EXPRO projects

EXPRO grants provide funding to excellent scientists and their teams for five years. During this period they are able to draw up to 50 million CZK, i.e. an average of CZK ten million per year. The projects with the greatest potential to be part of a breakthrough in their fieldare selected for funding by international panels. One of the requirements for a successfully completed project is the submission of a project proposal to the European Research Council (ERC). Only a few EXPRO projects are funded each year.

EXPRO 2021

Abstract

Expertise shapes modern forms of governance. Yet, we know significantly more about the postwar Western expertise than we know about the other side of the Iron Curtain. I will put expertise center stage and analyze socialist countries. Focusing on health and normalcy as discussed by the human sciences, I will study the negotiation of knowledge, analyzing how experts communicated with: other experts, the state and ordinary people in four neighboring countries: Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and East Germany. While these countries shared the socialist path, they diverged in expertise institutionalization. My research stems from a post-totalitarian paradigm that refuses to perceive the state-socialist past as a monolith. Further, in contrast to prevailing views that communist ideology commanded human scientists and tainted their findings, my hypothesis is that it was expertise that shaped the ideas of health and normalcy that socialist governments subsequently implemented. Making this “expert turn” will bring a novel understanding of governance in modern, yet authoritarian societies.

Aims

Explain the character of governance through human-science expertise during state socialism in East-Central Europe. Analyze the role expertise played and the ways it intersected with the Party and the state. Comparatively analyze East-Central Europe focusing on transnational expert exchanges.

Abstract

ADAR1 RNA editing in dsRNA inhibits activation of innate immune responses. We rescued Adar mutant mouse embryonic lethality in Adar1; Mavs double mutants that prevent the antiviral response. These mice die soon after birth and we will test whether removing the dsRNAactivated Protein Kinase R completes the rescue. ADAR2 RNA editing changes specific codons in neuronal transcripts. Human ADAR2 mutations cause infant epilepsy. We will use cell lines to investigate the molecular mechanisms. We will study changes in the glutamate receptors of Adar2 mutant mice that develop seizures. We will study changes in Adar2 as seizures progress in a similar Gria2 mutant seizure model. Drosophila Adar mutant brain defects are rescued by human ADAR2. There is also an innate immune induction in Adar mutant brains, paralleling the mouse Adar1 mutant. We will prevent the Adar mutant antiviral response in order to study how the Adar mutant affects circadian rhythms, sleep and other behaviors through editing of specific CNS transcripts. We plan bioinformatics projects across all ADAR RNA editing models.

Aims

“1. Study ADAR1 mutations and try to rescue Adar1, Mavs mice by PKR knockout.
2. Investigate ADAR2 mutations and study seizures in Adar2 and Gria2 mutant mice.
3. Elucidate how editing of Drosophila transcripts contribute to Adar mutant defects in circadian rhythms, sleep and other behaviors.”

Abstract

The project aims at developing new concepts centered around electron interactions with liquid microjets. First, liquid microjets are a unique environment for spectroscopic techniques requiring vacuum. It is proposed in the present project to probe the liquid systems by the electron energy loss spectroscopy. The new technique will bring information that is otherwise inaccessible by optical or photoelectron spectroscopies, e.g., on optically dark states. Second, a liquid microjet will serve as an unusual reactor, exploring the reactivity of the dark states and exploring the electron-induced reactivity in the liquid phase in general. The project will be performed in a close synergy of experiment and theory, introducing novel approaches in both areas. The experimental and theoretical toolbox will allow us to explore the spectroscopy and reactivity of interfaces that play a role in atmospheric chemistry and in radiation chemistry. We also plan to explore electron analogs to photochemistry and photocatalysis, which may lead to new efficient ways how to trigger the chemical transformation.

Aims

“1) To develop novel concepts for the use of electrons in spectroscopy of liquids
2)To use this concepts for probing interfacial phenomena
3)To explore electron-induced reactivity in liquids by using liquid microjet technique”

Abstract

The theory of graph limits is one of the most important recently emerged tools of discrete mathematics. It has led to breakthrough solutions of many old problems in extremal graph theory, theory of random graphs and in particular in connecting discrete mathematics to fields such as probability, real anf functional analysis and group theory. In the project, we will study the foundations of the limit theory of graphs, graph norms, and connections to mathematical models of statistical physics.

Aims

“1) introduction of a weak-star approach to hypegraph limits
2)graph, hypergraph and arithmetic norms
3) mathematical models of statistical physics in the context of dense graph limits
4) random processes connected with graph limits
5) limits of sparse graphs (local-global convergence, factors of iid)”

Abstract

DNA replication is an essential and one of the most complex processes in the cell. Not only exogenous DNA damage but also intrinsic DNA structures including G-quadruplexes (G4) and R-loops, their stabilization or unscheduled formation represent major replication obstacles with possible detrimental effects on genome integrity. Not surprisingly, those processes are pharmacologically targeted in anticancer therapy, despite the fact that only little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. It becomes apparent that maintenance of processive DNA replication requires sophisticated protein networks beyond the core replisome. Whether there is a direct crosstalk between G4 and R-loops, what proteins are involved in their homeostasis and what are the factors diversifying between their beneficial and pathological roles is not well understood. The goals of our research are to identify proteins associated with G4 and R-loop structures and understand their roles in G4/R-loop formation and resolution as well as relationship to replication fork progression and associated repair.

Aims

Identify proteins contributing to the formation and processing of G-quadruplexes and R-loops, and by combining biochemical, biophysical and cell biological methods, characterize their role in the metabolism of these DNA structures and their physiological relationship to replication progression.

Abstract

The project is focused on social and ethnic groups building, social structure and behaviour, variation in the nature of leadership and on the collective–autocratic variability of governance in Early Mediaeval Central Europe. The paradigm shift to collective action theory allow us to explain diversity and changes in the early medieval society and integrate the data from Central Europe into the new stream of global comparative research into premodern state formations. The key variable for understanding such social processes will be the scale and the nature of socioeconomic networks–e.g. kinship or the interplay between the powerful and the disempowered. The basis of the project is the comprehensive analysis of early medieval settlements and burial grounds in Moravia (Czech Republic). The archaeological and anthropological research will be enriched with new interdisciplinary approaches, such as archeogenetics as well as digital morphometry.

Aims

The main objective of the project is to investigate the formation and dynamics of the early medieval polity and population in Central Europe over an extended period (from the 6th to 10th centuries AD) as well as empirical and theoretical shift in early medieval archaeology and anthropology.

Abstract

At a time when society is saturated with competing information, increasing demands are placed on children’s ability to perform motor and cognitive tasks at the same time (dual tasking). Our project will be the first to study the development of dual-tasking in children with and without motor difficulties from an ecological framework and using a longitudinal approach. We will test the novel causal hypothesis that (cognitive-motor) dual-task performance is explained by agerelated changes in predictive motor control and its integration with cognitive control. We will examine performance in a range of movement contexts that are representative of everyday life—when walking and stepping over obstacles, when performing manual actions, and when both actions are combined. This will enable us to understand how individual, task-related and environmental factors interact to influence dual-task performance, and how this interaction changes with age and experience. Results will directly benefit the design of safe and efficient learning environments for children

Aims

The broad aim of the project is map the development of dual-tasking in children from an ecological perspective (Wilson et al., 2017) and using a longitudinal approach. We will use this knowledge to design and test an intervention that will improve dual-task performance in children

Abstract

The Lambda Cold Dark Matter model has been shown to be remarkably successful in describing many aspects of our Universe, which is dominated by dark energy and dark matter. However, the physical processes associated with the evolution of the baryonic matter are complex and still poorly understood. In the course of structure formation, only a small fraction of the baryons turned into stars – most remain in a diffuse intergalactic medium (IGM). The growth of galaxies is regulated by feedback processes, such as energy and momentum input from supernovae, and jets and winds of accreting supermassive black holes. These processes, collectively called galactic feedback, can limit or even inhibit further gravitational collapse, and thus a detailed knowledge of how they work is essential for our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. Here, I propose to take advantage of new observational opportunities to study the intimate connection between the IGM, star formation and the growth of supermassive black holes in groups, clusters, and massive galaxies.

Aims

“1) determine the role of the hot galactic atmospheres and accreting supermassive black holes in galaxy evolution
2) determine the physics of the hot intergalactic plasma by using multi-wavelength SZ, radio and X-ray observations, and by using new high resolution X-ray spectra”

Abstract

Photons and atoms are in the core of quantum physics and technology. They can be used to demonstrate a variety of quantum phenomena in the continuous-variable regime, and exhibit high potential for quantum sensing, communication, simulation and computing. However, many experiments only exploit the coherences provided by Gaussian states of light and atoms. Devising reliable and feasible generation and detection schemes for quantum non-Gaussian coherence in Fock-state superpositions remains however challenging, and as yet entirely unexplored. On top of this, we lack criteria capable of certifying quantum non-Gaussian coherences. This urges us to push in this research direction, the lack of which might severely hinder the development of quantum technologies relying on such continuous-variable systems. The project will clear this roadblock by providing conclusive criteria to detect quantum nonGaussian coherences, developing experimental platforms to test such criteria with photonic and atomic systems, and proposing applications allowed by these new quantum resources.

Aims

The project will deliver new theoretical methods and experimental verifications of the first conclusive observation of quantum non-Gaussian coherences of light and atoms necessary for many proof-of-principle tests and applications in quantum physics and technology with continuous variables.

