MedUni Vienna: Igor Adameyko obtains generous ERC Synergy Grant

MedUni Vienna researcher coordinates project to decode the communication between body cells

Igor Adameyko, developmental biologist at MedUni Vienna's Center for Brain Research obtains a Synergy Grant from the European Research Council. The joint international project coordinated by the MedUni Vienna researcher is studying the communications between cells in the body. Its aim is to discover new approaches in the fight against cancer.

The EU has funded the "KILL-OR-DIFFERENTIATE" project to the tune of €9.33 million in total. Igor Adameyko, developmental biologist at the Division of Molecular Neurosciences of MedUni Vienna's Center for Brain Research, is coordinating the international project team, which includes research groups from the USA (Harvard Medical School), Sweden (Karolinska Institutet) and France (Institut Curie). The aim of the project is to decode the communication between cells, in order to identify new approaches in the treatment of cancer.

"Thanks to new techniques such as single-cell transcriptomics, we are now able to look inside every individual cell and see what program it is running," explains Adameyko. "Gene expression analysis should help us to decode the signals that cells send to each other. We will then be able to understand the language of the cells, which has so far been like an uncrackable code."

The starting point is neuroblastoma, a common form of childhood cancer. A group that brings together many different types of expertise will work together to trial potential new solutions. Peter Kharchenko from Harvard will contribute biomedical informatics, Susanne Schlisio's group from Sweden is researching in the field of oncologic biology and Olivier Delattre in Paris is a paediatric oncologist. Igor Adameyko is himself an expert in developmental biology.

Around €2.5 million of the grant will be allocated to the MedUni Vienna team. The money will be used exclusively for specialist staff and sequencing techniques.

About Igor Adameyko

Igor Adameyko studied biochemistry at the Nizhny Novgorod State University. His PhD studies then took him to Dartmouth Medical School. After completing his studies (2006), he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the group led by Patrik Ernfors at the Swedish Karolinska Institutet (Division of Molecular Neurobiology at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics) and then as an assistant professor since 2012. Since 2015, in his capacity as Group Leader at MedUni Vienna's Center for Brain Research, he has been conducting stem cell research at the Division of Molecular Neurosciences (Head: Tibor Harkany), with the support of an ERC Consolidator Grant.

About the ERC Synergy Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) is an institution set up by the European Commission to fund basic research. The ERC Synergy Grant funds research groups of a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4 Principal Investigators (PI) and their teams, who are tackling ambitious scientific problems via a unique combination of complementary skills, knowledge and resources, in a way that would not be possible for a single PI working alone. Synergy Grants are aimed at substantial advances "at the frontiers of scientific knowledge". They are open to new methods and technologies, unconventional approaches and research at the interface between disciplines. The maximum funding for ERC Synergy Grants is €10 million over 6 years.