. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Angst J.,University of Zürich | Bowden C.L.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | Perugi G.,University of Pisa | Vieta E.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Archives of General Psychiatry | Year: 2011

Context: Major depressive disorder, the most common psychiatric illness, is often chronic and a major cause of disability. Many patients with major depressive episodes who have an underlying but unrecognized bipolar disorder receive pharmacologic treatment with ineffective regimens that do not include mood stabilizers. Objective: To determine the frequency of bipolar disorder symptoms in patients seeking treatment for a major depressive episode. Design: Multicenter, multinational, transcultural, crosssectional, diagnostic study. The study arose from the initiative Bipolar Disorders: Improving Diagnosis, Guidance and Education (BRIDGE). Setting: Community and hospital psychiatry departments. Patients: Participants included 5635 adults with an ongoing major depressive episode. Main Outcome Measures: The frequency of bipolar disorder was determined by applying both DSM-IV-TR criteria and previously described bipolarity specifier criteria. Variables associated with bipolarity were assessed using logistic regression. Results: A total of 903 patients fulfilled DSM-IV-TR criteria for bipolar disorder (16.0%; 95% confidence interval, 15.1%-17.0%), whereas 2647 (47.0%; 95% confidence interval, 45.7%-48.3%) met the bipolarity specifier criteria. Using both definitions, significant associations (odds ratio>2; P<.001) with bipolarity were observed for family history of mania/hypomania and multiple pastmoodepisodes. The bipolarity specifier additionally identified significant associations for manic/hypomanic states during antidepressant therapy, current mixed mood symptoms, and comorbid substance use disorder. Conclusions: The bipolar-specifier criteria in comparison with DSM-IV-TR criteria were valid and identified an additional 31% of patients with major depressive episodes who scored positive on the bipolarity criteria. Family history, illness course, and clinical status, in addition to DSMIV- TR criteria, may provide useful information for physicians when assessing evidence of bipolarity in patients with major depressive episodes. Such an assessment is recommended before deciding on treatment. ©2011 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.


Diani M.,University of Pisa | Corsini G.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2013

In this paper, we investigate the constant false-alarm rate (CFAR) property of the RX anomaly detector which is widely used for the analysis of hyperspectral data. The RX detector relies on an adaptive scheme where the mean vector and the covariance matrix of the background are locally estimated from the image pixels themselves. First, demeaning is accomplished by removing the estimated local background mean value, and then, the covariance matrix is estimated in a homogeneous neighborhood of each pixel. In principle, if the local mean is perfectly removed and the covariance matrix is estimated from background pixels sharing the same covariance matrix, the RX algorithm has the CFAR property, which is highly desirable in practical applications. The CFAR behavior of the algorithm also requires the spatial stationarity of the random noise affecting the hyperspectral image. In data collected by new-generation sensors, such an assumption is not valid because photon noise contribution, which depends on the spatially varying signal level, is not negligible. This has motivated us to analyze the behavior of the RX algorithm with respect to the CFAR property in data affected by signal-dependent (SD) noise. In this paper, we show both theoretically and experimentally that the SD noise is one of the causes of the non-CFAR behavior of the RX detector that we have experienced in many practical situations. We propose a strategy to enhance the robustness of the anomaly detection scheme with respect to the CFAR property based on an adaptive nonlinear transform aimed at reducing the dependence of the noise on the signal level. Experiments on simulated data and real data collected by a new hyperspectral camera are also presented and discussed. © 1980-2012 IEEE.


Zaidi H.,University of Geneva | Zaidi H.,University of Groningen | Guerra A.D.,University of Pisa | Guerra A.D.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Medical Physics | Year: 2011

Early diagnosis and therapy increasingly operate at the cellular, molecular, or even at the genetic level. As diagnostic techniques transition from the systems to the molecular level, the role of multimodality molecular imaging becomes increasingly important. Positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are powerful techniques for in vivo molecular imaging. The inability of PET to provide anatomical information is a major limitation of standalone PET systems. Combining PET and CT proved to be clinically relevant and successfully reduced this limitation by providing the anatomical information required for localization of metabolic abnormalities. However, this technology still lacks the excellent soft-tissue contrast provided by MRI. Standalone MRI systems reveal structure and function but cannot provide insight into the physiology and/or the pathology at the molecular level. The combination of PET and MRI, enabling truly simultaneous acquisition, bridges the gap between molecular and systems diagnosis. MRI and PET offer richly complementary functionality and sensitivity; fusion into a combined system offering simultaneous acquisition will capitalize the strengths of each, providing a hybrid technology that is greatly superior to the sum of its parts. A combined PET/MRI system provides both the anatomical and structural description of MRI simultaneously with the quantitative capabilities of PET. In addition, such a system would allow exploiting the power of MR spectroscopy (MRS) to measure the regional biochemical content and to assess the metabolic status or the presence of neoplasia and other diseases in specific tissue areas. This paper briefly summarizes state-of-the-art developments and latest advances in dedicated hybrid PET/MRI instrumentation. Future prospects and potential clinical applications of this technology will also be discussed. © 2011 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


Marcocci C.,University of Pisa | Bollerslev J.,University of Oslo | Khan A.A.,McMaster University | Shoback D.M.,University of California at San Francisco
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2014

Objective: Asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a common clinical problem. The only available definitive therapy is parathyroidectomy, which is appropriate to consider in all patients. The purpose of this report is to provide an update on calcium and vitamin D supplementation and medical management for those patients with PHPT who cannot or do not want to undergo surgery.Methods: Questions were developed by the International Task Force on PHPT. A comprehensive literature search was undertaken, and relevant articles published between 2008 and 2013 were reviewed in detail. The questions were addressed by the panel of experts, and consensus was established at the time of the workshop.Conclusions: The recommended calcium intake in patients with PHPT should follow guidelines established for all individuals. It is not recommended to limit calcium intake in patients with PHPT who do not undergo surgery. Patients with low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be repleted with doses of vitamin D aiming to bring serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to ≥ 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) at a minimum, but a goal of ≥75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL) also is reasonable. Pharmacological approaches are available and should be reserved for those patients in whom it is desirable to lower the serum calcium, increase BMD, or both. For the control of hypercalcemia, cinacalcet is the treatment of choice. Cinacalcet reduces serum calcium concentrations to normal in many cases, but has only a modest effect on serum PTH levels. However, bone mineral density (BMD) does not change. To improve BMD, bisphosphonate therapy is recommended. The best evidence is for the use of alendronate, which improves BMD at the lumbar spine without altering the serum calcium concentration. To reduce the serum calcium and improve BMD, combination therapy with both agents is reasonable, but strong evidence for the efficacy of that approach is lacking. Copyright © 2014 by the Endocrine Society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.1.1 | Award Amount: 5.54M | Year: 2010

The CHANGE project addresses a central problem of todays Internet: its size and scope make innovation through the introduction of new core network technologies very difficult. The Internet suffers from ossification. Even minor changes only happen through the accretion of point solutions that embed knowledge in the network, optimizing todays applications at the expense of tomorrows.\n\nThe goal of CHANGE is to reinvigorate innovation on the Internet, in order to better support current services and applications and enable those of tomorrow. This will be achieved by introducing a common concept of a flow-processing platform, instantiated at critical points in the network. Although the platform and its interfaces are common, the processing performed must be programmable, allowing the network to evolve and support the needs of rapidly changing applications. Such platforms can be built from commodity hardware e.g. x86 servers and commodity switching chipsets , and are both scalable and powerful while retaining the flexibility to quickly introduce processing primitives.\n\nThese platforms form the basis for CHANGE, but the vision is larger. The goal is an architecture that combines multiple communicating flow processing platforms to provide innovative end-to-end services to applications. Thus, conventional traffic flows can be processed at varying degrees of granularity, and application-specific virtual network overlays can be constructed, without impacting other network services or traffic. The aim is to do this within an architectural framework that allows application developers and network operators to reason about the emergent end-to-end behaviour. To validate the architecture, we will implement and deploy a set of novel and diverse applications and services.\n\nA strong, committed consortium of 11 leading partners from industry and academia ensures that CHANGE will deliver the promised results.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS.2013.2.1.1-1 | Award Amount: 3.77M | Year: 2014

TRIGGER aims at promoting systemic interventions designed to have deep, long lasting and widespread impacts at all the different levels in 5 research organisations. The project, coordinated and co-funded by the Italian Government, assisted by an institute specialised in gender and science, involves as co-funders five universities from different EU countries (Czech Republic, France, Italy, UK, Spain). Building on the results of earlier projects, integrated actions will be implemented at each university addressing different sides of gender inequality in science, i.e.: 1) Working environment, formal/informal culture and explicit/tacit rules (awareness-raising; collection of gender-sensitive data; support in the early stages of scientific careers; promotion of work-life balance, etc.). 2) Content and methods of scientific research, to acknowledge its gender dimension and impact (updating of teaching curricula; gendering the design of research and technological innovation; allocation of funds for gendered research; contrasting stereotypes about women in science, etc.). 3) Scientific leadership at different levels (selection procedures and criteria for the evaluation of scientific merit; introduction of equality targets in decision making bodies; enhancement of women researchers visibility, etc.). Each of the 5 involved partners have designed and will carry out a tailored action plan including measures related to all 3 sides, whose relative weight depends on their specific characteristics, situations and needs. TRIGGER will be characterised by integration, customisation, systematic nature, concreteness. Public debate and awareness will be generated on these issues Europe-wide. Added value will be yielded both on the strategic level, by the strong focus on gendering research, and on the operational level, through fostering mutual learning among partners and among the different European structural change projects, giving birth to an Integrated Model.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-04 | Award Amount: 7.82M | Year: 2010

SOLIBAM will develop specific and novel breeding approaches integrated with management practices to improve the performance, quality, sustainability and stability of crops adapted to organic and low-input systems, in their diversity in Europe and taking into account small-scale farms in Africa. SOLIBAM will: 1. Identify traits specific for adaptation to low-input/organic conditions over a wide range of agro-climatic conditions in Europe 2. Develop efficient phenotyping, genotyping and molecular tools to monitor heritable variation during selection. Molecular analysis of functional polymorphisms will increase accuracy in breeding methodologies and improve monitoring of genetic diversity and adaptation along generations. It will also increase the understanding of adaptive phenomena 3. Develop the use of within-crop diversity to stabilise yield and quality in the face of current and increasing variation in organic and low-input agriculture 4. Design, develop and test innovative arable and vegetable cropping systems based on integration of a high level of diversification in crop management with the use of genetically diverse populations or varieties 5. Compare the effectiveness of different breeding strategies under conventional, low input and certified organic farming to set up optimal strategies for the production of varieties suitable for organic and low input farming taking into account the traits which are avoided in conventional breeding 6. Develop methodologies for farmers participatory research that exploit SOLIBAMs advances in low-input and organic farming 7. Quantify the effects and interactions of breeding and management innovations on crop nutritional, organoleptic and end-use quality 8. Evaluate socio-economic and environmental impacts of SOLIBAM breeding and management innovations in order to identify farm business, consumer preference, food supply and legislation related issues that are likely to influence their adoption


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: FCH2-RIA | Phase: FCH-04.3-2014 | Award Amount: 1.51M | Year: 2015

The aim of the HySEA project is to conduct pre-normative research on vented deflagrations in enclosures and containers for hydrogen energy applications. The ambition is to facilitate the safe and successful introduction of hydrogen energy systems by introducing harmonized standard vent sizing requirements. The partners in the HySEA consortium have extensive experience from experimental and numerical investigations of hydrogen explosions. The experimental program features full-scale vented deflagration experiments in standard ISO containers, and includes the effect of obstacles simulating levels of congestion representative of industrial systems. The project also entails the development of a hierarchy of predictive models, ranging from empirical engineering models to sophisticated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element (FE) tools. The specific objectives of HySEA are: - To generate experimental data of high quality for vented deflagrations in real-life enclosures and containers with congestion levels representative of industrial practice; - To characterize different strategies for explosion venting, including hinged doors, natural vent openings, and commercial vent panels; - To invite the larger scientific and industrial safety community to submit blind-predictions for the reduced explosion pressure in selected well-defined explosion scenarios; - To develop, verify and validate engineering models and CFD-based tools for reliable predictions of pressure loads in vented explosions; - To develop and validate predictive tools for overpressure (P) and impulse (I), and produce P-I diagrams for typical structures with relevance for hydrogen energy applications; - To use validated CFD codes to explore explosion hazards and mitigating measures in larger enclosures, such as warehouses; and - To formulate recommendations for improvements to European (EN-14994), American (NFPA 68), and other relevant standards for vented explosions.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2010.3.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 3.19M | Year: 2010

The MEMORI proposal will provide the conservation market with innovative measurement technology, improved pollution effects knowledge and evaluation and control methods for the reduction of gaseous pollutant impact on movable cultural assets, - facilitating increased and safe use of protective enclosures for cultural heritage (CH) objects located indoors in new or rebuilt buildings for collections, to satisfy demands for energy saving to mitigate climate change. MEMORI will develop a small novel portable instrument for easy combined (oxidising \ acidic impacts) environmental dosimetry in situ with adapted software and web page for results presentation and interpretation. MEMORI will do extensive laboratory and non-destructive field analysis of impact of indoor environments on a range of organic CH materials for the assessment of environmental quality for movable cultural assets, especially focusing on objects protected inside diverse types of enclosures. MEMORI will perform varied realistic experiments and studies of methods for mitigation of the pollution impact on CH objects in enclosures such as; use of absorbing media of different types; pollution barrier films; low emitting construction materials, and anoxic conditions. MEMORI seeks to achieve its goals by engagement of SMEs that combine expertise in marketing and consulting of conservation equipment with practical conservation experience for the benefit of conservators and stakeholders, supporting their effort to assure optimal conservation conditions for their collections. MEMORI also has significant participation of SMEs in its work with technological instruments development and presentation systems for the End users, and in the studies of mitigation methods for application with protective enclosures and accessories that these SMEs market. The basis for MEMORI is the scientific and technological excellence of research and innovation within a high quality consortium with high quality management.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-1-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 5.92M | Year: 2015

One of the most pressing and fascinating challenges scientists face today, is understanding the complexity of our globally interconnected society. The big data arising from the digital breadcrumbs of human activities promise to let us scrutinize the ground truth of individual and collective behaviour at an unprecedented detail and scale. There is an urgent need to harness these opportunities for scientific advancement and for the social good. The main obstacle to this accomplishment, besides the scarcity of data scientists, is the lack of a large-scale open infrastructure, where big data and social mining research can be carried out. To this end, SoBigData proposes to create the Social Mining & Big Data Ecosystem: a research infrastructure (RI) providing an integrated ecosystem for ethic-sensitive scientific discoveries and advanced applications of social data mining on the various dimensions of social life, as recorded by big data. Building on several established national infrastructures, SoBigData will open up new research avenues in multiple research fields, including mathematics, ICT, and human, social and economic sciences, by enabling easy comparison, re-use and integration of state-of-the-art big social data, methods, and services, into new research. It will not only strengthen the existing clusters of excellence in social data mining research, but also create a pan-European, inter-disciplinary community of social data scientists, fostered by extensive training, networking, and innovation activities. In addition, as an open research infrastucture, SoBigData will promote repeatable and open science. Although SoBigData is primarily aimed at serving the needs of researchers, the openly available datasets and open source methods and services provided by the new research infrastructure will also impact industrial and other stakeholders (e.g. government bodies, non-profit organisations, funders, policy makers).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.9.7 | Award Amount: 3.42M | Year: 2012

Many real world systems possess a rich multi-level structure and exhibit complex dynamics that are the result of a web of interwoven interactions among elements with autonomous decision-making capabilities. CONGAS will develop new mathematical models and tools, rooted in game theory, for the analysis, prediction and control of dynamical processes in such complex systems.CONGAS will provide a coherent theoretical framework for understanding the emergence of structure and patterns in complex systems, accounting for interactions spanning various scales in time and space, and acting at different structural and aggregation levels. This framework will be built around game theoretical concepts, in particular evolutionary and multi-resolution games, and will include also techniques drawn from graph theory, statistical mechanics, control and optimization theory. Specific attention will be devoted to systems that are prone to intermittency and catastrophic events due to the effect of collective dynamics.The theory developed in the project will be validated by considering three use cases, one on the growth of the Internet, one on business ecosystems and one on viral marketing dynamics in Internet marketplaces.The CONGAS Consortium comprises seven universities and research institution and includes leading scientists in game theory, evolutionary games, complex systems science, network science and data-driven analysis of socio-technical systems.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.67M | Year: 2014

The GraWIToN project aims to train 13 ESRs in the gravitational wave search field. This research field is in an impressive expansion period, thank to a new generation of detector under installation in these years, to the promise of the exciting discovery in 5 years from now of this kind of signal, predicted in the General Relativity of Einstein, to the enlarging of the world wide scientific community, with new actors coming from emerging countries and thanks to the boosting action due to the Einstein Telescope project, previously supported by the European Commission with the FP7-Design Study tool. The ESRs will be embedded in this exciting research environment and will be trained in the cutting edge technologies adopted in the Gravitational Wave detectors. Complex optical apparatuses, high power and low noise lasers, high reflective coatings, optical simulation and modelling using parallel computing systems are the crucial technologies used in gravitational wave detectors that are extremely interesting in the industrial sector, as highlighted by the participation of 3 private companies as full participants and one as associated partner. The multidisciplinary aspect is completed by the astrophysics training, fundamental for a future researcher in this field, and by an expressly multidisciplinary module, addressed to the management and outreaching skills. The participation to this project of research institutes and universities will guarantee the possibility for the ESR to achieve to doctorate degree.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2011.9.5 | Award Amount: 1.71M | Year: 2011

Guardian Angels (GA) are future zero-power, intelligent, autonomous systems-of-systems featuring sensing, computation, and communication beyond human aptitudes. GA will assist humans from their infancy to old age in complex life situations and environments. Zero-power reflects system-of-systems ability to scavenge energy in dynamic environments by disruptive harvesting techniques. The project prepares zero-power technologies based on future energy-efficient technologies, heterogeneous design, and disruptive energy scavengers.\nThree zero-power generations of GAs are foreseen: Physical Guardian Angels are zero-power, on-body networks or implantable devices that monitor vital health signals and take appropriate actions to preserve human health. Environmental Guardian Angels extend monitoring to dynamic environments, using disruptive scavengers, personalized data communication, and first thinking algorithms. They are personal assistants that protect their wearers from environment dangers. Emotional Guardian Angels are intelligent personal companions with disruptive zero-power, manmachine interfaces deployed at large scale. They sense and communicate using non-verbal languages playing an important role in health, education, and security worldwide. This project addresses the following scientific challenges for energy-efficient visionary Guardian Angel autonomous systems: (i) energy-efficient computing (down to E=10-100kT), (ii) and communication (approaching the limit of 1pJ/bit), (iii) low-power sensing, (iv) disruptive scavenging (bio-inspired, thermoelectric, etc, targeting energy densities of tens of mW/cm2), and (v) zero-power man-machine interfaces. A selection of emerging technologies based on energy efficiency is proposed. We will also develop design tools that integrate electrical, mechanical, optical, thermal, and chemical simulation tools over length and time scales currently not achievable.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.3.1 | Award Amount: 9.14M | Year: 2013

Automotive represents 12% of the EU industrial GDP. 20% of the value of a car is already electronics and 10% of this are IC components. Minimizing costs and space for additional functionality requires further integration. The EU project ATHENIS has successfully addressed System-on-Chip (SoC) integration of CMOS, high voltage and embedded memory for harshest automotive conditions. Further cost reduction will require even higher levels of integration. Therefore ATHENIS_3D will provide the industrys first 3D heterogeneous integration technology platform for harshest automotive conditions with Through Silicon Vias (TSV) and Wafer Level Packaging (WLP). A demonstrator car will prove the functionality of the 3D integrated electronics for an electrical machine with start/stop function and the industrys first 3D/TSV/WLP DCDC converter with integrated inductor for the new 48V standard. Cost savings from integration and a 5x reduction of PCB area at improved reliability will be shown. For this purpose substantial technological barriers such as flipchip mounting of a 90nm CMOS FPGA on a 180nm HVCMOS Si interposer with Integrated Passive Devices (IPD), high density MRAM and magnetic sensors all meeting reliability requirements up to 200C application temperatures have to be mastered for the first time. This will be achieved by combining TSV and HV-CMOS technology from ams with CMOS and Cu-TSV technology from CEA-Leti, MRAM technology from Crocus and WLP technology from Besi. Platform scalability will be proven by flipchip packaging of 14nm CMOS samples on the interposer. New modules for TSVs, MRAM and Passives embedded in TSV technology will be developed to enable 200C applications. Valeo will provide system specifications, development and demo car evaluation. The other partners contribute to the TSV, WLP and IPD technology (FhG, CEA-Leti) and develop the required novel design, simulation, characterization and reliability methods (UNIPI,TUW, FhG, UNIFE, Active, MASER).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.2.1 | Award Amount: 4.49M | Year: 2013

The challenge laid out in this call for proposals is to advance technologies for, and understand the principles of cognition and control in complex systems. We will meet this challenge by advancing methods for object perception, representation and manipulation so that a robot is able to robustly manipulate objects even when those objects are unfamiliar, and even though the robot has unreliable perception and action. The proposal is founded on two assumptions. The first of these is that the representation of the objects shape in particular and of other properties in general will benefit from being compositional (or very loosely hierarchical and part based). The second is that manipulation planning and execution benefits from explicitly reasoning about uncertainty in object pose, shape etcetera; how it changes under the robots actions, and the robot should plan actions that not only achieve the task, but gather information to make task achievement more reliable.\n\nThese two assumptions are mirrored in the structure of the proposed work, as we will develop two main strands of work:\n\ni) a multi-modal compositional, probabilistic representation of object properties to support perception and manipulation, and ii) algorithms for reasoning with this representation, that will estimate object properties from visual and haptic data, and also plan how to actively gather information about shape and other object properties (frictional coefficients, mass) while achieving a task. These two strands will be combined and tested on robots performing aspects of a dishwasher loading task. The outcome will be robust manipulation (i.e. under unreliable perception and action) of unfamiliar objects from familiar categories or with familiar parts.


Grant
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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-04-2015 | Award Amount: 3.48M | Year: 2016

HiPEAC is a support action that aims to structure and strengthen the European academic and industrial communities in computing systems: (i) by increasing innovation awareness and by encouraging researchers to engage in innovation activities; (ii) by professionally disseminating program achievements beyond the traditional scientific venues; (iii) by producing a vision document including recommendations on how to improve the innovation potential of H2020 projects, and (iv) by growing the computing systems community beyond 2000 active members in Europe. The HiPEAC support action is meant to be the continuation of three successful FP7 networks of excellence with the same name (HiPEAC1-3). This support action will leverage the existing community, the expertise and the set of instruments that were developed since 2004 and work on the objectives of this support action: cross-sectorial platform-building, clustering of related research projects, structuring the European academic and industrial research communities, dissemination of programme achievements, impact analysis, constituency building and roadmapping for future research and innovation agendas. The overall approach of the HiPEAC support action is that it wants to bring together all actors and stakeholders in the computing systems community in Europe - especially EU-funded projects and SMEs - in one well managed structure where they can interact, disseminate/share information, transfer knowledge/technology, exchange human resources, think about their future challenges, experiment with ideas to strengthen the community, etc. The HiPEAC support action will support its members and projects with tasks that are too difficult/complex to carry out individually: vision building, professional communication, recruitment, event management at the European level. By offering such services a burden is taken away from the projects and members. They can then focus on the content, and the impact of their efforts is amplified.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EJD | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-EJD | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2015

Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modelling (TCCM) is emerging as a powerful tool to help in the rational design of new products and materials for pharmaceutical, chemical, energy, computer, and new-materials industries. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to go beyond the traditional electronic structure studies, and merge complementary techniques that are normally not available at a single research group. The research programme of the TCCM-EJD aims at applying computational modelling to problems demanded by the industry and with high societal relevance, namely Materials with special properties, Biomolecules for new therapies and Energy storage. The objective of the Joint Doctorate is to prepare future research leaders, able to develop and use multidisciplinary computational techniques (methods and software), with solid communication skills, with many contacts established through the intensive relationship with worldwide leading researchers of 12 European universities and 14 additional partners, including 7 industrial and spin-off companies. A Joint Doctorate in TCCM is already operative since 2011, based on a fully participative scientific discussion and assessment of all research projects with a clear interdisciplinary character and the direct participation of the non-academic sector. The training programme puts the emphasis in common training, including 3 annual International Workshops, 3 schools on High Performance Computing and 3 tutorials in new computer codes. Career development opportunities are enhanced with regular inter-sectoral activities, transferable skill education and career coaching.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.1. | Award Amount: 6.45M | Year: 2013

Referring to the increasingly challenging EU2020-ambition of Inclusive Growth, the objectives of the InGRID project are to integrate and to innovate existing, but distributed European social sciences research infrastructures on poverty and living conditions and working conditions and vulnerability by improving the transnational data access, organising mutual knowledge exchange and improving methods and tools for comparative research. This integration will provide the related European scientific community with new and better opportunities to fulfil its key role in the development of evidence-based European policies for Inclusive Growth. In this regard specific attention is paid to a better measurement of related state policies, to high-performance statistical quality management, and to dissemination/outreach activities with the broader stakeholder community-of-interest, including European politics, civil society and statistical system. For this purpose key actors of the related European Research Area are coupled in the InGRID consortium, representing specific data infrastructures and cumulated know-how. Pan-European optimisation of the infrastructure is created by organising an open, harmonised high-performance on-site access with an extensive visiting grant system. Joint research activities are conducted for the innovation and optimisation of the infrastructure. Key issues tackled in this respect include: the multidimensionality as a standard for poverty research; the problem of hard-to-identify and hard-to-reach vulnerable groups in data collection; the improvement of longitudinal and regional poverty mapping; the survey technology for linking vulnerability in working conditions with economic change and employers behaviour; the harmonisation of classifying jobs and skills; improving tools to generate comparative policy indicators; optimising the micro-simulation of policy impacts; and statistical quality management.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.8.1 | Award Amount: 3.16M | Year: 2008

The semiconductor industry is a cornerstone of todays high-tech economy, supporting over 100,000 direct and even more indirect jobs in Europe. This position has been achieved through continued miniaturization in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology, which will only last for a maximum 10-15 more years. In line with its Lisbon Strategy, the EC has identified an urgent need to assess possible technology solutions for the Beyond CMOS era to meet the challenges of global competition.\n\nThe major ICT challenge is to find alternatives for information processing and storage beyond the limits of existing CMOS. Graphene, ultrathin layers of carbon, is particularly promising due its novel electronic properties. Initial data indicates that graphene is a prime candidate for Beyond CMOS switches and interconnects, and is, despite its revolutionary nature, complementary to conventional CMOS.\n\nThe key objective of the GRAND proposal is to verify and assess whether graphene can bring conventional semiconductor technology to the Beyond CMOS era. GRAND is thus positioned to act as a pathfinder for key ICT challenges.\n\nThe GRAND consortium will develop industry-compatible strategies for fabrication of 2D graphene nanostructures (widths down to the 5 nm scale) for switches and interconnects. Edge states, critical for transport at this scale, will be manipulated by functionalization methods. Device transport properties will be experimentally evaluated, complemented by a range of modelling techniques including simplified Monte Carlo models to describe scattering and hot phonon effects, as well as atomistic and ab-initio methods for band structure calculations. \n\nThe consortium includes internationally renowned experimental and theoretical groups from academia and industry, forming a comprehensive unit with capabilities far beyond those of the individual partners, and ensuring a tight focus on the exploitation of the project results for European industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2016 | Award Amount: 160.00K | Year: 2016

The BRIGHT project aims at enhancing the visibility and perception of researchers among the general population in the Tuscany Region, simultaneously with all the European Researchers Night (ERN) initiatives. BRIGHT acronym means Brilliant Researchers Impact on Growth Health and Trust in research, wishing to underline the positive aspect of the research activity in order to convey a positive message to the general public. BRIGHT is planned in for two years - i.e. two events, one in 2016 and another in 2017 - and livens up not only two nights with entertaining and exciting events spread across the main Tuscany cities, but it also creates a lot of initiatives aiming at building permanent Research Urban Trekking paths leading towards the complete awareness of the researchers role in society. Researchers make your life better! is the guiding principle stemming from the passion, the enthusiasm and hard intellectual work of researchers daily work and how this contributes to the well-being of the general population. BRIGHT focuses on creating awareness on the important role played by researchers in addressing the great challenges ahead, such as health and wellbeing, new technologies, sustainable development, physical and biological challenges, cultural heritage. BRIGHT will be successful if it will be able to convince the population of the IMPACT of the researchers and the researchs products for the development of the society, and to make people TRUST the researchers instead of being driven away by hoaxes with no scientific basis.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.1.2-03 | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2012

There is a need to improve sustainability in farming systems particularly through soil care and improvement, but not at the expense of productivity. One approach is to focus on a comprehensive advance in conservation tillage. This will be developed from improved ways of integrating subsidiary crops (SC) as living or dead mulches or cover crops with the main crops in rotations so as to simultaneously improve crop nutrition, health, and productivity. The SC will deliver multiple ecological services by increasing the duration of soil cover in the rotation overall while increasing species diversity, minimising the use of tillage and agrochemicals, enhancing biological N fixation and soil C content, and both reducing water demand in dry climates and improving soil workability in wetter climates. The research will draw on a wide range of previous and ongoing EU and related projects and will be based on 11 coordinated field experiments in different climatic regions together with three long-term experiments in Europe and Brazil. These experiments will all be assessed for economic and ecological impact including the often neglected issue of legume root health. Breeding companies and manufacturers of agricultural equipment from all regions of interest will be involved in finding adapted solutions for the different environments by extending the range of potentially useful plant species and by developing appropriate machinery to promote adoption in practical agriculture. The potential for useful chemical extraction from the existing and novel SCs will also be investigated. A central deliverable will be a database supported Cover Crop and Living Mulch Toolbox and Decision Support Tool which will encourage multilingual stakeholder exchange and dissemination during and beyond the lifetime of the project so as to capture farmer experience. The results of the project as a whole will be of use for and improve sustainability in low-input, organic, and conventional farming systems.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2009-3.4-1 | Award Amount: 8.89M | Year: 2010

In the last two decades, a precise management of agricultural land has been made possible due to the availability of new technologies, including global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), sensors, automation of agricultural machinery, and high resolution image sensing. As a result, the concept of Precision Agriculture has emerged as the management strategy that uses information technologies to collect and process data from multiple sources in order to facilitate decisions associated with crop production. Moreover, the EUs sixth environmental action programme addresses the need to encourage farmers to change their use of plant protection products . RHEA is focused on the design, development, and testing of a new generation of automatic and robotic systems for both chemical and physical mechanical and thermal effective weed management focused on both agriculture and forestry, and covering a large variety of European products including agriculture wide row crops (processing tomato, maize, strawberry, sunflower and cotton), close row crops (winter wheat and winter barley) and forestry woody perennials (walnut trees, almond trees, olive groves and multipurpose open woodland). RHEA aims at diminishing the use of agricultural chemical inputs in a 75%, improving crop quality, health and safety for humans, and reducing production costs by means of sustainable crop management using a fleet of small, heterogeneous robots ground and aerial equipped with advanced sensors, enhanced end-effectors and improved decision control algorithms. RHEA can be considered as a cooperative robotic system, falling within an emerging area of research and technology with a large number of applications as reported by the FP6 Network of Excellence EURON, Special Interest Group on Cooperative Robotics, funded by the European Commission. RHEA will be a unique opportunity to gather a very large number of multidisciplinary research groups with adequate funds to accomplish an authentic step forward in applying precision agriculture techniques in a massive way. This consortium joints a number of multidisciplinary, experienced researchers capable of improving individual scientific knowledge, but a large cooperation project is demanded to sum up the individual efforts in a holistic manner. The success of RHEA could bring a new means of applying automatic systems to agriculture and forestry crops with an important impact in improving the economy and environment as well as in maintaining the sustainability of rural areas by launching new technological jobs.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-28-2015 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2016

Personal health systems for the management of chronic diseases have seen giant leaps in development over recent years. These systems offer vital sign monitoring and therapy delivery at home, focusing on the primary physical disease conditions. However, they do not provide support for early mood assessment or psychological treatment and lack a real-time comprehensive assessment of the patients mental status. Depression is the third leading contributor to global diseases, and depressive mood state is also considered to be strictly related to the onset or worsening of a severe primary somatic disease. Indeed effective preventive medicine related to the onset of depressive symptoms as a comorbidity and worsening factor of psychosomatic diseases such as myocardial infarction, leg-amputation, cancer, and kidney failure is lacking. NEVERMIND sets out to empower people who suffer from symptoms of depression related to a serious somatic disease by placing them at the center of their mental healthcare. Equipped with just a smartphone and a lightweight sensitized shirt, patients seeking care and treatment for their mental illnesses interact with these devices that collect data about their mental and physical health, to then get effective feedback. Lifestyle factors, i.e. diet, physical activity and sleep hygiene, play a significant mediating role in the development, progression and treatment of depression, and in NEVERMIND will be monitored by a real-time Decision Support System running locally on the patients smartphone, predicting the severity and onset of depressive symptoms, by processing physiological data, body movement, speech, and the recurrence of social interactions. The data will trigger a response encouraging the patient to conduct or alter activities or lifestyle to reduce the occurrence and severity of depressive symptoms. The final aim is to bring this system to the market, giving people the tools to control their depression and unburden their minds.


