ERC grants for research on fungi and skeletons


Aaron Vogan and Sophie Sanchez have received European Research Council Consolidator Grants. Photo: Private

Aaron Vogan, researcher at the Department of Organismal Biology, and Sophie Sanchez, Associate Professor at the same department, have both been awarded ERC Consolidator Grants. The grants are for projects on the DNA of fungi and the development of the skeleton.

Two researchers at the Department of Organismal Biology at Uppsala University have been awarded ERC Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC).

Aaron Vogan’s research focuses on understanding the genetics of fungi, which involves identifying their genes and studying how they react to genetic manipulations.

In the project, which has now been awarded a total of EUR 2 million over a five-year period, he will study whether genes can be transferred between different types of fungi.

“Genes are inherited from parent to offspring, but we believe that fungi can also inherit genes from unrelated individuals. This is something that bacteria are known to do, but which was not previously thought to happen for eukaryotes such as fungi,” says Vogan, researcher at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University.

In the project, “Revealing an active mechanism of horizontal gene transfer in fungi”, he plans to prove this hypothesis by demonstrating how genes move between unrelated fungi, including fungi belonging to different species.

From fins to limbs

Sophie Sanchez’s project, “LimbEvolution”, focuses on mapping the early development of the skeleton. She plans to study fossils to investigate how fins evolved into limbs. Sanchez will also attempt to date when the limb skeleton began to produce blood cells. The project has been awarded almost EUR 1.9 million over a five-year period.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to focus on a major step in the evolution of our skeleton at the micron and molecular levels. The grant will give me the resources to use state-of-the-art techniques and collaborate with experts and facilities worldwide,” says Sanchez, Associate Professor at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University.

Facts ERC Consolidator Grant

The purpose of the Consolidator Grant is to give outstanding early-career researchers opportunities to consolidate their research and extend their activities as independent researchers. The grant is awarded by the European Research Council.