Archívne stránky OMS APVV - aktualizácia skončila 30. 9. 2009. Prejsť na www.apvv.sk
Európa  SARC
APVV, Mýtna 23, 811 07 Bratislava

NEST

CORDIS - New and Emerging Science and Technology

Novinky z NESTu

21.11.2005

NEST sekretariát organizuje v Bruseli dňa 6. decembra 2005 Burzu nápadov v súvislosti s výzvou otvorenou koncom októbra. Doobeda bude podrobné školenie o výzve a poobede budú v piatich sekciách organizované bleskové prezentácie vlastných nápadov na projekty v oblastiach

  • Tackling complexity in science
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Measuring the impossible
  • Cultural Dynamics
  • What it means to be human

Originálnu informáciu nájdete na http://www.eurosfaire.prd.fr/nest/NEST-event-December-2005

Ak sa rozhodnete zúčastniť, zaregistrujte sa prosím na http://www.eurosfaire.prd.fr/nest/ji/index-ji-061205i.html

Kontakt: Peter Lobotka, lobotka@sarc.sk, tel. 02 54775826


16.11.2005

Správa č.1

Nová výzva bola zverejnená 27. októbra. Máte ~3 mesiace na prípravu projektu -uzávierka bude 15. februára 2006.

Nová výzva v NEST sa bude týkať iba aktivity PATHFINDER (čiže žiadne projekty typu ADVENTURE alebo INSIGHT s ľubovoľnou tematikou).

Sumou 50 miliónov EUR sa podporia projekty PATHFINDER v týchto oblastiach:

Správa č.2

Burza nápadov -- NEST PATHFINDER brokerage event
sa uskutoční na prelome novembra/decembra 2005 v Bruseli, aby sa tu stretli potenciálni autori projektov, aby získali podrobné informácie o výzve priamo od členov sekretariátu NEST, prípadne od národných koordinátorov (NCP).


Správa č.3

  • Projekty sa podávajú hneď v plnej verzii.
  • Peter Lobotka (NCP NEST pre Slovensko) vám môže pomôcť nájsť partnera do projektu (kontakt: 02 54775826, eleklobo@savba.sk)
  • Do 11. januára 2006 vám poskytne Sekretariát NEST v Bruseli konzultácie ohľadne vášho projektu (či vybraná téma zapadá dobre do vypísaných tém). Prv než sa na nich obrátite musíte mať pripravený abstrakt projektu a zoznam partnerov.

Komentár

Podrobnú definíciu piatich oblastí nájdete na www.cordis.lu/nest, dokument sa volá Call text. Pre vašu rýchlu orientáciu kliknite na názov oblasti na tejto stránke, nájdete tam stručnú informáciu po slovensky.

Pozrite si prosím anotácie bežiacich projektov, aby ste vylúčili duplicitu.


Vysvetlivky

STREP (Specific and Targeted Research Project) - klasický výskumný projekt. Štatisticky vychádza, že rozpočet býva 1,5 - 2,0 MEUR a počet partnerov 4 až 6.

CA (Coordination Actions) - projekt, ktorý združuje od 15-25 partnerov, ktorí si za 1 - 1,5 MEUR organizujú konferencie a menšie cielené schôdze. Partneri musia byť z troch štátov ako v STREPe.

SSA (Specific Support Actions) - projekt môže byť navrhnutý jedinou krajinou. Jeho cieľom je písať štúdie, vytvárať expertné skupiny. Rozpočet okolo 0,2 MEUR.


Tackling Complexity in Science (Zložitosť vo vede)

  • porozumieť správaniu sa zložitých systémov, ktoré vyrobili ľudia a ktoré medzi sebou silno a rýchlo interagujú
  • predpovedať mimoriadne udalosti v komplexných systémoch (napr. finančných, klimatických, dopravných, sociálnych)
  • o aplikovať prístup "sieť sietí" napr. na ekonomické systémy

Synthetic Biology (Syntetická biológia)

  • o Časti bunky (jadro, protoplazma, mitochondrie) sú ako súčiastky v elektronike - tranzistory, odpory, kondenzátory. Možno z nich postaviť raz počítač, potom rádio.
  • o Snaha o vytvorenie nových organizmov zo základných "súčiastok" s novými funkciami, ktoré nemožno nájsť v prírode (aplikácie napr. v energetike, medicíne, výrobe nových materiálov)

