14. december 2016

ERC Consolidator Grant: Putting the fundamental questions of biology under the microscope

ERC Consolidator Grant

‘New & Old Histones in Epigenetic Cell Memory’ is the title of the ambitious research project whose aim is to focus on fundamental issues in biology. The project is the brainchild of Professor Anja Groth, who has recently been awarded one of the coveted ERC Consolidator Grants.

Putting the fundamental questions of biology under the microscopeIt is a complex, ambitious and important project that Professor Anja Groth will be launching when, backed by her recently awarded ERC Consolidator Grant, she sets out to research the most fundamental biological mechanisms. The project is entitled ‘Histone memory’ and will be examining – on multiple levels – the mechanisms behind how histone proteins and their chaperones help cells remember their identity. 

“Receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant is hugely important. First and foremost, it allows us to maintain an elevated level in our research so that we can continue working to understand the fundamental biological processes in our cells that are so important to the development of a healthy organism. On top of that, it is a key seal of quality in an international context to have received this grant, which assures us a period of calm and long-term perspectives to carry on developing our basic research,” says Anja Groth from the Groth group at BRIC. 

Basic research with great perspectives

Anja Groth’s field of research is epigenetics and chromatin replication. The objectives of her research include understanding how cells maintain their identity when they divide. Within her research project, she and her team of researchers are seeking to identify new chaperons that escort the histone proteins, and to understand their functions – and how cells maintain their identity. The ultimate aim is to improve knowledge about what happens during the development of organisms, and how many new cell types are being formed, as well as where cells change their properties in the development of illness.

“This is an ambitious project targeted at understanding a number of absolutely fundamental biological mechanisms that are highly significant in the context of many of the major common illnesses such as cancer.   Good ideas and insight aren’t enough in and of themselves, we need plenty of time and healthy finances as well. This being the case, we are delighted that the new grant allows us to devote ourselves to our research in the long term without having to worry about new applications to assure our financial foundations,” says Anja Groth.

Anja Groth has had her laboratory at BRIC since 2008. She started it up with a Lundbeck Foundation Junior Group Leader Fellowship and was subsequently awarded an ERC Starting Grant. She has a PhD from the University of Copenhagen, where she researched DNA damage and repair mechanisms at the Danish Cancer Society, working with Jiri Lukas and Jiri Bartek. In the period 2005–2008, she was employed in Dr. Geneviève Almouzni’s laboratory at the Curie Institute in Paris.

ERC Consolidator Grant

The ERC Consolidator Grants are intended for researchers with between seven and twelve years of experience, and the intention is to help researchers consolidate their position within their chosen field of research, as well as to develop a successful career in Europe on an ongoing basis. The objective of the grant is to reinforce independent and excellent research, and the funding is awarded to researchers who have shown great skill and promise within their scientific disciplines at an early stage.