MSCA Innovative Training Networks: Projects and Fellows

  BIOPOL: Biochemical and mechanochemical mechanisms in polarized cells – supervised by Prof. Stefano Piccolo

BIOPOL is an interdisciplinary European training network at the interface of cell biology, physics and engineering. BIOPOL aims specifically at the understanding of fundamental mechanochemical principles guiding cellular behaviour and function and their relevance to human disease. A new supra-disciplinary research field is emerging bringing together the fields of molecular cell biology, physics and engineering aiming at an in depth understanding of fundamental cellular mechanochemical principles. BIOPOL combines exactly this required expertise in one joint training program for young researchers. BIOPOL has assembled a unique multidisciplinary consortium bringing together top scientists from the fields of molecular/developmental cell biology, membrane physics, engineering as well as specialists from the private sector. The scientific objectives focus on understanding of fundamental mechanisms of cellular mechanosensing in health and disease, the role of external forces in cell division and mechanochemical regulation of cell polarity including tissue formation. Finally, part of BIOPOL´s research program is the further development of cutting edge technologies like advanced atomic force microscopy, novel photonic tools like optical stretcher or innovative organ on a chip technology, exploiting physical cellular properties. BIOPOL´s collaborative cutting edge research program is integral part of its training program provided to early stage researcher and is further translated into seven state of the art experimental training stations representing the consortiums expertise. In addition, BIOPOL has developed a 3 years modular curriculum including workshops, summerschools, Business plan competitions and conferences with a specific agenda of transferable skill training elements highly relevant for scientific communication, translational research and in particular entrepreneurship.

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Project’s website

Fellow: Qiuyu Zhuang is from China. She graduated in 2015 with a M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Xianeb University. Her project included the study of the function of two necroptosis related proteins in the innate immunity; the early step of hepatitis B virus infection and the identification of effectors of the type I interferon antiviral. In her doctoral project within the BIOPOL network she examines the biochemical and mechanochemical mechanisms through YAP/TAZ regulation and assesses YAP/TAZ and their direct targets as cancer's regulating genes.

e-mail: qiuyu.zhuang@studenti.unipd.it

  CoACH: Advanced glasses, Composites And Ceramics for High growth Industries – supervised by Prof. Enrico Bernardo

The aim of CoACH (Advanced glasses, Composites And Ceramics for High growth Industries) is to offer a multidisciplinary training in the field of high-tech GLASSES, CERAMICS and COMPOSITES based on effective and proven industry-academia cooperation. Our scientific goals are to develop advanced knowledge on glass and ceramic based materials and to develop innovative, cost-competitive, and environmentally acceptable materials and processing technologies.
The inter/multi-disciplinary and -sectorial characteristic is guaranteed by the presence of 5 academic partners and 10 companies having top class expertise in glass, ceramic and composite science and technology, modelling, design, characterization and commercialization. Advanced materials fall within the KEY ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES (KETs) and are themselves an emerging supra-disciplinary field; expertise on these new materials brings competitiveness in the strategic thematic areas of: HEALTH-innovative glass and composite for biomedical applications, ENERGY-innovative glass, ceramic and composite materials for energy harvesting/scavenging, solid oxide electrolysis cells and oil, gas and petrochemical industries, ICT-new glass fibre sensors embedded in smart coatings for harsh environment, ENVIRONMENT-new and low cost glass, ceramic and composite materials from waste.
The originality of the research programme is to be seen in the supra-disciplinary approach to new glass- and ceramic- based materials and their applications: recruited researchers will benefit from a complete set of equipment and expertise enabling them to develop advanced knowledge in KETs and strategic thematic areas for the EU and to convert it into products for economic and social benefit. The effective research methodology used by the partners and the mutual exploitation of their complementary competences have been successfully experienced in the past in long term common research cooperation and in on-going common projects, including a Marie Curie ITN.

