IGC scientist awarded with prestigious ERC Grant

Elias Barriga, Principal Investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, awarded with European Research Council Grant.
03 sep 2020

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the list of winners of the 2020 Starting Grants. This list includes Elias H. Barriga, principal investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, who was awarded 1.8€ Million to advance his work on cell migration. These grants are a highly competitive funding scheme that selects promising early-career scientists who have generated outstanding supervised work, and who have come up with exceptional research proposals.

Elias H. Barriga, principal investigator of the Mechanisms of Morphogenesis research group at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, studies directed collective cell migration, the coordinated motion of a group of cells travelling to their target tissues, guided by external signals. This migratory function is essential for a myriad of processes that range from embryonic development, to tissue repair and cancer metastasis. Regardless of its wide biological relevance the mechanisms that guide directional collective cell migration in the native environments remain unclear. 

With the ERC Starting Grant, Elias, and his team, aim at better understanding how cells migrate in complex environments which are present in our bodies. Intriguingly, in such an environment cells need to constantly sense and respond to multiple biochemical and biophysical signals – however the interplay between these cues remains largely unknown. With the ERC Starting Grant “our research group expects to contribute with unique perspectives to a wide range of fields, especially to the field of embryonic development and the study of congenital defects, as well as the field of cancer and regeneration”, explains Elias H. Barriga.


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