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Two ERC Consolidator Grants for excellent research work

07.02.2014
Two up-and-coming researchers from Tuebingen, Germany, have been awarded ERC Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council ERC.

This year the highly esteemed grants go to Dr. Felicity Jones, Max Planck Research Group Leader from the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society, and Dr. Remco Sprangers, Independent Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

The ERC Grants are one of the most coveted awards among European researchers. Each year the ERC supports excellent young research talents of any nationality to develop an independent career in Europe. The promising candidates must have at least seven years of experience since completion of their PhD.

Dr. Felicity Jones
Being originally from Australia, the young scientist is awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant for her project investigating how recombination of genes and chromosomes influence adaptive evolution processes. Jones and her team members study the genetics of adaptation and speciation of threespine stickleback fish, which also live in the home waters around Tuebingen. Up till now relatively little is known about factors controlling this process and their importance in individual fitness, survival, adaptation, and evolution. Meiotic recombination is the technical term and describes a fundamental biological process that shuffles the genetic variation that is passed from parents to offspring. “We borrow a lot of tricks and tips from the departments of the MPI for Developmental Biology and the FML. This makes these institutes a really exiting place for evolutionary genetics and genomics,” confirms Jones. The prize money of two million Euros will be used in the next five years for the expansion of her research group, including new PhD and postdoctoral positions. In addition, the researchers will use state-of-the art genomic sequencing technology.
Dr. Remco Sprangers
The scientific project leader at the MPI for Developmental Biology spends his research time studying mRNA or messenger RNA decay. Sprangers, who is originally from the Netherlands, and his team will provide a very detailed and accurate description of how essential and central molecular processes in mRNA degradation are regulated and modulated. The scientists will also use NMR spectroscopy to follow how enzymes engage in a network of interactions that regulate the mRNA degradation process. “The level of detail we aim to achieve is currently not available for any cellular pathway of such complexity,” says Sprangers. His aim is to provide knowledge and methodology required to study additional and complex cellular functions.

The Friedrich Miescher Laboratory (FML) of the Max Planck Society is now home to three ERC funded research groups. Currently there are five research groups working at the FML.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.fml.tuebingen.mpg.de/jones-group.html
http://www.eb.tuebingen.mpg.de/research/research-groups/remco-sprangers.html

Nadja Winter | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://eb.mpg.de

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