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1.

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

The conquest of a new habitat: a study of nutritional and sensory adaptations in Drosophila suzukii larvae

  • 262,210
  • Germany
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The conquest of a new habitat: a study of nutritional and sensory adaptations in Drosophila suzukii larvae
Company Name MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Funded By 38
Country Germany , Western Europe
Project Value 262,210
Project Detail

Animals need to feed to incorporate nutrients -amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids. Since feeding substrates contain varying concentrations of these nutrients, animals have in place peripheral chemosensory mechanisms to search for them, and internal nutrient sensing mechanisms to assess their needs. Additionally, species occupying different ecological niches have evolved to profit from feeding substrates with different nutritional composition. My goal is to understand the relationship between these nutrient sensing mechanisms and a species’ nutritional needs, in the context of its ecological niche and its evolutionary history. I propose to model this subject on a comparative study between the recent global pest species Drosophila suzukii and D. melanogaster. Although both are generalist species that feed on overripe fruits as adults, D. suzukii has conquered a new egg laying niche, the ripening fruit, which implies a new nutritional landscape for the developing larva. I will address this subject by integrating three levels of analysis. First, the nutritional composition of their environment, the host fruits, and how it is affected by larval activity. Second, larval metabolic parameters and the activity of nutrient sensitive signaling pathways. Third, the function of the the peripheral chemosensory system related to nutrient sensing. I will accomplish this by translating tools generated on the model species D. melanogaster for the study of physiology and metabolism to D. suzukii. Through this action I will apply an innovative approach to the study of nutrition that integrates its ecological, physiological, chemosensory and evolutionary aspects. I will generate knowledge on the biology of D. suzukii, important for the fight against the growing pest. Importantly, this project will restart my career in academia after an unintentional break and I will train in the new skills I need to become an independent group leader on this same research topic.

Sector Administration & Marketing

Contact Details

Company Name MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Address Hofgartenstrasse 8 80539 Muenchen
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/221608/factsheet/en

2.

JOHANNES GUTENBERG-UNIVERSITAT MAINZ

Supramolecular engineering of glycan-decorated peptides as synthetic vaccines

  • 2 Million
  • Germany
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Supramolecular engineering of glycan-decorated peptides as synthetic vaccines
Company Name JOHANNES GUTENBERG-UNIVERSITAT MAINZ
Funded By 38
Country Germany , Western Europe
Project Value 2 Million
Project Detail

The main and most important feature of vaccines is the induction of an immunological memory response, which is key to providing long-term protection against pathogens. The current strategies for potent antibacterial and antiviral vaccines employ conjugation of pathogen specific entities onto carrier proteins, and are limited to formulations that suffer from low stability and short shelf-lives, and are thus not viable in developing countries. Strategies for the development of new vaccinations against endogenous diseases like cancer further remain an unmet challenge, since current methodologies suffer from a lack of a modular and tailored vaccine-specific functionalisation. I therefore propose a radically new design approach in the development of fully synthetic molecular vaccines. My team will synthesise carbohydrate and glycopeptide appended epitopes that are grafted onto supramolecular building blocks. These units can be individually designed to attach disease specific antigens and immunostimulants. Due to their self-assembling properties into nanoscaled pathogen mimetic particles, they serve as a supramolecular subunit vaccine toolbox. By developing a universal supramolecular polymer platform, we will construct multipotent vaccines from glycan-decorated peptides, that combine the activity of protein conjugates with the facile handling, precise composition and increased stability of traditional small molecule pharmaceutical compounds. SUPRAVACC will pioneer the design of minimalistic and broadly applicable vaccines, and will evaluate the supramolecular engineering approach for immunisations against antibacterial diseases, as well as for applications as antitumour vaccine candidates. The fundamental insights gained will drive a paradigm shift in the design and preparation of vaccine candidates in academic and industrial research laboratories.

Sector Administration & Marketing

Contact Details

Company Name JOHANNES GUTENBERG-UNIVERSITAT MAINZ
Address Saarstrasse 21 55122 Mainz
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/221450/factsheet/en

3.

