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
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences