European Partnerships

The main goal of the European Research Council (ERC) is to encourage high quality research in Europe through competitive funding.

ERC hosted by the university Claude Bernard Lyon 1 :
  • CALENDS "Clusters And LENsing of Distant Sources"
    Some of the primary questions in extragalactic astronomy concern the formation and evolution of galaxies in the distant Universe. In particular, little is known about the less luminous (and therefore less massive) galaxy populations, which are currently missed from large observing surveys and could contribute significantly to the overall star formation happening at early times. One way to overcome the current observing limitations prior to the arrival of the future James Webb Space Telescope or the European Extremely Large Telescopes is to use the natural magnification of strong lensing clusters to look at distant sources with an improved sensitivity and resolution.
    The aim of CALENDS is to build and study in great details a large sample of accurately-modelled, strongly lensed galaxies at high redshift (1 We will look for scaling relations between the stellar, gas and dust parameters, and compare them with known relations for lower redshift and more massive galaxy samples. For the most extended sources, we will be able to spatially resolve their inner properties, and compare the results of individual regions with predictions from simulations. We will look into key physical processes: star formation, gas accretion, inflows and outflows, in these distant sources.
  • AUGURY "Reconstructing Earth’s mantle convection"
    Knowledge of the state of the Earth mantle and its temporal evolution is fundamental to a variety of disciplines in Earth Sciences, from the internal dynamics to its many expressions in the geological record (postglacial rebound, sea level change, ore deposit, tectonics or geomagnetic reversals). Mantle convection theory is the centerpiece to unravel the present and past state of the mantle. For the past 40 years considerable efforts have been made to improve the quality of numerical models of mantle convection. However, they are still sparsely used to estimate the convective history of the solid Earth, in comparison to ocean or atmospheric models for weather and climate prediction. The main shortcoming is their inability to successfully produce Earth-like seafloor spreading and continental drift self-consistently. Recent convection models have begun to successfully predict these processes (Coltice et al., Science 336, 335-33, 2012). Such breakthrough opens the opportunity to combine high-level data assimilation methodologies and convection models together with advanced tectonic datasets to retrieve Earth's mantle history. The scope of this project is to produce a new generation of tectonic and convection reconstructions, which are key to improve our understanding and knowledge of the evolution of the solid Earth. The development of sustainable high performance numerical models will set new standards for geodynamic data assimilation. The outcome of the AUGURY project will be a new generation of models crucial to a wide variety of disciplines.
  • UbInflam "Regulation of inflammasome activity through NLRP3 ubiquitination level"
  • The Dependence Receptors notion: from a cell biology paradigm to anti-cancer targeted therapy (DEPREC)
    While it is assumed that transmembrane receptors are active only in the presence of ligand, we have proposed that some receptors may also be active in the absence of ligand stimulation. These receptors, named dependence receptors (DRs) share the ability to transmit two opposite signals: in the presence of ligand, these receptors transduce various classical positive signals, whereas in the absence of ligand, they trigger apoptosis. The expression of dependence receptors thus creates cellular states of dependence for survival on their respective ligands. To date, more than fifteen such receptors have been identified, including the netrin-1 receptors DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Cancer) and UNC5H1-4, some integrins, RET, EPHA4, TrkA, TrkC and the Sonic Hedgehog receptor Patched (Ptc).
    Even though the interest in this notion is increasing, two main questions remain poorly understood:
    (i) How very different receptors, with only modest homology, are able to trigger apoptosis when unengaged by their respective ligand?
    (ii) What are the respective biological roles of this pro-apoptotic activity in vivo?
    We have hypothesized that the DRs pro-apoptotic activity is a mechanism that determines and regulates the territories of migration/localization of cells during embryonic development. We also demonstrated that this may be a mechanism that limits tumour growth and metastasis. The goal of the present project is, based on the study of a relatively small number of these receptors i.e., DCC, UNC5H, RET, TrkC, Ptc- with a specifically larger emphasis on netrin-1 receptors, to address (i) the common and divergent cell signalling mechanisms triggering apoptosis downstream of these receptors and (ii) the physiological and pathological roles of these DRs on development of neoplasia in vivo. This latter goal will allow us to investigate how this pro-apoptotic activity can be of use to improve and diversify alternative anti-cancer therapeutic approaches.