What it means to be human (Čo to znamená byť človekom)

  • Prečo a čím sú poznávacie schopnosti človeka jedinečné
  • Kombinácia poznatkov z genetiky, biológie, neurovedy, psychológie, jazykovedy, antropológie => integrované porozumenie spôsobu ako človek poznáva
  • vzťah medzi vedomým a podvedomým správaním sa človeka
  • vývoj jazyka a neverbálnej komunikácie

Measuring the Impossible (Meranie nemerateľného)

  • Prijímajú sa len projekty, ktoré objavujú nové meracie metódy, ktoré sú multidisciplinárne vo svojej podstate tzn. zahrnú aj vnímanie a interpretáciu pozorovaného javu človekom (ako som kúpil tak predávam!)
  • výrobky a služby priťahujú spotrebiteľa svojou kvalitou, krásou, komfortom. Toto treba objektívne odmerať napriek tomu, že takéto kategórie silne podliehajú subjektívnemu dojmu

Cultural Dynamics (Dynamika kultúry)

  • Interakcia medzi kultúrou a technológiami
  • Evolučné modely, napr. neo-darwinizmus aplikovaný na vzájomný vývoj kultúrnych a biologických znakov
  • Aplikácia matematických a ekonomických teórií (napr. teórie hier) na simuláciu dynamiky kultúry, aby sa lepšie porozumelo správaniu sa spotrebiteľa, kriminalite, vývoju trhu
  • Hľadanie spoločných čŕt medzi navonok nesúvisiacimi záležitosťami ako napr. epidemiológiou vírusov, sociálnymi sieťami, citačnými systémami, štruktúrou www

New PATHFINDER projects 2004/2005

FP6-2004-NEST-Path
(Projects in negotiation, status: October 2005)

    Synthetic Biology
  • NANOMOT - Synthetic Biomimetic Nanoengines: A Modular Platform for Engineering of Nanomechanical Actuator Building Blocks
  • ORTHOSOME - An orthogonal episome: An artificial genetic system based on a novel type of nucleic acids
  • PROBACTYS - Programmable Bacterial Catalysts
  • SynBioComm - Towards a European Synthetic Biology Community
    What it means to be Human
  • ABSTRACT - The Origins, Representation and Use of Abstract Concepts
  • ANALOGY - Humans - The analogy-Making species
  • APES - Comparative analysis of primate genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes with an emphasis on cognitive capabilities
  • CHLaSC - Characterizing Human Language by Structural Complexity
  • EDCBNL - Evolution and Development of Cognitive, Behavioural and Neural
    Lateralization
  • GEBACO - Toward the Genetic Basis of Cooperation
  • HANDTOMOUTH - Hand to Mouth: a framework for understanding the archaeological and fossil records of human cognitive evolution
  • PAUL BROCA II - The Evolution of Cerebral Asymmetry in Homo Sapiens
    Measuring the Impossible
  • BioEMERGENCES - "In what" and "how much" are individuals similar and different? Towards the measurement of the individual susceptibility to diseases or response to treatments.
  • BrainTuning - Tuning the brain for music
  • CLOSED - Closing the Loop of Sound Evaluation and Design
  • FUGA - The fun of gaming: Measuring the human experience of media enjoyment
  • MONAT - Measurement of Naturalness
  • SysPAQ - Innovative Sensor System for Measuring Perceived Air Quality and Brand Specific Odours

Podrobné anotácie projektov v abecednom poradí:

ABSTRACT - The Origins, Representation and Use of Abstract Concepts (NEST-028714)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Lexicon, semantics, development, functional imaging
Abstract: The ability to understand and use language referring to abstract entities, events, and qualities (e.g., contempt, respect, kindness) is arguably a uniquely human faculty. The objective is to deepen our understanding of the acquisition and representation in the mind/brain of abstract concepts. We adopt: (1) a cross-linguistic perspective, motivated by the existence of culturally-bounded abstract concepts, expressed in languages with words that cannot be easily translated; (2) an interdisciplinary perspective, motivated by our aim to explore systematically the developmental, cognitive, computational and neural aspects of abstract knowledge. We contrast two explicit working hypotheses: the Embodiment Hypothesis (EH) and the Abstraction from Language Hypothesis (ALH). According to the former, abstract knowledge originates in "conceptual metaphors": the use of a concrete conceptual domain of knowledge to describe an abstract conceptual domain. The latter proposes that abstract concepts are learned by way of the statistical properties of language, since words that behave similarly within a language (in terms of statistical co-occurrence) are also often conceptually related. These two hypotheses are associated with largely different predictions: according to ALH (but not EH) language development is a phylogenetic and ontogenetic prerequisite to the development of abstract concepts. Regarding neural implementation, a close connection of abstract concepts with sensorimotor representations is predicted by EH, while ALH is compatible with a main involvement of the left hemispheric classical language areas. We develop these hypotheses using tools from linguistics and computational modelling. We test predictions in (1) behavioural studies; (2) developmental studies of typically developing and cognitively impaired children and (3) cognitive neuroscience (in ERP, fMRI, TMS and patients' studies.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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ANALOGY: Humans - The analogy-Making species (NEST - 029088)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: artificial intelligence, neural networks, analogy, relational processing, emergent properties, infants, children, primates
Abstract: The ability to make analogies lies at the heart of human cognition and is a fundamental mechanism that enables humans to engage in complex mental processes such as thinking, categorization, and learning, and, in general, understanding the world and acting effectively on it based on her/his past experience. This project focuses on understanding these uniquely human mechanisms of analogy-making, and exploring their evolution and development. A highly experienced, interdisciplinary, and international team will study and compare the performance of primates, infants, young children, healthy adults, as well as children and adults with abnormal brain functioning. An interdisciplinary methodology will be used to pursue this goal, one that includes computational modelling, psychological experimentation, comparative studies, developmental studies, and brain imaging. The ability to see a novel experience, object, situation or action as being "the same" as an old one, and then to act in an approximately appropriate manner (and then fine-tuned to fit the novel experience), is, almost unquestionably, one of the capacities that sets humans apart from all other animals. What are the underlying mechanisms that allow us to do this? How did they evolve in the population? How do they develop in an individual? How do they differ from "the same" mechanisms in primates? The results from this project will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of analogy-making, their origin, evolution and development and will lead to advances, not only in our basic knowledge of human cognition, but also in the development of educational strategies to help children and young people to be more efficient learners and to achieve a better and deeper understanding of the world in which they live.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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APES - Comparative analysis of primate genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes with an emphasis on cognitive capabilities (NEST-28594)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: primate evolution, cognitive capabilities, primate-specific genes
Abstract: The biological basis of the unique human features separating us from even our closest relatives, the chimpanzee, constitutes one of the most fascinating problems in biological research. Based on the sequence of the human genome, the recently completed finished sequence of chimpanzee chromosome 22, the recently released draft sequence of the chimpanzee genome, as well as additional gene sequences in other primates (e.g. Clark et. al. 2003), we plan to identify likely candidates for playing an essential role in the molecular basis of these differences. This will particularly include genes with potentially novel functions in man, formed by fusion events between pre-existing genes or pre-existing genes with repetitive elements, genes showing accelerated evolution in the human lineage, with appropriate expression patterns (or human specific changes in expression patterns), and appropriate molecular or cellular function, as well as the orthologs of genes identified as being involved in cognition differences in the mouse. Candidate genes selected by this process will be analysed by evolutionary shadowing of their promoters, as well as, in some cases, coding and other regulatory regions, by in-situ hybridization of mouse orthologues in the postnatal mouse brain, and where appropriate, by in-situ hybridization in the brains of selected primates, complemented by a range of other techniques available at the different centres. Moreover, selected candidate genes for higher cognitive capabilities will be studied in vivo in the common marmoset monkey. Data generated within this project will be made available to collaborating groups in a special project data base, analogous to genome-matrix (www.genome-matrix.org), a common functional genomics database developed jointly by the MPI-MG and the resource centre of the German genome project (RZPD).
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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BioEMERGENCES -"In what" and "how much" are individuals similar and different? Towards the measurement of the individual susceptibility to diseases or response to treatments. (NEST-028892)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: 4-D reconstruction, emergence, morphodynamics, time lapse, optical sectioning
Abstract: With the BioEMERGENCES project, we aim at providing an experimental platform to observe in vivo emergent patterns at various scales and measure their variability between different individuals of the same species. This is a strategy towards the measurement of the individual susceptibility to genetic diseases or response to treatments. Emergent patterns arising at all levels of living organisms are influenced both by the external environment (top-down) and by the internal environment (bottom-up). As a consequence, two living beings are different even if they are two clones of the same species because the history of their coupling with their external environment is different. For these reasons, medicine evolves towards personalised protocols. To make them tangible, we have to be able to achieve the measurement at all organisation levels of the individual response to genetic defects or xenobiotics. The impossible measurement of individual differences will be tackled in a live vertebrate organism -the zebrafish- that has been largely validated as a powerful model for investigations related to human. Selected emergent phenomena arising at various scales will be recorded and reconstructed to measure the qualitative and quantitative differences between two classes of individuals. Measuring the individual response to a new class of anti-cancer drugs -the DRIL molecules- and the individual susceptibility to holoprosencephaly in a genetically deficient fish population will serve as a testbed for our experimental platform. The main result expected from BioEMERGENCES is the specification of a European platform to achieve high throughput measurement of individual differences and screening of drugs combinations such as bi or tri-therapies. Such a platform will allow responding to both the unavoidable scientific question of the construction of a synthetic description of individuals and the future requirement for new drugs in the field of personalized nano-medicine.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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BrainTuning - Tuning the brain for music (NEST - 028570)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Human neurocognition, music psychology, affective neuroscience
Abstract: BrainTuning project is devoted to resolve the neural determinants of music emotions and appreciation. This topic is approached in a synergetic, multidisciplinary fashion by taking into account the neurocognitive determinants and development of music emotion and appreciation in various subject groups, from infancy to mature adulthood. Also both musically untrained as well as musically highly sophisticated people will be investigated. BrainTuning has access to and expertise in using all the up-to-date methods of human cognitive and affective neuroscience allowing accurate investigations of human brain function and structure: high-resolution electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalogram (MEG) for adult and children recordings, functional and anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI; MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In parallel, BrainTuning will utilize variety of behavioural and computational methods in a systematic and converging manner. The project will (1) determine the neural basis of music emotions and appreciation, (2) reveal the objective basis for music therapy, and (3) lay solid basis for a new field of science, the affective neuroscience of music.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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CHLaSC - Characterizing Human Language by Structural Complexity (NEST - 028395)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Language Acquisition, Primatology, Social Cognition, Syntax
Abstract: What makes us smart? Human body cells function in the same way as those of animals, and even the core cognitive competencies for vision, quantity perception, object mechanics, and other domains are virtually the same in humans as in some animals. Nevertheless humans have addressed the basic problems of life (food, shelter, mating, locomotion, etc.) in completely different ways from even their closest animal kin, and have risen to dominate the planet. Recently complex syntactic processing has been identified as one core area where humans differ from primates. The central question of the CHLaSC project is: How much of human uniqueness can be traced back to this one basic difference? Addressing this question is a team from five different fields (biology, semantics, language acquisition, cognitive development, and anthropology). We focus on structural complexity in language and in other cognitive systems, and the question whether extra-linguistic structural complexity is derived from language. The three core objectives we pursue are: 1) Describe precisely the difference in syntactic processing ability from a comparative, developmental, and sociocultural perspective. 2) Develop formal models of the semantic mechanisms relating language to other cognitive domains. 3) Investigate how variation in the use of structural complexity in language correlates with the availability of structural complexity in social cognition. This project complements the already funded Neurocom project in the behavioural and sociocultural domain. The CHLaSC project integrates linguistic semantics with the cognitive sciences, which is expected to broadly impact both fields and open up many new research opportunities. A broader social impact arises from the work on cognitive disorders, where opportunities for applications in diagnosis, therapy, and genetic research arise.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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CLOSED - Closing the Loop of Sound Evaluation and Design (NEST - 029085)

