Brighton, United Kingdom
Brighton, United Kingdom

The University of Sussex is a public research university situated on a large and open green field site on the South Downs, East Sussex. It is located on the edge of the city of Brighton and Hove. Taking its name from the historic county of Sussex, the university received its Royal Charter in August 1961. Sussex was a founding member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities promoting excellence in research and teaching.Sussex counts three Nobel Prize winners, 14 Fellows of the Royal Society, six Fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the Crafoord Prize among its faculty. The university is currently ranked 14th in the UK and 111th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014–15. In latest university rankings The Guardian university guide 2015 placed Sussex 43rd and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015 ranks Sussex 25th. The 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities placed the University within the top 18-20 in the United Kingdom and in the top 151-200 internationally.Sussex receives students from 120 countries and maintains links with research universities including Harvard University, Yale University, Georgetown University, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Pennsylvania, Paris-Sorbonne University, and University of Toronto. Wikipedia.

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

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. Such an understanding can provide profound insights into our humanity, leading to fundamentally new computing technologies, and transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Modern ICT brings this prospect within reach. The HBP Flagship Initiative (HBP) thus proposes a unique strategy that uses ICT to integrate neuroscience data from around the world, to develop a unified multi-level understanding of the brain and diseases, and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The goal is to catalyze a global collaborative effort. During the HBPs first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project will outline the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific Community with unique resources and capabilities. Partnering Projects will enable independent research groups to expand the capabilities of the HBP Platforms, in order to use them to address otherwise intractable problems in neuroscience, computing and medicine in the future. In addition, collaborations with other national, European and international initiatives will create synergies, maximizing returns on research investment. SGA1 covers the detailed steps that will be taken to move the HBP closer to achieving its ambitious Flagship Objectives.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-06-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 6.35M | Year: 2016

The Paris Agreement substantially increased the need for countries and regions to understand the full economic, social and environmental implications of the deep decarbonisation to which the global community is now committed. The EU has long had decarbonisation ambitions, but there remains considerable uncertainty as to precisely how these ambitions will be achieved, or what the impacts of such achievement will be on the EU economy and society more generally. INNOPATHS will resolve this uncertainty to the extent possible, will characterise and provide a quantification of the uncertainty which remains, and will describe in great detail a number of possible low-carbon pathways for the EU, together with the economic, social and environmental impacts to which they are likely to lead. These pathways will be co-designed with the aid of 23 stakeholders from different sectors who have already provided letters of support to INNOPATHS. INNOPATHS will suggest through this analysis how the benefits of these pathways, such as new industries, jobs and competitiveness, may be maximized, and how any negative impacts, such as those on low-income households, or on carbon-intensive sectors, may be mitigated. INNOPATHS will communicate its insights through the normal scientific channels, and make substantial contributions to the scientific literature, but will go well beyond this in terms of interactions with stakeholders, building on the co-design processes in the project to reach out to stakeholder networks of businesses, NGOs, local and national policy makers. INNOPATHS will create four innovative online tools to explain its pathways, technological transitions and policies, to different constituencies. Through these tools and other dissemination and communication mechanisms, INNOPATHS will have a substantial impact on the climate and energy policy debates up to and beyond 2020, increasing the probability that decisions in this area will be taken in an informed and cost-effective way

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2017

This project will be the first to create, prototype and evaluate a radically new human-computer interaction paradigm that empowers the unadorned user to reach into levitating matter, see it, feel it, manipulate it and hear it. Our users can interact with the system in a walk-up-and-use manner without any user instrumentation. As we are moving away from keyboards and mice to touch and touchless interactions, ironically, the main limit is the lack of any physicality and co-located feedback. In this project, we propose a highly novel vision of bringing the physical interface to the user in mid-air. In our vision, the computer can control the existence, form, and appearance of complex levitating objects composed of levitating atoms. Users can reach into the levitating matter, feel it, manipulate it, and hear how they deform it with all feedback originating from the levitating objects position in mid-air, as it would with objects in real life. This will completely change how people use technology as it will be the first time that they can interact with technology in the same way they would with real objects in their natural environment. We will draw on our understanding of acoustics to implement all of the components in a radically new approach. In particular, we will draw on ultrasound beam-forming and manipulation techniques to create acoustic forces that can levitate particles and to provide directional audio cues. By using a phased array of ultrasound transducers, the team will create levitating objects that can be individually controlled and at the same time create tactile feedback when the user manipulates these levitating objects. We will then demonstrate that the levitating atoms can each become sound sources through the use of parametric audio with our ultrasound array serving as the carrier of the audible sound. We will visually project onto the objects to create a rich multimodal display floating in space.

