Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

FP7

SmArteR Sintesi della relazione

Project ID: 606998
Finanziato nell'ambito di: FP7-PEOPLE
Paese: Netherlands

Periodic Report Summary 1 - SMARTER (Small Artery Remodelling)

Cardiovascular diseases and their associated complications like stroke, heart failure or organ dysfunction currently account for 40% of deaths in Europe and impact significantly on costly long-term health care. Cardiovascular diseases are commonly associated with large vessel atherosclerosis; however, there is accumulating evidence that major disturbances occur in the small arteries that control tissue perfusion. In particular, these vessels undergo extreme reductions in their size and function (small artery remodelling) in hypertension, aging, diabetes, obesity, and a sedentary life style. Yet, despite this societal relevance, there is a marked paucity of research on this aspect of the vascular system. It is therefore necessary to focus efforts on understanding molecular mechanisms of remodelling and how these processes can be diagnosed at an early stage, efficiently treated and ultimately reversed. SmArteR explores new mechanisms and generates new technology for development of cardiovascular therapy that specifically targets small arteries. SmArteR is training young researchers in this field, providing them with the scientific competences and laboratory management and communication skills that will ensure both their individual success and long-term advancement of the field. The fellows are trained in the additional complementary skills needed to establish and lead their own groups in academic and industrial settings in Europe.

Our objectives are:
1. To train ESRs and ERs to become independent researchers and entrepreneurs in small artery remodelling.
2. To increase our understanding of the mechanisms of small artery remodelling.
3. To generate new technology to study small artery remodelling.
4. To integrate the SmArteR academic and industrial partners from different disciplines and complementary expertises.


Work performed:
Hiring and training(objective 1,4): Since the start of SmArteR 12 ESRs and 2 ERs have been hired by the network. One new fellow (ER) will start in M26. All positions are thus filled (2 male, 12 female). Each ESR employed by the network is supervised by one advisor from the host institution, and at least one supervisor from another network partner (see attachment ‘List of mentors’). The Individual Career Development Plan of each fellow has been established between the supervisors and the fellow, based on their qualifications, skills and interest. This Career Development Plan contains details of the training received, complementary skills acquired during their appointment, the description of their research project in the context of the milestones of the network, their achievements, secondments and attendance to conferences, workshops and schools (see attachment ‘Career development plan’). The first secondments were carried out and more secondments are planned in the second reporting period. Further, we organized Summer school 1: (‘State of the Art in small artery research’, hold in month 12), Summer School 2: (‘Experimental approaches in small artery research’) and Summer school 3: (‘Vascular Biology’) and also workshop 1 and 2 (‘Advanced training in matrix biology ‘ and ‘Advanced training in vascular cell signalling ‘).
Management: The management structure has been implemented and is fully active. The coordinator has hired a Project Manager (Ingar Seemann) and has involved a controller (Eugenie Quartier) to support management of SmArteR. The main website of the network is hosted at http://www.smallartery.eu . It describes the structure of the network, the list of participants with contact details, the announcements of the open calls for ESRs and ERs, the network activities and future events organized by the network members, the research objectives and Work Packages and a password protected dedicated platform that is available for communication within the network for planning, reporting of progress, sharing of research protocols, distribution of meeting agendas. We have held three Supervisory Board meetings to discuss secondments, mentoring, training events, distribution of funds, progress of the E(S)R and possibilities for a follow network. The E(S)R held three meetings with rotating chair persons. Minutes were forwarded to the project manager afterwards. Also, we held our kick-off meeting in Berlin (month 7), where Mike Mulvany (chair of the Organization of PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System) gave the lecture “Go for it! Why a PhD should be the path to success”.
The potential impact of the SmArteR project lies in understanding molecular mechanisms of remodelling and how these processes can be diagnosed at an early stage, efficiently treated and ultimately reversed. Also, the project will provide young researchers with the scientific competences and laboratory management and communication skills that will ensure both their individual success and long-term advancement of the field. They will be trained in the additional complementary skills needed to establish and lead their own groups in academic, clinical or industrial settings, in any European country.

Research: All fellows are actively performing research. Work of all fellows has been presented at scientific meetings and published in abstract form, while several full papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals and many more are in the pipeline. There are no fundamental modifications of the research plans, with the exception of the work of one of the ESR, whose project was redefined for strategic reasons. The main results achieved so far include (WP1-3: objective 2,4; WP 4: objective 3,4):
WP1: novel insight into the role of several factors and signaling pathways with therapeutic potential in small artery remodeling. WP2: better understanding of function of endothelial and smooth muscle cells, of stem cell differentiation to vascular cells and of organization of extracellular structures. WP3: new candidate genes resulting from a large vascular gene expression analysis in hypertension, insight into role of vasculature in brain interstitial homeostasis, unraveling of ion channel physiology in remodeling, better understanding of cerebral autoregulation in hypertension. WP4: Progress in the valorization of in vitro small artery technology in two SME, including better protocols for tissue handling and demonstration of proof of principle for new technology.
Impact: Dissemination of results so far includes high impact cardiovascular journals, with additional attention in the form of editorials in the major journals and in lay magazines. Outreach to specific targets (general, students, patient groups etc) is beginning to start now that the first scientific results are becoming available.

Expected final results:
- A wealth of new information on molecular, cellular and physiological processes involved in regulation of small artery structure and function in health and disease, expanding future therapeutic options
- Valorization of part of our work in terms of novel technology and services in the cardiovascular domain.
- A better appreciation in the field of the role of small arteries, versus atherosclerosis in main arteries, in cardiovascular disease and end organ damage.
- A network of well-trained young scientists that is able to continue and expand research and development on small arteries in academia and industry (objective 4).

Contatto

Eugenie Quartier, (Financial officer)
Tel.: +31 20 5666188
E-mail

Argomenti

Life Sciences
Numero di registrazione: 183855 / Ultimo aggiornamento: 2016-06-13
Fonte d'informazione: SESAM