Abstract

Historically, even little progress in magnetic resonance have dramatically extended the field of its applications. Especially, this includes the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in hospitals. Based on my recent developments in frequency rapid scan electron spin resonance (ESR) (ERC, GA714850), I intend to provide a working prototype of a combined high-field ESR /NMR system operating at the magnetic field of 11.75 T, which causes ESR and proton NMR at frequencies of 329 GHz and 500 MHz, respectively. The ESR/NMR concept will allow us to perform liquid state NMR hyperpolarization experiments (DNP) for such a desirable enhancement of inherently weak NMR signals, which limits progress in many today relevant biological studies. This will significantly increase the knowledge of complex systems, including the structure and dynamics of large biomolecules. The proposed system design can be easily modified to adjust to any high magnetic field NMR spectrometers. This will increase the functionality of the existing widespread NMR spectrometers, allowing more efficient use of resources.

Aims

“1. develop an ESR/NMR system for NMR spectrometers
2. provide theoretical studies of frequency rapid scan ESR
3. investigate electron dynamics directly in NMR systems
4. perform liquid state DNP at 500 MHz on real life samples
5. dissemination and steps towards commercialization”

Abstract

The project will study the environment in the closest vicinity of accreting black holes in Galactic X-ray binaries. While the black hole form their fundamental element, these systems typically consist of two additional main constituents – an accretion disk and a corona. With the help of the most up-to-date methods in X-ray polarimetry and variability research, including traditional approach of spectroscopy, we will study these components and their mutual physical interactions in X-ray band. To this aim we will develop new numerical models that will link all the acting components together as a whole. In this project a compact team will be created, consisting of Czech scientists who actively participate on preparations of new X-ray polarimetric missions IXPE (NASA, 2021) and eXTP (China- Europe, 2027), including European large observatory Athena (ESA, 2031), and in this way the project will support Czech participation in the scientific programme of these space missions.

Aims

We will develop new relativistic models to compute polarimetric, timing and spectral properties of emission from black hole accretion disk and its corona, and we will use them to interpret data acquired with the new mission IXPE and for scientific preparations of planned missions eXTP and Athena

Abstract

Structure analysis of molecular crystals is an important and powerful tool in many fields of chemistry and structural biology. Its power is, however, limited, if only nano- or microcrystals of the studied materials are available. The best method to study structures of such materials is electron diffraction. However, even this method suffers from a number of limitations, like the low accuracy of lattice parameters, difficulties with accuracy of structure models or inability to reliably determine the absolute structure of chiral compounds. These limitations severely restrict its applicability to many interesting scientific problems and consequently the general ability of scientists to understand molecular structures. The proposed project aims at removing these limitations. We will develop a set of protocols, methods and programs with the ambition to set new standards in the field and to make electron crystallography of molecular crystals a fully developed and generally accepted method of first choice for analysis of nano- and microcrystalline molecular materials.

Aims

The project aims to remove significant limitations in electron crystallography that severely restrict its potential in the structure analysis of molecular nanocrystals and thus its applicability to a variety of scientific problems, with the ambition of setting new standards in the field.

Abstract

Mitochondria move from donor cells (mesenchymal stem cells, MSCs) to cancer cells with dysfunctional mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) via tunnelling nanotubes (TNTs) with major role of the adaptor protein Miro1. Recruitment of MSCs to the site of pre-tumour plaque is driven by cytokines secreted by cancer cells with dysfunctional mitochondria. The result of mitochondrial repopulation is recovery of respiration needed for tumour cell proliferation, with respiration dependent on dihydroorotate dehydrogenase essential for de novo pyrimidine synthesis. We also propose that in case of low level of damage, the mtDNA repair system can ‘fix’ mitochondrial genome to promote tumour formation. We will define a novel, underexploited target for tumour therapy that can be used also in case of hard-to-treat tumours/resistant tumours.

Aims

Recruitment of donor cells to tumour stroma Molecular mechanism of intercellular movement of mitochondria Functional impact of horizontal transfer of mitochondria (HTM) The role of mitochondrial DNA repair in HTM Clinical relevance of HTM including hard-to-treat and resistant cancers

Abstract

Current top performance alloys still show a considerable potential to improve their properties. The project deals with two kinds of materials: (i) new-designed low alloyed martensitic steels with the goal to increase their ductility at room temperature while keeping their top strength and (ii) new-generation oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) Fe-Al based alloys with the goal to increase their creep strength at 1100-1300 °C by tuning the grain morphology. The increase in ductility of the martensitic steels with a special chemical composition should be achieved by controlled heat treatment which allows tuning the morphology of strengthening C-based nanoclusters in martensite. Such a nanostructure can effectively block dislocation motion and activate deformation in nano-twining modes without formation of stress concentration initiating the fracture process. The optimal grain morphology of new-generation ODS alloys will be achieved by hot consolidation of ODS powders by rotary swaging (this method has never been used before) followed by annealing to provoke secondary recrystallization.

Aims

“1. To optimize mechanical properties of low alloyed martensitic steels strengthened by nanoclusters with respect to chemical composition and heat treatment.
2. To increase creep strength of new-generation oxidation dispersion strengthened Fe-Al based alloys by optimizing their grain morphology.”

Abstract

This project aims to embrace a major question in ecological and evolutionary research – how coevolutionary processes and ecological interactions shape biodiversity at local and global scales. We will use brood parasitism, a unique study system in which interacting partners are readily identified and will take advantage of species that are highly amendable to laboratory and field studies. Using two understudied fish systems (cuckoo catfish and bitterling), we will employ comparative and experimental approaches to understand how coevolution drives and constrains diversification. This project will identify the conditions for the origin and evolution of host specificity, how it is maintained and constrained, and how it contributes to biological diversification. Field and lab studies will be combined with population genetics, phylogenetics and mathematical modelling. This project will contribute to resolving a central question about coevolution; how and why do some parasites become host specialists and its consequences for ecological speciation.

Aims

“1. Identify the origin and early evolution of host specificity.
2. Quantify large-scale patterns of host specificity and their association with parasite traits and diversification.
3. Measure the constraints and benefits of host specificity.”

EXPRO 2020

Abstract

Abstract convergence schemes are basic category-theoretic structures which serve as universes for studying infinite evolution-like processes and their limiting behavior. Convergence schemes endowed with extra structures provide an applicable framework for studying both discrete and continuous processes as well as their random variants. The main goal of the project is unifying and extending several concepts from model theory, algebra, topology and analysis, related to generic structures. We propose studying selected topics within the framework of abstract convergence schemes, addressing questions on their complexity and classification. One of our inspirations is the theory of universal homogeneous models, where convergence of finite structures is involved. Another motivation is set-theoretic forcing, where a convergence scheme is simply a partially ordered set of approximations of some “unreachable” objects, living outside of the universe of set theory.

Aims

Our goal is to study the complexity of convergence schemes and their limits. Sequences (viewed as evolutions) with the absorption property lead to so-called generic objects. One of our objectives is to extend this study in several directions.

Abstract

String field theory has developed over the recent years into a potentially very useful tool for tackling some of the profound issues in string theory, namely how to connect classical open or closed string backgrounds via tachyon condensation and/or deduce the existence and study properties of new ones. It is also a longstanding idea that string theory possesses a huge underlying higher spin gauge symmetry which should become manifest in the tensionless limit of the theory, and recently impressive progress has been made in this direction. The structure of string field theory is expected to become especially simple and transparent in this limit, since all the fields should organize themselves into multiplets and gauge invariance strongly constrains the allowed interactions. In this project we will construct and explore the string field theory describing tensionless strings in Anti-de-Sitter backgrounds with the help of holographic duality.

Aims

“1) uncover new consistent open and closed string theory backgrounds, work out their properties and understand relations among them
2) develop string field theory for the tensionless string, elucidate the underlying gauge principle, and shed light on the holographic nature of quantum gravity”

Abstract

As robots are leaving safety fences and starting to share workspaces and even living spaces with humans, they need to dynamically adapt to unpredictable interactions with people and guarantee safety at every moment. The rapidly growing market of collaborative robots ensures safety through specific technologies such as force limitations by design or contact detection and stopping relying on force measurements. Humans, however, possess whole-body awareness drawing on dynamic, context-dependent fusion of multimodal sensory information, which makes them adaptive, flexible, and versatile. The first goal of this project is thus to better understand the mechanisms of body and peripersonal space representations in the brain by building embodied computational models using humanoid robots. The modeling endeavor will inform the main goal of the project – designing new perception modules and robot controllers for humanrobot interaction – and also provide a proxy for what humans expect from a robot collaborator.

Aims

“1) Embodied computational models of body and peripersonal space representation
2) Computationally optimal and transparent representations of peripersonal space
3) Collaborative workspace representation and control framework for safe physical HRI complying with safety standards”

Abstract

Understanding how life works on the cellular and molecular level is a major challenge for modern science with potential significant implications for the development of new drugs and diagnostic and treatment modalities. Therefore, the development of methods that will enable investigation of cellular processes presents an important research goal. The aim of the proposed project is to develop a new generation of label-free biophotonic tools that will enable investigation of cellular processes, especially cell secretion and interactions of cells with biomolecules, with an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. These new tools will combine advances in photonic and plasmonic nanostructures, plasmonic imaging and microscopy, and micro/nano-fluidics. Although the tools that will be developed in the project can be applied to a broad range of cellular processes, in this project, we plan to use them to investigate cellular processes related to a group of serious onco-hematological diseases – myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia.