HarmonicSS vision is to create an International Network and Alliance of partners and cohorts, entrusted with the mission of addressing the unmet needs in primary Sjogren Syndrome; working together to create and maintain a platform with open standards and tools, designed to enable secure storage, governance, analytics, access control and controlled sharing of information at multiple levels along with methods to make results of analyses and outcomes comparable across centers and sustainable through Rheumatology associations. The overall idea of the HarmonicSS project is to bring together the largest well characterized regional, national and international longitudinal cohorts of patients with Primary Sjgrens Syndrome (pSS) including those participating in clinical trials, and after taking into consideration the ethical, legal, privacy and IPR issues for sharing data from different countries, to semantically interlink and harmonize them into an integrative pSS cohort structure on the cloud. Upon this harmonized cohort, services for big data mining, governance and visual analytics will be integrated, to address the identified clinical and health policy pSS unmet needs. In addition, tools for specific diagnostic procedures (e.g. ultrasonography image segmentation), patient selection for clinical trials and training will be also provided. The users of the HarmonicSS platform are researchers (basic/translational), clinicians, health policy makers and pharma companies. pSS is relevant not only due to its clinical impact but also as one of the few model diseases to link autoimmunity, cancer development (lymphoproliferation) and the pathogenetic role of infection. Thus, the study of pSS can facilitate research in many areas of medicine; for this reason, the possibility for sustainability and expandability of the platform is enhanced. Moreover, pSS has a significant impact on the healthcare systems, similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.5.1 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2013

According to the UCD Institute of Food and Health, 3 are the most notable health promotion and disease prevention programs that target the main causes of morbidity and premature mortality: Malnutrition, Sedentariness, and Cognitive decline, conditions that affect the quality of life of elderly people and drive to disease progression. These 3 features will represent the target areas in the DOREMI project. The project vision is aimed at developing a systemic solution for elderly, able to prolong the functional and cognitive capacity by empowering, stimulating and unobtrusively monitoring the daily activities according to well defined Active Ageing lifestyle protocols. The project joins the concept of prevention centered on the elderly, characterized by a unified vision of being elderly today, namely, a promotion of the health by a constructive interaction between mind, body and social engagement. To fulfill these goals, food intake measurements and personalized metabolic control, exergames associated to social interaction stimulation, and cognitive training programs will be proposed to an elderly population enrolled during a pilot study. The project combines multidisciplinary research areas in serious games, social networking, Wireless Sensor Network, activity recognition and contextualization, behavioral pattern analysis. By recording and monitoring information about the use of the adopted lifestyle protocols, it would be possible to track the users performance over long periods, providing a potential alert for signs of malnutrition, physical and cognitive deterioration. The close collaboration between the healthcare representatives and experienced technological partners will drive the ICT development needed to release a set of prototypes to be validated in the pilot study. The effectiveness and impacts, on both users and on the healthcare system, will be proofed in the pilot study set up in Italy and UK, involving both elderly users and care providers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NOE | Phase: ICT-2007.3.1 | Award Amount: 5.46M | Year: 2008

NANOSIL Network of Excellence aims to integrate at the European level the excellent European research laboratories and capabilities in order to strengthen scientific and technological excellence in the field of nanoelectronic materials and devices for terascale integrated circuits (ICs) and disseminate the results in a wide scientific and industrial community.NANOSIL will explore and assess the science and technological aspects of nanodevices and operational regimes relevant to n\4 technology node and beyond. It will provide a forward-look for the industry, enabling informed decisions to be taken on technology development in order to speed up technological innovation. It will encompass flagship projects on nanoscale CMOS and post-CMOS. The activities will thus be centred on the More Moore and Beyond-CMOS domains but natural links will also been established with the other ENIAC areas. Within the Network there are all the critical facilities and expertise to occupy and transcend this space. We will propose innovative concepts, technologies and device architectures- with fabrication down to the finest features, and utilising a wide spectrum of advanced deposition and processing capabilities, extensive characterisation and world leading device modelling. This work will be carried out through a network of joint processing, characterisation and modelling platforms. The consortium will work closely with and take steering from European industry. It will feed back data and know-how on materials and devices that deliver the required performance. This critical interaction will strengthen European integration in nanoelectronics, help in decision-making by industry and ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of nanoelectronics for the next 2 3 decades.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN | Award Amount: 2.89M | Year: 2010

Increasing urban food-related health and environmental problems are raising an urgent need for action. Current agrifood studies tend to neglect the broader societal and spatial impacts of food. PUREFOOD will reduce the high knowledge and skills deficit that negatively affects the capacity to deliver political and developmental solutions related to food security, public procurement, health and sustainable regional development. Through its innovative methodology, the interdisciplinary courses, private and public sector involvement, the holistic conceptualization of sustainable food and the formation of Communities of Practice (CoPs) that include actors at all stages of the food chain, PUREFOOD contributes to Commissions aim to deal with economic, social and environmental policies in mutually reinforcing ways. We study an alternative geography of food, based upon three emerging trends; sustainable food supply chains, public sector food procurement practices and (peri-)urban food strategies. Each is topic of a scientific WP with 4 ESRs in individual research projects using case study methodology. The related training aims to transfer disciplinary scientific knowledge and skills between complementary groups, leading to a coherent frame of basic and advanced scientific, professional and host institute training modules, and to interactively develop scientific and professional knowledge and skills through learning-by-doing in CoPs for each WP. PUREFOOD consists of 7 full academic partners and 8 associated partners (private sector and socio-economic partners). PUREFOODs coordinator has ample experience in managing international interdisciplinary research and training projects. The commitment of private and public organisations and NGOs as associated partners illustrate the timeliness of our proposal and impact to the career perspectives of the ESRs. Completed CDPs give access to a PhD degree at every partner university.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.3.2-9 | Award Amount: 3.33M | Year: 2008

The specificity of odor recognition by Anopheles gambiae odorant binding proteins (OBPs) and odorant receptors (ORs) will be investigated and correlated with quantifiable physiological and behavioral responses. For olfactory proteins involved in the detection of human hosts, OBP-OR pairs residing in common antennal olfactory sensilla and recognizing common host-related ligands will be identified using high-throughput screening assays employing purified recombinant OBPs, reconstituted insect cell-based OR expression platforms and libraries of synthetic and natural compounds. OBP crystal-based structure determination and modeling of ligand fitting into OBP and OR ligand-binding pockets will also be carried out in order to design ligand mimetics with improved binding and functional properties. The effectiveness of newly identified ligands will be established by in vivo electrophysiological and behavioral assays on female mosquitoes. Finally, lead compounds acting as disruptors of normal olfactory and host seeking mosquito behavior but lacking mammalian cell toxicity will be tested in model sites in Africa where A. gambiae (and malaria) is endemic to determine efficacy characteristics under conditions that simulate the sites of possible application of newly developed products. This approach to dissecting mosquito vector olfactory function should yield results that will enhance our understanding of the mechanisms that control odor recognition in mosquitoes. The identification of multiple disruptors of host seeking behavior of female mosquitoes will provide multiple new and effective tools to be employed in the effort to reduce the incidence of contact between the human host and the insect vector carrying the malaria parasite. Last but not least, the outcome of the proposed studies should serve as a paradigm for analogous efforts aimed at a reduction in disease transmission by other disease-carrying insect vectors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Fission-2008-2.1.2 | Award Amount: 10.31M | Year: 2009

The target of the proposed NURISP Collaborative Project is to make new and significant steps towards a European Reference Simulation Platform for applications relevant to present PWR and BWR and to future reactors. The roadmap of this Simulation Platform will be proposed to be part of the future Strategic Research Agenda of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNE-TP). The first step towards this ambitious target has been made during the FP6 NURESIM Integrated Project. The NURISP project will start from this basis and develop further the already common and well-proven NURESIM informatics platform. It will also strengthen and enlarge the united team of top level international experts already federated during the NURESIM project and it will transform it into a European pole of excellence in reactor safety computation. The platform will provide a more accurate representation of the physical phenomena by developing and incorporating into best estimate codes the latest advances in core physics, two-phase thermal-hydraulics and fuel modelling. The project will also develop significant capacities for multiscale and multiphysics calculations, and for deterministic and statistical sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, facilitating their use in a generic environment. The individual models, solvers and codes integrated into the platform will be verified, validated and demonstrated through benchmarks (some of them using NEA or IAEA databanks) corresponding to present and future PWR, VVER and BWR challenging applications. Through the Users Group, European Nuclear Utilities, Vendors, Technical Safety Organisations, Regulators, Universities and Research Labs will be able to share this reference tool, contribute to its qualification, and develop its potential; thus enabling an effective European Research Area to take a worldwide leading position in the numerical simulation of nuclear reactors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2014 | Award Amount: 913.50K | Year: 2015

EMERGENT takes up the broader scope of Marie Skodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Scheme of promoting knowledge-sharing-based cooperation and moves its steps forward to actually support and facilitate the movement of skilled people between academia and industry committed to work on a research topic dealing with green chipless RFID tags and sensors. EMERGENT will move towards strengthening of existing inter-sectoral networks between the three EU research institutes and the three EU SMEs involved by implementing a total of 68 knowledge transfer secondments in order to facilitate the joint research and innovation work aiming to realize a new class of chipless RFID tags and sensors moving from conventional sensors towards next generation pervasive interconnected systems by employing environmental-friendly substrates such as paper and low-cost printing process. EMERGENT will design hand in hand with both the chipless tag and sensor a dedicated reader for extracting the desired information. To this aim, novel signal processing algorithms will be developed and tested. EMERGENT will focus on system parameters of prominent relevance reliability, calibration) to assess the true performance of the tag, and to make comparisons among different implementations. The critical issues regarding the sensitivity and resolution of the reader will be carefully addressed and solved. EMERGENT will deliver wireless passive chipless smart tags and sensors able to sense the changing environment by collecting information about quantities of interest which may include temperature, humidity, stress, gases. EMERGENT will enhance the performance and robustness of chipless RFID systems and will bring RFID sensing outside research laboratories towards self-consistent products.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-01-2014 | Award Amount: 6.64M | Year: 2015

The thermal-hydraulics Simulations and Experiments for the Safety Assessment of Metal cooled reactor (SESAME) project supports the development of European liquid metal cooled reactors (ASTRID, ALFRED, MYRRHA, SEALER). The project focusses on pre-normative, fundamental, safety-related, challenges for these reactors with the following objectives: Development and validation of advanced numerical approaches for the design and safety evaluation of advanced reactors; Achievement of a new or extended validation base by creation of new reference data; Establishment of best practice guidelines, Verification & Validation methodologies, and uncertainty quantification methods for liquid metal fast reactor thermal hydraulics. The SESAME project will improve the safety of liquid metal fast reactors by making available new safety related experimental results and improved numerical approaches. These will allow system designers to improve the safety relevant equipment leading to enhanced safety standards and culture. Due to the fundamental and generic nature of SESAME, developments will be of relevance also for the safety assessment of contemporary light water reactors. By extending the knowledge basis, SESAME will allow the EU member states to develop robust safety policies. At the same time, SESAME will maintain and further develop the European experimental facilities and numerical tools. The consortium of 25 partners provides American-European-wide scientific and technological excellence in liquid metal thermal hydraulics, as well as full alignment with ESNII and with NUGENIA where of interest. A close interaction with the European liquid metal cooled reactor design teams is foreseen involving them in the Senior Advisory Committee. They will actively advise on the content of the project and will be the prime end-users, ensuring their innovative reactor designs will reach highest safety standards using frontier scientific developments.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-17-2015 | Award Amount: 9.63M | Year: 2016

The share of renewable energy is growing rapidly driven by the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of electric power which can be supplied to the grid depends on the time of the day and weather conditions. A conventional fleet of thermal power plants is required to compensate for these fluctuations before large scale energy storage technologies will be mature and economically viable. All power market projections expect this to be the case for the next 50 years at least. For a strong expansion of renewables, this fleet has to operate flexibly at competitive cost. Current power plants cannot fill this role immediately without impeding their efficiency and engine lifetime through increased wear and damage induced by the higher number of (shorter) operating/loading cycles. New technologies need to be introduced to balance demand peaks with renewable output fluctuations at minimal fuel consumption and emissions without negative effects on cycling operation. The FLEXTURBINE partners have developed a medium to long term technology roadmap addressing future and existing power plants. The FLEXTURBINE project presented hereafter is the first step in such technology roadmap and consists of: (1) new solutions for extended operating ranges to predict and control flutter, (2) improved sealing and bearing designs to increase turbine lifetime and efficiency by reducing degradation/damages, and (3) an improved lifecycle management through better control and prediction of critical parts to improve competitive costs by more flexible service intervals and planned downtime, and by reducing unplanned outages. In all areas, individual technologies will be developed from TRL 3 to TRL 4-6. FLEXTURBINE brings together the main European turbine manufacturers, renowned research institutes and universities. It involves plant and transmission system operators to include user feedback and to prepare the take-up of the FLEXTURBINE technologies in power plants world-wide.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES | Award Amount: 707.70K | Year: 2013

This is a project for a partnership between leading Brazilian and European research groups in dynamical systems, a prominent subject in mathematics. An extensive consortium of European and Brazilian institutions will collaborate to provide world leading critical mass and support for research on the very forefront of the field. Work Packages reflect parallel priorities in the research. Transfer of knowledge is facilitated by two large conferences and five smaller workshops. The project has excellent strategic value in view of the development of closer ties in higher education and research between the European Research Area and Brazil.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES | Award Amount: 224.20K | Year: 2012

The SHuMED project proposal is aimed to support and strengthen the different existing collaboration actions between Europe and Mediterranean Partner Countries (MCP) for research and research training in the field of the sustainable development and the relating monitoring initiatives, thanks to the staff exchange opportunities offered by IRSES. This multidisciplinary exchange programme aims at propose a corporate-view approach for measuring the level of human development in sustainability terms by considering the contribution of corporates and their networks. The programme has 5 Work Packages. WP1 (management) will define the management structure of the project. WP 2 (methodologies), through the expected 4 Training Activities in the 4 target MCP Countries, will develop the Sustainable Human Development Index (SHDI). In this work package, starting from the SHDI macroeconomic model and thanks to the research and to the knowledge transfer coming from the training sessions in MCP, processes of joint learning and coevolution will be analysed. WP 3 (case studies on human development), strictly connected with WP2, will analyse some case studies in Europe, thanks to the numerous visits foreseen in Italy and Spain. These case studies will support the analysis of processes that could affect research practices in the area of sustainable human development and corporate social responsibility. Associated partners that will support the project in EU Countries will be the target users of this SHDI (not only using but also contributing in enhancing the index). The WP4, with its reporting activities, will contribute to analyse the dynamic capabilities of SMEs within networks and clusters in order to develop a tool for enhancing and monitoring them. The final WP 5 (communication and dissemination) will define the communication and dissemination strategy of the project. The project duration is 36 months.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-18-2015 | Award Amount: 4.96M | Year: 2016

SALSA will assess the role of small farms and small food businesses in delivering a sustainable and secure supply of affordable, nutritious and culturally adequate food. SALSA will identify the mechanisms which, at different scales, can strengthen the role of small farms in food systems and thereby support sustainable food and nutrition security (FNS). By considering a gradient of 30 reference regions in Europe and in Africa, we will obtain a differentiated understanding of the role of small farms and small food businesses in very differently structured food systems and situations. SALSA will elaborate and implement a transdisciplinary, multi-scale approach that builds on and connects relevant theoretical and analytical frameworks within a food systems approach, and that uses qualitative, consultative and quantitative methods. We will also test a new combination of data-based methods and tools (including satellite technologies) for rigorously assessing in quantitative terms the interrelationships between small farms, other small food businesses and FNS, paying particular attention to limiting and enabling factors. SALSA will use participatory methods, at regional level, and establish a more global Community of Practice and multi-stakeholder learning platform, based on FAOs TECA online communication and learning platform. The SALSA consortium, and the joint learning and close cooperation, have both been designed with the EU - Africa dialogue in mind. Responding to the call we will unravel the complex interrelationships between small farms, small food businesses and FNS, and unfold the role played by small farms in (a) the balance between the different dimensions of sustainability, (b) maintaining more diverse production systems, (c) supporting the urban/rural balance in terms of labour and (d) in facilitating territorial development in countries facing a strong rural population growth.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: REFLECTIVE-6-2015 | Award Amount: 2.60M | Year: 2016

The objectives of ArchAIDE are to support the classification and interpretation work of archaeologists with innovative computer-based tools, able to provide the user with features for the semi-automatic description and matching of potsherds over the huge existing ceramic catalogues. Pottery classification is of fundamental importance for the comprehension and dating of the archaeological contexts, and for understanding production, trade flows and social interactions, but it requires complex skills and it is a very time consuming activity, both for researchers and professionals. This tool would revolutionise archaeologists habits, behaviours and expectations, would meet real user needs and generate economic benefits, reducing time and costs, would create societal benefits from cultural heritage, improving access, re-use and exploitation of the digital cultural heritage in a sustainable way. These objectives will be achieved through the development of: - an as-automatic-as-possible procedure to transform the paper catalogues in a digital description, to be used as a data pool for search and retrieval process; - a tool (mainly designed for mobile devices) that will support archaeologists in recognising and classifying potsherds during excavation and post-excavation analysis, through an easy-to-use interface and efficient algorithms for characterization, search and retrieval of the visual/geometrical correspondences; - an automatic procedure to derive a complete potsherds identity card by transforming the data collected into a formatted electronic document, printable or visual; - a web-based real-time data visualization to improve access to archaeological heritage and generate new understanding; - an open archive to allow the archival and re-use of archaeological data, transforming them into common heritage and permitting economic sustainability. Those instruments will be tested and assessed on real-cases scenarios, paving the way to future exploitation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.1.6 | Award Amount: 8.85M | Year: 2008

Experimentally driven research is key to success in todays Internet. Many test beds support research and development, and product prototyping in communication networks. However, they tend to specialise in particular access technologies or services, or explore near term product offerings, often with limited availability and openness. An open and sustainable large-scale shared experimental facility will allow European industry and academia to innovate today and to design the future Internet. The OneLab2 project will leverage the original OneLab projects PlanetLab Europe test bed and its international visibility to make this facility a reality.\n\nOneLab2 is built on three complementary pillars. The Platform Pillar will operate PlanetLab Europe, extending PlanetLab service across Europe, and federating with other PlanetLab infrastructures worldwide. It will integrate new features into the system. The Tools Pillar will enhance the test-bed-native network monitoring service that supports experiments. And the Customers Pillar will meet the needs of the facilitys customers by providing them with access to diverse facilities, achieved through federating different types of test bed. An experimental facility must know its customers. OneLab2 will do this by directly involving pilot customers who are testing novel ideas in networking research.\n\nOneLab2s coalition assembles some of the most highly respected networking research teams from university and industry labs in Europe. Each team has an active research agenda in new network technologies, network monitoring, or test bed management. OneLab2s success would mean that PlanetLab Europe is established as a competitive and federated facility with international visibility and a broad set of customers, implementing OneLab2s vision and research contributions. PlanetLab Europe will continue to function beyond the end of the project period, providing ongoing services to the research community at large.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Fission-2009-2.3.1 | Award Amount: 10.59M | Year: 2010

For the long-term development of nuclear power, innovative nuclear systems such as Gen-IV reactors and transmutation systems need to be developed for meeting future energy challenges. Thermal-hydraulics is recognized as a key scientific subject in the development of innovative reactor systems. This project is devoted to important crosscutting thermal-hydraulic issues encountered in various innovative nuclear systems, such as advanced reactor core thermal-hydraulics, single phase mixed convection and turbulence, specific multiphase flow, and code coupling and qualification. The main objectives of the project are: Generation of a data base for the development and validation of new models and codes describing the selected crosscutting thermal-hydraulic phenomena. This data base contains both experimental data and data from direct numerical simulations (DNS). Development of new physical models and modeling approaches for more accurate description of the crosscutting thermal-hydraulic phenomena such as heat transfer and flow mixing, turbulent flow modeling for a wide range of Prandtl numbers, and modeling of flows under strong influence of buoyancy. Improvement of the numerical engineering tools and establishment of a numerical platform for the design analysis of the innovative nuclear systems. This platform contains numerical codes of various classes of spatial scales, i.e. system analysis, sub-channel analysis and CFD codes, their coupling and the guidelines for their applications. The project will achieve optimum usage of available European resources in experimental facilities, numerical tools and expertise. It will establish a new common platform of research results and research infrastructure. The main outcomes of the project will be a synergized infrastructure for thermal-hydraulic research of innovative nuclear systems in Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2012-2.1.1 | Award Amount: 9.33M | Year: 2013

After the 2011 disaster that occurred in Japan, improvement of nuclear safety appears more clearly as a paramount condition for further development of nuclear industry. The NURESAFE project addresses engineering aspects of nuclear safety, especially those relative to design basis accidents (DBA). Although the Japanese event was a severe accident, in a process of defense-in-depth, prevention and control of DBA is obviously one of the priorities in the process of safety improvement. In this respect, the best simulation software are needed to justify the design of reactor protection systems and measures taken to prevent and control accidents. The NURESAFE project addresses safety of light water reactors which will represent the major part of fleets in the world along the whole 21st century. The first objective of NURESAFE is to deliver to European stakeholders a reliable software capacity usable for safety analysis needs and to develop a high level of expertise in the proper use of the most recent simulation tools. Nuclear reactor simulation tools are of course already widely used for this purpose but more accurate and predictive software including uncertainty assessment must allow to quantify the margins toward feared phenomena occurring during an accident and they must be able to model innovative and more complex design features. This software capacity will be based on the NURESIM simulation platform created during FP6 NURESIM project and developed during FP7 NURISP project which achieved its goal by making available an integrated set of software at the state of the art. The objectives under the work-program are to develop practical applications usable for safety analysis or operation and design and to expand the use of the NURESIM platform. Therefore, the NURESAFE project concentrates its activities on some safety relevant situation targets. The main outcome of NURESAFE will be the delivery of multiphysics and fully integrated applications.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2007-6.3-01 | Award Amount: 953.32K | Year: 2008

It is well known that in order to ensure a good allocation of public funds and to guarantee the rights of final users of the statistics (government, research institutes and citizens) statistical data on monetary and supplementary poverty indicators have to be timely and effective. Effectiveness of statistical data is a function of their spatial relevance and accuracy. Often official data are referred only to wider domains (e.g. NUTS 2 level) and, sometimes, the finer is the required spatial detail (NUTS3, NUTS4 level) the less accurate is the estimate. Local Government has to know accurate data referred to local areas and/or small domains (NUTS3, NUTS4 level) to 1) ensure monitoring of Poverty and inequality; 2) focus on special targets consisting of segments of population at higher risk of poverty (elusive populations) 3) appreciate the multidimensional nature of poverty and inequality with attention to the non monetary aspects of it (social exclusion and deprivation) 4) measure the subjective aspects of poverty as they are perceived by local groups and populations. The aim of S.A.M.P.L.E. project is to identify and develop new indicators and models for inequality and poverty with attention to social exclusion and deprivation, as well as to develop, implement models, measures and procedures for small area estimation of the traditional and new indicators and models. This goal is achieved with the help of the local administrative databases. Local government agencies often have huge amount of administrative data to monitory some of the actions which witness situations of social exclusion and deprivation (social security claims for unemployment and eligibility for benefits from any of the programs Social Security administers) of households and citizens.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES | Award Amount: 411.60K | Year: 2011

Advanced information communications technology (ICT) has created an expectation that the innovative use of ICT can deliver high quality healthcare to a situation where patients data can be supplied seamlessly to support clinical decisions. The world however has moved beyond the current reactive model and hamstrung by the problems of fragmentation and lack of coordination. Medical images are of a typical example. While picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) have come closely to be a universal tool in managing medical images, they only work for radiology images and are searchable by using text descriptions. With the rapidly growing of image volumes, obtaining a relevant datum using only key words is like finding a needle in a haystack. On the other hand, with each clinical centre specialises in different domains, medical images collected are fragmented and of many forms. To this end, this project will catalyse a series of collaborations between Europe and China that has significant number of distributed databases, built on the achievements and impetus gained by the TIME project funded by EU Asia-ICT programme, to explore the breadth of medical imaging innovations by building in inter-disciplinarity, aiming at knowledge transfer to keep abreast of new developments and applications in the field, while fertilising each others research, especially between young and experienced researchers and between different disciplines. The key output of the project is a roadmap of the development of future sustainable and flexible data management systems in the digital (paper-less) global hospital. This project is consisted of a series of programmes including staff exchange, know-how transfer, sharing and learning workshops and online participation, by including institutions of 6 European and 5 Chinese with participating personnel of 41. Among them, seven are females and twenty-three are young researchers who are at their early stage of careers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: AAT.2013.4-1. | Award Amount: 6.55M | Year: 2013

The HYPSTAIR project concerns the design of components of a serial hybrid propulsion system for small aircraft. A serial hybrid aircraft concept currently represents the best efficiency versus range compromise in the light aviation segment. It can be considered as an electrically powered aircraft, with an on board generator used for extending the range when necessary. Limitations of current electric energy storage technology make an electric-only propulsion system as yet unsuitable for long range flying, therefore an on board ICE generator provides a weight efficient, if somewhat less energy efficient, power generation solution. The project will involve conceptual design of the hybrid propulsion system components, namely the generator, motor, inverter, batteries and control unit. The components will be sized and designed by considering the performance and energy efficiency of the complete airframe-propulsion system, and will be tested in a laboratory environment. A dedicated human-machine interface will be designed that will allow simple operation of a complex hybrid system. Together with the reliability of electrical motors and the use of dual energy sources, safety of flying as provided by a system built upon these components will be improved. All components will be designed in a way that they will meet the relevant safety and certification standards. As there currently exist no regulations for aviation hybrid drive systems, defining these in collaboration with the authorities will be an important contribution of the project, paving the way for hybrid and electric technologies to be introduced to the market. These efforts will help create a competitive supply chain for hybrid drive components and reduce the time to market of such innovations.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-ARTEMIS | Phase: SP1-JTI-ARTEMIS-2009-5 | Award Amount: 32.94M | Year: 2010

The objective of POLLUX is to develop a distributed real time embedded systems platform for next generation electric vehicles, by using a component and programming-based design methodology. Reference designs and embedded systems architectures for high efficiency innovative mechatronics systems will be addressed with regard to requirements on composability, networking, security, robustness, diagnosis, maintenance, integrated resource management, evolvability and self-organization. Next generation EVs will begin the convergence between computer and automotive architectures: future automobiles will be mechatronic systems comprising a multitude of plug-and-play and self configurable peripherals. Peripherals will be embedded systems containing hardware, algorithms, software. The architecture will be based on distributed energy while the propulsion systems will adopt radical new control concepts. Sensing, actuation, signal processing and computing devices will be embedded in the electronic equipment, electrical motors, batteries and the mechanical parts as well. The systems used to control the chassis and the power train will form the computing engine that automates lower level tasks during vehicle use (driver assistance, terrain evaluation, predictive battery management) and will enable future higher level functionalities (auto pilot), by means of novel human-machine interfaces. POLLUX addresses the embedded system needs for the next generation electric vehicles by exploiting the synergy with the ENIAC E3Car project which aims to develop nanoelectronics technologies, devices, circuits, and modules for EVs in preparation for the launch of a massive European EV market by 2015-2020. The project considers both vertical integration and horizontal cooperation between OEMs, hardware/software/silicon providers to build a solid, embedded-systems European industry while establishing standard designs and distributed real-time embedded-systems platforms for EVs. Approved in its amended version (JUGA amendment n 1) on 10/05/2012


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH.2011.2.1-2;SSH.2011.5.2-2 | Award Amount: 3.47M | Year: 2012

Private tenancy law is existentially affecting the daily lives of European citizens, as about one third of them depend on rental housing. That notwithstanding, it constitutes a nearly blank space in comparative and European law. This is due to its national character, its political nature and its embeddedness in widely diverging national housing policies, which ultimately reflect different welfare state models. At the same time, however, different parts of EU law and policy do affect tenancy law significantly, albeit indirectly. Thus, EU social policy against poverty and social exclusion extends to selected issues of housing policy. EU non-discrimination rules extend to the provision of housing, and several consumer law directives apply to tenancy contracts, too. Moreover, if the Common Frame of Reference were one day to develop into an optional instrument, tenancy law issues now regulated by national general contract law might be covered as well - though without any legislator having co-ordinated the ensuing juxtaposition of European contract law and national tenancy regulation. Against this background, this project sets out to provide the first large-scale comparative and European law survey of tenancy law. In a first step, it analyses national tenancy laws and their embeddedness in, and effects on, national housing policies and markets. In a second step, the effect of EU legislation on national housing policy in general and national tenancy law in particular will be analysed in a comparative perspective. In a third step, a proposal for a better co-ordinating role of the EU in tenancy law and housing policy, in particular through an OMC process developing common principles of good tenancy regulation, will be designed. This research matches well several priorities of the Stockholm programme given tenancy laws intimate relation to social human rights and a system of law and justice working for the benefit of European citizens, in particular vulnerable groups.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NoE | Phase: Fission-2008-2.1.1 | Award Amount: 39.59M | Year: 2009

Most of the actors involved in severe accident research in Europe, plus Canada, Korea and the United States (41 partners), will network in SARNET2 (Severe Accident Research NETwork of Excellence - Phase 2) their capacities of research in order to resolve important pending issues on postulated severe accidents of existing and future Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). The project has been defined in order to optimise the use of the available means and to constitute a sustainable consortium in which common research programmes and a common computer tool to predict NPP behaviour during a postulated severe accident (ASTEC integral code) are developed. With this aim, the SARNET2 partners contribute to a Joint Programme of Activities, which consists of: - Maintaining and improving an advanced communication tool (developed during SARNET Phase 1) for accessing all project information, fostering exchange of information, and managing documents; - Harmonizing and re-orienting the research programmes, and defining new ones; - Performing experimental programmes on high priority issues, defined during SARNET Phase 1; - Analyzing experimental results in order to elaborate a common understanding of relevant phenomena; - Developing the ASTEC code (including its applicability to all types of European NPPs), which capitalizes in terms of physical models the knowledge produced within SARNET2; - Developing Scientific Databases, in which all the results of research programmes are stored in a common format (DATANET); - Developing education courses on severe accidents for students and researchers, and training courses for specialists; - Promoting personnel mobility amongst various European organizations; - Organizing yearly a large international conference on Severe Accident research (ERMSAR). After the first phase (2004-2008), and the four-year proposed second phase, co-funded by the EC, the network will evolve toward self-sustainability: a legal entity will be created.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IAPP | Award Amount: 964.78K | Year: 2010

The objective of COLDBEAMS is to increase knowledge-sharing and mutual understanding between two Academic partners, Laboratoire Aim Cotton (LAC), France and Dipartimento di Fisica of the Universit di Pisa (UNIPI), Italy, and one SME, Orsay Physics (OP), France. The technical-scientific focus of this strategic partnership is on the development of a new electron and ion source based on ionized ultra-cold atoms. The use of this revolutionary incident source could create a real breakthrough in the Focused Ion Beams (FIB) or in energy electron source technology with substantial improvements in terms of monochromaticity, brightness and minimum spot size. The joint research project is designed to exploit complementary expertise of the participants and to create synergies between them. Orsay Physics is one of the leading companies in realization and commercialization of FIB and start to commercialized UHV focused electron beam columns, dedicated to surface analysis systems. Thus, the OP team should provide the partners the know-how on the ion/electron optics, electronics and industrial production requirements. OP will also provide the industrialization of a prototype and its commercialization. LAC from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), is the co-ordinateur of the project and, as the UNIPI, team is specialized in laser cooling of atoms. The LAC, is also specialist in ultra-cold plasma physics wheras the UNIPI is specialized on nanolithography through laser-cooled atomic beams. Thus, the LAC and UNIPI team should provide to OP the know-how on cold atom technology. The LAC team should develop the sources for Focused Ion and Electron Beams based on cold atom technology, why the UNIPI team should develop an ion source, but capable to be complementary to the LAC one, in particular develop a tool for the single ion on demand implantation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-26-2014 | Award Amount: 4.59M | Year: 2015

HEARTEN will design, develop and validate an ICT co-operative environment that will enable the HF patients to achieve sustainable behavior change regarding their adherence and compliance, and the ecosystem actors to be engaged and improve the patients HF management. HEARTEN targets all actors related to the management of patients suffering from HF, including healthcare professionals, caregivers (formal/informal), healthcare providers nutritionists, fitness experts and health insurance experts, towards developing a multi-stakeholder patient centered mHealth ecosystem. The target population of HEARTEN are patients with chronic and acute HF, either post-ischemic or with dilated cardiomyopathy, requiring occasionally re-admittance into hospitals. The idea is to develop biosensors that detect and quantify novel breath and saliva HF biomarkers, being identified through analytical techniques. These biomarkers reflect the health status of the patient and identify whether the patient adheres to the administered drugs. The breath biosensor will be integrated into the smartphone while the saliva biosensor will be integrated into the patients cup. Additional sensors for monitoring the ECG, the blood pressure and the physical activity constitute the sensor kit of the patient. The input data are complemented with nutrition information from the patients smartphone, weight monitoring through wireless weight scales as well as the patients profile and information directly added by the caregivers and the healthcare professionals. The multiparametric data are transmitted to the HEARTEN cloud architecture, where a knowledge management system analyses them and delivers critical information at hand. HF patients are empowered in self-management, by using their smartphones and tracking their medical vital signs, while the healthcare professionals and the caregivers can issue warnings, coordinate therapies, improve adherence and intervene before frailty incidences occur.


Grant
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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SSH.2011.6.2-1 | Award Amount: 1.68M | Year: 2012

Within the framework of the Work Programme 2011 on Socio-economic Science and Humanities e-Frame project builds on the latest political directions of the European Commission, in particular the priorities identified in the Europe 2020 strategy. The project will focus on the following general objectives: stocktaking of available results and of ongoing research activities on progress measurement; foster a European debate over the issue; define guidelines for the use of existing indicators; propose a coherent way of delivering information include advanced ICT tools; identify new research topics for future investigation; harmonize NSIs initiatives in progress measurement area. e-Frame will thus ensure a coordination of Beyond GDP activities putting at the centre of the action the national statisticians so to lead to improved official statistics as suggested by the call. All coordination activities will be supported by a stocktaking of past, recent and ongoing research with special attention to FP and ESSnet projects. The final target of activities will be the European dimension looking at the use of indicators within EU policies and in particular at the Europe 2020 strategy. Guidelines and recommendations will be proposed for future activities within the European Research Area and the European Statistical System. The numerous tasks of the project will lead to identify and develop relevant indicators to be used for the measurement of progress. Guidelines for their use by different stakeholders and future research needs will be disseminated through numerous channels, and in particular through the publication of a handbook on the use of progress indicators. The 19 partners-consortium is formed by major European National Statistical Institutes and, together with universities, research centres and civil society, will see the participation of the International Organization OECD.