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Fellow: Acacio Rincon Romero comes from Spain. He graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid in Chemistry. During his Master´s thesis, he worked in the colloidal processing of ceramic oxides containing carbon nanodispersoids. Nowadays he is involved as a PhD researcher in the CoACH project (Advanced glasses, Composites And Ceramics for High growth Industries), a European Training Network (ETN) studying the development of low cost waste-derived sintered glass and glass-ceramics for energy saving and recovery at the University of Padova, under the supervision of Professor Enrico Bernardo.
e-mail: acacio.rinconromero@studenti.unipd.it

  MULTI-APP: Multivalent Molecular Systems for Innovative Applications – supervised by Prof. Leonard Jan Prins

This network brings together the major academic players active in Europe on the fundamentals and application of multivalency and cooperativity. The network is complemented by industrial partners ranging in scale from a small spin-off to a large multinational. The main objective of this consortium is to raise a new generation of researchers able to develop complex chemical systems that harness cooperativity for enhanced functional properties.
Multivalency is one of Nature’s governing principles for achieving strong and selective biomolecular recognition. Many biological processes rely on the cooperative effects associated with the occurrence of multivalent interactions. Consequently, there is an enormous interest in the development of chemical multivalent systems that display similar features for innovative applications in fields as various as diagnostics, drug discovery, materials science and nanotechnology.
The central theme of multivalency and cooperativity is used to connect partners from academia and industry with a common interest in understanding how multivalency works, but for very different scopes and using very different approaches. This network is thus uniquely positioned to train the next generation of European researchers in all multidisciplinary aspects related to multivalency. A broad training program has been developed that comprises top-level individual research projects, both general and specific network-wide dedicated courses, secondments, personalized scientific training and a broad package of complementary skill training. The industrial partners contribute in the form of training, supervision, technical contributions, and perspectives on the commercialisation of multivalent systems.
After completion of the program, the ESRs will be the first generation of researchers able to fully exploit the potential of multivalent chemical systems. Their unrivalled career profiles will enable them to compete successfully for positions in academia or industry.

More details

Project’s website 

Fellows:

Maria Cardona is from Malta. She obtained a MSc in Chemistry from the University of Malta in the field of Physical-Organic and Supramolecular Chemistry, where she synthesized and studied water-soluble azobenzene and anthracene-based chemosensors for cations. For her PhD she is studying how chemical reactions can be controlled inside transient self-assembled vesicles in aqueous solution.
e-mail: maria.cardona.1@studenti.unipd.it

Carlos Manuel León Prieto is from Spain. He studied Chemistry at the University of Barcelona and graduated in 2013. In 2014, he completed a MSc (Master in Advanced Organic Chemistry) including courses and 6 months of experimental work. During that time, he was working on the synthesis of 1,2-amino alcohols using organocatalytic chemistry. Currently, he is doing his PhD at the University of Padova and for the MULTI-APP project he is examining on Carbohydrate recognition by monolayer protected gold nanoparticles.
e-mail: carlosmanuel.leonprieto@studenti.unipd.it

  AMVA4NewPhysics: Advanced Multi-Variate Analysis for New Physics Searches at the LHC – supervised by Prof. Giovanna Menardi

With the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, LHC, the Standard Model of particle physics has been completed, emerging as a most successful description of matter at the smallest distance scales. But as is always the case, the observation of this particle has also heralded the dawn of a new era in the field: particle physics is now turning to the mysteries posed by the presence of dark matter in the universe, as well as the very existence of the Higgs. The upcoming run of the LHC at 13 TeV will probe possible answers to both issues, providing detailed measurements of the properties of the Higgs and extending significantly the sensitivity to new phenomena.
Since the LHC is the only accelerator currently exploring the energy frontier, it is imperative that the analyses of the collected data use the most powerful possible techniques. In recent years several analyses have utilized multi-variate analysis techniques, obtaining higher sensitivity; yet there is ample room for further improvement. With our programme we will import and specialize the most powerful advanced statistical learning techniques to data analyses at the LHC, with the objective of maximizing the chance of new physics discoveries.
We aim at creating a network of European institutions to foster the development and exploitation of Advanced Multi-Variate Analysis (AMVA) for New Physics searches. The network will offer extensive training in both physics and advanced analysis techniques to graduate students, focusing on providing them with the know-how and the experience to boost their career prospects in and outside academia. The network will develop ties with non-academic partners for the creation of interdisciplinary software tools, allowing a successful knowledge transfer in both directions. The network will study innovative techniques and identify their suitability to problems encountered in searches for new physics at the LHC and detailed studies of the Higgs boson sector.

