Dr. Sonja Billerbeck of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB) has received an Open Competition Science-M grant from the NWO worth EUR 358,000. The grant is for her project ‘Decoding the functional diversity of the yeast killer toxicome by CRISPRi in the multi-drug resistant fungal pathogen Candida glabrata’. M-grants are intended for innovative, high quality, fundamental research and / or studies involving matters of scientific urgency.
Sonja Billerbeck aims to develop a functional genomics workflow able to effectively elucidate how so-called yeast killer toxins kill fungal pathogens and how different their killing strategies are. In recent research, she already biomined more than ten toxins active against the multi-drug resistant human fungal pathogen C. glabrata.
Fungal pathogens are an emerging threat to human health and food security. Very few fungicides are available, and resistance to these is rising. It is a long-standing challenge to develop new antifungals. Billerbeck hopes to find a new approach to antifungal development that can either be used to develop drugs that mimic the toxin’s action, or use the toxins themselves as drugs.
M-grants are intended for realizing curiosity-driven, fundamental research of high quality and/or scientific urgency. The M-grant offers researchers the possibility to elaborate creative and risky ideas and to realise scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.
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