Active Centers of Excellence
The Center investigates dynamic processes at the molecular level in multicellular organisms and aims to uncover universal principles behind them.
Key questions essential to DynaMo are
- to understand how cellular components, within the crowded cellular milieu, with high coordination and precision are assembled in supramolecular complexes undertaking specific tasks, such as RNA and metabolite-mediated regulation.
- to understand how cellular components are able to ‘read’ the signposts of the organism and find their way to the final destination.
As model system DynaMo uses the plant Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) and its defense metabolites, glucosinolates; a unique systems biology model given its extensive bioinformatic and genomic tools. Ultimately, the Center expects to understand how higher order of structure in biology is obtained which enables a multicellular organism to function, and to sense and respond to the environment.
CML aims to establish a cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for the study of medieval literature from a fully European perspective. To this day, medieval texts are largely studied within the framework defined by 19th romanticism: divided into research disciplines, theoretical positions and nationalizing canons which marginalize common European features and which impose a modern concept of literature. Methodologically, CML will promote comparisons between literatures from all of Europe – including texts written in the supra-national “holy” languages Latin, Greek, Arabic and Hebrew. With the emphasis on comparison and methodological development, CML will challenge modern literary theory’s neglect of textual production and understanding before the advent of print. Focus on the social universe of medieval texts, rather than their significance as political documents or the origins of national literatures, will shape CML’s integrated international and interdisciplinary approaches to literary cultures.
Center for Vitamins and Vaccines (CVIVA) aims to document that vaccines and vitamins affect the immune system in a much more general way than previously thought. Studies conducted in Guinea-Bissau and other low-income countries with high pressure of infections have shown that measles vaccine and BCG reduce the risk of dying, not just from measles and tuberculosis, but also from other infectious diseases. However, some vaccines may have negative effects on the immune system and vitamins may amplify both positive and negative effects. We have named these effects “non-specific effects”. The non-specific effects are often different for boys and girls. The findings indicate that vaccines may have much greater impact on child mortality, and unfold a whole new understanding of the immune system; like the brain the immune system is affected by early experiences and transfers these experiences to other challenges. The findings also suggest that we may have to treat boys and girls differently to give them equal opportunities.
Copenhagen Center for Glycomics (CCG) explores the saccharide chains – complex carbohydrates – that cover the surface of our proteins and cells. Complex carbohydrates of cells – the glycome – are often regarded as the third language of life after the genome and the proteome. Defects in the glycome are a major cause of hereditary diseases. The glycome is produced by over 200 enzymes and mutations in their genes lead to defects in the glycome. The center explores and maps these genes with new enzymatic technologies to turn on and off genes and identify causes of disease. Complex carbohydrates are essential for fundamental cellular processes, and changes in the glycome are involved in e.g. metabolic diseases and cancers. We develop new methods to detect mutations and the changes these infer the glycome and cellular processes. Insight into the glycome may lead to new diagnostic tools and better-targeted drugs and vaccines.
The Centre investigates stars and planets orbiting them, based on observations and theoretical models. Extensive observations are obtained from the NASA Kepler satellite, and further exquisite data will result from the Danish-led SONG network of telescopes that is being established. The purpose is to understand the structure and evolution of stars and planetary systems, and to investigate the conditions for possible life on the surface of the planets. The stellar properties are characterized on the basis of observations of ‘star quakes’, i.e., oscillations detected in the stellar luminosity or the motion of the stellar surface. These observations are combined with detailed theoretical models of stellar evolution. Planetary systems outside the solar system can be studied by measuring the radial velocity or using the so-called transit technique, observing the reduction in the light from a star when a planet passes in front of it. Other observations can be used to characterize the planetary atmospheres. Based on this one can also simulate in the laboratory the conditions for life on the planets. In addition to scientists from Aarhus University the Centre involves 5 internationally leading groups with complementary expertise.
iCourts explores the proliferation of international courts over the last decades and its causes and consequences. The center is particularly focused on the role of international courts in a globalizing legal order and their impact on politics and society. What can be observed is a striking trend towards establishing international courts in major areas of human and political life: the economy, in terms of global trade regulation; freedom, in terms of international human rights; and punishment, in terms of international criminal law. And all enforced by specialized international courts. These are areas of regulation once essentially associated with the state and national policy. Now, they are increasingly the subject of global regulation and the jurisdiction of an ever growing number of international courts. iCourts’ research will be focused on these critical questions of current – and future – international law and society.
