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Beyond the orbit of Neptune, there is a belt of objects composed of ice and rocks, among which four dwarf planets stand out: Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. Because of their small size, low reflectance, and far distance, these trans-neptunian objects are difficult to study and remain partly mysterious. A group of astronomers supported by the EU report on their unexpected finding on Haumea.
There is no easy cure for obesity nowadays, as scientists have an incomplete understanding of what controls body weight. With ERC funding, Dr Lydia Lynch has returned to Europe from the US to work on an entirely new field in the treatment of obesity.
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.
Our immune system recognizes and fights infections in a constantly changing environment, where new pathogenic threats emerge. At the crossroad between physics and biology, Prof. Aleksandra Walczak investigates the fascinating process that allows the immune system to be always ready to adapt and evolve to face new dangers.
How do proteins trigger complex signal processing tasks, such as neurotransmission, in cells? Thanks to the development of innovative molecular simulation techniques, this ERC-funded project has brought new insights into the transmission of messages inside and between cells.
ERC grantee Prof. Maria Antonietta De Matteis studies membrane trafficking in cells and how its components interact and are regulated to guarantee a healthy cell function. Her work could revolutionise our understanding of this key biological process.
Organogenesis is the process by which different cells grow, differentiate and interact with each other to create large structures, such as the heart, the brain, a limb. But what are the mechanisms behind these molecular, cellular and tissue interactions that lead to the construction of an organ? Prof. James Sharpe’s team is developing the first 3D computer model to better understand this complex process.
All cancers carry epigenetic alterations. But the biological function of these alterations is not well understood. In his ERC project, Prof. Christoph Bock explores their functional role by introducing these alterations into cancer and normal cells. Successful engineering of an epigenetic leukaemia could challenge the idea that all cancers are driven by genetic alterations.
Computational and systems biology are interdisciplinary sciences that have been greatly advancing in the last decades by harnessing the increased power of computation and mathematics. Their aim is to apply large-scale computational and numerical methods to the fields of molecular, cellular and structural biology, in order to answer emerging biological questions that were not possible to be tackled by traditional approaches.
Almost 30 million children across the world are currently forcibly displaced and many of them, the unaccompanied refugee minors, are travelling without the protection and support of parents or caregivers. What do we know about the impact of their often harsh experiences on their psychological wellbeing? Dr llse Derluyn aims to gather evidence that will support the development of policies and clinical and social interventions for these unaccompanied children who face multiple traumas, also in a view to facilitate their integration in the host countries.