Under an ERC Advanced Grant, and subsequent PoC grant, Professor Shakesheff's team have invented a new intracellular delivery system that overcomes a problem in drug delivery in stem cell culture as well as regenerative medicine and other therapeutic approaches. The system, called GAG-binding enhanced transduction (GET), enables intracellular delivery of proteins, nucleic acids and particles into cells that resist other non-viral strategies. The work under ERC Advanced Grant and PoC funding has allowed exemplification of the delivery of proteins that promote pluripotency or differentiation, and delivery and expression of mRNA This ImmortaSTEM: Proof-of-Concept Application will achieve 7 deliverables that together will generate a robust business plan for commercialisation of a specific application of GET to aid cell therapy attempts. This is a unique approach allowing expansion of a patient’s own cells as a therapy. We will begin by performing a comprehensive market analysis to test our view that GET could be used to expand valuable cells presently defined as challenging or impossible. Next we take account of the market analysis to refine our technical work resulting in a report that provides robust evidence of market required advantages of GET over competitor products for stem cell expansion. This technical work will include a consideration of manufacturing routes and costs of goods. In parallel with the technical work we will commission an independent freedom-to-operate report. Finally, we will initiate confidential discussions with potential partners and customers via face-to-face meetings in Europe and the US. The final business plan will establish the technical and commercial feasibility of our approaches in one or more of our target markets. We envisage that at the end of the ERC PoC grant we will attract substantial funding to rapidly progress product launches and licenses with significant impact on the regenerative medicine and cell therapy sectors.
The EU promotes the use of renewable energy for the reduction of CO2 emissions as part of the EU’s effort to protect the natural environment. It aims to reduce carbon emissions by 60% relative to the 1990 level by 2050 and increase the use of renewable energy to 20% by 2020. Buildings account for about 40% energy consumption in the EU and the use of renewable energy for heating and cooling of buildings will be important in achieving this goal. Transformation of the EU new-existing building stock towards low/zero energy buildings requires effective integration and full use of the potential yield of intermittent renewable energy sources. Thermochemical heat storage (THS) can play a pivotal role in synchronizing energy demand and supply, on both short and long term basis. The proposed solar powered thermochemical heat storage (Solar-Store) system will integrate solar collector, evaporative humidifier and heat pipe technology with a novel THS reactor design for seasonal storage of solar energy. The proposed system will deliver efficient, low-cost THS that can be fitted in the limited space in dwellings. The fellowship aims to benefit from Prof. Yijun Yuan’s recent work in energy storage systems, making use of sorption materials and solar thermal technology. Professor Yuan's considerable industrial and academic experience will make valuable contribution to the EU host organisation in terms of technology/knowledge transfer, PhD student/young researcher training and IP/commercialisation of new technologies. The partner organisations will also involve to this interaction (secondments) to enhance the effectiveness of the fellowship. Combining the skills and experience of UNOTT, Prof. Yuan and partner organisations and presenting them to the next generation of researchers and professionals in industry through the comprehensive programme of knowledge transfer activities proposed in this project will lead to a step change in the development of future products in this area.
A key step towards untangling the complexity of the human brain is to understand how functionally specialised subunits are interconnected in the brain’s network to influence each other and produce experiences and behaviour. Magnetic resonance imaging uniquely allows to explore this systems-level view of neural connections and to probe brain organisation. Despite great promise, conventional approaches have experienced difficulties in delivering robust and tangible applications, particularly for the individual, either for neuroscience or clinical practice. The connectome, the comprehensive map of brain connections, is unique in every person; yet there are fundamental limitations in its personalised mapping. Lack of standardised, accurate measures of brain connections and absence of objective references introduce errors and reduce interpretability and reproducibility. I will develop a novel algorithmic platform for brain connectivity mapping, which will establish measurement principles to allow, for the first time, quantitative and objective characterisation of the brain connectome and its individual variability. Through a mixture of highly-interdisciplinary computational and experimental research, I propose to tackle unmet challenges and shift the paradigm from ad-hoc image processing pipelines to a comprehensive framework governed by principles of metrology. I will develop platforms that a) integrate cross-modal information for accurate standardised measurements of brain connections and b) link these measurements to reference standards, reflecting the population, as well as the individual. I will subsequently tackle important representative questions that rely on the ability to capture personalised signatures of the brain architecture: in basic neuroscience, the ability to predict the neural connectivity that underpins behavioural traits; in clinical neuroscience, the ability to use normative models of connections to improve subject-specific diagnosis in depression.
INNOVATIVE will enable the systematic integration of novel aerospace technologies through the training of 24 researchers through a comprehensive multidisciplinary programme. INNOVATIVE is about the exploration of game-changing and disruptive technologies, materials, methods and processes for the aerospace sector AND their impact and interactions in the context of the virtuous pyramid of interdependences (in aerospace) spanning weight, cost, energy and the environment, and the human experience and safety. INNOVATIVE will aim to deliver a step-change in the training of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in aerospace technologies by providing a comprehensive programme that will empower these researchers with a multidisciplinary skillset comprising tools, techniques and methods suitable for pursuing careers in Aerospace Technology and related fields. Flightpath 2050 sets out a vision for a future aerospace industry with “A network of multidisciplinary technology clusters” being at the heart of technology development to keep Europe competitive in this strategically important global industry. The programme has been specifically designed to meet the future skills needs of the aerospace industry, but is applicable to a wide range of industry sectors where traditional disciplinary boundaries need to be eroded and replaced with multidisciplinary skills. The individual researcher trained through this programme will have a novel skillset that separates them from their competitors and will be attractive to take up high-powered roles in industry, where they can nurture teams with a mindset that allows for multidisciplinary thinking and systems thinking.