Partial or total loss of smell (hyposmia/anosmia) affects 20% of the world's population with adverse effects on quality of life. The Covid pandemic has shown that nearly one in two Covid-positive people worldwide suffers from a loss of smell that in some cases persists. Unlike other sensory systems, there is currently no advanced technology that can partially or fully restore the sense of smell. This interdisciplinary research project will combine nanotechnology, microtechnology, biotechnology, design and mechanics, neurosurgery, clinical olfaction, neuroscience and cognitive psychology. The ultimate goal of the ROSE project is to develop a proof of concept combining miniaturised odour sensors and neural stimulators that will be evaluated in patients with smell disorders.
The ROSE project has received €3 million in European funding from the European Innovation Council's H2020 Pathfinder Pilot programme (formerly known as Horizon 2020 FET-Open). It is coordinated by the CNRS via the Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre (CRNL, CNRS / Inserm / Claude Bernard University Lyon1). It combines the efforts of six other international partners: Politecnico di Milano (Italy), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), University of Thessaloniki (Greece), University of Dresden (Germany), Aryballe (France, Grenoble) and Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA, France, Grenoble). "We are looking forward to the new generation of innovations that the ROSE project will generate to address scientific and social challenges in the field of neuroscience and olfaction in particular," says Moustafa Bensafi, CNRS researcher, member of the CRNL and coordinator of the ROSE project.
Beyond its central objective, the ROSE project will also open up new scientific and technological possibilities for the miniaturisation of affinity sensors, useful for other applications. These include integration into household appliances, R&D and quality control for foods, flavours and fragrances, and new approaches to neural stimulation for neuroscience research.
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