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ERC grants

The European Research Council (ERC) awards four types of grants to researchers employed at European universities:

  • Starting Grants (StG) are awarded to highly talented, promising young researchers with two up to seven years experience after completing their PhD. Up to EUR 1,5 million is granted for   ground-breaking research projects for a five-year period.
  • Consolidater Grants (CoG) are awarded to highly talented, promising young research leaders with 7 up to 12 years of experience after completing their PhD.  Up to EUR 2,0 million is granted for ground-breaking research projects for a five-year period.
  • Advanced Grants (AdG) are awarded to exceptional research leaders who have already produced outstanding research results. Up to EUR 2.5 million is granted for ground-breaking research projects for a five-year period.
  • Proof of Concept (PoC) are awarded to existing ERC Grant holders in order to establish the innovations potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded grant, which must be either ongoing, or the project must have ended less than 12 months before the publication date of an ERC Proof of Concept call. The maximum funding per grant is € 150.000 for a 12 months period.

List of recipients of ERC grants at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics:

Projekt: identification and characterization of the genes behind the interaction between plant roots and soil bacteria

The hypothesis of the project is that the intercellular infection mechanism used by certain rhizobia bacteria is an evolutionary development of already existing mechanisms that regulate plant root interaction with the endophytic bacteria living within the root of plants - in both legumes and non-legumes. The hope is to uncover both the plant and bacterial genetics - and the biochemical processor that controls these common mechanisms - by characterizing the unexplored intercellular mode of infection in the legume Lotus japonicus.  

Ebbe Sloth Andersen

Project: RNA Origami – RNA-protein Nanostructure for Synthetic Biology

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.

Sadegh Nabavi

Sadegh Nabavi

Group Leader, Associate Professor

Project: Memory formation and consolidation

Sadegh Nabavi's ERC Starting Grant will be used for research into memory formation to answer the fundamental questions on why some memories last and some are soon lost.

Bjørn Panyella Pedersen

Project: Mechanisms behind cholesterol and sugar uptake

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.

Torben Heick Jensen

Project: EURECA - Eukaryotic Regulated RNA Catabolism

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.

Projekt: CASINO - Carbohydrate signals controlling nodulation

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.

Project: BIOMEMOS - Higher order structure and function of biomembranes

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.