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17-12-2019 | Portrait image © University of Helsinki - Illustration: Legend: The new artificially cloaked viral-based nanovaccines for cancer immunotherapeutic applications. © University of Helsinki 3 mins read

Why viruses coated with peptides could hold the key to cancer immunity

A targeted and personalised method for triggering the body’s immune response could transform how we treat cancer. Thanks to a grant from the European Research Council (ERC), an inspired idea has been developed in the lab and turned into a ground-breaking commercial opportunity.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

14-03-2019 | © picture 4 mins read

The resurrection of Franz Liszt's unfinished opera Sardanapalo

“Once lost is lost", one may think, especially if the piece of forgotten patrimony is an opera from 1850 that is “incomplete, too fragmented and irretrievable”, according to the experts. Except for Dr. David Trippet: like an art restorer holding fine paintbrushes, he has dedicated three years of intensive research to retrieve the unborn opera, bringing the music and libretto back to life 170 years later.

13-10-2018 | © picture 3 mins read

Centre stage: the vital social role of applied theatre

Applied theatre tells a story not for the purposes of entertainment but for social, economic, political or therapeutic reasons. Prof. Matthias Warstat, funded by the ERC, wants to know more about the growth and impact of this form of theatre across the world.

28-05-2018 | © picture 2 mins read

Understanding acidification to fight infection

Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga and his team work on understanding the movement of molecules across human cells. In a paper recently published on Cell Host & Microbe, they outline the significance of a single protein, SLC4A7, in phagocytosis, the body's first line of defence against infection. These results, however, go beyond the context of infectious diseases, with repercussions on our knowledge of processes like inflammation and cancer.

18-05-2018 | Portrait: © Andrea Avezzù - Ca' Foscari 2 mins read

Nature and humanity: a revival of the fittest?

ERC grantee Renata Sõukand is exploring to what extent local ecological practices concerning the use of plants, among selected ethnic minorities in Eastern Europe, have declined due to the centralization imposed by dominant practices through the impacts on natural resources, health, economies and the well-being of local communities.

22-03-2018 | Myotis myotis bats flying © Photography by Olivier Farcy. Courtesy AGELESS project - Portrait photo © Prof. Emma TEELING 3 mins read

Ageing healthily: European scientists unlock the molecular secret behind bat longevity

Scientists led by ERC grantee Emma Teeling have identified part of the molecular mechanism that gives bat species Myotis their extraordinary long and healthy lifespans. The longest-lived bats can live over 41 years of age while weighing only 7g, which is the human equivalent of some 234 years. They also maintain good health longer than many other mammals. The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, focus on the protective structures at the end of chromosomes, called telomeres. Bats may have evolved unique telomere maintenance mechanisms which allow them to repair age-related cell damage.