1) Frédéric Saudou and his team study the molecular mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration Huntington’s disease (HD). “We are still far away to understand the complexity of the mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration in HD,” says Frédéric Saudou. “We have found several years ago that an important function of HTT, the protein that when mutated causes HD plays a crucial role in boosting axonal transport of small vesicles that contain trophic factors. This transport, when altered has a deleterious effect on the brain. More recently, we have reported a new mechanism by which specific enzyme provide energy to axonal transport. We hypothesize in this project that HTT is key to regulate this energy supply and that defects in this mechanism could be participating in HD.”
This project will help to understand how HTT regulates axonal transport and how energy homeostasis plays a key role in HD and potentially to other neurodegenerative disorders linked intracellular trafficking defects.
2) Martin Blackledge, group leader of the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS – CEA/CNRS/UGA mixed research unit), receives the grant for his project on the atomic resolution description of highly dynamic molecular assemblies and their role in viral replication. His project entitled “Dynamic Assemblies” will receive € 2.5 million financial support from the ERC over 5 years. The project will describe the structural and dynamic behaviour of highly disordered viral replication machines, including pre- and post-nucleocapsid assembly complexes, their interaction kinetics with host and viral partners, the effects of post-translational modifications, their assembly and functional mechanisms. The project will also identify the role of IDPs in functional liquid droplets that provide a highly efficient means to spatially and temporally control essential molecular processes.
3) Pieter van der Beek’s project Climatic Controls on Erosion Rates and Relief of Mountain Belts received an ERC grant to be spread across 5 years. He is a tectonic geomorphologist interested in the tectonic and climatic controls on relief development and erosion rates, in particular in mountain belts. Van der Beek’s research focuses on both the mechanisms that create mountains and the processes of erosion that wear them away. Looking at these actions together allows for a complete model of mountain forms – their morphology – throughout their history. Advanced modelling techniques can reveal the past and the future of this morphology.
4) Renaud Demadrille‘s project focuses on Photochromic Solar Cells: Towards Photovoltaic Devices with Variable and Self-Adaptable Optical Transmission. Dr Madrille works at UGA but also at the INAC Institute for Nonoscience and Cryogenics which is part of theFrench Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission.
5) Giovanni Finazzi´s project focuses on Chloroplast and Mitochondria interactions for microalgal acclimation. Dr Finazzi works at UGA but also as CNRS Research Director and leader of the Light, Photosynthesis & Metabolism (LP&M) Team at CEA Grenoble.