The treatment of irregular migrants is a hotly debated issue not only in Europe but all over the world. In the face of increasing flows of migrants and refugees, many countries have adopted restrictive policies that often include the deportation of undocumented migrants to combat “illegal migration”. Dr Barak Kalir brings an anthropological perspective that could help explain how deportation policies are implemented and why their implementation mostly fails.
Research picture ©Katerina Rozakou
Women and sex offenders have been relatively neglected in existing sociological studies on prisons, particularly in debates about the relative severity of penal systems. Still, Dr Ben Crewe finds the treatment of these two prisoner groups symptomatic of wider social sensibilities. These and other issues will be investigated in the frame of COMPEN, an extensive comparative analysis of different prisoner groups and penal jurisdictions.
Living creatures relate to their surroundings in all kinds of ways. One of these is by eating from them and excreting into them. But what is eating? Incorporating other creatures or absorbing nutrients? A need of individual bodies or a pleasure that table companions share? The ERC project EATINGBODIES has explored such questions by studying various forms of eating.
Portrait picture: ©NWO/Ivar Pel - Research picture: Courtesy of EATINGBODIES team
Slavery represents a dark and unclosed page in the history of mankind. Even if legally abolished by all countries of the world, its legacies shape the present in a plurality of ways and often overlap with the phenomena that scholars, activists and policy-makers target as new slaveries. Which are the consequences of slavery after its legal death? Should new forms of labor exploitation and human bondage also be read in this key? Or are they the result of recent economic, political and social transformations?
Research picture: Graffito on a private wall, Janjanbureh Island © Alice Bellagamba
Different responses might be given to global challenges. For example, how should the vanishing of a glacier be tackled? Prof. Thomas Eriksen aims to understand the economic, environmental and cultural transitions the world is going through and the responses created by local communities in order to offer valuable advice to our policymakers and leaders.
Research picture: Melting Andean glaciers: view from water reservoir in Chivay (Peru), where water is precious and scarce. ©Astrid Stensrud
Acetylsalicylic acid, most commonly known as aspirin, was already part of the Egyptian pharmacopeia, used also in ancient Greece and in the Middle Ages to break fevers. Taken all over the world to kill pain and reduce inflammation, today aspirin helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Its emerging role in preventing and treating cancer is on the rise too. But how does this drug act on your blood cells? ERC grantee Prof Valerie O’Donnell works on the answer.
A ground-breaking anthropological discovery took place in East Africa, where ERC Advanced grantee Dr Marta Mirazón Lahr and her team have been studying human origins. At the excavation site in Nataruk in northern Kenya, they have stumbled upon a real archaeological rarity – the earliest historical evidence of warfare.
Cover: © Nature/Marta Mirazon Lahr
Researchers supported by the ERC have sampled magmatic gases derived from the Earth's mantle in the Eifel region in Germany. Their analysis of xenon, a rare and inert gas, sampled in bubbling mineral water could bring new insights into the origin of volatile elements, water and gases, that allowed life to develop on Earth.
Illustration © Eifel forest near the Viktoriaquelle water well.
Photo © Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques
A team of researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona deciphered the genetic mechanisms responsible for the evolutionary success of animals, including humans. The findings give insight on how life evolved from its simple one-cell form to complex multi-cellular organisms. The results, published on 21/4/2016 in Cell journal, may also provide hints how the life will evolve in future.
While women inherit two X chromosomes, the expressions of one of them is shut down during embryonic development. Men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. The switching off of women’s second X chromosome is thought to compensate for the presence of only one X in males versus two in females, to balance for X-linked gene products between the sexes. X-chromosome inactivation is also one of the clearest examples of what epigenetic mechanisms do to our genetic material: the DNA of the genes on the X is still present but not actively expressed or needed. Prof. Edith Heard was awarded ERC grants to understand the intricate processes behind the phenomenon, with unexpected results that changed the way gene regulation is now looked at.
Portrait picture ©Royal Society / Research picture ©Curie Institute