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Project’s website

Fellow:

Grzegorz Michal Kotkowski is from Poland. He has a Bachelor both in Mathematics (2013) and in Physics (2015), and a Master Degree in Mathematical Statistics (2015) from the Wrocław University of Technology. He was then employed by Datarino, where he acquired hands-on experience in data mining on very large datasets. He is currently a PhD student at the Department of Statistics of the University of Padova, and he is working on the AMV4NewPhysics project. In 2016, he did a 2-month-secondement period at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) in the International Physics Research Center, where he performed multivariate statistical analysis for the new physical algorithm.
e-mail: grzegorzmichal.kotkowski@studenti.unipd.it

  QCALL: Quantum Communications for ALL – supervised by Prof. Paolo Villoresi

Quantum Communications for ALL (QCALL) endeavors to take the next necessary steps to bring the developing quantum technologies closer to the doorsteps of end users. Quantum communications (QC) is well-known for its offering ultra-secure cryptographic key-exchange schemes—resilient to any future technological advancement. QCALL will empower a nucleus of researchers in this area to provide secure communications in our continent and, in the long run, to our connections worldwide. With the large scale violations of privacy in the EU exchange of information, this is a crucial moment to pursue this objective. By covering a range of projects, with short, mid, and long-term visions, and using a balanced and multifaceted training programme, QCALL trains a cadre of highly qualified interdisciplinary workforce capable of shaping the R&D section of the field, hence accelerating its widespread adoption. This will ensure that EU will remain at the frontier of research on secure communications and advanced QC systems and devices. In QCALL, we explore the challenges of integrating quantum and classical communication networks; this will be essential in providing cost-efficient services. We experimentally examine and theoretically study new protocols by which network users can exchange secure keys with each other. We investigate disruptive technologies that enable wireless access to such quantum networks, and develop new devices and protocols that enable multi-party QC. Our meticulously planned training programme includes components from shared taught courses through to scientific schools and complementary-skill workshops, supplemented by secondment opportunities and innovative outreach and dissemination activities. This will create a structured model for doctoral training in EU that will last beyond the life of the project, so will the industry-academic collaborations that are essential to the development of the disruptive technologies that will make QC available to ALL.

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Project’s website

Vacancy

  SCAVENGE: Sustainable CellulAr networks harVEstiNG ambient Energy

Energy sustainability is key to future mobile networks due to their foreseen capacity upsurge. The objective of the ETN SCAVENGE (Sustainable CellulAr networks harVEstiNG ambient Energy) is to create a training network for early-stage researchers (ESRs) who will contribute to the design and implementation of eco-friendly and sustainable next-generation (5G) networks and become leaders in the related scientific, technological, and industrial initiatives. Sustainable networks are based on the premise that environmental energy can be scavenged through dedicated harvesting hardware so as to power 5G base stations (BSs) and the end devices (mobile terminals, sensors and machines). To realise this vision, the project will take a complete approach, encompassing the characterisation of intermittent and/or erratic energy sources, the development of theoretical models, and the design, optimisation and proof-of-concept implementation of core network, BS and mobile elements as well as their integration with the smart electrical grid.
The consortium is composed of world-class research centres and companies that are in the forefront of mobile communication and renewable energy research and technology development. The attitude of the industrial partners towards the strong investment in R&D and their strategic vision are fully aligned with the mission of this project, making them perfectly fit for this consortium. This grants a well-balanced project with genuine and strong technical interactions. The ESRs will have a unique opportunity towards professional growth in light of dedicated cross-partner training activities and through the interaction with the Partner Organisations, which also include relevant stakeholders in the envisioned market. All of this will ensure that the trained researchers will be successfully employed at the end of the research program.

