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KUL

KU Leuven
Country: Belgium
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1,677 Projects, page 1 of 336
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 797567
    Overall Budget: 160,800 EURFunder Contribution: 160,800 EUR

    Uncovering Enteric GLIA-MACrophage communication in the intestinal homeostasis and inflammation. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a network of neurons and enteric glial cells (EGCs) organized in ganglia essential to control gastrointestinal physiology. Although EGCs have historically been described as supporting cells for enteric neurons, recent data from my previous work and from my host group demonstrated that enteric glia is “communicating” with innate immune cells via the secretion of immune-active molecules. Interestingly, alterations in the morphology and function of EGCs have been reported in patients affected by chronic intestinal inflammation such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Thus, I hypothesise that factors released by enteric GLIA may directly modulate MACrophage phenotype and function in the gut, making EGC a novel overlooked player in the pathophysiology of IBD. In the first part of GLIAMAC, the molecules and the molecular mechanisms involved in the enteric glia-macrophage crosstalk will be screened in vitro using co-culture experiments and assessed in vivo using novel EGC-specific mouse models of intestinal inflammation. Finally, I aim to translate our findings to the clinical setting using tissue samples from IBD patients. To this end, the immunomodulatory properties of EGCs isolated from healthy individuals and IBD patients will be compared using cellular, genomic and proteomic system-wide approaches. Identification of new molecules and pathways involved in enteric glia-immune cell crosstalk will represent a major breakthrough in elucidating the pathogenesis of intestinal immune-mediated diseases. Thus, GLIAMAC will potentially give rise to a new class of molecules to treat and favour remission in patients affected by IBD.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 950328
    Overall Budget: 1,559,810 EURFunder Contribution: 1,559,810 EUR

    Animal brains are wired according to a series of remarkable genetic programs that have evolved over millions of years. Much of our behavior, however, is the product of experiences that happen to us on much shorter time scales. The ability of the nervous system to properly respond to aversive stimuli is crucial for animal well-being and survival. In many vertebrate sensory systems, persistent stimuli are coded by tonically active neural circuits. As opposed to phasic sensors that adapt rapidly, tonic neurons reliably convey stimulus intensity over long time periods and are essential for cues that need to hold attention, e.g. harmful stimuli. How persistent aversive stimuli are molecularly encoded and reprogram behavior remains elusive. Our working hypothesis is that aversive challenge recruits a network of neuropeptide signaling pathways that is sculpted by experience and mediates diverse acute and long-lasting behavioral responses. We will test this hypothesis on the small and well-described oxygen-sensing circuit of C. elegans. Because neuropeptidergic networks are notoriously complex, such a highly controlled context for pioneering research on their involvement in tonic aversive signaling is preferable. First, my team will develop tools for the in vivo reporting of neuropeptide GPCR activation, establishing SPARK in a living animal, which will allow conceptual advancements with unprecedented detail. Pertinent questions we will then address include: ‘How do cellular networks respond to changes in neuropeptidergic network activities in an aversive signaling context?’; ‘What are behavioral implications of neuropeptidergic network activity upon aversive challenge?'; and ‘Do neuropeptidergic networks contribute to cross-modality?' We expect that on the long term, this project will impact our understanding of how tonic peptidergic circuits influence and organize habituation, learning, forgetting and modus operandi of nervous systems in general.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101102294
    Funder Contribution: 175,920 EUR

    The present research proposal aims towards developing a Deep Learning (DL)-based inverse delamination damage assessment approach in complex industrial composite structures from Ultrasonic Guided Wave (UGW) responses under extreme and varying operating and environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, pressure). The proposal consists of a number of important innovative components, such as a) Developing an efficient model for easy incorporation of single and multiple interface delamination b) Utilizing a mesh-free method to overcome the drawbacks of finite element method c) Modelling accurate wave-damage interaction under extreme and varying environments d) Constructing a DL-based robust inverse approach to perform effectively under varying structural complexity and operating environments e) Validating the approach for real-life/ laboratory samples. Meshfree models will provide sufficient flexibility to model geometric complexity and damages besides significant reduction in computational cost. DL's capability of handling large data sets and predicting optimum output from raw response will provide a superior approach to predict damages from raw UGW responses. Therefore, this proposal will pave pathways to develop the next generation of ‘online’, fast and robust delamination assessment tools for industrial complex composite structures under varying operating environments. This will further enhance European industrial competitiveness and leadership through reducing the inspection cost by assessing the structural integrity of a complex structure without stopping its normal operations. The Fellow's expertise in delamination modelling and assessment and the Supervisor's expertise in modelling UGW propagation in complex structures will create two-way knowledge transfer between them, which will create major scientific, social and economic advancement in European aviation, energy and civil industries by providing online and accurate diagnostic and prognostic technologies.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 753531
    Overall Budget: 160,800 EURFunder Contribution: 160,800 EUR

    In the post–genomic era, innovation policies in biomedicine are increasingly being driven by the notion that constant advancements in biological knowledge fail to materialize into tangible therapeutic outcomes. Discursively framed in terms of a “gap” between “bench” and “bedside” in need of urgent “bridging”, this representation of the shortcomings of biomedical innovation has propelled growing efforts tailored towards the clinical translation of research results. In the European Union, the acceleration of clinical translation has been positioned as a cornerstone of its innovation strategy, as attested by the launch of a host of translational policy initiatives and a vast array of regulatory reforms in the process of medicines approval. However, in spite of its growing relevance, the broader expectations, dynamics and implications of the translational enterprise at EU level have yet to be comprehensively drawn out by the social sciences. This project sets out to accomplish this objective. Drawing from qualitative research methodologies, it investigates the articulation of translational initiatives in the policy and regulatory context of the EU, with the aim to chart and analyze the different epistemic and normative expectations underpinning translational policies, the sociotechnical dynamics of their implementation, as well as their social and political implications. Specifically, the project focuses on the mobilization of translational initiatives into the service of EU socio–political consolidation and its transboundary exercise of political, economic and cultural power, and will investigate the possible tensions and trade–offs between the political ideal of competitiveness enshrined in such initiatives, and those of democratic accountability and social justice.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 898656
    Overall Budget: 248,426 EURFunder Contribution: 248,426 EUR

    xMy project aims to study the connections between Muslim-to-Christian religious conversions, the Saharan pastoral minorities (Tuareg, Berabish, Chaanba, Kunta) in Mali and in Niger and the post-conflict situation in Sahel through the unusual prism of oral poetry. The various Christian churches use television, radio, the mobile phone and the internet to spread their messages and thus increase their congregations. As a result, an impressive number of studies focuses on religious transformations and media, on the appropriation of technologies by religious groups or on popular arts and religions in Africa.3 But at present, qualitative research on the intersection of African Christianity and Saharan oral poetry, considered as the most relevant and prestigious nomadic art, is extremely limited. SAVIJU focuses on a cross-cutting object, Saharan Christian poetics, which presents the characteristic of not being traumatic, unlike the questions by which issues concerning Sahel are generally investigated (migration, humanitarian crises, jihadism etc.). SAVIJU aims at offering an alternative view of the recent conflict in Mali (2012-2015) by recounting events from the point of view of the Christian Tuareg persecuted populations, living as forced refugees in the capital cities of Niger and Mali. The challenge of this project is to write the “hidden histories” of Saharan Christians and to revise the common narrative of the Sahara as uniquely Islamic. The hypothesis that the project has set out to verify is that these conversions constitute a reaction to the jihadism to which the local populations have been subjected, not only because of the occupation of their lands and the forced application of Sharia law but also because of the effects it has had on every-day family-life.

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