Aims

The main goal of the project is to advance science in the field of biophotonics, and to develop a new generation of biophotonic tools based on plasmonic imaging and microscopy, which will allow for real-time and label-free investigation of cellular processes.

Abstract

Ferroelectricity is an ability of certain materials to adopt spontaneous switchable electric polarization. While the bulk aspects of ferroelectricity are reasonably well-understood, there is very little direct evidence on how it manifests at surfaces. Ferroelectricity offers many opportunities for efficient generation of renewable fuels: It can aid electron-hole separation in photocatalysis, it can tune the reactivity and catalytic activity of materials surfaces, or, cycling through the ferroelectric phase transition can power redox reactions and generate fuels. The major issue is that ferroelectrics are mostly insulating ternary compounds and their surfaces are extremely difficult to study. I have recently solved the main impediment by preparing bulk-terminated surfaces of several relevant materials (KTaO3 and SrTiO3) and analysing them at the atomic level, using non-contact atomic force microscopy. This project will focus on fundamental aspects of using ferroelectricity and incipient-ferroelectricity in surface chemistry and fuel production.

Aims

Understand how ferroelectric polarization promotes the separation of photoexcited charge carriers and photocatalytic performance. Understand how the ferroelectric phase transition affects the surface, and use the transition for fuel generation. Use ferroelectricity for tuning co-catalyst performance

Abstract

The interdisciplinary project analyses and compares transformation processes in modern European societies on the example of two non-central regions of the Habsburg Monarchy: Bohemia and Transylvania. It shows how social mobility, education, family and other ties of elite social groups contribute to de/stabilizing of the society as a whole. Research is conducted on two groups of members of the decision-making strata: higher-ranking state officials and deputies of the land diets, the Imperial Council in Vienna and the Hungarian Parliament. In an imaginative way, the project combines methods from both humanities and nature sciences. Its main goal is to investigate factors which had a significant impact on whether an individual would become member of the above mentioned elite groups, to clarify the process of circulation of elites and the transition of imperial experience and structures into the newly created succession states. It shows links between career of an individual and his family ties and sheds light on demographic factors influencing the modern European family.

Aims

The aim of project is to analyse factors which influenced social mobility and determined membership of decision-making strata in 1861-1926 and discuss whether there is transition of imperial experience and structures to the newly created nation states.

Abstract

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop unconventional tools in spectral theory in order to tackle various newly born, or more classical but recently revived, open problems in mathematics and physics. Among the variety of problems, I intend to particularly consider hot open questions in: spectral geometry of optimal shapes and eigenfunction properties; mathematical models of modern nanostructures, graphene and metamaterials; new concepts in quantum mechanics with non-self-adjoint operators, Schrödinger and Dirac operators with complex potentials, damped wave systems, non-standard stochastic processes and asymptotic distribution of eigenvalues of structured matrices. These apparently unrelated problems are in fact interlinked and a cross-fertilisation of ideas and techniques will constitute an important part of the project. As examples of the synergy, I propose to develop the method of multipliers to become a standard tool in spectral theory of differential operators with complex coefficients and explain the cloaking effect in metamaterials by operator-theoretic methods.

Aims

To develop unconventional tools in spectral theory in order to tackle hot open problems in mathematics and physics. To cross-fertilise various ideas and techniques from apparently unrelated branches of mathematics and physics, which are actually interlinked by spectral theory.

Abstract

The project aims at developing and empirically verifying symbolic, formally defined, “universal” (in the multilingual sense) representation of textual communication, at the document (text) level. The project will build on the principles of the successful Universal Dependencies (UD) project in terms of methodology and scientific principles, but it will extend the current UD representation beyond morphology and syntax. The areas to be specified cover compositional and lexical semantics, discourse and information structure (including co-reference). Starting with existing semantic representations covering the above aspects, the new specification will be verified on real texts by (human) expert annotation and selected properties will also be confirmed by human-subject experiments. The resulting representations will be used for building ANN models by Deep Learning methods with properly analyzed results. All output (data, publications) will be published in Open Access mode using existing relevant Research Infrastructures and their repositories.

Aims

The goal is to publish fundamental research results (and open data) into natural language understanding, using empirically verified universal/multilingual symbolic and distributional representations of textual communication, and to formulate new fundamental research questions based on such findings.

Abstract

We aim to design, synthetize and characterize 1D molecular chains on surfaces with the unique material properties. First, we will investigate organometallic polymers exploring their magnetic ordering and possibility to control redox states within the chain. Second, we will investigate a possibility to close the band gap of pi-conjugated polymers by proximity of the topological phase transition. In principle, this strategy should allow to overcome the problem of the Peirels transition (the dimerization) to form purely metallic pi-conjugated polymers. We will employ onsurface chemistry under UHV conditions to synthetize molecular chains of desired properties with lengths of tenth to hundreds of nanometers. Their chemical structure will be analyzed by the high-resolution scanning probe microscopy with functionalized probes providing the unprecedented spatial resolution. The scanning probe measurements will be complemented by other surface science techniques (electron diffraction and photoemission) and corroborated by theoretical analysis mainly based on density functional theory.

Aims

Goal of this project is to design, synthetize and characterize new 1D molecular chains on surfaces with the unique material properties and to explore their electronic and magnetic properties and investigating possibility to control charge states within chains.

Abstract

Freshwater habitats are critical for all terrestrial life, yet the vast majority of their microbial inhabitants (pro- and eukaryotes) remain enigmatic, outside the bounds of cultivation. The recent development of novel cultivation methods, coupled with advances in sequencing now provides an opportunity to finally unravel freshwater microbial diversity. The PELAGICS project plans a coordinated pan-European sampling campaign (70 lakes) with 24 collaborating scientists from 16 European countries. With novel media mimicking natural conditions and semiautomated high-throughput isolation we aim for stable cultivation and whole-genome sequencing of 500 prokaryotes and 50 unicellular eukaryotes. Moreover, terabyte scale deepmetagenomic sequencing (ca. 18 TB) will allow recovery of thousands of metagenomeassembled genomes for pro-, eukaryotes and viruses. This large-scale effort will finally uncover the microbial diversity (pro- and eukaryotes), their natural interactions and ecological roles in aquatic food webs.

Aims

A Pan-European microbial ecology network is proposed to sample 70 lakes towards the goal of stable cultivation, whole-genome sequencing (500 pro- and 50 unicellular eukaryotes) and terabyte-scale deep-metagenomic sequencing to obtain 1000s of genomes of freshwater pro-, eukaryotes and viruses.

Abstract

Most of the processes that are of interest in continuum thermodynamics take place far from equilibrium. These processes frequently give birth to dissipative structures that dominate the dynamical behaviour. The existing mathematical approaches applicable for the description of the dissipative structures however face principal difficulties. Either the physically relevant description is achieved at the price of sacrificing the mathematical rigour, or the existing approaches are fully rigorous, but they are of no physical relevance. Our aim is to overcome this gap. For the physically relevant models we will develop constructive methods for the description of the structures in terms of lower dimensional subsystems. Obstacles such as the lack of regularity of the solution operators will be dealt with the method of trajectories. The project is expected to open entirely new perspectives in the theory of dynamical systems and to considerably expand the understanding of complex behaviour of dynamical systems in continuum thermodynamics.

Aims

The goal of the project is to build the theory for behaviour of infinite-dimensional dynamical systems, which attractor set does not exist a priori. We focus on such systems that are used in continuum thermodynamics and allow the exchange of energy and matter with the surroundings.

Abstract

Variation of biological diversity in space and time is a main topic of ecology. During the last decade, evidence accumulated that diversity dynamics may be equilibrial, i.e. diversity has a tendency to stabilize at regional scales. Understanding the determinants of diversity equilibria and to what extent diversity deviates from equilibria is crucial for understanding future biodiversity changes. Recently, we have proposed a general species-based theory of diversity dynamics that makes predictions concerning the interplay between resource abundance (productivity), environmental stability and species origination rates in determining equilibrium diversity patterns. The aim of the project is to further develop the theory to address spatial dynamics and scale-dependence, to test its individual building blocks and assumptions, and to explore its consequences. We will employ a broad suite of methods, including mathematical analysis, computer simulations, macroecological analysis of large-scale biodiversity data, and analysis of paleontological time series.

Aims

To develop and test, using diverse data sets, the species-based equilibrium theory of biodiversity dynamics which states that macroecological diversity patterns are driven by regionspecific diversity equilibria given by the interplay of resources, environmental fluctuations and origination rates.

Abstract

The goal of the ÅRTdECO is to achieve a connection between intrinsic physics and the chemistry of Å-thin, two-dimensional (2D) crystals, which lay the foundation for groundbreaking concepts in opto-electronics. We formulate platforms that accommodate multiple intrinsic chirality, including geometric and Berry phase-induced chirality, using ultra-clean 2D lattices with chiral selectivity and a dynamic remote control. The valley-selective emissions and superradiance of the 2Ds are manipulated by electrochemical means by controlling carrier concentration. Next, selective interactions between 2D chiral species are managed using magnetic substrates that stabilize chiral chemical analogues of van der Waals heterostructures. Finally, the power of chemical–electrochemical control is released by applying experimental protocols in ultra-high vacuum conditions. The research strategy resonates with the current technology flagships in the European Union. Project outcomes have great potential for exploitation in nanoelectronics, quantum information, and artificial intelligence.

Aims

The project seeks to achieve electrochemical and chiral manipulation of excitons and superradiance in platforms based on ultraclean 2D lattices and chiral molecules to create multiple types of intrinsic chirality, such as geometric and Berry phase-induced chirality.

Abstract

The fifteenth century in Europe is regarded as a period of reform responding to a critical situation in the Church. Reform ideas spread from urbanised Italy (in form of popular piety, religious orders) to other parts of Europe, where they were confronted with similar local efforts. In central European context, this confrontation is best exemplified by John of Capistrano, the Observants and their diffusion in the region on the one hand, and by Jan Hus and the HussiteUtraquist tradition on the other. The project emphasizes the contrasts and parallels between the Catholic reform and that of the nascent stage of the European Reformation. In the Bohemian Lands and surrounding regions such a task needs to start with editions and analyses of unpublished sources. This work provides basis for interpretative studies, which will focus on urban communities and the reception and reflection of reform in local contexts. Based on previously unpublished material, the project will illuminate the manifold, often conflicting developments leading to the early modern division in Western Christendom.

Aims

“The project will:
a) make accessible important texts related to social and religious developments in Italy and Central Europe,
b) evaluate local and central sources of reform,
c) analyse the origins of social acceptance of the reform in the 15th and 16th centuries from a new perspective.”

Abstract

The doctrine of inferentialism, based on the idea that meaningfulness is a matter of rules of inference, was first presented in Robert Brandom`s book “Making it explicit” in 1994. Since then, inferentialists (ourselves included) have further developed the logical and semantic dimensions of this view, making it into one of the most discussed philosophical doctrines of the twenty-first century. However, inferentialism is usually conceived of as a purely philosophical doctrine that provides a new perspective on uniquely human rational and expressive capacities, but which does not intersect with what science tells us about us as (hyper)social creatures with a natural, cultural and developmental history. We find this a missed opportunity and our project aims to bridge this crevasse by drawing on the current scientific research on cooperation, conventions, norms, language and reasoning to explain the ontogeny and phylogeny of the inferential rules that constitute meaning. This project will thereby build a naturalistic foundation for inferentialism.

Aims

The aim of the project is to produce a thoroughly naturalized version of inferentialism, which would result from a confrontation of the ideas tabled by the philosophy of inferentialism with the cutting-edge empirical research on cooperation, conventions, norms, language or reasoning.

Abstract

Juvenile hormone (JH) is a sesquiterpenoid unique and vital to insects, many of which have immense economic (pollinators, pests) and health (disease vectors) impact on humanity. Despite progress incited by our discovery of the intracellular JH receptor (JHR), understanding of JH action remains incomplete. Means of controlling insect development are limited by lack of JHR antagonists or adequately selective agonists. To discover such compounds, we team up with a national infrastructure CZ-OPENSCREEN and utilize JHR to devise cell-based, highthroughput chemical screens. Parallel RNAi screens built on this platform are to identify missing players in JH signaling, such as a hypothetical cell-membrane JH receptor. These systems approaches are complemented by genetics in the Drosophila model and supported by international collaboration with leading experts. Besides fundamental knowledge on the endocrine regulation of development, the project should yield new chemistry for research and for potential use in insect growth regulation. It will also create background for a future ERC proposal.

Aims

Discover chemical antagonists and selective agonists of the juvenile hormone (JH) receptor as new research tools and insect growth regulators. Find unknown genes that effect cell membrane-initiated and nuclear branches of JH signaling during development. Establish grounds for a future ERC project.

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is an ancestral antiviral innate immunity pathway abandoned during vertebrate evolution. The project seeks to understand how RNAi could be restored in vivo without significant negative effects and if augmented RNAi could provide broad antiviral defense. The project stems from ERC project D-FENs and will lay foundations for another ERC project aiming on converting knowledge of canonical RNAi and its constraints into a safe antiviral system deployable into infected cells. The research plan has three parts: 1) Analysis of effects of augmented RNAi in vivo. Using our mouse models, we will a) estimate genetically-induced RNAi pathway activity in different tissues and cell types, b) assess detrimental effects of RNAi in cells, organs and the whole mouse, and c) analyze competition, cooperativity & redundancy between RNAi and mammalian antiviral innate immunity. 2) Mechanistic understanding of RNAi activation. This part will clarifying the molecular mechanism behind the phenomenon of augmented RNAi. 3) Evaluation of strategies for augmenting RNAi for therapeutic use.

Aims

“To understand
1) how RNA interference, an ancestral antiviral innate immunity pathway lost during vertebrate evolution, could be safely restored in mammals in vivo without major negative effects,
2) what’s its functional range for antiviral defense,
3) how could it be used in antiviral therapy.”

Abstract

The project will develop a conceptual framework for risk assessment of chemical mixtures and improve understanding of the cumulative risk from regulated and emerging bioactive chemicals present in surface waters. The methodology will combine innovative methods for exposure characterization using passive sampling, with bioanalytical tools for identifying its potential effects. A newly developed battery of high-throughput bioassays will address crucial mixture effects on endocrine disruption and (neuro)development, and focus also on relevant but little explored mechanisms of action including disruption of thyroid hormone signalling. Combination of high-throughput target and nontarget analyses using advanced high-resolution mass spectrometry together with fractionation and pull-down approaches will enable to characterize complex pollution scenarios and identify responsible effect drivers. The predictability of the bioanalytical responses towards real environmental situation will be assessed by investigation of in situ chemical impacts on exposed fish and invertebrates.

Aims

The project will provide a conceptual framework for risk assessment of complex mixtures of organic chemicals and for the identification of major effect drivers in surface waters by integrating innovative passive sampling, comprehensive instrumental analysis and bioanalytical tools.

Abstract

Porphene, a two-dimensional polymer with fourfold symmetry, has recently been prepared in our laboratory as large (up to 0.1 mm) double sheets by coupling Zn-porphyrin on water surface using a chemical oxidant. Its structure is analogous to that of graphene, but contains fused porphyrin rings instead of benzene rings (from grazing incidence X-ray diffraction). The ability of the porphyrin macrocycle to bind various metal cations carrying two, one, or no additional ligands implies that porphene is not a single polymer but a family of two-dimensional polymers with an identical fully conjugated pi-electron system, yet with tunable properties. We shall investigate the mechanism of porphene formation and try to replace the chemical oxidant with two-dimensional anodic oxidation in an effort to maximize the size of single crystalline domains within the sheets. Thereafter, attention will be paid to exfoliation of the bilayer and determination of fundamental spectroscopic, structural, chemical, electrical, and mechanical properties of porphene bilayers and monolayers.

Aims

Develop a new method of porphene synthesis that promises large single crystalline domains, prepare and characterize it.

Abstract

Telomere biology belongs to hot research topics due to its attractive links to cell ageing and immortality, genome stability, and pathogenesis of severe human diseases including cancer. Our research in plants contributed to this field, among other things, with the observations of: i) reversible regulation of telomerase activity and its coupling with cell proliferation; ii) evolutionary changes in plant telomere DNAs. Mechanisms underlying these phenomena, however, have not been known. The answer is presumably hidden in the most important telomere factor – the telomerase. Recently we identified templating telomerase RNA subunits across land plant phylogeny, which not only explains the observed evolutionary switches between diverse telomere repeats but allows us – in association with known catalytic telomerase subunits and other associated proteins – to address a problem of telomerase biogenesis in plants. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we aim to characterise distinct steps in telomerase assembly, with the focus on the presumed scaffolding role of telomerase RNA in this process.

Aims

“1. To elucidate transcriptional control of genes coding for plant telomerase RNA subunits (TRs).
2. To identify and examine structural motifs in TRs and their functions.
3. To clarify roles of other factors involved in telomerase biogenesis.
4. To characterise a process of evolutionary TR changes.”

Abstract

The project aims at development of chemical and enzymatic synthesis of sequence-specific hyper-functionalized monodispersed polymers based on DNA or RNA scaffold containing all 4 (or even 6) modified bases. We will design and synthesize the nucleos(t)ide monomers, develop the chemical and polymerase synthesis of modified oligonucleotides and libraries of sequences and study their folding and assembly. They will be used for selection of aptamers against selected undruggable proteins. The aptamers will be further optimized and we will study their biological activity.

Aims

“(i) Development of chemical and enzymatic synthesis of hypermodified polymers based on DNA or RNA oligonucleotides with 4 or 6 modified bases, study of folding and assembly.
(ii) Synthesis of libraries of sequences, selection of aptamers against target proteins and study of biological activity.”

Abstract

Proteins are highly evolved natural nanomachines with a great nanotechnological potential. To be employed in nanotechnology to perform various tasks, their function needs to be controlled, what is typically done via chemical modifications. However, such methods are resource demanding and cumbersome. Here we take on a grand challenge of modulating protein function by coupling subTHz pulses to protein subTHz vibration modes, which govern protein function. To that end, we will design, fabricate and test unique subTHz on-chip devices employing advanced electromagnetic concepts to intensify wave-protein interaction and to monitor the effect of pulses on the tasks performed by proteins nanomachines using ultrafast super-resolution microscopy. The project will generate advanced electromagnetic tools and devices enabling subTHz-based control of protein nanomachine ensembles. We expect ground-breaking impact in nanotechnology based on new possibilities in the engineering of electromagnetic wave-matter nanoscale interaction.

