Daring research projects are supported by the Volkswagen Foundation with a funding format known as “Experiment!”. Now, Würzburg scientist Dr. Bhupesh Prusty has received one of the coveted grants. Prusty believes that a virus is the trigger for a series of diseases affecting the nervous system.
Scientists with extremely unusual and risky research ideas that may also run counter to conventional thinking struggle these days to obtain money for their projects from the usual funding institutions, such as the German Research Foundation (DFG). So, last year, the Volkswagen Foundation established the funding initiative “Experiment!”.
Since then, the foundation has received 700 applications; only 13 have been approved to date. Now, in the second round, in 2014, a scientist has been awarded one of the few grants. Dr. Bhupesh Prusty is a research associate working under Professor Thomas Rudel, who runs the Department of Microbiology.
Bacteria activate a virus
Prusty believes that he has found a mechanism that might be responsible for the onset of a whole series of disorders of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. In Prusty’s opinion, human herpesvirus 6 might play a key role in this.
According to the normal school of thought, this virus is integrated in the human genome in an inactive state; however, it may be that this is not entirely true. For example, an additional infection with chlamydia, common bacterial pathogens in humans, is enough to activate the virus, as Prusty’s work shows.
Bhupesh Prusty is set to receive EUR 100,000 to spend on substantiating his current initial hypotheses over the coming 18 months to see whether these can be developed into a viable research concept. After that, ideally, he will be able to receive regular funding from the Volkswagen Foundation.
Bhupesh Prusty was born in India, in Raisungura in the state of Odisha, in 1976. He obtained a bachelor’s degree (1996) and master’s degree (1998) from Sambalpur University. He earned a doctorate at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, before joining Professor Harald zur Hausen’s team at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg as a post-doctoral researcher from January 2006 to December 2008. Since January 2009, he has been conducting research under Professor Thomas Rudel at the Department of Microbiology at the University of Würzburg’s Biocenter.
The funding initiative
The funding initiative entitled “Experiment!” supports research projects in science and engineering as well as in the life sciences, including behavioral biology and experimental psychology. It targets “radically new research ideas that fundamentally challenge established knowledge, seek to establish unconventional hypotheses, methodologies, or technologies, or focus on entirely new research approaches,” as the Volkswagen Foundation writes. The initiative funds “fundamentally new research topics with an indefinite outcome” over a limited period of time.
Gunnar Bartsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Portable finger-probe device can successfully measure liver function in potential organ donors
29.05.2015 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Project start: New active substance targeting dreaded hospital pathogens
29.05.2015 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).
Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...
Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.
In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
29.05.2015 | Life Sciences
29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy