Martin Beck and Ivan Đikić receive prestigious ERC Advanced Grants

The funded research projects involve nuclear pore complexes and endoplasmic reticulum remodeling.

April 27, 2022

Our spokesperson Martin Beck, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, and our faculty member Ivan Đikić, Professor at the Goethe University Frankfurt, both have received a highly prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). For both of them, this is already the third time being awarded as ERC researchers.

Text: Katharina Käfer

253 top reserachers in Europe receive a total of 624 million euros

The ERC announced our faculty member and spokesperson Martin Beck and faculty member Ivan Đikić as two of 253 awardees of an ERC Advanced Grant, who prevailed among more than 1700 applicants. The awardees’ innovative research ideas will be funded with a total of 624 million euros over the next five years.

The ERC was launched in 2007 by the European Union to promote cutting-edge research by the best and most creative minds across Europe. ERC Advanced Grants are awarded annually to excellent scientists of all disciplines who have a recognized track record of publications, are well established in the scientific community and leading in their field.

Martin Beck investigates giant pores in the cell nucleus

Martin Beck studies very large macromolecular complexes in cells. To investigate their structure, dynamics and function in their native environment, he uses cryo-electron tomography, biochemical methods, live cell imaging, and computational modeling in a holistic approach.

After receiving an ERC Starting Grant and an ERC Consolidator Grant in his early career, Martin Beck is now receiving his third ERC grant as senior research group leader. His research addresses the function of nuclear pore complexes, which consist of about 1000 proteins and form huge channels in the nuclear membrane of eukaryotic cells. By regulating the exchange of material between nucleoplasm and cytosol, they protect the genomic integrity. Martin Beck's research project will investigate how mechanical properties of nuclear pores interplay with their transport function.

Ivan Đikić studies the molecular mechanisms of cellular degradation pathways

Ivan Đikić’s research focuses on the degradation of cellular components and the disruption of involved pathways that can lead to severe diseases. The molecular biologist and biochemist uses a variety of techniques to tackle his research questions such as proteomics, biochemical methods, X-ray crytallography, or cryo-EM.

His new ERC research project involves the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which is the cell’s largest membrane system and essential for the synthesis of proteins and hormons and for cellular transport. He wants to investigate the endoplasmic reticulum remodeling which has so far remained unexplained but is crucial for proper ER functionality. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of ER remodeling could help to find novel therapies for diseases such as cancer. This project idea has now earned Ivan Đikić his third ERC Advanced Grant.

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