The ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants (StG) boosts the independent careers of excellent researchers by providing adequate support at the critical stage where they are starting or consolidating their own independent research team or programme.
Effects of Medication Use in Pregnancy on Infant Neurodevelopment (DrugsInPregnancy)
Have you noticed that when you put your hands into your pockets to search for your keys, that you can find them with remarkable ease among the many other objects such as pens, lipstick and coins. This is no easy task but your brain solves this problem in a blink of an eye. It is truly remarkable how simple physical phenomena such as touch, light and sound get picked up by our senses and turned into perceptions of the outer world so we can identify objects and people. How our brain does this is still largely a mystery and no computer algorithm so far can outperform our brain.
The goal of my lab is to reveal how the brain turns sensory stimuli into perceptions. Specifically, we will study how the very outer layer of our brain, located just below our skull up to a mere 100 micrometer deep, contributes to this remarkable ability. This thin surface layer contains a diverse group of nerve cells that up to very recently remained unexplored. This outer layer has therefore also been called the crowning mystery of the brain.
A substantial part of our research goes into developing new technologies to study brain function involving novel microscopy- and genetic methods. Moreover, these cells show important changes in schizophrenia patients that do not always perceive what their senses tell them so we hope that our research will give us new insights that will lead to new therapies.
Grant holder: Professor Koen Vervaeke
Project duration: 1 October 2015 - 1 October 2020
Bivariational Approximations in Quantum Mechanics and Applications to Quantum Chemistry (BIVAQUM)
The project crosses the borders between computational and theoretical chemistry, physics, and applied mathematics. We aim to explore and apply an unconventional formulation of quantum mechanics to build computational tools: the so-called bivariational principle.
Grant holder: Professor Simen Kvaal
Project duration: 1 April 2015 - 31 March 2020
Resonant Nuclear Gamma Decay and the Heavy-Element Nucleosyntehsis (GRESONANT)
All elements found in our Universe, except for the very lightest ones, have been created in stars. Life on Earth would not have been possible without the “cooking” of carbon, oxygen and iron in stars long gone. But what about the heavy elements, like gold, lead, and uranium? How were they made?
This ERC project aims at figuring out how atomic nuclei behave in extreme, astrophysical environments, like supernovae and neutron star collisions. What the nuclei “like” to do under such crazy conditions, with extremely high temperature and pressure, is important to understand the distribution of elements that we find on Earth and in our solar system today. However, there a lot of unknown factors in this game. To find out more about the atomic nuclei, we will perform experiments at the Oslo Cyclotron Laboratory, University of Oslo, and at laboratories in Finland, USA, South-Africa, Japan, and Switzerland. In addition, there’s a big chuck of theory and astrophysical modelling involved to interpret and understand what we will see in our measurements. We hope to reveal new pieces in the big puzzle to describe how the elements - and us - have been made.
Grant holder: Professor Ann-Cecilie Larsen
Project duration: 1 March 2015 - 28 February 2020
Lusi: a unique natural laboratory for multidisciplinary studies of focussed fluid flow in sedimentary basins
The spectacular Lusi eruption started in northeast Java the 29 of May 2006 following to a 6.3 M earthquake striking the island. Initially, several gas and mud eruption sites suddenly appeared along a reactivated fault system and within weeks several villages were submerged by boiling mud. The most prominent eruption site was named Lusi.
To date Lusi is still active and erupting gas, water, mud and clasts. Despite the work done, still many unanswered questions remain.
The objective with this project is to use the newly born and currently ongoing Lusi eruption to better understand the processes ongoing in the eruption conduit, and to understand the interaction between seismicity, faulting and magmatic volcanism.
Grant holder: Professor Adriano Mazzini
Project duration: 1 January 2013 - 31 December 2018