Radboud University: ERC Starting Grant for research on noise in cellular decisions

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Maike Hansen, researcher of biophysical chemistry at Radboud University, will receive a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). Hansen will use this grant to study how cells make decisions about their functional roles.

ERC Starting Grants are awarded to talented young scientists, with over three and up to eight years of experience since completion of PhD. The 1.5 milion euro grants give them the opportunity to form their own research group.

Noise in decision-making
Cells are incredibly complex out-of-equilibrium systems that need to constantly react to changing environments in an efficient and strategic manner. Therefore, it is necessary for cells to make fast and accurate decisions about their functional roles to fit their needs.

Throughout the decision-making process, changes in protein levels, also called “noise”, play a pivotal role. For example, when unspecialized cell types such as embryonic stem cells develop into specialized cells such as heart and brain tissues, cells make use of noise to undergo complex cellular decisions. Despite the clear importance of noise, how noise drives cellular decisions is still unclear.

In the research project ChOICE, Hansen and her colleagues will study how noise influences cellular decisions and what causes memory of these decisions once they are made. Since protein noise has been associated with biological decisions in various pathological conditions, including viral or bacterial infections and cancer, the results from ChOICE could have a wide-ranging impact.Maike Hansen, researcher of biophysical chemistry at Radboud University, will receive a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). Hansen will use this grant to study how cells make decisions about their functional roles.

ERC Starting Grants are awarded to talented young scientists, with over three and up to eight years of experience since completion of PhD. The 1.5 milion euro grants give them the opportunity to form their own research group.

Noise in decision-making
Cells are incredibly complex out-of-equilibrium systems that need to constantly react to changing environments in an efficient and strategic manner. Therefore, it is necessary for cells to make fast and accurate decisions about their functional roles to fit their needs.

Throughout the decision-making process, changes in protein levels, also called “noise”, play a pivotal role. For example, when unspecialized cell types such as embryonic stem cells develop into specialized cells such as heart and brain tissues, cells make use of noise to undergo complex cellular decisions. Despite the clear importance of noise, how noise drives cellular decisions is still unclear.

In the research project ChOICE, Hansen and her colleagues will study how noise influences cellular decisions and what causes memory of these decisions once they are made. Since protein noise has been associated with biological decisions in various pathological conditions, including viral or bacterial infections and cancer, the results from ChOICE could have a wide-ranging impact.

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