Volos, Greece
Volos, Greece

The University of Thessaly is a university in Thessaly, Greece, founded in 1984. The university is based in Volos, but operates campuses in Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and Lamia. The university comprises five schools—Humanities and Social science, Engineering, Agricultural science, Health science and science. Each department has its own associated student organization. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.77M | Year: 2013

Pesticides still constitute an integral part of modern agriculture. Upon their release, pesticides interact with soil microbes in contrasting ways. On the one hand they stimulate microbial activity and proliferation of a specific fraction of the microbial community which could utilize them as energy source resulting in their rapid biodegradation and loss of biological efficacy. On the other hand they induce inhibitory effects on the structure and/or on the function of the microbial community, the latter having detrimental effects on ecosystem functioning. So far pesticide legislation has largely ignored these aspects and pesticide soil ecotoxicity tests relies solely on simple C and N mineralization tests which do not provide a reliable assessment of pesticide impact on soil microbes. The introduction of fingerprinting molecular methods, qPCR, high throughput sequencing analysis, microarrays and omics have substantially advanced our knowledge on soil microbial ecology. However, these dynamic tools have not been utilized yet to shed light into soil microbes - pesticides interactions. This project aims to introduce these highly dynamic tools in combination with chemical analysis of pesticides and their metabolites to shed light into those interactions and the factors deciding which way the balance with go (stimulation or inhibition). This will be achieved via collaboration of two industrial and three academic partners with complementary expertise in molecular microbial ecology, soil microbiology, pesticide metabolism and the establishment of a staff exchange scheme. This apart from the achievement of the scientific and technological goals of the project will facilitate technology transfer between partners and open communication channels between Academia - Industry. Further the project is expected to support increasing communication with standardization foundations (ISO) and EU policy making bodies regarding pesticides (EFSA)


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.49M | Year: 2012

The AirX Research for SMEs project will develop a novel efficient air diffusion system for oxygenation in aquaculture farms. The target market are cage and earthen pond farmers (seabass and seabream) in Mediterranean, which periodically experience problems with reduced growth rate, increased feed conversion factor (FCR), stress and mortality of stock due to low oxygen content in the water (usually in summer/early autumn when biomass in the farms is normally high). Existing aeration devices are not suitable or too expensive to be used efficiently in ponds, whereas for cages there are no realistic options available. At critical periods with low oxygen levels, feeding is reduced and productivity of the industry is heavily influenced. Mortalities may appear accumulated stress may result in decreased appetite and thereby decreased growth, and decreased feed utilization. AirX will reduce cost of oxygenation by 75% from the current 0.25-0.64 EUR/kg O2 to 0.06-0.17 EUR. Using the AirX system to optimize the oxygen level will provide these benefits for the fish farmer: I)Higher growth rate of stock, II) Improvement of feed conversion rate (FCR), III) Higher production capacity at farm site, IV) Reduction of mortalities, especially during periods of high temperature/low oxygen concentration, V) Reduction of fish stress and generally improved fish welfare, VI) Improvement of the carrying capacity in terms of organic load that can be decomposed in the case of fish ponds, and reduced settling of waste beneath cages. The net value of extra biomass produced by using AirX is 254.000 EUR/year per farm site (presumed 20 cages/site and max 40 tonnes/cage). AirX investment cost for such site is estimated to 26.000 EUR/year. The AirX system will consist of a novel diffuser system, air compressor and automation system. The project will develop a functional prototype that will be extensively tested at end-user site. Time-to-market is less than 1 year after project termination.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: OCEAN 2013.1 | Award Amount: 5.56M | Year: 2013