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

Selective glycoimmuno-targeting for cancer therapy

  • 1 Million
  • Israel
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Selective glycoimmuno-targeting for cancer therapy
Company Name TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Funded By European Research Council (ERC)
Country Israel , Western Asia
Project Value 1 Million
Project Detail

Immunotherapy recently became an important alternative to conventional treatment regimes, yet cancer remains a universal leading cause of death. Thus, novel cancer theranostic approaches are still much desired. Although altered cell surface glycosylation is one of the hallmarks of cancer, targeting this ‘sweet aim’ for cancer therapy has been elusive, largely due to carbohydrates poor immunogenicity and the low affinity of antibodies against them. A red meat-derived carbohydrate antigen is a novel immunogenic moiety providing a key to unlock the theranostic potential of tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens. This foreign non-human sugar can be acquired only through the diet and subsequently appears on diverse cell surface glycoconjugates as ‘self’, accumulating mostly on carcinomas, and resulting in a polyclonal xeno-autoantibodies response. I have shown that such antibodies have both diagnostic and therapeutic potential, although basic understanding of their specificity and potency is scarce. The primary objective of this proposal is to design a novel personalized cancer therapeutic approach based on xeno-autoantibodies against the dietary sugar antigen. We propose an innovative interdisciplinary approach crossing the boundaries of cancer research, glycosciences, immunology and nanotechnology, with cutting-edge technologies, to design, engineer, screen and fully investigate potent targeting of ‘SweetAim’ moieties. Our discovery line is based on a two-arms platform to generate optimized antibodies for passive/active therapy, together with refined tumor cells through glyco-engineering/reprogramming for unveiling novel theranostics, finally evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. I expect our groundbreaking achievements will lead to promising new clinical tools, particularly for cancer, but also for other chronic inflammation-mediated diseases. Importantly, it will establish fundamental new concepts regarding carbohydrate recognition and response by the immune system.

Sector Health and Medical

Contact Details

4.

HELMHOLTZ CENTER FOR INFECTION RESEARCH GMBH

Sweet Theranostics in Bitter Infections - Seek and Destroy

  • 1 Million
  • Germany
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Sweet Theranostics in Bitter Infections - Seek and Destroy
Company Name HELMHOLTZ CENTER FOR INFECTION RESEARCH GMBH
Funded By European Research Council (ERC)
Country Germany , Western Europe
Project Value 1 Million
Project Detail

Bacterial infections are now a global threat demanding novel treatments due to the appearance of resistances against antibiotics at a high pace. The ESKAPE pathogens are those with highest importance in the EU and chronic infections due to biofilm formation are a particular task. Noninvasive pathogen-specific imaging of the infected tissue is not clinically available. Its successful implementation will enable the choice of appropriate therapy and boost efficacy. Furthermore, Gram-negative bacteria have a highly protective cellular envelope as an important resistance mechanism for drugs acting intracellularly, resulting in an alarmingly empty drug-pipeline. To overcome this gap, I will establish Lectin-directed Theranostics targeting pathogens via their extracellular carbohydrate-binding proteins at the site of infection for specific imaging and treatment. This will be implemented for the highly resistant ESKAPE pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa through 3 different work packages. WP1 Sweet Imaging: Design & conjugation of lectin-directed ligands to imaging probes, Optimization of ligand/linker, in vivo proof-of-concept imaging study. WP2 Sweet Targeting: Delivery of antibiotics to the infection through covalent linking of lectindirecting groups. Employing different antibiotics, assessment of bactericidal potency and targeting efficiency. Manufacturing of nano-carriers with surface exposed lectin-directed ligands, noncovalent charging with antibiotics. In vitro and in vivo targeting. WP3 Sweet SMART Targeting: Conjugates as SMART drugs: specific release of anti-biofilm lectin inhibitor and drug cargo upon contact with pathogen, development of linkers cleavable by pathogenic enzymes. SWEETBULLETS will establish fundamentally novel lectin-directed theranostics to fight these deleterious infections and provide relief to nosocomially infected and cystic fibrosis patients. It is rapidly extendable towards other ESKAPE pathogens, e.g. Klebsiella spp.

Sector Health and Medical

Contact Details

Company Name HELMHOLTZ CENTER FOR INFECTION RESEARCH GMBH
Address Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany Phone: +49 531 61810
Web Site https://erc.europa.eu/projects-figures/erc-funded-projects/results?search_api_views_fulltext=&page=69&items_per_page=50&f%5B0%5D=funding_scheme%3AStarting%20Grant%20%28StG%29

5.

USTAV ORGANICKE CHEMIE A BIOCHEMIE, AV CR, VVI

Smart Biologics: Developing New Tools in Glycobiology

  • 1 Million
  • Czech Republic
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Smart Biologics: Developing New Tools in Glycobiology
Company Name USTAV ORGANICKE CHEMIE A BIOCHEMIE, AV CR, VVI
Funded By European Research Council (ERC)
Country Czech Republic , Eastern Europe
Project Value 1 Million
Project Detail

Glycans are ubiquitous biomolecules found throughout all kingdoms of life. Early studies contributed considerably to our appreciation of glycan functions by showing that abnormalities in the glycosylation can develop into pathogenesis and severe dysfunctions. Despite the crucial role of sugars in many biological events we still do not have adequate tools to decipher their complexity. To unveil the mysteries in the rapidly emerging field of glycobiology we aim in this proposal to develop new tools that will help us to study and understand these important biomolecules. To realize this, we plan to combine the unique targeting capability of biologics with the inhibitory effect of small molecules into robust constructs with advanced properties. The biological part of the construct will be evolved using synthetic peptide libraries ensuring high selectivity toward particular sugar processing enzymes. The second part of the construct will consist of small molecular inhibitor warhead that will be designed and synthesized based on crystal structure-aided analyses. To merge these two moieties we aim to develop a new target enzyme–templated fluorogenic in situ click chemistry methodology that will enable us to easily monitor and screen whole peptide–small molecule bioconjugate libraries as highly selective inhibitors and manipulators of sugar processing enzymes. In addition, we aim to create new multivalent heteroglycosystems by using bioorthogonal reactions on peptide library scaffold. These structures will enable us to study polyvalent carbohydrate–protein interactions and to generate novel therapeutics such as influenza virus entry blockers. Our goal is to develop a new class of smart bioconjugate probes that will help us to answer fundamental questions in glycobiology. The outcomes of this project will significantly deepen our knowledge of glycoconjugates and in the long term, will allow for the design of efficient vaccines and for the development of selective therapeutics.

Sector Science and Technology

Contact Details

Company Name USTAV ORGANICKE CHEMIE A BIOCHEMIE, AV CR, VVI
Address Flemingovo námestí 542/2 166 10 Praha 6 Ceská Republika (+420) 220 183 333 uochb@uochb.cas.cz
Web Site https://erc.europa.eu/projects-figures/erc-funded-projects/results?search_api_views_fulltext=&page=69&items_per_page=50&f%5B0%5D=funding_scheme%3AStarting%20Grant%20%28StG%29

6.

UNIVERSITY OF YORK

Glycosylation: Programmes for Observation, Inhibition and Structure-based Exploitation of key carbohydrate-active enzymes

  • 3 Million
  • United Kingdom
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Glycosylation: Programmes for Observation, Inhibition and Structure-based Exploitation of key carbohydrate-active enzymes
Company Name UNIVERSITY OF YORK
Funded By European Union
Country United Kingdom , Western Europe
Project Value 3 Million
Project Detail

The development of new approaches to dissect the diverse roles for carbohydrates in living cells is a major challenge for modern cell biology. The huge diversity of carbohydrates is reflected in a multiplicity of function; in addition to acting as energy sources, carbohydrates play major roles in structure, signalling and epigenetics. The work programme will build upon the applicant’s excellence in the mechanistic and structural enzymology of carbohydrate-active enzymes to tackle the key challenges of modern cellular glycobiology. Our vision is to provide fundamental structural and mechanistic-dissection of key proteins and their complexes and to use these as the foundation to deliver enzyme inhibitors as tools to probe the cellular function of specific glycans. The programme’s three strands will each scale a major pinnacle of carbohydrate biochemistry. Strand 1 will focus on mammalian glycosidases involved in glycocerebroside metabolism and genetic disease. We will unlock new 3-D information for glycocerebrosidase 2 (GBA2) and use these together with GBA1 to design and exploit novel and specific enzyme inhibitors as mechanistic and cellular probes, novel chaperones and imaging agents. Strand 2 will focus on the key endoplasmic reticulum enzyme endomannosidase, both its mechanistic novelty and its exploitation to perturb cellular glycans to unlock its biological roles and deliver compounds for anti-viral therapeutics. Strand 3 will probe the modification and elaboration of specific human N-glycans and their role in cell surface receptor biology. It will focus on the GlcNAc transferase V catalysed formation of polylactosamine epitopes and their regulation of growth factor signalling at the cell surface both in health and cancerous tissues. GlycoPOISE will both answer cardinal structural and chemical mechanistic questions in the enzymology of glycobiology and inform strategies for the observation and inhibition of carbohydrate-active enzymes and their exploitation

Sector Science & Research

Contact Details

Company Name UNIVERSITY OF YORK
Address HESLINGTON YO10 5DD YORK NORTH YORKSHIRE United Kingdom
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/107288_en.html

7.

