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Alina Badescu is a young researcher, with her head in the sky and her thoughts firmly buried under layers of rock – in some of her native Romania’s most stunning salt mines. Her work focuses on neutrinos, small subatomic particles that can tell us a lot about the phenomena in the universe: the birth of stars, the explosion of supernovas, black holes.
Radio astronomy has now entered a “golden age” with new facilities paving the way for significant discoveries on the early universe and the formation and evolution of galaxies. Working on faint radio-signals, Dr Vernesa Smolčić’s research may lead to significant advances in the area. Her goal is to provide the first census of high-redshift star-bursting galaxies, also called “submillimetre galaxies”, and a full census of galaxies hosting supermassive black holes.
With her ERC grant, the 5000th awarded to a leading scientist in Europe, Dr Iva Tolić wants to push forward the frontiers of knowledge on the mechanical principles of cell division. To reach her goal, after spending several years in the USA, Denmark, Italy and Germany, she has moved back to Croatia where she is setting her new research team. The results of her ERC-funded project could lead to new insight in cell and molecular biology, potentially opening novel ways to treat cancer.Image: Microtubules in action during chromosome division © Iva Tolić
Vaccination has achieved huge success in controlling many devastating infectious diseases. However, there are still many such diseases, or ‘pathogens’, against which we cannot generate life-long protective immunity. On the eve of Croatia’s accession to the EU, Professor Stipan Jonjic’s ERC-funded research into new vaccines to offer better protection– is already underway. Prof Jonjic is the first Croatian ERC grantee to base his project in Croatia.