[AWARD] ERC Consolidator grants: three Lyon projects selected

On The November 24, 2023

The European Research Council (ERC) has just communicated the list of beneficiaries of the 2023 Consolidator grants. The Lyon region has three projects, respectively on epilepsy, on an alternative to harmful polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS), and finally on the diversity of languages.

GIVE-ME-FIVE*: Towards an alternative to harmful polyfluorinated compounds

Bioactive compounds containing fluorine represent almost 20% of agrochemical and pharmaceutical compounds. Trifluoromethyl (CF3) is today one of the most used motifs in research and development because it considerably improves pharmacokinetic properties. The European Union is preparing laws banning the manufacture, use and supply of these polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS) because they are harmful and very dangerous substances.

In this context, scientists turn to the SF5 motif because its physical, chemical or biochemical properties are close to those of CF3, it is harmless and its mineralization does not lead to persistent and toxic substances. Unfortunately, its incorporation into molecules of interest still remains a challenge to overcome. The Give-Me-Five project is seeking new direct methods for synthesizing molecules based on SF5 molecules, using sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), the most powerful greenhouse gas known to date.

Main researcher: Anis Tlili

Institutions involved: Institute of Molecular and Supramolecular Chemistry and Biochemistry - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 / CNRS

LANGUAGE REDUX*: Interdisciplinary research on the evolution of languages and their survival

The LANGUAGE REDUX project will examine whether the regions in which languages survive waves of expansion from other languages have anything in common, and whether we can therefore expect certain types of environments to be conducive to the conservation of ancient linguistic distributions. This would have momentous consequences for historical linguistics, because it would tell us which language families and types of grammatical structures were once more common before great waves of linguistic expansion reconfigured linguistic distributions.

The LANGUAGE REDUX project will combine qualitative and quantitative work on language distributions and linguistic structures, and will also consider genetic data to capture the demographic history underlying language dynamics. As such, it is part of an emerging interdisciplinary research landscape on human prehistory.

Main researcher: Matthias Urban

Institutions involved: Dynamique Du Langage (DDL) research unit – CNRS / Université Lumière Lyon 2

EPIAROUSAL: A path to understanding and treatment for severe epileptic seizures

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases. Several of its complications are associated with sleep, including sudden unexpected death (SUDEP), for which no preventive treatment exists. This results from central apnea induced by a nocturnal convulsive attack. Given the interconnections between brain networks that regulate arousal and breathing, some patients may combine a seizure-related respiratory disorder with chronic impairment of arousal regulation. As the adenosine pathway is involved in the regulation of sleep and respiratory control, its alteration could play a key role in these dysfunctions.

The EPIAROUSAL project will study the interaction between respiratory disorders linked to epilepsy and regulation of arousal as well as the relationship between epilepsy, brainstem adenosine, and respiratory and arousal co-dysfunction, paving the way for treatment to prevent SUDEP.

Main researcher: Sylvain Rheims

Institutions involved: Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre – Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 / Inserm

Read the full press release on the CNRS website (FR)

Plus d’informations sur les bourses ERC Consolidator 2023