The Servicio de Salud de Castilla La Mancha (SESCAM) is the administrative and management structure that integrates every public hospital and health service of Castilla La Mancha, a 2 million inhabitants region in central Spain. SESCAM (beneficiary) is the legal representative of Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos (HNP). The HNP is a Spanish national reference centre that provides integral medical care to patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), receiving more than two hundred fifty new SCI admissions each year. From 1974, more than 11.500 SCI patients have been treated and studied in this hospital. Nowadays, the hospital represents a unique blend of clinicians and researchers that combine efforts to promote the development of treatments for SCI and associated functional impairments. Besides the excellent clinical facilities, the HNP has eleven research laboratories equipped with modern technologies for studying neural damage and repair, including electrophysiology, confocal and electron microscopy, animal house, proteomics, cytometry, cellular and molecular biology, behavioural testing machines, and high-resolution kinetics and kinematics. The whole hospital has entered into an exciting era with the recent construction of a new research building that has housing and surgical facilities for large animals. This will facilitate the assessment of novel treatments for SCI in animal models that more closely resemble the human condition, paving the way for their application in SCI patients.
The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as its world-class original research. Cambridge comprises 31 Colleges and over 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions. 90 affiliates of the University won the Nobel Prize since 1904. The University has identified carbon-based and large area plastic compatible electronics as key research themes of major strategic importance, with a total research budget of~£100M. The Department of Engineering is the largest department in Cambridge. It provides a world-class research and technology environment encouraging research activities to proceed to development and exploitation in close collaboration with industry. The Department is the home of the Cambridge Graphene Centre (www.graphene.cam.ac.uk), whose mission is to investigate the science and technology of graphene, carbon allotropes, layered crystals and hybrid nanomaterials. This engineering innovation centre allows our partners to meet, and effectively establish joint industrial-academic activities to promote innovative and adventurous research with an emphasis on applications. The over £30M facilities and equipment have been selected to promote alignment with industry, by filling two main vacuums. The first is the lack of intermediate scale printing and processing systems where the industrial upscale and optimisation of inks based on graphene, related carbon nanomaterials, and novel two dimensional crystals can be tested and optimised. The second vacuum stems from the challenge posed by the unique properties of graphene: the centre facilities aim to fully cover those properties necessary to achieve the goal of "graphene-augmented" smart integrated devices on flexible/transparent substrates, with the necessary energy storage capability to work autonomously and wireless connected. The Department has also been awarded an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), in Graphene Technology. The CDT works closely with industry to ensure that successful students are properly equipped to follow careers in both industry and academia.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Andrea C. Ferrari
AXON' Cable is an industrial French group of over 1800 staff worldwide specialised in the design and manufacture of custom design interconnect including:
- Wires and cables: high precision conductors and extrusion of fluoropolymers.
- Cable assemblies and harnesses.
- Contacts and connectors.
- Integrated systems.
Innovation is at the forefront of the AXON' group which invests 10% of its annual turnover into R&D, with more than 250 technicians and engineers specialised in:
- Metallurgy: manufacture of precision conductors.
- Plastic technologies: jacketing, moulding, overmoulding.
- Electronics: EMI/EMC, microwave, fibre optics, networks.
The main task for AXON’ Cable in Neurofibres is to develop the electrical interconnection system which brings the current to MFs implanted inside the body. This requires refining and adapting the AXON’ femto wires to long-term implantation, to develop a long-term implantable miniaturised electronic interconnector featuring adaptations for surgical handling and fixation to the spine, to develop a highly biocompatible process for crimping the femto wires onto the MFs, and finally to develop an implantable spring cable that do not transmit external forces to the implanted electroactive system. The harness workshop in AXON’ has dedicated areas for medical cable assemblies that don’t require clean room, so as to make sure that no non-allowed materials can be used on those assemblies. Each of those work stations can use binocular devices for miniature wiring. On the other hand, a clean room dedicated to medical market has been built especially for long-term implantable assemblies. It is monitorised regarding its microbiological content thanks to an in-house test facility. It is ISO 7 and BPF C. AXON’ also has an ISO 8 clean room
Principal investigator: Ms. Stéphanie Achart
The University of Trento (UNITN) is a medium size University in Italy, constantly ranked among the best Italian Universities: as first in the 2013 National Report on the quality of research and among the first 200 institutions according to the THE - Times Higher Education Rankings 2015-2016. This result is due, in particular, to the University’s ability to finance itself, its success in scientific research, its ability to look towards Europe and the world, and to the satisfaction of the students. UNITN has an extensive experience with the management of the projects funded under FP7. It was awarded 119 projects and most notably it is the coordinator of 42 of these. As for H2020, 33 projects have been approved so far: 4 ERC grants, 10 MSC-IF, 2 MSC-RISE, 1 MSC-ITN, 1 FET-Proactive, 15 other projects (3 IA, 2 CSA and 10 RIA - in Industrial Leadership and Societal challenges).
