ERC Synergy Grant for trailblazing project 4D-BioStem
Professor Henning Stahlberg (EPFL/UNIL), with two colleagues in Germany have been awarded a prestigious ERC Synergy Grant for their innovative project, 4D-BioSTEM that aims to advance cryo-electron microscopy for enhanced molecular understanding in neurodegenerative disease research.
The ERC Synergy Grants are given each year “to provide support for a small group of two to four Principal Investigators to jointly address ambitious research problems that could not be addressed by the individual Principal Investigators and their teams working alone.” The Grants are among the best endowed awards for researchers in Europe, celebrating the collaborative spirit in pushing the boundaries of scientific exploration.
Among the awardees of the ERC Synergy 2023 Grants, are Professors Henning Stahlberg (EPFL School of Basic Sciences, School of Life Sciences, and UNIL's Faculty of Biology and Medicine), Carsten Sachse (Forschungszentrum Jülich), and Knut Müller-Caspary (Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich).
The three researchers, who one Grant reviewer has dubbed “a high-power team”, have been awarded with a total of 7.5 million euros, for their pioneering project, 4D-BioSTEM, which aims to take cryo-electron microscopy to new heights, enabling higher resolution imaging of smaller proteins in cellular tissue.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has revolutionized the life sciences, making it possible to directly determine the 3D structure of proteins in their natural state. But for many molecules, especially those that play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, established imaging methods can only achieve inadequate resolution and contrast.
“4D-BioSTEM aims to expand cryo-EM to become able to image smaller proteins in cellular tissue at highest resolution,” says Stahlberg. “This revolutionary goal can be addressed much faster in an interdisciplinary manner within the framework of the ERC Synergy Grant than would be possible separately in individual labs.”