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UCPH wins ERC research grants worth millions

Five Danish researchers have each received the coveted giant grants from the European Research Council of 1.5 million Euros. Four of them are from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

Four UCPH researchers have received a research grant from the European Research Council (ERC) after having competed against around 3,000 top researchers from around the world. With a ERC research grant of approximately DKK 11.2 million their research projects have been secured for the next few years.

Julien Phillipe Duxin

Thanks to the ERC research grant, Julien Phillipe Duxin can continue his project at UCPH which is called DPC-REPAIR. The research focuses on the biological mechanisms behind the repair of DNA-lesions.

Julien Phillipe Duxin is a lecturer at the Novo Nordisk Fund’s Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Foto:

Broken DNA structures can occur as a result of the environment influences or chemotherapy and there is a suspicion that it can lead to aging or cancer. Today researchers have insufficient knowledge about how these lesions can be repaired.

Maybe we can learn something from frogs, their eggs have a remarkable ability maintain their genome, which is why Julien Phillipe Duxin wants to study a cell free system derived from frog eggs. His ambition is to map some of the central regulators of this repair process and understand how defects in this process lead to cancer and aging in humans.

Peter Krogstrup

Because of the ERC grant, Peter Krogstrup will now get three years to research how quantum mechanical properties can be used for future technological solutions. His focus is especially on how the quantum state’s protected nature makes them an ideal candidate to control information in future quantum computers.

Peter Krogstrup is a assistant professor at the Niels Bohr Institute. Foto:

The Centerpiece in the ERC-project HEMs DAM will be to create new types of hybrid materials that meet a long list of strict requirements so that they can carry these so-called topologically protected quantum states.

To reach these goals, Peter Krogstrup will build an innovative and interdisciplinary scientific research environment with researchers from materials and quantum sciences. This will take place next year in Wien, where the hope is that they will be able to create prototypes of so called information bits based on these materials and thereby come one step closer to future quantum computers.

Etienne Maisonneuve

Etienne Maisonneuve aims with the project STRINGENCY, to research the survival strategy of bacteria.

Etienne Maisonneuve is a postdoc at the Center for Bacterial Stress Response and Persistence. Foto:

Chronic and reoccurring bacterial infections er often difficult to treat because bacteria create persister cells that are resist to medical drugs.

Etienne Maisonneuves goal is to analyze the molecular mechanisms that regulate the activation of the protein spoT. If they succeed in bringing forth new fundamental knowledge about the physiology behind bacterial persistence, the new knowledge can become an important resource for better treatment of bacterial infections.

Guus Kroonen

Guus Kroonens starting grant will go to the project EUROLITHIC, a broad interdisciplinary study of Europe’s earliest agricultural language. Agriculture took off from Anatolia introducing new groups of people and a new way of living.

Guus Kroonen is an external lecturer at the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics. Foto:

What language did these neolithic farmers speak? Did their language die off when nomadic cow farmers arrived with their Indo-European language? Or is the Basque language perhaps the last surviving decedent of this once very wide language continuum?

Guus Kroonen hopes to be able to answer these kinds of questions by researching the prehistoric loanwords that exist across Indo-European languages.
The results will be looked at in conjunction with paleobotanical data and new archaeological breakthroughs in studies of prehistoric migrations.

The University of Southern Denmark also gets a grant

All in all, five Danish researchers received one of the coveted ERC grants. The last recipient is lecturer Anders Grøntved who is the leader of research at the research unit for Exercise Epidemiology, Research in Childhood Health (RICH) at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU)