Israeli researchers receive $3.5 million from European Research Council
The grants support cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to the social sciences and humanities
Two researchers from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, Dr. Assaf Ben-Moshe and Dr. Shahar Alon, have become recipients of European Research Council (ERC) seed grants worth $3.6 million for their research.
Dr. Ben-Moshe, who received a grant of $1.6 million, studies chirality, a fundamental geometric property of objects that exist as two mirror images that cannot overlap in space, just as the right hand cannot be superimposed on the left.
The discipline is used and studied in various fields of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering, and poses a major challenge in the pharmaceutical sector.
Dr. Ben Moshe's work could explore an innovative theory, contrary to Louis Pasteur's 19th-century findings, suggesting that the chiral shapes of crystals may not be determined solely by the shape of the constituent molecules, but rather by complex defects influencing their structure. His project could pave the way for the control of chirality in a wide range of materials.
Dr Shahar Alon, who received a grant of almost $2 millio, is working on the enigmatic interactions that occur at cellular level between tumors and the immune system, with a view to potentially modify current cancer treatments.
His research focuses on the often overlooked "detection without activation" events that occur when immune cells, particularly T cells, encounter tumor cells.
The use of an innovative technology developed by Alon enabling in-situ sequencing with super-resolution has made a major difference. The technology will pave the way for the creation of the very first super-resolved spatial genomic mapping dataset of human biopsies.
In addition, Alon's team will develop an advanced imaging technology capable of in-situ sequencing of T cell and B cell receptors, identifying tumor-specific receptors and providing insight into immuno-tumor dialogue.
The ERC awarded start-up grants to four hundred young scientists and academics with research projects in Europe and other countries collaborating with European institutions.
These grants support cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to the social sciences and humanities.