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Thursday, 10 December 2015

ICN2 participates in an European COST network on autophagy

The UAB will head the European Network TRANSAUTOPHAGY. The project seeks to achieve biomedical advances in prevention, diagnosis and therapy for several pathologies, as well as improvements in food and alternative sources of clean energy. Led from the UAB's Institute of Neuroscience this network includes members from the ICN2 Functional Nanostructured Materials Group.

The EU's COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) networks seek to set up international research networks based on nationally funded projects, with a duration of four years. Lecturer and researcher Caty Casas Louzao, of the research group on Neuroplasticity and Regeneration at the UAB's Institute of Neuroscience (INc), will lead the European Autophagy Research and Knowledge-Transfer Network TRANSAUTOPHAGY.

This consortium will seek to promote collaboration and exchange of knowledge between companies, researchers in several disciplines (nanoscience, bioinformatics, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine), and other stakeholders. It will also count on the support of other members, such as Fernando Novio, CSIC Postdoctoral Researcher at the Functional Nanostructured Materials Group of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2).

Autophagy is an essential mechanism for the maintenance of homeostasis in cells and in whole organisms. It controls the balance of nutrients and eliminates damaged or superfluous elements inside the cell, damaged proteins and even whole invading microorganisms. In healthcare it is of great therapeutic importance, potentially capable of combating cancer, lupus erythematosus and neurodegeneration, among others. It has also shown itself to be a key element in the fight against tissue ageing, in the optimisation of agricultural production and for using microalgae as alternative sources of energy.

The TRANSAUTOPHAGY network will promote collaborative multidisciplinary research and forge ties between the various participants, including companies such as Anaxomics, Prous Institut, and Vivia Biotech. The network will emphasise open innovation as a tool for finding creative solutions to problems: offering opportunities to young researchers and furthering gender equality. The main objective of the consortium is to translate the knowledge generated into products and processes that can be used in biomedicine and biotechnology.

For further information: UAB Website