Two of Europe’s most talented researchers presented as Swedish Foundations’ Starting Grant Fellows 2016

CRISTIAN BELLODI
Division of Molecular Hematology, Lund University
This proposal aims to unravel a completely new facet of gene expression governed by RNA pseudouridylation (Ψ), the most abundant single nucleoside RNA modification in living organisms, which directly impacts the stem cell transcriptome during normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Importantly, RNA modification is newly emerging as a key mechanism to coordinate gene expression in stem cells. Recent data show that Ψ modifications are dynamic and widespread among RNAs in cells and tissues, suggesting that Ψ may rapidly rewire a cell’s transcriptome. This proposal will be transformative in hematopoietic research by defining for the first time a new RNA-pseudouridylation ‘code’ that drives distinct genetic programs in stem and cancer cells.

VICENTE PELECHANO
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet
I will use novel genome-wide approaches to investigate the transcriptional basis of the non-genetic heterogeneity driving divergent gene expression responses within a clonal population using S. cerevisiae. This research has a dual objective: 1) to refine our knowledge of translation regulation and its contribution to cell-to-cell variability, and 2) to develop novel genome-wide approaches to functionally characterize and assign molecular and cellular phenotypes to subtle variations of the transcriptome. These approaches will be complemented by analysing the molecular phenotypes of the mRNA isoforms (e.g., association to ribosomes or RNA binding proteins). This will allow linkage of molecular phenotypes with cellular consequences, and highlight those variations with higher functional potential. Once I identify novel mechanisms implicated in the appearance of phenotypically divergent cells, I will characterize selected targets using biochemical and molecular biology tools.

Five of Europe’s most talented researchers presented as Swedish Foundations’ Starting Grant Fellows 2015

KARL BÖRJESSON
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg
The research project aims to master the energy pathways in electronically excited molecules. Doing so is of fundamental importance in lighting technologies, which today consumes around 20% of all produced electricity in the world. In a modern lighting device such as a mobile phone screen, electricity is used to create electronically excited molecular states. We will develop molecular systems enabling the conversion of these excited states into light as efficient and fast as possible. Thus facilitating for a new generation of energy efficient lighting devices.

HENRIK JOHANSSON
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University
My research strives towards obtaining better mathematical descriptions for high-energy collisions (scattering amplitudes) between elementary particles or even strings. New mathematical formulations of fundamental processes can lead to a better understanding of the theories that describe our universe: e.g. the theory of gravity and other established theories known as gauge theories — describing the strong and electroweak forces of the Standard Model of particle physics. By studying the mathematical details of scattering amplitudes in these theories, I have found that there exists an underlying Lie algebra that controls the kinematical variables. However, as of today, no complete mathematical description of this algebra is known. A goal of my research is to find this complete description.

Joan Yuan, foto: Wallenberg.com

JOAN YUAN
Department of Molecular Hematology, Lund University
SFSG Fellow in 2016, ERC StG awarded starting from 2017
The vertebrate immune system has evolved for hundreds of millions of years into a balanced and self-regulatory system encompassing a wide spectrum of cell types that act in concert to protect us from infections. Most of what we know about the formation of the immune system comes from studies in adults but much less is known about the coordinated series of events that build up the immune system from scratch in the developing fetus. Mutations occurring before birth in immune cells of the developing baby remain the main cause of cancer related deaths in children. Cancers of the immune system, leukemia, are furthermore of different kinds in infants and children compared to adults. These and other clues suggest that fetal immune development may be significantly different from that in adults. In the project FatemapB, we will use two advanced tracking technologies to follow the behavior of fetal and adult immune cell development. The state-of-the-art strategies will allow for the high-resolution visualization of how a diverse immune system is first formed in the fetus and then maintained throughout adulthood. Extending beyond normal development, this work has important clinical implications to improve our understanding of fetal specific leukemia. Finally, we have developed a technology to reinitiate fetal like immune development in adult blood stem cells and will within the scope of FatemapB explore the ability of this technology to improve immune regeneration following bone marrow transplantation treatments.

OKSANA MONT (Consolidator grant)
International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University
Urban sharing of assets, spaces and skills has emerged as a prospective solution to sustainability challenges faced by cities. However, its sustainability potential and institutional processes to harness it have not been systematically scrutinized. This ambitious research programme aims to examine, test and advance knowledge about design, sustainability of practices and institutionalisation processes of urban sharing organisations across 8 cities from 5 continents. The research conflates studies on sustainable consumption and production with organisational theory and the neo-institutional field.The three objectives are: 1. Design: To examine the ways in which urban sharing schemes are designed and how they vary across cities. 2. Practices: To study the sustainability of daily practices of urban sharing schemes and why and how they vary in different cities. 3. Processes: To develop and test a theoretical framework for integrative and comparative assessment of institutionalisation processes of urban sharing schemes across cities.

Alberto Vomiero, foto: Ted karlsson

ALBERTO VOMIERO (Consolidator grant)
Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Luleå University of Technology
Exploiting solar light is one of the main challenges that could significantly contribute to solve the present world energy issues. The photovoltaic and the thermoelectric effects are among the most promising. The photovoltaic effect directly generates electric power after absorbing solar light, and the thermoelectric effect indirectly generates electric power after absorbing heat from the Sun. The project aims at investigating a new way to exploit solar radiation, by combining the photovoltaic and thermoelectric effects using nanowire arrays (very similar to a miniaturized grassland). The idea is to absorb both the visible and the infrared part of the solar spectrum (which we cannot see with our eyes, but still is there) using a composite nanostructure. In our scheme, the two processes will occur simultaneously, improving the efficiency of the conversion from light to electric power, towards a “panchromatic” absorption of Sun light. The project is based on the very peculiar optical and electrical characteristics of materials at nanoscale, organized in arrays of nanowires. We aim at solving the intrinsic limitations of the photovoltaic and thermoelectric processes: poor matching between the absorption properties of solar cells and the different “colors” forming the full spectrum of the Sunlight, and the low density of electric charges in thermoelectric devices.