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  • Dundee Scientists Scoop EU funding Award
    Dr Yogesh Kulathu (left) and Dr Jorunn Bos

Dundee Scientists Scoop EU funding Award

Jan 10 2021 Read 226 Times

University of Dundee researchers Dr Yogesh Kulathu and Dr Jorunn Bos, leading investigations into plant cell biology and in provision of plant protection respectively, have been awarded over €4 million by The European Research Council (ERC) as winners of an ERC Consolidator Grant.

Dr Kulathu’s €2.1 million project, StressHUb, will investigate fundamental principles regulating stress at the cellular level and develop new technologies and methodologies for understanding cellular responses to environmental stress.

“We are studying almost unexplored areas of cell biology which has immense potential for ground-breaking discoveries. StressHUb will explore the functions of branched heterotypic ubiquitin chains (HUbs) in cellular stress responses. These branched HUbs play important roles in the physiology of human cells, however, their functions have not been defined because of the complex nature of these modifications and the lack of ways to study them,” said Dr Kulathu, MRC Investigator and Group Leader at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU).

“We will develop novel tools and methodologies which will reveal the cellular machinery that makes these modifications, how they are formed in response to stress, and their roles in resolving cellular stress. This knowledge can then be used to develop drugs to treat various diseases where cellular stress is not resolved, such as neurodegeneration, chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer.” 

Dr Bos, a principal investigator in the Division of Plant Sciences and the James Hutton Institute based in Invergowrie, will use the grant worth almost €2 million for developing new ways to provide crop protection against insects. “This project is building on years of work by members of my team, past and present and without them this would not have been possible. "

The key questions that drive APHIDTRAP are building on previous findings that aphids can actively promote host susceptibility using effector proteins. The function of these effector proteins is based on association with host proteins and modification of their activity. 

“The next step is to try and understand how these protein-protein interactions take place, and what the downstream consequences are with regards to susceptibility, said Dr Bos.”

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