ERC Stories

  • 15178

    Nanovaccines join the fight against cancer

    03/02/2016
    Nanovaccines join the fight against cancer
     03/02/2016

    How close are we to developing a successful and comprehensive vaccine for cancer? ERC grantee Prof. Yvette van Kooyk thinks that a combination of glycobiology and immunology will lead us closer than ever before. Thanks to her ground-breaking multidisciplinary team and her new approach based on sugar receptors, she has developed a nanovaccine that promises to represent the future for cancer treatment.

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  • 15174

    Studied malaria, found cancer treatment

    02/02/2016
    Studied malaria, found cancer treatment
     02/02/2016

    Malaria has always been the centre of attention for Dr Ali Salanti’s, a molecular parasitologist and an ERC grantee. With his studies, he hoped to bring new insight into pregnancy-associated malaria, to save the lives of women and their babies in areas affected by the disease. Now, Dr Salanti’s research has shifted to battling against another deadly disease: cancer. This comes after an unexpected discovery yielded ground-breaking results for the diagnosis and treatment of this illness. This is the kind of curiosity-driven research that can lead to ground-breaking serendipitous outcomes.
    picture©istockphoto.com

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  • 15138

    Real-life problems realistically solved

    21/01/2016
    Real-life problems realistically solved
     21/01/2016

    Is a precise answer always better than a slightly less detailed one? Not necessarily. Some problems could take forever to compute and tie up vast IT capacity. Where solutions are needed urgently, e.g. in business or manufacturing, near-enough can be more than enough. ERC-funded research has produced a library of fast, powerful approximation algorithms.

    © P Sankowski

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  • 15098

    New insight into links between biodiversity and climate change mitigation in global drylands

    15/12/2015
    New insight into links between biodiversity and climate change mitigation in global drylands
     15/12/2015

    Both tropical forests and areas with extensive forest coverage are fundamental in tackling the effects of climate change on Earth.
    However, the environmental importance of arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid ecosystems – also referred to as drylands - is less well known. Drylands cover about 40% of the Earth's land surface and support 38% of human population. With his BIOCOM project Dr Fernando T. Maestre, a 2009 ERC Starting grantee from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain), investigates the role of biodiversity in enhancing the ability of drylands to maintain essential functions. Some of these functions have the capacity to combat the consequences of climate change and desertification in drylands worldwide.

    illustration © Semiarid landscape in Argentina - Juan Gaitán

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  • 15093

    Factoring in human behaviour during emergencies

    14/12/2015
    Factoring in human behaviour during emergencies
     14/12/2015

    Natural hazard combined with human error is what makes many disasters especially serious. ERC-funded research led by Professor Gian Paolo Cimellaro from Politecnico di Torino in Italy promises to create a new method to assess the performance of critical infrastructures during emergencies that takes into account the human factor.

    Illustration © Istockphoto

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  • 15057

    Interview with Artur Avila, Fields Medal Awardee and Brazilian ERC starting grant awardee

    13/11/2015
    Interview with Artur Avila, Fields Medal Awardee and Brazilian ERC starting grant awardee
     13/11/2015

    Artur Avila is a franco-brazilian leading mathematician and an ERC grantee since 2010. At the age of 16, he won the International Mathematical Olympic gold medal and before finishing high school, he received a scholarship for the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) of Rio de Janeiro. He is now senior researcher both at the National Center for Scientific Research - CNRS and IMPA. In this interview, Prof. Avila tells us about his international career and the research he conducts both in Brazil and France.

    Interview conducted by EURAXESS Links Brazil

    © www.istockphoto.com

     

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  • 15052

    New defences against kidney disease in diabetes

    10/11/2015
    New defences against kidney disease in diabetes
     10/11/2015

    Why do so many diabetes patients develop kidney disease, and how can we improve prevention? EU-funded research has examined insulin-related processes at play in impaired renal function — and it may have found a way to protect key cells that help to filter our blood.

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  • 15047

    An international career to push the frontiers of epigenetics

    10/11/2015
    An international career to push the frontiers of epigenetics
     10/11/2015

    With her degree in biology, Dr Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla left Mexico and embarked on an international career in epigenetics. She completed her PhD at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and then moved to Cambridge University. In 2006 she joined IGBMC in Strasbourg where she is currently a group leader. Supported by an ERC grant, she studies the mechanisms controlling embryonic cellular plasticity with the aim of shedding new light on today's fertility issues. In this interview she shares her story as a non-European scientist in Europe.

    Image:©Takashi Ishiuchi & Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla

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  • 15045

    Understanding the potential of Africa's digital revolution

    06/11/2015
    Understanding the potential of Africa's digital revolution
     06/11/2015

    In just a couple of years, Africa has gone from possessing a total bandwidth availability comparable to that of Norway to having almost one hundred million internet users and seven hundred million mobile users. Could this growth in access to information and communication technologies (ICT) represent an opportunity for economic development? Many have described this moment of transition as "Africa's century", ERC grantee and Oxford scholar Prof Mark Graham, a leading authority on the topic of technology and development, aims to understand this "digital revolution".

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  • 15041

    The brain: a tuneable 'hardware'

    04/11/2015
    The brain: a tuneable 'hardware'
     04/11/2015

    A crucial discovery of how the brain functions has been made by EU-funded researchers.  ERC Advanced Grant holder Prof. Oscar Marin and his team have shown that brain's 'hardware' - using the computing metaphor - is in fact tuneable and can adapt to internal and external influences. The findings could help develop new therapies for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, which affects around 50 million people globally.

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