The Center for Geomicrobiology studies the interactions between microorganisms and geochemical processes in Earth’s largest ecosystem – the deep biosphere. A large fraction of our planet’s microorganisms live deep down in the sea bed, a dark world buried thousands or millions of years ago. Over geological time, the collective activity of these microorganisms has a major impact on the chemistry of the oceans and the climate on Earth.
The deep biosphere is however an unexplored world where almost all organisms remain unknown and are only identified by genetic signatures. It is also a world with an extremely low energy supply, where life develops in slow motion and the generation times of individual microorganisms span hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This life is therefore essentially different from life in the surface world. The Center for Geomicrobiology develops new single-cell methods to analyze the metabolism and genetic diversity of the microorganisms and to understand their function in the global element cycles and how life may subsists under extreme energy limitation.
Graphene – a two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal pattern – has a combination of unique properties: it conducts electricity like a good metal but is nevertheless transparent; it is hard as a diamond and stronger than steel, and, finally, even the smallest atoms cannot penetrate through it. Graphene is an ideal platform for numerous investigations in basic science. In addition to the scientific interest these, properties imply a huge potential for future applications, such as nanoelectronics, ultrasensitive sensors, quantum information technology, optics and nanobiotechnology. In order to fully exploit these ideas it is necessary to nanostructure graphene, e.g. by fabricating regular nanoscale perforations. Using these structures one can attain a better control of electrical and thermal currents, as well as optical and chemical properties. CNG’s goal is to bring these theoretical concepts into reality: we intend to fabricate these structures, analyze their properties with different experimental techniques, and using detailed theoretical modeling reach a thorough physical understanding of their properties.
The Center’s long term perspective is to create a new generation of components whose functionality is based on advanced graphene technology. In parallel we will educate a new generation of scientists and engineers with a thorough understanding of this cross-disciplinary research area, to the benefit of our future society. We have dreams of revolutionary applications such as parallelized DNA sequencing or solid-state implementations of qubits.
Financial frictions are costs or impediments to financial transactions due to, for example, varying ease by which financial assets are traded (their liquidity), transactions costs, borrowing constraints, credit risk, capital requirements for financial institutions, and asymmetric information among market participants. The center will analyze theoretically and empirically the impact of financial frictions on the prices of financial assets, on economic development and on the design and regulation of financial markets.
The Center for Quantum Devices studies how to create, control, measure, and protect quantum coherence and entanglement in solid-state electronic devices.
The miniaturization and scaling of modern electronics, yielding billions of transistors on a chip, has a quantum analog in which quantum states of transistors are made to interact, and hence become entangled, with the specificity of a computer algorithm.
The general power of such a device to communicate, compute, measure, and simulate physical and chemical systems is unknown. From known examples where entanglement serves as a resource, one can expect rich and surprising phenomena to emerge from such a device, reflecting the large space of quantum states compared to the number of classical states.
Once entanglement is brought under control and becomes a resource, the technological harvest has the potential to revolutionize communication, information processing, and simulation of quantum mechanical systems from novel superconducting materials to biomolecules.
In large areas of the Arctic permafrost is thawing due to global warming. This affects the interactions between microorganisms, plants and the soil environment. Center for Permafrost (CENPERM) at Copenhagen University focuses on permafrost thawing in Greenland.
19 million km2 of the Arctic are covered with permafrost; soil frozen for at least two consecutive years. Permafrost stores almost half of all global soil carbon and thawing will affect microbial decomposition of the enormous amounts of organic matter. During decomposition carbon dioxide and methane among other gasses are released to the atmosphere, potentially increasing global warming.
CENPERM takes a multidisciplinary approach and investigates the biological, geographical and physical effects of permafrost thawing in Greenland – in the short and the long term. Our investigations combine field experiments in Greenland under extreme conditions with experiments under controlled conditions in the laboratory, and will provide new insight into the complex interactions between microorganisms, plants and soil when permafrost thaws.
Research at the Center for Materials Crystallography aims at increasing the understanding of the molecular interactions that govern the structure of crystalline materials, and thereby to understand their physical and chemical properties laws of nature that are responsible for arranging the basic atomic structure of solid materials. For example, there will be a focus on the structure of magnetic crystals irradiated with UV light, so-called photo-excited structures, with a view to developing new materials for storing data. Another project is concerned with making “live” recordings of the way nanocrystals are formed and grow out of a chemical reaction. This will aid the design of functional nanomaterials for such things as solar cells, the batteries of the future, thermoelectric materials, fuel cells and catalysts. The scientists also hope to improve our understanding of the way molecules interact when they spontaneously form organised structures – the so-called self-assembly phenomenon. And much more.
The goal of the Centre for Symmetry and Deformation is to understand the mathematics behind symmetry and deformation.
Symmetry is one of the most fundamental notions in nature: In physics it gives rise to conservation laws, in chemistry it determines the structure of molecules, and in evolutionary biology, as well as other aspects of life, it often underlies the notion of “beauty”.
The symmetries of a geometric object are however not stable under deformation: Whereas a perfectly round sphere has all rotational and reflectional symmetries, deforming the sphere slightly destroys these symmetries.
The centre aims to reconcile this, combining the mathematical disciplines of group theory and homotopy theory, including non-commutative theory, in a novel way, to study symmetry deformation-invariantly.
The Centre for Symmetry and Deformation is based at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and is headed by Professor Jesper Grodal.
Center On Autobiographical Memory Research – CON AMORE – is hosted by the Department of Psychology, Aarhus University and directed by Professor Dorthe Berntsen.
Autobiographical memory is the ability to remember events from the personal past and imagine possible events in the personal future.
The aim is to study autobiographical memory from a biological to a cultural level, from infants to old people, in healthy people as well as in clinical disorders.
Key projects are:
- The examination of voluntary and involuntary autobiographical memory
- The study of cultural-cognitive structures in the organization of subjective time
- The study of the development of autobiographical memory in infancy and childhood, in relation to language development and cultural schemata for time
- The study of dysfunctional effects of autobiographical memory in prominent clinical disorders, notably involuntary remembering of stressful events in PTSD, and impaired autobiographical memory in traumatic brain injury
The Discovery center for particle physics explores fundamental questions in particle physics and cosmology, such as:
- How was the universe created (which inflation scenario played out in the first split second? What happened during the quark-gluon plasma era?)
- What is the source of the mass spectrum of fundamental particles of matter and forces?
- How do we reconcile particle physics with the existence of dark matter?
The center is via its members “shareholder” in two new international instruments which will provide extraordinary insights into these questions. These are ESAs PLANCK satellite and CERNs LHC accelerator.
The center is a joint venture of the experimental and theoretical particle physics groups at the Niels Bohr Institute.
As far as we know, our solar system is unique. It could, in principle, be the only planetary system in the universe to harbor life. As such, attempting to reconstruct its history is one of the most fundamental pursuits in the natural sciences. But the breadth of expertise required to develop a unified model of solar system formation is not available within any individual field of universe science. A complete understanding of solar system formation can only be achieved through synergistic interactions between the fields cosmochemistry, astrophysics and astronomy.
The goal of the center is to provide observational and theoretical constraints that will help unravel the early history of our solar system. The hope is to understand the circumstances that allowed for the formation of the terrestrial planets in our solar system, including the preservation of water worlds like Earth, where life has been thriving for nearly 4 billion years. The objectives will be achieved by integrating high-precision isotope studies of meteorites with stellar evolution theory, astrophysical models and astronomical observations.
QGM has an exhaustive focus on the mathematical models for quantum field theories. The ambition is to create a mathematical ground for some of the physicist’s quantum field theories – and thereby reach a step deeper into the understanding of the universe.
Albeit the earth will not be destroyed when the particle accelerator at CERN begins producing proton beams, there is no precise mathematical definition of the particle physics standard model which predicts the experimental results. By utilizing quantum geometry of various moduli spaces QGM studies the properties of similar theories which has a complete and precise mathematical definition.
The pivotal aspect of the researchers work is precisely quantum geometry based on quantifications from geometrical methods, with moduli spaces as the geometrical key objects. The studies of three-dimensional spaces have moreover applications in correlation with the research in protein folding within the field of biology.
Ancient DNA research has progressed from the retrieval of short fragments of DNA from bones to large-scale studies of ancient populations, past ecosystems and even whole nuclear genomic sequences. The Center for Geogenetics has positioned itself in the technological forefront of all this. By sequencing the Saqqaq genome AGE were the first to map the complete nuclear genome from an ancient human.
Through a multidisciplinary team, novel methodologies and the access to highly unique specimens and sampling sites, the center intend to re-address some of the most highly debated scientific topics in the past decades – carefully chosen in a strong belief, that ancient DNA research can provide fundamentally new insight. Or even shift current paradigms. The topics concern the early peopling of the Americas, Late Quaternary megafauna extinctions, human migrations into the Arctic northern extremes as well as climate and environmental changes in the polar regions.
The overall goal is to use theoretical expertise and supercomputers to exploit experimental results to positively contribute to the next big leap in particle physics: “Uncovering the Origin of Mass of all elementary particles”. The center will also contribute in other equally relevant quests: the understanding of the phase diagram of strongly interacting theories and the origin of bright and dark matter in the universe.
The center is designed to cover the strategic areas of research orbiting around the “Origin of Mass” problem which is the “trait d’union” among them:
- Electroweak Symmetry Breaking
- Dark Matter
- Flavour and CP Physics
- Strong Interactions
The Centre for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease (PUMPKIN) focuses on the structure and function of P-type ATPases – a large family of membrane pumps found in all forms of life. The center builds on a long-standing research tradition following the initial findings and break-through studies on the sodium-potassium pump by Nobel laureate Jens Chr. Skou.
PUMPKIN integrates several approaches ranging from molecular to physiological studies – structure-function studies of pumps lead to new ideas of their role in systems biology and physiology, while disease-oriented research inquires the pathophysiology of ion pumps at a molecular level. A major breakthrough was obtained in December 2007 with three parallel publications and a cover feature in the journal Nature on structure and function of the sodium-potassium pump, the calcium pump, and the proton pump.
Entrepeneurship derived from PUMPKIN research has lead to the succesful drug discovery start-up Pcovery (www.pcovery.com). Outreach activities include popular science communication, arts, and school teaching.
Computers pervade all parts of human activity and our society has become very “data driven”. We are increasingly expecting to be able to access and process massive datasets anywhere at any time, and scientific and commercial applications are increasingly processing massive amounts of data. However, the increasing dataset sizes have also exposed inadequacies of existing software – often available data is not fully utilized simply because it cannot be processed fast enough. One reason for this is that the problem solving methods – the algorithms – implemented in the software are not adequate in modern massive data applications. One main problem is that traditional algorithms theory does not adequately model modern diverse computing devises. The goal of MADALGO is to remedy this situation by advancing fundamental algorithms theory in the area of massive data processing, while also being a catalyst for multidisciplinary collaboration on commercial and scientific massive dataset problems.
The build-up of greenhouse gases is dramatically changing Earth’s climate. It is intensively debated whether projected increases in global temperatures will melt the Greenland ice sheet and increase sea level by several meters. There is an urgent need to better understand past climate and improve future climate projections.
Ice cores provide a comprehensive history of climate with high resolution and they document the full dynamics of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice system. The vision of the center is to contribute to an improved understanding of the present and past warm interglacial periods by studying ice cores, and developing models to explain observations and predict the ice sheet response to climate change.
The center lead an international effort in cutting-edge climate research, coordinate the drilling of a new deep ice core in Greenland, and make a significant contribution understand the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet and the related sea level rise.
Our hereditary material, the DNA, is packed inside the cell in a structure consisting of DNA wrapped around proteins named histones. The cell controls, which genes are active and which are inactive. This can happen by modifying the histones and thereby change the packing of the DNA. Since the modification of the histones may be stabile during several cell divisions this kind of regulation is referred to as epigenetic regulation. Much research has shown that epigenetic regulation is essential for many fundamental, cellular processes such as cell growth and specialisation, and that change in the epigenetic regulation can lead to development of e.g. cancer and diabetes.
The scientists at Centre for Epigenetics aim at a deeper understanding of the epigenetic regulation on molecular and cellular level. At the same time, the scientists attempt to relate their research to our understanding of disease development as well as to preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic initiatives.
Centre for DNA Nanoteknology (CDNA) aims at solving one of the greatest challenges in nanotechnology: to construct devices with nano-scale building blocks. Researchers at CDNA are trying to solve this problem by using Nature’s information molecule, DNA, to assemble nano-scale building blocks. DNA is programmable, and by attaching DNA to the building blocks, they are encoded to self-assemble into the desired structure.
The center studies both fundamental aspects of self-assembly (Science 2008) and self-assembly of very complex systems with up to 500,000 atoms. By use of the so-called DNA origami technique, a DNA box with a controllable lid was assembled (Nature 2009), and it has also been demonstrated that DNA origami can be used to control and image chemical reactions of single molecules (Nature Nanotechnology 2010). The center is interdisciplinary with researchers from chemistry, molecular biology and physics at iNANO, Aarhus University, and it also involves two research groups from USA.
The center is located at Aarhus University and comprises a number of research groups at Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and Leiden University The Netherlands and University of Otago New Zealand. It is the aim and ambition of the center to understand interactions between cells and organisms by investigating the role of polysaccharides exposed on cell surfaces and secreted polysaccharide signal molecules. The interdisciplinary research activities focus on three central themes: a) determination of the structural requirements for recognition of complex polysaccharides and the role of ligand-receptor interactions. b) Identification of novel carbohydrate signals and the use bioinformatics to predict ligand binding-site recognition. c) Characterisation of downstream events involved in defence or symbiosis at both cellular and subcellular levels. Legume plants, together with its microsymbionts as well as zebrafish and its pathogens are used as biological systems for the studies.
The Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Research in Econometric Analysis of Time Series, CREATES, is a research unit at Aarhus University, hosted by the School of Economics and Management. CREATES’ core group of members are based in Aarhus but the center also includes leading researchers of mainly Danish origin who are now affiliated with some of the best universities worldwide, especially in North America. The center has a strong group of local researchers and provides a Danish research base for international researchers affiliated with CREATES.
The purpose of CREATES is to produce top-rated research and PhD candidates within the fields of time series econometrics, financial econometrics and empirical finance. These research areas include a large number of sub-fields including non-linear time series modeling, the analysis of high frequency financial data, forecast models in economics and finance, and the empirical modeling of asset returns and volatility.
The aim of the Centre is to clarify how specific changes in the cardiac signalling pathways can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. The regulation of the cardiac rhythm is inherently very stable. However, electrical instability and arrhythmia can be caused by serious changes in cardiac muscle function as mediated by reduced blood supply, metabolic diseases, drug intoxication or by a mutation in a single gene coding for one of the cardiac signalling proteins. The Centre scientists study these mechanisms in patients as well as in animal models and on isolated cardiac molecules. We focus on unravelling the genetic causes predisposing to the most common form of arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation, and additionally work on the mechanisms behind a number of other forms of arrhythmia. In animal experiments the significance of the salt content of the blood, stress and several new drugs. I cell studies we address the molecular channels between the cardiac muscle cells and in the cell membrane governing the electrical activity of the heart. The scientists specifically investigate the large protein complexes in which the channels participate to obtain a detailed understanding of their molecular function. The Centre has made break-throughs within all these fields in collaboration with leading foreign laboratories.
In the Center for Models of Life, CMOL, methods from physics are used to develop models dealing with computation and communication in biological systems. The center models regulation of living systems with the aim to understand the strategies of gene regulation and dynamics of information transfer along signaling pathways, as well as to unravel the interplay between function and evolution.
In 2005-2015, the Centre for Textile Research (CTR) is focusing on textile history. This is being realised via a substantial research programme, as well as via the research training of young scholars, and a variety of activities connected with textile history involving universities, museums and design schools. CTR organises seminars, conferences and courses in textile history at all academic levels. The centre conducts several textile research programmes that include for example, Danish prehistory, the prehistoric and ancient Mediterranean and the Roman Empire. The aims are to:
- Establish a visible and explicit research profile setting new standards for national and international textile research.
- Explore and consolidate international textile knowledge.
- Achieve new results by conducting research programmes in new fields, and by inspiring scholars to include the area of textiles in their work.
- Address highly relevant issues in contemporary textile research, including research strategies and methods.
Language changes over time. More than 1000 hours of taped material from the last 40 years allows LANCHART researchers to find out how and why.
Recordings of the same person a number of years apart enable us to observe how a 16-year-old school boy from Odder is talking as a 36 year old. This gives us a good indication of how language changes within the same generation.
Research shows that urban language varieties (especially those spoken in Copenhagen) have had an immense influence on language changes throughout Denmark, which makes it plausible to declare the “original” dialects dead.
However, new variation has been added to the Danish language as elements from Turkish, Arabic, Somali and other varieties have been absorbed.
