Published: 06-04-2018 12:05 | Updated: 15-03-2022 15:22

KI researchers awarded the ERC AdG

Collage double portrait
Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam (photo: Ulf Sirborn) and Henrik Ehrsson (photo: Sune Fridell).

Two researchers at Karolinska Institutet have been awarded the ERC Advanced Grant (AdG) 2017 from the European Research Council. The two researchers who receive this prestigious award are Henrik Ehrsson and Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam. In total, the ERC allocates funding to 269 European research projects, which is about 12% of all applicants.

Henrik Ehrsson, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Sune Fridell

Henrik Ehrsson

Principal investigator: Henrik Ehrsson, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience
Project: The Unity of the Bodily Self (SELF-UNITY)
Application area: Social Sciences and Humanities

A characteristic feature of human consciousness is the experience of oneself as a unified single body. Henrik Ehrsson studies the neuronal and behavioral principles that create this experience – how it is uphold under normal conditions and how it can be altered in different ways. In the project currently funded by the ERC, he will try to find out how information from our different senses – such as balance and feelings about the inner state of the body (interoception) – can work together to give us the feeling of a unique bodily self.

The identification of the central neurocognitive mechanisms behind this feeling of having one single body would be regarded as true scientific breakthrough. In addition, Henrik Ehrsson hopes that his research will eventually contribute to better treatments for disorders with disturbances in self-unity, such as schizophrenia and stroke with body neglect.

Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, MD, PhD, Professor of Vaccine Research, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: MTC/KI

Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam

Principal investigator: Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam, Professor of Vaccine Research, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology microbiology
Project: Defining human adaptive immune gene diversity and its impact on disease (IMMUNEDIVERSITY)
Application area: Life Sciences

Why do people respond differently to infections and vaccination? Why do some people develop immune-associated diseases? We know that adaptive immunity plays a critical role in health management, but little is known about how inherited variations in the genes responsible for antigen recognition influence our bodies' immune responses. To answer these questions, Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam and her research team will explore human adaptive immune gene diversity and its impact on disease, using novel technology and processes.

To enable future research in this area, the team will develop robust protocols that allow the analysis of adaptive immune receptor genes from large cohorts of individuals. The project will result in the creation of individualised immune receptor germline gene databases representing thousands of individuals, as well as freely accessible software tools for analysis of immune repertoire data that can be used by other researchers.

ERC Advanced Grants in numbers

  • Applications 2017 in total: 2167
  • Granted applications: 269
  • Of which in Life Sciences: 83
  • In Social Sciences and Humanities: 60
  • Granted applications in Sweden: 10
  • Total women grantees: 47 (17.5%)

Source: ERC