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Project’s website

Follow the project on youtube

Fellows:

Angel Fernandez Gambin comes from Spain. He received the Bachelor and Master degrees in Telecommunications engineering from the Technical University of Cartagena (Spain) in 2014 and 2016, respectively. For his final thesis, she developed and evaluated a new control mechanism for saving energy in Heterogeneous Cellular Networks providing control and self-organization. She did several scholarships, both at the University of Cartagena and in private companies, including a Talent Startups Scholarship. She is currently a PhD student at the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Padova, and within the SCAVENGE project he is focusing on the study of the interaction between future cellular networks and the smart electrical grid, in the presence of renewable energy sources.
e-mail: afgambin@dei.unipd.it

Elvina Gindullina is from Russia. She first studied Economics and management in enterprises at the Ufa State Petroleum Technological University (2008-2013) and then obtained a Msc in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at the Ufa Sa Aviation at the Technical University (2013-2015). For her final thesis, she worked on Vehicle Routing Problems and specifically on the development of exact and heuristic algorithms for One-to-One pickup and delivery. In 2016 she did an internship at the University of Trento, where she developed heuristic algorithms for VRP. She is currently a PhD student at the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Padova, and within the SCAVENGE project she is focusing on the development of battery management system for energy harvesting devices.
e-mail: elvina.gindullina@dei.unipd.it

Dlamini Thembelihle is from Swaziland. He received his Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) at the University of Swaziland, in 2011. In 2014, he completed his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, with a thesis on Clustering and Resource Allocation Schemes for Hybrid Femtocell Networks. He is currently pursuing high PhD at the University of Padova, Italy and a reseacher at Athonet under the EU Scavenge project. His research interests are in Wireless communication system design, Core Network management procedures in 5G using NFV and SDN.
e-mail: dlamini@mail.dei.unipd.it

  NEW-MINE: EU Training Network for Resource Recovery through Enhanced Landfill Mining – supervised by Prof. Enrico Bernardo

Europe has somewhere between 150,000 and 500,000 landfill sites, with an estimated 90% of them being “non-sanitary” landfills, predating the EU Landfill Directive of 1999. These older landfills tend to be filled with municipal solid waste and often lack any environmental protection technology. In order to avoid future environmental and health problems, many of these landfills will soon require expensive remediation measures. This situation might appear bleak, but it does present us with an exciting opportunity for a combined resource-recovery and remediation strategy, which will drastically reduce future remediation costs, reclaim valuable land, while at the same time unlocking billions of tonnes of valuable resources contained within these landfills. However, the widespread adoption of Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) in the EU, as envisaged by NEW-MINE, urgently requires skilled scientists, engineers, economists and policy makers who can develop cost-effective, environmentally friendly ELFM practices and regulatory frameworks. All this demands a European commitment to concerted, inter- and transdisciplinary research and innovation. The NEW-MINE project trains 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) in all the aspects of landfill mining, in terms of both technological innovation and multi-criteria assessments for ELFM. The technological innovation follows a value-chain approach, from advanced landfill exploration, mechanical processing, plasma/solar/hybrid thermochemical conversion and upcycling, while the multi-criteria assessment methods allow the ESRs to compare combined resource-recovery/remediation ELFM methods with the “Do-Nothing”, “Classic remediation” and “Classic landfill mining with (co-)incineration” scenarios. By training the ESRs in scientific, technical and a range of soft skills, all based on a collaboration involving EU-leading institutes, they become highly sought-after scientists and engineers for the rapidly emerging ELFM and recycling industries.