Aims

“1.Develop microfluidic chip devices for subTHz spectroscopy and for subTHz pulse modulation of protein nanomachines function
2.Build subTHz spectroscopy and pulse systems integrated to advanced microscopies
3.Model and experimentally test subTHz spectra and subTHz control of protein nanomachines”

EXPRO 2019

Abstract

The key molecular machines of oxygenic photosynthesis are Photosystem I a II (PSI a PSII), complicated membrane complexes containing a number of proteins and cofactors. The way photosystems are built in the cell is still poorly understood. In a current model PSII is formed by a combination of modules consisting of a large chlorophyll-protein associated with small subunits and pigments under guidance of many auxiliary proteins. PSI biogenesis is expected to use distinct machinery and its early phase remains unclear. However, recent data indicate that biogenesis of both photosystems is tightly intertwined and performed by common cellular machinery integrating chlorophyll biosynthesis. To solve the organization of this cellular factory, its location and photoprotection, we employ the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 and a number of its mutants. We use a variety of physiological, biophysical and biochemical methods including isolation and 2D analysis of protein complexes combined with protein and chlorophyll radiolabeling, mass spectrometry and confocal and cryo-electron microscopy

Aims

To verify hypothesis about intertwined biogenesis of both photosystems and elaborate its model. In connection with this to elucidate early phases of Photosystem I biogenesis, determine structure, location and photoprotection of the PSI/PSII biogenesis centre and role of auxiliary factors in it.

Abstract

Carbonatites are rare igneous, carbonate-rich rocks derived from the Earth’s upper mantle. They are important because of their associated rare-metal mineralization. Rare metals, such as REE, Nb, Ta, Zr, Th and U, are initially concentrated early in the evolution of carbonatitic magma to form primary mineralization. The behavior of these metals during deformation and metasomatic processes (a series of textural, chemical and mineralogical changes of REE mineralization) is one significant aspect of carbonatite petrogenesis that has direct implications for the economic potential of these rocks. A significant number of carbonatites were emplaced in tectonically active settings, where they were subjected to metamorphism and underwent a series of changes affecting the distribution of REE, Nb and other rare metals in the host rock. This project challenges us to study evolution of carbonatites in order to better understand the factors that controls late-stage element fractionation effects of subsolidus processes on redistribution of rare metals.

Aims

The aim of the project isn to understand what are subsolidus processes, redistribution of rare metals and to develop a globally applicable metallogenetic model, or set of simplifying models for carbonatites in different geotectonic possitions.

Abstract

Studies on determinants of regional variation in numbers of naturalized plants largely overlook one key factor, which is the type of habitat that is invaded. This is because at global scale there is, despite intensive research, still lack of rigorous data on habitat affinities of alien species, both in their native and invaded ranges. SynHab will collect such data and provide so far the most robust generalizations of patterns and macroecological determinants of invasions worldwide, by employing habitat affinities together with a wide range of interacting factors – environmental, climatic, and socioeconomic, as well as biologically relevant species traits, residence times, pathways and propagule pressure. To yield a more detailed understanding of the mechanisms that are at play at finer scale, this big picture will be supplemented by zooming in on plant invasions in different types of natural habitats in protected areas. This will inform us about filtering from regional pools of alien plants into habitats with different position along the disturbance and propagule pressure continuum.

Aims

To evaluate, based on newly built global databases of habitat affiliations of naturalized plants and of invasions in protected areas, the factors determining regional diversity in plant invasions. To find out the role played by habitats interacting with a wide range of other relevant factors.

Abstract

Four years ago we discovered a new phototrophic bacterium belonging to understudied phylum Gemmatimonadetes. Genetic analysis suggested, that this organism acquired photosynthesis via horizontal gene transfer of the complete photosynthesis gene cluster from purple bacteria (phylum Proteobacteria). This is the only known example of horizontal transfer of the complete package of photosynthetic genes among very distant organisms. The main scientific questions of this project are: 1) what are the necessary prerequisities on the side of the receiving organism for the successful transfer of photosynthesis between distant bacterial groups, 2) how much the photosynthetic apparatus changed during the evolution in Gemmatimonadetes from its original proteobacterial design, 3) how is photosynthesis integrated into its metabolism and regulation. To address these questions we propose a multidisciplinary project integrating classical microbiology, genomics, biochemistry, molecular biology and state-of-the art biophysical methods.

Aims

The aim of the project is to obtain a detailed cryoEM structure of photosynthetic complexes in Gemmatimonadetes. Characterize how the PS complexes are integrated into their membrane system. Describe how photosynthesis is integrated into their metabolism, and how they regulate the gene expression.

Abstract

This is a project in pure Mathematics driven by needs of Mathematical Physics and leading to applications on both sides. Homology and Homotopy are the key concepts allowing to handle extremely complicated algebraic structures unavoidable in algebraic topology, global analysis and geometry, and related fields in modern mathematical physics. We shall develop and extend essential tools including homotopical algebra for generalized operads, minimal models for quantum homotopy algebras, constructions of the category of loop homotopy algebras and their generalizations, quantization of higher Chern-Simons theories, study of T-duality, representations of Chekanov-Eliashberg algebras, constructions of generalized (co)homology theory for spaces with symmetries, BGG resolutions for singular infinitesimal character, description of higher symmetries for invariant operators, and description of curved versions of Juhl’s branching operators using ideas of semi-holonomic jet spaces. Although seemingly diverse, all these goals share a lot of motivation and potential applications.

Aims

We aim at innovative bridging of our expected topological and algebraic results with new emerging areas and applications in Mathematical Physics. At the same time, the advanced algebraic techniques and structures will lead to unexpected results in geometric analysis. Both aims are strongly related.

Abstract

Domain walls in ferroelectrics are naturally formed 2D solitons with a defined, nm-thick polarization profile stable over macroscopic lateral dimensions. Strong coupling of the polarization gradient with strain drastically changes the material properties within the domain wall thickness. Increasing attention is paid to these mobile interfaces because the characterization tools have recently reached the desired nanoscale resolution, needed to uncover the rich spectrum of new phenomena expected there. We are convinced that some ferroelectrics can also host 1D analogues of domain walls, i.e. spontaneously formed ferroelectric line solitons, similar to the recently experimentally confirmed Bogdanov-Yablonskitype magnetic skyrmion lines. We wish to extend the explorations also to these interesting topological objects and to pave a path to the experimental discovery of the ferroelectric skyrmion phases, analogous to the vortex states in superconductors and skyrmion phases of chiral magnets.

Aims

1. Provide phenomenological analysis of ferroelectric skyrmion host material requirements 2. Search for plausible skyrmion hosts using databases of crystalline structures and atomistic modeling 3. Investigate properties of selected real materials, susceptible to show ferroelectric skyrmions

Abstract

Fine-resolution continental-scale syntheses of vegetation and habitat diversity are a new research agenda that opened once our team created a fundament of European data infrastructure: European Vegetation Archive (EVA), an integrated database of 1.5 million vegetation plots. There is a high demand for such studies in macroecological and biogeographical research, but also in applications, especially in international decision making and planning of nature conservation. The aim of this project is to establish a European centre for vegetation syntheses with an extensive network of international collaborators. This centre will (1) further develop the research infrastructure including specialized analytical software, standardized data flows and databases of vegetation-plots, vegetation types and species; (2) prepare synthetic European studies of habitat and vegetation typology, their species, phylogenetic and functional diversity, and the levels of invasion by alien species; (3) provide the results obtained to the public via an online portal.

Aims

“(1) Establishing an international centre for European vegetation syntheses.
(2) Further developing analytical and data infrastructure for such syntheses.
(3) Synthesize diversity of European vegetation and habitats at multiple levels.
(4) Provide the results to the public via an online database.”

Abstract

This project aims to comprehensively research the conflicts in Central Europe during the long fifteenth century. In three thematic strands, it approaches (1) religious and ideological controversies, (2) conflicts surrounding members of the Luxembourg dynasty, and (3) social tensions and disputes. The peculiar situation in the Czech Lands after the Compactata treaty of 1436, which officially ended the Hussite wars, is understood as an ‘institutionalized conflict’. Despite the stabilized situation which allowed the evolution of an Estate system, neither party (Catholic nor Hussite) could accept the correctness of the other’s faith without jeopardizing their own legitimacy. Seen as intertwined issues, the strategies of conflict management employed by individual actors, the communicative and performative aspects of controversies, and the evolution of institutions in a divided society will render a more adequate and nuanced image of the Late Middle Ages in Central Europe as a contentious period.

Aims

“1) to research late medieval conflicts from the perspective of both religious and political history
2) to clarify how conflicts affected social organization and its normative frameworks
3) to find out how actors used disputes as instruments of legitimation and what communication strategies they employed”

Abstract

Parasitism is one of the most successful lifestyles of living organisms. Despite the majority of parasites being aquatic, at least during part of their life cycle, comprehensive molecular datasets for them are still scarce. AQUAPARA-OMICS aims to explore the uncharted biodiversity of greatly undersampled groups of aquatic parasites such as the Myxozoa and Dicyemida, and monitor selected human and fish pathogens, by eDNA metabarcoding. Production of new genomic and transcriptomic datasets of basal neodermates, parasitic cnidarians and dicyemids will allow us to unveil their parasitic origin, evolutionary history and characterize unique and shared genomic traits. AQUAPARA-OMICS further aims to explore key genes and molecular mechanisms involved in parasite development, replication, survival strategies and host immune responses. This includes basic research related to the functional characterisation of candidate molecules for future studies on new therapies and vaccine developments, which are urgently required for emerging aquatic pathogens.

Aims

The principal goal of the project is to address some of the key questions related to evolutionary and functional aspects of parasitism, biodiversity and host-parasite interactions in the aquatic realm using different -omic approaches and complementary methodologies.

Abstract

The aim of this project is to fill several major gaps in our understanding of casein kinase 1 (CK1) mediated cellular functions. CK1 acts as a component of several developmental pathways such as Wnt, Hedgehog or Yap/Taz that are important drivers of tumorigenesis. In this grant proposal we want to understand how CK1 gets activated and mediates the Wnt signalling pathway, a key signalling machinery dependent on CK1. Further, we will identify unique protein targets of individual CK1 isoforms in developmental signalling pathways, and analyse the biological consequences of the selective inhibition of CK1 isoforms in the context of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a disease with the proven sensitivity to CK1 inhibition. We will take advantage of the state-of-the-art integrated structural biology, RNA Sequencing and global proteomic analyses in combination with standard cell physiology techniques. This work will provide mechanistic insight into the role of CK1 isoforms and will pave the avenue for the use of isoform-specific CK1 inhibitors in the treatment of cancer.

Aims

“(i) describe mechanistically the CK1 action in the Wnt signalling pathway
(ii) identify unique and non-redundant functions of individual CK1 isoforms in the developmental signalling pathways
(iii) analyse the biological consequences of the selective inhibition of CK1 isoforms in the context of CLL”

Abstract

The project aims to disclose the relation between structure and function of carotenoids by means of the methods of time-resolved spectroscopies extending from femtosecond to microsecond time scales. To find answers to the yet-unresolved questions of carotenoid photophysics, we propose to study excited-state properties of carotenoids both in solution and in proteins under conditions of excess energy that will be delivered either by exciting higher carotenoid energy states by UV radiation, or by working under elevated temperatures. Data obtained under these, so far unexplored, conditions will be compared with those measured at lower temperatures or after excitation of lower excited states. The ultrafast experiments will be carried out not only in the standard pump-probe regime, but also in advanced experimental schemes such as multipulse (pump-dump-probe) or two-photon excitation ultrafast spectroscopy. We plan to explore the influence of specific functional groups of carotenoids and their role in tuning the light-harvesting and/or photoprotective actions in biological systems.

Aims

to elucidate the influence of specific functional groups on photophysics of carotenoids; to find how the carotenoid structure relates to the function in biological systems; to reveal specific carotenoid-protein interactions allowing switching between light-harvesting and photoprotective functions

Abstract

The recent availability of large digital finance datasets brings new challenges to quantitative finance. Many of the classical financial econometric or optimization models become inappropriate or intractable when applied to digital finance data. Vast quantities of information available in every moment require improvement of the classical methodology, in order to understand correctly the information hidden in the data, as well as to model and predict any dynamic behavior. The project will contribute to the debate, and propose new methodologies, which will take the high-frequency structure of the data as the advantage and turn the ”curse of dimensionality” into ”blessing of dimensionality’’. In particular, new models for the dynamic risk measuring, optimal decision making and advanced asset pricing will be developed, analyzed and implemented. These models will help to better understand and explain the complex changes in financial world induced by upcoming digital age.

Aims

The goal of the project is to develop, analyze and implement new dynamic econometric and optimization models for risk measuring, asset pricing and optimal decision making for digital finance data in order to explain the complex changes in financial world induced by upcoming digital age.

Abstract

Modern formation of the Czech identity is based, among other things, on reflection of the Hussite period, in which music took the role of the main medium for communication of new ideas. Surveys on 15th-century music, its repertory character and relationship to the European development is marked, from the 19th-century, by deliberate manipulation of historical facts and intentional dogmas about its esthetic value. This also affected descriptions of early music in Bohemia in a broader European context that is built on an insufficient, or even erroneous, understanding of a specific Central European development. General historical surveys refer to the Czech lands with terms such as “discontinuity”, “isolation”, “simplification”, or “delay”, when historical sources clearly indicate the opposite. The “myth” about the exclusive role of the Hussite tradition crucially influenced 19th- and 20th-century music composition, where pieces reflecting Hussite legacy, including those that quote erroneous reconstruction of Hussite tunes, were used to evoke Czech national feelings.

Aims

To evaluate historical repertory and put it into a European context; propose a new view on exceptional cultural phenomenon in the academic community; correct erroneous ideas about 15th-century music development in Bohemia, regarding ongoing debates on common European cultural legacy and integrity

Abstract

This project aims to explain ecological and evolutionary mechanisms allowing the existence of highly complex food webs in tropical rainforests, a long-standing conundrum of tropical ecology. It is an experimental test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis postulating that top-down effects by herbivores and/or pathogens maintain high plant diversity as they lead to negatively densitydependent population dynamics favouring rare plant species. We hypothesize that pathogens and herbivores shared among closely related plant species lead to apparent competition among plants that strengthens the Janzen-Connell effects, while the impact of predators on herbivores can drive vegetation dynamics in the opposite direction, reducing the positive impact of herbivores on plant diversity. We examine these tri-trophic effects in phylogenetic context, exploring evolutionary scenarios of anti-herbivore defence by rainforest plants. The study will take place in Papua New Guinea. It will contribute to indigenous rainforest conservation and engage local paraecologists and students.

Aims

The aim is to explain mechanisms allowing coexistence of high numbers of species in tropical forest food webs. It is an experimental test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis that plant diversity is maintained by pathogens and herbivores, extended here to the effects of predators and competitors.

Abstract

Although impacts of technology usage on well-being have been examined from the onset of Internet development, the existing research lacks consistency and complexity in capturing diverse dimensions of well-being. Further, the advancing technological development creates a need for models enabling the prediction of future technology impacts based on comprehension of the general principles related to technology’s effects. Acknowledging these gaps, this project will develop a complex integrative theory depicting the short- and long- term impacts of technology usage on adolescents’ physical, psychological, and social well-being. We will integrate theories from diverse fields, notably media studies, psychology, and health. The theory development will be based on empirical data from (1) existing research, (2) 3-wave longitudinal study, (3) series of experimental studies, and (4) intense data collections with the support of innovative research tools. The project will develop prospective models that will help to understand and predict future impacts of technology on well-being.

Aims

The project aims to develop a complex evidence-based theory depicting the impacts of technology usage on physical, psychological, and social wellbeing of adolescents aged 11 to 18. Innovative research methods based on the software using artificial intelligence will be developed.

Abstract

The growth of eastern Pangea involves three contrasting orogenic cycles: 1) Baikalian cycle (570-540 Ma) consists of accretion of peri-Rodinian continental, Mirovoi and Panthalassan oceanic fragments to the Siberian margin followed by extensional HT reworking, the growth of magmatic arc, giant accretionary wedge and intraoceanic basin. 2) Altai cycle is typified by crustal thickening followed by syn-extensional melting of the accretionary wedge (420-380 Ma) and the opening of Mongol-Okhotsk ocean. Cycle terminates by the growth of migmatites domes (370-340 Ma), thrusting of intraoceanic ophiolites and relamination of molten material beneath oceanic crust. 3) Paleotethysian cycle (300-220 Ma) is represented by oroclinal buckling of the hybrid oceanic lithosphere. The Baikalian cycle is related to advances and retreats of Panthalassa ocean. Altai cycle results from dynamically advancing and retreating subduction of young and hot Rheic type ocean beneath Pacific one. This hot, weak and hybrid lithospheric segment was shortened and incorporated into Pangea supercontinent.

Aims

“1) Characterize orogenic cycles using a multidisciplinary approach.
2) Understand and model mechanisms of formation of hybrid oceanic lithosphere resulting from subduction of a hot interior ocean.
3) Proposing a mechanistic model of incorporation of this lithosphere into the Pangea supercontinent.”

Abstract

Under this proposal we shall test the hypothesis that by concerted action of its protein toxins, the whooping cough agent Bordetella pertussis compromises the barrier function of airway epithelia in the initial catarrhal phase of the infection. A set of specifically mutated B. pertussis strains will be used for intranasal infections in germ-free and airway microbiota-deficient mice and for in vitro infections of polarized airway epithelial cell layers, corroborating the results by defined toxin treatment. This will enable us to test if penetration of the adenylate cyclase toxin (ACT) through the basal side of airway epithelial cells, through ACT-produced cAMP intoxication, upregulates epithelial mucus secretion, opens CFTR chloride channels and provokes loss of tight junction integrity and paracellular fluid leakage, thus eliciting the initial pertussis phase coryza and enabling spread of the pathogen by sneezing and coughing. Using a comprehensive set of cell biology approaches we will then decipher the molecular mechanism of this ‘nasal diarrhea’ phase of pertussis.

