Sussex molecular biologist receives prestigious award
A molecular biologist at the University of Sussex has been awarded £1.2 million in funding as part of the Wellcome Trust's latest round of Investigator Awards, made to “exceptional researchers working in the fields of medicine and related sciences” and announced last week (14 June).
The awards offer scientists the flexibility and time to enable them to tackle the most important questions about health and disease.
Dr Claudio Alonso, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Genetics, has been given one of just three awards for “New Investigators”, which are given to “outstanding researchers” in the UK who “can already show that they have the ability to innovate and drive advances in their field of study”.
He has been working at Sussex since 2008, after spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Alonso and his team will study the molecular regulation of a particular type of gene during animal development. The award will fund four new postdoctoral fellows and a technician.
Dr Alonso says: “This is an ambitious programme of work that builds on our track record in the area of gene regulation and on the hard work of PhD students and postdocs in my lab in recent years.
“The research is designed to advance our conceptual grasp of the molecular processes that control gene function during neural development.
“My group will study the role of RNA regulation within the genetic program controlling the formation of the brain.
“This long-term funding support will provide a solid platform for the growth and continuing success of my laboratory, allowing us to tackle ambitious questions using the methodologies that best match the task.
“I am truly delighted to receive such a prestigious award."
The Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Laurence Pearl, says: “Claudio is a highly committed and enthusiastic young scientist, who has built a successful and productive laboratory at Sussex.
“The long-term vision afforded by this Wellcome Trust award will allow him to capitalize on his strong track record in molecular and developmental biology - and to focus on the molecular control of neural development.
“It will enable him to ask the profound and challenging questions that will take his research to the international forefront in this field.”
The Wellcome Trust has appointed a total of 22 Investigators (three New Investigators and 19 Senior Investigators, eight of whom are working as part of joint awards).
The other researchers are based at institutions across the UK, from London to Exeter to Glasgow. They cover the Trust’s five major “research challenges” and will be tackling ambitious research questions in areas as diverse as statistical genetics, Down's syndrome, bacterial 'nanomachines', diabetes and tissue engineering.