Duration: 36 months
Abstract: When designing the sonic aspect of an artefact, the designer wants to be able to explore a variety of what-if possibilities at the phenomenological, experiential, and emotional level. The CLOSED project provides a measurement tool that is capable of analyzing sounds in context at the same high level of interpretation used by designers, thus aiming at boosting the emerging discipline of sound design. It is believed that the objective measurement of functional-aesthetic sound qualities of artefacts is the key component that will allow the effective closure of the iterative loop of sound evaluation and design.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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EDCBNL - Evolution and Development of Cognitive, Behavioural and Neural Lateralization (NEST-028806)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Biology, Genetics, Physical anthropology, Human ethology, Neuropsychology
Abstract: The study of brain asymmetries, that were once believed to be a typically human trait subserving linguistic functions and handedness, has recently undergone a dramatic transformation. The knowledge that was gathered until a few decades ago by human neuropsychology alone became greatly complemented and extended by data from comparative psychology, neuroscience, and developmental biology. This contribution provided a more complete picture of the phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and ecological factors that confer advantages to organisms exploiting neural and cognitive lateralization as a general biological trait. Game theory and population genetics contribute to the understanding of these advantages in terms of alignment of interactions between individuals, at a social and communicative level. A comparative approach, combining ethological, developmental, and game-theoretical research will investigate the co-evolution of neural and morphological lateralization with social behaviours, and its impact on the evolution of higher cognitive abilities like language. The proposed research program will intensify the collaboration between insofar-isolated research domains, creating reciprocity between the biological and the behavioural sciences around a topic that is revealing a most promising tool for the understanding of the origins of the human mind.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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FUGA - The fun of gaming: Measuring the human experience of media enjoyment (NEST-028765)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: computer games, game experience, emotion, cognitive processes, psychophysiology, fMRI, eye tracking, behavioural measures, measurement methods, game design
Abstract: The main objective of FUGA is to create novel methods and improve existing measures in order to examine how the different dimensions of Computer Game Experience can be assessed comprehensively with high temporal resolution. FUGA will employ a broad variety of innovative techniques based on (a) laboratory and mobile psychophysiological recordings (i.e., facial EMG, EEG, ECG, EDA, and respiration), (b) functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI), (c) eye movement recordings, (d) the so-called (online) implicit association test, and (e) tracking of behavioural indicators of emotion and motivation. An important objective of FUGA is to establish the construct validity, reliability, and predictive validity of the different Game Experience measures. A further objective is to develop a prototype of an emotionally adaptive game. The very first step is a conceptual clarification and dimensional modelling of Game Experiences, as well as the development of a theoretical framework describing the relationships between the relevant Game Experience dimensions and their potential measures. In the first set of empirical studies, the Game Experience measures will be construct validated against think-aloud and self-report methods as well as against each other. New ways to extract relevant parameters from the data will be examined and developed, and alternative data analytic techniques will be compared. This is followed by a second set of studies examining reliability of the measures. Finally, to establish the predictive validity of Game Experience measures, it will be examined how different emotional and cognitive responses or response patterns predict game play in the long run. The innovative measurement approach provided by FUGA can be applied when designing new digital games for different purposes (e.g., entertainment, education, therapy). In addition to its scientific impact, FUGA would be expected to contribute to the rise of the European computer games industry.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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GEBACO - Toward the Genetic Basis of Cooperation (NEST - 028696)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Cooperation Economic perspective Behaviour perspective Genomic linkage
Abstract: Cooperation has been described as an 'enduring evolutionary conundrum'. Our primary objective is to discover genetic influences on distinct aspects of cooperative behaviour that have been conserved through evolution. We aim to distinguish the strategic (economic) from the social dimension of the behaviour within dyadic interactions. We further aim to identify the genetic substrates of these dimensions. Our internationally reputed group of experts will study cooperation in diverse species (humans, primates, rats, mice, crows and titmice) from a variety of perspectives. The operational definition of 'cooperation' has recently been called into question. The use of simple game-theoretical models to study cooperative behaviour has been criticised on the grounds that it is unduly artificial and restrictive. We will devise novel empirical methodologies, which take greater account of the role of communication between conspecifics than traditional game-theoretic models. We propose a set of empirical studies, guided by two overarching theoretical imperatives. First, the notion of cooperation is reassessed. Second, an alternative model is derived, incorporating unique aspects of human cooperative behaviour. Genetic influences on cooperative behaviour may have been conserved through evolution. We aim to find genes that influence strategic and communicative (social-reward) elements of 'cooperation', initially in humans. A novel internet-based testing strategy will identify subjects for genomic linkage studies. Quantitative trait loci will be discovered using identity-by-descent allele sharing between sibships, conditional on observed trait values. Candidate genes will then be identified. The hypothesis that syntenic gene function is conserved in other species will be tested. Individual variability in the propensity to cooperate within species, and genetic influences on diversity, has implications for the evolution of not just cooperation, but social behaviour in general.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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HANDTOMOUTH - Hand to Mouth: a framework for understanding the archaeological and fossil records of human cognitive evolution (NEST-029065)

