The main purpose of the IMPACTVM project is to evaluate the socio-political impact of Augustan veteran colonies (1st c. BC – 1st c. AD) by understanding of how Latin and epigraphy was spread in local communities across the Roman world. This will allow us to understand the colonisation process, the origin of the colonists, the foundational policy of urban and sub-urban power centres, and the effectiveness of the Augustan colonisation’s impact on the creation of the Roman Empire through 5 selected study cases. The project has a strong multidisciplinary nature involving a combination of well-developed approaches to Roman colonisation (epigraphy socio-linguistic approach; GIS; network analysis; historical approach; quantitative analysis; etc.) for reformulating the methodology in the studies of historical colonisation. This proposal includes both the transfer of knowledge to the host institution and the training of the candidate in new advanced techniques (Digital Humanities) and methodologies. The result of this research will not only be papers, two seminars (in Athens and Rome), the publication of the proceedings and the collective manual on ancient names, but it will also be made available to the general public through some activities, as well as a booklet and a dissemination paper in an informative newsstand journal. This fellowship will be undertaken at the Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità of the Sapienza Università di Roma under the mentorship of Gian L. Gregori with two secondments, first in the Universities of Oxford/Nottingham under the supervision of Alex Mullen and the second in the National Hellenic Research Foundation of Athens under the supervision of Sophia Zoumbakis. The project is in line with the EU strategy of promoting cultural heritage and identity, the diversity of European culture, the interaction and translation of the traditions of its different countries and regions, and cultural cooperation with third and developing countries.
Cell division relies on centromeres, which connect chromosomes to the spindle for separating sister chromatids in mitosis. Human centromeres are composed of large arrays of repetitive DNA, which are often sites of aberrant rearrangements in cancer. While centromere defects can cause chromosomal instability, the molecular mechanisms that maintain their repetitive DNA stable are poorly understood. During the fellowship, I aim to investigate how human centromere stability is maintained and the consequences of centromere dysfunction in driving cancer and aging. To circumvent impeding technical barriers due to incomplete centromere sequence annotation, I have ideated the use of Chromosome Orientation Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization at human centromeres (Cen-CO-FISH; Giunta, 2018). Using this innovative technique, I revealed that CENP-A and CCAN (constitutive centromere-associated network) proteins prevent centromere instability, and this functionality is compromised in cancer cell lines and in primary cells undergoing senescence (Giunta & Funabiki, 2017); my data show that CENP-A may play a new role during centromere replication, preventing DNA damage, repeats shortening, and subsequent aneuploidy. I will use the Auxin-Inducible Degron (AID) system and CRISPR-Cas genome editing with high-throughput imaging of Cen-CO-FISH to identify the human centromere maintenance network and investigate the mechanisms of repeats stability. I will also examine the consequences of centromeres dysfunction, including changes in the size of the array, cell ploidy and proliferation dynamics, using a variety of validated and novel methods, including Cen-qRT-PCR, qFISH and cytogenetic assays. Altogether, the proposed research will unveil a novel conceptual framework to explain the fragility of repetitive centromere DNA and its consequences on cell physiology and disease. This work will lay the foundation for my future independent research on centromere instability in age-associated cancers.
DIGIMYTH is an interdisciplinary project that adopts the tools of digital humanities (DH) in Arabic literary studies. It plans to create an open access digital archive through which it investigates the dynamics of the reception of Greek myths in Arabic literature produced in Egypt and in the Mashreq in the period 1850-1950. Thanks to its intersectional approach that involves DH, literary studies, historical and religious studies, the project aims at having an impact both on Arabic literary studies and on other fields of research. The general objectives of DIGIMYTH are to investigate how and when Greek myths were introduced into modern Arabic literature and to evaluate their impact on its development. The project envisages two primary specific objectives that address two main questions: 1) What are the modern Arabic literary texts containing references to Greek myths? The project plans to digitize relevant texts of Arabic literature that contain such references, and create an open access digital archive. This entails the application of IT tools to Arabic literary studies, which has made little use of digital research so far. 2) What are the dynamics of the reception of Greek myths in modern Arabic literature? While there are studies on the use of myth in Arabic poetry after 1948, they fail to determine the specific function of Greek myths, and to explain how these myths were integrated into the Arabic literary system before 1948. Resting on the data collected in the archive and on an interdisciplinary methodology that involves literary, historical and religious studies, DIGIMYTH aspires to answer the following questions: when and which Greek myths were introduced in Arabic literature? Is there any relation between the place and the reception of a myth, and between the latter and politics and ideology? How did the meaning of the myth change over time and space?