SMS will deliver a novel automated networked system that will enable real-time in situ monitoring of marine water chemical and ecological status in coastal areas by the detection of a series of contaminants regulated by the MSFD. SMS will design a multi-modular apparatus that will host in a single unitthe Main Box (MB)a Sampling Module and an Analysis Module. The former will contain sample collection and treatment components, whereas the latter will include four biosensor sub-modules that will enable detection and measurement of algal toxins and their associated algal species; several hazardous compounds (tributyltin, diuron and pentaBDPE); sulphonamides and a series of standard water quality parameters. The MB will be equipped with a communication module for real-time data transfer to a control center, where data processing will take place, enabling alarm functionality to Health Warning Systems, whenever some critical value exceeds a pre-defined threshold. It will be placed on a floating platform or buoy positioned in loco at defined locations. SMS will also develop a Specific Marine Pollution Metric that will combine real-time data of pollutant concentrations and water quality parameters, to produce a quantitative assessment of marine water quality. All work will culminate in showcasing the projects results in three demonstration sites: in La Spezia, Italy, in the Slovenian Adriatic Sea and in the Alonissos marine park in Greece. The consortium brings together skills from industry and academia to address the proposed work program. The record track of the partners is a strong indication that the project will achieve its ambitious objectives and make a lasting impact through its exploitation plan. The technology development and test cases bring together a multi-sectorial team of experts interacting with endusers and marine water stakeholders, demonstrating that ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology can increase the potential of biosensors for marine applications


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.1 | Award Amount: 2.35M | Year: 2014

INCONET-GCC2s overall goal is to support the institutional bi-regional policy dialogue in Science, Technology and Innovation, to strengthen the bi-regional cooperation between research and innovation actors, especially in the context of the upcoming Horizon 2020 programme and finally to monitor progress in the bi-regional STI cooperation. INCONET-GCC2 builds on the results of previous cooperation activities with the Arab Gulf Countries (INCONET-GCC 1st phase, www.icnonet-gcc.eu) while it focuses on selected societal challenges of mutual interest as identified during the previous collaboration. INCONET-GCC2 explores now to achieve win-win across national, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches can be spurred in response to these issues while also realising and underpinning new pathbreaking kinds of capacity-building and organising clustering activities around the selected research priorities. Specifically: (1) Implement a series of analyses feeding the policy dialogue and increasing its efficiency, monitoring INCONET-GCC2s own activities, with particular emphasis on their sustainability, and implementing coherent dissemination activities in order to increase its visibility and impact; (2) Built of best practices towards the future in order to promote joint research though clustering activities within the selected societal challenges and organise thematic workshops in Health, Energy, Innovation and Security and ICT, Food towards EU-GCC Joint Call for proposals; (3) Enhance capacity building through the delivery of the facilitation of researcher mobility, summer schools, the support of the NCPs and their expansion in order to cover the selected societal challenges and the organisation of information days and brokerage events in all Arab Gulf countries; (4) Roadmap future research activities and provide recommendations to the EC and the national regulatory and funding authorities; (5)Raise awareness and disseminate information.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.1-01 | Award Amount: 8.88M | Year: 2013

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


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SEC-2011.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 4.47M | Year: 2012

An improvised explosive device (IED) post-blast scenario is a vast area where massive and diverse evidences must be searched, collected and transferred for analysis to a distant reference laboratory. The evidence collection is undertaken without any feedback from the distant data repository; so that large volumes of data are unnecessarily generated in the distant laboratory due to the analysis of no relevant evidences. These complex tasks involve tremendous amounts of material and human resources. FORLAB will deliver a novel systematic methodology for optimizing the evidence collection. FORLAB approach shall maximize the speed, reliability and accuracy of the process and ultimately make a significant step forward in the battle against terrorism. The key innovation is the establishment and maintenance of a dynamic, real-time self-adaptable feedback loop between the data collection process at explosion scene and the data repository, with the aim of reducing the number of collected samples, improving the capability to recreate the scenario and fine-tuning the screening process. Specifically, the proposed system will consist of: (i) analytical technologies for in-situ sample screening, (ii) communication and positioning modules for localizing the information and transporting it further, (iii) and Command and Control Centre(CCC) with 3D scene recreation capability. The laboratory would be deployed in the affected area and the technicians will survey the scene with the screening tools making preliminary analysis of evidences. Bi-directional radio links between the scene and the CCC will communicate the obtained results to the latter in real-time. In the CCC, a 3D recreation of the scene will occur which will integrate the preliminary in-situ analysis. The commander in the centre will obtain a global view of the scene and the evolution of analysis and will provide real-time feedback to the field technicians with instructions on the next actions of the investigation.


