Gernot Walko, a former postdoc in the Wiche group, has been awarded a prestigious Marie Curie fellowship for Career Development by the European Commission. Gernot, whose previous work at MFPL had focused on human skin blistering diseases, now wants to advance his research by investigating the stem cells that maintain human epidermis throughout life.
His project, entitled “Deconstructing the stem cell niche in human interfollicular epidermis in vitro”, will combine state-of-the-art methodologies in biomaterials science and cell biology to define the relative importance of intrinsic and microenvironmental stimuli in regulating epidermal stem cell differentiation.
Gernot will carry out his project at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, one of Europe's newest hot spots for stem cell research, based at King's College London, with Prof. Fiona Watt, a world expert in somatic stem cells, as supervisor.
The Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships support the career development of experienced researchers and seek to enhance their individual competence diversification in terms of skill acquisition at multi- or interdisciplinary level. The ultimate aim is to support researchers in attaining a leading independent position in education or enterprise. The fellowships consist of a competitive salary, plus some allowances for travel and research expenses.