Can we eliminate rheumatism? And when was Greenland actually green? The ERC honored twenty-nine research proposals with a Synergy Grant worth about €10 million each. Among the lucky ones were four Dutch and Belgian chemists and life scientists.
Tom Huizinga and Manfred Wuhrer (Leiden University Medical Center) together with Portuguese and Croatian research groups will receive €10 million for GlycanSwitch: Glycans as Master Switches of B Cell Activity in Autoimmunity. With their research, they hope to eliminate rheumatoid arthritis from the world. Their research builds on the discovery that patients have glycated antibodies in their blood in the years before they develop symptoms.
Anna Akhmanova (Utrecht University) and her research team are receiving nearly €10 million for PushingCell: Pushing from within: Control of cell shape, integrity and motility by cytoskeletal pushing forces. Their project aims to explore how cells push and penetrate their environment.
Sander Tans (AMOLF) and his team receive €13 million for CoTransComplex: Mechanisms of cotranslational assembly of multi-protein complexes. Their project focuses on the formation of multi-protein complexes in cells.
Francois Fripat (Université Libre de Bruxelles) together with Danish and French research groups receives €13.9 million for Green2Ice: When was Greenland ‘green’? - Perspectives from basal ice and sediments from ice cores. With the money, they plan to investigate ice cores from Greenland to understand climate change, among other things.
The Synergy Grants are intended for small research groups of two to four principal investigators to answer ambitious multidisciplinary research questions. According to the ERC, the projects should enable significant advancement of frontiers of our knowledge and potentially become a new reference point on a global scale. A list of all honored proposals is on the ERC website.