Duration: 36 months
Abstract: HANDTOMOUTH develops a framework for understanding archaeological and fossil evidence for the evolution of speech and manual dexterity. We focus on low-order parameters which can potentially be assessed in fossil and archaeological evidence. The focus will be on motor control in complex, serially ordered, goal-directed movements, with two sub-themes: Speech production. This will include physical and digital modelling of vocal tracts of extinct hominins based on anatomical parameters, to recover the range of articulatory manoeuvres and acoustic characteristics. There will also be a comparative anatomical study of primate cranial nerves, which will address a neural substrate for speech motor control and sensory feedback regulation. The modelling will include small-scale perturbations of the model system to determine which components of the vocal tract are most sensitive in terms of effects on sound characteristics, and this will enable prediction of which cranial nerves may have increased sensory fibres as a speech-related adaptation. Tool use. This will address the relationship between action understanding and the self-generation of action sequences in human and non-human primates. It will include activation analysis of cortical motor circuits in the action system of nonhuman primates in sequentially complex action observation tasks, and kinematic analysis movement control in stone tool-making and other tool-using tasks in healthy and apraxic human subjects. As a unifying framework, we intend to re-evaluate the possibility that tool use may have co-evolved with speech, reflecting shared features of neural architecture. We identify possible areas of convergence and/or homology in behavioural organization and in neural architecture in the two systems. HANDTOMOUTH will enable us to evaluate the extent to which their co-evolution in humans was necessary or contingent (and with a better understanding of the evidential controls).
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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MONAT - Measurement of Naturalness (NEST-029000)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: perception, naturalness, touch, vision
Abstract: We instinctively know whether something is natural, or a synthetic mimic. But the key factors responsible for this perception have yet to be identified: this is the primary objective of this project. The perception of naturalness is dominated, in most cases, by visual appearance and touch. Basic visual sensory information, such as colour and gloss, and other visual triggers, such as shape and size (all mediated by photoreceptors in the retina) is often sufficient to differentiate between natural and synthetic materials. Touching the material serves to reinforce the initial visual perception: here tactile information from cutaneous pressure sensitive and thermal sensory transducers, as well as kinesthetic data, provides the requisite sensory input. This project aims to understand how these sensory data streams are processed by the relevant neural networks and how they contribute to the cognitive processes associated with the perception of naturalness. This understanding will take account of the effect of contextual information on this perception (i.e. the interplay between the individual senses and the relationship between the material and its environment). Establishing the chain of perception for naturalness based on these sensory inputs will enable relationships between the physical attributes of the material and the neural and cognitive processes to be identified; information that will be used in the project to develop mathematical models to predict the perception of naturalness for a range of materials. The project involves a multidisciplinary team, with strong expertise in the areas of physical measurement, instrumentation, cognitive neuroscience, psychology and mathematical modelling, as well as a proven track record in the management and delivery of highly innovative research projects. These skills, coupled with the use of new and emerging techniques that are described in this proposal, provide a solid foundation for meeting the project objectives.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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NANOMOT - Synthetic Biomimetic Nanoengines: A Modular Platform for Engineering of Nanomechanical Actuator Building Blocks (NEST-029084)

Duration: 36 months
Abstract: The mission of NANOMOT is to engineer sub-cellular building blocks that can be flexibly assembled into robust biomimetic nanoengines and nano-labs with controllable functionality not found in nature. We will study the components of biological nanomotors and explore their potential to assemble them in new ways and new functions. The single molecule lab-on-a-chip is one of the long-term application visions that drive NANOMOT; chemical nanoreactors and nano-actuators are mid-term visions. NANOMOT will master control over three nanomotors developed by nature, (a) the F0F1 ATPase, 29 viral head tail connector, and (c) the flagellar motor. NANOMOT will (b) the provide flexible, robust, and adaptable interface modules for the set-up of complex systems for new functionality. The three nanomachines have in common that either their structure and mechanism and/or their function have recently been characterized to unprecedented accuracy, providing the timely basis to now successfully move on into engineering new minimal systems that yield a particular behaviour. The success of NANOMOT will be evaluated by demonstrating that the new building blocks can be assembled into a highly specific molecular drug delivery device. By pushing the emerging field of bio-nanotechnology, our transdisciplinary synthetic biology approach links nanotechnology with structural biology and systems biology. Moreover, NANOMOT addresses the challenge to prepare the grounds for a new engineering field. To meet this challenge, we have assembled a unique high rank international consortium which in very close collaboration joins forces across the relevant disciplines, engineering, molecular biology, physics, computer science, chemistry, as well as across the required fields, protein and metabolic engineering, x-ray crystallography, cryo electron microscopy, single molecule spectroscopy, nano-optics, single molecule atomic force microscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations.
Commission Contact: christian.krassnig@cec.eu.int

