Three additional ERC Grants for Heidelberg
The European Research Council (ERC) has again awarded highly endowed grants amounting to 5.6 million euros in total to scientists of Heidelberg University. Biochemist Prof. Dr Ed Hurt will receive an ERC Advanced Grant for a project on the origin of ribosomes. Another ERC Advanced Grant goes to a research project of molecular biologist Prof. Dr Bernd Bukau on the development of proteins in cells. The ERC awards the Advanced Grant to established top scientists whose high-risk research projects are blazing new trails in their respective fields. Physicist Prof. Dr Yana Vaynzof will receive an ERC Starting Grant for excellent junior researchers for a project in condensed matter physics. The ERC is funding all three projects for a period of five years.
Ed Hurt teaches and conducts research at the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH). In the ERC-supported research project „Encapsulated Eukaryotic Ribosome Assembly“ he and his team want to study the largely unexplored processes that take place in the initial phase of the manufacture of these cellular protein factories. The research, which is scheduled to begin in 2018, will receive ERC funding of approximately two million euros. The results of the research could contribute to a greater understanding of ribosomopathies – diseases caused by impaired ribosome biogenesis.
Prof. Bukau is director of the Centre for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) and at the same time does research at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ). In the ERC-supported research project “TransFold – Molecular Biology of Nascent Chains: Co-translational Folding and Assembly of Proteins in Eukaryotes” Prof. Bukau and his team are focusing on the process of protein folding. The central question is how a cell can efficiently “fold” amino acid chains into functional proteins with a three-dimensional structure and assemble them to protein complexes. Approximately 2.1 million euros are available to fund the research work, which will start in summer 2017.
Yana Vaynzof is a junior professor at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics and a member of the Centre for Advanced Materials of Heidelberg University. In the ERC-supported research project „Revealing the electronic energy landscape of multi-layered optoelectronic devices“ (ENERGYMAPS) Prof. Vaynzof and her team will address a long-standing question in the field of solution-processed optoelectronics: what is the energetic level alignment in devices consisting of multiple layers? Her project is scheduled to start in September 2017.