29 maart 2016

HFSP Program Grant voor Rik Korswagen

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Rik Korswagen, groepsleider bij het Hubrecht Instituut, heeft een prestigieuze Program Grant (1.050.000 US$) ontvangen van het Human Frontier Science Program Organization voor zijn project “Measuring time with a noisy clock: mechanism of cell-intrinsic temporal regulation of gene expression”. Voor dit projet werkt Korswagen samen met evolutionair bioloog Marie-Anne Félix (Institute of Biology, ENS, Parijs, Frankrijk) en biofysicus Andrew Mugler (Department of Physics, Purdue University, USA).

Cells in developing organisms can keep track of time. They use this to make important decisions – for example on when to turn or to stop in the case of migrating cells or axons – without being instructed to do so by signals from other cells in their surroundings. But how such internal clocks work, and importantly, how they are made to be so precise, is still largely unknown. Previous work by the Korswagen group has shown that during the development of the nematode worm C. elegans, the migration of a neuroblast is regulated through the timed expression of a signalling receptor. This system provides a powerful assay to study at single cell level how an internal clock controls gene expression.

The three teams will use a unique combination of genetics, evolutionary biology and mathematical modeling to gain detailed insight into the workings of this timing mechanism. They will investigate how timing is mediated at the transcriptional level, how robust this is to environmental variations and how this mechanism has evolved in other nematode species. Importantly, these results will be used in mathematical modeling to gain insight into the underlying regulatory architecture and to make predictions that will be tested in further experiments. Such interplay between experimental and theoretical analysis is a powerful and innovative approach that will enable the three teams to gain deep understanding of how cells measure time.

The Human Frontier Science Program is a prestigious and highly competitive international program of research support implemented by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) based in Strasbourg, France. Its aims are to promote intercontinental collaboration and training in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research focused on the life sciences. HFSPO receives financial support from the governments or research councils of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, UK, USA, as well as from the European Union.

Link: http://www.hfsp.org/awardees/newly-awarded