Grant
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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-07a-2014 | Award Amount: 4.01M | Year: 2015

DIVERSIFOOD will evaluate and enrich the diversity of cultivated plants within diverse agroecosystems so as to increase their performance, resilience, quality and use through a multi-actor approach. By integrating existing experienced networks and using specific and relevant cases across Europe the project will strengthen food culture to improve economic viability of local chains resulting in a greater diversity of produce with a cultural identity. Thanks to the composition of its consortium, DIVERSIFOOD will cover the whole food chain from genetic resources to marketing, connecting and amplifying local existing actions. It will design specific concepts and methodologies for combining in situ experiments to ensure performance and quality. It will evaluate the genetic resources of a dozen underutilized and forgotten plant species for organic and low-input agriculture or marginal/specific conditions, including the association of various underutilized legumes with several cereals, and create new diversity by innovative breeding methods designed for more intra-crop variation. It will help to facilitate cooperation between participatory research networks and professional breeders as well as policy makers in connecting formal and informal seed systems in Europe in relation to international negotiations on Farmers rights with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Key-lessons based on the diverse experiences in the project will be shared to support on-farm seed production networks to guarantee high quality seed. DIVERSIFOOD will demonstrate the socio-economic value of on-farm seed systems, help at local and wider policy levels to increase food and environmental awareness, and improve multi-actor approaches to embed healthy and tasty local products in regional food chains. Demonstration and dissemination will take place at all stages, in collaboration with network organizations for a greater impact.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: SST.2008.3.1.5. | Award Amount: 17.22M | Year: 2010

The HCV project aims to develop urban buses and delivery vehicles with advanced second generation of energy efficient hybrid electric powertrains in line with objectives in topic SST 2008.3.1.5. The final result will be the demonstration of a passenger bus and a distribution truck with this advanced technology. In addition early second generation buses and distribution trucks will be demonstrated in practical real-life conditions in different cities in the enlarged Europe in order to ensure good acceptance by public transport, delivery operators, drivers and passengers. Research, development and demonstration will be made of innovative e-drives, energy storage technologies as well as auxiliary components. In addition lightweight body technologies will be demonstrated. The decision to start vehicle production with advanced second generation technology will to a high degree be based on the outcome of the project.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.72M | Year: 2012

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and sistemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are two autoimmune diseases that respectively affect an estimated population of 1.537.000 and 1.272.000 of patients in Europe. Such diseases show a long prodrome during which there are no clinical symptoms. In some cases, therapeutic treatments have been developed to improve patients quality of life. Therefore, reliable diagnostic/prognostic tools are necessary not only for an early diagnosis and for monitoring disease activity, but also for setting up personalized therapeutic treatments. The clinical diagnosis of RA and SLE is assisted by the use of in vitro diagnostic tests aimed at the evaluation of the presence/level of few autoantibodies circulating in serum. Yet, this diagnostic approach is unsatisfactory because it can assist the diagnosis only after the first disease onset, it is not useful to evaluate the disease susceptibility for an early prevention, and it does not provide information to follow the disease progression for the set up of personalized therapeutic treatments. To solve these drawbacks, the GAPAID project is aimed at supplying the SME participants of the scientific and technological activities necessary to develop a novel diagnostic / prognostic platform for patients affected by RA and SLE. To this aim the scientific activities will be focused on the discovery of the diagnostic and prognostic value of the genetic and serological profiles associated to RA and SLE. The technological activities will contribute to develop multiplex arrays for the contemporary detection of more analytes and to set up a software for the RA and SLE diagnosis / prognosis by matching the clinical, genetic, and serological data. The exploitation of the scientific and technological results will allow the SME participants to the GAPAID proposal to develop and to further commercialize both for RA and SLE an in vitro diagnostic product composed by a genetic array, a serological array, and a software.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: INCO.2010-6.2 | Award Amount: 561.49K | Year: 2010

The THEBERA project aims at strengthening capacities of the Theodor Bilharz Research Institute (TBRI) in Egypt while realizing it as an international excellence and reference centre for liver diseases and Hepatic surgery excellence by defining liver research priorities to respond to socio-economic needs, facilitating participation in European liver research initiatives and inclusion in Euro-Mediterranean Research and Innovation Area. The specific objectives of THEBERA project are: - TBRIs Cooperation Capacities Reinforcement - Liver-Related Research Results Dissemination - Internationalization and Coordination between Research and Business Sectors - Enhancement of EU-Egypt S&T Partnerships in Liver Research - Capacity Building for Cooperation - Developing THEBERA Centres Strategy The project thus addresses current Work Programme for International Cooperation to reinforce the cooperation capacities of research centres located in the ENP countries and contributes to the European international co-operation in science and technology strategy implementation, while strengthening the international dimension of the ERA and improving the framework conditions for international S&T cooperation. The main impact of THEBERA will be increased capacities of the TBRI and the structuring and enhancement of the existing EU-EG support system in the domain of Liver S&T cooperation in a threefold manner: (i) by supporting the participation of Egypt in the FP7 in liver research area, (ii) combining all relevant support schemes, and (iii) facilitating both the uptake of common identified liver research areas and the monitoring of the performance and impacts of this cooperation. The THEBERA consortium brings together 4 Egyptian and EU organisations representing a well-defined mix of competencies and expertise.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.60M | Year: 2012

The High field Magnetic Resonance (HiMR) Initial Training Network aims to train the future leaders of academic and industrial research in the fundamental science and novel applications of ultra-high field (UHF) in vivo magnetic resonance (MR), in order to address an increasing and currently unmet demand from academia and industry for such specialists. The highly complex and multi-faceted nature of UHF MR means that excellent training can only be provided by immersing ESRs in an environment that integrates different research areas, sectors and groups. The HiMR ITN is centred on a cutting edge, multidisciplinary research program that exploits the complementarities of the participants. This research programme is organised into four themes each focused on a crucial area of development of UHF. The first focuses on improved structural imaging, advancing our understanding of the origins of contrast in MRI scans and developing non-invasive biomarkers for multiple sclerosis. The second theme is centred upon exploiting UHF to develop ultra-high resolution functional MRI (fMRI) which will be very important in basic neuroscience research. It also aims to make fMRI more quantitative, thus encouraging its uptake in the clinic. The third theme aims to exploit the enhanced sensitivity of MR spectroscopy (MRS) at UHF in developing highly specific biomarkers. The final theme will develop novel hardware for both research and in the clinic, and methods of monitoring and correcting motion which limits in-vivo MR resolution. Finally the HiMR ITN will provide a unique opportunity to measure safety outcomes over a large group of workers. The proposed interdisciplinary and intersectoral training program, embedded in this research program, will provide a platform for training ESRs to become specialists in UHF MR, whilst also furnishing them with experience of a broad range of work environments, experimental techniques and theoretical knowledge relevant to the full range of in vivo MR.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Ocean.2010-2 | Award Amount: 16.58M | Year: 2011

Marine life makes a substantial contribution to the economy and society of Europe. VECTORS will elucidate the drivers, pressures and vectors that cause change in marine life, the mechanisms by which they do so, the impacts that they have on ecosystem structures and functioning, and on the economics of associated marine sectors and society. VECTORS will particularly focus on causes and consequences of invasive alien species, outbreak forming species, and changes in fish distribution and productivity. New and existing knowledge and insight will be synthesised and integrated to project changes in marine life, ecosystems and economies under future scenarios for adaptation and mitigation in the light of new technologies, fishing strategies and policy needs. VECTORS will evaluate current forms and mechanisms of marine governance in relation to the vectors of change. Based on its findings, VECTORS will provide solutions and tools for relevant stakeholders and policymakers, to be available for use during the lifetime of the project. The project will address a complex array of interests comprising areas of concern for marine life, biodiversity, sectoral interests, regional seas, and academic disciplines as well as the interests of stakeholders. VECTORS will ensure that the links and interactions between all these areas of interest are explored, explained, modelled and communicated effectively to the relevant stakeholders. The VECTORS consortium is extremely experienced and genuinely multidisciplinary. It includes a mixture of natural scientists with knowledge of socio-economic aspects, and social scientists (environmental economists, policy and governance analysts and environmental law specialists) with interests in natural system functioning. VECTORS is therefore fully equipped to deliver the integrated interdisciplinary research required to achieve its objectives with maximal impact in the arenas of science, policy, management and society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2010.4.2.3-3 | Award Amount: 1.88M | Year: 2011

The policy issue central to this project is food as many of todays sustainability problems (e.g. water shortage, GHG emissions, pollution of soil and water, decrease of biodiversity, urban waste) are related to the prevailing pattern of food production and consumption (including processing and distribution). Hence, developing more sustainable food production and consumption patterns will have a significant impact on sustainable development in general. This project aims to develop and experiment with new integrative modalities of linking research to policy-making in the field of sustainable food consumption and production, thereby contributing to the establishment of new policy-relevant communities of researchers, policy makers & CSOs and enhancing the use of research insights in policies to promote sustainable food systems. Three different Communities of Practice will be developed, focusing on different dimensions of a newly emerging integrated territorial food geography: a) short food supply chains, b) sustainable public food procurement, and c) urban food strategies. Like the FOODLINKS consortium, each CoP will consist of researchers, policymakers and CSO representatives. In this project we will monitor and evaluate the knowledge brokerage activities in the CoPs, in order to propose new ways of linking research and policymaking in the food domain as well as in other public domains.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: INCO.2011-6.2 | Award Amount: 558.60K | Year: 2011

The overall objective of FAWIRA project is the reinforcement of cooperation capacities for food, agriculture and water related research activities of Algerian National Institute of Agronomic Research INRAA in the context of the European Research Area (strengthening international research cooperation between Algeria and Europe in areas relevant to the FP7) and development to the Food, Agriculture and Water centre of excellence (facilitating its participation in European and regional collaborative research initiatives) to respond to Algerians socio-economic needs. Specific objectives: 1) Analysis of Needs and Opportunities; 2) Build Capacity and Training activities; 3) Create Network; 4) Disseminate Results and Knowledge; 5) Ensure Sustainability. The added value of the partnership FAWIRA project has a project management best practice and can reinforce cooperation and exchange between stakeholders, SMEs, and academic institutes at a transnational level. Reaffirming the above considerations, the project underlines the necessity for stronger cooperation of research abilities between countries who are part of the ERA-WIDE and plans to extend its international dimension by improving the framework conditions for international cooperation. The FAWIRA consortium includes transnational compensatory skills and abilities represented by 1 Research Centre in Spain, 1 Italian University and 1 Italian technological and innovation Company. The project duration is 36 months.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NOE | Phase: ICT-2009.3.5 | Award Amount: 4.94M | Year: 2010

ICT developments both enable and also enforce large-scale, highly-connected systems in society and industry. Knowledge to cope with these emerging systems is lacking. HYCON2 will stimulate and establish the long-term integration of the European research community, leading institutions and industry in the strategic field of control of complex, large-scale, and networked dynamical systems. It will interconnect scattered groups to create critical mass and complementarity, and will provide the necessary visibility and communication with the European industries. HYCON2 will assess and coordinate basic and applied research, from fundamental analytical properties of complex systems to control design methodologies with networking, self-organizing and system-wide coordination. HYCON2 has identified several applications domains to motivate, integrate, and evaluate research in networked control. These domains are ground and aerospace transportation, electrical power networks, process industries, and biological and medical systems. Benchmarking will serve as a tool for testing and evaluating the technologies developed in HYCON2 and for stimulating and enforcing excellence by the identification and adoption of best practices. In particular, two show-case applications corresponding to real-world problems have been selected in order to demonstrate the applicability of networked control and the need for research in control. As no substantial technological breakthrough can be achieved without preparing the proper cultural background, a further important objective of HYCON2 is to spread and disseminate excellence through multi-disciplinary education at the graduate and undergraduate level. The proposed research, integration and dissemination program will make Europe both the prominent scientific and the industrial leader in the area of highly complex and networked control systems, therefore posing Europe in an extraordinary position to exploit their impact in economy and society.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2009.2.1.4.1 | Award Amount: 4.79M | Year: 2010

Pollinators form a key component of European biodiversity, and provide vital ecosystem services to crops and wild plants. There is growing evidence of declines in both wild and domesticated pollinators, and parallel declines in plants relying upon them. STEP will document the nature and extent of these declines, examine functional traits associated with particular risk, develop a Red List of some European pollinator groups, in particular bees and lay the groundwork for future pollinator monitoring programmes. We will also assess the relative importance of potential drivers of such change, including climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, agrichemicals, pathogens, alien species, light pollution, and their interactions. We will measure the ecological and economic impacts of declining pollinator services and floral resources, including effects on wild plant populations, crop production and human nutrition. STEP will review existing and potential mitigation options, providing novel tests of their effectiveness across Europe. Our work will build upon existing datasets and models, complemented by spatially-replicated campaigns of field research to fill gaps in current knowledge. We will integrate our findings in a policy-relevant framework, creating Evidence-based Decision Support tools. We will also establish communication links to a wide range of stakeholders across Europe and beyond, including policy makers, beekeepers, farmers, academics and the general public. Taken together, our research programme will make great steps towards improving our understanding of the nature, causes, consequences and potential mitigation of declines in pollinator services at local, national, continental and global scales.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.9.1 | Award Amount: 2.38M | Year: 2012

In industry, society and science advanced software is used for solving planning, scheduling and resource allocation problems, collectively known as constraint satisfaction or optimization problems. At the same time, one continuously gathers vast amounts of data about these problems. This project starts from the observation that current software typically does not exploit such data to update schedules, resources and plans. It aims at developing a new approach in which gathered data is analysed systematically in order to dynamically revise and adapt constraints and optimization criteria. Ultimately, this could create a new ICT paradigm, called Inductive Constraint Programming, that bridges the gap between the areas of data mining and machine learning on the one hand, and constraint programming on the other hand. If successful, this would change the face of data mining as well as constraint programming technology. It would not only allow one to use data mining techniques in constraint programming to improve the formulation and solution of constraint satisfaction problems, but also to employ declarative constraint programming principles in data mining and machine learning.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-08-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2015

Sample return missions (SRMs) are a critical next step in our exploration of the Solar System and are identified as strategic missions by international space agencies. Europe has a very strong legacy in the curation and research of precious extraterrestrial materials. To maintain European leadership and ensure high-level involvement in future SRMs, a dedicated European Sample Curation Facility (ESCF) to receive and curate returned samples from the Moon, asteroids and Mars, is of critical importance. Euro-CARES will focus on 5 key themes for developing a ESCF: o Planetary Protection- protocols and methods for future SRMs o Instrumentation and Analytical Methods- in the fields of cosmo/geochemistry and biosciences o Facilities and Infrastructures- to curate sensitive extraterrestrial or biological materials o Analogue Materials- that are most appropriate and can be used in end to end SRM planning o Portable Receiving Technologies- used to move samples whilst retaining scientific integrity and bio-containment (for Mars samples) Using the 5 key themes Euro-CARES will: 1) Evaluate and critically assess the state of the art within Europe and internationally to identify critical requirements for the ESCF 2) Determine and verify European readiness levels to identify where investment is required and opportunities for European leadership in scientific and engineering fields related to curating extraterrestrial samples 3) Engage with scientific, industrial, governmental and public stakeholders through community workshops, conferences, publications and educational opportunities 4) Deliver recommendations and roadmaps defining the steps necessary to deliver a ESCF to ensure high-level involvement in future ESA and international SRMs Euro-CARES comprises a team of scientists and engineers from across Europe with internationally recognised expertise in astrobiology, biosciences, cosmo/geochemistry, extraterrestrial sample curation, planetary protection and space exploration.


Grant
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 | December 15, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

This rapidly fatal brain cancer has seen only two improvements in therapy in 30 years BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a paper published today in Cancer Research, researchers: 1) identify a biomarker enzyme associated with aggressive glioma brain tumors, 2) reveal the regulatory mechanism for that enzyme, and 3) demonstrate potent efficacy, using a mouse model of glioma, for a small molecule inhibitor they have developed. The inhibitor, GA11, retains a core structure that resembles natural inhibitors of the biomarker enzyme; but the inhibitor has been modified to help it pass through the blood-brain barrier. "In principle, both these features make GA11 an attractive drug candidate to target glioma stem-like cells in glioblastoma multiforme tumors," said Ichiro Nakano, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues in the paper. Nakano, a professor of neurosurgery and academic neurosurgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Vito Coviello and Concettina La Motta, University of Pisa, Italy, are doing further preclinical evaluation of the GA11 and its analogs. Glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, is a formidable cancer foe. Only two therapeutic improvements have appeared in the past 30 years, increasing the average survival of patients from five months to 15 or 16 months, Nakano says. A GBM tumor is a mix of different cells that respond differently to therapies. Small numbers of glioma stem-like cells, or GSCs, drive the tumorigenicity of GBM and thus are prime targets for possible treatments. One GSC subtype called the mesenchymal GSC is more malignant and the most therapy-resistant, so Nakano and fellow researchers reasoned that identifying the regulatory molecules active in mesenchymal GSCs might lead to novel and effective therapeutics. Nakano and colleagues found that one form of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase -- ALDH1A3 -- is a specific marker for mesenchymal GSCs, and his group is the first to show that, among the heterogeneous mix of cells in a GBM tumor, cells with high levels of ALDH1A3 expression were more tumorigenic in vivo than are cells that are low in ALDH1A3. The researchers also found that the FOXD1 transcription factor regulates the production of ALDH1A3 in mesenchymal GSCs. In clinical samples of high-grade gliomas from patients, the expression levels of both FOXD1 and ALDH1A3 were inversely correlated with disease progression -- gliomas with high levels were more rapidly fatal than were gliomas with low levels. Astonishingly, the same mechanism that drives the mesenchymal GSC tumorigenicity in humans acts in an evolutionarily distant organism, the fruit fly. Knocking down the expression of either the fruit fly version of the FOXD1 gene or the fruit fly version of ALDH1A3 blocks the formation of brain tumors in a brain cancer model of the fruit fly species Drosophila melanogaster, the researchers found. Thus, this signaling has been highly conserved in evolution. The FOXD1 transcription factor is normally active during development from a fertilized egg and embryo to a fetus, and it is silent after birth. The role of FOXD1 in GBM, Nakano and colleagues say, suggests that the mesenchymal GSCs have hijacked the molecular mechanism of normal embryonic development to promote tumor growth. In preclinical testing, GA11 was validated several ways. The researchers showed that it inhibited ALDH in yeast, reduced ALDH1 activity in cell-culture spheres of mesenchymal GSCs, inhibited proliferation of glioma spheres in cell culture, and inhibited xenograft growth of GBM in mouse brains. "In conclusion," Nakano and fellow researchers wrote, "the FOXD1-ALDH1A3 axis is critical for tumor initiation in mesenchymal GSCs, therefore providing possible new molecular targets for the treatment of GBM and other ALDH1-activated cancers." Nakano says his study of the role of GSCs in GBM is just one approach to treat glioma tumors. Other labs are pursuing immunotherapy, the use of check-point inhibitors, vaccination and efforts to increase sensitivity to radiotherapy. It will take combined therapies to treat glioblastoma, Nakano says. "We don't believe that one therapy will be effective." Nakano expects to launch a new clinical trial for glioblastoma in 2017, in conjunction with Burt Nabors, M.D., professor of neurology at UAB. Nakano says UAB will be the only site in the Deep South for this unique trial aimed at a molecular target in glioma stem cells, a target that is different from the ones described in the Cancer Research paper. The referral contact to Nakano's service will be Lydia P. Harrell. The Nakano lab is also working on brain metastases, tumors that spread into the brain from other parts of the body. Similar to high-grade gliomas, which originate in the brain, these metastatic brain tumors are lethal, and there are very few therapeutic options. Nakano believes the core stem cell genes and signaling pathways are shared between gliomas and brain metastases. "If so," he said, "the molecular targets identified for gliomas are most likely essential in brain metastases. Studies are underway, and similar to the glioma therapy development, I am working to develop clinical trials for brain metastasis, together with medical oncologists Mansoor Saleh, M.D., Andres Forero, M.D., and others at UAB." Besides Nakano, Coviello and La Motta, authors of the Cancer Research paper, "FOXD1-ALDH1A3 signaling is a determinant for the self-renewal and tumorigenicity of mesenchymal glioma stem cells," are Peng Cheng, Jia Wang, Zhuo Zhang, Sung-Hak Kim, Marat S. Pavlyukov and Mutsuko Minata, UAB Department of Neurosurgery and Comprehensive Cancer Center; Indrayani Waghmare and Madhuri Kango-Singh, Department of Biology, University of Dayton, Ohio; Stefania Sartini, Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Italy; Ahmed Mohyeldin, Department of Neurological Surgery and the James Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University; Claudia L.L. Valentim, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic; Rishi Raj Chhipa and Biplab Dasgupta, Department of Oncology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and Krishna P.L. Bhat, Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-06-2014 | Award Amount: 3.38M | Year: 2015

Despite the fact that iodine deficiency (ID) can easily be prevented by iodine fortification of table salt, industrial salt and cattle food, Europe belongs to the worst regions in terms of access to iodized salt and is seriously ID, resulting in the perpetuation of the single most important, preventable cause of brain damage. European ID is due to significant heterogeneity in prevention and monitoring programs, leading to inappropriate interventions, increased disease burden, health inequities and increased health care costs. Up to 360 Million European citizens are exposed to ID disorders. An effective European monitoring program is a crucial step towards eradication of ID disorders with significant benefits for European citizens and the sustainability of health care systems. The effects of ID in total cause tremendous, preventable costs in health care systems of affected regions. The overall aim of EUthyroid is to evaluate ID prevention and monitoring programs in 24 European countries, to initiate capacity building for harmonized European ID prevention and monitoring programs, and to disseminate project outcomes for supporting measures on national and EU level in order to eradicate ID disorders in Europe. The project will position itself as international hub of current national initiatives in the attempt to coordinate and support existing national activities. EUthyroid will generate the first harmonized data set of ID resulting in the first valid map of iodine status in Europe. With a dedicated dissemination program about the unfavorable health outcomes of ID, EUthyroid will pave the way for a harmonized EU-wide regulation of iodination, a common approach to iodine and outcome monitoring and establish recommendations for scientists on how to monitor IDD prevention programs. The project aims to make Europe a benchmark for ID disorder prevention worldwide.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SGA-RIA | Phase: FETFLAGSHIP | Award Amount: 89.00M | Year: 2016

This project is the second in the series of EC-financed parts of the Graphene Flagship. The Graphene Flagship is a 10 year research and innovation endeavour with a total project cost of 1,000,000,000 euros, funded jointly by the European Commission and member states and associated countries. The first part of the Flagship was a 30-month Collaborative Project, Coordination and Support Action (CP-CSA) under the 7th framework program (2013-2016), while this and the following parts are implemented as Core Projects under the Horizon 2020 framework. The mission of the Graphene Flagship is to take graphene and related layered materials from a state of raw potential to a point where they can revolutionise multiple industries. This will bring a new dimension to future technology a faster, thinner, stronger, flexible, and broadband revolution. Our program will put Europe firmly at the heart of the process, with a manifold return on the EU investment, both in terms of technological innovation and economic growth. To realise this vision, we have brought together a larger European consortium with about 150 partners in 23 countries. The partners represent academia, research institutes and industries, which work closely together in 15 technical work packages and five supporting work packages covering the entire value chain from materials to components and systems. As time progresses, the centre of gravity of the Flagship moves towards applications, which is reflected in the increasing importance of the higher - system - levels of the value chain. In this first core project the main focus is on components and initial system level tasks. The first core project is divided into 4 divisions, which in turn comprise 3 to 5 work packages on related topics. A fifth, external division acts as a link to the parts of the Flagship that are funded by the member states and associated countries, or by other funding sources. This creates a collaborative framework for the entire Flagship.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ECSEL-RIA | Phase: ECSEL-01-2014 | Award Amount: 52.90M | Year: 2015

The 3Ccar project will provide highly integrated ECS Components for Complexity Control in thereby affordable electrified cars. The new semiconductors for Complexity management (Control, reduction) will offer the next level of energy efficiency in transportation systems. 3Ccars impact is maximizing pragmatic strategy: Use semiconductor technology innovations to manage functionality & complexity increase. This leads also to cheaper, efficient, robust, comfortable, reliable and usable automotive systems. This strengthens Europe as a whole (OEM, Tier1, Semiconductor) generating economic growth and new jobs in Europe. The impact of 3Ccar is driven vertically by innovations and horizontally enabling growth and deployment in the industry based on what we see as European Values. We recognized that European engineers develop for highest efficiency, convergence and manageable complexity. Our society appreciates long life products to avoid waste. 50 partners and 55 Mio budget give the mass for innovative products such as functional integrated powertrains, smart battery cells with unique selling features allowing Europe to advance to global leadership. An important feature of the project has been the recognition and exploitation of synergies with other EV projects, enabling fast innovation cycles between such aligned projects. With 55 Mio budget and 10 b impact the R&D expenditure ratio is 200 which is 10x higher than the semiconductor average and corresponds to very strong innovation potential which will be translated into automotive and semiconductor industry. The technologies developed in 3Ccar will be commercialized all over the world while giving advantages to Europes OEMs willing to manufacture in Europe. 3Ccar will be involved in standardization needed to ensure that large vertical supply chains can be established. The 3Ccar project shows that collaboration between industry, research institutes, governments and customers is pivotal for excellence in Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.1.2 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2012

The Internet of Things, i.e., millions to billions of low-end smart devices connected to the Internet, is becoming a reality. There have been important research initiatives addressing the problem of defining reference models and new alternative communication architectures. However, there have been comparatively little efforts dedicated to the definition of platforms for the deployment and execution of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications, which are the real drivers of innovation. In fact, M2M applications reduce the gap between the real and virtual world, and allow the secure and dependable automation of tasks to improve industrial productivity and quality of life of citizens.Currently, M2M applications are assumed to reside within systems in data centres, i.e., within the cloud. However, we argue that such a design is sub-optimal for M2M because of its inherent characteristics: typical cloud applications require data to be available at any location and for very long periods for use by human begins, whereas M2M applications have a very limited scope in time and space, require simple and repetitive interactions, and must respond in a consistent manner to avoid service disruption.In BETaaS we propose a platform for the execution of M2M applications, which is built on top of services deployed in a local cloud of gateways, the latter being the devices which provide the smart things with connectivity to the Internet (e.g., smart phones, home routers, road-side units). Adaptation layers will be defined to interconnect BETaaS with the main architectures proposed at a European level for M2M communication, including ETSI M2M and IoT-A. In addition to being highly scalable, security, dependability, and QoS features will be embedded by design into the BETaaS platform, which will be released as open source to the community. Platform validation will be done through experiments in two testbed facilities, targeting the Smart City and Home Automation use cases.


Hybrid-EVs and Full-EVs on the market are products where the Internal-Combustion-Engine (ICE) is supplemented by an electric-motor (HEV) or replaced by an all-electric power-train (FEV). Both approaches do not address lightweight or modularity inheriting the same disadvantages as conventional ICEV - Electrification of mobility must face a conceptual rEVOLUTION! This project breaks the paradigm of current Body-in-White (BiW) by delegating the whole structural function to a novel BiW archetype made up of a Multifunctional-Rolling-Chassis (MRC) enabled by a new generation of highly-hybridized structural components and complemented by a non-structural upper-body. This MRC will be the common basis for a family of user friendly vehicles differing by changing only the upper-body according to the customer demand. Advanced materials will enable the development of novel super-lightweight hybrid components complying with safety standards and recycling constraints, and enable the design of the innovative MRC for FEV leading to a further weight reduction of 40% over that achieved using the current state of the art in the SuperLIGHT-CAR project. The EVolution goal is to demonstrate the sustainable production of a 600 kg weight FEV by the end of 2015. To this end EVolution addresses the whole vehicle by prototyping, assembling, and disassembling, the most representative components (MRC, crash cross-beam, crash box, suspension sub-frame, side-door, A-pillar, and a multifunctional-hard-top) made from raw polymers and aluminum alloys commonly used in the automotive industry, to ensure compliance with EC Directive 2000/53/EC End-of life vehicle which imposes stringent requirements on the disposal and recycling of motor vehicles. Guaranteeing the safety and regulatory compliance, with a weight saving of 50%, each component chosen will prove, mutatis mutandis, the revolutionary potential of the EV solution in all components employed today in current high volume production.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.2.2 | Award Amount: 25.84M | Year: 2009

The European robotics industry plays a key role in maintaining our continents industrial base. The robotics industry is strong, but fragmented and dispersed. In the future, cutting-edge technology resulting from top-level research will be the decisive factor for success. Europe not only has a powerful robotics industry, but can also boast superb research. By drawing on these resources, ECHORD aims at producing new knowledge through advancing the state of the art in selected research foci and developing novel technology from which new products can be derived. Within ECHORD, opportunities for knowledge advancement and technology transfer between academia and industry will be created across the whole continent. This will be achieved through the solicitation of focused, small-size RTD projects, so-called experiments, which can be rapidly negotiated, funded and executed. Via these experiments, ECHORD will bring about a large-scale introduction of robotic equipment into research institutions. This is expected to result in both tangible and measurable out-comes in terms of the accelerated development of technologies, as well as the deployment of robotics technology into new scenarios for the direct application of research results. For ECHORD, three such scenarios have been defined: human-robot co-working, hyper flexible cells, and cognitive factories. The foremost purpose of the scenarios is to define an environment that is both scientifically challenging to research institutions and commercially relevant to robot manufacturers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2007-3.1-3 | Award Amount: 19.08M | Year: 2008

iNTeg-Risk is a large-scale integrating project aimed at improving the management of emerging risks in the innovative industry. This will be achieved by building a new risk management paradigm for emerging risks, which is a set of principles supported by a common language, commonly agreed tools & methods and Key Performance Indicators integrated into a single framework. As main impact, it will reduce time-to-market for the lead market EU technologies and promote safety, security, environmental friendliness and social responsibility as a trade-mark of the advanced EU technologies. The project will improve early recognition and monitoring of emerging risks, seek to reduce accidents caused by them (estimated 75 B/year EU27) and decrease reaction times if major accidents involving emerging risks happen. iNTeg-risk will reach its goals by promoting a EU-wide cross-sectorial life-cycle-based integration across all major disciplines, methods and tools as well as through integration of all relevant stakeholders. The project will be initiated from an empirical basis of 17 individual emerging risk issues (Emerging Risk Representative industrial Applications), and generalize their solutions addressing new technologies, products/materials, production and policies. The solutions will be validated in a second application cycle, and the overall solution made available to stakeholders in the form of the iNTeg-Risk platform: a one-stop shop for EU solutions addressing emerging risks. It will feature issues of early recognition and monitoring of emerging risks, communication, governance, pre-standardization, education & training, dissemination, as well as new tools such as Safetypedia, Atlas of Emerging Risks, Reference Library... The project has a solid industry leadership and involves the leading EU R&D institutions. It is coordinated by the European Virtual Institute for Integrated Risk Management, the EEIG guaranteeing the sustainability of the results after the project.


News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: news.mit.edu

The School of Engineering will welcome 13 new faculty members to its departments, institutes, labs, and centers during the 2016-17 academic year. With research and teaching activities ranging from nuclear fusion to computational complexity theory, they are poised to make vast contributions to new directions across the school and to a range of labs and centers across the Institute. “We are pleased to welcome such a talented group of faculty to engineering at MIT this year,” says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. “Every year we broaden the scope and the scale of what we can do, and of how we think about engineering. Our new faculty are often the ones who show us the way forward.” The new School of Engineering faculty members are: Adam Belay will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in July 2017. He holds a PhD in computer science from Stanford University, where he was a member of the secure computer systems group and the multiscale architecture and systems team. Previously, he worked on storage virtualization at VMware Inc. and contributed substantial power-management code to the Linux Kernel project. Belay’s research area is operating systems and networking. Much of his work has focused on restructuring computer systems so that developers can more easily reach the full performance potential of hardware. He received a Stanford graduate fellowship, a VMware graduate fellowship, and an OSDI Jay Lepreau best paper award. Matteo Bucci will join the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) faculty as an assistant professor in the fall of 2016. He received his PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Pisa in Italy in 2009. A research scientist in NSE since 2015, Bucci was previously at Commissariat à l’énergie atomique in France, where he led several research projects in experimental and computational thermal-hydraulics for light water reactors and sodium fast reactors. His research will focus in two main areas: heat transfer nanoengineering innovations to improve the safety and economic competitiveness of nuclear reactors, and advanced diagnostics and intelligent systems to improve situational awareness, fault detection and diagnostics, and anticipated failures in nuclear power plants. Bucci is an active member of the Consortium for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems, one of the MIT’s eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers. Tal Cohen will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor in November 2016. After she received her PhD in aerospace engineering in 2013 from Technion University in Israel, she came to MIT for a two-year postdoctoral position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She is currently a postdoc at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Cohen works in mechanics, especially the mechanics of structures subjected to extreme loading conditions and shock wave propagation. Her work on the mechanics of stretchable materials that can undergo extreme deformations up to loss of stability, and on the mechanics of growth in both biology and engineering, exploits analogies with related fields. By employing complex nonlinear material models, Cohen’s research group will focus on deriving theoretical models that can significantly affect our understanding of observed phenomena but are still simple enough to be applied in design or characterization of materials. Zachary Hartwig will join the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in January 2017 as an assistant professor. He will also receive a co-appointment at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). He received his PhD from MIT in 2014 for the development of a novel accelerator-based technique that advanced the ability to study the dynamic interaction of confined plasmas and the surrounding solid materials — known as plasma-material interactions — in fusion devices. Since 2014, he has been a postdoc at the PSFC, continuing to develop diagnostic techniques for plasma-material interactions, leading the establishment of a new laboratory for accelerator-based nuclear science, and leading the design of high-magnetic field net energy gain fusion devices that leverage new superconducting magnet technology. Hartwig’s research will focus on the development and application of particle accelerators, radiation detectors, and computational radiation transport simulations to magnetic fusion energy, nuclear security, and radiation damage in nuclear materials. He presently holds a U.S. Department of Energy ORISE Fellowship in the fusion energy sciences and is the recipient of the Del Favero doctoral thesis prize. Ali Jadbabaie joined the MIT faculty as a full professor with dual appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society in July 2016. He is currently the JR East Professor of Engineering, the director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center, and the associate director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT. He is also a principal investigator in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. Jadbabaie received his BS from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, his MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of New Mexico, and his PhD in control and dynamical systems from Caltech. After a year as a postdoc at Yale University, he joined the faculty at University of Pennsylvania in July 2002. At Penn he was named an associate professor with tenure in 2008, a full professor in 2011, and the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Network Science in 2013. He also held appointments in computer and information science and operations as well as information and decisions in the Wharton School of Business. Jadbabaie is the inaugural editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, an interdisciplinary journal sponsored by several IEEE societies. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. In 2015, he received the Vannevar Bush Fellowship (formerly known as National Security Science and an Engineering Faculty Fellowship) from the office of Secretary of Defense. Jadbabaie’s students have won and been finalists of numerous best paper awards at various ACC and CDC conferences. He is also an IEEE fellow. He has made foundational contributions to the field of collective autonomy and opinion dynamics, and his current research interests include the interplay of dynamic systems and networks with specific emphasis on multi-agent coordination and control, distributed optimization, network science, and network economics. Carmen Guerra-Garcia will join the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics as an assistant professor in the fall of 2017. Graduating from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid with an aeronautical engineering degree in 2007, Guerra-Garcia then matriculated in the Space Propulsion Laboratory at MIT. She completed her PhD with a concentration in plasma physics and propulsion and a minor in numerical methods in 2014. Following a one-year postdoctoral position with Professor Paulo Lozano, Guerra-Garcia relocated to Boeing Madrid for a year. Her research will focus on the study of plasmas for aerospace applications, including plasma-assisted combustion, space propulsion, and lightning strikes on aircraft. Stefanie Mueller will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in January 2017. She received her PhD in human-computer interaction (HCI) from the Hasso Plattner Institute in 2016, where she also received an MS in IT-systems engineering. In her research, Mueller develops novel interactive hardware and software systems that advance personal fabrication technologies. Her work has been published at the most selective HCI venues — Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Conference for Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) — and received a best paper award and two best-paper nominees. Mueller is an associate chair of the program committees at ACM, CHI, and UIST, and is a general co-chair for the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Computational Fabrication that will take place at MIT in June 2017. She has been an invited speaker at MIT, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Microsoft Research, Disney Research, Adobe Research, and others. In addition, her work has been covered widely in New Scientist, BBC, The Atlantic, and The Guardian. Mueller will head the HCI engineering group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which works at the intersection of human-computer interaction, computer graphics, computer vision, and robotics. Jennifer Rupp will join the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as an assistant professor in January 2017. She studied at the University of Vienna before receiving a PhD in Materials at ETH Zurich. Rupp is a French and German native and is currently an assistant professor of electrochemical materials at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. She was a researcher at the National Institute of Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, in 2011, and previously collaborated with MIT professors Tuller and Yildiz. Her research is primarily in solid-state information memory systems, energy storage, and energy harvesting devices. She has worked on new material architectures and ionic transport-structure relations for solid-state ionic conductor thin films, electrochemistry and system aspects for memristors, solid-state batteries, solar-to-fuel conversion, and micro-fuel cells. Rupp’s awards include “top 40 scientist speaker under the age of 40” at the World Economic Forum, Spark Award for most innovative and economic invention by ETH Zurich, and Kepler Award for New Energy Materials by the European Academy of Science. Max Shulaker joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in July. He received his BS, master’s, and PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford, where he was a Fannie and John Hertz Fellow and a Stanford Graduate Fellow. Shulaker’s research focuses on the broad area of nanosystems. His Novel Electronic Systems Group aims to understand and optimize multidisciplinary interactions across the entire computing stack — from low-level synthesis of nanomaterials, to fabrication processes and circuit design for emerging nanotechnologies, up to new architectures — to enable the next generation of high performance and energy-efficient computing systems. Zachary P. Smith will join the Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor in January, 2017. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State’s Schreyer Honors College, and completed his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked under the guidance of Benny Freeman and Don Paul. While at UT Austin, Smith developed structure/property relationships for gas diffusion and sorption in polymer membranes. His postdoctoral training with Jeffrey Long at the UC Berkeley examined the design of coordination solid (i.e. metal-organic frameworks) for selective adsorption based separations. His research focuses on the molecular-level design, synthesis, and characterization of polymers and inorganic materials for applications in membrane and adsorption-based separations. These efforts are promising for gas-phase separations critical to the energy industry and to the environment, such as the purification of olefins and the capture of CO from flue stacks at coal-fired power plants. Smith has co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed papers and been recognized with several awards, including the DoE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship. He was also selected as a U.S. delegate to the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting on Chemistry in 2013. David Sontag will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in January 2017 as an assistant professor, and he will be part of the Institute for Medical Engineering (IMES) and Science and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has been an assistant professor in computer science and data science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences since 2011. Previously, he was a postdoc at Microsoft Research New England. Sontag’s research interests are in machine learning and artificial intelligence with a recent focus on unsupervised learning, a problem of discovering hidden variables from data, and causal inference, which seeks to estimate the effect of interventions from observational data. As part of IMES, he will lead a research group that aims to transform health care through the use of machine learning. Sontag received the Sprowls award for his PhD thesis at MIT in 2010, best paper awards at the conferences EMNLP, UAI, and NIPS, and a National Science Foundation Early Career award in 2014. Ryan Williams will join MIT as an associate professor (with tenure) in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in January 2017, pending the approval of his tenure case by the Executive Committee. He received an BA in computer science and mathematics from Cornell, and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. Following postdoctoral appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and IBM Almaden, he was an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford for five years. Williams’s research interests are in the theoretical design and analysis of efficient algorithms and in computational complexity theory, focusing mainly on new connections (and consequences) forged between algorithm design and logical circuit complexity. Along with some best paper awards, Williams has received a Sloan Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, and was an invited speaker at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians. Virginia Vassilevska Williams will join electrical engineering and computer science as an associate professor in January 2017, pending the approval of her case by Academic Council. She received a BS in mathematics and engineering and applied science from Caltech and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Prior to joining MIT, she spent three and a half years as an assistant professor at Stanford. Her research interests are broadly in theoretical computer science, focusing on the design and analysis of algorithms and fine-grained complexity. Her work on matrix multiplication algorithms was covered by the press and is the most cited paper in algorithms and complexity in the last five years.


