Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MetaRNA Report Summary

Project ID: 642738
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MetaRNA (RNA-based technologies for single-cell metabolite analysis)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Metabolism is the foundation of all living organisms. While cells in a population are often phenotypically different, most of our current analytical approaches still probe metabolism only at the population level. Because strong evidence exists that metabolic cell-to-cell heterogeneity has, for instance, disease relevance, researcher from MetaRNA will overcome this severe analytical limitation through exploiting exciting opportunities emerging from the RNA field. Such synergy potential between the metabolism and RNA research fields has until today not been exploited, because they are separated from each other in Europe and worldwide. Through consequently missing research training programs we thus lack experts with combined knowledge in metabolism and RNA. The aim of the MetaRNA proposal is therefore to establish a European Training Network (ETN) that educates specialists for academia and industry - fully trained at the interface of these two fields - in the development and application of RNA-based sensors to investigate metabolism at the single-cell level, to apply these tools for novel biotechnological applications and to provide a framework for their future use in diagnostics and therapeutics. In MetaRNA, eight research groups from the metabolic and RNA fields and six partners from the private sector join forces to create a platform of mobility and training to 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs), by means of customized research projects, exchange of knowhow among researchers and partners, attendance to specialized courses, workshops and conferences, as well as training in complementary skills.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the reporting period, 15 ESRs were trained in the field of metabolism and RNA biology. Training consisted of (i) research training in specialized laboratories, (ii) research courses and transferable skill courses organized by the network, and (iii) courses at the beneficiary sites. In terms of results, MetaRNA ESRs are investigating complex metabolic behavior, for which it is ultimately necessary to zoom into metabolism of individual cells. In order to be able to visualize the levels of intracellular metabolites in individual cells, other ESRs have are developing RNA-based molecular sensors, for which a number of new methods and approaches are being developed. Finally, other ESRs exploit molecular sensors for biotechnological applications. Overall, important steps have been made to train young researchers at the interface between metabolism and RNA-biology, equally well equipped to work in academic or industrial research environments.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Each of the 15 ESRs has pushed the state of the art in the respective research area. New interactions and collaborations between MetaRNA partners have been initiated, with the potential to deliver new insights, methods and applications. The expected socio-economic impact of the MetaRNA ITN is to enhance the attractiveness of a career in front-line academic and industrial research, to provide academic and private-sector employers with researchers skilled in a wide range of techniques and methods, and to produce researchers with excellent transferable skills and able to transform abstract and challenging ideas into influential and practical outcomes, at the interface between the fields of metabolism and RNA in the near and mid-term future.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top