FONDAZIONE IRCCS ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DEI TUMORI

Randomized controlled trial of metformin and dietary restriction to prevent age-related morbid events in people with metabolic syndrome

  • 2 Million
  • Italy
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Randomized controlled trial of metformin and dietary restriction to prevent age-related morbid events in people with metabolic syndrome
Company Name FONDAZIONE IRCCS ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DEI TUMORI
Funded By European Union
Country Italy , Western Europe
Project Value 2 Million
Project Detail

Age–related chronic diseases (ArCD) are complex non-linear processes that depends on a large number of interconnected genetic and metabolic pathways which should be tackled with a many faceted preventive strategy. Calorie-dense diet and sedentary lifestyle are responsible of the growing prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which, together with tobacco, is the major preventable cause of ArCD, mediated by the increased availability of insulin, growth factors, and inflammatory cytokines. In animals, calorie restriction (CR) is the most potent dietary intervention for preventing ArCD and prolonging life. In humans, we and others have shown that a sustainable CR, resulting in decreased prevalence of MetS, can be obtained through a comprehensive change in dietary habits, reducing animal food and refined carbohydrates, and increasing whole grain cereal products, legumes and vegetables, according to the Mediterranean and macrobiotic diet principles. Metformin (MET), an antidiabetic drug associated with decreased cancer incidence, activates the same gene pathways activated by CR, including AMPK/TSC, which reduces energy consuming processes, and cell proliferation (through the inhibition of mTOR). We propose a placebo controlled randomised trial to test whether treatment with MET, with or without associated CR, reduces the incidence of major chronic diseases, such as cancer, myocardial infarction, stroke, and diabetes. We estimated that randomizing 2,000 women and men aged 55-74 at high risk of developing ArCD because of MetS, shall provide over 90% power (at alpha = 0.05) to detect a significant 25 to 33% reduction of ArCD incidence in 5 years. In a subsample of the cohort we shall study the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of the preventive action of metformin and CR.

Sector Healthcare & Medicine

Contact Details

Company Name FONDAZIONE IRCCS ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DEI TUMORI
Address Via Venezian 1 20133 Milan Italy
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/108844_en.html

8.

AVANTIUM CHEMICALS BV

Sustainable and carbon-efficient mono-Ethylene Glycol generation in demonstration PLANT

  • 5 Million
  • Netherlands The
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Sustainable and carbon-efficient mono-Ethylene Glycol generation in demonstration PLANT
Company Name AVANTIUM CHEMICALS BV
Funded By European Union
Country Netherlands The , Western Europe
Project Value 5 Million
Project Detail

The EGgPLANT project will scale up in a demonstration plant a novel method to produce monoethylene glycol (MEG) from renewable carbohydrates using a highly carbon efficient catalytic process. The global MEG market demand is growing from a current base of 30 Mton/year to over 50 Mton by 2035, requiring more than a million tons of additional supply every year for the next twenty years. Today, almost all of the MEG produced globally is from fossil sources despite a stated need from forward-looking brand owners, packaging and textile companies to source MEG from renewable sources. There is one provider of bio-based MEG on the market which is using an inefficient and expensive process compared to lower cost oil, shale gas, and coal-based alternatives. This high cost position is hampering the widespread use of bio-based MEG. To address this issue, Avantium has developed a one-step ‘Mekong’ process for producing bio-MEG from renewable sources which can compete with the incumbent fossil-based product on both cost and quality, making the product competitive in the global marketplace and poised to be a sustainable supply solution to address the increasing demand. The demonstration plant (11 ton/year) built and operated in this project allows for techno-economic scale-up and evaluation of the process, in addition to producing relevant sample quantities of product to support downstream validation in at least three applications, collecting of data to conduct a third-party environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) and preparation for scale-up to industrial size plants. The next phase after this project is to deploy a 200 kton/year Mekong flagship plant with a strategic partner in Europe. Target customers of this flagship plant will primarily be European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers. Avantium and the strategic partner will deploy subsequent industrial scale plants in Europe, and will license out the technology to parties in geographies other than Europe.