  • e-Mars "Evolution of Mars"
    The primary questions that drive the Mars exploration program focus on life. Has the Martian climate ever been favourable for life development? Such scenario would imply a distinct planetary system from today with a magnetic flied able to retain the atmosphere. Where is the evidence of such past climate and intern conditions? The clues for answering these questions are locked up in the geologic record of the planet. The volume of data acquired in the past 15 years by the 4 Martian orbiters (ESA and NASA) reach the petaoctet, what is indecent as regard to the size of the Martian community. e-Mars propose to built a science team composed by the PI, Two post-doctorates, one PhD student and one engineer to exploit the data characterizing the surface of Mars.
    e-Mars proposes the unprecedented approach to combine topographic data, imagery data in diverse spectral domain and hyper-spectral data from multiple orbiter captors to study the evolution of Mars and to propose pertinent landing sites for next missions. e-Mars will focus on three scientific themes: the composition of the Martian crust to constraint the early evolution of the planet, the research of possible habitable places based on evidence of past liquid water activity from both morphological record and hydrated mineral locations, and the study of current climatic and geological processes driven by the CO2 cycle. These scientific themes will be supported by three axis of methodological development: the geo-database management via Geographic Information Systems (G.I.S.)., the automatic hyper-spectral data analysis and the age estimates of planetary surface based on small size crater counts
  • Genetics and cell biology of K2P channels (KELEGANS)
    Two-pore domain potassium channels (K2P) maintain the resting membrane potential of animal cells and therefore play a central role in the control of cellular excitability. In the vertebrate nervous system, various neuromodulators promote K2P closure, which depolarizes neurons, increases neuronal excitability and ultimately affects action potential firing. Knockout studies have revealed important roles of K2Ps in physiopathological processes tied to cellular excitability. K2Ps are major targets of volatile anaesthetics. Analysis of task1/3 knockouts established a direct role of these channels in anaesthetics-induced immobilization and sedation. trek1 knockout mice are hypersensitive to kainate-induced seizures and display depression-resistant phenotypes, similar to naive mice treated with selective serotonine reuptake inhibitors. In sensory neurons, genetic ablation of trek1 or inhibition by noxious stimuli (heat, external acidosis) leads to increased neuronal activity and pain perception.
    Despite the fundamental functions of these channels, comparatively little is known about the cellular processes that control K2P function. I propose to use comprehensive and powerful genetic screening strategies in the nematode C. elegans to identify novel genes and conserved cellular processes that regulate the biology of K2Ps in a native context. I will decipher the precise functions of novel K2P regulators by using the full array of techniques available in C. elegans including genetics, live imaging, electrophysiology and state-of-the-art genome engineering and deep sequencing. This will provide new leads to understand the cellular pathways that control K2P function in other organisms.
    This work may have wide-ranging applications since K2Ps are increasingly implicated in a variety of physiopathological processes in the nervous system but also in cardiac muscle, endocrine and immune system. However, the precise molecular factors involved are mostly unknown.

  • Water anomalies in the stretched and supercooled regions (WASSR)
    Water is the most abundant liquid on Earth s surface. It is essential for life. Surprisingly, despite extensive studies, many of its properties remain to be explained. The aim of this project is to contribute to the understanding of water, by studying its anomalies in the metastable liquid state. A liquid should transform into vapour at its boiling point, or into a solid at its freezing point. However, it can be observed beyond these limits. It is then in a metastable state, separated from the stable phase by an energy barrier due to surface tension. The short lifetime of the liquid under such extreme conditions renders measurements particularly challenging. Nevertheless, we find them worth to undertake, because they will bring valuable information on its structure. Our proposal is twofold: in the negative pressure range, where the liquid is metastable with respect to the vapour, we will stretch water to a high degree by several methods, and measure the extension of its equation of state. This part is based on our knowledge of different techniques to obtain large negative pressures; we will use optical methods to access the physical properties. in the supercooled range, where the liquid is metastable with respect to the solid, we will develop new viscometers to measure the viscosity of supercooled liquid water under pressure. Our aim is not only to provide the missing viscosity data for supercooled water up to 300 MPa, but also to check its relation with translational and rotational diffusion, which can reveal a change in the liquid structure.