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Mathematics might seem like an abstract discipline, remote from real-world applications but their equations can significantly help understand and simulate the functioning of nature. Professor Alfio Quarteroni of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) is leading the Mathcard project in developing mathematical models of the blood flow in our cardiovascular system. On the occasion of World Heart Day, he explains how his project could help surgeons and save lives.
On the occasion of the European Mobility Week (16-22 September 2012), cities are encouraged to take initiatives to promote a sustainable urban mobility. Noise and air pollution have become sources of concern in many urban areas. Major European cities have to take crowd and traffic management ever more seriously - as populations grow and infrastructure has to cope with rising demand and increased traffic congestion.
With their transparent skin and a known genome, the zebrafish larvae are emerging as a model for neuroscientists. It enables researchers to monitor large portions of the brain in an intact behaving vertebrate. Dr German Sumbre, an ERC grantee from Argentina, uses zebrafish in order to achieve a better understanding of the neural mechanisms of sensory perception, and as a means of providing new insights into neurological disorders.
The 22nd of March is UN World Water Day. Each year World Water Day highlights the importance of fresh water for global health: water's critical role in food security; its cultural role in shaping societies worldwide; the impact of natural disasters; the significance of clean water supplies in preventing the spread of diseases.
Caption: A young boy drinking the water of the Meghna River near Matlab (Bangladesh), a place where cholera is endemic©Photos by courtesy of Professor Andrea Rinaldo
Significant progress has been made in understanding breast tumour biology. However statistics indicate that the number of breast cancer patients and victims will continue to increase. Dr. Bentires-Alj, ERC Starting Grantee at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, and his team are studying the roles of the still under-explored family of protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in both normal breast development and cancers. In a recent study, published in Nature Medicine in March 2012, Dr Bentires-Alj's team have revealed the fundamental role of the protein phosphatase SHP2 in breast cancer proliferation, invasion and metastasis.
The Sun provides a steady source of power that could make solar energy a sustainable alternative to conventional sources of energy, provided that technological advances can actually reduce energy production costs. Prof. Michael Grätzel modified the composition of dye-sensitized solar cells to significantly increase their efficiency, including for indoor use. His result laid the ground for paradigm shifts that could revolutionise solar cells technology.Portrait: © Alain Herzog / EPFL image: The Swiss Tech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, featuring a glass façade made of dye sensitized solar cells to provide electric power to the building, © Alain Herzog / EPFL