Alonso C.R.,University of Sussex
Trends in Genetics | Year: 2012

Current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying mRNA degradation indicates that specific mRNA degradation rates are primarily encoded within the mRNA message itself in the form of cis-regulatory elements bearing particular primary sequences and/or secondary-structures. Such control elements are operated by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and/or miRNA-containing complexes. Based on the large number of RBPs and miRNAs encoded in metazoan genomes, their complex developmental expression and that specific RBP and miRNA interactions with mRNAs can lead to distinct degradation rates, I propose that developmental gene expression is shaped by a complex 'mRNA degradation code' with high information capacity. Localised cellular events involving the modification of RBP and/or miRNA target sequences in mRNAs by alternative polyadenylation added to the activation of specific RBP and miRNA activities via cell signalling are predicted to further expand the capacity of the mRNA degradation code by coupling it to dynamic events experienced by cells at specific spatiotemporal coordinates within the developing embryo. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Sanchez-Roige S.,University of Sussex
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2014

There are well-established links between impulsivity and alcohol use in humans and animal models; however, whether exaggerated impulsivity is a premorbid risk factor or a consequence of alcohol intake remains unclear. In a first approach, human young (18-25 years) social binge and non-binge drinkers were tested for motor impulsivity and attentional abilities in a human version of the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (Sx-5CSRTT), modeled on the rodent 5CSRTT. Participants completed four variants of the Sx-5CSRT, in addition to being screened for impulsive traits (BIS-11 questionnaire) and impulsive behavior (by means of the Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm (TCIP), Stop Signal Reaction Time, and Time Estimation Task). Using a second approach, we compared one of these impulsivity measures, 5CSRTT performance, in two inbred strains of mice known to differ in alcohol intake. Compared with non-bingers (NBD; n=22), binge drinkers (BD, n=22) showed robust impairments in attention and premature responding when evaluated under increased attentional load, in addition to presenting deficits in decision making using the TCIP. The best predictors for high binge drinking score were premature responding in the Sx-5CSRTT, trait impulsivity in the BIS-11, and decision making in the TCIP. Alcohol-naïve C57BL/6J (B6) mice (alcohol preferring) were more impulsive in the 5CSRTT than DBA2/J (D2) mice (alcohol averse); the degree of impulsivity correlated with subsequent alcohol consumption. Homologous measures in animal and human studies indicate increased premature responding in young social BD and in the ethanol-preferring B6 strain of mice.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 16 July 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.151.

The assessment of scientific publications is an integral part of the scientific process. Here we investigate three methods of assessing the merit of a scientific paper: subjective post-publication peer review, the number of citations gained by a paper, and the impact factor of the journal in which the article was published. We investigate these methods using two datasets in which subjective post-publication assessments of scientific publications have been made by experts. We find that there are moderate, but statistically significant, correlations between assessor scores, when two assessors have rated the same paper, and between assessor score and the number of citations a paper accrues. However, we show that assessor score depends strongly on the journal in which the paper is published, and that assessors tend to over-rate papers published in journals with high impact factors. If we control for this bias, we find that the correlation between assessor scores and between assessor score and the number of citations is weak, suggesting that scientists have little ability to judge either the intrinsic merit of a paper or its likely impact. We also show that the number of citations a paper receives is an extremely error-prone measure of scientific merit. Finally, we argue that the impact factor is likely to be a poor measure of merit, since it depends on subjective assessment. We conclude that the three measures of scientific merit considered here are poor; in particular subjective assessments are an error-prone, biased, and expensive method by which to assess merit. We argue that the impact factor may be the most satisfactory of the methods we have considered, since it is a form of pre-publication review. However, we emphasise that it is likely to be a very error-prone measure of merit that is qualitative, not quantitative. © 2013 Eyre-Walker, Stoletzki.

Caldecott K.W.,University of Sussex
Science | Year: 2014

The removal of RNA inadvertently incorporated into our DNA is critical for maintaining genome integrity.

