Aston University | LZH Laser Zentrum Hannover E.V. | Universitat de Barcelona |ICFO- The Institute of Photonic Sciences | Axol Bioscience Ltd. | Kite Innovation (Europe) Ltd

Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce. Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years. The University is consistently ranked in the UK’s top 40 universities confirming its place amongst the elite. The Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), is one of the largest photonic groups in UK, an internationally leading research centre in the field of lasers, fibre-optics, high-speed optical communications and nonlinear photonic technologies. AIPT has an impressive portfolio of grant funding, industrial and international collaborations, spin-out companies, highly cited research papers and patents in the field. The Institute has facilities and infrastructures that are ideally suited for research and training activities across different subject boundaries. The Institute is well funded from a range of funding bodies including EPSRC, EU, UK Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust and UK and international industry. The Institute has also a strong record in training post-docs and PhD students. The Optoelectronics and Biomedical Photonics Group (OBPG) part of the AIPT is currently focused on photonics and nano-materials, with an emphasis on the interface between these research areas and the growing life sciences research at the University. The OBPG conducts cutting-edge experimental research in a wide variety of compact semiconductor, fibre and solid-state lasers, non-linear optics, nanostructured materials, ultrafast optics, THz generation and Biophotonics. The group currently receives support from the EPSRC (UK), the EU (see below), Technology Strategy Board and industrial collaborators. The School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS) has a wide spectrum of neuroscience research ranging from in vitro and in vivo disease studies (Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s), the characterisation of human stem cell derived neural networks to human brain imaging studies in the recently built Wellcome funded Aston Brain Centre. Research in the School is supported by a mix of, grant council (BBSRC, EPSRC NC3R’s), charitable (ARUK, Royal Society, The HRT) and industrial funding.

LZH Laser Zentrum Hannover E.V. (LZH)

The Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) (150 employees) is one of the leading research organizations in Germany in the fields of laser development, material processing, laser medicine, and laser-based nanotechnologies. Its main task is to support applied research in laser technologies on a non-profit basis. The main emphasis of the LZH is the development of advanced laser technologies and knowledge transfer for/to the industrial environment. The LZH participates in many EU and national R&D projects. The advanced laser technologies developed at the LZH are transferred to industry through industrial projects and contracts with companies or in the form of start-up companies. During the last three years 6 spin-off companies have been started by the LZH co-workers. Find out more here.

LZH is actively involved in investigations and applications of femtosecond laser material processing technologies. LZH and other groups have established that femtosecond lasers are excellent tools for microstructuring of nearly all kinds of solid materials. This has allowed the development of technologies for the fabrication of micro and submicron-structures with very high precision and reproducibility using compact femtosecond laser systems. At the LZH, three-dimensional micro-structuring of photosensitive materials using 2PP technique has been developed. Many applications of this technology for the fabrication of microoptical components, waveguides, photonic crystals, microfluidic systems, plasmonic devices, tissue engineering scaffolds, biomedical implants, etc. have been demonstrated.

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

Founded in 1450, the University of Barcelona is the leading university in Catalan and falls within the best 100 universities of the world. The UB campus shapes, within the ‘Barcelona Knowledge Campus’, one of the most important cores for high-quality teaching and multidisciplinary research in Europe. The University has important bonds with automotive, pharmacological and biomedical industry, and ranks number one in Spanish patents.

The Physics Department is the leading department in research and publications within the university, with research covering areas from fundamental and high energy physics to applied sciences and biophysics. Jordi Soriano’s research group (‘Neurophysics group‘) was created in 2008 to establish an interdisciplinary research group that combines experiments with theoretical and computational modelling to advance in the understanding of neuronal circuits. The group employs neuronal cultures as core model system, and uses multi-neuron calcium imaging to simultaneously monitor the dynamics of thousands of neurons. In association with the research group of Jordi Alberch (‘Neuroscience Institute’), current investigations cover the in vitro modelling of neuronal disorders such as Huntington or Parkinson, and the combination of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) with pharmacological action to regenerate dysfunctional neuronal circuits.

