ERC Starting Grant for IBEC researcher Lorenzo Albertazzi and IRB scientist Fran Supek
The European Research Council (ERC) will award its ERC Starting Grants, worth a total of €605 million, to 406 early-career researchers throughout Europe. IBEC researcher Lorenzo Albertazzi and IRB Barcelona researcher Fran Supek at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) are among this year’s awardees by these grants, which reward researchers with 2-7 seven years of experience since completion of the PhD (or equivalent degree), a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal.
The Lorenzo Albertazzi’s project, called NANOSTORM, plans to use super resolution microscopy to examine nanomaterials that have potential as therapies for cancer, and understand their interactions with their target: the diseased cells. Doing so will help identify the key principles that are needed to rationally design the next generation of targeted, super-efficient cancer treatments.
“Nanomaterials have huge potential as cancer therapies, because nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems can identify the molecular markers of a disease very precisely and attack only the pathogenic cell population, leaving the healthy cells alone,” explains Lorenzo Albertazzi, Nanoscopy for Nanomedicine junior group leader at IBEC.
In February 2018, Fran Supek, group leader of the Genome Data Science laboratory at IRB Barcelona, will start a five-year project called “HYPER-INSIGHT”, which has received 1.5 M€ of funding. The aim is to study tumours that have accumulated an unusually high number of mutations — so-called “hypermutators” — to advance our knowledge of cancer biology and find new potential opportunities for personalised cancer therapy.
“The research proposed aims to pick up where the initial wave of tumour genome sequencing studies left off, making the best of the currently available genomic ‘big data’, while complementing it in a targeted manner by our own experiments,” explains Supek.