ERC Consolidator Grant for Sophie Janssens

10 December 2018
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Sophie Janssens, group leader at the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, a consolidator grant. 'Consolidator grants' are rewarded to scientists (PhD 7-12 years) who already showed that they are able to run their own lab. The European Research Council's grant allows them to anchor the start of a high risk/high gain program, feasible through this recognition of nearly 2 Mio€ per scientist.

Sophie Janssens and her team in the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research aim to understand the role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in immune cells. By studying these pathways in an in vivo context, they uncovered hitherto unknown functions of these pathways, beyond their traditional role in folding.
Sophie Janssens: “We believe that this could be another example of how ancient metabolic stress pathways are hijacked by our immune system.”

Sophie Janssens: “Being granted an ERC award is absolutely fantastic news. Seven years ago, I made a big career twist by moving into the mouse immunology and ER stress field, 2 completely novel fields for me. I never regretted this choice and enjoyed the science and the projects we’ve engaged in enormously. Within the ER stress field, we occupy quite a unique niche by approaching basic cell biology questions in vivo. For my whole team this award is therefore absolutely great news and a big stimulation to continue this fascinating project!”

ERC grants
Right from the start, VIB recognized the importance of ERC for its own mission, given our obvious synergy at the science policy level:
- Frontier research
- Excellence as the only selection criterion
- Bottom-up, all fields
- Support for the individual scientist
- International peer review

53 ERC grants for VIB
The European Research Council (ERC) was created to fund highly challenging projects, whether in terms of their envisaged scientific goals or in terms of the creativity and originality of the proposed approaches. Sophie Janssens’ grant brings VIB’s total number of ERC grants to 52. Nearly 1 in 3 VIB group leaders have had their excellence acknowledged by ERC – further proof that VIB is in the top league of European research institutes.