Aims

The aim of the project is to decipher the mechanism by which the virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis compromise the barrier function of airway epithelia and provoke the initial catarrhal phase of the whooping cough disease that is characterized by massive mucus secretion and fluid leakage.

Abstract

The goal of this project is to understand the role of approximation in fine-grained and parameterized complexity and create solid foundations for these areas by developing lower bound techniques capable of addressing the key unproven assumptions under-pinning these areas. We will focus on several central problems: Edit Distance, Integer Programming, Satisfiability and study their approximation and parameterized algorithms with the aim of designing the best possible algorithms. Additionally we will focus on several methods of proving complexity lower bounds.

Aims

The goal of the project is to design faster and optimal algorithms for several key problems in fine-grained and parametrized complexity, and develop new lower bound methods capable of proving their optimality.

Abstract

Zeolites are an important class of solids that are key heterogeneous catalysts in many industrial processes and they are also used widely in ion-exchange, adsorption/separation and medical applications. In recent years, the applicant’s group has developed a new strategy to synthesize zeolites termed Assembly-Disassembly-Organization-Reassembly (ADOR). In a substantial body of preliminary work, the ADOR protocol has been used to synthesize 10 new zeolites, not yet prepared using traditional solvothermal methods. These studies were reported in several papers published at high-impact chemistry journals (Angewandte Chemie, JACS and Nature Chemistry). This project proposal focuses on the synthesis of new zeolites using the ADOR protocol and going beyond to prepare various modified ADOR materials for catalytic applications. We aim to further develop the ADOR method to prepare ‘unfeasible’ materials, particularly for important catalytic processes. Ultimately, the project aims to deliver a considerable new set of materials with adjustable active sites for acid and redox catalyzed reactions.

Aims

The first goal of the project is to use the ADOR methodology to target zeolites and related catalysts being difficult to synthesize – the so-called ‘unfeasible’ materials. The second goal is to utilize these novel zeolites as catalysts for important organic reactions to control their performance.

Abstract

Spintronic memories combine non-volatility with speed and are expected to complement conventional microelectronics as universal energy-efficient memories beyond the International Technology Roadmap of Semiconductors. The aim of the TERANEU project is to scientifically underpin future development of spintronic computer memories with speeds extended from the gigahertz to the terahertz range and the operation extended from the digital to the neuromorphic mode. The enabling materials are antiferromagnets and the research plan spans from fundamental exploration of topological phenomena and dynamics in these complex magnets, to imaging of magnetic textures, and designing artificial neural networks for realistic internet of things applications. The project builds on our recent discovery of electrical switching of an antiferromagnet by a relativistic spintronic effect, demonstration of a proof-of-concept antiferromagnetic memory with analogue characteristics compatible with common microelectronics, and initial experimental verification of writing by picosecond electrical-current pulses.

Aims

We will scientifically underpin future development of spintronic computer memories based on antiferromagnets with speeds extended from the gigahertz to the terahertz range and the operation extended from the digital to the neuromorphic mode.

Abstract

Neuronal pathfinding is a foundational developmental process. Mechanical forces driving the pathfinding are generated in the growth cone, a distinct structure at the tip of neuronal axons. The progression of the growth cone is propelled by actin dynamics, while the direction of growth is governed by microtubules, implying that crosstalk between microtubules and actin filaments is essential for the growth cone steering. Although vital, this crosstalk and its impact on the steering is not understood. Here, we will elucidate the steering by focusing on the proteins that couple actin filaments and microtubules. These crosslinkers constitute the hubs of cytoskeletal activity, coupling the driving force to directionality. We will employ live cell imaging, in vitro reconstitutions, together with microsurgical and single molecule perturbations and mathematical modeling. We will provide mechanistic explanation of the actin-microtubule crosstalk enabling neuronal pathfinding – the fundament required for the development of diagnostic or therapeutic tools addressing neurodevelopmental disorders.

Aims

Identify the roles of actin-microtubule crosslinkers in the growth cone steering. Estimate how forces generated by the crosslinkers regulate the steering. Explain the mechanisms that crosslinkers employ to generate forces. Generate quantitative model of the cytoskeletal mechanics of the steering.

Abstract

The project aims to develop new materials to control structural and electronic properties of metal-containing molecules via i) noncovalent physisorption onto 2D nanostructures, e.g. graphene (gr) or heteroatom (N,B, or S)-doped gr, ii) via dissolving them in various solvents, and finally, iii) via their coordination with various ligands. Each step or their combination will allow for a rational design of molecular systems with tailored properties for new applications. The use of 2D-surfaces, solvents and various ligands as “noncovalent tuners” of electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of small molecules is an unexplored alternative to existing strategies to manipulate physicochemical characteristics of molecules by strong external stimuli, e.g. covalent bonding, temperature, pressure, or UV radiation. A combined computational and experimental approach will be used to explore nature of the spin crossover processes upon interaction with 2D nanosystems, solvents and various ligands.

Aims

“Control of structural and electronic properties of metal-containing molecules via
i) noncovalent physisorption onto 2D nanostructures, e.g. graphene or N, B, or S-doped graphene,
ii) via dissolving them in various solvents and
iii) via their coordination with various ligands.”

Abstract

The NEUREM3 project encompasses basic research in speech processing (SP) and natural language processing (NLP) with accent on multi-linguality and multi-modality (speech and text processing with the support of visual information). Current deep machine learning methods are based on continuous vector representations that are created by the neural networks (NN) themselves during the training. Although empirically, the results of NNs are often excellent, our knowledge and understanding of such representations is insufficient. NEUREM3 has the ambition to fill this gap and to study neural representations for speech and text units of different scopes (from phonemes and letters to whole spoken and written documents) and representations acquired both for isolated tasks and multi-task setups. NEUREM3 will also improve NN architectures and training techniques, so that they can be trained on incomplete or incoherent data.

Aims

Systematic study of neural structures for speech and text modeling in multi-modal and multilingual settings. Addressing hierarchy of neural representations, human interpretability, and training under realistic conditions of non-ideal and incoherent data.

Abstract

The single element layered materials beyond graphene attract huge attention in last years, but their chemistry and possibilities of chemical modifications remain, up to date, almost unknown. The project will focus on the synthesis, exfoliation and chemical modification of layered elements beyond graphene (silicene, germanene, phosphorene, arsenene and antimonene). Compared to graphene, these materials exhibit non-zero bandgap in the single layer form. The synthesis strategies will explore „top-down“ approach based on exfoliation methods as well as „bottom-up“ methods based on molecular beam epitaxy of monolayers. The chemical modification will be investigated using radical, nucleophilic and electrophilic reactions. The properties and reactivity of derivatives will be studied in detail. The non-covalent derivatization will be investigated in order to improve environmental stability of exfoliated materials. The chemistry performed on the surfaces of crystals will provide information about derivatization on an atomic scale using combination of microscopic and spectroscopic methods.

Aims

“1) Synthesis of silicene, germanene and layered pnictogens by “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches.
2) Exploration of further modification of synthesized materials.
3) Non-covalent surface functionalization for stability improvement.
4) Characterization of the modified materials.”

Abstract

The overall aim of this project is to develop fundamental understating of the electrochemistry of the layered and 2D materials. These materials include monoelemental materials, such as layered pnictogens (black phosphorus, layered arsenic, antimony and bismuth); binary materials such as layered transition metal dichalcogenides, MXenes, and ternary materials such as metal phosphorus chalcogenides and and their monolayer (2D) counterparts. We will find the answers to profound basic electrochemical questions regarding layered and 2D materials, such as: A) What is the edge vs. basal plane electroactivity? What are general underlying rules? B) What is the influence of crystal structures on the electroactivity? Why? C) What is the size confinement effect on electrocatalysis? D) What is the influence of atomic composition variation of the materials on the electrochemistry? E) What is the role of heteroatom dopants, impurities and vacancies in the lattice of 2D materials on their electrochemistry and electrocatalysis? F) What is the influence of materials curvature on electrochemistry?

Aims

We will find the answers to profound basic electrochemical questions regarding layered and 2D materials. PI will apply for ERC-ADG and receive this grant (PI received ERC-StG) Group will be English spoken with all 5 postdocs from overseas institutions. Group will publish 50 papers in top journals.

Abstract

The project approaches contemporary visual cultures through the notion of the operational image. It expands the scope of the concept from its roots in artistic engagement with military imaging to encompass the new sorts and applications of automated visual systems embedded in everyday life and focuses on their cultural and social implications. While the aim of the project is to produce a rich set of research findings, methodological insights and theoretical positions that pertain to contemporary visual media, it articulates such current themes in relation to a longer history of visual culture through the perspective of media archaeology. Expected results include 1 single-author monograph, 2 joint authored books, 1 edited book including contributions by the team members and other international scholars, 20 articles in prestigious international journals, 5 international conferences, and an ERC grant proposal.

Aims

Establishing a research team led by an outstanding internationally recognized scholar to enhance the excellence and competitiveness of Czech research in the national priority area Social and Cultural Challenges.

Abstract

This research aims at pushing the frontiers of research on energy economics and modelling. We examine the causes of the energy efficiency gap, focusing on adoption and substitution of energy durables by households, and investigate to what extent consumers are willing to provide some flexibility to the energy system through demand response. We use both revealed and stated preferences, investigating their validity where appropriate. Standard bottom-up and topdown modelling tools are enriched to better represent household behaviour. We focus on the uptake and use of energy efficient technologies, the welfare effects associated with environmental burden and the health externalities that energy production and energy use cause. We develop several hybrid models utilizing Agent Based Modelling, Energy System Optimisation, Computable General Equilibrium, Environmentally-Extended Multi-Regional InputOutput, and Impact Pathway Analysis, integrated in a comprehensive modelling tool.

