Published: 15-08-2018 15:07 | Updated: 15-08-2018 15:31

Prestigious grant for research on ALS

KI-forskaren Fang Fang, foto: Martin Stenmark.

KI researcher Fang Fang has been awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for her research about the human gut microbiome and the development of the neurodegenerative disease ALS. In all, the European Research Council this year invests EUR 603 million in 403 talanted early career researchers.

The purpose of the ERC Starting Grants is to support talented early-career scientist, who have already produced excellent supervised work, into becoming independent researchers and the research leaders of tomorrow. Dr Fang Fang, Principal Investigator at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, receives EUR 1.5 million, distributed over five years for her project MegaALS.

”I think the grant provides a unique opportunity to do something different, in terms of how others have done previously in the specific research area and how myself has done as a researcher in the past”, comments Fang Fang. “It is certainly challenging, but mostly exciting and fun.”

Full project title: Unravelling the Interplay between Metabolism, Gut Microbiome and Adaptive Immunity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (MegaALS)

Short description: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare but devastating neurodegenerative disorder that in lack of effective treatment leads to death within a few years of diagnosis. ALS is increasingly being recognized as a systemic disease affecting not only the central nervous system but also other physiological aspects. In the project now funded by the ERC, Fang Fang and her team intend to investigate the disease-specific interplay between metabolism, gut microbiome and adaptive immunity, which may substantially contribute to the development of ALS. The project also includes the assessment of a treatment that targets this interplay, conducted in mice. The researchers will use both epidemiological and experimental methods in their work.