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Birkbeck to jointly lead major research project into muscle development, function and disease

Professor Carolyn Moores will co-lead the project, which will use cryo-electron microscopy to investigate the molecular machinery inside our cells. This is funded by a highly competitive ERC Synergy Grant.

Members of the research team

Birkbeck will be home to one of the 27 research teams across Europe that have won highly-coveted European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grants. Worth a total of €250 million, this funding enables researchers to bring together complementary skills, knowledge and resources to jointly address research problems at the frontiers of knowledge. The grants are part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

The “ArpComplexity” team composes Dr Michael Way at The Francis Crick Institute, Dr Edgar Gomes at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Lisbon Portugal, and Professor Carolyn Moores from the Department of Biological Sciences. They will receive €10.7M from the total, of which €3.4M will come to Birkbeck.

She explains the project: “The purpose of the research is to understand how the molecular machinery inside our cells contributes to cell shape and function, with a particular focus on muscle development, function and disease. The role of my team in the synergy programme is to use cryo-electron microscopy to study this machinery at multiple hierarchies of organisation from atoms to tissues.”

President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: “The projects selected represent truly daring ideas put forward by some of Europe’s top scientists. The ERC is proud to provide significant help in the pursuit of such ambitious research with great potential to achieve major advances at the frontiers of knowledge.”

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. To date, the ERC has funded some 9,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers, and over 50,000 postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in their research teams. 

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