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University of Groningen

University of Groningen

585 Projects, page 1 of 117
  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 251951
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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 895210
    Overall Budget: 187,572 EURFunder Contribution: 187,572 EUR

    African trypanosomiasis has been a historic scourge on the African continent and one of the major causes of poverty. It is responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and it avoids the development of agriculture based on domesticated animals where it causes Nagana. It is a neglected disease with the worst drug control according to WHO. In this project, I propose a conceptual change in the therapeutic approach against Trypanosoma sp., being the goal of the proposal to eliminate the parasite in its vector, the tsetse fly, thus fighting both, sleeping sickness and Nagana. Taking advantage of the current methodological advances, the claim of this innovative proposal is the design of a new expression system to reduce or eliminate the vector competence, using for it one of the endosymbionts of the fly, Sodalis sp. The development of this idea involves a work of entomology, microbiology, parasitology and molecular biology. For this study, 2 research groups with solid and complementary expertise and skills are required: The French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (France) and the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). The methodology implemented in this project will be: (i) characterization of proteins secretion pathways in Sodalis for heterologous expression of peptides, (ii) identification of promoters overexpressed in Sodalis upon interaction with Trypanosoma, and their characterization by fusion to fluorescent proteins, iii) paratransgenesis assays in flies and evaluation of the in vivo activity in infected and non-infected flies, stability across time and inherency to progeny, iv) analysis of the vector competence, using the new expression system by the production of antimicrobial peptides active against Trypanosoma, production of insecticidal peptides to kill the flies infected and RNA interference with the fly/symbionts. Blocking parasite transmission, we will contribute to drastically reduce the impact of trypanosome on African health.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 745805
    Overall Budget: 165,599 EURFunder Contribution: 165,599 EUR

    This research project aims to address one of the Grand Challenges in contemporary science: the de-novo synthesis of life. More specifically we aim to achieve, for the first time, Darwinian evolution in a system of fully synthetic molecules. This ambitious aim may be reached by combining the expertise of the experienced researcher on out-of-equilibrium systems with the expertise of the host lab on self-replicating molecules. This combination will enable replication to be operated out of equilibrium. The central idea is to run the self-replicating molecules in a regime where replication and replicator “death” are competing processes. Replicators only survive as long as they replicate faster than they are destroyed. The simplest implementation of such regime is a flow system in which replicator building blocks are continuously flown in, while outflow of part of the replicator solution constitutes replicator “death” through a process of (non-selective) physical removal. In addition to replication, two more ingredients are required for Darwinian evolution: mutation and selection of the mutants that are best adapted to their environment. To realise those elements, we will create a mixture of replicator mutants by offering a mixture of different building blocks. Alteration of fitness parameters (by altering the environment) should shift the mutant distribution towards the replicators that are best adapted to the new environment. Environmental parameters that will be explored include flow systems with thermal gradients (selectively trapping replicators that assemble into long fibers) and co-solvents and salts (affecting the supramolecular interactions that hold the replicator assemblies together).

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 620264
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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 227897
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