The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded a Starting Grant to Prof. Gerard Roelfes of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. The ERC Starting Grant is a prestigious European research grant for scientists conducting innovative research. Prof. Roelfes will receive EUR 1.4 million over the course of five years, which will enable him to appoint three PhD students. His research into “Modular assembly of DNA-based systems; bio-inspired artificial allosteric assemblies” combines organic chemistry and biochemistry.
The research will focus on artificial allosterically controlled enzymes: proteins responding to changes in their environment by increasing or decreasing their activity. They are created by attaching DNA fragments to them. This makes them recognize and bind small molecules thus changing the proteins structure. They subsequently increase or decrease their activity.
This research may lead to biomedical applications. It can be used in systems that autonomously detect cell abnormalities and repair the damage.
With the XS grants, NWO strives to encourage curiosity-driven and bold research involving a quick analysis of a promising idea. A special aspect is that the applicants themselves assess the other applications.
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