Two MRL Group Leaders have recently been awarded prestigious 5 year Starting Grantsfrom the European Research Council (ERC).
The ERC’s main aim is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists. ERC grants are given for pioneering frontier research in any field of science, engineering and scholarship, with ERC Starting Grants aiming to support up-and-coming research leaders.
Dr Akhilesh Reddy has been awarded a Starting Grant of ~€2M to gain insight into metabolic oscillations in the circadian clockwork. The project has been dubbed “MetaCLOCK”.
Practically all living cells, ranging from bacteria to the complex cells in our bodies, harbour molecular clocks. These are able to keep time autonomously and coordinate a plethora of cellular physiology. Ak’s work has recently uncovered links between cellular metabolic pathways and the clockwork. The project will employ a range of techniques to discover how these pathways function. The findings may ultimately have wide relevance to various clinical disorders ranging from metabolic disease through to sleep and mental health disorders.
Prof Sadaf Farooqi’s work focuses on the molecular and physiological pathways involved in the regulation of human appetite and body weight. Using complementary genetic strategies her team has already identified several causes of severe, early onset obesity in patients recruited to the Genetics of Obesity Study (GOOS). The €1.5M ERC Starting Grant, called STILTS, will enable Prof Farooqi to extend this work to study the genetic and physiological basis of persistent leanness.