Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Three new ERC Grants for young Tübingen Max Planck scientists

18.09.2012
Fulvia Bono, Wolfram Antonin and Michael Hothorn receive competitive European research funding

Fulvia Bono, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, as well as Wolfram Antonin and Michael Hothorn, both Max Planck research group leaders at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen, will each be awarded a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC).

For the realization of their project ideas evaluated as scientifically excellent, the three scientists will each receive up to 1.5 million Euros over the next five years. ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders at an early stage of their career to conduct independent research in Europe.

According to the ERC, 800 million Euros will be spend to award 536 researchers in Europe Starting Grants this year. 4,741 scientists Europe-wide had applied for the highly funded grants that are awarded for scientifically excellent research proposals. ERC Starting Grants represent a personal distinction for the individual scientist and provide funding for up to 5 years. This year’s awards highlight the scientific excellence of the entire Tübingen Max Planck Campus: Including 2010 ERC Starting Grant recipients Gáspár Jékely and Richard Neher from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, five of the 13 independent young research group leaders at the MPI for Developmental Biology and the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory are now funded by ERC Starting Grants.

Since 2011, Fulvia Bono has been leading an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. She investigates the role of the intracellular transport of macromolecules in the regulation of gene expression. With the funds from the ERC Starting Grant she will extend her research to include the study of the crucial role that the correct messenger RNA (mRNA) localization in the cell cytoplasm plays during animal development, in the maintenance of cell polarity and in nervous system function.

Messenger RNA is combined with certain proteins to form particles, the so-called mRNP complexes. In the fruit fly Drosophila, the localization of these complexes determines the formation of the embryo’s body axis. Fulvia Bono wants to understand the function of the mRNP systems at a mechanistic level and gain deeper insight into the connection between genes and outer appearance of organisms.

With the ERC Grant she will recruit several new members for her research group. “With the expanded resources of the ERC grant, I can accept some more scientific challenges I could not have thought of otherwise,” she says. Fulvia Bono received her PhD from the University of Pavia in 2000 and continued her research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg for five years. From 2008 to 2011, she was a project leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

Wolfram Antonin has been a Max Planck research group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory since 2006. His main research topic is the breakdown of the nuclear envelope, which separates the nucleus with the DNA from cell cytoplasm, in the process of cell division and its reassembly after formation of the daughter cells. With the ERC Starting Grant he will be able to start an additional project with several new team members and pursue his interest in DNA decondensation.

During cell division, the DNA has to be contracted up to 50 times in the chromosomes to a transport form. After the formation of the new daughter cells, the DNA is unpacked again for transcription and replication. Wolfram Antonin had noticed that, while the packing of the DNA is a well-studied process, little is known of DNA decondensation. “It is possible,” the scientist says, “that DNA decondensation is a passive process, as if a clip around the DNA thread is released and the DNA just relaxes.” However, initial experiments hint at an active process. Wolfram Antonin wants to investigate this process and the proteins involved.

“This is a high-risk research project, since we cannot say anything about the outcome. This is special about the ERC grants, that the sponsor trusts the skills of the scientists themselves and funds promising project ideas,” he says. Wolfram Antonin obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in 2001. After receiving post-doctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, he joined the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in 2006.

Since the beginning of 2012, Michael Hothorn has been building up his Max Planck research group at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory. His research field is structural plant biology; he investigates signaling pathways in plant cells. With the funding from the ERC Starting Grant he will be able to start an additional project on the search for the enzyme responsible for the assembly of phosphate polymers in plant cells. The corresponding enzyme in bacteria has been known for a long time, yet it does not exist in the cells of higher organized organisms, like plants or mammals. “The function of the phosphate polymers is enigmatic,” the scientist says. “It has been suggested that they are used to store phosphate in plant cells and tissues.” The project may, in the future, have applications in crop science, as, at present, many crop species require the application of phosphate fertilizers.
“Without the ERC Grant, I could not afford a project of this size and kind. The sparse results from our first experiments would not have been sufficient for the usual ways of obtaining research funding. The prospect of our high-risk project is to find out something fundamentally new, yet the risk is to receive detached data we are not able to connect,” the scientist says. After obtaining his PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg in 2006, Michael Hothorn carried out research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla before joining the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in 2011.

Contact:
Dr. Fulvia Bono
Phone: + 49 7071 601- 1367
E-mail: fulvia.bono(at)tuebingen.mpg.de

Dr. Wolfram Antonin
Phone: +49 7071 601- 836
E-mail: wolfram.antonin(at)tuebingen.mpg.de

Dr. Michael Hothorn
Phone: +49 7071 601- 823
E-mail: michael.hothorn(at)tuebingen.mpg.de

Janna Eberhardt | idw
Further information:
http://www.tuebingen.mpg.de

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht Ultrasound Connects
13.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Improving the understanding of death receptor functions in cells
07.11.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>