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CIVIS has been established as a University that reaches from the local level to the international dimension, focused on responding to local needs, contributing to regional development strategies, and addressing global challenges. The development of Research and Innovation (R&I), as an integral component of its educational mission, has been part of the CIVIS mission from the very beginning.

It is in this perspective that RIS4CIVIS has been elaborated and now operates. The overall objective is to produce an integrated, long-term R&I Strategy that, will over time enable the constituent members of the CIVIS European University to seamlessly integrate their know-how, expertise, and resources in the service of Research and Innovation that effectively addresses current and future societal challenges, at local, regional and international level.

As part of the activities developed to reach this objective, the Cups&Cakes meetings aim to create a discussion forum for researchers to connect and get an overview of what is happening in other partner universities on a specific topic. In the longer term, these exchanges also aim to foster exchanges and develop potential collaborations within the CIVIS Alliance

These Cups&Cakes will be scheduled for one hour and will consist of two phases:

  • A 40-minutes presentation of current research work chosen by the speaker (including a 5-minute introduction of general expertise and work in progress within the university on the topic of interest).
  • Open discussion of about 20 minutes.

These meetings will take place on Mondays every two weeks from 10h00 to 11h00. Each partner University, in turn, will have the opportunity to present to the CIVIS Community a subject of their research.

Monday 27 September 2021, 10.00-11.00 CET

Mesenchymal cells (MCs) refer to a variety of cell types, most commonly tissue fibroblasts and mesenchymal stromal cells, which form tissue microenvironments, mediate tissue structure and function and regulate immune responses. In the past decade, our lab contributed to the understanding of the causal role played by tissue fibroblasts in immunity, inflammation and cancer. Understanding the cellular heterogeneity and the physiological significance of fibroblasts in the pathophysiology of chronic inflammatory disease and cancer remains a great challenge that promises to introduce novel concepts and therapies for these complex diseases.

Meet the speaker

George Kollias is a Member of the Academy of Athens, Professor and Director of the Department of Physiology (Medical School, UoA), and Associated Researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Research Center "Alexander Fleming" in which he served as President and Director (2002-2010 and 2017-2020). He has pioneered genetic approaches to study the function of cytokine signalling in animal models of human diseases such as chronic inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer. His lab provided proof of principle preclinical studies that led to the development of anti-TNF therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis. In 2014 he was awarded an Advanced ERC Grant to study the role of mesenchymal cells in intestinal epithelial and immunological homeostasis.


As this event is only offered to the CIVIS Community, please contact Julie Hyzewicz for more information and to register. 

Monday 13 September 2021, 10.00-11.00 CET

The Bolin Centre is a multi-disciplinary consortium of over 400 scientists in Sweden that conduct research and graduate education related to the Earth´s climate.

The Bolin Centre focuses on extending and disseminating knowledge about the Earth’s natural climate system, climate variations, climate impacting processes, climate modelling, human impact on the climate and climate impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity and human conditions as well as how society can minimize negative impacts.

The centre was formed in 2006 by Stockholm University, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).

The Bolin Centre for Climate Research is named in honour of Professor Bert Bolin of Stockholm University, a leader in climate and carbon cycle research and one of the founders of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Meet the speakers

Gustaf Hugelius is a senior lecturer at the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University. He is co-lead of the research area Biogeochemical cycles and climate at the Bolin Centre of Climate Research. Gustaf’s main scientific interest is the role of soils in the global carbon cycle. He has particularly worked with quantifying and characterizing stocks of organic carbon stored in permafrost and peatlands of Arctic and Boreal ecosystems. Read more about Gustaf Hugelius

Ilona Riipinen is a professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University, and member of the Bolin Centre of Climate Research. Her research focuses on understanding the sources, sinks and evolution of atmospheric aerosol particles and their interactions with clouds, climate and human health. Ilona’s current focus is largely on the interactions between aerosol particles and the atmospheric gas phase, in particular the formation and effects of atmospheric organic aerosol and thus the feedback between ecosystems, human activities and climate. Read more about Ilona Riipinen

Alasdair Skelton is a geologist researching on climate at (and is also co-director of) the Bolin Centre for Climate Research. His other research interests include earthquake forecasting, geochemistry and petrology. He is perspectives editor for Journal of Petrology. He is heavily engaged in public outreach. He has also educated tens of thousands of students at all levels from kindergarten to university about geology and climate. Read more about Alasdair Skelton

Pär Brännström is project manager for RIS4CIVIS at Stockholm University.

Magnus Atterfors is a communicator at the Bolin Centre for Climate Research.


As this event is only offered to the CIVIS Community, please contact Julie Hyzewicz for more information and to register.


10:00-10:05  Pär Brännström – Welcome to RIS4CIVIS

10:05-10:10  Magnus Atterfors – Introduction to the Bolin Centre for Climate Research

10:10-10:25  Science talk by Gustaf Hugelius - Management and Climate Vulnerability of Arctic Wetlands

10:25-10:40  Science talk by Ilona Riipinen - Aerosols, clouds, air quality and climate

10:40-11:00  Science talk by Alasdair Skelton – Lockdown measures which reduced emissions with no loss to quality of life

There will be time for questions during each science talk.

Watch the video

Presentation abstract

Numerous studies from the last decade have shed light on the fact that microbiota is not just a collection of microorganisms that inhabit us, but a pivotal player for our health. Imbalances in the microbiota (also known as dysbiosis) are triggered by a multitude of factors including diet, pathological conditions (i.e.,diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer etc.), antibiotic intake, infections, stress and other environmental factors. In this talk, I will present experimental evidence for the role of microbiota in protecting against enteric infection, the impact of Western diet on microbiome and infection susceptibility as well as insights into the microbiome patterns in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Meet the speaker

Gratiela (Pircalabioru) Gradisteanu  graduated from University of Bucharest, Faculty of Biology with a Bachelor Degree in Biochemistry (2009) and holds a Master’s Degree in  Microbial Biotechnology and Genetics (2011). She started her research career in 2011 as a Research Assistant at Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland. She holds a PhD in Infection Biology (School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland, 2015). Her PhD thesis(Role of NADPH oxidases in gut mucosal immunity). describes 2 new animal models in the field of redox biology

Since 2016, she is a Research Fellow at ICUB (Research Institute of University of Bucharest) and has been actively involved in several national and international projects as project director: Composite hydrogels based on inorganic nanoparticles and collagen with prolonged antimicrobial activity for the prevention of wound infections (2016-2018), Knowledge transfer in polymers used for biomedical engineering (2018-2019), ManuNet Horizon 2020- New textiles for parietal defects (2019-2021), Advanced techniques for early SARS-CoV2 detection (2020-2021), Type 2 Diabetes: a multi-omic view on host NAPH oxidases and gut microbiota (2021-2023).

Main research focuses:  microbiome changes in diabetes and metabolic syndrome, in vivo and ex-vivo investigation of host-pathogen crosstalk during the infectious process, oxidative stress in health and disease, assessment of the antimicrobial activity of novel antimicrobial compounds, biomaterials and tissue engineering, SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic and omic technologies.

Speaker affiliation

Research Institute of University of Bucharest (ICUB) | Institutul de cercetare al UB – UniBuc

Information and registration

  • Monday 12 July 2021, 10:00-11:00 CET
  • Registration: as this event is only offered to the CIVIS Community, please contact Julie Hyzewicz or Alexandru Cartis for more information.

Watch the video

Presentation Abstract

Cholangiocarcinoma is considered one of the deadliest cancers and its incidence is increasing constantly and dramatically in Europe. Although cholangiocarcinoma subtypes share common features, there are important inter- and intra-tumour variability. Cholangiocarcinoma heterogeneity has limited the development of tools for early diagnosis and effective treatment. European Cholangiocarcinoma Network aimed to dissect the heterogeneity of cholangiocarcinoma and to conduct correlation studies among multiple registries of data which investigate different aspects of this malignancy. In particular, registries of clinical, histological, radiological, and molecular data are under construction and will be the solid basis for unprecedented correlation studies necessary for a profound knowledge of the paramount heterogeneity of this malignancy which is considered the main obstacle for an effective precision and personalized medicine.

Meet the speaker

Vincenzo Cardinale PhotoVincenzo Cardinale MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Gastroenterology at Sapienza University of Rome. In 2005 he graduated in Medicine and Surgery at Sapienza University of Rome, under the mentorship of Prof. Domenico Alvaro, who continue mentor him. He discovered stem/progenitor cell niches in biliary tree and studied their role in regeneration, liver diseases, diabetes, and malignancies. Following his investigations biliary research has been revisited. His pioneering studies have been recognized and confirmed in multidisciplinary settings delivering advances in primary sclerosing cholangitis, cholangiocarcinoma, non-anastomotic biliary strictures, and biliary diseases with pancreatic counterparts. His investigations on niches of stem/progenitor cells in biliary tree, pancreas and duodenum open ground-breaking perspectives in regenerative medicine. Dr. Cardinale is currently coordinating a pan-European network to fight cholangiocarcinoma.

Speaker Affiliations

  • Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Clinical Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, Umberto I Policlinico of Rome
  • Research Lab., Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Umberto I Policlinico of Rome, Viale dell’Università 37, 00185 Rome, Italy

Programme overview

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The CreA-Patrimoine , a brief presentation (Prof. Athena Tsingarida.)

The CreA-Patrimoine of ULB is a leading Research Centre in the fields of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. It is part of the Department of History, Arts and Archaeology of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences and brings together a vibrant and dynamic community of people, including academics, research fellows, technical staff and PhD students committed into innovative research and teaching. The Centre is engaged with the archaeology of most regions of the world, from Eurasia to Africa, the Americas and the Mediterranean area and most periods of the past, with further expertise in Cultural Heritage both nationally and internationally. It organizes fieldwork training for the students in archaeology at ULB, leads international research programs and is engaged in a wide variety of educational projects. A brief presentation of the Centre will provide the audience of CIVIS with an overview of the main on-going research programs and the areas of expertise of its members. 

The PANORAMA platform (ULB) : a tool for the 3D valorization of heritage (Sebastien Clerbois)

Recognized by ULB since 2016, PANORAMA (platform for the acquisition and digitization of objects and surveys in architecture, monuments and archaeology) associates three laboratories, the CReA-Patrimoine (Archaeology and Heritage), Alice (Architecture) and the LISA (Engineering). Through selected examples, the communication aims to reveal the added value of digital humanities not only for the valorization but also for the study of heritage.

The excavation and research program of the CreA-Patrimoine (ULB) at the Necropolis of the ancient city of Itanos, East Crete, Greece (Athena Tsingerida)

Since 2011, the CreA-Patrimoine (ULB) under the auspices of the Belgian School at Athens leads excavations in the ancient Necropolis of the city of Itanos. This harbour settlement, located on the East coast of Crete, was founded ca the 9th -8th c. BC following its position on the cross-roads between north and south, east and west, and thanks to its well-protected bay that offers a sanctuary to ships travelling along, recently rediscovered, maritime routes. At least from the Archaic period onwards, the city derived its strength and, most probably, a large part of its income, from maritime traffic. According to Herodotus, it played a role in the Greek colonization of Cyrene (Libya), while, in the Hellenistic period, following later sources and archaeological evidence, it served as a port of call to the Lagids’ network throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

The team of the CreA-Patrimoine, directed by Athena Tsingarida and Didier Viviers, resumed a previous five-year excavations program (1995 -1999)  directed by Didier Viviers in the ancient cemetery of the city under the auspices of the French School at Athens. The excavations brought to light a sector of the cemetery dated from the 7th to the 1st century BC, and yielded a wide variety of funerary monuments and burials from incineration pits to family enclosures. But, most importantly, the research program undertaken so far brought into light a unique funerary complex, dated to the late 7th – late 5th c. B.C., a period considered to be a hiatus in the burial customs and funerary occupation of Crete. The study of the complex which is not completely excavated so far suggests that it was used as a place of worship to the ancestors, where feasting and ritual practices took place in relation with earlier graves, in order to construct both a social identity and a status visibility. Within the new five-year program (2021-2025), fieldwork will continue to complete the excavations of this complex while further excavations will take place North to the funerary building,  in area which seems to have been in use since the early occupation of the site. The new program seeks to undestand the spatial and symbolic relation of the funerary complex with these earlier graves. It further aims to reconstruct the funerary landscape and the social and spatial organization of a necropolis that provides us with a rare and well-preserved case of long-term activity from the 8th to the 1st century BC.  

Approaching the medieval townscape of Brussels : Brussels Archaeological Survey (2017–2021) and Geophysical prospection of the Grand-Place (may 2018) (Paulo Charruadas)

BAS is a multidisciplinary project financed by (the regional public service of Brussels) and carried out by the CReA-Patrimoine under the leading of François Blary. The survey aims at studying with archaeological and historical tools the historical cellars still preserved in the Brussels city centre. The objective of the survey is twofold : on the one hand, we seek to characterize each site under study from chronological, diachronic and material viewpoint in order to get a dating as precise as possible, a typology and in a final step to elaborate a scientific inventory ; on the other hand, and because the cellars are less involved with transformations in their material structure, we direct our attention on all information given by the material remains about the medieval urban fabric. The combination of both approaches allows a dive into the medieval townscape.

To complement the project, BAS team has undertaken in may 2018, through practical collaboration with two teams of France and Italy, a geophysical survey with latest technologies of the Grand-Place’s esplanade to obtain a precise picture of the archaeological substructures existing under the pavement and bearing witness of the ancient form the market square and the central districts of the medieval Brussels.


About the speakers

Professor Athena Tsingarida holds degrees in Classical Archaeology and Byzantine Studies from the Université libre de Bruxelles(ULB) and obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford (Wolfson College) where she studied as a Cecil Rhodes Scholar. She is Professor of Ancient Greek Archaeology and History of Art at ULB, Brussels. She was a Senior Associate Member at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2006-2007), a T.B.L. Webster Fellow at UCL, London (2014-2015), and was recently awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at Merton College (University of Oxford) to undertake research during the 1st term of 2021-2022.

A specialist of Archaic and Classical Greece, her research mainly lies in the fields of ancient Greek pottery, cultural interactions throughout the Mediterranean world and reception of Classical Art in 19th-century Europe. She co-directed several international research programs in these fields, and recently completed a joined research project with Professor Irene Lemos (Oxford) entitled «Collective rituals and the construction of social identity in Early Greece (12th -6th c. BC) ». Among other subjects, she also undertook a study on 19th-century British and Belgian collections of antiquities in a joined research with Prof. Donna Kurtz (University of Oxford).  A field archaeologist, she led excavations and field study in Greece (Siphnos and Crete) and Syria (Apamea). She is currently co-directing (with Didier Viviers) the excavations, restoration works and study seasons in Itanos (Eastern Crete).


Sébastien Clerbois is an archaeologist and art historian. He is a member of PANORAMA and Co-Director of the CReA-Patrimoine. He is currently participating in a research program on the archaeological occupation of the Straits of Bonifacio (Corsica, FR).




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Paulo Charruadas (ULB, PhD history, art and archaeology, 2008) is a researcher at the Centre de Recherche en Archéologie et Patrimoine at ULB. After studying the socioeconomic relationships between Brussels and its countryside in the Middle Ages, his work has been centred on building archaeology, architectural heritage and the material history of Brussels. He is currently engaged in the research project Brussels Archaeological Survey (BAS), aiming to study the ancient cellars (from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century) still preserved in the Brussels Capital Region.



Information and registration

  • Monday 14 June, 2021 - 10:00-11:00 CET
  • Registration: as this event is only offered to the CIVIS Community, please contact Julie Hyzewicz for more information.

 Presentation abstract

The Earth’s surface is modulated by fascinating interactions between climate, tectonics, and biota. These interactions are manifested over diverse temporal and spatial scales ranging from seconds to millions of years, and microns to thousands of kilometers, respectively. Investigations into Earth surface shaping by biota have gained growing attention over the last decades and are a research frontier. Examples of the scales of biotic interactions with surface processes range from microbial and fungal consumption of mineral surfaces over short temporal and small spatial scales, to vegetation interactions with climate, sedimentation and erosion over time scales of hours (individual storms) to millennia (global climate change), and spatial scales of centi-  to kilometers (encompassing individual plants to catchment scale biomes). In this lecture, I present an integration of research activities and opportunities related to this topic with an emphasis on processes spanning from human to geologic timescales. This lecture is intended for a general audience of viewers.

About the speaker

Todd Ehlers is Professor of Geosciences at the University of Tübingen, Germany.
His research interests are in the interactions between climate, tectonics, surface processes, and biota as applied to the evolution of Earth’s topography. 
His research involves an integration of field and geochemical observations with physics-based models of landscape evolution, plate tectonics, dynamic vegetation modelling, and climate. Professor Ehlers is the speaker for the German priority research program EarthShape (Earth Surface Shaping by Biota), an elected member of Academia Europaea, and a recipient of the European Geosciences Union Bagnold Medal.

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 Presentation abstract

Soils are valuable ecosystems that support biomass and food production and make life on earth possible. The soil uppermost layers are colonized by small-sized communities formed mainly by cyanobacteria, lichens, and bryophytes that are essential for maintaining healthy and fully functional soils.

However, the spatial distribution of the soil cover communities and their ecosystem functions as well as their responses to climate are largely unknown.

In this talk, we will present the main results of the citizen science project SoilSkin that is focused on engaging non-professional volunteers in the collection of data on biological soil cover at a regional scale.

More about the speakers

  • Nagore G. Medina is an Associate Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. In her PhD she studied the organization of moss communities across scales, developing novel approaches that allow the simultaneous analysis of the multiple drivers of biodiversity. She has also worked on different aspects of plant functional and community ecology and biogeography at Imperial College London and the universities of Northern Arizona, Lisbon, and South Bohemia (Czech Republic). Currently, she leads SoilSkin, a citizen science project investigating the climatic dependence and vulnerability to climate change of biological soil covers, and SCENIC, a coordinated project on the scaling of biodiversity organization, both in collaboration between the UAM and the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid (MNCN-CSIC). 
  • André Mira obtained his MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, where he later worked as a research fellow in the ERC project COMPCOM. He is currently starting his PhD at MNCN-CSIC and UAM, and also collaborating with SoilSkin project.

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 Presentation abstract

Advances in molecular genetics and imaging have allowed for the dissection of neuronal connectivity with unprecedented detail while in vivo recordings are providing much-needed clues as to how sensory, motor, and cognitive function is encoded in neuronal firing. However, bridging the gap between the cellular and behavioral levels ultimately requires an understanding of the functional organization of the underlying neuronal circuits. In this talk, I will present experimental evidence for the existence of hub neurons, cells critically contributing to the maturation of functional cortical circuits during brain development.

More about the speaker

Rosa Cossart, INMED (INSERM U1249), Aix-Marseille Université, Turing Center for Living Systems, NeuroMarseille Institute

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