2 BRIC group leaders awarded grants from Lundbeck Foundation – University of Copenhagen

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08 February 2016

2 BRIC group leaders awarded grants from Lundbeck Foundation

GRANTS

For BRIC Group Leaders Anders H. Lund and Anja Groth, Christmas 2015 became merrier than expected due to extra Christmas presents in the form of research grants from Lundbeck Foundation.

Caught in translation – targeting disease ribosomes

Professor, Group Leader, Professor Anders H. Lund received 9.998.000,00 DKK for the project Caught in translation - targeting disease ribosomes. The project, which is in collaboration with Professor Henrik Nielsen and Professor Fredrik Björkling from the Faculty of Health, aims to discover candidate drugs targeting post-transcriptionally modified ribosomes in human disease:

- Protein synthesis is a tightly regulated and carefully quality controlled process. However, translation is aberrant in many human diseases, such as neurological disorders and cancers. This is underscored by the strong impact of key oncogenes on ribosomal biogenesis and translational fidelity and by the deregulation of ribosome subunits and biogenesis factors in cancer and other diseases. Ribosome biogenesis and function is affected by nucleotide modifications of the ribosomal RNA. We postulate here the presence of “disease ribosomes” uniquely modified to sustain disease progression though altered mRNA selectivity and translational fidelity. We further speculate that small molecule drugs analogous to several currently used antibiotics may be exploited to selectively target these ribosomes, says Anders H. Lund

How to Copy Cell Identity - Defining Mechanisms of Cellular Memory

Group Leader, professor Anja Groth received 9.998.000,00 DKK for the project How to Copy Cell Identity - Defining Mechanisms of Cellular Memory, a project which aims to unravel molecular mechanisms controlling cellular memory in proliferating cells:

- The ability of cells to acquire specialized functions and maintain this identity upon cell division is critical during development, for tissue renewal in the adult organism and avoidance of complex diseases including neurological disorders and cancer. Cellular identity is defined by epigenetic information that controls gene expression. Epigenetic information is passed on to daughter cells during proliferation, but is also sufficiently plastic to allow transitions in transcription patterns during development. This epigenetic plasticity is key in generation pluripotent stem cells for therapy, but also underlying accumulation of epigenetic lesions in disease and aging. Thus, a major challenge for biomedical research is to identify mechanisms that control cellular memory and plasticity. In this project, we will combine quantitative proteomics with machine learning approaches and analysis of somatic cell reprogramming to understand how the cell cycle governs cellular memory, says Anja Groth