10.04.2017

Researcher Pura Muñoz-Cánoves receives a grant from the European Research Council

Pura Muñoz-Cánoves UPFThis year, the European Research Council (ERC) will grant a total of €540M to research in Europe through its ERC Advanced Grants, announced last Friday on its website. Among the 231 grant recipients is Pura Muñoz-Cánoves, head of the Cell Biology group at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).

Following the scientific excellence as a selection criterion, the selected projects cover all fields of research, from developing energy-efficient cooling technology or understanding limb-regeneration to new insights into how social and business networks help companies be resilient in times of crisis.

The project of Muñoz-Cánoves will study tissue regeneration and aging focusing on the role that quiescent stem cells play in these processes. "The aim of this research is to advance substantially in our knowledge of stem cells and in the causes of their functional decline during aging, especially on skeletal muscle. We hope that these advances will enable us to find strategies to combat or at least slow down aging, especially at geriatric age, and to improve health". This research is expected to last 5 years.

Pura Muñoz-Cánoves studied Pharmacology in the University of Valencia. She obtained her PhD in 1990 for work carried out at the Scripps Research Institute (United States) under the supervision of Brian Tack. She did her postdoctoral work at the laboratories of Michael Karin and Richard Lerner in University of California San Diego, and in 1994 she joined the Cancer Research Institute in Barcelona as a postdoc, becoming an independent group leader in 1997. In 2002 her group moved to the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona (CRG), where she became a senior scientist in 2006. In late 2008 she moved to Pompeu Fabra University after becoming an ICREA Research Professor. Her research focuses on the mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle regeneration and growth.

According to the researcher, receiving an ERC Advanced Grant "is a new and important stimulus to continue working on research, and try to do our best, with relative ease. Undoubtedly, this will allow us to address important scientific questions that would be very difficult to approach otherwise. It also means a good dose of responsibility and freedom to investigate". She adds, "It is a great satisfaction for all the members of my group and recognition for their effort, because without their involvement and constant dedication to the project, we would not have received this help".

The European Research Council

The ERC is a fundamental pillar of the European Commission's  Horizon 2020 programme. To reinforce excellence, dynamism and creativity in European research is its main objective and hence its grants are exclusively intended for researchers who perform frontier science.

ERC funding gives researchers a chance to realize their most creative ideas that can have a major impact on science, society and the economy. Based on a single selection criterion, scientific excellence, the ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to senior researchers with at least 10 years of experience, and can reach up to 2.5 million euros.

In March, the ERC celebrated its 10 th anniversary. Since its inception, it has awarded 28 grants to UPF, making it the  second Spanish institution with the most grants received (only surpassed by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)) and the  leading institution in Catalonia.