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ORTHOSOME - An orthogonal episome: An artificial genetic system based on a novel type of nucleic acids (NEST-029092)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: synthetic biology, directed evolution, nucleic acid analogues, nucleic acid therapeutics, transliteration, aptamers, RNAi, HNA, CeNA
Abstract: Information storage and propagation in biological systems is based on just two types of nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Our aim is to design and build artificial genetic systems based on alternative nucleic acid architectures and "invade" biological information processing with an orthologous autonomously replicating episome (which we name the "orthosome"). We propose to build the orthosome from sugar modified oligonucleotides HNA (hexitol nucleic acids) and CeNA (cyclohexene nucleic acids) because of their conformational analogy, helix forming properties and resistance to enzymatic degradation. We will first establish an orthosome capable of in vitro replication and interconversion into DNA and/or RNA. The tools of protein design and repertoire selection will be used to create an alternative replication and transcription machinery capable of replicating and transcribing the orthosome. We will then establish a "bridgehead" in a living cell, whereby we establish orthogonality as well as communication links with the cellular replication and translation machinery through transliteration of essential sequences encoded in the orthosome. We will use a selection screen for the transmission of a genetic message encoded in HNA or CeNA, to identify bacterial strains capable of using HNA or CeNA as a template. An in vitro orthosome would allow the bulk production of nucleic acid-like polymers which can be used as nucleic acid based therapeutics such as aptamers, ribozymes or siRNA or have benefits in the emerging fields of bionanotechnology and nucleic acid computing. A living cell harboring the orthosome will constitute the first organism with an expanded genetic system based on a 3rd type of nucleic acid.
Commission Contact: christian.krassnig@cec.eu.int

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PAUL BROCA II - The Evolution of Cerebral Asymmetry in Homo Sapiens (NEST-029023)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Homo sapiens; language; great apes; cerebral asymmetry; heterochrony; speciation; X-Y homology; australopithecus; Homo erectus.
Abstract: The essence of being human is the ability to communicate with language. This project addresses the questions what is the neural correlate of the capacity for language and what was the genetic nature of the transitions from a great ape-hominid precursor to modern H sapiens? Paul Broca's hypothesis that asymmetry is the feature that defines the human brain will be investigated in skull and brain structure and followed through the lead that a genetic determinant is located in a region of X-Y homology subject to change in the hominid lineage. It is argued that a series of changes influenced the timing of brain development. The Xq21.3/Yp sapiens-specific region of homology that includes the ProtocadherinX and ProtocadherinY gene pair is the salient candidate genomic region. The project investigates these hypotheses through i) great ape-human comparisons of skull structure including asymmetries, ii) great ape-human comparisons of asymmetries of the cellular structure of association cortex, iii) great ape-human comparisons of the structure and organization of inter-hemispheric connexions, iv) studies of the splice structure and expression of ProtocadherinX and Y, and investigations of the epigenetic control of sapiens-specific regions of homology, and v) studies of brain structure and the lateralisation of language in individuals with sex chromosome aneuploidies as exemplar anomalies of expression of the asymmetry determinant.
Commission Contact: shamila.nair-bedouelle@cec.eu.int