Martinez-Fernandez L.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Corral I.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Granucci G.,University of Pisa | Persico M.,University of Pisa
Chemical Science | Year: 2014

In this paper we simulate the deactivation dynamics of photoexcited 6-thioguanine, a cytotoxic analogue of the canonical DNA/RNA base guanine, using a direct surface hopping dynamics approach. Our aim is to investigate the mechanism for triplet population, which was found to take place on a similar time scale as internal conversion. The surface hopping calculations were based on potential energy surfaces and couplings obtained on the fly using a semiempirical Hamiltonian, reparameterized on accurate ab initio data. We show that for the full description of the deactivation dynamics of 6-thioguanine, it is important to take into account both the dynamic and the spin-orbit couplings. The main deactivation pathway involves the sequence of ultrafast radiationless transitions S2 → S1 → T2 → T1. The very efficient population and long lifetime of the final T1 state, from where singlet oxygen is generated, would explain the high phototoxicity of the nucleotides of 6-thioguanine in DNA. To our knowledge, this is the first nonadiabatic dynamics simulation for a system showing strong spin-orbit couplings (due to the presence of a third row atom, sulfur) and a complex pattern of intermultiplet crossings. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Fiori G.,University of Pisa | Bonaccorso F.,Italian Institute of Technology | Iannaccone G.,University of Pisa | Palacios T.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Nature Nanotechnology | Year: 2014

The compelling demand for higher performance and lower power consumption in electronic systems is the main driving force of the electronics industry's quest for devices and/or architectures based on new materials. Here, we provide a review of electronic devices based on two-dimensional materials, outlining their potential as a technological option beyond scaled complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor switches. We focus on the performance limits and advantages of these materials and associated technologies, when exploited for both digital and analog applications, focusing on the main figures of merit needed to meet industry requirements. We also discuss the use of two-dimensional materials as an enabling factor for flexible electronics and provide our perspectives on future developments. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Castro J.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Frangioni A.,University of Pisa | Gentile C.,CNR Institute for System Analysis and Computer Science Antonio Ruberti
Operations Research | Year: 2014

Any institution that disseminates data in aggregated form has the duty to ensure that individual confidential information is not disclosed, either by not releasing data or by perturbing the released data while maintaining data utility. Controlled tabular adjustment (CTA) is a promising technique of the second type where a protected table that is close to the original one in some chosen distance is constructed. The choice of the specific distance shows a trade-off: although the Euclidean distance has been shown (and is confirmed here) to produce tables with greater "utility," it gives rise to mixed integer quadratic problems (MIQPs) with pairs of linked semi-continuous variables that are more difficult to solve than the mixed integer linear problems corresponding to linear norms. We provide a novel analysis of perspective reformulations (PRs) for this special structure; in particular, we devise a projected PR (P2R), which is piecewise-conic but simplifies to a (nonseparable) MIQP when the instance is symmetric. We then compare different formulations of the CTA problem, showing that the ones based on P2R most often obtain better computational results.


Tamargo J.,Complutense University of Madrid | Solini A.,University of Pisa | Ruilope L.M.,Autonomous University of Madrid
Seminars in Nephrology | Year: 2014

The first aldosterone blocker, spironolactone, initially was used as a diuretic but was accompanied by a significant amount of side effects that necessitated the withdrawal of the drug in a relevant number of patients. The discovery of the many receptor-mediated actions of aldosterone in several different organs greatly contributed to expand the indications of aldosterone blockers. Eplerenone was the second component of this class of drugs and differed from spironolactone because of its significantly better safety, albeit this was accompanied by a lower potency when used at equinumeric doses. Although these two drugs were being used in clinical practice, the epithelial sodium channel blockers, amiloride and triamterene, with a similar antialdosterone action, continued to be used in clinical practice in combination with thiazides and loop diuretics. New members of the third and fourth generation of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists and aldosterone synthase inhibitors are in development. These new compounds, which include the new nonsteroidal mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists and aldosterone synthase inhibitors, try to maintain adequate efficacy, avoiding the drawbacks of spironolactone and eplerenone. Ongoing studies will show the certainty of the capacities of these new compounds to override the virtues of the first mineralocorticoid-receptor spironolactone while avoiding the side effects leading so frequently to the withdrawal of the drug, including a significantly lower prevalence of hyperkalemia when chronic kidney disease is present. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Moretti M.,University of Pisa | Perez-Neira A.I.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia
IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications | Year: 2013

In this paper we address the problem of margin adaptive scheduling in the downlink of an orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) system. Optimal resource allocation in MIMO systems requires the joint optimization of: a) linear transmit and receive spatial filters, b) channel assignment and c) power allocation. This problem is not convex and its complexity becomes thus intractable already for small sets of users and subcarriers. To reduce the complexity of the problem at hand, we propose a novel heuristic strategy that partitions the users in different groups according to their average channel quality and addresses the original problem by solving a succession of lower-complexity allocation problems. The spatial dimension is employed to prevent multiple access interference from hindering the performance of the sequential allocation. To further reduce the complexity burden we introduce a linear programming formulation in combination with a waterfilling-based strategy to allocate channels and power to the groups of users. Numerical results and evaluation of the computational complexity show that, though suboptimal, in most cases the proposed algorithm manages to exploit in an original way the inherent multi-user diversity of multi-carrier systems to ease the task of resource allocation with a very limited performance loss from the theoretic optimum. © 2013 IEEE.


Solini A.,University of Pisa | Ruilope L.M.,Autonomous University of Madrid
Nature Reviews Cardiology | Year: 2013

Resistant hypertension is highly prevalent, and is the form of arterial hypertension that is most difficult to treat. Many patients diagnosed with this disease do not have resistant hypertension, but rather have mismanaged primary hypertension. In many cases blood pressure can be controlled by directly addressing underlying causes such as primary aldosteronism, obstructive sleep apnoea, or excessive neurogenic stimulation. Clinicians should ensure that appropriate blood-pressure measurements are used to diagnose resistant hypertension, explore a variety of drug combinations, and battle clinical inertia. Patients should comply with medication schedules and dietary modifications. Correction of these factors will greatly diminish the prevalence of 'resistant' hypertension and avoid the consequences of a persistently elevated blood pressure in these patients. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Focosi D.,University of Pisa | Bestagno M.,International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Burrone O.,International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Petrini M.,University of Pisa
Journal of Leukocyte Biology | Year: 2010

CD57+ expression in T lymphocytes has been recognized for decades as a marker of in vitro replicative senescence. In recent years, accumulating evidences have pointed on the utility of this marker to measure functional immune deficiency in patients with autoimmune disease, infectious diseases, and cancers. We review here the relevant literature and implications in clinical settings. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.


de Bruyn M.,University of Pisa | de Bruyn M.,Durham University
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2014

Genetic diversity provides the raw material for populations to respond to changing environmental conditions. The evolution of diversity within populations is based on the accumulation of mutations and their retention or loss through selection and genetic drift, while migration can also introduce new variation. However, the extent to which population growth and sustained large population size can lead to rapid and significant increases in diversity has not been widely investigated. Here, we assess this empirically by applying approximate Bayesian computation to a novel ancient DNA dataset that spans the life of a southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) population, from initial founding approximately 7000 years ago to eventual extinction within the past millennium. We find that rapid population growth and sustained large population size can explain substantial increases in population genetic diversity over a period of several hundred generations, subsequently lost when the population went to extinction. Results suggest that the impact of diversity introduced through migration was relatively minor. We thus demonstrate, by examining genetic diversity across the life of a population, that environmental change could generate the raw material for adaptive evolution over a very short evolutionary time scale through rapid establishment of a large, stable population.


Bonati C.,University of Pisa | D'Elia M.,University of Pisa | Mariti M.,University of Pisa | Negro F.,University of Genoa | Sanfilippo F.,University Paris - Sud
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We propose a method to determine the total magnetic susceptibility of strongly interacting matter by lattice QCD simulations and present numerical results for the theory with two light flavors, which suggest a weak magnetic activity in the confined phase and the emergence of strong paramagnetism in the deconfined, quark-gluon plasma phase. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Salvio A.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Strumia A.,University of Pisa | Strumia A.,Estonian National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2014

We explore the possibility that the fundamental theory of nature does not contain any scale. This implies a renormalizable quantum gravity theory where the graviton kinetic term has 4 derivatives, and can be reinterpreted as gravity minus an anti-graviton. We compute the super-Planckian RGE of adimensional gravity coupled to a generic matter sector. The Planck scale and a flat space can arise dynamically at quantum level provided that a quartic scalar coupling and its β function vanish at the Planck scale. This is how the Higgs boson behaves for M h ≈ 125 GeV and M t ≈ 171 GeV. Within agravity, inflation is a generic phenomenon: the slow-roll parameters are given by the β-functions of the theory, and are small if couplings are perturbative. The predictions n s ≈ 0.967 and r ≈ 0.13 arise if the inflaton is identified with the Higgs of gravity. Furthermore, quadratically divergent corrections to the Higgs mass vanish: a small weak scale is natural and can be generated by agravity quantum corrections. © 2014 The Author(s).


Fiori G.,University of Pisa | Betti A.,University of Pisa | Bruzzone S.,University of Pisa | Iannaccone G.,University of Pisa | Iannaccone G.,CNR Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering
ACS Nano | Year: 2012

We propose that lateral heterostructures of single-atomic-layer graphene and hexagonal boron-carbon-nitrogen (hBCN) domains, can represent a powerful platform for the fabrication and the technological exploration of real two-dimensional field-effect transistors. Indeed, hBCN domains have an energy bandgap between 1 and 5 eV, and are lattice-matched with graphene; therefore they can be used in the channel of a FET to effectively inhibit charge transport when the transistor needs to be switched off. We show through ab initio and atomistic simulations that a FET with a graphene-hBCN-graphene heterostructure in the channel can exceed the requirements of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors for logic transistors at the 10 and 7 nm technology nodes. Considering the main figures of merit for digital electronics, a FET with gate length of 7 nm at a supply voltage of 0.6 V exhibits I on/I off ratio larger than 10 4, intrinsic delay time of about 0.1 ps, and a power-delay-product close to 0.1 nJ/m. More complex graphene-hBCN heterostructures can allow the realization of different multifunctional devices, translating on a truly two-dimensional structure some of the device principles proposed during the first wave of nanoelectronics based on III-V heterostructures, as for example the resonant tunneling FET. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Bolognesi S.,University of Pisa | Zakrzewski W.,Durham University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

We study the baby Skyrme model as a theory that interpolates between two distinct BPS systems. For this, a near-BPS approximation can be used when there is a small deviation from each of the two BPS limits. We provide analytical explanation and numerical support for the validity of this approximation. We then study the set of all possible supersymmetric extensions of the baby Skyrme model with N=1 and the particular ones with extended N=2 supersymmetries and relate this to the above mentioned almost-BPS approximation. © 2015 American Physical Society.


Cieliebak M.,Sd and m Schweiz AG | Flocchin P.,University of Ottawa | Prencipe G.,University of Pisa | Santoro N.,Carleton University
SIAM Journal on Computing | Year: 2012

Consider a set of n > 2 identical mobile compu tational entities in the plane, called robots, operating in Look-Compute-Move cycles, without any means of direct communication. The Gathering Problem is the primitive task of all entities gathering in finite time at a point not fixed in advance, without any external control. The problem has been extensively studied in the literature under a variety of strong assumptions (e.g., synchronicity of the cycles, instantaneous movements, complete memory of the past, common coordinate system, etc.). In this paper we consider the setting without those assumptions, that is, when the entities are oblivious (i.e., they do not remember results and observations from previous cycles), disoriented (i.e., have no common coordinate system), and fully asynchronous (i.e., no assumptions exist on timing of cycles and activities within a cycle). The existing algorithmic contributions for such robots are limited to solutions for n ≤ 4 or for restricted sets of initial configurations of the robots; the question of whether such weak robots could deterministically gather has remained open. In this paper, we prove that indeed the Gathering Problem is solvable, for any n < 2 and any initial configuration, even under such restrictive conditions. © by SIAM. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.


Palagini L.,University of Pisa | Rosenlicht N.,University of California at San Francisco
Sleep Medicine Reviews | Year: 2011

Theories as to the function of sleep and dreaming and their relationship to emotions have been studied since the beginning of recorded history. Earliest historical records show the predominant view to be that dreams were considered divine in origin and only later did dream theory become linked with the functioning of the brain, perhaps most famously in psychoanalytic theory. The development of sleep laboratory techniques ushered in a new era of the dream study and their relationship to mental health. In this review we outline the history of theories about the genesis and function of dreams and sleep and their relationship to mental illness from ancient mythic and religious views to the first tentative scientific approaches to the ascendency of psychoanalysis and ultimately to the modern era of neuroscience. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Becirevic D.,University Paris - Sud | Schneider E.,University Paris - Sud | Schneider E.,University of Pisa
Nuclear Physics B | Year: 2012

We discuss the three independent asymmetries, AT (2)(q2), AT (im)(q2) and AT (re)(q2), that one can build from the amplitudes A⊥(q2) and A{norm of matrix}(q2). These quantities are expected to be accessible from the new B-physics experiments, they are sensitive to the presence of new physics, and they are not very sensitive to hadronic uncertainties. Studying their low q2 dependence can be helpful in discerning among various possible new physics scenarios. All three asymmetries can be extracted from the full angular analysis of B→K*ℓ+ℓ-. Our formulas apply to both the massless and the massive lepton case. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Mazzaferro V.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Lencioni R.,University of Pisa | Majno P.,University of Geneva
Seminars in Liver Disease | Year: 2014

In the treatment of early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), resection ablation and transplantation have had excellent initial success. Choices have to be based on a broad and long-term vision integrating-besides patients' interests-the community's needs and resources. In this scenario, guidelines such as the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system can be viewed as a hideous frame (symbolized by the myth of Procrustes, Poseidon's son who stretched or maimed travelers to fit into his bed), or as a useful structure against which personalized or innovative treatments must be reality checked. In this article, the latter view is taken: For resection, portal hypertension must still represent a powerful caveat, particularly because of poor long-term results. Expansion of the criteria may instead be explored for multiple tumors and vascular invasion, where good indications can consistently be selected in expert surgical centers. For ablation, competitive results can be obtained although a small, but appreciable proportion of patients with early vascular invasion (∼ 10%), as they could probably benefit from anatomical resections. Conversely, ablative techniques overcoming the location and size limitations are developing and may prove competitive. For transplantation, several equivalent careful expansions of Milan's Criteria can be accepted, but as more patients have access to the waiting list-often prioritized on non-HCC indications-current allocation models prove to be insufficient, if not plainly inequitable, and should be revised. © 2014 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.


Greco L.,University Paris - Sud | Chaillet A.,University Paris - Sud | Bicchi A.,University of Pisa | Bicchi A.,Italian Institute of Technology
Automatica | Year: 2012

This paper addresses the problem of stabilizing uncertain nonlinear plants over a shared limited-bandwidth packet-switching network. While conventional control loops are designed to work with circuit-switching networks, where dedicated communication channels provide almost constant bit rate and delay, many networks, such as Ethernet, organize data transmission in packets, carrying larger amounts of information at less predictable rates. We adopt a model-based approach to remotely compute a predictive control signal on a suitable time horizon. By exploiting the inherent packets payload, this technique effectively reduces the bandwidth required to guarantee stability. Communications are assumed to be ruled by a rather general protocol model, which encompasses many protocols used in practice. An explicit bound on the combined effects of the maximum time between consecutive accesses to each node (MATI) and the transmission and processing delays (MAD), for both measurements and control packets, is provided as a function of the basin of attraction and the model accuracy. Our control strategy is shown to be robust with respect to sector-bounded uncertainties in the plant model. Sampling of the control signal is also explicitly taken into account. A case study is presented which enlightens the great improvements induced by the packet-based control strategy over methods that send a single control value in each packet. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.8.1 | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2008

In the semiconductor industry, CMOS technology will certainly continue to have a predominant market position in the future. However, there are still a number of technological challenges, which have to be tackled if CMOS downscaling should be pursued until feature sizes will reach 10 nm around the year 2015-2020.\nThe NanoICT Coordination Action activities will reinforce and support the whole European Research Community in ICT nanoscale devices covering the following research areas expected to demonstrate unconventional solutions beyond the expected limits of CMOS technology.\n Demonstration of new concepts for switches or memory cells\n Demonstration of new concepts, technologies and architectures for local and chip level interconnects with substantial improvements over current solutions\n Demonstration of radically new functionalities by the integration of blocks from a few nanometres down to the atomic scale into high added-value systems\nThe CA action plans will go beyond the organisation of conferences, workshops, exchange of personnel, WEB site, etc. developing the following activities:\n Consolidation and visibility of the research community in ICT nanoscale devices\n Mapping and benchmarking of research at European level, and its comparison with other continents\n Identification of drivers and measures to assess research in ICT nanoscale devices, and to assess the potential of results to be taken up in industrial research\n Coordination of research agendas and development of research roadmaps\n Coordination of national or regional research programmes or activities, with the aim to involve funding authorities in building the ERA around this topic\n Development of strategies for international cooperation on themes related to NanoICT\nExpected impact will be the enhanced visibility, shaping and consolidation of the NanoICT research community in Europe.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: GV-5-2014 | Award Amount: 6.92M | Year: 2015

RESOLVE proposal aims at enabling the development of a range of cost-effective, energy efficient and comfortable ELVs (Electric L-category Vehicles) that will primarily attract ICE car drivers to switch to ELVs for daily urban commutes. EU cities are increasingly congested due to the demand and usage of motor vehicles that results in emissions and noise levels increase and scarcer parking, affecting the quality of life and health of city-dwellers. To tackle such issue, European-wide emission targets are becoming stricter and urban mobility plans are being drawn. Future scenarios for EU urban centres see a modal shift in personal mobility from cars to lighter, smaller, more specialised and environmentally friendly alternatives. ELVs are such alternatives that can cater to the average commuters needs because of their smaller size, lighter weight, lower on board energy requirement and thus smaller batteries, which supports lower costs and faster recharge. However this modal shift has not been without challenges: many car drivers do not consider LVs as a viable and comfortable option. To achieve that, the project will develop components and systems that meet the very low cost requirements for the segment, particularly modular and scalable LV-specific electric powertrains and battery architectures. At the same time the project will deliver an exciting and attractive ELV driving experience by proposing new concepts (tilting & narrow track), while keeping the vehicle energy consumption at very low level. All the advances will be demonstrated in two tilting four wheelers demonstrator ELVs (L2e and L6e category), though a large number of such advances will also be applicable to the complete range of ELVs (including powered-two wheelers). The RESOLVE consortium is optimally positioned to drive such innovations: PIAGGIO and KTM are the 2 largest LV manufacturers in the EU and the whole ELV value chain is represented, complemented by top component suppliers and universities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-2-04 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2008

The four-years project EUPHOROS aims at developing a sustainable greenhouse system that: does not need any fossil energy & minimizes carbon footprint of equipment; with no waste of water nor emission of fertilizers and full recycling of the substrate; with minimal need of plant protective chemicals yet with high productivity and resource use efficiency. Three commodity-based work packages (WP) will develop a diversity of innovative tools and systems to reduce energy, water, fertilisers, pesticide consumption and waste. Another WP optimizes the growing environment, developing innovative but robust monitoring tools for performance assessment, early detection and response management. The balance between environment and economy is addressed in a dedicated WP, which will quantify the reduction of resource input and carbon footprint delivered by each component of this project, together with the financial/economic consequences. Even an incremental adoption by the growers of the project results will increase competitiveness while reducing resource use of the European greenhouse production. A truly continental impact will be achieved by developing systems that are anchored in the local speciality of greenhouse industries and which are seen to respond to the diversity of climatic, economic and environmental constraints across Europe. This will be ensured by installing, testing, fine-tuning and evaluating locally relevant combinations of crops (tomato and/or rose), equipment, covering materials, cultivation techniques, monitoring and control systems in The Netherlands, Spain and Hungary. The participation of 5 commercial partners and a big growers organization guarantees fast implementation of the most promising results. The involvement of local stakeholders to give feed-back, and extended dissemination activities, like national & international workshops and a training course, are included to ensure the convergence of project results with market expectations and acceptance.


Congenital and acquired diseases of the heart are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world today; 7.2 million people die each year due to coronary heart disease, being the first cause of mortality in population above 60 years old, and the second cause after HIV in world wide young population. There is an urgent demand for new methods to repair and replace damaged cardiovascular tissues. One of the most promising ways to achieve this goal is the development of regenerative therapies aided with novel intelligent nanobiomaterials such as bioactive scaffolds. The overall objective of this project is the development of innovative bioactive polymeric scaffolds able to guide tissue formation from dissociated stem cells, for engineering autologous cardiovascular replacements, namely vascular tissues, heart valves and cardiac muscle. Two different strategies will be followed to approach creating new engineered tissue: 1.In vitro tissue engineering: according to the most frequent tissue engineering paradigm, cells will be seeded on a scaffold composed of synthetic polymer or natural material and the tissue will be matured in vitro in a bioreactor, in order to obtain a construct that can be implanted in the appropriate anatomic location as a prosthesis; 2.In vivo tissue engineering: unseeded scaffolds that attract endogenous cells and control cell proliferation and differentiation will be implanted to repopulate and remodel an altered cardiovascular tissue. The strong innovative content of the project is in the realisation of multifunctional scaffolds which can guide complex cellular processes such as adhesion, proliferation and differentiation, processes fundamental for tissue regeneration. It is therefore necessary to design integrated material scaffolds and culture environments, which can appropriately confer biochemical, morphological, electrical and mechanical stimuli to a developing tissue.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.8.0 | Award Amount: 1.72M | Year: 2008

We shall use data from neuroanatomy and neurophysiology as a guide for the fabrication of deterministic and complex self-assembled networks of polymeric non linear elements with adaptive properties. The main objective is the realization of a new technology for the production of functional molecular assemblies, which can perform advanced tasks involving learning and decision making, and which can be tailored down to the nanoscale. The polymer network shall be prepared using molecular deposition and self assembly techniques in two and three dimensions. Electron beams shall be used for microelectrode configurations and for sample modification. Non linear elements will be provided by Schottky junctions, functionalized gold nanoparticles or molecular heterojunctions, which will be statistically dispersed in the matrix, to mimic the synaptic and neuronal distribution in biological systems as obtained from neuroanatomical data. We shall start with polyaniline embedded in ionic polyethyleneoxide, but other polymeric systems will be explored. The polymers will be functionalized to influence the deposition or self-assembly processes. To train the network we shall use mainly electrochemical modification of the polymer conductivity, for which we have already demonstrated the basic functional behaviour. . We shall monitor the network transfer function, for different types of signal input, including signal dependent noise. Artificial Intelligence algorithms and specifically developed statistical correlation techniques shall be used throughout. Upon success, the data shall be compared and connected to electrophysiological data obtained for brain systems of different complexity: first the simpler and more deterministic case of the pond snail and subsequently in the far more complex statistically distributed cases of cognitive processes in the cerebral cortex of the mammalian brain.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.2.1 | Award Amount: 11.57M | Year: 2011

Recent progress in physical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI) showed that active and safe workspace sharing becomes possible in principle. Inspired by these results, SAPHARI will perform a fundamental paradigm shift in robot development in the sense that we place the human as the centre of the entire design. We address all essential aspects of safe, intuitive physical interaction between humans and complex, human-like robotic systems in a strongly interconnected manner. While encompassing safety issues based on biomechanical analysis, human-friendly hardware design, and interaction control strategies, the project will develop and validate perceptive and cognitive key components that enable robots to track, understand and predict human motions in a weakly structured dynamic environment in real-time. Apart from developing the necessary capabilities for interactive autonomy, we will tightly incorporate the human safety also at the cognitive level. This will enable the robots to react or physically interact with humans in a safe and autonomous way. Biomechanical knowledge and biologically motivated variable compliance actuators will be used to design bimanual manipulation systems close to human properties and performance. Planning motions and tasks of such complex systems in real-time require new concepts, including tight coupling of control and planning, that lead to new reactive action generation behaviours. Moreover, self explaining interaction and communication frameworks will be developed to enhance the system usability. The project focuses on two industrial use cases that explicitly require contacts and force exchange in human-robot co-work, as well as on professional service scenarios in hospitals, in which a medical staff and an assisting robot interact closely during daily work. Results of this project are expected to strongly impact all applications where interactive robots can assist humans and release them from dangerous or routine tasks.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.1.6 | Award Amount: 7.23M | Year: 2011

Experimentally-driven research is key to success in exploring the possible futures of the Internet. An open, general-purpose, shared experimental facility, both large-scale and sustainable, is essential for European industry and academia to innovate today and assess the performance of their solutions. OpenLab brings together the essential ingredients for such a facility. We extend early prototypes of testbeds, middleware, and measurement tools so as to provide more efficient and flexible support for a diverse set of experimental applications and protocols. The prototypes include a set of demonstrably successful testbeds: PlanetLab Europe, with its 153 partner/user institutions across Europe; the NITOS and w-iLab.t wireless testbeds; two IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) telco testbeds for exploring merged media distribution; a green networking testbed; the ETOMIC high precision network measurement testbed; and the HEN emulation testbed. Associated with these testbeds are similarly successful control- and experimental-plane software. OpenLab advances these prototypes with key enhancements in the areas of mobility, wireless, monitoring, domain interconnections, and the integration of new technologies such as OpenFlow. These enhancements will be transparent to existing users of each testbed, while opening up a diversity of new experiments that users can perform, extending from wired and wireless media distribution to distributed and autonomous management of new social interactions and localized services, going far beyond what can be tested on the current Internet. OpenLab results will advance the goal of a unified Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) facility. In addition, OpenLab can provide models for the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP). Finally, OpenLab will issue open calls to users in industry and academia to submit proposals for innovative experiments using the OpenLabs technologies and testbeds, and will devote one million euros to funding the best of these proposals.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-26-2016 | Award Amount: 6.99M | Year: 2017

Today, intralogistic services have to respond quickly to changing market needs, unforeseeable trends and shorter product life cycles. These drivers pose new demands on intralogistic systems to be highly flexible, rock-solid reliable, self-optimising, quickly deployable and safe yet efficient in environments shared with humans. ILIAD will enable the transition to automation of intralogistic services with key stakeholders from the food distribution sector, where these challenges are particularly pressing. We will develop robotic solutions that can integrate with current warehouse facilities, extending the state of the art to achieve self-deploying fleets of heterogeneous robots in multiple-actor systems; life-long self-optimisation; manipulation from a mobile platform; efficient and safe operation in environments shared with humans; and efficient fleet management with formal guarantees. Scientifically, ILIAD pursues ambitious goals for complex cognitive systems in human environments beyond a specific use-case. We will overcome limitations in the state of the art in tracking and analysing humans; quantifying map quality and predicting future states depending on activity patterns inferred from long-term observations; planning of socially normative movements using learned human models; integration of task allocation, coordination and motion planning for heterogeneous robot fleets; and systematically studying human safety in mixed environments, providing a foundation for future safety standards. Our consortium is uniquely placed to tackle these challenges and to maximise exploitation beyond the projects duration. It includes partners with a proven track record in all key research areas, leading technology providers for intralogistics, end users that are leading in their respective markets, and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing at partner UoL, facilitating access to realistic test sites. This mix of partners will ensure a very high impact of the project results.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CS | Phase: JTI-CS-2013-1-SAGE-04-024 | Award Amount: 3.13M | Year: 2013

The GTF (Geared TurboFan) engine represents one of the most promising architectural innovations in the aeronautical market, meeting requirements of constant improvement in engine performance in terms of fuel consumption, noise and gas emission. The concept which this engine architecture is based on involves the mechanical uncoupling of the turbine shaft from the fan section, by means of introduction of an epicyclic Power GearBox, named Integral Drive System (IDS). This solution, by adding a further degree of freedom to the system, allows the separate optimization of both power turbine and fan in terms of rotational speed, with overall enhancement of the whole engine performance. As a result, the IDS represents a new engine core module. The present GTFTR project, in line with the objectives defined by the Topic Manager (TM) in the call for proposal (CfP), aims at performing a demonstration on a purposely developed full scale power test rig of the technologies matured by the TM within the Clean Sky frame. The approach proposed by the Topic is innovative since it opens the collaboration on the experimental validation phase, which is generally retained by the system design responsible, with the Applicant. The Applicant is a Consortium of three partners: University of Pisa (Coordinator), AM Testing srl and Catarsi Ing. Piero & c. srl.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.3.1 | Award Amount: 6.11M | Year: 2010

STEEPER addresses the development of Beyond CMOS energy-efficient steep subthreshold slope transistors based on quantum mechanical band-to-band tunnelling (tunnel FETs), with the aim of reducing the operation voltage of nanoelectronic circuits to sub-0.5V, and their power consumption by one order of magnitude.\nSTEEPER focuses on two technology tracks, united by same device principle, shared performance boosters, and compatibility with silicon CMOS. These are (i) Ultra-Thin-Body Silicon-On-Insulator technology for planar, tri-gate and nanowire tunnel FETs featuring ultra-low standby power and smartly exploiting additive boosters: high-k dielectrics, SiGe source, strain, and improved electrostatic design, and (ii) a III-V nanowire platform on silicon, as unique material to control staggered or broken bandgap boosters and devise a high performance (high-Ion, steep slope) implementation of tunnel FETs. Platform (i) will enable a hybrid platform combining high performance (HP) CMOS and low standby power (LSTP), low voltage tunnel FETs, supporting energy efficient hybrid CMOS/Tunnel-FET digital and analog/RF circuit design. In line with ITRS, STEEPER will evaluate in platform (ii) the physical and practical limits of boosting the performance of tunnel FETs with III-V nanowires on silicon, and resulting advantages for HP digital circuits.\nThe development of the two technology platforms are interactive and collaborative in terms of performance boosters, and will benefit from simulation and modelling support by the academic partners, and from investigation of the potentially critical variability and sensitivity of tunnel FETs. Industrial benchmarking is proposed at device and circuit levels by the key involved industries, and the figures of merit of hybrid CMOS/tunnel FET digital and analog circuit design will be investigated.\nThe project targets energy efficient nanoelectronic technology for high volume markets covering digital, analog/RF and mixed mode applications.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.1.2 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2013

Clouds reduces time-to-market and provides on-demand scalability at a low cost. Many private and public Clouds have emerged during the last years, offering a range of different technologies each suited for particular types of applications. SeaClouds tackles the problem of deploying and managing, in an efficient and adaptive way, complex multi-services applications over technologically heterogeneous Clouds. This allows organisations to embrace Cloud solutions and avoid risks of unreliability and vendor lock-in\nSeaClouds provides an answer to questions such as:\n- How can complex applications be deployed, managed and monitored over multiple Clouds, distributing its modules according to the deployment requirements and the strong and weak points of each offering?\n- How can complex applicatiosn be reconfigured if run-time problems are detected?\nSeaClouds approach is based on the concept of cloud-based services orchestration. Orchestration means the automated arrangement, coordination and management of multiple services as a single aggregated complex application, without the need to modify the code of the services. Orchestration can be formally designed to fulfil properties such as QoS of the whole application. Application reconfiguration is also performed by changing the orchestration of the services, when the monitoring detects that certain properties such as QoS are not respected.\nThe objectives of SeaClouds are therefore:\n- Orchestration, adaptation, and verification of services distributed over different Clouds\n- Monitoring and runtime reconfiguration of services distributed over different Clouds\n- Provision of a unified Cloud-independent mechanism to manage services distributed over different Clouds.\n- Alignment of SeaCloudss architecture with major standards for cloud interoperability, particularly OASIS CAMP and TOSCA, promoting them in research and industrial communities\nSeaClouds aims to support developers and application managers; for these target groups SeaClouds will provide:\n- In the design phase:\no\tA new approach based on TOSCA to express how each component of the application should interact with the others\no\tA language to specify requirements in terms of QoS for each components and for the application as a whole\n- In the deployment phase:\no\tTool for searching among existing Clouds in order to find those that best match the developers requirements expressed at design time\no\tTools to deploy the application on the selected Clouds\n- In the runtime phase:\no\tTools to monitor and analyse the performances of each components across different providers\no\tTools to assess whether and which components should be redeployed on different Cloud providers, in case of non-satisfactory performances\no\ttools to redeploy the underperforming components on different Clouds and to adapt the orchestration to the new configuration\nSuch tools will be organized in a framework, which will be available either as software to install on premises or as SaaS, or both


