Prestigious Research Grant from Human Frontier Science Program for Francesca Bottanelli

Biochemist at Freie Universität Berlin won Early Career Grant

No 088/2021 from May 12, 2021

Biochemist Francesca Bottanelli, a junior professor at the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, has been awarded a prestigious Early Career Grant through the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP). The grant covers research funding for three years for Dr. Bottanelli and her partners in an international team. Her partners are Xiaolei Su, an assistant professor of cell biology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Wenting Zhao, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

With the grant money, the researchers will investigate how microvilli, which are finger-like protrusions on the surface of immune cells, function as a signaling hub during an immune response. The highly interdisciplinary team will employ live-cell super-resolution microscopy, gene editing, in vitro reconstitution, and nanofabrication to reveal the spatial organization and signaling function of T cell microvilli.

The selection process for HFSP funding is highly competitive. Out of an original 709 proposals submitted by researchers from more than 50 countries, 28 projects will now be funded, following a multi-stage selection process. Seven projects will be funded with Early Career Research Grants and 21 with Program  Research Grants. Each team member will receive about 120,000 US dollars per year for three years, which in the case of Freie Universität’s collaborative project amounts to roughly 300,000 euros. Of all the proposals for grants in the Early Career Program, the one submitted by Francesca Bottanelli, Xiaolei Su, and Wenting Zhao took first place.

The Human Frontier Science Program is an international research funding program organized by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) based in Strasbourg, France. Its aim is to promote intercontinental cooperation and training in top interdisciplinary research with a focus on the life sciences.

HFSPO receives financial support from governments or research councils in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S., and the European Union as a whole.


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