More details

Project’s website

New ELFM animation video: not just another brick

Article: http://www.unipd.it/ilbo/ilbo/crei-rifiuti-io-ci-costruisco-casa

Fellow: Patricia Rabelo Monich comes from Brazil. She graduated in 2013 in Materials Engineering at Federal University of Santa Catarina. Her final thesis was in the field of hydrogen embrittlement. After completing her bachelor, she started her master in Materials Science and Engineering at the same university. Her master thesis was focused on the development of PEEK composites for biomedical applications.
She is currently pursuing her PhD at University of Padova in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions. Her PhD project has the purpose to develop glass-ceramic building materials with novel functionalities made from materials originated from the processing and conversion of the landfill waste, under the supervision of Professor Enrico Bernardo.
e-mail: patricia.rabelomonich@studenti.unipd.it

  QUARTZ: Quantum Information Access and Retrieval Theory – supervised by Prof. Massimo Melucci

We aim to establish an European Training Network (ETN) on QUantum information Access and Retrieval Theory (QUARTZ). Towards a new approach to Information Access and Retrieval (IAR) addressing the challenges of the dynamic and multimodal nature of the data and user interaction context, QUARTZ aims to educate its Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to adopt a novel theoretically and empirically motivated approach to IAR based on the quantum mechanical framework that gives up the notions of unimodal features and classical ranking models disconnected from context. Each ESR will be aware that the current state of the art of IAR is not sufficient to address the challenges of a dynamic, adaptive and context-aware user-machine interaction and to make a major breakthrough in the overall effectiveness of retrieval systems, and that a genuine theoretical breakthrough is on the contrary necessary. We believe that this breakthrough can be provided by quantum theory which can integrate abstract vector spaces, probability spaces and logic in a single theoretical framework which extend and generalize the classical vector, probability and logic spaces utilised in IAR. QUARTZ will consist of training activities and ESR research projects which investigate theoretical issues and evaluate methods and prototypes for adaptive IAR systems managing large data collections and meeting the end user's information needs in a dynamic context.

Vacancy: www.quartz-itn.eu/recruitment

Web site: www.quartz-itn.eu

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  PAM^2: Precision Additive Metal Manufacturing – supervised by Prof. Simone Carmignato

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a fast−growing sector with the ability to evoke a revolution in manufacturing due to its almost unlimited design freedom and its capability to produce personalised parts locally and with efficient material use. AM companies however still face technological challenges such as limited precision due to shrinkage and build−in stresses and limited process stability and robustness. Moreover often post−processing is needed due to the high roughness and remaining porosity. In addition qualified, trained personnel is hard to find. This ITN project will address both the technological and people challenges.
To quality assure the parts produced, PAM² will, through a close collaboration between industry and academia, address each of the various process stages of AM with a view to implementing good precision engineering practice.
To ensure the availability of trained personnel, ESRs will, next to their individual research and complementary skills training, be immersed in the whole AM production chain through hands−on workshops where they will design, model, fabricate, measure and assess a specific product.
The expected impact of PAM² thus is:
1. The availability of intersectoral and interdisciplinary trained professionals in an industrial field that's very important for the future of Europe, both enhancing the ESR future career perspectives and advancing European industry.
2. The availability of high precision AM processes through improved layout rules with better use of AM possibilities, better modelling tools for first−time right processing, possibility for in−situ quality control ensuring process stability and, if still needed, optimised post−processing routes
3. As a result of 1: an increased market acceptance and penetration of AM.
4. Through the early involvement of European industry: a growing importance of the European industrial players in this fast−growing field. This will help Europe reach its target of 20% manufacturing share of GDP.

