Dr. Sonja Billerbeck and Dr. Danny Incarnato, both from the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), have been awarded a NWO XS grant worth EUR 50,000. The NWO XS category strives to encourage curiosity-driven and bold research involving a quick analysis of a promising idea. As a pilot, applicants are also an assessor in the XS assessment process.
Dr. Billerbeck will trial the first step of a toxicome-discovery-pipeline that could deliver hundreds of new antifungals. Pathogenic fungi increasingly become resistance to antifungals, threatening human health and food security. Few antifungals are available, as it is challenging to develop new ones. Wild yeast – such as isolates of baker’s yeast and related species - have evolved a large pool of protein antifungals to compete in the environment. The functional diversity of these toxins suggests that they represent a huge arsenal of naturally optimized ways to kill fungi. The toxins’ potential remains untapped, as effective efforts for their biomining are missing.
Dr. Incarnato aims to identify crucial structural elements within the genomes of RNA viruses by studying the structure of coronaviruses’ genomes inside both viral particles and infected host cells. This knowledge can be used for the development of more effective and durable antiviral drugs. RNA viruses constitute one of the greatest threats to humans’ health. Thanks to their ability to rapidly adapt by mutating the sequence of their proteins, they can easily become resistant to traditional pharmaceutical treatments. However, while the sequence of their genomes changes rapidly, the 2D and 3D structures of the genome appears to be more constant.
This round, sixteen applications have been awarded a NWO Open Competition XS grant. The NWO Open XS category strives to encourage curiosity-driven and explorative, out of the box research involving a relatively quick analysis of a promising idea. As a pilot, applicants are also an assessor in the XS assessment process. The maximum funding is 50.000 euros per project.
As coordinator, Kas will receive EUR 1.6 million for his part in the project.
Three researchers from the University of Groningen (UG) have been awarded a Rubicon grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), allowing them to conduct research at a foreign institute of education.
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