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Peter Hegemann receives renowned ERC funding as part of an interdisciplinary research consortium

The European Research Council (ERC) is funding the interdisciplinary joint project "Switchable rhodOpsins in Life Sciences" (SOL). Together with researchers from the University of Bern, the Paul Scherrer Institute (both CH) and the University of Manchester (UK), Prof. Peter Hegemann (SFB1078: B1/B2) wants to show how OptoGPCRs (light-controlled molecular switches) can revolutionize our ability to control complex cellular processes with light.

News from Nov 09, 2020

The ERC-supported SOL project aims to make cell activities in the entire body controllable by means of light pulses, thus enabling new research approaches and forms of therapy.
The research in the field of optogenetics is based on so-called bistable rhodopsins. Rhodopsins belong to the class of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and play an important role in cell signaling in almost all cell types.
The aim of the research consortium is to elucidate the structure of the bistable rhodopsins in order to better understand their function. In addition, molecular biological methods will be used to produce switchable rhodopsins with novel properties that can be switched on and off by light, and to study the effect of G-protein signaling in animals with these switches. The ultimate goal is to use the new knowledge for the development of gene therapeutics against human diseases.

The SOL project is one of the few that was selected from 434 international projects in a competitive process. The ERC is providing 10 Million Euros in funding over a period of six years. The funding helps groups of two to four distinguished researchers to bring together complementary skills, expertise and resources in one ambitious project. The ERC Synergy Grant scheme is part of the EU research and innovation program "Horizon 2020".



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