Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - CALIPSO (Calcium- and light signals in photosynthetic organisms)

CALIPSO (Ca2+ and light signals in photosynthetic organisms) is a genuine interdisciplinary and inter-sectorial research network composed of nine academic research institutions and three industrial partners ( It presents an example of true translational research and training of young researchers in communicating and transferring achievements from different model organisms directly to industrial partners. CALIPSO aims at identifying environmentally triggered regulatory calcium signals and protein phosphorylation events that control photosynthesis and metabolism. CALIPSO partners work with a wide range of different organisms covering the full phylogenetic spectrum from algae to higher plants including economically important crops. They combine a wide spectrum of newest technologies in molecular biology, biochemistry, proteomics, metabolomics, genetics, bioinformatics, and systems biology to uncover how photosynthetic organisms acclimate to changing environmental conditions or stress. This novel combination of scientific expertise combined with industrial applications is one of the major strengths of CALIPSO, exposing the participating researchers to different “schools of thought”.
The active participation of the industrial partners Bayer CropScience, Gent (BE) and Ecoduna, Bruck/L (AT) as full network partners, and Photon Systems Instruments, Drasov (CZ) as associated partner, enables inter-sectorial industry-academia cooperation with the long term objectives of (i) improving yield and stress robustness of crops and (ii) developing microalgal-biotechnology.
The integrated systematic training programme of CALIPSO was designed to boost the future employability of the young researchers by acquisition of technical skills for their work in academia or the private sector and also essential complementary skills for their future career. The training programme was completed in the first half of the project and covered three workshops on state-of-the art techniques covering BioImaging and Plant Transformation techniques, Metabolomics, and Proteomics - and one workshop on industrial-relevant skills. This was complemented by secondments to partner laboratories and industry and network-wide training events in further complementary skills. Moreover, a number of different outreach activities were organized to disseminate activities of CALIPSO to the general public. These activities included participation of several CALIPSO teams at European-wide events such as the “Fascination of Plants Day” or the “European Researcher’s Night” and also publication of articles for the general public and hosting visitors at the participating institutions.
The scientific programme of CALIPSO is composed of four work packages aiming at obtaining an integrative model of acclimation in photosynthetic organisms and translation into crops and biotechnologically relevant alga. Here the researchers apply state-of-the-art technology from various disciplines of life science ranging from molecular biology and genetics (generation of transgenic algae and plants, gene expression analysis), cell biology (protein localization, Ca2+ live cell imaging), biochemistry (kinase/phosphatase assays, proteomics, protein purification), high throughput biology (GC-MS based metabolomics and Mass-western analysis) to bioinformatics (motif and domain identification, network analysis) and evolutional biology (tracing the evolution of key proteins to understand conserved functions across different species). In CALIPSO this is achieved in a collaborative effort within four highly interconnected scientific work packages, complemented by training and management work packages. Most employees of CALIPSO are therefore active within more than one of the four scientific WPs. Now, that they have finished the skill training courses, they can fully concentrate on their projects and build on the first preliminary results obtained. This will be further supported by a number of collaborative efforts that have been established among the participating labs.

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Life Sciences