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01-07-2019 | ©Philippe Chatelain - UCLouvain

Buckle up, turbulence ahead

What if a formation of wind turbines could learn to maximise airflows generated from the movement of other machines to improve their efficiency? What if planes could learn to fly to avoid turbulence? ERC grantee Philippe Chatelain uses artificial intelligence and solutions inspired by nature to answer these questions.

17-06-2019 | Research illustration ©iStockphoto.com/ClubhouseArts | Portrait ©Melanie Verlinden/Reinhart Ceulemans

Biomass crops are energy efficient and climate friendly

EU-funded researchers planted, harvested, processed and analysed the life cycle of woody crops to establish how efficient and environmentally friendly they are as a source of fuel for electricity and heat.

15-05-2019 | © Hubert Plovier & Patrice Cani, WELBIO

Akkermansia, a friendly bacterium who cares

The abundant presence of a certain bacteria in our intestine, Akkermansia muciniphila, to give it its full name, is an excellent sign according to metabolism and nutrition specialist prof. Patrice Cani. With his team, they discovered the role of these bacteria in reducing cardiometabolic risk factors - like insulin resistance or hypertension – that are leading causes in the development of cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes.

30-04-2019 | © iStockphoto.com

Gender talk in the corridors of Brussels

ELECTION SERIES #2

Because the European Parliament represents such a diverse group of people, with different cultural and political backgrounds, it is the perfect ground to understand how gender equality operates in the halls of power. ERC grantee Johanna Kantola and her team have shadowed many members of Parliament and their teams, to study gender practices and policies inside Europe’s legislative machine.

23-04-2019 | © picture

Breezing through the information overload

ELECTION SERIES #1

There is now more information circulating than at any other time in history. Every day mind-boggling amounts of data are produced, reaching over 2.5 quintillion bytes. With the European elections just around the corner, we take a look at an ERC funded project on how politicians stay knowledgeable amidst this information overload. The research by grantee Prof. Stefaan Walgrave from the University of Antwerp compares how different politicians process information and then act on it in three western, post-industrialist parliamentary democracies - Israel, Belgium and Canada. An original study, which unveils some optimistic findings just as voters prepare to head to the polls.

11-02-2019 | © iStockphoto.com

Spotting the killjoy cell

A microchip device to detect tumour cells in the blood, at a glance

There are trillions of cells in the human body of different sizes and shapes. In such a densely populated environment, the chances of detecting a single tumour cell circulating in the bloodstream, seem pretty weak. Yet, to prevent potential metastasis, responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths, early detection is a must. Liesbet Lagae, an engineer based at Imec in Leuven, Belgium, is developing a microchip device that hunts, inspects and sorts out malignant cells circulating in the blood, sharply and cheaply.

05-09-2018 | © picture

Investigating the uncertain future of teaching profession

Teaching is certainly one of the most important professions in our society, yet its status and attractiveness have been systematically diminishing in the last decades. At the Université catholique de Louvain, Prof. Xavier Dumay is using his ERC Starting Grant to investigate the cultural and institutional transformations that have led to this "teaching profession crisis".

27-08-2018 | © picture

From basic research to clinical medicine: stimulating the natural growth of heart blood vessels

At the forefront of medicine, gene therapy is based on the insertion of genes into an individual's cells and tissues to treat a disease. Scientists are currently testing several approaches to this experimental technique. One of them, Prof. Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, intends to develop a novel method to treat myocardial ischemia by activating endogenous genes to propel angiogenesis. If successful, he will open a new era in gene therapy.

20-08-2018 | iStock

Artificial heart valves: synthetic polymer coatings could reduce complications in patients

More than 100 million people worldwide suffer from valvular heart disease, affecting one or more of the heart’s four valves and causing breathlessness, chest pain, dizziness and fainting. If severe valvular heart disease is not properly treated, chances of surviving decrease, especially in the elderly. The only effective therapy is heart valve replacement, which may entail some risks and lead to revision surgeries. What can be done to improve safety and durability of artificial heart valves? 

09-08-2018 | © picture

Wild elephants under threat

Based on University of Turku's press release

For more than 3000 years, men have captured wild Asian elephants to use them for work or entertainment. In a new study published today in Nature Communications, ERC grantee Virpi Lummaa shows the harmful effects of these ongoing practices on wild-caught animals. The findings are based on detailed records from the past 100 years over a population of 5000 timber elephants from Myanmar.