Stamatis Papathanasiou awarded an ERC Starting Grant

Stamatis Papathanasiou, a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz, Germany, has been awarded a Starting Grant worth approximately €1.5 million from the European Research Council (ERC). The prestigious grant will help fund his research on how errors during mitosis can cause persistent chromatin alterations that contribute to ageing and cancer.

“This is exciting news for our lab”, says Stamatis. “Funding from the ERC opens new avenues for our research towards unravelling previously unknown ways in which the cell responds to errors in mitosis.”

Stamatis’ research focuses specifically on abnormal cellular structures called micronuclei, which form when a chromosome, or fragment of a chromosome, becomes isolated outside of the daughter cell’s nucleus after a cell division. Micronuclei are highly prone to DNA damage and chromosome rearrangements, which can contribute to cellular senescence and diseases such as cancer. Stamatis is interested in finding out how the formation of abnormal nuclear structures like micronuclei alters chromatin organisation and gene expression in the affected chromosomes, and whether these effects persist in subsequent generations of daughter cells. 

The ERC Starting Grant will provide him with funds to establish his group at IMB and carry out innovative research projects. This grant is awarded to talented early-career scientists in EU member states on the basis of their scientific excellence. In 2023, 400 researchers were selected from 2,696 applications across Europe to receive an ERC Starting Grant. 

We warmly congratulate Stamatis on his achievement and look forward to hearing more about his research at IMB. 

Further details

Further information can be found at the dashboard of ERC funded projects and evaluated proposals here.

Stamatis Papathanasiou is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Further information about research in the Papathanasiou lab can be found at www.imb.de/papathanasiou.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH 

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on the cutting-edge fields of epigenetics, genome stability, ageing and RNA biology. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

About the Centre for Healthy Ageing

The Centre for Healthy Ageing (CHA) is a virtual research centre launched in 2021 that brings together scientists in basic and clinical research from across Mainz that focus on ageing and age-related diseases. These findings should be used to promote healthy ageing and to find treatments that could prevent or cure age-related disease. For more information, please visit: www.cha-mainz.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its funding programmes Plus 3, Exploration Grants and Rise up!, the Foundation supports excellent scientists during critical stages of their careers. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.boehringer-ingelheim-stiftung.de/en 

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany 

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Email: press(at)imb.de