Pitsikas N.,University of Thessaly
Behavioural Brain Research | Year: 2015

The novel object recognition task (NORT) assesses recognition memory in animals. It is a non-rewarded paradigm that it is based on spontaneous exploratory behavior in rodents. This procedure is widely used for testing the effects of compounds on recognition memory. Recognition memory is a type of memory severely compromised in schizophrenic and Alzheimer's disease patients. Nitric oxide (NO) is sought to be an intra- and inter-cellular messenger in the central nervous system and its implication in learning and memory is well documented. Here I intended to critically review the role of NO-related compounds on different aspects of recognition memory. Current analysis shows that both NO donors and NO synthase (NOS) inhibitors are involved in object recognition memory and suggests that NO might be a promising target for cognition impairments. However, the potential neurotoxicity of NO would add a note of caution in this context. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Papadopoulos N.T.,University of Thessaly
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Since 1954, when the first tropical tephritid fruit fly was detected in California, a total of 17 species in four genera and 11 386 individuals (adults/larvae) have been detected in the state at more than 3348 locations in 330 cities. We conclude from spatial mapping analyses of historical capture patterns and modelling that, despite the 250+ emergency eradication projects that have been directed against these pests by state and federal agencies, a minimum of five and as many as nine or more tephritid species are established and widespread, including the Mediterranean, Mexican and oriental fruit flies, and possibly the peach, guava and melon fruit flies. We outline and discuss the evidence for our conclusions, with particular attention to the incremental, chronic and insidious nature of the invasion, which involves ultra-small, barely detectable populations. We finish by considering the implications of our results for invasion biology and for science-based invasion policy.


The evidence from epidemiological studies on the association between exposure to traffic and aircraft noise and hypertension and ischemic heart disease has increased during the recent years. Both road traffic and aircraft noise increase the risk of high blood pressure. Environmental noise mapping, as per the 2002/49/EC Directive, is an obligation of all European Union (EU) member states. In the framework of the present article a complete Strategic Noise Mapping research and Action Noise Plans assessment and evaluation are presented and aim to access land use management as an effective tool for protection from aircraft noise. The case of the Larnaka International Airport in Cyprus, a typical Mediterranean airport, (considered as a "large airport" according to the above EU Directive and the recent Cyprus Legislation Law No. 224(Ι)/2004), is presented. In this paper a review of both assessment and action implementation procedures focusing on the dominant - in the area - aircraft traffic noise is presented, with emphasis to (a) a full calculation of Strategic Noise Map (SNM) scenarios of actual and future airport operation using the ECAC.CEAC Doc 29 methodology for both EU common indicators L den and L night in scales of 5dB, (b) a full evaluation of results with emphasis to the Larnaka greater area land uses and the exposure of inhabitants in residences in various levels of environmental noise, and (c) a full evaluation of Noise Action Plans (NAP) introducing especially a new land use management scheme for the future Larnaka Town Land Use Plan. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Tsezou A.,University of Thessaly
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage | Year: 2014

Recent developments in genetics/genomics of osteoarthritis (OA) are discussed to improve our understanding of OA pathophysiology. The discovery of a novel variant near the NCOA3 (nuclear receptor coactivator 3) gene associated with hip OA and the regulation of GDF5 gene by four transcription factors via the OA susceptibility locus rs143383 are among important findings in OA genetics. Several microarray-based gene expression studies were published for different tissues of the joint. In OA synovium elevation of collagens and cross-linking enzymes (COL1A1, COL5A1, PLOD2, LOX and TIMP1) responsive to TGF-β was found as well as differential expression pattern between different areas of the osteoarthritic synovial membrane. In OA peripheral blood the role of apoptotic genes was highlighted, while whole genome expression profiling in OA subchondral bone and cartilage revealed common genes in cartilage and bone to be involved in OA development. In epigenetics, several microRNAs (miRNAs) were found to regulate genes' expression in chondrocytes, among which miR-125, miR-127b miR-21, miR-148a and their use as potential drug targets was highlighted. Future studies must focus on the integration of genetics, genomics and epigenetics for the identification of signaling pathways and regulatory networks responsible for OA development. © 2014 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.

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