Through ongoing field work, the LANCHART Centre keeps its ears open for any nuances or changes in spoken Danish.
Understanding the dark Universe is the main objective of the Dark Cosmology Centre (DARK). DARK strives to be a dynamic research centre with scientists working closely together on all the central aspects of the dark Universe: what is dark matter and dark energy, when did stars and black holes form, and what is the role of cosmic dust?
There are strong cross-links between the astrophysics of dark matter, dark energy, dark ages, black holes and dust. At DARK research activity takes place in all of these areas, and the centre finds that the synergy between these activities will be important for progress in each of them. The centre primarily uses observations of ‘cosmic lighthouses’ such as gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and clusters of galaxies to ‘illuminate’ the dark Universe.
Observations are carried out with large telescopes such as the ESO Very Large Telescope and the Nordic Optical Telescope on the ground and satellite observatories like Hubble, XMM-Newton, Chandra and Swift in space. In addition, theoretical and numerical studies of dark matter structures aid in understanding their nature and establish how to optimally observe them.
Normally one speaks about three states of matter, the solid crystalline state, the liquid state, and the gas state. There is, however, a fourth state of conventional matter, the glass state, which is solid like crystals, but disordered like liquids.
The glass state is obtained when a liquid is cooled fast enough to avoid crystallization. Glass and Time aims at increasing the scientific understanding of the glass state. Highly viscous liquids and glasses have a number of universal physical properties. Glass and Time focuses on understanding these via measurements of mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. Several of the techniques used have been developed by Glass and Time and are not available elsewhere. Experiments are supplemented by extensive computer simulations. These use software developed in-house since 2008, which operates on existing computer-game graphics cards. The Glass and Time simulation facilities are among the fastest in the research field p.t.
Through the interaction of scientists from a variety of disciplines, the center develops the tools and methods needed to study the oxygen-dependent phenomena that defines and characterizes many of the processes of the world in which we live. Of particular interest is singlet molecular oxygen, which is the lowest excited electronic state of oxygen. This is a reactive species commonly formed in our world of light and oxygen, and it plays a key role in processes that range from polymer degradation to the death of biological cells. A key component of the work with complex heterogeneous systems is not just to understand the role played by oxygen, but to ultimately exert control over the system such as to determine the outcome of a selected process.
The mission of the Center for Insoluble Protein Structures (inSPIN) is to develop and apply new methods for analysis of proteins in insoluble biological structures, including membrane proteins, fibrillating proteins, and extracellular matrix proteins. These proteins consitute about half the proteome of any cell and are involved in essentially all biological functions. The inSPIN research is highly interdisciplinary involving organic chemistry, protein chemistry, biophysics, MD, and NMR spectroscopy with the aim of synthesizing, functionally, and structurally characterize these systems at atomic resolution. The aim is to establish a roadmap of insoluble protein characterization focused on membrane protein with relevance for drug discovery, protein fibrils relevant for dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s and prion diseases, and extracellular matrix proteins with relevance for aging and cancer – with all projects designed to drive the method development and provide fundamental science information.
Regulation and fidelity of gene expression is of paramount importance for the differentiation of all living organisms and to avoid disease states. While attention historically has been focused on the process of gene activation (transcription), recent years have highlighted the importance of gene regulation at the co- and post-transcriptional levels. The output of these processes is the messenger RNA (mRNA) complexed with proteins (mRNP) and the “Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism” is devoted to studying structure/function relationships of mRNP formation, dynamics and quality control. Moreover, an important focus of study is the occurrence, surveillance and putative function of pervasive transcription of eukaryotic genomes. Scientific expertises and available tools within the center produce a framework for the investigation of these issues from the atomic to the cellular level.
CSE addresses general questions about the evolution, structure, and functioning of societies and uses mostly social insects as model systems. All seven research programs are interdisciplinary and use approaches from genetics (DNA analysis), evolutionary theory (specific hypothesis testing), organic chemistry (quantifying recognition compounds), epidemiology (disease pressure in social systems), and microbiology (intimate interactions of insect societies with fungal or bacterial mutualists and parasites).
CSE’s primary objective is to make fundamental science contributions, but research programs also aim to be useful for human society, either by developing angles that are relevant for conservation or sustainable agricultural practice, or interfaces with medical or industrial relevance. All research programs maintain active contacts with the public media via press releases on key publications, and by providing “expert opinions” to journalists on general aspects of social evolution.
