Kristin and her team use the marine bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii as a model organism to investigate how the synchronization of Platynereis’ reproductive rhythm to the lunar cycle works on a molecular and cellular level. Recent findings of the group show that Platynereis possesses both a circalunar and a circadian clock. Both clocks jointly control the reproductive timing rhythms of the worm. Classical studies, as well as their own work also showed that the monthly lunar clock is set by nocturnal light stimuli. However, it remains unclear what the sensor for this stimulus is. The “ERC Starting Grant” will fund research to answer this question.
Kristin’s “ERC Starting Grant” is the fifth for the MFPL, after Bojan Zagrovic, Sascha Martens, Alwin Köhler and Florian Raible, highlighting the excellent level of research carried out at the institute. “ERC Starting Grants” were established in 2007 by the European Research Council to support young investigators in the development of their independent research careers in Europe. According to the ERC, the latest “Starting Grant” call attracted 3,329 applications, a 50% increase compared to the corresponding group last year. The overall success rate was only 9%, compared to an average success rate of 12,2% in 2012.