UNITN will be involved in the analytical and numerical modelling of the mechanical properties of the microfibres and scaffolds that will be produced during the project. Such theoretical activities will be very useful to support the design of samples with desired behaviour prior effective production. In addition, also experimental activities will be conducted in order to compare the models results with the effective fibres and scaffold properties, thus assessing the validity of the proposed methodologies.
Principal investigator: Prof. Nicola Pugno
KTH Royal Institute of Technology has 13.400 first and second level students, almost 1.900 doctoral students and a staff of 4.900 people. KTH is organized into ten Schools, each covering a major field of engineering science. The School of Biotechnology has an extensive research program involving about 340 employees and PhD students. On of the core activities at KTH-Biotechnology is the use of protein engineering technologies to develop and investigate proteins. A number of groups are engaged in projects focused on the development of affinity proteins using combinatorial protein engineering principles.
The group of Chemical Protein Engineering at KTH Biotechnology will be responsible for engineering of electro-responsive binding proteins in Neurofibres. The activities include selection of new binding proteins from combinatorial protein libraries, biophysical and functional characterisation of the selected proteins, and protein engineering by conjugation to charged, peptide-based polymers. The group has several years of experience in developing affinity-based protein analysis technologies. The research has been focused on a particular class of affinity molecules, affibody molecules, which are small, three-helix bundle proteins selected from combinatorial libraries and demonstrated to be attractive alternatives to antibodies in a variety of different detection assays. The research group uses different synthetic and semi-synthetic strategies to produce the affibody molecules and site-specifically modify the proteins for different applications, such as directed immobilisation on surfaces or the incorporation of various types of reporter groups (fluorescent labels, radionuclides, etc).
Principal investigator: Prof. Amelie Eriksson Karlström
AMU comes from the merging in January 2012 of the three pre-existing Universities in the geographic area of Aix-Marseille (South-Eastern France). Following this merging, AMU is now the largest university in France in terms of student number (71000 including 4000 PhD Student), personal staff (7500 persons including faculty and research) and budget (650 million-euros). It is composed of 132 research units distributed over 5 campuses, and has a long tradition of excellence in a large spectrum of activities (science, economics, health and biomedical research, law, environment, art etc.) with 12 PhD schools. AMU has been given the responsibility by the French Government to build and implement a European Centre for Research in Medical Imaging (CERIMED), offering large facilities to be run as an open campus for all European institutional and industrial groups working in the field of medical imaging. This platform, which aims to design and validate novel imaging techniques to be used in translational research, is organised around a radiopharmaceutical, a technological, a preclinical (rodents and large animals) and a clinical sector.
The current project will make use of the recently installed Zeiss LSM780 upright microscope coupled to a Coherent Ultrafast II femtosecond laser with OPO. A rather unique configuration ensures that fluorescence detection is made by a cascade of 5 non descanned detectors as well as a descanned high sensitivity Quasar module with 32 simultaneous GASP detection channels. Up to 32 cellular components or fluorescent reporters can thus be monitored simultaneously offering a unique tool to study inflammatory responses from the combinatorial expression of cell surface markers. This microscope was acquired from FEDER funds.
Principal investigator: Dr. Franck C. Debarbieux
USAAR was founded in 1948, and today provides 8 faculties and counts > 18.000 students of which ~16% are foreign students. The Department of Molecular Physiology is part of the Center for Integrative Physiology and Molecular Medicine (CIPMM). It is headed by Prof. Frank Kirchhoff. The research group is well known for their work on the mechanisms of neuron-glia interactions in health and disease. Their transgenic mice with cell-type specific fluorescent protein expression and inducible gene deletion are used in many research labs. Important is also (1) their description of intrinsic motilities of astrocytes and microglia by two-photon imaging, and (2) their analysis of the role of glial AMPA receptors for fine motor coordination. Group members: 3 postdocs, 5 PhD students, 4 technicians.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Frank Kirchhoff
FET PROACTIVE 2016
FET Proactive helps new research communities to be developed by encouraging researchers from different disciplines to work together on new technologies in specific domains.
This FET Proactive call consists of 3 initiatives: Emerging themes and communities, FET ERANET Cofund and FET ERANET Cofund in Quantum Technologies.
Our project was submitted under the initiative Emerging Themes and Communities. The aim is to mature four novel areas and themes by working towards structuring emerging communities and supporting the design and development of transformative research themes. Four areas were proposed: Future technologies for societal change; Biotech for better life; Disruptive information technologies; New technologies for energy and functional materials.
The proposal addresses the specific Area 2 Biotechnology for better life under the topic Bio-electronic medicines and therapies. More specifically, it proposes an interdisciplinary approach to develop bio-electronic systems based on biofunctionalized electroconducting MFs and to explore their usefulness for restorative neurology. A highly complementary and motivated research community stands to accomplish the challenging project’s goals and to foster the emergence of this novel technology. A responsible research and innovation approach (open access, gender, ethics, science education, public engagement) is taken into account.