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University of Liège

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280 Projects, page 1 of 56
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 798109
    Overall Budget: 160,465 EURFunder Contribution: 160,465 EUR
    Partners: University of Liège

    Mind-wandering (MW) is the occurrence of thoughts that are decoupled from immediate perceptual inputs and unrelated to the activity at hand. MW represents a substantial part of our daily thinking time and it has substantial negative effects on reading, memory, and the ability to focus attention. At the same time, MW can enhance creativity and afford opportunities to plan for the future. However, most of what we currently know about MW comes from laboratory studies where the tasks from which the mind wanders are simple, boring, repetitive, and do not reflect the richness of daily life events. A limited body of research using experience sampling gives a coarse-grained characterization of MW in real-life situations, but this approach cannot measure the detailed behavioral structure of MW, or its neural correlates, to reveal underlying mechanisms. To overcome this barrier, we will leverage new advances in methods to study naturalistic event comprehension in the laboratory. We will adopt a multi-method approach that will combine (i) validated event cognition tasks that involve the viewing of movies of naturalistic everyday activities with (ii) state-of-the-art techniques to measure the behavioral, physiological, and neural correlates of MW. Study 1 will use eye-tracking to determine whether and how the event structure of naturalistic activities affects the perceptual decoupling component of MW. Study 2 will examine how the structure of everyday activities can modulate the content of MW episodes. Finally, Study 3 will use functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how the neural correlates of MW are modulated by the event structure of everyday activities. Together, these studies will provide the foundations for a detailed account of MW in naturalistic settings, laying the basis for future interventions aimed at helping individuals to capitalize on the benefits of MW in their daily life while minimizing the associated costs.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 301519
    Partners: University of Liège
  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 647197
    Overall Budget: 2,367,060 EURFunder Contribution: 2,367,060 EUR
    Partners: University of Liège

    Heart valve prostheses are currently among the most widely used cardiovascular devices. To maintain enduring optimal biomechanical properties, the mechanical prostheses, based on carbon, metallic and polymeric components, require permanent anticoagulation, which often leads to adverse reactions, i.e. higher risks of thromboembolism, hemorrhage, and hemolysis. Continuing advances in heart valve prosthesis design and in techniques for implantation have improved the survival length and quality of life of patients who receive these devices. In an ongoing effort to develop a more durable and biocompatible heart valve prosthesis, researchers have used a variety of techniques to determine the suitability of given valve materials for a given implant application. In recent years, advances in polymer science have given rise to new ways of improving artificial cardiovascular devices biostability and hemocompatibility. To date, no polymer coated mechanical prosthetic heart valve exists. The present research project aims to improve the hemocompatibility and long-term in vivo performance of mechanical prosthetic heart valves by reducing contact-induced thrombosis through bioactive polymer prosthetic valve surface coating. These new coated prosthetic heart valves will be designed for hemodynamic performance and durability similar to uncoated materials, combined with a greater thromboresistance, both in vitro and in animal studies. With these promising advances, bioactive surface coated prosthetic heart valves could replace previous generation of prosthetic valves in the near future. The utmost perspective of the current project paves the way for the development of new bioactive coating for other implantable cardiovascular devices or materials.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 272247
    Partners: University of Liège
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 839178
    Overall Budget: 178,320 EURFunder Contribution: 178,320 EUR
    Partners: University of Liège

    During adolescence, the brain undergoes intense maturation, particularly in the frontal areas. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is implicated in executive functions, and its immaturity in adolescents is associated with increased impulsivity and heightened vulnerability to deleterious effects of drugs. Alcohol is the most consumed drug among adolescents, and its excessive consumption profoundly impairs PFC function, leading to long-lasting defective behaviors, psychological problems and neurocognitive defects. However, the precise mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced alterations in PFC maturation remain poorly understood. Alcohol addiction is considered being a maladaptive form of learning and memory, as alcohol usurps the molecular mechanisms underlying those processes, such as long-lasting synaptic plasticity. Long-lasting changes in the strength of synaptic connections mainly depend on the local translation of mRNAs at synaptic sites. It has been shown that alcohol modifies synaptic proteins composition by modulating the activity of key translation regulators, such as mTORC1 and eIF2α, in brain regions associated with the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Here, we propose to analyze the alcohol-dependent modifications of the synaptic translatome of specific neuronal populations (glutamatergic neurons and GABAergic interneurons) in the PFC of adolescent male and female mice, by using a multidisciplinary approach combining biochemistry, imaging, electrophysiology and behavioral tests. This project aims to uncover how alcohol modulates local translation of synaptic proteins in the PFC during adolescence, to identify the targeted synaptic mRNAs and analyze their involvement in altered synaptic plasticity underlying alcohol-dependent defective behaviors. In addition, this project aims at identifying the differential sensibility to alcohol’s effects between males and females as well as the differences in behavioral consequences.

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