Rosten O.J.,University of Sussex
Physics Reports | Year: 2012

Various aspects of the Exact Renormalization Group (ERG) are explored, starting with a review of the concepts underpinning the framework and the circumstances under which it is expected to be useful. A particular emphasis is placed on the intuitive picture provided for both renormalization in quantum field theory and universality associated with second order phase transitions. A qualitative discussion of triviality, asymptotic freedom and asymptotic safety is presented. Focusing on scalar field theory, the construction of assorted flow equations is considered using a general approach, whereby different ERGs follow from field redefinitions. It is recalled that Polchinski's equation can be cast as a heat equation, which provides intuition and computational techniques for what follows. The analysis of properties of exact solutions to flow equations includes a proof that the spectrum of the anomalous dimension at critical fixed-points is quantized. Two alternative methods for computing the β-function in λφ 4 theory are considered. For one of these it is found that all explicit dependence on the non-universal differences between a family of ERGs cancels out, exactly. The Wilson-Fisher fixed-point is rediscovered in a rather novel way. The discussion of nonperturbative approximation schemes focuses on the derivative expansion, and includes a refinement of the arguments that, at the lowest order in this approximation, a function can be constructed which decreases monotonically along the flow. A new perspective is provided on the relationship between the renormalizability of the Wilsonian effective action and of correlation functions, following which the construction of manifestly gauge invariant ERGs is sketched, and some new insights are given. Drawing these strands together suggests a new approach to quantum field theory. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 1.16M | Year: 2017

LysoMod will innovate in the area of personalized medicine for disorders linked to lysosomal dysfunction. This will be achieved by implementing a collaborative staff-exchange program between highly complementary and multidisciplinary academic and non-academic partners with expertise in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, mouse and human genetics, transcriptomics, proteomics and lipidomics. Based on the critical role that lysosomes play in cells, a better understanding of lysosomal function will have a major impact on human health, fostering the development of new strategies to improve quality of life for people affected by a variety of diseases, ranging from lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) to age-related neurodegenerative disorders. LysoMods specific objectives are: 1) to develop and further optimize existing therapies for LSDs; 2) to identify new targets for personalized therapies for LSDs; and 3) to investigate the cross-talk between lysosomal function, signalling pathways and gene expression regulation. The pioneer work of a participant in the consortium led to the development of a drug that is approved for clinical use. LysoMod will i) investigate the mechanisms of action of this and other drugs in lysosome-related disorder; ii) identify modifier genes involved in LSD pathology and test their potential as new targets for personalized therapeutic approaches; iii) identify candidate RNAs that can be targeted to enhance lysosomal function. The companies in the consortium will ensure a rapid transfer of new knowledge into applications for diagnostics and clinical trials. Prioritising lysosomal dysfunction as a highly relevant biomedical problem, the LysoMod consortium will implement a mentored staff-exchange program to provide young researchers with high-level training in innovative approaches for exploring biological systems, preparing the next generation of researchers for careers either in the private or public health sectors.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-ADG | Phase: ERC-ADG-2015 | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2017

Eusociality, in which workers sacrifice their own reproduction to rear the offspring of queens, is a major focus of interest in evolutionary biology. A key aim during recent decades has been to understand the conflicts of interest within eusocial groups. In contrast, however, little is known about the underlying genetic architecture. In this proposal, we will use a mixture of field experiments and transcriptomics to address novel questions about the evolutionary dynamics of queen-worker interactions. Borrowing concepts from the field of sexual conflict, we will investigate a new idea: that the productivity of social groups is limited because castes are constrained by inter-caste genetic correlations from simultaneously reaching their optimal (dimorphic) phenotypes. We will also quantify caste dimorphism across an environmental gradient, and investigate the plasticity of dimorphism using transplants and social manipulations. In addition, we will cross-foster individuals between nests to test for coadaptation between queens and workers. And we will test a long-standing hypothesis experimentally for the first time: that queens manipulate worker phenotype in their own interests. The proposed research will force us to look at eusociality in a completely new way. How caste dimorphism can evolve, the possibility that its evolution could be limited by genetic constraints, and the processes that could resolve those constraints, are topics that have hardly been considered. Recent research has strongly emphasized conflict between queens and workers, but the coadaptation of complementary phenotypes may be just as important. Our approach will be multidisciplinary: we will capitalize on state-of-the-art transcriptomic technology in combination with innovative field methods, and use study systems that allow exceptional sample sizes to be obtained in the wild, where natural selection operates. The overall result will be a new and exciting perspective on queen-worker coevolution.

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