ICFO- The Institute of Photonic Sciences

ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences was created in 2002 by the regional government of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia. The Institute was launched with the mission to become a world-leading research center in Photonics. ICFO currently hosts more than 3250 researchers organized in 23 research groups working in 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories, equipped with the latest experimental facilities and supported by a range of cutting-edge facilities for nanofabrication, characterization, imaging and engineering. The Institute is located in a specially designed, 14.000 m2-building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. ICFO currently hosts 12 ICREA Research professors, 194 European Research Council projects and 6 Fundacio Cellex Barcelona Nest Fellows. The institute consistently appears in top worldwide positions in international rankings measuring research excellence. On the industrial side, ICFO participates actively in the European Technological Platform Photonics21 and is also very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities and spin-off creation. The centre participates in incubator activities and seeks to attract venture capital investment. ICFO hosts an active Corporate Liaison Programme that aims at creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers. To date, ICFO has helped create 5 start-up companies.

The SLN lab at ICFO will contribute to the project based on the expertise in a wide range of imaging techniques. The expertise of the SLN lab goes from the high and super resolution level: STED, Confocal (resonant and spectral), Raman, multiphoton (TPEF, SHG, THG) and light sheet (linear and nonlinear). The SLN focuses on performing R&D on high-end-microscopes. Thus all the available microscopes have been modified to give additional imaging capabilities not found in state-of-the-art commercial devices. These may come from the use of i) novel laser sources, ii) the introduction of new nonlinear contrast agents, iii) the use of advance photonics instrumentation (deformable mirrors, wavefront sensors, spatial light modulators), iv) incorporation of multimodal setups, v) design of new algorithms and data processing protocols for obtaining new information from the sample, etc. All these technologies have allowed us to visualize faster and deeper inside tissue, with less aberrations, in a less invasive way, and in general, have allowed the extracting of information from samples, which would otherwise not be available. In addition to this, and particularly in light sheet microscopy (but also in other techniques such as confocal and multiphoton), the SLN has a vast experience in unifying and combining different imaging modalities in the linear and nonlinear regimes and with different illumination schemes.

Axol Bioscience Ltd (AXOL)

Axol Bioscience was founded to fulfil the unmet demand for high quality, clinically relevant induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cells for use in biomedical research and drug discovery.

Cerebral cortical neurons are implicated in numerous neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, autism, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke. Despite growing support for research in these areas, high quality human in vitro cell models of cortical neurophysiology have been unavailable until now. We apply cutting-edge stem cell technologies to generate high quality human cell culture systems. Axol has led the launch of their technology with a focus on providing iPSC-derived human neurons derived from healthy donors and Alzheimer’s disease patients. We also offer iPSC-derived cerebral cortical neurons from Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and ALS patients. Additionally, we provide iPSC-derived cell types such as dopaminergic neurons, astrocytes, and endothelial colony forming cells, which in co-culture with our neural cells could be used to model the blood-brain barrier.

Axol are able to produce iPSC-derived human cells in industrial quantities without batch-to-batch variation thus enabling researchers to have access to reliable tools in which to perform their studies. We provide the cells and all the supporting culture reagents, which have been optimised for use with the cells, saving time and resources in the lab. Furthermore, our dedicated specialists are available to share their expertise, aid in study planning and facilitate the adaptation of the cells in your experimental systems.

Kite Innovation (Europe) Ltd (KITE)

KITE Innovation was established in 2006 to help bridge the gap between the academic and business sectors in supporting collaboration, enterprise, and knowledge-based business development. KITE provides hands-on practical support to all types of initiative in this business space. As an intermediary operating in the market space between business and academia, KITE interact with many R&D based businesses as well Universities and Research Institutes.

In particular expertise in the management of FP7 and H2020 projects is offered to organisations that are coordinating projects. H2020 Project Management Support services cover all the management and reporting requirements of the Commission allowing the coordinator to focus on leading the scientific and research aspects of the project. All project managers possess scientific research backgrounds, and are trained in project management as well as H2020 requirements, ensuring that they can provide informed support in a wide variety of projects. In addition to the project management services, Kite specializes in coordinating Exploitation Planning activities at the project level. It does so by utilizing its specifically developed Exploitation Matrix (SQUADRON™) which is a tool supporting the development of an IP exploitation strategy which aligns projects results and deliverables to the demands and opportunities of the market.

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