For his innovative research project on the infection biology of microsporidia, Jonas Barandun has been awarded a prestigious Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC), funded with 1.5 million euros over five years. Dr. Barandun joined Umeå University from The Rockefeller, University, New York, in January 2019 to start a research group at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden.
In his research group, Jonas Barandun and his team use cryo-electron microscopy to visualize the unknown molecular world of specialized pathogens, such as the microsporidia. Microsporidia are a group of poorly understood pathogens with very unusual biology.
“As a structural biologist, I am fascinated by how evolution has shaped essential molecular machines and how pathogens use these machines for their infection, to manipulate and exploit their host. I am delighted my team will now be able to tackle some of the big open questions in microsporidian biology.“ says Dr. Barandun.
Support for early-career researchers
With the Starting Grants, the European Research Council rewards young researchers for their innovative research and fosters their scientific independence. The selection criteria are the scientific excellence of the applicant and the project. In 2020, 677 million euros have been allocated to fund 436 European researchers, 23 of them in Sweden. With a success rate of 13.3 % in 2020, the ERC Starting Grant is considered one of the most competitive funding schemes in Europe.
The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS)
Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden is the Swedish node of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. Its mission is to foster the next generation of group leaders in infection and microbiology research.
Picture by Umeå University.