The European Research Council (ERC) has earmarked some EUR 2.5 million to fund research being conducted by neuroscientist Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch at the Mainz University Medical Center. His work focuses on the role played by so-called bioactive lipids in the brain that assumingly impair signal transmission at cerebral synapses, which act as 'switching stations' in the brain.
It is thus important to gain insight into the molecular and cellular mechanisms as well as into the structure of the molecules involved. In addition, Nitsch aims to study the functional consequences in the brain caused by changes to these molecules. "Once we have the necessary knowledge, it may be possible to find strategies to help us modify these signaling pathways. Assuming we are successful, it may also be possible to develop pharmaceutical preparations that can be used in people with mental health disorders," said Nitsch, who is also Coordinator of the Research Unit Translational Neurosciences (FTN) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
The highly promising work that Nitsch has already undertaken jointly with his colleagues at the FTN indicates that this research goal may well be attainable. Pilot studies in humans have demonstrated that brain function is disturbed in the presence of mutation of the genes responsible for encoding modulators of the signaling pathways of bioactive lipids. Such disturbances to network homeostasis, i.e., the balance between inhibition and excitation in the brain, also occur in patients with mental illnesses. According to Nitsch, research into the signaling pathways of bioactive lipids is also highly relevant to understanding cardiovascular disorders and the development of tumors.
"The award of an ERC Advanced Grant to Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch once again demonstrates impressively the success of the appointment policy employed by the Mainz University Medical Center," emphasized the Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center, Professor Dr. Dr. Reinhard Urban. In 2009, he managed to persuade Nitsch, who was born in Leverkusen, to leave Berlin's Charité University Hospital and to come to work in Mainz.
In November 2010, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz decided to adopt a focused strategic scientific approach to its work in neuroscience and established the Research Unit Translational Neurosciences (FTN). "This achievement is confirmation of the academic prominence enjoyed by Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch in the field of neuroscience," stated Professor Dr. Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "Moreover, this success also confirms that our strategy of forming scientific and academic research units at our university is bearing fruit. We are pleased this additional funding will enable Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch to systematically continue his research activities and the associated profile building."
ERC Advanced grants are awarded to outstanding researchers to enable them to undertake projects considered to be highly speculative due to their innovative approach but which, because of this innovation, can open up new potential opportunities in the field in question. Only researchers with a proven record of significant accomplishments who have successfully worked at the highest international level for at least ten years are eligible to receive a grant. The only criteria considered by the European Research Council when deciding whether to award a grant are the achievements of the researcher in question and the nature of their research project. An ERC grant thus represents recognition of the individual work of the recipient. The ERC Advanced Grant, the European Union's most prestigious research funding award, is comparable in terms of value to the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award, which is the most prestigious German research award.
Scientists at JGU, including the Mainz University Medical Center and the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), have been highly successfully with regard to obtaining sponsorship from the European Research Council (ERC). Since the first round of applications in 2007, they have received 11 research grants from the ERC with a total value of EUR 23 million, consisting of seven Advanced Grants and four Starting Grants for up-and-coming young researchers.
Petra Giegerich | idw
Breakthrough Prize for Kim Nasmyth
04.12.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
The key to chemical transformations
29.11.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering