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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.
An EU-funded project is exploring what keeps people committed to a task even when they get bored, distracted or are tempted to stop. The findings could foster productivity-boosting strategies, improve robot-human interactions and even help treat borderline personality disorder.
On 30 November and 1st December, the G20 2018 Summit will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The leaders and Ministers of finances of the World's major economies, including the European Union, will address the pressing concerns and challenges related to the global economy and finances. In this high decision-making forum, Prof. Irma Mosquera Valderrama has managed to make a place for her independent expertise, raising the voices of developing countries.
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.
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.
Once limited to modelling physical problems in engineering, today Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) are used by a diverse array of fields, from natural resources to meteorology, aeronautics, oil and gas and biomedicine – to name only a few. But key mathematical issues remain unsolved, particularly when addressing their control, a must in technological transfer. The ERC-funded DYCON project aims to find answers.
CRISPR is a widely used molecular biology tool exploiting an immune process discovered in bacteria. Dr David Bikard studies CRISPR in bacterial cells, in conjunction with different DNA repair systems, to create even newer tools. He hopes to gain insight into bacterial genetics, and develop increasingly effective medical treatments.
Epithelial tissues cover all body surfaces and line most of our organs, internal cavities and passageways, including the digestive tract. Prof. Elena Martínez is engineering intestinal epithelial tissues that mimic the physiological characteristics of human intestinal tissue with the aim of advancing the in vitro modelling of diseases, the preclinical screening for drug efficacy and toxicity, and the understanding of organ development.
Toxicology and pharmacology assays are currently carried out in cell lines or experimental animals. Scientists of the TOXANOID project developed mini organs in a dish, which outperform existing in vitro systems.
Dr Joaquim Alves Gaspar is a man of the sea. After many years in the Portuguese Navy, he gave up plans to become an admiral in favour of pursuing a PhD in the History of Cartography. This second career led him to receive an ERC Starting Grant, the first awarded in this budding discipline. With his highly multidisciplinary team (he likes to say that, to work with him, one must be a mathematician fluent in Latin), and the experience obtained as a navigator and navigational instructor, Dr Gaspar hopes to understand how and when the first nautical charts were created. The MEDEA-CHART team is the best place in Portugal, and probably in the world, to study the history of nautical cartography, hoping that this work will provide the domain with its rightful recognition within world history.