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07-08-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

Slovak scientist of the year

In only three years’ time, Dr Jan Tkač went from being the first ERC grantee in Slovakia to obtaining the “2015 Scientist of the Year” award. His research in the field of glyconomics could emerge as a turning point for the diagnosis of cell-related diseases.

31-05-2017 | Supermassive black holes with masses of about a billion times that of the sun existed by about 12.8 billion years ago. Photo @istockphoto.com 4 mins read

EARLY BLACK HOLES MAY HAVE GROWN IN FITS AND SPURTS

A team of female scientists, including ERC grantee Dr Raffaella Schneider from Sapienza University in Italy found how black holes appeared and grew in the early universe. The lead author of the study was Edwige Pezzulli, a PhD student member of Dr Schneider's ERC-funded team.

Supermassive black holes with masses of about a billion times that of the sun existed by about 12.8 billion years ago.

22-07-2016 | © Ivilin Stoianov, Marco Zorzi 5 mins read

Self-learning AI emulates the human brain

European researchers have designed brain-like artificial neural networks capable of numerical and spatial cognition and written language processing without any explicit training or pre-programming. Their work, based on the machine-learning approach of generative models, significantly advances the development of self-learning artificial intelligence, while also deepening understanding of human cognition.

27-10-2015 | Image: © CFHT Legacy Survey © VIPERS Collaboration 2 mins read

High precision techniques to measure galaxy clustering

What is the nature of dark energy? How does it relate to dark matter? These are some of the key open questions in cosmology, which Prof. Luigi Guzzo intends to address in his research. Findings of his DARKLIGHT project, funded by the ERC, could add an important piece to the puzzle of the origin and evolution of the Universe.

19-05-2015 | Portrait: © Bruno Siciliano, PRISMA Lab | Image: © Ciro Fusco, ANSA 2 mins read

A step forward to the service robots of the future

Why should people waste their time executing some repetitive time-consuming everyday tasks which do not require creativity and intellectual capacity? Such a reasoning stands behind Professor Bruno Siciliano’s ERC funded project aiming at the creation of a new generation of service robots.  

18-05-2015 | © Studio Brega 2 mins read

Towards simpler, smarter artificial hands

Will robots ever have the same dexterity as humans? Professor Antonio Bicchi is working on the next-generation of artificial hands that can be programmed to adapt to different tasks and environments. The  promising results of his research could have a strong impact on engineering robotics as well as on rehabilitation technologies.  

15-04-2015 | Image:© Guidotti et al./Cell 2015 4 mins read

Lymphocytes versus hepatitis B virus: caught in action

For the first time ever, two ERC grantees, Prof. Luca G. Guidotti and Dr Matteo Iannacone, have observed in vivo how specific white blood cells, so-called cytotoxic T lymphocytes, identify, target and attack liver cells that are infected with the hepatitis B virus. To witness these immune cells in action in real time, the two scientists developed advanced, dynamic imaging techniques. An estimated 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B worldwide. This discovery, published today in the scientific journal Cell, opens new horizons for the development of novel therapies.

28-10-2013 | Portrait: © Bruno Siciliano, PRISMA Lab | Illustration: © Ciro Fusco, ANSA 3 mins read

From pizza maker to physiotherapist: Italian robot's promising skills

Why should people waste their time executing some repetitive time-consuming everyday tasks which do not require creativity and intellectual capacity? Such a reasoning stands behind Professor Bruno Siciliano’s ERC funded project aiming at the creation of a new generation of service robots.

14-06-2013 | © picture 3 mins read

Sweet solutions for detecting disease

In Bratislava, the team of Dr Ján Tkáč is developing the weapons to fight back in a cellular ‘cold war’ by using new early-detection technologies – helped by the first ERC grant awarded in Slovakia. Glycans are sugar molecules that carry the information human cells need to stay healthy and fight infections. Information rich, and with sophisticated storage and coding commands, they are a vital early-warning system for triggering an organism’s natural defensive systems at the first sign of attack. So it is not surprising that infectious pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, and cell-related diseases such as cancers, have developed subterfuges to bypass this first line of defence. For example, HIV viruses do this by cracking the glycan’s molecular code, and stealing its identity – allowing the pathogen to go unrecognised by cells until the infection is well advanced.

20-12-2012 | © Prof. F.R. Ferraro, Mosaic of 9 globular cluster images ranked in order of increasing dynamical age as measured from the observed radial distribution of their blue straggler stars. From top-left, to bottom-right: omega Centauri, NGC 288, M55, M4, M13, M 3 mins read

How to look young when you’re not – stars reveal the secret of aging well

Some people are in great shape at the age of 90, while others feel unfit before they are 50. How fast people age is not really linked to how old they actually are — and has a lot to do with their lifestyle. A new study led by Prof. Francesco Ferraro, Advanced grantee of the European Research Council (ERC), reveals that the same is true of star clusters. This groundbreaking discovery was made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and is featured this week in the renowned scientific journal Nature.