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14-02-2020 | @Juan José Gaitán, INTA (Argentina) - Dryland ecosystem in the Argentinean Patagonia 4 mins read

Climate change could lead to dramatic shifts in dryland ecosystems

A study published in Science by ERC grantee Dr Fernando T. Maestre shows how increases in aridity such as those forecasted under climate change lead to abrupt shifts in dryland ecosystems worldwide, limiting their capacity to sustain life and provide essential ecosystem services to more than 2 billion people.

22-01-2020 | © IStock 6 mins read

Antibiotic resistance: How did we get here?

Finding ways to enlist the bacteria living in our bodies to defend against infections while better understanding their role in promoting antibiotic resistance are key to fighting this growing problem, says Dr Nassos Typas, a microbiologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.

25-09-2019 | © picture 4 mins read

How do you make plants drought-resistant without stunting growth?

Stressed plants typically stop growing. With her ERC grant, Prof. Ana Caño-Delgado has developed and is applying an innovative approach to generate drought-resistant plants that continue growing. This could play an important role in ensuring food security when water is scarce.

24-06-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Your mother’s microbes protect you

Maternal microbiota is crucial for the future health of a child. The transmission of microbes to offspring is a process that begins in the uterus and is influenced by the delivery method, breastfeeding and the mother’s diet. However, the mechanisms behind the protective role of maternal microbes on the baby’s health are not yet fully understood.

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.

20-03-2018 | Our Mythical Childhood, 2013, mixed media on cardboard © Matylda Tracewska 4 mins read

Linking classical antiquity and modern youth culture

How does the past inform the lives of children and young people? A global team of EU-funded researchers is examining this issue by assessing how stories from classical antiquity impact on popular culture and society. The project’s results and outputs will provide valuable resources for scholars and teachers.

11-05-2017 | Portrait and illustration: Photo Evolutionary Biology group (Isabel Gordo) | llustration: Macrophages with Escherichia coli 3 mins read

New knowledge to fight back against antibiotic resistance

The use and misuse of antibiotics has accelerated the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial strains, threatening our ability to treat common diseases. EU-funded research has shed new light on the mechanisms behind these microbial mutations, with implications for our understanding of diseases and resistance to treatment.

01-04-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

Frontier science and business that makes a difference

Maria Brandão de Vasconcelos, together with her colleague Filipa Matos Baptista, Henrique Veiga-Fernandes (ERC grantee), Diogo Fonseca Pereira and Sílvia Arroz Madeira, founded StemCell2MAX in 2015. The company is a biotechnology start-up, specialised in cell based therapies, including novel solutions to multiply the scarcely available blood stem cells, addressing an enormous demand for research and cancer treatment. StemCell2MAX technology is based on Prof. Veiga-Fernandes's ground-breaking discoveries in hematopoietic stem cell biology.

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

24-03-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

Riding a Trojan horse against cancer

Magdalena Król is Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) in Poland. She specializes in cancer research. Since 2006 Professor Król and her team have been investigating canine mammary cancer with particular focus on cancer metastasis and tumor microenvironment. Now she develops innovative cell-based method of drug delivery to solid tumors. Her discoveries about interactions between immune cells and cancer cells may one day revolutionize the treatment of cancer.

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

29-06-2016 | © picture 2 mins read

Stem cells: from frontier research project to promising spin-off company

Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) are blood cells located in the bone marrow. These cells are extensively used in research to develop treatments for many severe diseases, including HIV and multiple sclerosis, and their transplant is a key therapy for certain types of cancer like leukemia and multiple myeloma. However, the use of HSCs is seriously constrained by their limited availability since growing them in the lab does not produce very large quantities. There is therefore an urgent need for methods allowing scientists to multiply HSCs, without losing any of their properties.