29 January 2019

NWO grant for research project led by Albert Heck

1.6 million euros for research into social protein networks in the cell

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded 1.6 million euros to a research project in which researchers from Utrecht and Wageningen work together with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Protein Metrics. In the project, called Monitoring and Visualizing Protein Societal Behavior in the Cell, the researchers want to map and visualize interactions between proteins.

In every cell of each organism there is a large range of proteins that work together with each other and with other biomolecules in order to function properly. The researchers want to map and visualize the social network of these interactions fully and dynamically, in order to understand exactly how life works in a cell. The project focuses on archaea, in order to also gain a better insight into the evolution and the origin of life. To realize this, the researchers aim to bring together and integrate data from several advanced structural biological techniques, such as mass spectrometry, cryo-electron microscopy/tomography and structural modeling.

Collaboration

Utrecht University researchers Albert Heck (project leader), Friedrich Förster, Alexandre Bonvin and Richard Scheltema will collaborate with John van der Oost and Serve Kengen of Wageningen University & Research in this project. The project therefore connects two recent Spinoza laureates: Albert Heck won the Spinoza Prize in 2017, John van der Oost in 2018. In addition, industrial partners Thermo Fisher Scientific and Protein Metrics are involved.