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University of Alicante
Country: Spain
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92 Projects, page 1 of 19
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101018277
    Overall Budget: 160,932 EURFunder Contribution: 160,932 EUR
    Partners: UA

    All cells contain tiny molecular motors made from a large family of proteins including enzymes and antibodies that help the cell produce energy, move, and move material inside the cell. While several biomolecular motors have been identified, the remaining challenges are determining how these species transfer information from one region of a motor to another and how the malfunctioning of these can lead to the development of several diseases. One timely example is the detrimental effect that a disrupted mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) can produce in human beings (e.g., cancer, neurodegeneration, heart failure). The SoftBioArt project will explore a new paradigm in ETC by achieving an efficient inter-protein electron transfer at electrified soft-interfaces and to using this platform to pinpoint any weak points for possible electron leakage during the ETC. The SoftBioArt program will result in a new platform bringing biomimetic modified soft-interfaces to a new level, to demystify one of the most relevant living machines within mitochondria (respiratory ETC) where any malfunctioning is linked to the development of several chronic human diseases. Thus, the SofBioArt program will develop model membrane systems that will serve as scaffolds harbouring protein and enzymes of the ETC at soft-interfaces maximizing the electron transfer efficiency at an electrified soft-interface. The SoftBioArt project pushes the boundaries of the current state-of-the-art of bioelectrochemistry at soft-interfaces to determine if this unexplored system can bridge the gap between solid electrode bioelectrochemistry and living systems.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 835472
    Overall Budget: 160,932 EURFunder Contribution: 160,932 EUR
    Partners: UA

    Dryland ecosystems are a key terrestrial biome, covering 45% of the Earth´s surface and supporting over 38% of the total global population, but their functioning and the goods and services they provide are vulnerable to global environmental changes such as increasing land use intensity (e.g. grazing pressure) and climate aridification. Mycorrhizal fungi, i.e. obligate plant symbionts colonizing the roots of 90% of all land plants, contribute substantially to dryland biodiversity, to their functioning, and the provision of goods and services by dryland ecosystems. In exchange for plant assimilated carbon, mycorrhizal fungi increase plant nutrient supply, influence soil formation and aggregation, plant defence to herbivory and resistance to drought, among other important processes. Through these mechanisms, they influence plant diversity, multiple ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling or biomass production, and likely modulate ecosystem responses to aridity and grazing pressure, which are forecasted to increase in drylands under global environmental change. Mycorrhizal effects depend on environmental conditions and species traits determining the efficiency of the resource exchange between plants and fungi. However, to date little is known about the contribution of mycorrhizal fungi to the diversity and functioning of drylands or to the capacity of drylands to provide multiple functions simultaneously (i.e. multifunctionality). We also do not know how the contribution of mycorrhizal fungi to dryland multifunctionality might change under forecasted global environmental change or depending on the resource economy of the plant community. The MYFUN project aims to fill these gaps in knowledge by assessing the contribution of mycorrhizal fungi to dryland multifunctionality in response to environmental stress (increased aridity, grazing pressure) and plant resource economy.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 888415
    Overall Budget: 172,932 EURFunder Contribution: 172,932 EUR
    Partners: UA

    Desalinization has become an important water management activity, Especially in countries along the Mediterranean Seashore. Desalination produces a discard of brines which are directly discharged to the subtidal; these can cause detrimental effects on coastal communities, most of which are nurtured by seagrass meadows. Posidonia oceanica is a protected seagrass, base of the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems along the Mediterranean coast. Our project aims to assess the effects of brines on the stress metabolism of P. oceanica through laboratory- and field-based experiments. We aim to provide insights of tolerance mechanisms through observations on antioxidant metabolism, osmotic regulation and the whole transcriptome; this will be contrasted with observations on the physiology and primary metabolism. Laboratory experiments can provide valuable information on specific metabolic features but do not necessarily represent responses at the natural, more complex, environment; in contrast, field observations denote responses under realistic conditions but lack information that can be attributed to specific stressors. In this context, the latter will provide valuable information on mechanisms to thrive under hypersalinity and contribute to study biomarkers that could act as environmental biotechnology tools to follow the extent of brine impacts. The research will be led Dr. Claudio Sáez, experienced researcher in the field of biochemical and molecular stress metabolism. Groups of Prof. José Luis Sánchez-Lizaso at Universidad de Alicante (beneficiary) and Dr. Juan Manuel Ruiz at the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (secondment), in addition to the Spanish Association of Desalination and Reuse (industry link) through Dr. Domingo Zarzo, will support the researcher to develop this interdisciplinary project that merges the expertise of highly achieved scientists in the areas of ecology, physiology, biochemistry, transcriptomics and innovation.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 948829
    Overall Budget: 1,536,180 EURFunder Contribution: 1,536,180 EUR
    Partners: UA

    Turning valuable though outcasted lignocellulosic biomass, such as forestry and agricultural waste, into commodity chemicals by using renewable energies is key to disrupt our ongoing dependence on oil refineries and fossil fuels and to stimulate the growth of a sustainable industry. The lack of effective valorization strategies to mine the valuable chemicals locked into lignin, one of the major components of this biomass, is holding back this transition. Using sunlight to drive this valorization is key to embrace sustainability. In this sense, photocatalysis is the prevalent strategy when targeting the upscaling of solar-driven chemistry. The realization of this concept has been prevented by huge fundamental and technical hurdles, viz. the lack of knowledge on the redox processes involved in the valorization, on specific catalysts and on the optimum systems for light harnessing and utilization. The RELICS will deploy an interdisciplinary approach of materials’ synthesis, interfacial engineering and operando characterization to pioneer new selective catalysts with specific end-products and tailor-made photocatalysts (PCs). Our definitive goal of demonstrating a photocatalytic machinery with programmed selectivity and breakthrough yields of lignin conversion will be enabled through advancing the project’s core objectives: (1) the rational design of electrocatalysts for the selective production of phenolic aldehydes or ketones, guided by (2) a profound understanding of the reaction mechanism and (3) the fabrication of multijunction PCs with intentionally-defined selectivity and enhanced photogenerated carrier utilization. The use of (photo)electrochemical model systems will support project progress by accelerating materials’ optimization and providing a reliable platform for the operando analysis of the reactive interface. All in all, the scientific outcomes of RELICS will positively impact the fields of organic electrosynthesis and solar energy conversion.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 656370
    Overall Budget: 170,122 EURFunder Contribution: 170,122 EUR
    Partners: UA

    In the last decades, X-ray astronomy provided a wealth of information on the neutron star thermal history, surface temperature distribution, surface magnetic field strength, outburst and flaring activity. It has been recently shown, that many of these different observational properties are deeply influenced by the evolution of the magnetic field and temperature in the neutron star interior. Our understanding of the magnetic field evolution is however still incomplete, as these 2D numerical simulations completely neglect the field evolution in the core. This project will study the magneto-thermal evolution of neutron stars with magnetic fields treading both the core and the crust, incorporating in a consistent way the effects of ambipolar diffusion and superfluidity/superconductivity. This research will explore also models where superconductivity is limited in shells, which are confined in the outer core. They are expected when the core's magnetic field is so strong, above 10^{16} Gauss, to destroy superconductivity. The magneto-thermal evolution will be studied by using 2D numerical simulations, which solve simultaneously the induction equation and the heat transfer equation. The complex magnetic field which results from the magneto-thermal evolution may describe the configuration expected in a flaring magnetar, where quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) have been observed. This project will study the QPOs of these complex magnetic field configurations, by using perturbation methods. We will develop a computational framework to determine the properties of seismic vibrations on magnetar's models with any magnetic field topology. The results of this research project and the combined information available from thermal history and magnetar QPOs will be used to determine, by using independent astrophysical observations and dynamical processes, the physical properties of highly magnetized neutron stars as well as to shed light into the equation of state of dense matter.