ERC grant for the project on embryonic development

Smiling young man

This year, dr. Adam Kłosin from Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council Starting grant. What will he address in his project?

Dr. Adam Kłosin will receive over one million euros for a five-year project “The spatial organization of gene regulation in embryonic development” (OGRE) from the European Research Council.

About the awarded project

Dr. Kłosin’s winning project aims to study the processes regulating spatial organization of gene expression during embryonic development and stress response in embryos. Embryos of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans were chosen as a model organism. Easy to breed and image under the microscope, the model organism is ideal for studying the basic cellular processes.

In the project, Dr. Kłosin and his team will follow an interdisciplinary approach. It will be based on biochemical reconstruction and functional studies of nematodes. Transcription factors regulating gene activity form local densities in the cell nucleus during the embryonic development and in response to stress. Recent investigation shows that these types of structures are condensates formed by localized phase separation similar to the formation of emulsions.

The OGRE project will study the properties and functions of the condensates using confocal microscopy (a type of light microscopy that has greater resolution and contrast). Researchers will label their most important components and characterize their dynamics in the cell cycle and during embryonic development.

The research will make it possible to discover the function of transcription factor organization in intranuclear condensates. The results will advance the understanding of the mechanisms regulating gene expression during embryonic development and in response to stress. With his scientific outcomes, Dr. Kłosin will pave the way for new therapeutic strategies in curing diseases caused by unbalanced gene regulation.

About the ERC Grant laureate

Dr. Adam Kłosin is a molecular biologist and geneticist. He is the head of the Spatial Epigenetics Laboratory at Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Born in Polish Gdynia, he studied biotechnology in Perugia, Italy, and molecular bioengineering at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.

During his doctorate studies, A. Kłosin investigated the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans under the supervision of professor Ben Lehner. He also worked at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden.

In his research, Dr. Kłosin applies biochemical and biophysical methods to understand various aspects of gene regulation such as transcription initiation and control of protein expression variability. He is a co-author of eight publications in highly ranked international scientific journals including two articles in the journal “Science”.

About ERC Starting Grants

Early career scientists with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD may be awarded an ERC Starting grant up to € 1.5 million for a period of 5 years to carry out excellent frontier research. Apart from prestigious funding, ERC grants open the way to the cohort of top researchers across Europe.

This year, four excellent researchers from Poland became the winners of the ERC Starting Grant Call.

PAS supports ERC applicants

The Polish Academy of Sciences supports scholars in applying for ERC grants. Excellence in Science Department offers numerous activities for ERC applicants: trainings and workshops on how to write a competitive proposal; individual consultations with ERC experts, native speakers of English, and presentation coaches. Inviting the best specialists in the area to take part in mock panels, the Department provides assistance to candidates in their preparations to the interview in Brussels. The support is free of charge and addressed to all researchers from Polish scientific institutions. All above mentioned grantees have benefited from the collaboration with the Department.

Excellence in Science Department, +48 22 182 60 80,

Researchers from Polish institutions have been awarded a total of 64 ERC grants since 2007. 18 projects are being carried out at the Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the International Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Source of information: Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, PAS

Photo: Mark Leaver