Aims

Improving economic modelling of consumers’ preferences and behaviour related to new energy efficient technologies and flexible demand, energy system and transport modelling informed by behavioural parameters, and combining bottom up and top down approaches to develop a hybrid model.

Abstract

In a traditional view of cellular processes at membranes, proteins are central in determining biological functions, with membranes and ions providing a flexible scaffold and chemical environment. To understand the more interwoven picture of reality, we will use fluorescence techniques and molecular simulations on model membranes to unravel how the interplay between membranes with complex lipid compositions and topologies together with specific ions control signalling proteins and dynamics of membrane processes. We will i) establish the role of membrane domain boundaries in localization of proteins and their intermolecular interactions, ii) elucidate how the crosstalk between Ca2+, calmodulin, and lipid membranes regulates signalling proteins, and iii) determine mechanisms modulating calcium-induced membrane fusion which hold similarities with a yet systematically unexplored action of fusogenic peptides. The overall aim is to establish a novel understanding of the tight crosstalk between lipids, ions, and proteins in membrane processes such as cell signalling and membrane trafficking.

Aims

To determine what drives proteins accumulation at domain boundaries and its intermolecular consequences. To elucidate mechanisms of calcium-calmodulin-regulation of signalling proteins. To find the mechanism of passive membrane fusion and the common denominator of calcium and peptide induced fusion.

Abstract

Engaging with debates in Holocaust and genocide studies and social anthropology of marginality, the project approaches the histories of Jewish and Romani communities on the territory of the pre-war Czechoslovakia in comparative perspective. Nazi genocidal policies altered the culture, social makeup, religious outlook, and geography of both victim groups, creating a rupture that fundamentally influenced the subsequent geographic and social mobility of both groups. Only an interdisciplinary approach—bringing together sociology, anthropology and history—can help us create an integrated account of Romani and Jewish experiences in twentieth and twenty-first century Central Europe. A team of multidisciplinary scholars with expertise in Jewish and Romani studies will focus on Jewish and Romani entangled experiences during the war, its aftermath and its current resonances. Tangible results: 6 books (editions of documents, collective volumes, and individual book projects); 3 articles with impact; 11 articles in Scopus; 2 conferences; 2 international workshops; database of ego-documents.

Aims

The aim of the project is to analyze the genocide, the (forced) migration, and the social mobility of Roma and Jews side by side in selected local contexts on the territories which belonged to pre-war Czechoslovakia from 1938 to present by applying historical and anthropological research methods.

Abstract

The project is devoted to studies of various types of small bodies in the Solar System by means of observation of bright meteors. We have built a network of Digital Autonomous Fireball Observatories spread over Czech and Slovak territories and part of Austria. Spectral versions of the observatories have been installed only in the Czech Republic so far. We propose to install one spectral observatory in Slovakia and one in Germany. From our data, including supplementary video records, we can derive precise trajectories, orbits, and light curves of fireballs caused by centimeter to meter-sized meteoroids and study physical properties of meteoroids. Spectral data available for bright fireballs can be used to derive chemical composition of meteoroids. By combining physical, chemical and orbital data we will map various asteroidal and cometary sources of meteoroids and meteorites in the Solar System. Possible differences in Mg/Fe ratios in various comets will be evaluated. Parent bodies of Geminids and Taurids will be studied in detail. Orbits of some minor meteor showers will be improved.

Aims

Combine data on physical, chemical and orbital properties of large meteoroids to obtain information about location and nature of various sources of meteoroids and meteorites. Infer the nature of parent bodies of Taurid and Geminid meteoroid streams. Characterize chemically distinct meteoroids.

Abstract

Mechanical metamaterials are the most convincing example of a bottom-up paradigm for the design of engineering materials, in which unprecedented macroscopic properties emerge from the collective response of carefully architectured microstructures. The major bottleneck in currently used metamaterials that exhibit reversible pattern formation is a microstructure periodicity. This project explores the framework of non-periodic tilings, in which material microstructures arise from a compatible assembly of a handful of jigsaw puzzle-like material modules. Successful application requires (i) new generalized continuum theories for understanding the emergent behavior of metamaterials with non-uniform microstructures, (ii) novel algorithms for the simultaneous optimum design of tiles and their assemblies, (iii) validation studies performed on optimized assemblies, and (iv) investigation of mechanisms for targeted self-assembly based on passive interface interactions. The merits of non-periodic modular design will be illustrated with two proof-of-concept demonstrators

Aims

The principal objective is to develop a novel approach to the design and optimization of mechanical metamaterials based on the concept of Wang tilings and metaperiodicity, and to validate our approach by manufacturing two proof-of-concept demonstrators.

Abstract

The current methodologies of drug product and process design are based on the principle of formulating a single active ingredient into a dosage form whose parameters are based on population averages. On the other hand, personalised medicine requires the ability to design and manufacture customised pills with an adjustable, patient-specific content of a larger number of active ingredients. The aim of this project is to lay down the scientific and engineering fundamentals of future manufacturing processes that will enable the industrial manufacture of personalised medicines. We will investigate encapsulation methods of active ingredients to prevent their undesired interactions, methods of particle-level dissolution control, methods of integrating unit operations and automating the whole manufacturing process, and mathematical models enabling accurate prediction of in vitro and in vivo behaviour of a specific formulation.

Aims

“1. Research of manufacturing processes for personalised medicines
2. Dissolution control at the particle level
3. Combination of several actives into a single carrier
4. Research of biorelevant in vitro dissolution methods
5. Research of simulation methods for the prediction of in vivo behaviour”

Abstract

Our comprehension of biological mechanisms as well as our capacity to exploit this knowledge for devising of novel bio-materials, molecular devices and/or effective therapeutics, critically depends on a detail knowledge of fundamental principles that governs structure, stability and interactions of biomolecules in living cells. Historically, for methodological reasons, biological processes are either investigated at low resolution in biologically relevant systems (organisms, tissues) or at high-resolution on biomolecules isolated from their native cellular environment. Although recent methodological developments have allowed gaining high-resolution insight into structure and interactions of biomolecules in intact cells, this insight remains limited to prokaryotic organisms and mammalian cells either cryogenically frozen or living cells cultured in asynchronous populations. Influence of natively fluctuating composition of intracellular environment, as a result of propagation of the cell cycle or organization of cells into tissues, on biomolecules’ structure/function remains elusive.

Aims

The project aims at establishing and applications of a novel in-cell NMR based approach for characterization of DNA/RNA and their complexes with ligands/proteins in: A] cells in specific stage of the cell-cycle, B] 3D cell cultures, and C] in cell cultures emulating mammalian tissues (organoids).

Abstract

Viruses from the genus Enterovirus, including coxsackieviruses and rhinoviruses, cause billions of infections every year. However, no anti-enterovirus treatments are available. We aim to structurally characterize enterovirus replication in situ to enable the identification of macromolecular interactions that could be targeted by therapeutics. We will use focused ion beam milling and cryo-electron tomography to determine: (1) how enteroviruses deliver their genomes into the cell cytoplasm; (2) whether enterovirus replication “factories” in infected cells contain the multi-subunit complexes of RNA-polymerases that were observed in vitro; and (3) whether enterovirus capsids assemble around genomes or if the genomes are packaged into capsids. To facilitate the cryo-electron tomography studies we will develop: (1) patterned grids to enable automation of the focused ion beam milling of cell sections; and (2) a method to embed macromolecules in rod-shaped vitreous ice to allow the recording of more complete tomographic data than is possible with currently used slab-shaped samples

Aims

“1. In situ cryo-electron tomography of enterovirus replication.
2. Development of patterned electron microscopy grids to facilitate focused ion beam milling of cell sections.
3. Highresolution study of enterovirus genome delivery.
4. Use of nanotubes to record cryo-electron tomography data.”

Abstract

Regulation of gene expression lies at the heart of all life. Among others, it can be achieved on the level of translation of genetic information from mRNA into protein. Evidence for the importance of proper translational control is overwhelming, as even a small disturbance in timing or fidelity of translation of specific mRNAs causes or accompanies many human diseases. Hence it is not surprising that genes encoding translation factors are frequently amplified or dysregulated in cancer. One example is the multitasking, multisubunit eIF3. To elucidate its involvement in oncogenesis, we will investigate all translatome changes in cells where eIF3 levels were manipulated on a transcriptome-wide scale by the 80S ribosome profiling. We will also develop and apply variants of ribosome profiling to 1) monitor changes of 40S subunit footprints in the 5’ UTR and around start/stop codons, and to 2) follow dynamics of selected translation factors transcriptome-wide in yeasts and mammals. Finally, we will study mechanics of ATF4 translation control under various stresses and the eIF3 role in it.

Aims

“a) Translation efficiency and ribosome distribution analysis in human cells with altered eIF3 expression.
b) Mammalian TCP-seq development and its application.
c) Yeast and mammalian IP-TCP-seq development to measure eIFs dynamics.
d) Mechanics of ATF4 translation control and the role of eIF3 in it.”