The European Research Council (ERC) awards four types of grants to researchers employed at European universities:
With the new ERC grant, Andersen will be able to refine the techniques for creating these nanostructures, and his major objective is to investigate how to develop RNA origami from a process taking place in a test tube to a process taking place within living cells.
Assistant Professor Bjørn Panyella Pedersen focuses on two aspects of human food ingestion. He and his new research group at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics will initially study how the body absorbs cholesterol from the small intestine. In large amounts, cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular diseases, but it is absolutely essential in moderate amounts for a well-functioning body. Absorption of cholesterol into the body’s circulation takes place in the small intestine, aided by a protein called NPC1L1.
Professor Torben Heick Jensen carries out research in a field that covers the regulation and quality control of gene expression at both the DNA and RNA level. During the last decade, his research group has contributed to mapping molecular mechanisms that help classify the genetic expression of human cells in useful products, and in products that must be quickly removed to avoid pathological conditions. The basic scientific approach to this research is therefore immediately relevant to biomedicine.
The ERC grant gives Professor Stougaard the opportunity to study other aspects of the plant cell's ability to absorb bacteria or, alternatively, to fight the bacteria causing diseases in plants. Since the signals involved in plant recognition of microorganisms are extremely complex, it will be necessary to take an interdisciplinary approach to the project involving genetics, biochemistry, structural biology, bioorganic chemistry and nano-biotechnologies.
In the longer term, the results from the project are expected to contribute to the biotechnological exploitation of the symbiosis between microbes and plants in a more sustainable agriculture. They could also open up opportunities to produce plants with improved disease resistance.
Prof. Poul Nissen holds an ERC Advanced Grant "Higher Structure and Function of Biomembranes" (BIOMEMOS) under the section for "Life Sciences and Medicine". The BIOMEMOS project investigates the function of biomembranes at the level of protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions as studied by hybrid approaches in structural biology.