Sector Chemicals

Contact Details

Company Name AVANTIUM CHEMICALS BV
Address ZEKERINGSTRAAT 29 1014 BV AMSTERDAM Netherlands
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/217361_en.html

9.

THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN

Mixed Biotic and abiotic functionalysed electrodes for Plant Microbial Fuel Cells applications

  • 175,866
  • Ireland
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Mixed Biotic and abiotic functionalysed electrodes for Plant Microbial Fuel Cells applications
Company Name THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN
Funded By European Union
Country Ireland , Northern Europe
Project Value 175,866
Project Detail

Plant microbial fuel cells (PMFC) are promising electrochemical devices that can produce electricity generated by active microorganisms present in plant soil. The reactions at both anode and cathode of PMFCs can be catalysed by microbial biofilms capable of oxidising organic matter (anode) and catalysing oxygen reduction (ORR) (cathode) producing electrical power from renewable resources. However, PMFC power output to date remains low and often unpredictable due to the variability in activity achieved by the electrodes microbial biofilms. Their selection in both anode and cathode is a fundamental requirement to enhance catalytic activity and produce higher power densities. This proposal aims at developing a conceptually new approach towards PMFC catalysis though the introduction of novel nanocomposite carbon electrodes that will combine intrinsic and microbially-mediated catalytic activity. These functional materials will integrate moieties that promote bacterial recruitment to select suitable microbial consortia onto carbon based electrodes for both anodic and cathodic reactions. In the case of the cathode, the carbon material will be selected by using electrochemical methods ex situ (voltammetry) in simulated aqueous environment in the presence of fertilizers and soil to also display ORR catalytic activity. Anode and cathode topography will be investigated to identify nanostructures that promote biofilm colonisation and to control density and stability of active sites. The best electrode materials will be modified with carbohydrates and peptides that promote cell adhesion to only recruit electroactive bacterial consortia. This project combines my expertise in carbon synthesis and microbial fuel cell devices with expertise in biofilm control and carbon material characterization of the host laboratory. New training in characterization of electroactive biofilms will be provided by a secondment through a cross – European collaboration at University of Rennes1.

Sector Energy Power And Electrical

Contact Details

Company Name THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN
Address College Green 2 DUBLIN Ireland
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/214210_en.html

10.

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

Identifying Chemical Cues in the Polymer-Mediated Engineering of Microorganisms

  • 195,455
  • United Kingdom
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Identifying Chemical Cues in the Polymer-Mediated Engineering of Microorganisms
Company Name THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Funded By European Union
Country United Kingdom , Western Europe
Project Value 195,455
Project Detail

Here, we will identify how polymer chemistry and composition affects the microbiology of a model pathogen, Vibrio cholerae. To this end, we will explore the chemical space that mediates bacterial adhesion because this bacteria activates complex signaling networks that regulate its physiology following binding to surfaces and hosts. Three main research objectives are: a) To identify what is the role of charge: Electrostatic interactions are critical in the initial attachment of bacteria to hosts and surfaces. Here we will explore how cationic polymers with different degrees of protonation under model conditions affect the behaviour of V. cholerae b) To identify what is the role of hydrophobicity: Early stages of adhesion to hosts and surfaces are also mediated by hydrophobic interactions. Here, we will evaluate a series of cationic polymers carrying similar degrees of protonation but different hydrophobicities. c) To identify the role of selective binding: We will prepare polymers carrying mannose and N-acetylglucosamine, carbohydrates that are involved in the selective binding of V. cholerae to hosts. To achieve these research objectives, we will use a modular strategy that relies on the controlled synthesis of a poly(acryloyl hydrazide) scaffold, its post-polymerisation functionalisation under aqueous conditions, and the in-situ evaluation of activity using phenotypic and transcriptional assays (Part B, Section 1.1.1). We will focus on identifying how non-toxic polymers affect three critical responses in V. cholerae. 1) Clustering and motility; 2) Biofilm formation and maturation, and 3) Virulence and toxicity against a model of the human gut. The main scientific challenge lies in developing new knowledge of how polymer chemistry affects microbial physiology and behaviour, and this knowledge should underpin the future development of new polymers for antimicrobial therapy and microbial biotechnology, research priorities of the European Commission.

Sector Engineering

Contact Details

Company Name THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Address Edgbaston B15 2TT BIRMINGHAM United Kingdom
Web Site https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/215317_en.html

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