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08-08-2019 | © istockphoto.com - Ralf Geithe Picture:© Emma Master 2 mins read

Newly discovered proteins boost biomaterials market

New families of proteins and enzymes will enable the development of novel plant-based biomaterials, potentially providing viable sustainable and renewable alternatives to plastics and other fossil-fuel-derived materials and chemicals.

 

17-06-2019 | Research illustration ©iStockphoto.com/ClubhouseArts | Portrait ©Melanie Verlinden/Reinhart Ceulemans 3 mins read

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 2 mins read

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.

27-08-2018 | © picture 2 mins read

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 2 mins read

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 4 mins read

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.

31-05-2018 | © picture 3 mins read

How did human brains get so large?

The human brain is a remarkable organ, but how did it evolve to give us such unprecedented cognitive abilities? ERC grantee Pierre Vanderhaeghen and his team from ULB, VIB-KU Leuven turned to the genome for answers: a specific set of genes, found only in humans, could play a determinant role on the size of our brain. Published today in Cell, Vanderhaeghen's EU-funded research helps to unlock the secrets of human evolution.

29-05-2018 | © picture 2 mins read

Shut up and heal - possible strategy to cure sick livers

'Silent killers'. This is how liver diseases are often described. But, are they really that silent? ERC grantee Mathieu Vinken, a pharmacist by training and worldwide expert in toxicology based at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), has just proven the contrary.

05-04-2017 | © picture

Fascination for humans

Virpi Lummaa holds an Academy of Finland Professorship at the University of Turku, Finland. She is interested in ageing, lifespan and natural selection in contemporary human populations, looking at evolutionary, ecological and demographic factors. At present, Prof. Lummaa also focuses on senescence patterns of the Asian elephant, a long-lived mammal that offers unique opportunities to address ageing mechanisms. Her latest findings highlight the significant role that elephant grandmothers play to ensure the survival of the calves, providing vital baby elephant care comparable to childcare in human communities across the world.Originally published in March 2017 as part of the multimedia campaign "ERC - 10 years – 10 portraits."

05-12-2016 | © Portrait: Katie Van Geyte | © Illustration: Microscopic image of the PFKFB3 project – Results published in Cantelmo AR, et al., Cancer Cell 2016 Nov 8 3 mins read

Novel therapy starves the engine driving cancer cell growth

European researchers have identified a novel approach to prevent the growth of cancer tumours and inhibit them from spreading, potentially leading to highly effective treatments with fewer side effects.