Award-Winning Visions

While you can read the formal descriptions about the projects that each winner of the 2005 EURYI Awards will be embarking upon during the next few years, what about some of real benefits that may result from their research? What obstacles might our young researchers have to overcome to achieve their goals? And what impact may such projects have on the development of science in Europe?

We asked the winners such questions. Here’s what some of them have to say:

Q1: What are some of the benefits that you believe will result from your research?

"The research proposed here will lead to the identification of critical proteins involved in synaptic transmission and plasticity and will increase our insights into the molecular mechanisms of memory formation in the brain. Such knowledge will be relevant for the understanding of many neurological diseases that show synaptic dysfunction or trafficking defects." Casper Hoogenraad (Netherlands) - Regulation of glutamate receptors during plasticity and learning.

"Myopia and presbyopia are among the most frequent ocular conditions, affecting 40% of the population and 100% of the aging population respectively. Investigating the physical and optical changes involved in their development is important to understanding their causes and improving their methods of correction." Susana Marcos Celestino (Spain) - Physical and technological approaches to the understanding and correction of myopia and presbyopia.

"The potential benefit to science is an understanding of how supernovae influence the evolution of the Universe. In particular this will help us understand the origin of the chemical elements, the nature of the Universe’s most energetic explosions, and has the potential to help understand how black holes form in supernovae explosions." Stephen Smartt (UK) - Understanding the lives of massive stars from birth to supernovae.

Q2: Are there any major obstacles you think you’ll have to overcome in order to realise your goals?

"The main obstacle to research in Europe is limited funding available. This is particularly true for large and complex epidemiological projects like mine which involve data collection on many individuals. The funding from EURYI will finance the data collection but I still need to find funding to build a research group (technicians, statisticians, project managers, post-doctoral positions) in order to function." Archana Singh-Manoux (France) - Determinants of health inequalities in ageing populations: evidence from the French Gazel and British Whitehall II cohort studies.

"The degree of success of this project depends partially on the possibilities and developments of emerging state-of-the-art technologies for mutation discovery, SNP typing and massively parallel sequencing. Although we have pioneered various novel technologies in the past, we do depend on close collaborations with the companies that are developing such technology." Edwin Cuppen (Netherlands) - Exploiting natural and induced genetic variation in the laboratory rat.

"The greatest obstacle will be translating the observations we make to the clinic. We are confident of our ability to discover important points of immune regulation; but it will be a challenge - as it is for any medically oriented research lab - to identify funding, regulatory expertise and support for the execution of human trials to test our ideas in humans." Matthew Albert (France) - Investigation and experimentation to better understand apoptotic cell death and immunity.

Q3: How do you see your project contributing to the overall development of science in Europe?

"The project is expected to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary nanoscience in Europe though collaborations with leading research laboratories in Germany, Denmark and the UK with whom I have already established contact. Several research students and postdoctoral researchers will be trained in chemical nanoscience to high standards during this project. The project is also expected to contribute to strengthening interactions between the European academic community and industry." Andrei Khlobystov (UK) - Non-covalent assembly of functional nanostructures.

"I hope this project can contribute to establishing computer simulations as a wide-ranging and versatile tool to assist research in all scientific disciplines, and to show that developing and incorporating relatively sophisticated mathematics is a key ingredient in this trend." Snorre Christiansen (Norway) - Numerical analysis and simulation of geometric wave equations.

"My laboratory will, hopefully, become one of the leading labs in Europe where basic neuroscience questions with great relevance to brain disorders will be investigated with state of the art multidisciplinary approaches." Zoltan Nusser ( Hungary) - Sensory information processing: understanding the neuronal representation of odours.


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