Two KI researchers to receive ERC Consolidator Grants 2017
For 2017, KI researchers Anca Catrina and Olov Andersson have been awarded the Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), and will receive funding of 2 million euros each for a project duration of five years.
After evaluating 2,538 research proposals, the ERC announced on 28 November the awarding of Consolidator Grants that go to 329 top researchers across Europe. The funding, a part of the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total 630 million euro.
Project: Towards prevention of autoimmune diseases: the case of rheumatoid arthritis (PREVENT RA)
The project aims to elucidate the early mechanisms by which systemic autoimmunity, which is triggered by environmental challenges at mucosal sites of genetic susceptible individuals, target the joints to induce chronic inflammation. This will allow efficient identification of RA-susceptible individuals and development of new tools for risk estimation in each of these individuals, as well as novel ways of intervention in order to delay, or in the best case prevent disease development. By shifting the time (to phases before joint inflammation occurs) and the ways of interventions (to drugs targeting early and previously unknown pathogenic mechanisms), expected results from the current project are beyond the current state of the art in RA.
Project: In vivo drug discovery for cellular reprogramming to β-cells – towards a future regenerative therapy for diabetes
Both type 1 and later stages of type 2 diabetes feature a reduction of functional β-cells, a key pathologic event that causes or exacerbates the dysregulation of glucose levels. The project will focus on identifying extracellular factors that can induce cellular reprogramming to β-cells and thereby increase the β-cell mass. First the researchers will screen for factors that can induce cellular reprogramming to β-cells in zebrafish, since it is important to investigate the signaling system in a living organism. Next is a follow up on the hits to assess their translational potential and gain further mechanistic insight into the reprogramming process and hopefully develop better drugs treating diabetes.
ERC Consolidator Grants
The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to twelve years of experience after PhD, and a scientific track record showing great promise. Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU Member States or Assoiated Countries. The funding (maximum of €2 million per grant), is provided for up to five years and mostly covers the employment of researchers and other staff to consolidate the grantees' teams.