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 2.87M | Year: 2012

Rare-earth ions (lanthanides) play an increasingly important role in modern optical technologies. Lanthanides are extensively used in solid-state laser physics, e.g. as key components in telecommunication networks. Rare-earths are also employed as luminescent materials in lamps or as radiation detectors in X-ray imaging. Rare-earths are already commercially omnipresent. However, the full potential of rare-earth ions is not yet explored in particular with regard to the rapidly evolving field of future information technology. Future data storage and processing will require novel types of memories (e.g. based on interactions between light and quantized matter), algorithms (e.g. based on quantum computations) and materials (e.g. appropriate quantum systems). Rare-earth ion doped solids are very promising candidates to permit implementation of future quantum technology. The media combine the advantages of solids (i.e. large density and scalability) and atomic gases (i.e. long coherence times). CIPRIS will build on the advantages of rare-earth doped media and drive applications towards future information technology. CIPRIS follows two scientific approaches : Classical processing and quantum processing. Both are meant as pronounced inter-disciplinary research efforts, combining physics, material science and information technology. To exploit the results, the public and private sector partners will closely cooperate to develop commercial demonstration devices. In terms of training, CIPRIS aims at the development of the next generation of young researchers with appropriate skills in rare-earth-based information technology pushing it towards commercial applications. CIPRIS offers a large variety of training actions, e.g. mini schools, laboratory courses, secondments to the private sector, or training sessions to strengthen complementary skills and contacts to the private sector. This will contribute to a European knowledge base for future information technology.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2017

Optoelectronic devices typically operate in the weak coupling regime between light and matter, for example in conventional lasers relying on population inversion to achieve optical gain. Recently there has been a surge of interest in quantum systems operating instead in the strong coupling regime, when the coupling strength of the light-matter interaction is so strong that new states cavity polaritons are created, that are partially light, partially material excitation. In semiconductors, exciton-polaritons have been the most widely studied type of strongly coupled system. Recently a new phenomenon has been realized exploiting intersubband transitions. The resulting excitations are called intersubband polaritons, and they have two remarkable properties: (i) a bosonic character that is maintained up to high carrier densities since they are not restricted by the Mott transition limit; (ii) large Rabi splittings. Although the scientific community has explored the basic science of intersubband polaritons, their potential for future and innovative optoelectronic devices has been entirely untapped. The MIR-BOSE project will realize this potential, and demonstrate disruptive optoelectronic devices operating in the strong coupling regime between light and matter. We will demonstrate the first bosonic lasers operating in the mid-IR and THz ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Laser action here does not rely on population inversion, so we will achieve temperature independent operation and high powers. We will demonstrate a new concept of inverse-Q-switching leading to the generation of high power pulses in the mid-IR, overcoming severe bottlenecks in current technology. Finally, we will demonstrate non-classical/quantum light sources and devices, generating squeezed states of light in the mid-IR/THz spectral range for quantum optics. These new sources will have a major impact on several technologies and applications, being advantageous compared to current solutions.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: AAT.2008.4.4.2 | Award Amount: 23.94M | Year: 2009

Air traffic in Europe is expected to double by 2025 according to the last forecast of Eurocontrol. Future passenger and freight fleets will bring better efficiency and improved environmental performance, and will allow people to benefit from the connections that only air transport can deliver. In this context, an integrated aircraft communication system is of paramount importance to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness by ensuring flexibility, scalability, modularity and reconfigurability. The SANDRA project will design, implement and validate through in-flight trials an integrated aeronautical communications system based on an open architecture, a common set of interfaces and on well-proven industry standards. Integration will be addressed at four different levels, namely: integration at service level, through a Service Oriented architectural approach integration at network level through addressing interoperability to ensure transition integration of existing radio technologies into an Integrated Modular Radio platform (Software Defined) integration at antenna and RF level by a L/KU satellite array antenna prototype The integration of different service domains with heterogeneous requirements through a cost-effective and flexible avionic architecture is thus one of the main challenges addressed by SANDRA. In this light, the SANDRA communication system will represent a key enabler for meeting the high market demand for broadband passenger and enhanced cabin communication services. The SANDRA concept is fully inline with SESAR activity and future deployment plans ATM modernisation as well as with the final recommendations of Eurocontrol/FAA Future Communications Study. SANDRA addresses many of the enablers identified by SESAR for the medium and long term implementation packages, although the proposed integrated approach for the global provision of distributed services covers a much broader set of applications and service domains.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.2-6 | Award Amount: 3.43M | Year: 2009

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains the primary cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in Europe. In current clinical practice, patients with chronic CAD are followed using non-invasive imaging methodologies for possible adverse morphologic remodelling and functional recovery of the myocardium before the decision for invasive examinations and treatments is taken. Technological developments have brought about several newer imaging methodologies (and associated parameters) that have shown accurate prognostic results under study conditions in selected patient populations. Each of these methodologies offers intrinsic advantages and disadvantages due to the physiologic processes it tries to assess, due to the technology it requires or due to its availability (often determined by its associated cost). However, to date, no large scale studies have made a direct comparison of the different methodologies towards predicting adverse morphologic remodelling or functional recovery of the myocardium after medical therapy. The lack of such information results in a sub-optimal use of the methodologies at hand. The aim of DOPPLER-CIP is therefore to conduct a multi-centre clinical study including about 1200 patients in order to determine the optimal prognostic parameters derived from (new) non-invasive imaging for a patient presenting with suspected chronic ischemic heart disease. The modality used to extract these parameters is of secondary importance. However, as both the accuracy and the cost related to extracting a particular parameter is modality-dependent, DOPPLER-CIP will also make a cost-effectiveness analysis in order to determine which modality should preferentially be used to extract the clinically most relevant parameter.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.7.1 | Award Amount: 12.23M | Year: 2008

OASIS introduces an innovative, Ontology-driven, Open Reference Architecture and Platform, which will enable and facilitate interoperability, seamless connectivity and sharing of content between different services and ontologies in all application domains relevant to applications for the elderly and beyond. The OASIS platform is open, modular, holistic, easy to use and standards abiding. It includes a set of novel tools for content/services connection and management, for user interfaces creation and adaptation and for service personalization and integration. Through this new Architecture, over 12 different types of services are connected with the OASIS Platform for the benefit of the elderly, covering user needs and wants in terms of Independent Living Applications (nutritional advisor, activity coach, brain and skills trainers, social communities platform, health monitoring and environmental control), Autonomous Mobility and Smart Workplaces Applications (elderly-friendly transport information services, elderly-friendly route guidance, personal mobility services, mobile devices, biometric authentication interface and multimodal dialogue mitigation and other smart workplace applications). Applications are all integrated as a unified, dynamic service batch, managed by the OASIS Service Centre and supporting all types of mobile devices (tablet PC, PDA, smartphone, automotive device, ITV, infokiosk, ...) and all types of environments (living labs, sheltered homes, private homes, two car demonstrators, public transport, DSRT, etc.) in 4 Pilot sites Europewide. As user friendliness and acceptability is a top priority for the project, a user-centred-design approach is followed along the service and application development. Tested iteratively and thoroughly by hundreds of end users, their caregivers and other stakeholders, the OASIS platform and applications will be optimized and submitted for standardization by the purpose-established OASIS world-wide Industrial Forum.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.3.4 | Award Amount: 3.43M | Year: 2013

In recent years, traditional processors have not been able to translate the advances of silicon fabrication technology into corresponding performance gains. This has been due to weaknesses inherent in the current sequential programming model, which has not changed significantly since the late 1940s, as well as due to physical constraints, such as practical limits on the energy consumption and the associated cooling efforts for a processor. To keep satisfying the ever-growing demand for computing power, these difficulties have forced a shift from homogeneous machines relying on a one single kind of fast processing element (the CPU) such as typical PCs some years ago, programmed mostly sequentially, to heterogeneous architectures combining different kinds of processors (such as CPUs, GPUs and DSPs) each specialized for certain tasks, and programmed in a highly parallel fashion yet poorly optimising the available resources towards performance and low energy consumption.\nThe REPARA project joins forces of experts in software engineering methodology, development tools, computer hardware design and analysis, all working hand-in-hand with industrial end-users to achieve a unified programming model for heterogeneous computers developing also the required automated software support tools. Relative to the base line of a sequential algorithm executed on a current general-purpose processor, REPARA expects to achieve at least a 50% reduction of energy consumption combined with a performance improvement of at least by a factor of two. REPARA will also allow for an increased productivity realizing designs in half of the development time that would be required using non-unified programming methods for the different components of a heterogeneous system. Combined, REPARA will lead to fourfold gain in efficiency for energy savings and performance. These objectives will be verified in 5 real-world use cases in the domains of railway, healthcare and industrial maintenance and robotics.\nAchieving such ambitious objectives will create opportunities for the involved contractors and the European citizens on various strands. The industrial contractors EVOPRO and IXION are active in the targeted use cases and will earn improved competitiveness over other players in their respective markets turning the REPARA results into higher profits and increased employment. The 5 academic contractors will not only strengthen their scientific reputation as leading experts in the field, but their tools will facilitate them to also commercially exploit their research efforts through tool licensing and industry-academia follow-on projects. Finally, European citizens will profit directly from safer rail transport, more sophisticated health care and a reduced power bill. Last but not least, the 50% reduction of energy consumption will have considerable environmental impact given that 2% of world-wide CO2 footprint was caused by server infrastructure in 2007 and is increasing year by year.


Grant
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.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.2.2 | Award Amount: 3.33M | Year: 2009

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) represent one of the most challenging frontiers for robotics research. AUVs work in an unstructured environment and face unique perception, decision, control and communications difficulties. Currently, the state of the art is dominated by single AUVs limited to open-sea preplanned trajectories with offline postprocessing of the data gathered during the mission. The use of multiple AUVs as propagated in this project is still in a very early research phase. Some of the research issues addressed in this project are even completely uncharted territory, especially the development of functionalities to seamlessly monitor critical underwater infrastructures and to detect anomalous situations (e.g., missions related to harbour safety and security) and the study of advanced AUVs capable of interacting with humans to perform such functions as companion/support platforms during scientific and commercial dives. The aim of the Co3-AUVs project is to develop, implement and test advanced cognitive systems for coordination and cooperative control of multiple AUVs. Several aspects will be investigated including 3D perception and mapping, cooperative situation awareness, deliberation and navigation as well as behavioral control strictly linked with the underwater communication challenges. As a result, the team of AUVs will cooperate in challenging scenarios in the execution of missions where all data is online processed. In doing so, the team will be robust with respect to failures and environmental changes. These key features will be tested in a harbor scenario where additional difficulties with respect to open sea applications arise and in a human diver assistance scenario that also illustrates human robot interaction issues.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-19-2014 | Award Amount: 4.86M | Year: 2015

A good functioning of the European food system is key to deliver food and nutrition security for all Europeans. However, that system faces many economic, environmental and social challenges as well as opportunities following socio-economic and technological developments, that are not equally distributed throughout the EU. Future policymaking aiming at healthy and resilient systems needs to take into account this differentiation and diversity of approaches, which necessitate foresight activities that take into account both the development of important driving forces as well as the social and spatial diversity. Primary productionthat is agriculture, fisheries and aquacultureforms the foundation of the food system. Its structure and performance is influenced by various conditions shaped by both the public and the private sector. As economic agents, primary producers aim at generating a sufficient amount of income, but their financial conditions are highly dependent on public and private actors, such as government regulators (including the EUs agricultural and fisheries policies), the financial sector, suppliers, the food industry, retailers, etc. In other words, the web of policy requirements as well as input and output market imperfections greatly shape farmers and fishermens livelihoods. Knowledge on the conditions of primary producers and the driving forces influencing these conditions exists, but in a fragmented way: not all primary producers and regions are covered, not all driving forces have been investigated, cross-linkages between them have been insufficiently analysed, future opportunities are not well integrated, etc. The purpose of SUFISA is to identify sustainable practices and policies in the agricultural, fish and food sectors that support the sustainability of primary producers in a context of multi-dimensionsal policy requirements, market uncertainties and globalisation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.1.4-04 | Award Amount: 3.15M | Year: 2011

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The overall objective of this project is to identify effective and efficient approaches for the support of successful LINSA (Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture) as drivers of transition towards Agricultural Innovation Systems for sustainable agriculture and rural development. In order to achieve this objective the project will: Explore LINSAs empirically as bottom-up drivers of transition Improve understanding of barriers to complex learning processes and developing recommendations on how to avoid / remove them Create open learning spaces for actors outside the project by sharing and disseminating project findings Identify institutional determinants that enable or constrain existing AKS in supporting effective LINSA in the context of changing knowledge and innovation policies Develop a conceptual framework for innovation for sustainable agriculture and rural development. TOPICS The study will be carried out in 3 fields: a) consumer oriented networks ( b) non-food oriented networks and c) purely agricultural networks or networks for sustainable land use Strategic objectives Contributing to more effective research-practice linkages in the complex innovation and value chains. Contributing to a policy framework for innovation in agriculture


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2007-1.3-2 | Award Amount: 5.19M | Year: 2008

NanoReTox will identify the potential risks to the environment and human health posed by free engineered (i.e. manmade) nanomaterial by comprehensively addressing five key questions: (1) How does the environment into which nanoparticles are released affect their physicochemical properties and their bioreactivity? (2) How does this impact on their ability to interact with and/or penetrate mammalian and aquatic cells and organisms (bioavailability) and will bioavailability result in toxicity? (3) Is there a pattern of cellular reactivity and/or toxicity related to physicochemical properties, i.e. a hierarchy of activity? (4) What combination of conditions discovered in (1-3) above are most likely to pose a risk to human health and the environment? (5) How can this information be incorporated in a risk assessment model? We have assembled a team of experts from across the EU and the US whose combined expertise can address these questions in depth, and therefore comprehensively cover the scope of research topic NMP-2007-1.3-2 Risk assessment of engineered nanoparticles on health and the environment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 8.00M | Year: 2013

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that manifests early in life and imposes a high social and economic burden on European societies. An imaging tool that enables the diagnosis of schizophrenia during early development is extremely desirable and is requested by the clinical community in order to make the management of the disease more effective. TRIMAGE aims to optimise and validate an integrated diagnostic solution including simultaneous PET/MR/EEG imaging and specific biomarkers to provide the clinicians an effective tool for the diagnosis and choice of treatment of schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. Specific biomarkers using information from PET/MR, fMRI/EEG and PET/MR/EEG will be used to define the signature of the disease. The imaging hardware will be engineered with the intent of making the instrument a cost-effective and beyond the state of the art commercial product so as to provide a toolset for the diagnosis of patients in most clinical psychiatric centres. The instrument will comprise a 1.5 T cryogen-free, very compact superconducting magnet, a PET insert based on silicon photomultiplier with better performances (2 mm FWHM spatial resolution, 14% sensitivity at the center of the field of view) than any available clinical PET scanner and a fully integrated EEG. The adopted technology will reduce cost, simplify safety management, improve patient comfort and boost performance with respect to state of the art MRI and PET brain imagers. The tool design and construction requires scientific and technological developments in both the physical and medical fields: the work plan counts on the cooperation of highly qualified academic institutions and research centres with a major R&D contribution coming from four high technology European SMEs and Large Companies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.3.4 | Award Amount: 4.06M | Year: 2011

A revolution is happening in computer hardware. After three decades during which microprocessor speeds increased almost 4000 times, we are starting to hit long-predicted physical limits on the speed of a single processor. Recent computers instead use two, four or even twelve processor cores working together ``in parallel, giving peak performance that is equivalent to a 5GHz, 10GHz or even 30GHz single processor, but at a fraction of the projected energy usage. There have even been experimental 48-core ``single cloud computer chips giving peak performance that would exceed that of a 100GHz single processor. The effective exploitation of such high performance is essential to support modern demands for computing power in the home, in industry and in the economy at large. Combining this with low energy usage is crucial if the performance is to be delivered at a reasonable financial and environmental cost.Future designs will harness even greater numbers of processor cores, perhaps in the thousands or millions, and perhaps with widely varying speeds and capabilities. These will be combined with advanced graphics processor units and other specialist units to give further performance and energy gains. In this way we will be able to meet societys future needs for computing power.While there are already significant challenges in building computers, such as those described above, from heterogeneous processor and other computing units, there are even greater challenges in building parallel software that can use them effectively. In order to do this, we must produce software that is easy to write but that still allows the hardware to be used effectively.The key innovation of the ParaPhrase project is exactly to produce such software that is easy to write using the hardware more effectively with the goal of speeding up processing by at least one order of magnitude over sequential execution on real near-term multicore architectures for the use cases and systems that will be considered in the project.ParaPhrase will build on a (multi-level) model of parallelism, where implementations of parallel programs are expressed in terms of interacting components. By expressing parallelism in terms of high-level parallel patterns that have alternative parallel implementations, we will be able to redeploy/refactor parallel components to dynamically match the available hardware resources.One large scale company (MELLANOX), one SME (ERLANG SOLUTIONS) and an Austrian software competence centre (SCCH) with strong links to industry will exploit the project results in a commercial context. ParaPhrase will strengthen their respective market position and competitiveness and give a manifold return on investment. The six academic partners will use the gained knowledge to enrich their teaching activities and to reinforce their prestige in the scientific community. European citizens will benefit from less power-consuming computers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2012.1.2-02 | Award Amount: 3.82M | Year: 2013

The project aims to identify the key semi-natural habitats (SNH), outside and within crops, providing essential ecological services (ES). Vegetation traits will be linked to potential ES provision, case studies will measure actual ES levels and inform models which will show unused opportunities and trade-offs among ES by SNH from habitat to landscape scale. This will be achieved for a range of representative cropping systems and farming intensities in regions dominated by agriculture and matched to the requirements of local and national stakeholders. Surveys will identify key SNH and existing literature will be used to link their vegetation traits to ES provision. ES provision will be measured in existing habitat types (SNH to crop) across economically important cropping systems, farming intensities and four European agro-climatic zones using simple techniques in 16 case studies. A case study is defined by a unique combination of region, crop species, and service. Each case study will concentrate on locally important cropping system and the main ES required. Pollination and pest control have been identified as main ES needed, but also soil fertility, weed control and social services will be considered. The relative socio-economic weight of the studied ecosystem services will be appraised using feedback from national experts using a semi-quantitative method. Data will parameterise spatially explicit models to determine how the vegetation composition, management, shape, area, and placement of SNH in agricultural landscapes affect the distribution of mobile-agent based ecosystem services from farm to landscape level. To investigate synergies and trade-offs in ecological services, multi-criteria analysis will be developed to combine a suite of modules in an integrative modelling framework. Outputs are designed to inform local, national and EU stakeholders on how to improve ES provision from SNH and will include a novel web-based tool.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.2.2-02 | Award Amount: 2.60M | Year: 2013

PulCheR (Pulsed Chemical Rocket with Green High Performance Propellants) is a new propulsion concept in which the propellants are fed in the combustion chamber at low pressure and the thrust is generated by means of high frequency pulses, reproducing the defence mechanism of a notable insect: the bombardier beetle. The radical innovation introduced by PulCheR is the elimination of any external pressurizing system even if the thruster works at high pressure inside the combustion chamber. At each pulse, pressurization of the combustion chamber gases takes place due to the decomposition or combustion reaction, and the final pressure is much higher than the one at which the propellants are stored. The weight of the feeding system is significantly reduced because the propellants are fed at low pressure, and there is no need for turbopumps, high pressure propellant tanks or gas vessels. The feed pressure becomes independent on the chamber pressure and the performance degradation typical of the blow down mode in monopropellant thrusters can be avoided. The PulCheR concept is able to substitute many currently used propulsion systems for accessing space. It can be employed for low orbital flight and beyond and subsequent re-entry (allowing also for re-usable vehicles), and can be used in space vehicles for typical manoeuvres around a planet or during interplanetary missions. The feasibility of this new propulsion concept will be investigated at breadboard level in both mono and bipropellant configurations through the design, realization and testing of a platform of the overall propulsion system including all its main components. In addition, the concept will be investigated using green propellants with potential similar performance to the current state-of-the-art for monopropellant and bipropellant thrusters. The test campaign will experimentally investigate the propulsive performance of the system in terms of specific impulse, minimum impulse bit and thrust modulation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2013.2.5-01 | Award Amount: 4.95M | Year: 2014

TRANSMANGO aims to obtain a comprehensive picture of the effects of the global drivers of change (climate, economic concentration and market structure, financial power, resource competition, marginalization, property rules, geo-political shifts, consumer preferences, consumption patterns and nutritional transition) on European and global food demand and on raw material production (and, consequently, on food flows). The research focuses on the vulnerability and resilience of European food systems in a context of socio-economic, behavioral, technological, institutional and agro-ecological change and aims to enhance understanding of the new challenges and opportunities that the food sector will face in the future. Vulnerability assessment methodologies and dynamic modeling tools will be reviewed, upgraded and developed to assess the resilience of Europes agro-food sector and food security situation and to understand the sustainability frontiers of different food production systems under the new unfolding conditions. The project will collect analytical data that will be used to design scenarios for the desired transition pathways in the food system. Based on these scenarios, TRANSMANGO will provide guidance to support the transition towards sustainability and will offer recommendations to address Europes medium- and long-term food security.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-2.4.3-2 | Award Amount: 14.25M | Year: 2009

This proposal will pioneer the concept of tailored interventions with minimal immune system interference in new onset T1DM, leading to beta-cell protection and restoration, based on a solid understanding of the disease pathogenesis. This will enable experimental findings to be adopted for future clinical application. Four work packages are grouped around Reversal of autoimmunity, in which two key players of the immune system in beta-cell destruction will be targeted: the dendritic cell (WP1: Re-educating antigen-presenting cells) and the T-lymphocyte (WP2: Restoring the T-cell balance). In both cell types, interventions using steroid hormones (vitamin D and glucocorticoids) will be used to induce tolerance. Moreover, novel interventions using soluble T-cell receptors to target immune cells and beta-cells in an antigen-specific way (WP3: TCR-mediated immunotherapy) will be introduced. Novel mucosal interventions using probiotics and recombinant L. lactis as a carrier for specific peptides in combination with cytokines (WP4: Mucosal intervention for tolerance restoration) will be studied for their immune modulating potential. A full work package (WP5: Beta-cell protection and restoration the dialogue with the immune system) is dedicated to the beta-cell and its role in driving and amplifying the immune attack through communication between beta-cells and the immune system. The last scientific work package (WP6: Pharmacogenetics) will identify genetic profiles within patients that predict responsiveness to the steroid interventions proposed. WP7 and 8 are dedicated to training and management of the consortium. For this purpose, a multidisciplinary consortium of leading European diabetologists and immunologists from 11 academic research institutions, in co-operation with 3 SMEs developing novel technologies allowing translation of basic research results towards clinical applications, has been established.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.1.4 | Award Amount: 4.36M | Year: 2008

ACTIBIO will research and develop a completely new concept in biometric authentication: the extraction of multimodal biometric signatures based on the response of the user to specific stimuli, while performing specific but natural work-related activities. The novelty of the approach lies in the fact that the biometric measurements will correspond to the response of the person to specific events being however, fully unobtrusive and fully integrated in an Ambient Intelligence infrastructure. \nACTIBIO will target a multimodal approach fusing information from various sensors capturing either the dynamic behavioural profile of the user (face, gesture, gait, body dynamics) or the physiological response of the user to events (analysis of EEG and ECG). ACTIBIO will also research the use of unobtrusive sensors, either wearable (in garments of uniforms to capture body dynamics) or integrated in the infrastructure (sensing seat sensors capturing the anthropometric profile of the user, sound-based activity recognition sensors, etc.). \nIn this way ACTIBIO will develop novel activity related and soft biometrics technologies for substantially improving security, trust and dependability of always on networks and service infrastructures. The goal is to integrate biometric technologies in Ambient Intelligence security infrastructures in order to support continuous authentication and monitoring. Emphasis will be on the unobtrusiveness of the approach and the universal usage of such a system.\nThe developments will be evaluated with the active involvement of users through several alternative realistic usage scenarios in three pilot sites:\no\tSecurity operator pilot in the company indoor premises.\no\tVehicle driver unobtrusive continuous authentication to prevent hijacking.\no\tAuthentication via activity recognition and control in transactions through always on machines.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-09-2015 | Award Amount: 11.99M | Year: 2015

The Strategic Research Agenda of the EU Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technical platform requires new large infrastructures for its successful deployment. MYRRHA has been identified as a long term supporting research facility for all ESNII systems and as such put in the high-priority list of ESFRI. The goal of MYRTE is to perform the necessary research in order to demonstrate the feasibility of transmutation of high-level waste at industrial scale through the development of the MYRRHA research facility. Within MYRRHA as a large research facility, the demonstration of the technological performance of transmutation will be combined with the use for the production of radio-isotopes and as a material testing for nuclear fission and fusion applications. Numerical studies and experimental facilities are foreseen to reach this goal. Besides coordination, international collaboration and dissemination activities, the MYRTE proposal contains 5 technical work packages. The first and largest work-package is devoted to the realisation of the injector part of the MYRRHA accelerator to demonstrate the feasibility and required reliability of this non-semi-conducting part of the accelerator. The second work-package addresses the main outstanding technical issues in thermal hydraulics by numerical simulations and experimental validation. Pool thermal hydraulics and thermal hydraulics of the fuel assembly will be the focus of this WP. In the WP on LBE Chemistry, the evaporation from LBE, capture and deposition of Po and fission products will be studied in detail to complement the safety report. A small dedicated WP on experimental reactor physics is also foreseen to allow carrying out the necessary supplementary experiments at the GUINEVERE-facility to address the questions of the safety authorities. In a last WP, advanced studies on Americium-bearing oxide fuel are carried out to demonstrate the capability of developing minor actinide fuel for transmutation.


Baldini C.,University of Pisa | Talarico R.,University of Pisa | Tzioufas A.G.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Bombardieri S.,University of Pisa
Journal of Autoimmunity | Year: 2012

Over the years, several different criteria sets have been proposed for the classification of Sjögren's syndrome (SS), but none of them has been widely adopted by the scientific community until the publication of the 1993 Preliminary European Classification criteria. These Classification criteria have been largely employed both in clinical practice and in observational and interventional studies for many years. In 2002 the Preliminary European Criteria were re-examined by a joint American and European Committee. The result of this revision were the American and European Consensus Group classification criteria (AECG-criteria) which introduced more clearly defined rules for classifying patients with primary or secondary SS, and provided more precise exclusion criteria. These AECG-criteria set is now considered to be valid to ensure a specific diagnosis of SS by the vast majority of the expert in the field. To date, the AECG-criteria have been cited more than 1.304 in literature and have been used to estimate the point prevalence of the disease in several studies conducted in Greece, UK, Turkey and Norway. However, when employed in epidemiologic studies or in daily practice, the AECG-criteria have demonstrated a higher specificity (75%), but a lesser sensitivity (65.7%) in comparison to the previous Preliminary European criteria, indicating an average prevalence of pSS at ~ 0.2% in the adult population, which is far lower than previously reported. In this paper we will critically analyse the " pro and cons" of the current AECG-criteria and of the potential usefulness of some potential revisions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.16. | Award Amount: 10.28M | Year: 2011

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) recognizes in its roadmap for Research Infrastructures that in the near future, hydrogen, as an energy carrier derived from a number of other fuels, and fuel cells, as energy transformers, are expected to play a major role, for mobile and stationary applications. With the current fragmentation of the European R&D infrastructures and the uncoordinated approaches adopted, the demand for effective support of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (H2FC) technology developers cannot be satisfied. Therefore this proposal is built to integrate the European R&D community around rare and/or unique infrastructural elements that will facilitate and significantly enhance the R&D outcome. H2FCEuropean Infrastructure addresses the topic INFRA-2011-1.1.16 Research Infrastructures for H2FC Facilities and the related energy-chains, by bringing together, for the first time in Europe, the leading European R&D institutions of the H2 community together with those of the fuel cell community, covering the entire life-cycle of H2FC, i.e. hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and final use in fuel cells. The three pillars of the proposal are networking, transnational access and joint research activities. All are strongly interrelated and oriented towards the resolution of identified bottlenecks. The aim is to provide: A single integrated virtual infrastructure accommodating H2FC test and analysis facilities Transnational access for the H2FC R&D communities to advanced infrastructures Expert working groups to enhance work at the provided facilities and coordination in aspects of safety, performance and durability Central databases and libraries for safety, performance and durability data and modelling codes Coordination of relevant education and training actions Integration, enhancement and improvement of the existing infrastructures Coordination with national / international bodies and industrial activities (incl.


Camarri S.,University of Pisa | Giannetti F.,University of Salerno
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2010

This paper investigates the three-dimensional stability of the wake behind a symmetrically confined circular cylinder by a linear stability analysis. Emphasis has been placed on discussing analogies and differences with the unconfined case to highlight the role of the inversion of the von Kármán street in the nature of the three-dimensional transition. Indeed, in this flow, the vortices of opposite sign that are alternately shed from the body into the wake cross the symmetry line further downstream and they assume a final configuration which is inverted with respect to the unconfined case. It is shown that the transition to a three-dimensional state has the same space-time symmetries of the unconfined case, although the shape of the linearly unstable modes is affected by the inversion of the wake vortices. A possible interpretation of this result is given here. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.


Belardi V.,University of Pisa | Gallagher E.J.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Novosyadlyy R.,Imclone Systems | Leroith D.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia | Year: 2013

Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome are associated with multiple factors that may cause an increased risk for cancer and cancer-related mortality. Factors involved include hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and IGFs. Insulin resistance is also associated with alterations in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adipokines (leptin, adiponectin) that may also be contributing factors. The insulin family of proteins is ubiquitously expressed and has pleiotropic effects on metabolism and growth. However insulin, IGF-1 and particularly IGF-2 have been identified as tumor promoters in multiple studies. Mouse models have focused on insulin and IGF-1 and their receptors as being involved in tumor progression and metastases. The role of the insulin receptor as either mediating the effects on tumors or as compensating for the insulin-like growth factor receptor has arisen. Its role has been supported by preclinical studies and the importance of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia in obesity and early diabetes. Since the focus of this review is the insulin-family we will focus on insulin, IGF-1 and IGF-2. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Macchi A.,National Research Council Italy | Macchi A.,University of Pisa | Borghesi M.,Queen's University of Belfast | Borghesi M.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague | Passoni M.,Polytechnic of Milan
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2013

Ion acceleration driven by superintense laser pulses is attracting an impressive and steadily increasing effort. Motivations can be found in the applicative potential and in the perspective to investigate novel regimes as available laser intensities will be increasing. Experiments have demonstrated, over a wide range of laser and target parameters, the generation of multi-MeV proton and ion beams with unique properties such as ultrashort duration, high brilliance, and low emittance. An overview is given of the state of the art of ion acceleration by laser pulses as well as an outlook on its future development and perspectives. The main features observed in the experiments, the observed scaling with laser and plasma parameters, and the main models used both to interpret experimental data and to suggest new research directions are described. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Chiappe C.,University of Pisa | Mele A.,Polytechnic of Milan
Topics in Current Chemistry | Year: 2010

Aiming to develop environmentally compatible chemical syntheses, the replacement of traditional organic solvents with ionic liquids (ILs) has attracted considerable attention. ILs are special molten salts with melting points below 100°C that are typically constituted of organic cations (imidazolium, pyridinium, sulfonium, phosphonium, etc.) and inorganic anions. Due to their ionic nature, they are endowed with high chemical and thermal stability, good solvent properties, and non-measurable vapor pressure. Although the recovery of unaltered ILs and recycling partly compensate their rather high cost, it is important to develop new synthetic approaches to less expensive and environmentally sustainable ILs based on renewable raw materials. In fact, most of these alternative solvents are still prepared starting from fossil feedstocks. Until now, only a limited number of ILs have been prepared from renewable sources. Surprisingly, the most available and inexpensive raw material, i.e., carbohydrates, has been hardly exploited in the synthesis of ILs. In 2003 imidazolium-based ILs were prepared from d-fructose and used as solvents in Mizoroki-Heck and Diels-Alder reactions. Later on, the first chiral ILs derived from sugars were prepared from methyl d-glucopyranoside. In the same year, a family of new chiral ILs, obtained from commercial isosorbide (dianhydro-d-glucitol), was described. A closely related approach was followed by other researchers to synthesize mono- and bis-ammonium ILs from isomannide (dianhydro-d-mannitol). Finally, a few ILs bearing a pentofuranose unit as the chiral moiety were prepared using sugar phosphates as glycosyl donors and 1-methylimidazole as the acceptor. © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Riemann D.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Nissen C.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Palagini L.,University of Pisa | Otte A.,Offenburg University of Applied Sciences | And 2 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2015

Chronic insomnia is defined by difficulties in falling asleep, maintaining sleep, and early morning awakening, and is coupled with daytime consequences such as fatigue, attention deficits, and mood instability. These symptoms persist over a period of at least 3 months (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 criteria). Chronic insomnia can be a symptom of many medical, neurological, and mental disorders. As a disorder, it incurs substantial health-care and occupational costs, and poses substantial risks for the development of cardiovascular and mental disorders, including cognitive deficits. Family and twin studies confirm that chronic insomnia can have a genetic component (heritability coefficients between 42% and 57%), whereas the investigation of autonomous and central nervous system parameters has identified hyperarousal as a final common pathway of the pathophysiology, implicating an imbalance of sleep-wake regulation consisting of either overactivity of the arousal systems, hypoactivity of the sleep-inducing systems, or both. Insomnia treatments include benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine-receptor agonists, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Treatments currently under investigation include transcranial magnetic or electrical brain stimulation, and novel methods to deliver psychological interventions. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Crea F.,University of Pisa | Paolicchi E.,University of Pisa | Marquez V.E.,U.S. National Cancer Institute | Danesi R.,University of Pisa
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2012

Polycomb group genes (PcGs) are epigenetic effectors, essential for stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency. Two main Polycomb repressive complexes (PRC1, PRC2) mediate gene silencing through histone post-translational modifications. PcGs have been the focus of investigation in cancer research. Many cancer types show an over-expression of PcGs, predicting poor prognosis, metastasis and chemoresistance. Genetic polymorphisms of EZH2 (a PRC2 component) are significantly associated to lung cancer risk. Recently, 3-Deazaneplanocin A (DZNeP) was identified as an efficient inhibitor of PRC2 activity. DZNeP impairs cancer stem cell self-renewal and tumorigenicity. Despite the well-established role of PcGs in cancer stem cell biology, few studies dissected the clinical significance of these genes. In this paper, we explore PcGs as predictive and prognostic factors in oncology, with particular emphasis on what they can add to current biomarkers. We also propose a model for the rational development of DZNeP-based anticancer regimens and suggest the therapeutic applications of this drug. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Kormos M.,University of Pisa | Kormos M.,Momentum | Collura M.,University of Pisa | Calabrese P.,University of Pisa
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

It is widely believed that the stationary properties after a quantum quench in integrable systems can be described by a generalized Gibbs ensemble (GGE), even if all of the analytical evidence is based on free theories in which the pre- and postquench modes are linearly related. In contrast, we consider the experimentally relevant quench of the one-dimensional Bose gas from zero to infinite interaction, in which the relation between modes is nonlinear, and consequently Wick's theorem does not hold. We provide exact analytical results for the time evolution of the dynamical density-density correlation function at any time after the quench and we prove that its stationary value is described by a GGE in which Wick's theorem is restored. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Ardagna D.,Polytechnic of Milan | Panicucci B.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Passacantando M.,University of Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Services Computing | Year: 2013

In recent years, the evolution and the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architectures, autonomic, and utility computing have converged letting a new paradigm to emerge: cloud computing. Clouds allow the on-demand delivering of software, hardware, and data as services. Currently, the cloud offer is becoming wider day by day because all the major IT companies and service providers, like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, HP, IBM, and VMWare, have started providing solutions involving this new technological paradigm. As cloud-based services are more numerous and dynamic, the development of efficient service provisioning policies becomes increasingly challenging. In this paper, we take the perspective of Software as a Service (SaaS) providers that host their applications at an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider. Each SaaS needs to comply with quality-of-service requirements, specified in service-level agreement (SLA) contracts with the end users, which determine the revenues and penalties on the basis of the achieved performance level. SaaS providers want to maximize their revenues from SLAs, while minimizing the cost of use of resources supplied by the IaaS provider. Moreover, SaaS providers compete and bid for the use of infrastructural resources. On the other hand, the IaaS wants to maximize the revenues obtained providing virtualized resources. In this paper, we model the service provisioning problem as a generalized Nash game and we show the existence of equilibria for such game. Moreover, we propose two solution methods based on the best-reply dynamics, and we prove their convergence in a finite number of iterations to a generalized Nash equilibrium. In particular, we develop an efficient distributed algorithm for the runtime allocation of IaaS resources among competing SaaS providers. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by simulation and performing tests on a real prototype environment deployed on Amazon EC2. Results show that, compared to other state-of-the-art solutions, our model can improve the efficiency of the cloud system evaluated in terms of Price of Anarchy by 50-70 percent. © 2013 IEEE.


