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21-10-2019 | © picture 4 mins read

Same past, different histories: Remembering the Jagiellonians across Europe

When you think of the Renaissance period in Europe, what springs to mind? Perhaps the Medici family in Italy where the Renaissance is said to have begun, or the discovery of the ‘New World’ by Europeans like Christopher Columbus or Abel Tasman. But have you heard of the Jagiellonians?

14-01-2019 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring 1 min read

La rivoluzione della stampa in Europa in mostra a Venezia

Sino alla metà del XV secolo, i libri venivano scritti a mano. Nel 1455 venne stampata la Bibbia di Gutenberg, cambiando per sempre la società. Negli anni successivi milioni di libri furono stampati in tutta Europa. Cosa si sa oggi di questi libri? Chi li leggeva? Chi li acquistava? Chi li annotava? Cristina Dondi è una ricercatrice dell'Università di Oxford e curatrice della mostra "Printing Revolution 1450-1500. I 50 anni che hanno cambiato l'Europa" aperta al Museo Correr di Venezia lo scorso settembre. Forte del successo ottenuto, con oltre 90 000 visitatori a dicembre 2018, la mostra è stata prolungata sino al 30 aprile 2019. Un percorso di scoperta attraverso libri antichi e moderni strumenti digitali, frutto di anni di rigorose ricerche finanziate dall'ERC, il Consiglio europeo delle Ricerche. Sentiamo in questa intervista come nasce la passione di Cristina Dondi per i primi libri a stampa e cosa ha scoperto con le sue ultime ricerche che l'hanno portata a collaborare con biblioteche di tutto il mondo.

20-12-2018 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring 4 mins read

On the trail of the first printed books, the beginning of the knowledge economy

Until the middle of the 15th century, books were copied by hand. After the printing of the Gutenberg Bible, in Mainz, printed books started to circulate in Europe marking the start of a new era. But what do we know about the first modern books? What were they about? Who wrote them, bought them, read them? Prof. Cristina Dondi is chasing these answers, following the breadcrumbs left by these incredible volumes.

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.

22-05-2018 | © picture 6 mins read

Sailing the mysteries of old maps

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.

16-11-2017 | Portrait: ©EPFL,Hillary Sanctuary - Research picture: ©EPFL,Alain Herzog 2 mins read

Could personalised neuroprosthetics make paralysed patients walk again?

Prof. Gregoire Courtine believes paralysed patients will be able to walk again. This belief has represented the focus of years of work aimed at regenerating the functions of the spinal cord after injury. Thanks to his ERC funding in both 2010 and 2015, Prof. Courtine and his team have been able to develop so-called “personalised neuroprosthetics” that have led immobile rats, and more recently monkeys, to overcome their paralysis.

30-03-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

Together, we can achieve a lot

Ole Kamstrup, MD., MSc., is a pensioner and lives north of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease ten years ago. Since 2013, Mr Kamstrup has been in contact with Professor Deniz Kirik, a neuroscientist at Lund University in Sweden. Professor Kirik, who was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2009, develops new therapies for Parkinson’s disease, using viral vectors to deliver therapeutic genes to the brain. An ERC Proof of Concept grant enabled him to start carrying out a market evaluation and writing a business plan for the promising therapy.

Originally published in March 2017 as part of the multimedia campaign "ERC - 10 years – 10 portraits."

20-09-2016 | Image© iStockphoto 3 mins read

New understanding of how Alzheimer’s develops

By focusing on certain actions and reactions within the brain, an EU-funded project has advanced understanding of how Alzheimer’s Disease develops. This could potentially open the door to a new era of targeted treatments.

02-05-2016 | Research picture: Graffito on a private wall, Janjanbureh Island © Alice Bellagamba 2 mins read

The past and present of slavery: a history in the making

Slavery represents a dark and unclosed page in the history of mankind. Even if legally abolished by all countries of the world, its legacies shape the present in a plurality of ways and often overlap with the phenomena that scholars, activists and policy-makers target as new slaveries. Which are the consequences of slavery after its legal death? Should new forms of labor exploitation and human bondage also be read in this key? Or are they the result of recent economic, political and social transformations?

29-04-2016 | Cover: © Nature/Marta Mirazon Lahr 3 mins read

Discovery in Kenya sheds light on the origins of warfare

A ground-breaking anthropological discovery took place in East Africa, where ERC Advanced grantee Dr Marta Mirazón Lahr and her team have been studying human origins. At the excavation site in Nataruk in northern Kenya, they have stumbled upon a real archaeological rarity – the earliest historical evidence of warfare.