The integrity of human genomes is constantly challenged by genotoxic assaults both from the environment and from cellular metabolism. Healthy cells are born with a potential to sense and repair DNA damage and thereby promote survival with healthy genomes. Failure of such mechanisms has serious consequences for human health and can lead to diseases including cancer, premature ageing or neurodegeneration. The key objectives of the Centre for Genotoxic Stress Research include:
- Identification and functional analysis of mechanisms activated by genotoxic stress with emphasis on coordination between DNA repair, cell cycle progression and cell death pathways.
- Elucidation of the physiological responses to DNA damage by real-time imaging in its physiological environment, the nucleus of a living human cell.
- Identification of malfunctions of genotoxic stress responses in human disease and exploiting these results for improving prognostic, predictive, and therapeutical approaches.
Within the Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism we have identified skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ. Our global hypothesis is that contracting skeletal muscles produce and release myokines, which work in a hormone-like fashion, exerting specific endocrine effects on other organs. Other myokines exert their effects locally in the muscle itself. Given that skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the human body, our discovery of contracting muscle as a cytokine producing organ opens for a whole new paradigm: through evolution muscle has played a central role in orchestrating metabolism and functions of other organs. This paradigm provides a conceptual basis, explaining the multiple consequences of a physically inactive life style. If the endocrine function of the muscle is not stimulated through contractions, it will cause malfunction of several organs and tissues of the body as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia. The myokine field has provided a platform for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying e.g. muscle-fat; muscle-liver; muscle-pancreas, and muscle-brain cross talk.
The objective of Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality, called CINF, is to explore and understand the functionality of well-defined nanoparticles on the molecular level. The main focus is to design nanoparticles with specific functionality towards catalytic processes in the area of heterogeneous-, electro-, and photo-catalysis. Today heterogeneous catalysis forms the basis for industrial chemistry, while electro-and photo-catalysis are areas with huge growth potentials in connection with sustainable energy solutions. The investigations are aiming at understanding how shape, structure, size, and composition may influence the functionality such as reactivity and stability for specific processes taking place on surfaces of the nanoparticles. By capitalizing on such fundamental insight is it the hope that we can provide new materials, processes, and solutions that can implemented in future sustainable energy and environmental protection systems.
The Nordic Center for Earth Evolution (NordCEE) aims to understand the relationship between the evolution of life on Earth and the evolution of Earth surface chemistry. The approach is multidisciplinary. The scientists study topics ranging from the ecology and biogeochemistry of modern microbial ecosystems to evidence for changes in atmospheric and ocean chemistry through geologic time. They also explore the evolution of life as a central theme tying many of the studies together. At NORDSEE it is believed that the present is the key to the past, and studies of ancient rocks are based on the knowledge gained from understanding modern systems. NORDSEE is a multi-node Center involving partners from the University of Copenhagen, the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the University of Southern Denmark.
Does the self exist? Is it real or merely an illusion? What is the relation between self and experience? What is the relation between self and others? Can one be a self alone or only as a member of a community? What is the relation between the self and our emotional life and between the self and the values and norms we endorse? What can one learn about the self from studying various forms of self-disorders, for instance those found in schizophrenia? These are the kinds of questions that the Center for Subjectivity Research pursues. In conducting a thematically-oriented interdisciplinary exploration of subjectivity and selfhood, the center also actively seeks to further the dialogue between philosophy and empirical science (in particular psychiatry, but also cognitive science, developmental psychology, and neuroscience), and the integration of different philosophical traditions (in particular phenomenology, hermeneutics and analytical philosophy).
Research field of the Center is Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Science, burgeoning interdisciplinary areas in Natural Sciences. The Center is hosted by the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University with two groups at the University of Aarhus. Director of the Center: Eugene S. Polzik (firstname.lastname@example.org). Other senior scientists: Jan Arlt and Michael Drewsen in Aarhus, and Joerg Helge Müller, Anders Sørensen, and Michael M. Wolf in Copenhagen. Past senior members: Michael Budde and Klaus Mølmer.
- Quantum state engineering, quantum metrology and sensing
- Quantum information science and foundations of quantum mechanics
- Quantum physics with ultra-cold atoms
- Quantum physics with cold and trapped ions.
Physical systems within the Center research interests: photons, atoms and solid state devices.
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