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PROBACTYS - Programmable Bacterial Catalysts (NEST-029104)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Synthetic Biology, high-added value chemicals, constraint-based modelling, systems theory, electronic circuits, genetic circuits
Abstract: The project aims at constructing of a functioning, streamlined bacterial cell devoid of most of its genome and endowed with a series of highly coordinated, newly assembled genetic circuits for the biotransformation of a range of chloroaromatics into high added value compounds and that would include (although not necessarily in this order or all together) circuits for synchronized behaviour, noise minimisation, low-temperature biocatalysis and/or light-powered and, in addition, amenable to directed, accelerated evolution so that the function of each or some of the individual circuits can be optimised. This will be tested for the production of high added value compounds from chloroaromatics in bioreactors. By achieving such constructs as a proof-of-principle, it is aimed at establishing a solid, rational framework for the engineering of cells performing effectively and efficiently specific functions of biotechnological, environmental or medical interest. This encompasses the production of series of different, versatile circuits and corresponding components that can be used as building blocks in circuit engineering. The proposed workflow includes several work packages, each of which intertwining mathematical modelling with wet-lab experimental work as an integral module. PROBACTYS is a pioneering, concerted European effort towards the development of a Synthetic Biology framework and with a strong focus on the translation of emerging knowledge in biology, engineering and information technology to the development of new processes of biotechnological relevance.
Commission Contact: christian.krassnig@cec.eu.int

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SynBioComm - Towards a European Synthetic Biology Community (NEST-028809)

Duration: 24 months
Free keywords: synthetic biology, community, synthetic biology summer competition, conference
Abstract: Synthetic Biology has emerged as a very recent but highly promising approach to reorganizing the scientific biological endeavour and its transformation into a highly successful and sustainable industry. By applying the tool box of more classical engineering disciplines such as electrical engineering, for example by vigorously applying modelling techniques and organizing the development of novel biological systems along a hierarchical systems architecture with defined interfaces, Synthetic Biology aims at no less than revolutionizing the way we do biology and biotechnology today. In our view, it is of prime importance to establish a vigorous scientific community in Europe that ensures that we can contribute to shaping this key field in the biological research enterprise, can capitalize on the emerging economic opportunities, and can play a leading role when it indeed comes to defining the standards of Synthetic Biology as a technological discipline. Furthermore, Synthetic Biology is an intrinsically interdisciplinary activity that thrives at the interface of biologists and engineers, where biologists contribute their deep insight into the molecular mechanisms of biological processes and cellular design principles, while the engineers can contribute their perspective and tools for systems behaviour and design procedures. There is currently a serious deficit in terms of engineering contribution to biological research in Europe which puts up additional obstacles for the formation of a Synthetic Biology community. This proposal addresses both, establishing a strong and vigorous European Synthetic Biology community and attracting engineers to a novel and rapidly evolving field. We propose to host the first European Conference in Synthetic Biology as a quasi-"inaugural" event for the future community and to sponsor the participation of interdisciplinary student teams from European universities in the international Synthetic Biology Summer Competition hosted by the MIT.
Commission Contact: christian.krassnig@cec.eu.int

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SysPAQ - Innovative Sensor System for Measuring Perceived Air Quality and Brand Specific Odours (NEST-028936)

Duration: 36 months
Free keywords: Psychophysics, Perceived air quality, human perception, odours, brand specific odours, material emissions
Abstract: The main goal of this project is to develop an innovative system to measure indoor air quality as it is perceived by humans to be used as an indicator and a control device for the indoor air quality. The system will also be able to detect brand specific odours and it will serve as a novel interior odour design tool for the vehicle industry. This innovative sensor system is highly demanded by the European society considering that humans spend about 90% of their time indoors, at work, at home and when commuting between work and home. Recent data shows that improved indoor air quality will result in fewer complaints, increased comfort, less health problems and higher productivity. Consequently, quality of life will be improved. This project will build upon current knowledge on the perceptual effects of indoor air pollutants and on the experience gained in using chemical measurements and sensors for specific odours. The approach of the project will be to enhance the present state of the art of sensor systems, the perceptual methods and the software tools for modelling human response, and integrate them into one innovative system for measuring indoor air quality as it is perceived by humans. A bridge will consequently be created between the previous works in this area and progress will be achieved by integrating measurements, sensors and modelling by a holistic approach. The main challenges are the definition of a perceptual space by using different reference odours, the measuring procedure for perceived air quality, and a characterisation method of brand specific odours. This work will continue the research work of the two 2004 Nobel Prize winners Buck and Axel and it requires advanced knowledge in perception psychology and technical excellence in sensor system design and indoor environment research, knowledge and experience which the project partners contribute. It is still an open question how to mimic the human perception of odours and air quality.
Commission Contact: carlos.saraiva-martins@cec.eu.int

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