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Project’s website

Article: http://www.unipd.it/ilbo/ilbo/dai-fusilli-chirurgia-futuro-stampanti-3d

Vacancy

  MMBio: Molecular Tools for Nucleic Acid Manipulation for Biological Intervention – supervised by Prof. Paolo Scrimin

MMbio will bridge the classically separate disciplines of Chemistry and Biology by assembling leading experts from academia and non-academic partners (industry, technology transfer & science communication) to bring about systems designed to interfere therapeutically with gene expression in living cells. Expertise in nucleic acid synthesis, its molecular recognition and chemical reactivity is combined with drug delivery, cellular biology and experimental medicine. This project represents a concerted effort to make use of a basic and quantitative understanding of chemical interactions to develop and deliver oligonucleotide molecules of utility for therapy. Our chemical biology approach to this field is ambitious in its breadth and represents a unqiues opportunity to educate young scientists across sectorial and disciplinary barriers. Training will naturally encompass a wide range of skills, requiring a joint effort of chemists and biologists to introduce young researchers in a structured way to and array of research methodologies that no single research grouping could provide. The incorporation of early-stage and later stag ebiotechnology enterprises ensures that commercialisation of methodologies as well as the drug development process is covered in this ITN. We hope that MMBio will train scientists able to understand both the biological problem and the chemistry that holds the possible solution and develop original experimental approaches to stimulate European academic and commercial success in this area.

More details

Project’s website

Fellows:

Lucia Morillas Becerril comes from Spain. She obtained a Bsc in Chemistry from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain) in 2014 and a Msc in Molecular Nanoscience from Friedrich Alexander Universität in Erlangen, Nürnberg (Germany) in 2015. Her master thesis concerned the building blocks towards mechanically interlocked synthetic carbon allotropes. She is currently pursuing her PhD at University of Padova in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions and her project within the MMBIO network will focus on the application of nanoparticles for gene delivery.
e-mail: lucia.morillasbecerril@studenti.unipd.it

Joanna Częścik is from Poland. She obtained a Msc in Chemistry from the University of Warsaw in 2016. During her Master’s studies, she worked on Stereocontrolled Organic Chemistry field, and specifically on enantioselective reactions of furans with trifluoromethyl ketones in presence of cinchona alkaloids and trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane derivatives as a catalysts. She also did several internships in Poland (Institute of Organic Chemistry Department of Sugars, Cosmetic Institute, Biological and Chemical Research Centre Department of Supramolecular Laboratory) and abroad (University of Parma, Italy; Åbo Akademi University, Finland ). In MMBio network, for her PhD project, she focuses in programming the interaction of self-organized functional nanoparticles with biological entities such as targeting proteins, enzymes and nucleic acids.
e-mail: joanna.czescik@phd.unipd.it

  OcuTher: Educational Network in Ocular Drug Delivery and Therapeutics – supervised by Prof. Paolo Caliceti

Ocular drug development has transformed from niche area to a major field in drug development in which many companies, including European big pharma has entered recently. Ocular drug development is a unique field in terms of drug targets and end-points of activity, local drug administration routes, tissue barriers and pharmacokinetics, drug delivery and formulation challenges and local toxicity issues. These issues are slowing down the development of drugs for the unmet needs in ophthalmology. The main objective of the proposal is to educate experts of preclinical ocular R&D to facilitate the success of European pharmaceutical industry and research community. This objective will be reached by joining forces of the leading European academic and industrial researchers in ophthalmology, materials science and nanomedicine, drug delivery and targeting, and systems pharmacology. We shall educate 15 Early Stage Researchers in a network where they will receive tailored, multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral education in preclinical ocular drug development. The thesis projects are directed to the drug treatment of retinal diseases, the major challenge in the field. The proposal combines new drug candidates from the experts of ophthalmology, innovative drug delivery technologies from pharmaceutical scientists and companies, and modern in vitro, in silico and in vivo methods from various partners. The thesis projects include secondments in academic and industrial partner laboratories and course programme that encompasses the relevant fields in ocular drug development. Therefore, this proposal presents unique combination of innovation and education in the field with obvious need for such education. The ESRs and other outcomes of this project will greatly benefit the future competitiveness of European science and industry in this field of expanding importance.

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Vacancy

 

 

ITN Fellows: previous years

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