Last week Dr Eugene Berezikov, ERIBA, and Dr Frank Dekker of the University of Groningen were awarded an ERC Starting Grant in the Life Science domain. Just before, Prof. Dr Maria Loi, Dr Ming Cao and Dr Meike Stöhr have been awarded the ERC starting grant in the Physical Science and Engineering domain (see press release).
Total budget granted already: 7,5 M Euro. There are still other proposals under evaluation.
Dr Eugene Berezikov, assistant professor at ERIBA of the UMCG, has been honored for his ERC Starting grant to the maximum financial contribution of the European Union to the project which can be up to 1.5 M Euro for a period of up to 60 months. Berezikov is team leader of the Laboratory of stem cell regulation and mechanisms of regeneration.
Dr Eugene Berezikov studied natural sciences at the Novosibirsk State University (Russia), specializing in molecular biology, and graduated with honors in 1997. He received PhD degree in cell biology from the Institute of Cytology and Genetics (Novosibirsk, Russia) in 2000. For his postdoctoral studies he joined the laboratory of Prof. Ronald Plasterk at Hubrecht Institute, where he developed a method for homologous gene targeting in C. elegans and performed series of works on discovery and characterization of small RNAs and microRNAs in particular. In 2007 he was appointed as a group leader at Hubrecht Institute and started to work with the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. This animal is emerging as a powerful model organism for research on regeneration, stem cell biology and ageing due to its high regeneration capacity, experimental accessibility and amenability to genetic manipulation. In order to investigate regulation of neoblasts - the stem cells of the animal - by small RNAs and other molecular pathways, Berezikov group is developing genomic tools and resources for M. lignano, including de novo genome sequencing and annotation, identification of neoblast markers, transgenics, and forward and reverse genetics methods. E. Berezikov is EMBO Young Investigator from 2010. In 2012 his group will relocate to ERIBA to study relations between stem cells and ageing using Milignano as a model.
Dr Frank Dekker studied pharmacy at the University of Utrecht specializing in medicinal chemistry and graduated in 2000. He received his PhD degree in pharmacy from the University of Utrecht in 2004. For his postdoctoral studies he joined the laboratory of Prof. Dr. H. Waldmann at Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany, where he worked on protein structure similarity clustering (PSSC), the synthesis of a compound collection around the ß-lactone core structure and inhibition studies on different esterases and phosphatases. In 2007 he was appointed as an assistant professor at the department of pharmaceutical gene modulation, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, faculty of Mathematics and Natural sciences, University of Groningen. He established a new research line aimed at the development of small molecule inhibitors of epigenetic enzymes. With the 1.5 M Euro ERC Grant, he aims to develop innovative tools to investigate histone acetylation and to apply these tools for the development of novel inhibitors to suppress inflammation. Frank Dekker recently received as well a VIDI grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).
ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. It will support the creation of excellent new research teams.
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