Seletskiy D.V.,University of New Mexico | Melgaard S.D.,University of New Mexico | Bigotta S.,University of Pisa | Bigotta S.,French German Research Institute of Saint Louis | And 3 more authors.
Nature Photonics | Year: 2010

Laser radiation has been used to cool matter ranging from dilute gases to micromechanical oscillators. In Doppler cooling of gases, the translational energy of atoms is lowered through interaction with a laser field1,2. Recently, cooling of a high-density gas through collisional redistribution of radiation has been demonstrated3. In laser cooling of solids, heat is removed through the annihilation of lattice vibrations in the process of anti-Stokes fluorescence4-6. Since its initial observation in 1995, research7-15 has led to achieving a temperature of 208K in ytterbium-doped glass16. In this Letter, we report laser cooling of ytterbium-doped LiYF4 crystal to a temperature of ∼155K starting from ambient, with a cooling power of 90mW. This is achieved by making use of the Stark manifold resonance in a crystalline host, and demonstrates the lowest temperature achieved to date without the use of cryogens or mechanical refrigeration. Optical refrigeration has entered the cryogenic regime, surpassing the performance of multi-stage Peltier coolers. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Sotiriadis S.,University of Pisa | Sotiriadis S.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Takacs G.,Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Takacs G.,Momentum | And 2 more authors.
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2014

We study a quantum quench of the mass and the interaction in the Sinh-Gordon model starting from a large initial mass and zero initial coupling. Our focus is on the determination of the expansion of the initial state in terms of post-quench excitations. We argue that the large energy profile of the involved excitations can be relevant for the late time behaviour of the system and common regularization schemes are unreliable. We therefore proceed in determining the initial state by first principles expanding it in a systematic and controllable fashion on the basis of the asymptotic states. Our results show that, for the special limit of pre-quench parameters we consider, it assumes a squeezed state form that has been shown to evolve so as to exhibit the equilibrium behaviour predicted by the Generalized Gibbs Ensemble. © 2014 The Authors.


Crocetti L.,University of Pisa | De Baere T.,Institute Of Cancerologie Gustave Roussy | Lencioni R.,University of Pisa
CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology | Year: 2010

The development of image-guided percutaneous techniques for local tumour ablation has been one of the major advances in the treatment of liver malignancies. Among these methods, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is currently established as the primary ablative modality at most institutions. RFA is accepted as the best therapeutic choice for patients with early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) when liver transplantation or surgical resection are not suitable options [1, 2]. In addition, RFA is considered a viable alternate to surgery (1) for inoperable patients with limited hepatic metastatic disease, especially from colorectal cancer, and (2) for patients deemed ineligible for surgical resection because of extent and location of the disease or concurrent medical conditions [3]. These guidelines were written to be used in quality-improvement programs to assess RFA of HCC and liver metastases. The most important processes of care are (1) patient selection, (2) performing the procedure, and (3) monitoring the patient. The outcome measures or indicators for these processes are indications, success rates, and complication rates. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE).


Palagini L.,University of Pisa | Biber K.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Riemann D.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Sleep Medicine Reviews | Year: 2014

Sleep is a complex physiological process and still remains one of the great mysteries of science. Over the past 10y, genetic research has provided a new avenue to address the regulation and function of sleep. Gene loci that contribute quantitatively to sleep characteristics and variability have already been identified. However, up to now, a genetic basis has been established only for a few sleep disorders. Little is yet known about the genetic background of insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders. According to the conceptualisation of the 3P model of insomnia, predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors contribute to the development and maintenance of insomnia. Growing evidence from studies of predisposing factors suggests a certain degree of heritability for insomnia and for a reactivity of sleep patterns to stressful events, explaining the emergence of insomnia in response to stressful life events. While a genetic susceptibility may modulate the impact of stress on the brain, this finding does not provide us with a complete understanding of the capacity of stress to produce long-lasting perturbations of brain and behaviour. Epigenetic gene-environment interactions have been identified just recently and may provide a more complex understanding of the genetic control of sleep and its disorders. It was recently hypothesised that stress-response-related brain plasticity might be epigenetically controlled and, moreover, several epigenetic mechanisms have been assumed to be involved in the regulation of sleep. Hence, it might be postulated that insomnia may be influenced by an epigenetic control process of both sleep mechanisms and stress-response-related gene-environment interactions having an impact on brain plasticity. This paper reviews the evidence for the genetic basis of insomnia and recent theories about epigenetic mechanisms involved in both sleep regulation and brain-stress response, leading to the hypothesis of an involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the development and maintenance of insomnia. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Gialdini G.,New York Medical College | Nearing K.,New York Medical College | Bhave P.D.,University of Iowa | Bonuccelli U.,University of Pisa | And 3 more authors.
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association | Year: 2014

IMPORTANCE: Clinically apparent atrial fibrillation increases the risk of ischemic stroke. In contrast, perioperative atrial fibrillation may be viewed as a transient response to physiological stress, and the long-term risk of stroke after perioperative atrial fibrillation is unclear. OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between perioperative atrial fibrillation and the long-term risk of stroke. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study using administrative claims data on patients hospitalized for surgery (as defined by surgical diagnosis related group codes), and discharged alive and free of documented cerebrovascular disease or preexisting atrial fibrillation from nonfederal California acute care hospitals between 2007 and 2011. Patients undergoing cardiac vs other types of surgery were analyzed separately. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Previously validated diagnosis codeswere used to identify ischemic strokes after discharge from the index hospitalization for surgery. The primary predictor variable was atrial fibrillation newly diagnosed during the index hospitalization, as defined by previously validated present-on-admission codes. Patients were censored at postdischarge emergency department encounters or hospitalizations with a recorded diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. RESULTS: Of 1 729 360 eligible patients, 24 711 (1.43%; 95%CI, 1.41%-1.45%) had new-onset perioperative atrial fibrillation during the index hospitalization and 13 952 (0.81%; 95%CI, 0.79%-0.82%) experienced a stroke after discharge. In a Cox proportional hazards analysis accounting for potential confounders, perioperative atrial fibrillation was associated with subsequent stroke both after noncardiac and cardiac surgery. (Table Presented) The association with stroke was significantly stronger for perioperative atrial fibrillation after noncardiac vs cardiac surgery (P < .001 for interaction). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among patients hospitalized for surgery, perioperative atrial fibrillation was associated with an increased long-term risk of ischemic stroke, especially following noncardiac surgery. Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.


Palagini L.,University of Pisa | Baglioni C.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Ciapparelli A.,University of Pisa | Gemignani A.,University of Pisa | Riemann D.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Sleep Medicine Reviews | Year: 2013

Disturbances of sleep are typical for most depressed patients and belong to the core symptoms of the disorder. Since the 1960s polysomnographic sleep research has demonstrated that besides disturbances of sleep continuity, depression is associated with altered sleep architecture, i.e., a decrease in slow wave sleep (SWS) production and disturbed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep regulation. Shortened REM latency (i.e., the interval between sleep onset and the occurrence of the first REM period), increased REM sleep duration and increased REM density (i.e., the frequency of rapid eye movements per REM period) have been considered as biological markers of depression which might predict relapse and recurrence. High risk studies including healthy relatives of patients with depression demonstrate that REM sleep alterations may precede the clinical expression of depression and may thus be useful in identifying subjects at high risk for the illness. Several models have been developed to explain REM sleep abnormalities in depression, like the cholinergic-aminergic imbalance model or chronobiologically inspired theories, which are reviewed in this overview. Moreover, REM sleep alterations have been recently considered not only as biological "scars" but as true endophenotypes of depression. This review discusses the genetic, neurochemical and neurobiological factors that have been implicated to play a role in the complex relationships between REM sleep and depression. We hypothesize on the one hand that REM sleep dysregulation in depression may be linked to a genetic predisposition/vulnerability to develop the illness; on the other hand it is conceivable that REM sleep disinhibition in itself is a part of a maladaptive stress reaction with increased allostatic load. We also discuss whether the REM sleep changes in depression may contribute themselves to the development of central symptoms of depression such as cognitive distortions including negative self-esteem and the overnight consolidation of negatively toned emotional memories. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2009.8.10 | Award Amount: 205.21K | Year: 2011

MULT.EU.SIM aims to gather the simulation research community in Europe to establish a joint vision of multiscale modelling and simulation. This will enable to prepare Europe to play a leading role in the opening era of computational sciences where multiscale simulation will profoundly change the scientific and technological practices.\nThis European vision will serve as the foundation for a joint effort with emphasis toward multiscale unified codes and standardized interfaces & workflows in a field that is currently very fragmented. Ultimately, the availability of such a multiscale code toolbox will put Europes industry in a strong IPR position.\nThe MULT.EU.SIMs consortium gathers prominent European stakeholders that have: (i) very good connections with all actors of the simulation community from academics to industry; (ii) long experience in managing such effort. It will ensure that the output of this effort will be as complete global and consensual as possible. It will take the form of a joint vision of multiscale modelling and simulation, and of a European research agenda for implementing that vision.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.65M | Year: 2015

Photonics will play a major, enabling role in the future of ICT and healthcare. However, to fulfill its potential and deliver on its promises, photonics will heavily rely on novel and more performing materials, that can be manufactured cheaply for the specific requirements of photonic applications. To lead this photonics revolution and rip the societal benefits of being at the leading-edge of novel technological and scientific developments, the EC needs a highly-skilled scientific and technical workforce that can effectively implement the transition to a truly knowledge-based society. SYNCHRONICS mission is to synergistically address both needs by training a pool of future science-leaders in the synthesis, characterisation and application to photonics of supramolecularly-engineered functional materials within state-of the-art photonic nanostructures fabricated thanks to the top-quality facilities and unique expertise available within the network. This kind of research requires an inter-multidisciplinary, intersectorial approach by specialized and skilled scientists from different disciplines, each one bringing a particular expertise: organic and supramolecular synthesis (UNI-OX,UNI-W, SURFLAY), theory (UNI-GE, IBM, UNI-GE), surface studies (UdS, UCL), photophysics (IIT, IBM, UCL, UNI-GE,UNI-CY, UNI-MO), device fabrication and characterisation (IBM, AMO, SURFLAY, UCL, IIT, UNI-PI, UNI-GE). The SYNCHRONIX Network, through the trans-national and trans-disciplinary coordination and integration of these 12, highly specialised and internationally-leading teams, consolidates the European training efforts in the emerging area of both supramolecular nanoscience and nanophotonics. SYNCHRONICS will deliver 540 person-months of unparalleled multidisciplinary and intersectorial training that is carefully and intensively structured through local, network wide, and extra-network training in both scientific/technical topics, as well as complementary and managerial skills.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-SEC-2007.1.7 | Award Amount: 4.26M | Year: 2008

The UAN project aims at conceiving, developing and testing at sea an innovative and operational concept for integrating in a unique system submerged, surface and aerial sensors with the objective of protecting critical infrastructures, such as off-shore platforms and energy plants. The security of such economically vital infrastructures requires an integrated approach involving underwater and land/air sensors and actuators for surveillance, monitoring and deterrence. In particular UAN focuses on a security oriented underwater wireless network infrastructure, realized by hydroacoustic communication. The UAN concept is to gather environmental information during the acoustic transmission and use it to predict the acoustic propagation conditions and the optimal obtainable performance at any given time. This information is used in the communication system for precise tuning. This tuning will take place at two different levels: i) by improving the basic point-to-point connection, by introducing physical and geometric constraints in the channel equalization and optimization process of the communication settings and ii) at the macro network configuration level by adapting node geometric configuration to the acoustic propagation conditions predicted from the environmental observations. This can be done in depth or in range by moving nodes placed on AUVs either to increase the point-to-point communication capacity or by serving as relay nodes to more distant, and at that time, inaccessible fixed nodes. This is a rather new approach that requires a better understanding of the acoustic propagation physics as well as a capacity to include that knowledge into technologically advanced communications modules and algorithms for underwater communications. The UAN project builds on a multidisciplinary consortium of technologically advanced industries, field experienced university labs and governmental agencies, thus grouping the required knowledge and experience.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-07-2014 | Award Amount: 6.94M | Year: 2015

The SSICLOPS project will focus on techniques for the management of federated private cloud infrastructures, in particular cloud networking techniques (within software-defined data centres and across wide-area networks). Key deliverables from the project will include a meta data description language for workloads, resources and policies, a flexible scheduling system using meta data, workload-specific adaptations to TCP/IP stacks, and data center performance analysis tools. Addressing topics, such as dynamic configuration, automated provisioning and orchestration of cloud resources the SSICLOPS projects will investigate high-performance, vertically integrated network stacks for intra/inter-cloud communication and efficient, scalable, and secure intra/inter-DC and client-facing transport mechanisms. The project will design, implement, demonstrate, and evaluate three specific use cases, namely a cloud-based in-memory database, the analysis of physics experiment data, and the prototypical extension of network stacks for a telecom provider in the SSICLOPS testbed.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.3.5 | Award Amount: 7.10M | Year: 2010

Efficient deployment and management has been identified as one of the main problems for the acceptance of new technologies based on Cooperating Objects (COs). The goal of PLANET is to provide an integrated planning and maintenance platform that enables the deployment, operation and maintenance of heterogeneous networked COs in an efficient way. The main objective of the project particularly emphasizes the capability of the platform to support deployment and operation strategies for large-scale systems composed of unmanned ground and aerial vehicles cooperating with wireless sensor/actuator networks. PLANET addresses the design methodology and development of the platform as well as the algorithms required to support the deployment and maintenance of heterogeneous systems with mobile and static nodes. The most challenging algorithms that will form the core functionality of the PLANET platform are: optimal planning to achieve optimal coverage; network-centric, cooperative sensing/actuation; cooperative transportation and retrieval of nodes; data mulling techniques; secure, non-intrusive monitoring of the network for failures and possible threats; synthetic network simulation; user interface algorithms for the efficient usage of the platform by non-experts. All of these have to be solved in the presence of rather adverse conditions (high mobility, ad-hoc and dynamic resource changes, etc.) and taking into account the QoS requirements of the applications. The PLANET platform will be validated in two scenarios: An environmental and wildlife monitoring application deployed in the Doana Biological Reserve (Spain); and the management of a highly automated airfield which could be used as the operating base of unmanned vehicles for the previous application. Both scenarios, although complementary, have very different requirements regarding the QoS needed from the system and, thus, enable the PLANET platform to show its adaptation and self-organization capabilities in diverse settings.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.8.5 | Award Amount: 7.94M | Year: 2010

Future software-intensive systems, such as sensor networks, power grids, satellite and robot swarms, will generally exhibit a number of characteristic features:* Massive numbers of nodes, nodes with complex behavior, or complex interactions between nodes.* Operation in open and non-deterministic environments with variable network topology.* Need for adaptation, e.g., to changing environments and requirements.We call this future generation of software-intensive systems ensembles. The potentially huge impact - both positive and negative - of ensembles means that we need to understand ways to reliably and predictably model, design, and program them.Although there is a lot of research in this area, so far no theoretically well-founded technique for building ensembles exists. The goal of the ASCENS project is to develop such a method and to demonstrate its feasibility in three important application domains: robot swarms, cloud computing and e-mobility.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2008-1.3-2 | Award Amount: 3.42M | Year: 2009

The InLiveTox project will form an interdisciplinary consortium at the European level, together with a key American research group to develop an improved in vitro model for the study of nanoparticle (NP) uptake, transport and cellular interaction, thus advancing our understanding of NP toxicity. Rather than repeat what has, or is being done in the field of aerosol NP and lung toxicology, InLiveTox will focus on the impact of NP exposure via ingestion, in the healthy and diseased gastrointestinal (GI) tract, vascular endothelium and liver. The key questions in this study are: (i) How do these tissues individually respond to NPs? (ii) How do the interactions between the different tissues modulate their responses? (iii) How does inflammation affect the toxicity of NPs and their ability cross the intestinal barrier? (iv) Which physico-chemical characteristics of NPs influence their uptake by intestinal epithelial cells and their subsequent interactions with endothelial and liver cells? The objective of InLiveTox will be to develop a novel modular microfluidics-based in vitro test system modelling the response of cells and tissues to the ingestion of NPs. Cell culture modules of target tissues such as the GI tract, the liver and the endothelium will be connected via a microfluidics system so that knock-on and cross talk effects between organs and tissues can be monitored. A major innovative aspect of the InLiveTox project pertains to the implementation of biological tissue models in a microfabricated compartmental cell culture system that allows multiple cell types to be addressed and investigated in combination. This system will be much easier, more convenient and ethically less questionable than animal testing, as well as more relevant than the in vitro single cell /co-culture models currently used. For this study, applications of the model will focus on NP toxicology, but the system could also be widely used in various applications of toxicology and pharmacology.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.28M | Year: 2010

The main research goal of SEACOAT is to improve understanding of biointerfacial processes involved in the colonisation of surfaces by marine fouling organisms. Our vision is that this enhanced understanding will inform the future development of new, environmentally-benign materials and coatings for the practical control of marine biofouling. Our principal objective is to discover which nano- and micro-scale physico-chemical properties of surfaces influence the adhesion of fouling organisms, through the use of surface engineering technologies to fabricate coatings that vary systematically in relevant surface properties, and length scales. We will use advanced surface analytical methods to characterise test surfaces for relevant physico-chemical surface properties and how these change after immersion. Parallel adhesion bioassays using a range of representative marine organisms will test intrinsic antifouling properties of surfaces. The network is an interdisciplinary cooperative of chemists, physicists and marine biologists. Intersectoral aspects unite basic and applied scientists working in universities, a large company and an SME. The projects S&T objectives will be delivered through research in 4 main Work Packages: viz. WP1-Surface Engineering, WP2-Surface Analytics, WP3-Bioadhesion, WP4- Integration. Two additional Work Packages (WP5, WP6) will be concerned with the Dissemination of project results and the Management of the Network respectively. The aim of the Training Programme is to increase the knowledge base and experience of trainees in each of the Thematic Areas and to develop their transferable skills for future careers in industry or academia. Six training objectives will be delivered through a suite of 7 Core Skills Areas (Research Project, Advanced Training Courses, Project Conferences, International Winter Workshop, Career Development Plan, Generic Research Skills, Transferable Research Skills).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: Fission-2011-5.1.1 | Award Amount: 582.91K | Year: 2012

Nuclear power in general requires highly qualified, skilled and well trained professionals in order to assure the supply of energy and to secure safe operation and the development of reliable technology. The recent Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 firmly underscores such requirements. At the same time, the IAEA and OECD/NEA has observed a shortage of high level graduates educated in the nuclear field, combined with the retirement of professionals in the nuclear sector. For this reason, the EU Council issued conclusions and recommendations in the field of needs for skills in the nuclear field in December 2008. Currently, the EU and Canada work on the Super-Critical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR), a reactor concept selected by the Generation-IV International Forum because of the advantages regarding safety and sustainability. The EURECA! project, being a collaboration between the EU and Canada, will define an international education & training program which (i) enhances the skills of current professionals in the nuclear sector, (ii) attracts young graduates and professionals in other sectors to work in the nuclear field and (iii) enhances the mobility of professionals in the EU and Canada. The project focuses on the innovative SCWR concept due to its attractiveness to graduates and young professionals and to pave the way for future collaboration between the EU and Canada on this reactor type. Although the SCWR is still a conceptual reactor, the level of knowledge and skills regarding current, water-cooled reactors will be improved and ensured as well, since the concepts and technology of the SCWR are close to the ones of conventional water-cooled nuclear plants. The EURECA! project consists of a European organizational branch (consisting of EU participants), and a mirrored, Canadian organizational branch (consisting of Canadian participants). Although financially separated, both branches will have a strongly symbiotic, collaborative relationship.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: AAT-2007-4.1-05 | Award Amount: 8.21M | Year: 2008

Truly flexible automation of -low volume, -high value per part components, -managing quality assurance aspect throughout the value chain is a key research area for the manufacturing and production community in Europe. The FLEXA project has identified key elements for delivering advancement in this area. The key areas of research will be; cell design solutions in line with product design decisions; fusion of knowledge generated in manufacturing through a rigorous data management structure; virtual manufacturing and automated off line preparation including quality assurance; human-machine interaction and restart capabilities. The FLEXA object will be: To create the tools, methods and technologies needed to define, prepare and validate an automated flexible cell that can manufacture a generic process chain allowing for safe human interaction and deliver quality assured parts for the European aero space industry. Meeting this objective will be a major challenge for the consortium members. All members are committed to contribute with dedicated, competent and skilled people. The project proposes to significantly contribute to the long term objectives for European aero industry, i.e. to deliver technology readiness by 2020 towards the following three subjects: Reduce aircraft development costs by 50%, Create a competitive supply chain able to halve time to market, Reduce travel charges FLEXA is delivering: - Knowledge based manufacturing through reuse of manufacturing information; -10% reduced engine development time; -5% lower engine development cost. : -20% decrease in manufacturing preparation lead time; -50% fewer prototypes in manufacturing preparation phases; -15% less scrap during component development; -Virtual tools for prediction and preparation of manufacturing. : -30% lower product cost; -2 times increased production rate with same process equipment; -25% less scrap during component manufacturing.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-23-2014 | Award Amount: 7.13M | Year: 2015

The main obstacle to a wide-spread adoption of advanced manipulation systems in industry is their complexity, fragility, lack of strength, and difficulty of use. This project describes a path of disruptive innovation for the development of simple, compliant, yet strong, robust, and easy-to-program manipulation systems. The idea is: Soft Manipulation (SoMa). SoMa explores a new avenue of robotic manipulation with the environment, as opposed to manipulation of or in the environment. In our approach, the physical constraints imposed by objects in the environment and the manipulandum itself are not regarded as obstacles, but rather as opportunities to guide functional hand pre-shaping, adaptive grasping, and affordance-guided manipulation of objects. The exploitation of these opportunities, which we refer to as environmental constraints (EC), enables robust grasping and manipulation in dynamic, open, and highly variable environments. The key ingredient for the exploitation of EC is softness of hands, i.e. their embodied ability to comply and adapt to features of the environment. The traditional paradigm for robotic manipulation is in complete disarray in front of this shift of focus: state-of-the-art grasp planners are targeted towards rigid hands and objects, and attempt to find algorithmic solutions to inherently complex, often ill-posed problems. Further complicating matters, the requirement of planning for soft, uncertain interactions between hand and environment is entirely beyond the state of the art. However, this is how humans most often use their hands, and how we plan to change robotic manipulation.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.2.1 | Award Amount: 7.41M | Year: 2013

Despite the remarkable developments in robotics, and the many years and the millions Euros spent, robotics could not yet demonstrate readiness to help in recent catastrophic situations. This project aims to develop a humanoid that will be able to operate in de-structured spaces, demonstrating apt and strong manipulation, robust locomotion, and physical sturdiness. We aim to advance the locomotion capabilities to permit humanoids to walk and balance against disturbances by exploiting their whole body motion and the workspace constraints. We target to advance the manipulation skills of humanoids by looking on new hand that combine robustness and adaptability allowing less delicate use of the hands for manipulation as well for locomotion/balancing assistance. We rely on four powerful enabling ideas: 1) an integrated approach to whole-body locomotion and manipulation (loco-manipulation), where all body parts contribute to produce and balance motion, as well as to produce the large manipulation forces needed in a disaster environment; 2) loco-manipulation affordances mediating perception, cognition and action; 3) soft robotic actuators technologies, to afford adaptability and robustness, and 4) ) efficient any-time planning algorithms exploiting a robust and consistent control hierarchy based on the theory of motion description languages and symbolic control. We will define stringent and plausible validation scenarios, including but not limited to those of the DARPA robotic challenge. The Consortium will generate a European entry to the DARPA Robotic Challenge to participate in the final trials in December 2014, to which we have been officially invited. However, our work will not be targeted to a system adjusted to the requirements of this or any specific challenge. In the second part of the project civil defense corps will define specifications for real-world use. Our true goal is when the need will unfortunately arise again, robotics will be there to help.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.3-04 | Award Amount: 4.03M | Year: 2012

The main idea of the PERFORMANCE project is to develop and validate a holistic, personalized food supply chain for frail elderly in nursing homes, ambient assisted living facilities or at home (served by nursing services). The supply chain in this case will resemble a loop with the elderly consumers forming the initial link (personal preference and needs) and final link (consumption). As a result PERFORMANCE project, an overall concept will be available which allows the automatic manufacturing and supply of personalized, specially textured food for frail elderly. To answer these questions, the PERFORMANCE concept will cover the whole supply chain from the food producer to the ready-to eat-meal at consumers place (both in nursing facilities and at home). Focus will be put on personalized food for people with mastication and swallowing problems (i.e. not only elderly). This group presents 5% of the elderly and has special texture requirements for the food preparation. Elderly in general require careful consideration of various determinants of their nutritional and health status. In contrast to younger people, the impact of nutrition on their well-being and health status is way higher in elderly. The nutritional status of elderly is influenced not only through the aging process, the health status (physiological and physical disabilities) but also through psychological (e.g. the way food is prepared), social-economic factors (available income). Therefore, the PERFORMANCE project will mean a great step forward to improve the Quality of Life of the elderly by offering them a complete new personalised nutritional concept able to increase their independency, health status and social life.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.8.5 | Award Amount: 4.50M | Year: 2009

Most of todays robots have rigid structures and actuators which require complex software control algorithms and sophisticated sensor systems in order to behave adaptable, compliant, and safe in contact with unknown environments or with humans. Moreover, in terms of energy efficiency, peak force and speed, these robots are still considerably weaker than their biological archetypes. An alternative design approach is to build actuators with physically adjustable compliance and damping, which are able to store and release mechanical energy, react softly when touching the environment, and provide an intrinsic degree of safety, just like muscles do. The ability to vary the impedance (i.e., stiffness and damping) is crucial in order to optimally adapt to a large variety of situations. However, the technological realisation of such systems is very challenging, having many open problems in terms of materials, design, actuation, and control concepts. VIACTORS addresses the development and use of safe, energy-efficient, and highly dynamic variable-impedance actuation systems which will permit the embodiment of natural characteristics, found in biological systems, into a new generation of mechatronic systems. Target outcome of the project is that of obtaining the intended physical interaction and motion behaviours of the robotic system intrinsically by its physical structures to the maximum extent possible. This will not only save computational and communication costs for controlling the robot motion; it will also allow us to match the task requirements in a natural and highly dynamic way as it can be observed in biology. And, perhaps most important, to provide a powerful, human-like physical interface which can be accessed by higher (cognitive) intelligence levels without having to care for basic motion generation principles. This advance in technology will pave the way towards new application fields, such as industrial co-workers, household robots, advanced prostheses and rehabilitation devices, and autonomous robots for exploration of space and hostile environments. Therefore, results of this project will deeply impact applications where successful task completion requires people and robots to collaborate directly in a shared workspace or robots to move autonomously and as efficiently as humans.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.2.1 | Award Amount: 9.58M | Year: 2010

The scientific goals of the proposal revolve around the reciprocal linkages between the physical hand and its high-level control functions, and about the way that the embodiment enables and determines its behaviours and cognitive functions. THE Hand Embodied refers to the hand as both a cognitive entity standing for the sense of active touch and as the physical embodiment of such sense, the organ, comprised of actuators and sensors that ultimately realize the link between perception and action. The study of the intrinsic relationship between the hand as a cognitive abstraction and its bodily instance will be made possible by: (a) performing neuroscientific and perceptual behavioural studies with participants engaged in controlled manual activities; and (b) the parallel development of a theoretical framework to lay the foundations for design and control of robotic hands and haptic interfaces. The general idea is to study how the embodied characteristics of the human hand and its sensors, the sensorimotor transformations, and the very constraints they impose, affect and determine the learning and control strategies we use for such fundamental cognitive functions as exploring, grasping and manipulating. The ultimate goal of the present proposal is to learn from human data and hypotheses-driven simulations how to devise improved system architectures for the hand as a cognitive organ, and eventually how to better design and control robot hands and haptic interfaces. The project hinges about the conceptual structure and the geometry of such enabling constraints, or synergies: correlations in redundant hand mobility (motor synergies), correlations in redundant cutaneous and kinaesthetic receptors readings (multi-cue integration), and overall sensorimotor system synergies. These are also our key ideas for advancing the state of the art in artificial systems for robotic manipulation and haptic and neuroprosthetic interfaces.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IRSES | Award Amount: 478.80K | Year: 2011

The project is finalized to establish long-term research co-operations through a coordinated joint program of research staff exchanges for short periods on the following topics: selection of plant species according to ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological approaches; breeding to preserve biodiversity and gene reservation of food, medicinal and aromatic plants; cultivation of food, medicinal and aromatic plant species to improve the quality of the starting material for industrial use (using good agrotechnological guidelines); biotechnological protocols for the production of standardized plant material or for the maintainance of plant species; identification of rural areas which have to be examined as mapped sites and official knowledge degree of the nutraceuticals field; extraction, isolation and structural elucidation of secondary metabolites from plants in order to evaluate biological properties of plant extracts and their bioactive constituents as nutraceutical ingredients with innovative techniques and facilities; development of extraction and quali-quantitative evaluation of plant constituents with medicinal, food, agronomic and industrial interest (bioactive compounds, essential oils, natural aroma, flavour, fragrances, natural dyes); chemical profile of essential oils and volatile fractions for the selection of essential oil from different plant families; development and validation of bio-analytical methods devoted to biomarkers and active compounds in plant extracts; evaluation of antibacterial, antioxidant, cytotoxic, genotoxic, mutagen and antimutagen, apoptotic activity of plant extracts and derivatives; structure-activity relationship studies on standardized extracts or new bioactive compounds isolated from the selected plant material; Emi- or total synthesis of novel products from natural products identified as molecular target to development new drugs.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2007.3.6 | Award Amount: 848.38K | Year: 2008

Wearable electronics embedded in or transformed into textile systems are a new generation of products that contribute to economy as well as to society. SYSTEX wants to bring partners involved in European projects in this area together in order to group the results of numerous efforts that are currently going on. It wants to expand the platform to national level and to merge textiles and organic electronics. Inter-project agreements must enable a higher level of exchange of knowledge and materials between linked projects. Information on technical and non technical aspects of RTD and commercialization of intelligent textile systems will be collected and made available through a web based tool. Training materials will be collected as well as demonstrators that can be used for specialists as well as for a wider public. The project wants to become a single point of contact for all matters related to intelligent textile systems, linking existing initiatives and completing their activities.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-NIGHT | Award Amount: 57.10K | Year: 2010

ROCKNaims to favour a direct contact between researchers and the large public in way that people could understand and give the right value to the great contribution they give to our daily life. At the same time, the project intends to offer researchers opportunities to meet the public at large in informal situations, not only sharing with it experiences, emotions, difficulties, but also involving it in significant aspects of their life not only regarding their professional ones. The scheduled events had been selected to offer public surprising and unexpected approaches to attract the interest of different target groups: researchers and public will appreciate themselves walking, playing music, dances, cooking, playing games... The project will develop in fascinating locations where researches on the mystery of our origin will be compared with the results of the most modern and future scientific field: primates and the iCub robot, archaeology and virtual reality, botanic and nanotechnologies, everything experienced by amusing and shared fun. ROCKNwill reinforce the main Genoese scientific institutions not only at local but also at regional, national and European level and, at the same time, it will give support to young researchers to make easier their relations with entrepreneurs and companies favouring their career development. Moreover, the project will impact also in the Mediterranean countries by the 2010 Biennale del Mediterraneo involving, in this way, researchers from the third countries as well. The project is included in the extraordinary process aiming at developing the hi-tech pole in Genoa and at promoting the citizens interest in researchers activity, by mean of the Festival of Science that, since 8 years, is having an extraordinary success. The combination between science and Archaeological Museum offers a further interesting element for the public at large, promoting a wider idea of culture able to overcome the traditional academic boundaries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.5.1 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2010

PSYCHE project will develop a personal, cost-effective, multi-parametric monitoring system based on textile and portable sensing platform for the long and short term acquisition of data.The patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder will be placed at the epicentre of its management, for treatment and prevention of depressive and manic episodes.The system will use wearable and portable devices for acquiring, monitoring and communicating physiological parameters, behavioural and mood correlated indexes (i.e. vital body signs, biochemical markers and voice analysis).The acquired data will be processed and analyzed in the established platform that takes into consideration the Electronic Health Records (EHR) of the patient, the parameters set up in the first stage between bipolar and non-bipolar individuals, as well as medical analysis in order to verify the diagnosis and help in prognosis of the illness.Finally communication and feedback to the patient will be performed through a direct contact with the patient and device, or by communication between physician and patient.Constant feedback and monitoring will be used to manage illness, to give patients support, to facilitate interaction between patient and physician as well as to alert professionals in case of patients relapse and depressive or manic episodes income.PSYCHE project will focus on the following objectives:\ni) Implementation of a sensing platform physiological and behavioural monitoring for patients with bipolar disorders\nii) Development of novel portable devices for the monitoring of biochemical markers, voice analysis and a behavioural index correlated to mental illness\niii) Brain functionality: in order to correlate central measures o with clinical assessment and the parameters measured by Psyche platform\niv) Data mining and managing: The ultimate goal is to identify signal trends indicating detection and prediction of critical events\nv) The system will contain a patient and professional close loop


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.6.6 | Award Amount: 5.11M | Year: 2014

The aim of this proposal is to develop a service platform that connects the providers and controllers of transport in cities with the travellers in a way that information flows are optimized while respecting and supporting the individual freedom safety and security of the traveller. Cities will get an integrated platform to enable the provision of citizen-centric, demand-adaptive city-wide transportation services. Travellers will get mobile applications that facilitate them in making travel priorities and choices for route and modality. The work will result in a city-wide transportation system comprised of several sub-systems that involve transportation services and policies to be adaptive to the travel demand of the citizens. To achieve this, the platform will fuse different data from various city sources, travel operators and citizens, perform a broad class of predictive analytics, detect the real-time events based on the analytical information and real-time data, and provide information services to the transportation service providers and city stakeholders to optimize the transportation offerings according to the citizens interests. The envisioned platform will address key research challenges by (a) enabling a coherent model of mobility patterns via the capture of their multi-dimensional, collective, analytical and dynamic aspects, (b) driving the application of this model via incorporation into various transportation services and city-level policy evaluations. The project will pay specific attention to the governance aspects on how to handle the public private and privacy issues of connecting travellers, cities and transport providers together through such a platform. Three cities with very different use cases will implement and evaluate the platform and will host three demonstrations of a mobile Personal Mobility Advisor app.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2012-2 | Award Amount: 3.35M | Year: 2012

Worldwide about 7 million tonnes of coated paper, paperboard and cardboard (cartons) are currently manufactured annually mainly for food and beverage packaging. The standard coating material currently used is petrochemical-based polyethylene (PE). Typical laminate packaging contains about 20% of this material. Increased political, legislative and consumer pressure to reduce the dependency on fossil fuel based plastics poses a major challenge for packaging producers to seek sustainably sourced alternative materials that do not harm the environment in their manufacture, exhibit enhanced recyclability and offer similar performance to their conventional plastic counterparts. There is a need to provide producers of coated carton manufacturers with a bio-based material that will enable them to substitute much of the currently used PE coating without compromising the humidity barrier properties of the resulting packaging materials and overcome the current challenge to the recycling of such packaging. This project will build on past research that has revealed that Whey protein coating can replace existing plastic coatings in multilayer packaging and enhance their recyclability. A coating system will be developed based on renewable raw materials derived from agrofood waste and its technological application for extrusion coating cartons to produce packaging materials for both solid and liquid food products. The innovative coating formulations will be based on proteins from whey and potato starch. The resulting laminates will be validated for their suitability to replace the currently used synthetic plastics in a range of carton packaging materials and the improvement of the recycling process whereby the biodegradation of the extruded bio-coating will allow separating more easily the other combined layers will also be proved. Uptake of the novel bio-material will increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the EU packaging industry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2 | Award Amount: 3.33M | Year: 2008

In the food industry, the oxidation of fats, oils, and other food components produces off-flavours, off-colours and nutrient loss. Protection against oxygen is a vital requirement of food packaging. Common synthetic polyolefin films such as PE and PP are excellent moisture barriers, but must be coated or laminated with synthetic polymers including EVOH and PVDC copolymers to provide an oxygen barrier. The resulting polymeric structures, while effective in minimising the permeation of oxygen, water vapour, and odour, are characterised by their poor reuse due to difficulties in separating each layer for its individual recycling. For this reason, scientists are continually investigating alternative packaging materials such as the use of biopolymers. Despite all the advantages offered by biopolymer films, they present limitations in their application due to a series of physical properties and difficulties in formation. Recent academic studies reveal that whey, the milk protein by-product of cheese production, acts as a good moisture-barrier film with acceptable mechanical integrity. In addition, the use of whey coating on plastic films can improve the recyclability and reuse of the plastic layer by removing the whey protein chemically or enzymatically. This present project will build on past research in order to arrive at a commercially feasible technique for developing whey coated plastic films, without compromising the oxygen or moisture barrier performance of conventional plastic films, while increasing their recyclability. The impact of this project will be considerable and embraces many issues: finding a value-added commercial use of currently discarded whey protein, replacing harmful petroleum-based plastics with a natural by-product which would safeguard the performance and enhance the recyclability of substrate film, meeting to growing consumer and political environmental concerns, thus adding huge value for EU packaging, food and dairy industries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2011-2.2.1 | Award Amount: 5.72M | Year: 2011

In accordance with the ESNII roadmap MYRRHA will be the first HLM cooled nuclear system to be deployed in Europe. The SEARCH project aims to support the licensing process of MYRRHA by investigating the safe chemical behaviour of the fuel and coolant in the reactor. The control of the oxygen content and the management of impurities in the melt will be studied. A second critical issue in the safety assessment of a nuclear system is the compatibility of the fuel with the coolant after fuel pin leakage or a core melt. The full analyses of these scenarios using validated codes require more experimental data on basic properties of the interactions between the materials involved. For that the heat transfer coefficients of a wire-spaced fuel bundle and the basic chemical behaviour of a mixture of fuel, coolant and clad materials range will be studied at relevant temperatures. The compatibility experiments will be done with UO2, PuO2 and unirradiated MOX fuel, addressing the energy release, solubility in the coolant and fuel-coolant-clad compound formation. Fuel dispersion in the coolant will be simulated by a suitable numerical approach, aiming to address the migration of the fuel and the possibility to have criticality problems due to fuel accumulation. The prevention of risks to the general public will be studied by looking into the escape of radioactive materials including fission products and heavy volatile elements as Po and Hg into the environment. The kinetics and efficiency of methods to capture these elements in the covergas system will be examined. The evaporation of Po and Hg from LBE will be measured to obtain a full data set for licensing. Issues related to Po management will be also addressed by an ab initio theoretical approach, predicting its solubility in LBE, the interaction with noble metals to select possible getters and studying formation of Po-compounds.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.3.1-01 | Award Amount: 2.12M | Year: 2013

In the context of European Space Policy and its requirements regarding achieving solid technological basis and industry competitiveness, SMEs play an integral role in the research and development of new technology. To prepare for the long-term expeditions of space programmes, some critical factors should be taken into account before the launching: ensuring that astronauts are mentally and physically prepared for the missions demands, and maintaining them in good health during and after the mission. Unfortunately, the space environment continues to have a negative effect on the astronauts health. Therefore, the STAMAS consortium has identified the need for developing a new type of astronauts suit, a smart-suit, which will mitigate the pernicious effects of weightlessness and motor inactivity. The project will utilise existing terrestrial experience in Shape Memory Alloys (SMA)/Electroactive Polymer (EAP) technology, and built upon this knowledge to develop an effective solution for usage in space. This adaptation will include substituting conventional hydraulic actuators for those based on biometric sensors, and control features. The overall objective is to analyse the suitability and to bring experience on the SMA and EAP based actuation technologies addressing terrestrial applications, to research in new concepts of artificial muscles for biofeedback astronauts suits, as an alternative to current technologies. To effectively adapt the current technology to on-board space requirements, and to make the electromechanical actuators of the developed artificial muscles for biofeedback suits more efficient, safer, smaller, and lighter, the consortium will take full advantage of smart technology. Finally, the Consortium, led by ARQUIMEA, is a balanced group of SMEs and Research Institutions that will develop validated devices to have strong impact on the space industry, facilitate high-risk/high-impact research and innovation, and contribute to new research alliances


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: NMP-2007-3.1-2 | Award Amount: 5.45M | Year: 2008

Economical and health interests of skin problems are fast growing issues in Europe, following the remarkable extension in life expectancy in western countries, together with the increased awareness of UV radiation risks. Personalized health care approach has been discussed over the past few years and had been accompanied by developing innovative technologies capable of identifying specific biomarkers, supporting a personalized diagnosis and treatments, especially concerning bio-compatibility of drugs. Skin Treat intends to develop and validate nano-chemical and bio- technologies to achieve an accurate matching of drugs, and drug delivery vehicles, to skin diseases and sub pathogenic skin conditions in their individual context. The project will design novel generation of pharmaceutical products, as well as consumer personalized service, in order to fit customers tailored needs with a support of strategic consortium based on partnership among SMEs and research organizations. The development of personalized skin therapy protocols requires achieving an accurate diagnostics of skin condition and an extensive analysis of biological markers. Non invasive methods as well as minimal invasive skin sampling, will support the establishment of a range of biological profiles corresponding to skin diseases and skin sub pathologic conditions. Statistical processing of these data will allow defining biomarkers patterns specifically associated with given clinical conditions. A bio-informatics data mining protocol will be elaborated, together with multifunctional biomarker analysis software, to build a refined, personalized diagnosis method. Finally, the computer data analysis will yield a decision support system (DSS) to assist dermatologists, chemist and clients for prescription of personalized treatment. Skin Treat concept will be evaluated by a wet pilot study of the whole ervice chain on a few, selected skin disorders like psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and UV skin photo-aging damages.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2013.3.1 | Award Amount: 4.41M | Year: 2014

The project aims at developing reliable predictive models to estimate long-term (i.e. > 20 kh) performance and probability of failure of SOFC stacks based on existing materials and design produced by the industrial partners. This will allow the realization of stacks with extended service intervals and reduced maintenance cost with respect to the present stack technology. The extension of service life will be supported by the introduction of Early Warning Output Signals triggered counterstrategies. The project is structured into three phases: consolidation of knowledge and refinement of models on a previously operated State of Art stack (1st Loop); enhancement of materials, design and predictive models via iterative loops (Improvement Iterative Loop); statistical validation of achieved improvements via standard and accelerated tests (Validation Process). The stack is a system of interfaces/interphases giving rise to complex phenomena that which have to be separated in single phenomena processes. The single phenomena are generated by the minimum of interfaces/interphases in a quasi-independent way and therefore suitable for a separate deep investigation via micro-samples studies. The improvements will be especially validated by: the application of accelerated test protocols; the evaluation of robustness of stacks and components toward load cycles and thermal cycles. The comparison with an operating not cycled stack will give the value of performance (voltage) loss for the rated stack life cycle that has to be <5% for 100 load cycles (idle to rated load) or 50 thermal cycles (room temperature to operating temperature). The outcomes will be statistically demonstrated by operating 6 stacks in standard conditions and a minimum of 3 micro-sample per interphase in standard, cycled and accelerated conditions with constant monitoring via modelling.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SEC-2007-4.2-04 | Award Amount: 15.47M | Year: 2009

The EULER project proposal gathers major players in Europe in the field of wireless systems communication integration and software defined radio (SDR), is supported by a strong group of end-users, and aims to define and actually demonstrate how the benefits of SDR can be leveraged in order to drastically enhance interoperability and fast deployment in case of crisis needed to be jointly resolved. The proposed activities span the following topics:proposal for a new high-data-rate waveform for homeland security, strenghtening and maturing ongoing efforts in Europe in the field of SDR standardisation, implementation of Software defined radio platforms, associated assessment of the proposal for high-data-rate waveform for security, and realisation of an integrated demonstrator targeted towards end-users. Significant interaction with E.U stakeholders in the field of security forces management will contribute in shaping a European vision for interoperability in joint operations for restoring safety after crisis.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 546.00K | Year: 2013

The main objective of the TEAP project (A Traceability and Early warning system for supply chain of Agricultural Products: Complementarities between EU and China) is obtaining a better mutual understanding of the agricultural product quality and safety in both the European Union and China, and deep in the knowledge of the technologies that assure these final objectives. The program centers in four areas: 1- Good Agricultural Practices and Quality Standards in application; 2- Alert programs in the production and disease warning models; 3- HACCP software in the logistics; 4- Traceability systems for the supply chain of agricultural products seed-to-plate. First, we wish to understand the specific characteristics of the four working areas in both sides (EU and China), analyzing the different on the field working protocols and technologies used and developed by the partners. A point of special interest is sharing knowledge about the specific/local pathogens. Secondly, we wish to evaluate the applicability of the different approaches and technologies in both areas, analyzing the required changes in order to adapt them to the specific conditions. A key point is assuring the accomplishment of the normative and regulations in both areas. Third, we shall study how to improve actual technologies and methods jointly, this would be the origin of next common research projects. In this project, we focus in putting in common actual developments, technologies, working schema and analyzing their compatibility (based on GLOBALGAP), preparing the way for future common research projects. The objectives will be achieved via staff exchange between the different partners and thematic workshops (linked with the four working areas), distributed equally between the EU and China. Finally, we wish to improve the actual relations between the partners of both sides, fixing areas for long time collaboration.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.2.1 | Award Amount: 3.31M | Year: 2011

This project will create a self-learning robotic ecology, called RUBICON (for Robotic UBIquitous COgnitive Network), consisting of a network of sensors, effectors and mobile robot devices.\n\nEnabling robots to seamlessly operate as part of these ecologies is an important challenge for robotics R&D, in order to support applications such as ambient assisted living, security, etc.\n\nCurrent approaches heavily rely on models of the environment and on human configuration and supervision and lack the ability to smoothly adapt to evolving situations. These limitations make these systems hard and costly to deploy and maintain in real world applications, as they must be tailored to the specific environment and constantly updated to suit changes in both the environments and in the applications where they are deployed.\n\nA RUBICON ecology will be able to teach itself about its environment and learn to improve the way it carries out different tasks. The ecology will act as a persistent memory and source of intelligence for all its participants and it will exploit the mobility and the better sensing capabilities of the robots to verify and provide the feedback on its own performance.\n\nAs the nodes of a RUBICON ecology will mutually support one anothers learning, the ecology will identify, commission and fulfil tasks more effectively and efficiently.\n\nThe project builds on many years of experience across a world-leading consortium. It combines robotics, multi-agent systems, novelty detection, dynamic planning, statistical and computational neuroscience methods, efficient component & data abstraction, robot/WSN middleware and three robotic test-beds. Validation will take place using two application scenarios\n\nImpact: The project will reduce the amount of preparation and pre-programming that robotic and/or wireless sensor network (WSN) solutions require when they are deployed. In addition, RUBICON ecologies will reduce the need to maintain and re-configure already-deployed systems, so that changes in the requirements of such systems can be easily implemented and new components can be easily accommodated.\n\nThe relative intelligence and mobility of a robot, when compared to those of a typical wireless sensor node, means that WSN nodes embedded in a RUBICON ecology can learn about their environment and their domain application, through the training that is provided by the robot. This means that the quality of service which is offered by WSNs can be significantly improved, without the need for extensive human involvement.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

An exciting X-ray imaging technology has been successfully developed to the point where it is now ready for translation into all kinds of beneficial applications, including potentially life-saving uses in security and healthcare. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a major five-year project led by UCL (University College London) has achieved this breakthrough. The work also involved dozens of industrial, academic and research partners in the UK and worldwide. Compared with conventional X-rays, the technology can, for example, identify tumours in living tissue earlier and spot smaller cracks and defects in materials. This is because it excels at determining different shapes and different types of matter - a capability that conventional X-rays could only match by using prohibitively high doses of radiation. The technique at the heart of the advance is called phase-contrast X-ray imaging. Instead of measuring the extent to which tissue or materials absorb radiation - as in conventional X-ray imaging - it measures the physical effect that passing through different types of tissue or material has on the speed of the X-ray itself. Professor Alessandro Olivo, who led the project team, says: "The technique has been around for decades but it's been limited to large-scale synchrotron facilities such as Oxfordshire's Diamond Light Source. We've now advanced this embryonic technology to make it viable for day-to-day use in medicine, security applications, industrial production lines, materials science, non-destructive testing, the archaeology and heritage sector, and a whole range of other fields." This vast potential is already beginning to be explored. For example: Professor Olivo says: "This has the potential to be incredibly versatile, game-changing technology. We're currently negotiating with a number of companies to explore how it could be put to practical use. There's really no limit to the benefits this technique could deliver." For media enquiries contact: Alessandro Olivo, Professor of Applied Physics, UCL, tel: 0207 679 2444, e-mail: a.olivo@ucl.ac.uk; or the EPSRC Press Office, tel: 01793 444 404, e-mail: pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk The 5-year project Transforming the Use of X-rays in Science and Society ran from November 2011 to October 2016 and received £1.05 million in EPSRC funding under the Challenging Engineering programme. The project created 28 new collaborations and produced around 75 journal papers. Partners and collaborators included: Academia: Imperial College London; Queen Mary University of London; University of Oxford; Ludwig-Maximillian University, Munich; University of Washington in St Louis, Missouri; Kyoto University; Heriot-Watt University; University of Bristol; University of Dundee; University of Glasgow; University of Strathclyde; University of Saskatchewan; University of Trieste; University of Pisa. Research Institutes/Facilities: Diamond Light Source; ELETTRA Sincrotrone Trieste ScpA; European Synchrotron Radiation Facility; Research Complex at Harwell; CNR Institute of Crystallography - Italy; EMPA Switzerland; Barts Health NHS Trust; INFN Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Pisa and Trieste Sections. Within UCL: Department of Mechanical Engineering; Department of Chemical Engineering; Department of Physics and Astronomy; London Centre for Nanotechnology (a joint UCL-Imperial College establishment); Institute of Child Health; Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC): As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate. By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. http://www. UCL (University College London): UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 38,000 students from 150 countries and over 12,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion. Wellcome Trust: Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We're a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.


Scharp D.W.,Prodo Laboratories and Scharp Lacy Research Institute | Marchetti P.,University of Pisa
Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews | Year: 2014

Insulin therapy became a reality in 1921 dramatically saving lives of people with diabetes, but not protecting them from long-term complications. Clinically successful free islet implants began in 1989 but require life long immunosuppression. Several encapsulated islet approaches have been ongoing for over 30. years without defining a clinically relevant product. Macro-devices encapsulating islet mass in a single device have shown long-term success in large animals but human trials have been limited by critical challenges. Micro-capsules using alginate or similar hydrogels encapsulate individual islets with many hundreds of promising rodent results published, but a low incidence of successful translation to large animal and human results. Reduction of encapsulated islet mass for clinical transplantation is in progress. This review covers the status of both early and current studies including the presentation of corporate efforts involved. It concludes by defining the critical items requiring solution to enable a successful clinical diabetes therapy. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Del Prato S.,University of Pisa | Camisasca R.,Takeda Development Center Europe Ltd. | Wilson C.,Takeda Development Center Americas Inc. | Fleck P.,Takeda Development Center Americas Inc.
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism | Year: 2014

Aims: To evaluate the long-term durability of the efficacy of alogliptin compared with glipizide in combination with metformin in people with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on stable-dose metformin. Methods: This multicentre, double-blind, active-controlled study randomized 2639 patients aged 18-80 years to 104 weeks of treatment with metformin in addition to alogliptin 12.5 mg once daily (n = 880), alogliptin 25 mg once daily (n = 885) or glipizide 5 mg once daily, titrated to a maximum of 20 mg (n = 874). The primary endpoint was least square mean change from baseline in HbA1c level at 104 weeks. Results: The mean patient age was 55.4 years, the mean diabetes duration was 5.5 years and the mean baseline HbA1c was 7.6%. HbA1c reductions at week 104 were -0.68%, -0.72% and -0.59% for alogliptin 12.5 and 25 mg and glipizide, respectively [both doses met the criteria for non-inferiority to glipizide (p<0.001); alogliptin 25 mg met superiority criteria (p=0.010)]. Fasting plasma glucose concentration decreased by 0.05 and 0.18 mmol/l for alogliptin 12.5 and 25 mg, respectively, and increased by 0.30 mmol/l for glipizide (p < 0.001 for both comparisons with glipizide). Mean weight changes were -0.68, -0.89 and 0.95 kg for alogliptin 12.5 and 25 mg and glipizide, respectively (p < 0.001 for both comparisons with glipizide). Hypoglycaemia occurred in 23.2% of patients in the glipizide group vs. 2.5 and 1.4% of patients in the alogliptin 12.5 and 25 mg groups, respectively. Pancreatitis occurred in one patient in the alogliptin 25 mg group and three in the glipizide group. Conclusions: Alogliptin efficacy was sustained over 2 years in patients with inadequate glycaemic control on metformin alone. © 2014 The Authors. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Giuliani E.,University of Pisa | Giuliani E.,University of Sussex
Regional Studies | Year: 2011

Giuliani E. Role of technological gatekeepers in the growth of industrial clusters: evidence from Chile, Regional Studies. Industrial clusters are often associated with innovative success. However, there is very little research on what types of organizational models apply to clusters as they grow. This paper uses longitudinal micro-level data for a wine cluster in Chile. It shows that the most advanced firms in the cluster behave as technological gatekeepers - that is, they acquire knowledge outside cluster boundaries and contribute to diffusing knowledge to other local firms - and do so persistently over time. The results are explained by combining three theoretical perspectives: evolutionary economics theory; business studies on communities of practice and knowledge workers' know-how trade; and embeddedness theory. © 2011 Copyright Regional Studies Association.


Kahn S.E.,University of Washington | Kahn S.E.,VA Puget Sound Health Care System | Cooper M.E.,Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute | Del Prato S.,University of Pisa
The Lancet | Year: 2014

Glucose metabolism is normally regulated by a feedback loop including islet β cells and insulin-sensitive tissues, in which tissue sensitivity to insulin aff ects magnitude of β-cell response. If insulin resistance is present, β cells maintain normal glucose tolerance by increasing insulin output. Only when β cells cannot release suffi cient insulin in the presence of insulin resistance do glucose concentrations rise. Although β-cell dysfunction has a clear genetic component, environmental changes play an essential part. Modern research approaches have helped to establish the important role that hexoses, aminoacids, and fatty acids have in insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction, and the potential role of changes in the microbiome. Several new approaches for treatment have been developed, but more eff ective therapies to slow progressive loss of β-cell function are needed. Recent fi ndings from clinical trials provide important information about methods to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and some of the adverse eff ects of these interventions. However, additional long-term studies of drugs and bariatric surgery are needed to identify new ways to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and thereby reduce the harmful eff ects of this disease.


Rajabpour M.A.,University of Sao Paulo | Sotiriadis S.,University of Pisa
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

We consider a quantum quench of the trap frequency in a system of bosons interacting through an inverse-square potential and confined in a harmonic trap (the harmonic Calogero model). We determine exactly the initial state in terms of the postquench eigenstates and derive the time evolution of simple physical observables. Since this model possesses an infinite set of integrals of motion that allow its exact solution, a generalized Gibbs ensemble (GGE), i.e., a statistical ensemble that takes into account the conservation of all integrals of motion, can be proposed in order to describe the values of local physical observables long after the quench. Even though, due to the presence of the trap, physical observables do not exhibit equilibration but periodic evolution, such a GGE may still describe correctly their time-averaged values. We check this analytically for the local boson density and find that the GGE conjecture is indeed valid, in the thermodynamic limit. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Jacquemin D.,University of Nantes | Mennucci B.,University of Pisa | Adamo C.,École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2011

In this perspective, we present an overview of recent progress on Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT) with a specific focus on its accuracy and on models able to take into account environmental effects, including complex media. To this end, we first summarise recent benchmarks and define an average TD-DFT accuracy in reproducing excitation energies when a conventional approach is used. Next, coupling of TD-DFT with models able to account for different kinds of interactions between a central chromophore and nearby chemical objects (solvent, organic cage, metal as well as semi-conducting surface) is investigated. Examples of application to excitation properties are presented, allowing to briefly describe several recent computational strategies. In addition, an extension of TD-DFT to describe a phenomenon involving interacting chromophores, e.g. the electronic energy transfer (EET), is presented to illustrate that this methodology can be applied to processes beyond the vertical excitation. This perspective therefore aims to provide to non-specialists a flavour of recent trends in the field of simulations of excited states in "realistic" situations. © 2011 the Owner Societies.


Bellazzini J.,University of Pisa | Siciliano G.,University of Sao Paulo
Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Mathematik und Physik | Year: 2011

We prove the existence of orbitally stable standing waves with prescribed L2-norm for the following Schrödinger-Poisson type equation in ℝ when p = {8/3} ∪(3, 10/3).In the case 3 < p < 10/3, we prove the existence and stability only for sufficiently large L2-norm. In case p = 8/3, our approach recovers the result of Sanchez and Soler (J Stat Phys 114:179-204, 2004) for sufficiently small charges. The main point is the analysis of the compactness of minimizing sequences for the related constrained minimization problem. In the final section, a further application to the Schrödinger equation involving the biharmonic operator is given. © 2010 Springer Basel AG.


Scarpignato C.,University of Parma | Lanas A.,University of Zaragoza | Blandizzi C.,University of Pisa | Lems W.F.,VU University Amsterdam | And 2 more authors.
BMC Medicine | Year: 2015

Background: There are several guidelines addressing the issues around the use of NSAIDs. However, none has specifically addressed the upper versus lower gastrointestinal (GI) risk of COX-2 selective and non-selective compounds nor the interaction at both the GI and cardiovascular (CV) level of either class of drugs with low-dose aspirin. This Consensus paper aims to develop statements and guidance devoted to these specific issues through a review of current evidence by a multidisciplinary group of experts. Methods: A modified Delphi consensus process was adopted to determine the level of agreement with each statement and to determine the level of agreement with the strength of evidence to be assigned to the statement. Results: For patients with both low GI and CV risks, any non-selective NSAID (ns-NSAID) alone may be acceptable. For those with low GI and high CV risk, naproxen may be preferred because of its potential lower CV risk compared with other ns-NSAIDs or COX-2 selective inhibitors, but celecoxib at the lowest approved dose (200 mg once daily) may be acceptable. In patients with high GI risk, if CV risk is low, a COX-2 selective inhibitor alone or ns-NSAID with a proton pump inhibitor appears to offer similar protection from upper GI events. However, only celecoxib will reduce mucosal harm throughout the entire GI tract. When both GI and CV risks are high, the optimal strategy is to avoid NSAID therapy, if at all possible. Conclusions: Time is now ripe for offering patients with osteoarthritis the safest and most cost-effective therapeutic option, thus preventing serious adverse events which could have important quality of life and resource use implications. © 2015 Scarpignato et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SEC-2012.1.5-2 | Award Amount: 3.41M | Year: 2013

The TAWARA_RTM project aims at developing a complete platform to control the quality of the tap water with respect to the radioactivity content. The platform will provide a real time measurement of the activity in the water (measuring the gross alpha and beta activity) to verify whether the distributed water is far from the limits set by the EU legislation (see Directive 98/83/CE of the European Council) reaching thresholds that require rapid actions. In case of an alarm due to an activity in the water lager than the defined thresholds, a warning message is sent to the water plant management to verify the need of stopping the water distribution. At the same time, a second part of the system is activated, to determine the nature of the contamination by gamma ray spectroscopy, defining the nature of the contamination and the corresponding counter-measures. Moreover, the determination of the contaminants is needed to establish the effects on the population and produce a full information report to the Civil Security Authorities. The prototypes of a real time monitoring system and spectroscopy analyzer will be designed, built, tested under laboratory condition and finally installed at the water plant in the North Waterworks Plant [Zakad Wodocigu Pnocnego] of Warsaw managed by the Warsaw Waterwork Company (Miejskie Przedsibiorstwo Wodocigw i Kanalizacji w m.st. Warszawie S.A. MPWIK), for the demonstration campaign. The site selected for the demonstration is particularly problematic for possible radioactivity contamination being communicating through the network of rivers and canals with the Chernobyl region and being close to a Polish National Nuclear Waste storage site.The TAWARA_RTM project will include the development of the complete platform including the fast Real-Time Monitor system (RTM), the Spectroscopic system (SPEC) as well as the Information and Communication System that will be designed to include in future also chemical and biological sensors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-09-2014 | Award Amount: 3.57M | Year: 2015

The RePhrase project directly meets the challenge of ICT-09-2014, by studying the critically important issue of improving software development practice for parallel data-intensive applications. Data-intensive applications are among the most important and commonly encountered kinds of industrial application, and are increasingly important with the emergence of big data problems. Emerging heterogeneous parallel architectures form ideal platforms to exploit the massive-scale inherent parallelism that is usually implicit in such applications, but which is often difficult to extract in practice. Solving this problem will bring major economic benefits to the software industry. To address this challenge, RePhrase brings together a team of leading industrial and academic researchers, software engineers, systems developers, parallelism experts and domain experts from large companies, SMEs and leading universities. It aims to develop a novel software engineering methodology for developing complex, large-scale parallel data-intensive applications, supported by a very high-level programming model. We will exploit advanced pattern-based programming, refactoring, testing, debugging, verification and adaptive-scheduling technologies to build an interoperable tool-chain supporting our methodology, based on but significantly extending existing industrial and research tools. These tools will significantly ease, and even automate, all phases of typical software development, from design and implementation to long-term maintenance and software evolution. The generality of our approach will be ensured by targeting C\\ and the most popular low-level parallel programming models, such as the C\\11/14/17 standards, pthreads, OpenMP, Intel TBB, OpenCL and CUDA. We will demonstrate our approach on a range of large-scale data-intensive applications, taken from different domains, including bio-medical image processing, data analysis, machine learning, computer vision and railway diagnosis.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.59M | Year: 2013

This project aims to develop an extremely fast but compact processor, with supercomputer performances, for pattern recognition, data reduction, and information extraction in high quality image processing. The proposed hardware prototype features flexibility for potential applications in a wide range of fields, from triggering in high energy physics to simulating human brain functions in experimental psychology or to automating diagnosis by imaging in medical physics. In general, any artificial intelligence process based on massive pattern recognition could largely profit from our device, provided data are suitably prepared and formatted. The first goal consists in demonstrating the system can perform online track reconstruction of full events at the highest luminosities of the LHC and SLHC) at CERN, beyond the limits of any existent or planned device and despite the overwhelming confusion due to the very high track multiplicity and the exceedingly large event pile-up. With this goal we participate to the construction and the test for an high precision real-time tracker built for the ATLAS experiment: the Fast Track (FTK) processor. FTK can improve the capability of the ATLAS detector to select interesting events reach of heavy leptons or quarks within the enormous LHC background. It uses FPGA and ASIC chips to implement, real-time, complex track reconstruction algorithms. The tracks trajectories are reconstructed in 3D, in few dozens of microseconds and the quality of the parameters is almost offline. FTK will increase the ATLAS discovery capability. In parallel we will pursue challenging R&D & new real time computing ideas for more complex applications. A new industry-academia cooperation will reinforce the FTK team making it suited for such applications. The knowledge transfer will significantly increase the research quality and overall RTD capability and competitiveness of the partners, opening new scientific directions for our technology dissemination.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 4.79M | Year: 2012

The main goal of Sanowork project is to identify a safe occupational exposure scenario by exposure assessment in real conditions and at all stages of nanomaterials (NM) production, use and disposal. In order to address this and more specifically the issues introduced by NMP.2011.1.3-2 call, we intend to: 1. contain hazard and worker exposure potential by developing exposure mitigation strategy based on Prevention through Design approach. 2. implement a rigorous exposure assessment in the workplace in order to evaluate the effectiveness of existing and proposed exposure reduction strategies. 3. perform risk analysis off line and on site in order to identify substance product properties and operational condition that ensure a safer worker exposure scenario. 4. Assess COST/ EFFICIENCY of the proposed strategies on the basis of risk analysis results, materials/properties efficiency, risk transfer to insurance underwriter community. The Sanowork proposed risk remediation strategy will be applied to nanomaterial properties. The following representative pool of NM and nanoproducts have been selected: TiO2 and Ag (ceramic or textile photocatalytic/antibacterial surfaces); CNTs (polymeric nanocomposites); organic/inorganic nanofibers (nanostructured membranes for water depuration system). The strategy is addressed to mitigate risk by decreasing adverse health hazard and emission potential of nanomaterials, setting back processes of transport to the point of entry. A sound balance between exposure and health hazards data, before and after the introduction of existing and proposed risk remediation strategies, will allow to evaluate the effectiveness of existing and proposed exposure reduction strategies. The cooperation with industrial key partners such as Plasmachem, Elmarco, GEA Niro, Colorobbia,Bayer will guarantee an accurate exposure assessment in the workplace.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.3.2 | Award Amount: 8.08M | Year: 2012

SWAN-iCARE is an ambitious project aiming at developing an integrated autonomous device for the monitoring and the personalized management of chronic wounds, mainly diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers. Most foot and leg ulcers are caused by diabetes and vascular problems respectively but a remarkable number of them is also due to the co-mordibity influence of many other diseases (e.g. kidney disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, inflammatory Bowel disease). More than 10 million in Europe suffer from chronic wounds, a number of which is expected to grow due to the aging of the population.Core of the project is the fabrication of a conceptually new wearable negative pressure device equipped with Information and Communication Technologies. Such device will allow to:\taccurately monitor many wound parameters via non-invasive integrated micro-sensors;\tearly identify infections;\tprovide remotely an innovative personalised two-line therapy via non-invasive micro-actuators to supplement the negative pressure wound therapy.SWAN-iCARE novel idea focuses on the provision of pioneering two-line therapy at home: a first line based on a negative pressure device, a second line based on the integrated micro-actuators.The physicians analysis of the collected data will be the basis for the decision and the remote control of the therapy. The closed-loop approach offered by SWAN-iCARE project provides unprecedented levels of care, improves patients health condition and significantly lowers costs and need for hospitalisation, with obvious advantages for both patients and health care services.The project follows an iterative validation approach which includes a series of test session in-vitro on human biological samples and in-vivo on humans.A detailed impact analysis and business plan wil be conducted towards the successful commercialisation of the project results.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.2.1 | Award Amount: 10.04M | Year: 2013

The complexity of the world around us is creating a demand for cognition-enabled interfaces that will simplify and enhance the way we interact with the environment. The recently unveiled project Glass by Google is a case that seeks to address this demand for the sense of vision. Project WEARHAP, developed in this proposal, aims at laying the scientific and technological foundations for wearable haptics, a novel concept for the systematic exploration of haptics in advanced cognitive systems and robotics that will redefine the way humans will cooperate with robots. The challenge of this new paradigm stems from the need for wearability which is a key element for natural interaction. This paradigm shift will enable novel forms of human intention recognition through haptic signals and novel forms of communication and cooperation between humans and robots. Wearable haptics will enable robots to observe humans during natural interaction with their shared environment. Research challenges are ambitious and cross traditional boundaries between robotics, cognitive science and neuroscience. Research findings derived from distributed robotics, biomechanical modeling, multisensory tracking, underaction in control and cognitive systems will be integrated to address the scientific and technological challenges imposed in creating effective wearable haptic interaction. To highlight the enabling nature, the versatility and the potential for industrial exploitation of WEARHAP, the research challenges will be guided by representative application scenarios. These applications cover robotics, health and social scenarios, stretching from human-robot interaction and cooperation for search and rescue, to human-human communication, and interaction with virtual worlds through interactive games.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-24-2015 | Award Amount: 8.68M | Year: 2016

Although much has been done for developing technologies to bear upon problems of individuals with sensorimotor impairments, the impact of robotic aids on people with real needs in the real world is still very limited. Our main goal is to increase the cumulative benefits of assistive robotic technologies to society by enhancing their effectiveness AND the number of beneficiaries. The challenge is to increase both multipliers in the performance times accessibility product, subverting the traditional situation where one factor can only be increased at the expense of the other. We believe this is possible by investigating how the artificial can physically interact and effectively talk to the natural. Understanding such a language is crucial not only to improve performance of rehab technology, but also to tackle the most difficult problem of making it simple enough to be effective and accessible. We possess good clues about such a language, whose words we believe are sensorimotor synergies, and have the scientific competence to further its understanding and the technological prowess to translate it into a new generation of robotic assistive devices. We know that a central ingredient for the applicability of synergy-based models to physical human-machine interaction is impedance adaptability, i.e. soft robotics technologies. We will develop soft synergy-based robotics technologies to produce new prostheses, exoskeletons, and assistive devices for upper limb rehabilitation. Building on solid methodological bases, this project will have a significant social impact in promoting advanced robot prosthetic and assistive technology, while introducing disruptively new, admittedly risky, but potentially high-impact ideas and paradigms, such as the proposed pioneering work on supernumerary limbs for assistance and rehabilitation to motor impairments of the upper limb.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-1 | Award Amount: 1.48M | Year: 2009

The Southern Accession countries and Southern EU countries use the largest percentages of abstracted water for agriculture (75 % and 50 %, respectively), primarily for irrigation. This means consume of 120.000 Millions of m3/year of water. The use of micro irrigation system can reduce the water consume in near 60%, i.e., reduction in consume of 70.000 millions of m3/year. Furthermore, this market is expected to grow quickly due to new water regulations in the near future (due to the worrying problems of the desertification and longer periods of drought).Despite the benefits that the micro-irrigation systems present, there are some limitations that burden its use by the farmers: a).High cost to remove the product at the end of its useful life (even higher in combination with mulching system) and b). Non recyclable pipes due to its conditions of use the material losses its mechanical properties by the effect of UV radiation, is chemically attacked and has contaminants. The aim is to develop plastic pipes and drippers for micro-irrigation produced with bio-based and biodegradable material which will maintain their functional properties during lifespan and at the same time biodegrade after use without the need to remove and dispose. HYDRUS approach will consist on two-step process:1.Reactive extrusion: A low module biopolymer and/or polymeric plasticisers and graft coupling agents will be added to the current PLA, using a compounding multi screw extruder.2.Extrusion pipe line\ crosslinking(standard equipment): Addition of organosilanes or peroxides to the previous blend (PLA \ additives) and production of the pipe. The same process will be applied for the drippers with standard injection moulding machines. The new pipe will show Good thermal,Environmental Stress Cracking and flexural resistance, in addition to this,the drip will also meet the dimensional stability,fulfilling therefore the requirements needed in normal conditions for traditional micro-irrigation systems


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.5.1 | Award Amount: 4.44M | Year: 2010

INTERSTRESS aims to design, develop and test an advanced ICT based solution for the assessment and treatment of psychological stress. The system will aim at (1) objective and quantitative assessment of symptoms using biosensors and behavioral analysis; (2) decision support for treatment planning through data fusion and detection algorithms; and (3) provision of warnings and motivating feedback to improve compliance and long-term outcome.\nTo reach its goals the project will use a new concept for e-health - Interreality integrating assessment and treatment within a hybrid, closed-loop empowering experience, bridging physical and virtual worlds: (a) behavior in the physical world influences the experience in the virtual world; (b) behavior in the virtual world influences the experience in the real world. This is achieved through:\n1) 3D Shared Virtual Worlds immersive (in the health care centre) or non immersive (at home) role-playing experiences in which one or more users interact with one another within a 3D world;\n2) Bio and Activity Sensors (From the Real to the Virtual World): to track the emotional/health/activity status of the user and to influence his/her experience in the virtual world (aspect, activity and access);\n3) Mobile Internet Appliances (From the Virtual to the Real World): the social and individual user activity in the virtual world has a direct link with the users life through a mobile phone/PDA.\nThe clinical use of Interreality is based on a closed-loop concept that involves the use of technology for assessing, adjusting and/or modulating the emotional regulation of the patient, his/her coping skills and appraisal of the environment based upon a comparison of that patients behavioural and physiological responses with a training or performance criterion. The project will provide a proof of concept of the proposed system with validation in clinical settings guaranteed by the clinical expertise of the coordinator (HC research centre).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2013.1.4-11 | Award Amount: 2.51M | Year: 2013

The project will: describe the contemporary evolution of traditional public and private agricultural research, particularly as its boundaries with food processing, biotechnology and bioeconomy activities (for example, renewable energy) are becoming increasingly blurred, and its objectives are broadening, using on-going structured interaction with an expert stakeholder panel survey the trends, sources and objectives of agricultural research in EU and EEA countries and Switzerland, providing a scoping survey which provides a preliminary view of the range and integration of activities, and to design a framework, compatible with the OECD Frascati manual, to assess the volume and effectiveness of research carry out econometric analysis and input-output modelling on the effect of research on agricultural productivity, including lag modelling, as the call specifically requires this, but with a view to acknowledging the importance of additional objectives for research; limited to a small number of country studies, to include small, medium and large countries which also reflect geographic diversity in a number of regional case studies, selected for agro-ecological (and possibly also socio-economic) diversity, investigate the overall causal framework of case-specific individual research-based innovations, using active searching for disconfirming evidence as a validation criterion innovatively and effectively communicate the results of the major workpackages to national governments and other stakeholders, through a variety of dissemination channels (webinars, policy briefs, as well as traditional reports and conference presentations)


Kumar R.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Kumar R.,University of Pisa | Bonaccorso A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

We study dynamical effects in proton breakup from a weakly bound state in an exotic nucleus on a heavy target. The Coulomb interactions between the proton and the core and between the proton and the target are treated to all orders, including also the full multipole expansion of the Coulomb potential. The dynamics of proton nuclear and Coulomb breakup is compared to that of an equivalent neutron of higher binding energy in order to elucidate the differences with the well-understood neutron breakup mechanism. A number of experimentally measurable observables such as parallel momentum distributions, proton angular distributions, and total breakup cross sections are calculated. With respect to nuclear breakup it is found that a proton behaves exactly as a neutron of higher binding energy. The extra "effective energy" is caused by the combined core-target Coulomb barrier. In Coulomb breakup we distinguish the effect of the core-target Coulomb potential (called the recoil effect), with respect to which the proton behaves, again, as a more bound neutron, from the direct proton-target Coulomb potential. The latter gives cross sections about an order of magnitude larger than the recoil term. The two effects give rise to complicated interferences in the parallel momentum distributions. They are instead easily separable in the proton angular distributions, which are therefore suggested as a very useful observable for future experimental studies. © 2011 American Physical Society.


Viviani M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Girlanda L.,University of Salento | Kievsky A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Marcucci L.E.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Marcucci L.E.,University of Pisa
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We present a detailed study of the effect of different three-nucleon interactions in p-He3 elastic scattering at low energies. In particular, two interactions have been considered: one derived from effective field theory at next-to-next-to-leading order and one derived from a more phenomenological point of view - the so-called Illinois model. The four-nucleon scattering observables are calculated by using the Kohn variational principle and the hyperspherical harmonics technique, and the results are compared with available experimental data. We have found that the inclusion of both interactions improves the agreement with the experimental data, in particular, for the proton vector analyzing power. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Cipriani M.,University of Pisa | Cipriani M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Nitta M.,Keio University
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We study the effects of the internal coherent (Rabi) coupling in vortex lattices in two-component BECs under rotation. We find how the vortex lattices without the Rabi coupling known before are connected to the Abrikosov lattice of integer vortices with increasing the Rabi coupling. We find that (1) for small Rabi couplings, fractional vortices in a triangular or square lattice for small or large intercomponent coupling constitute hexamers or tetramers, namely multidimer bound states made of six or four vortices, respectively, (2) these bound states are broken into a set of dimers at intermediate Rabi couplings, and (3) vortices change their partners in various ways depending on the intercomponent coupling, to organize themselves for constituting the Abrikosov lattice of integer vortices at strong Rabi couplings. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Ristori L.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Punzi G.,University of Pisa
Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science | Year: 2010

For a number of interesting processes in the sector of heavy flavors, the quality of measurements made at hadron colliders is very similar to the quality achieved at e+e- colliders (known as B factories). The key to performing such measurements in a hadron environment is the ability to select rare processes from background in real time, that is, to trigger on them. Two distinctive features of heavy-flavor decays have been used for this purpose: the presence of leptons in the final state and secondary vertices produced by the relatively long lifetime. The selection of events based on long lifetime, although technically very challenging, is the most inclusive of all such techniques, allowing access to the widest range of channels. The focus of this review is on the innovative concepts that permitted the reconstruction of tracks produced in hadron collisions with sufficient speed and accuracy for use at trigger level to detect heavy-flavor decays. © 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Oberhof B.,University of Pisa | Oberhof B.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings | Year: 2015

We perform a measurement of the branching fractions for τ→lγνν-, (l=e, μ) decays for a minimum photon energy of 10 MeV in the τ rest frame using 430 fb-1 of e+e- collisions collected at the center-of-mass energy of the ϒ{hooked}(4S) resonance with the BaBar detector at the PEP-II storage rings. We find B(τ→μγνν)=(3.69±0.03±0.10)×10-3 and B(τ→eγνν)=(1.847±0.015±0.052)×10-2 where the first quoted error is statistical and the second is systematic. These results represent a substantial improvement with respect to existing measurements for both channels. © 2015 .


Giorgi M.,University of Pisa | Yun H.,Chungnam National University
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2012

Mirtazapine (MRT) is a human antidepressant drug mainly metabolised by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to 8-OH mirtazapine (8-OH) and dimetilmirtazapine (DMR). The drug is usually administered to dogs with anorexia according to doses extrapolated from humans, although it could also have applications as an antidepressant and analgesic in this species. The aim of this study was to assess the pharmacokinetics of MRT and its metabolites, DMT and 8-OH. Six healthy male Beagle dogs were administered MRT orally (20. mg/dog) and plasma MRT and metabolite concentrations were evaluated by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection.The pharmacokinetic profiles of MRT and DMR were similar (detected from 0.25 up to 10. h), while 8-OH (detected from 0.50 up to 10. h) attained the highest concentrations. The mean half-life of MRT was 6.17. h with a clearance of 1193. mL/h/kg. The study showed that MRT has a different pharmacokinetic profile in the dog compared to other species. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Calabrese P.,University of Pisa | Cardy J.,University of Oxford | Cardy J.,All Souls College | Tonni E.,International School for Advanced Studies
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012

We develop a systematic method to extract the negativity in the ground state of a 1+1 dimensional relativistic quantum field theory, using a path integral formalism to construct the partial transpose ρAT 2 of the reduced density matrix of a subsystem A=A 1A 2, and introducing a replica approach to obtain its trace norm which gives the logarithmic negativity E=lnρAT 2. This is shown to reproduce standard results for a pure state. We then apply this method to conformal field theories, deriving the result E∼(c/4)ln[ 12/( 1+ 2)] for the case of two adjacent intervals of lengths 1, 2 in an infinite system, where c is the central charge. For two disjoint intervals it depends only on the harmonic ratio of the four end points and so is manifestly scale invariant. We check our findings against exact numerical results in the harmonic chain. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Shore S.N.,University of Pisa | Shore S.N.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India | Year: 2012

The spectroscopic development of classical novae is described as a narrative of the various stages of the outburst. The review highlights the multiwavelength aspects of the phenomenology and the recent developments related to structure, inhomogeneity, and dynamics of the ejecta. Special emphasis is placed on the distinct behavior of the symbiotic-like recurrent novae.


Antonioli L.,University of Pisa | Antonioli L.,Rutgers University | Pacher P.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Vizi E.S.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

The enzymatic activities of CD39 and CD73 play strategic roles in calibrating the duration, magnitude, and chemical nature of purinergic signals delivered to immune cells through the conversion of ADP/ATP to AMP and AMP to adenosine, respectively. This drives a shift from an ATP-driven proinflammatory environment to an anti-inflammatory milieu induced by adenosine. The CD39/CD73 pathway changes dynamically with the pathophysiological context in which it is embedded. It is becoming increasingly appreciated that altering this catabolic machinery can change the course or dictate the outcome of several pathophysiological events, such as AIDS, autoimmune diseases, infections, atherosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and cancer, suggesting these ectoenzymes are novel therapeutic targets for managing a variety of disorders. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Ambrosino N.,University of Pisa | Ambrosino N.,Volterra | Guarracino F.,University of Pisa
European Respiratory Journal | Year: 2011

The use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in acute hypercapnic respiratory failure, cardiogenic pulmonary oedema, acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), community-acquired pneumonia and weaning/post- extubation failure is considered common in clinical practice. Herein, we review the use of NIV in unusual conditions. Evidence supports the use of NIV during fibreoptic bronchoscopy, especially with high risks of endotracheal intubation (ETI), such as in immunocompromised patients. During transoesophageal echocardiography as well as in interventional cardiology and pulmonology, NIV can reduce the need for deep sedation or general anaesthesia and prevent respiratory depression induced by deep sedation. NIV may be useful after surgery, including cardiac surgery, and, with a lower level of evidence, in patients with pulmonary contusion. NIV should not be considered as an alternative to ETI in severe communicable airborne infections likely to progress to ARDS. NIV is being used increasingly as an alternative to ETI in end-stage symptomatic patients, especially to relieve dyspnoea. The role of assisted ventilation during exercise training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients is still controversial. NIV should be applied under close monitoring and ETI should be promptly available in the case of failure. A trained team, careful patient selection and optimal choice of devices, can optimise outcome of NIV. Copyright©ERS 2011.


Shore S.N.,University of Pisa | Shore S.N.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

There is increasing evidence that the geometry, and not only the filling factors, of nova ejecta is important in any interpretation of their spectral and photometric developments. Ensembles of spectra and light curves have provided general typographies. This Letter suggests how these can be unified. The observed spread in the maximum magnitude-rate of decline (MMRD) relation is argued to result from the range of opening angles and inclination of the ejecta, and not only from their masses and velocities. The spectroscopic classes can be similarly explained and linked to the behavior of the light curves. The secondary maximum observed in some dust-forming novae is a natural consequence of the asphericity. Neither secondary ejections nor winds are needed to explain the phenomenology. The spectrophotometric development of classical novae can be understood within a single phenomenological model with bipolar, although not jet-like, mass ejecta. High resolution spectropolarimetry will be an essential analytical tool. © ESO, 2013.


Maggiore M.,University of Geneva | Mancarella M.,University of Pisa
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

We discuss a nonlocal modification of gravity obtained adding a term m2R□-2R to the Einstein-Hilbert action. We find that the mass parameter m only affects the nonradiative sector of the theory, while the graviton remains massless, there is no propagating ghostlike degree of freedom, no vDVZ discontinuity, and no Vainshtein radius below which the theory becomes strongly coupled. For m=O(H0) the theory therefore recovers all successes of GR at solar system and lab scales, and only deviates from it at cosmological scales. We examine the cosmological consequences of the model and we find that it automatically generates a dynamical dark energy and a self-accelerating evolution. After fixing our only free parameter m so to reproduce the observed value of the dark energy density today, we get a pure prediction for the dark energy equation of state, wDE≃-1.14. This value is consistent with the existing data, and could also resolve the possible tension between the Planck data and local measurements of the Hubble parameter. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Samal S.K.,Ghent University | Dash M.,Ghent University | Van Vlierberghe S.,Ghent University | Kaplan D.L.,Tufts University | And 4 more authors.
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2012

The last decade has witnessed enormous research focused on cationic polymers. Cationic polymers are the subject of intense research as non-viral gene delivery systems, due to their flexible properties, facile synthesis, robustness and proven gene delivery efficiency. Here, we review the most recent scientific advances in cationic polymers and their derivatives not only for gene delivery purposes but also for various alternative therapeutic applications. An overview of the synthesis and preparation of cationic polymers is provided along with their inherent bioactive and intrinsic therapeutic potential. In addition, cationic polymer based biomedical materials are covered. Major progress in the fields of drug and gene delivery as well as tissue engineering applications is summarized in the present review. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.4.4-1 | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2008

Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) constitute a group of rare to very rare mostly heritable disorders affecting the genito-urinary tract and in most instances also the endocrine-reproductive system. We hypothesize that stringent and stepwise analysis of cases with DSD will result in a systematic and reliable discovery of DSD-relevant biochemical, genetic and functional profiles, allowing for the detection of new diagnostic markers, both in steroid biosynthesis as well as in genetics to provide the basis for explaining the nature of these disorders. Characterization of the functional aspects of androgen action as the main basis for sex-related phenotype will improve the understanding of the pathophysiology of DSD phenotypes. This will allow for better decision-making in gender assignment and therapeutic approaches to DSD as well as improve gender medicine in general.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-3-1-04 | Award Amount: 5.97M | Year: 2008

The forest biomass represents an abundant, renewable, no-food competition and low cost resource that can play an alternative role to petro-resources. In spite of positive experimental results industrial production and marketing of materials derived from renewable resources are rarely achieved because of high processing costs and low properties of final products usually targeted to single use sectors devoted to very low costs polymer. Aims of the present proposal are the differentiate utilizations of forest raw resources or by-products of forest connected industry for the production of eco-compatible foams and composites suitable for many practical applications with particular attention at the packaging, agriculture and automotive sectors. One topic of the research activity will be focused on the use of wood and paper mill by-products (bark, chips, sawdust, and black liquor) as raw materials for the production of polyurethane foams by an innovative sustainable synthetic process with reduced energy consumption. Wood fibres can be used as natural fillers to replace synthetic and glass fibres in composites production. Loading of wood fibres is limited by difficult compatibility with hydrophobic polymers. Research activity will be devoted to the production of composites based on wood fibres with biodegradable polymeric matrices (polylactic acid, polycaprolactone, polyhydroxyalkanoates, materbi, etc) and with polypropylene. A high fibres loading content will be achieved by increasing polymeric matrices toughness. Forest waste valorisation will be achieved by microbiological process. Materials production will be valuated by life cycle assessment and final products will be tested for biodegradation and composting. Composites will be as well evaluated for applications in agriculture, packaging and automotive (textile, panels, interior components). Research activity will be developed in strict cooperation with industries with particular reference to the end users.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.2.2-01 | Award Amount: 1.61M | Year: 2011

New Earth observation, atmospheric sounding, planetary exploration and generally scientific missions require the capability to handle large amount of data and to process them on-board applying both first level trigger procedure and compression algorithm. The always bigger data flow requests an high on-board numerical calculation capability in order to elaborate the acquired information before sending them to the Earth. Available DSP based modules offer a typical computing power of 20 MIPS and more noticeably 20 to 60 MFLOPS. Although it was considered sufficient a few years ago, future applications will require much higher computing power. This requirement, together with the strong need to reduce the dependence on critical technologies from outside Europe, makes mandatory the development of next generation of European general-purpose high performance DSPs with a linked efficient and reliable SW application development environment. DSPACE project aims to develop a high performance DSP for space application up to 1 GFLOPS that, meeting the scalability, multi-purpose and usability features, is conceived to be used both as stand-alone signal processor into embedded systems and as building component for increasing the computational capability. A new DSP Core will be designed taking into account requirement and limitation due to European actual space technology. A complete front/back-end software environment, including a low level code optimiser layer, is expected to be developed together with benchmarks representative of common space scenarios. The DSPACE core will be housed on FPGA demonstrator board and made available with complete SW Development Environment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ECSEL-IA | Phase: ECSEL-02-2014 | Award Amount: 8.18M | Year: 2015

R2POWER300 is committed to challenge the following Objectives: Development and manufacturing of a multi-KET Pilot Line (i.e. Nanoelectronics, Nanotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing) Energy Efficiency and CO2 Reduction megatrends. The project aims to achieve the following Goals: 1. Set the stage for the future extension to 300mm of the R2 Fab facility located in Agrate Brianza (Italy) - i.e. lines specification, tools evaluation and screening, new processs optimization and characterization, etc. 2. To evaluate, characterize and optimize the equipments and process necessary to achieve the new BCD10 technology, featuring 90nm lithography, at 300mm wafer size. BCD (i.e. Bipolar \ CMOS \ DMOS) is a unique smart power technology invented by ST in the mid 80s (CMOSs gate length was 4 m at that time!). As of today BCD is one of the key technology assets of ST and the indefatigable evolution and challenging roadmap makes ST a world-class leader on smart power ICs. 3. Advanced System in Packages: some SiP activity will be performed, with specific reference to Sintering based die-attach, thermal analysis and dedicated packaging solution for high density ALD capacitors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA | Phase: ICT-2013.3.4 | Award Amount: 2.20M | Year: 2013

The mission of the TETRACOM Coordination Action is to boost European academia-to-industry technology transfer (TT) in all domains of Computing Systems. While many other European and national initiatives focus on training of entrepreneurs and support for start-up companies, the key differentiator of TETRACOM is a novel instrument called Technology Transfer Project (TTP). TTPs help to lower the barrier for researchers to make the first steps towards commercialisation of their research results. TTPs are designed to provide incentives for TT at small to medium scale via partial funding of dedicated, well-defined, and short term academia-industry collaborations that bring concrete R&D results into industrial use. This will be implemented via competitive Expressions-of-Interest (EoI) calls for TTPs, whose coordination, prioritization, evaluation, and management are the major actions of TETRACOM. It is expected to fund up to 50 TTPs. The TTP activities will be complemented by Technology Transfer Infrastructures (TTIs) that provide training, service, and dissemination actions. These are designed to encourage a larger fraction of the R&D community to engage in TTPs, possibly even for the first time. Altogether, TETRACOM is conceived as the major pilot project of its kind in the area of Computing Systems, acting as a TT catalyst for the mutual benefit of academia and industry. The projects primary success metrics are the number and value of coordinated TTPs as well as the amount of newly introduced European TT actors. It is expected to acquire around more than 20 new contractors over the project duration. TETRACOM complements and actually precedes the use of existing financial instruments such as venture capital or business angels based funding.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2017

Personalized health is a European priority and one of the strategic research areas for Horizon 2020. This project advances the state-of-the-art of personal health technologies for affective disorders, estimated to be the highest ranking cause of disease by 2020. It marks a significant shift from the current wearable technologies capturing emotional responses whose understanding usually requires physicians input, to low-cost self-help technologies for visualizing, exploring and regulating emotions. AFFECTIVA integrates the latest Human-Computer Interaction and Biomedical Engineering findings in designing and developing personal health systems for mental health, with the most influential outcomes and models of emotion regulation from Clinical Psychology. The overall aim is to support self-understanding and successful adoption of adaptive emotion regulation strategies in daily life. AFFECTIVA will contribute towards four significant outcomes: (1) wearable systems for capturing emotion regulation, (2) applications for understanding emotions and their regulatory processes, (3) interactive tools for training adaptive emotion regulation strategies, and (4) theoretical contributions to emotion regulation research in real life. AFFECTIVA builds on exceptional European and North American expertise from both academic and private sector to provide personalized health research with a timely and much needed momentum to address the pressing social challenge of emotional wellbeing and health.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: NOE | Phase: ICT-2007.3.7 | Award Amount: 10.41M | Year: 2008

A number of different system concepts have gained a lot of relevance in the area of embedded systems over the past couple of years: Embedded systems, pervasive computing and wireless sensor networks. These three types of quite diverse systems share a lot of commonalities but also have some complementary aspects in common that make a combination into a coherent system vision promising.The term Cooperating Objects was coined explicitly for the purpose of describing such systems by the Embedded WiSeNts Consortium, a Coordination Action funded by the EC in FP6. One of the main results was the publishing of the Embedded WiSeNts Research Roadmap that defines the concept of Cooperating Objects.The vision of Cooperating Objects is, therefore, quite new and needs to be understood in more detail and probably extended with inputs from the relevant individual communities that compose it. This will enable us to better understand the impact on the research landscape and to steer the available resources in a meaningful way.The main goal of CONET is to build a strong community in the area of Cooperating Objects capable of conducting the needed research to achieve, in the long run, the vision of Mark Weiser. Therefore, the objectives of CONET are the following:1. Create a visible and integrated community of researchers on the topics related to Cooperating Objects capable of driving the domain in the coming years.2. Identify, arise awareness and steer academic research efforts towards industry-relevant issues without forgetting fundamental scientific issues; make the community more reactive to novel issues and approaches, and to coordinate its efforts; establish tight relationships with the European industry, leveraging interactions with leading US institutions in the field.3. Stimulate cooperation between researchers from the three domains in order to achieve a lasting and sustainable architecture that is able to cope with the vision of Cooperating Objects.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SME-2012-3 | Award Amount: 3.04M | Year: 2012

The WHEYLAYER 2 project is based on the WHEYLAYER project that has been recognized by the EC as a star project with high dissemination potential and has received a lot of interest from the packaging industry and its end users. The WHEYLAYER project developed a biopolymer-coating based on pure whey protein isolates for plastic films able to replace currently used expensive synthetic oxygen barrier. WHEYLAYER reached Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR, Q100) of 1 cm3/m2 d bar at 23C and 50% RH and Water Vapour Transmission Rate (WVTR, Q100) of 2 g/m d. The WHEYLAYER material is easily recyclable, the LCA showed significant reduction of the resulting packaging environmental impact, and preliminary evaluation showed that it fulfilled food safety regulations (migration, emission of volatile compounds). A patent application was filled regarding the coating process and a WHEYLAYER prototype application machine was built that reaches semi-industrial production speed while keeping satisfactory barrier properties. WHEYLAYER 2 will focus on up-scaling the results obtained in WHEYLAYER project, proving their industrialisation potential. It will focus on final packaging items (trays, blisters, tubes and cans as opposed to films and sheets in the WHEYLAYER project) and additional specific functionalities (e.g. convertibility, printability, UV barrier). Main markets evaluated will be cosmetics and pharmaceutical packaging in addition to food. Since WHEYLAYER exceeds the barrier properties of existing biopolymer and due to the pull for recyclable packaging, the market opportunties for WHEYLAYER appear huge as a potential substitute for EVOH and PVDC. The WHEYLAYER technology will result in recyclable multilayer packaging. WHEYLAYER2 will be heavily disseminated while maximasing the exploitability of the material and finally fill the gap for environmentally friendly packaging materials for sensitive products meeting the expectations of the increasing amount of green consumers.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.05M | Year: 2013

Asteroids and space debris represent a significant hazard for space and terrestrial assets; at the same time asteroids represent also an opportunity. In recent years it has become clear that the increasing population of space debris could lead to catastrophic consequences in the near term. The Kessler syndrome (where the density of objects in orbit is high enough that collisions could set off a cascade) is more realistic than when it was first proposed in 1978. Although statistically less likely to occur, an asteroid impact would have devastating consequences for our planet. Although an impact with a large (~10 km) to medium (~300 m) sized, or diameter, asteroid is unlikely, still it is not negligible as the recent case of the asteroid Apophis has demonstrated. Furthermore impacts with smaller size objects, between 10 m to 100 m diameter, are expected to occur more frequently and hence are, proportionally, equally dangerous for humans and assets on Earth and in space. Asteroids and space debris share a number of commonalities: both are uncontrolled objects whose orbit is deeply affected by a number of perturbations, both have an irregular shape and an uncertain attitude motion, both are made of inhomogeneous materials that can respond unexpectedly to a deflection action, for both, accurate orbit determination is required, both need to be removed before they impact with something valuable for us. The observation, manipulation and disposal of space debris and asteroids represent one of the most challenging goals for modern space technology. It represents a key scientific and commercial venture for the future in order to protect the space and Earth environment. Such a significant multidisciplinary technical challenge, with real societal benefit for the future, represents a compelling topic for a training network.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SESAR-RIA | Phase: Sesar-08-2015 | Award Amount: 999.50K | Year: 2016

The present SAPIENT (Satellite and terrestrial architectures improving performance, security and safety in ATM) proposal addresses a new innovative application in the field of CNS/ATM system (H2020 SESAR ER Call 2015 Work Area 2, ER-08-2015) focusing exploitation of the synergies of Communications and Navigation technologies and the 4D trajectory management concept. In this frame, the SAPIENT project aims at supporting the Technology Communication and Navigation roadmaps and the stakeholders roadmaps for the Air-Ground datalinks (European ATM Masterplan issue 2012), in the timeframe soon following the Step 3 (availability of High integrity Air-Ground datalink comms service, Multi constellation GNSS, 4D trajectory based operation). SAPIENT project is strictly linked to the current phase of SESAR, taking into account the analysis and the definition activities carried out in the WP15 CNS and, in particular, the results of P15.2.4 and P15.2.6. In addition, taking into account the SESAR work on Remote Piloted Aircraft System (see P15.2.4 task 105 and Medale project), the SAPIENT system aims at improving the performance of the RPAS Command, Control and Communication satellite datalink, that is recognized as one of the major technical gaps for the RPAS integration in the civilian airspace.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-02-2015 | Award Amount: 6.00M | Year: 2016

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a major public health problem, affecting 55 million European citizens. T2D ensues in individuals who develop a progressive pancreatic beta cell failure. T2D probably comprises a heterogeneous group of diseases. A new molecular taxonomy of T2D is essential for the development of medical care that is predictive, preventive and personalized. Currently available T2D therapies are not disease modifying: they treat hyperglycaemia without addressing its underlying cause, i.e. beta cell failure. In this proposal we seek to identify pathogenic molecular events that operate in the diseased tissue, i.e. the failing human beta cell, at their true level of complexity. T2DSystems will accomplish this ambitious goal by integrating human islet genetic and epigenetic data with disease-relevant environmental perturbations, metabolomics and functional studies, and use this knowledge to identify distinct human islet phenotypes in subgroups of patients. In closely interacting work packages, we will achieve the following goals: Compile and expand existing European bio-banks and datasets to create the Translational human pancreatic Islet Genotype tissue-Expression Resource (TIGER), a T2D systems biomedicine resource of unprecedented scale; Develop large-scale data analysis tools and both data driven and mechanistic probabilistic modelling frameworks to exploit TIGER towards system level biological insight; Translate these findings to identify stratified beta cell phenotypes in human cohorts. This will provide understanding of beta cell pathophysiology in vivo and enable stratified prevention and therapeutics. T2DSystems will enable the development of personalized diagnostic tests, taking into account individual environmental and genetic risk factors. The newly identified molecular disease mechanisms will provide the basis for development of novel therapies and for patient stratification to test individualized therapies.


Tahrani A.A.,University of Birmingham | Bailey C.J.,Aston University | Del Prato S.,University of Pisa | Barnett A.H.,University of Birmingham
The Lancet | Year: 2011

The increasing prevalence, variable pathogenesis, progressive natural history, and complications of type 2 diabetes emphasise the urgent need for new treatment strategies. Longacting (eg, once weekly) agonists of the glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor are advanced in development, and they improve prandial insulin secretion, reduce excess glucagon production, and promote satiety. Trials of inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase 4, which enhance the effect of endogenous incretin hormones, are also nearing completion. Novel approaches to glycaemic regulation include use of inhibitors of the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2, which increase renal glucose elimination, and inhibitors of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1, which reduce the glucocorticoid effects in liver and fat. Insulin-releasing glucokinase activators and pancreatic-G-protein-coupled fatty-acid-receptor agonists, glucagon-receptor antagonists, and metabolic inhibitors of hepatic glucose output are being assessed. Early proof of principle has been shown for compounds that enhance and partly mimic insulin action and replicate some effects of bariatric surgery. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Bonati C.,University of Pisa | D'Elia M.,University of Pisa | Panagopoulos H.,University of Cyprus | Vicari E.,University of Pisa
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We study the dependence of 4D SU(N) gauge theories on the topological θ term at finite temperature T. We exploit the lattice formulation of the theory, presenting numerical results for the expansion of the free energy up to O(θ6), for N=3 and N=6. Our analysis shows that the θ dependence drastically changes across the deconfinement transition: the low-T phase is characterized by a large-N scaling with θ/N as relevant variable, while in the high-T phase the scaling variable is just θ and the free energy is essentially determined by the instanton-gas approximation. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Turi M.,University of Pisa | Turi M.,University of Florence | Burr D.,University of Florence | Burr D.,University of Western Australia
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

How our perceptual experience of the world remains stable and continuous despite the frequent repositioning eye movements remains very much a mystery. One possibility is that our brain actively constructs a spatiotopic representation of the world, which is anchored in external-or at least head-centred-coordinates. In this study, we show that the positional motion aftereffect (the change in apparent position after adaptation to motion) is spatially selective in external rather than retinal coordinates, whereas the classic motion aftereffect (the illusion of motion after prolonged inspection of a moving source) is selective in retinotopic coordinates. The results provide clear evidence for a spatiotopic map in humans: one which can be influenced by image motion. © 2012 The Royal Society.


Ottaviano G.,University of Pisa | Kohli P.,Microsoft
Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition | Year: 2013

Traditional video compression methods obtain a compact representation for image frames by computing coarse motion fields defined on patches of pixels called blocks, in order to compensate for the motion in the scene across frames. This piecewise constant approximation makes the motion field efficiently encodable, but it introduces block artifacts in the warped image frame. In this paper, we address the problem of estimating dense motion fields that, while accurately predicting one frame from a given reference frame by warping it with the field, are also compressible. We introduce a representation for motion fields based on wavelet bases, and approximate the compressibility of their coefficients with a piecewise smooth surrogate function that yields an objective function similar to classical optical flow formulations. We then show how to quantize and encode such coefficients with adaptive precision. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by comparing its performance with a state-of-the-art wavelet video encoder. Experimental results on a number of standard flow and video datasets reveal that our method significantly outperforms both block-based and optical-flow-based motion compensation algorithms. © 2013 IEEE.


Cevasco G.,University of Genoa | Cevasco G.,CNR Methodological Chemistry Institute | Chiappe C.,University of Pisa
Green Chemistry | Year: 2014

It is well known that ionic liquids (ILs) possess extraordinary characteristics, making them greener solvents with unique properties, which allow processes that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with common solvents to be carried out. In this review, we describe and discuss, in the light of possible future large scale applications, some fundamental studies showing the efficacy of ILs in several "hot" fields, from dissolution and transformation of biopolymers to extraction and capture of important inorganic components (metals) or pollutants (CO2). © the Partner Organisations 2014.