There is an urgent need to better understand the basic biology of Clostridium as a prerequisite for both countering the diseases they cause (C.difficile, C.perfringens and C.botulinum), and exploiting their beneficial properties in industry (biofuels by C.acetobutylicum) and medicine (cancer therapy by C.sporogenes). Attainment of this goal is being impeded because: (i) European research efforts are fragmented; (ii) there is no coherence between researchers working on pathogenic species and industrially important strains; (iii) there is a demonstrable (SCF-CT-2005-029958) lack of trained young clostridial researchers; (iv) there is inadequate networking between industry and academia, and; (v) effective exploitation of the amassed clostridial genome data has been precluded by a woeful inadequacy in procedures for gene inactivation. Removal of these impediments cannot be achieved at a national level, but requires the creation of a transnational network of multi-disciplinary experts,active in different scientific sectors. The technical hurdle to progress has now been solved by partner 1, who has developed a highly effective andreproducible gene knock-out system. The remaining hurdles will be overcome by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of research expertise from 7 different EU states drawn from Academia (5), Government (3) and different sectors of Industry (3). A principal focus will be to address the deficiency in critical mass by providing young researchers with world class, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary training in leading scientific and biotechnological skills that have relevance to medical countermeasures against pathogens and the exploitation of non-pathogens in industrial processes and disease intervention. These measures will establish Europe as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for clostridial research, propelling the community to the forefront of the field, eclipsing the efforts of the rest of the world, and in particular the USA and Japan.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeMC-ITN - Networks for Initial Training (ITN)