The HFSP fellowship program funds innovative, ground-breaking projects by young researchers that have the potential to advance knowledge in the applicants’ field of study or open a new approach to a research problem. In the latest call, 50 Long-Term Fellows and 15 Cross-Disciplinary Fellows were chosen through rigorous international selection out of a total of 597 applications from more than 50 countries. Among the new Long-Term Fellows are Victoria Deneke from the lab of Andrea Pauli, Vincent Loubiere from the lab of Alexander Stark and Itamar Lev, a collaborating postdoc from the lab of Manuel Zimmer. The fellowships will provide the awardees with three years of support for their projects. In return, they are expected to broaden their horizon and to move into a new research field that is different from their doctoral studies or previous postdoctoral training.
Victoria Deneke, a citizen of El Salvador, obtained her PhD in Stefano Di Talia’s lab at Duke University, USA, where she studied cell cycle synchronisation in Drosophila development. Her graduate research work has recently been honoured with a Weintraub Student Award by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and with an “honourable mention” for the 2019 Max Birnstiel Award. In September 2019, Victoria joined the lab of Andrea Pauli at the IMP, where she is now part of the fertilisation team. In the context of the multi-disciplinary HFSP-funded project “Mechanosensitive dynamics at the fertilization synapse”, Victoria Deneke will investigate the molecular mechanisms of gamete binding and fusion in zebrafish.
Vincent Loubiere also joined the IMP in 2019. He is currently a postdoc in the lab of Senior Scientist Alexander Stark, where he focuses on the role of enhancers in transcriptional regulation. Vincent obtained his doctoral degree at the IGH-CNRS, Montpellier, under the supervision of Giacomo Cavalli. For his doctoral work, he studied the role of polycomb-proteins in normal Drosophila development and tumorigenesis. The HFSP fellowship will fund his project “Deciphering the principles of enhancer cooperativity”. Vincent is also supported by an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship, awarded in 2019.
Itamar Lev, a graduate of Tel Aviv University, is a member of Manuel Zimmer’s team at the Department of Neuroscience and Developmental Biology, University of Vienna. Research in the Zimmer lab is connected to the IMP via a collaboration agreement. Itamar’s fellowship funds will be used towards deciphering the functions and mechanisms of brainwide motor representations in C. elegans.
HFSP’s Fellowships enjoy an excellent reputation and encourage fellows to draw up plans for setting up their own independent laboratory in the near future. The funds in the order of USD 225,000 provide these outstanding young talents with an enhanced financial package to back their career in frontier research.