Moritz Nowack receives ERC Consolidator Grant

10 December 2019
Each year, the European Research Council (ERC) awards Consolidator Grants to consolidate successful independent careers in outstanding scientific research. Prof. Moritz Nowack (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) has received a Consolidator Grant of 2 million euro to study the molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death in plants. 

The ERC Consolidator Grant for Prof. Moritz Nowack (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) is the 19th ERC Consolidator Grant, out of 60 overall ERC grants, for VIB scientists. Researchers who are within 7 – 12 years of their research career can apply for an ERC Consolidator Grant. Every application is scrutinized by a panel of international experts, and the applications that survive this process are ranked according to excellence. Only the highest ranked proposals are awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant.

With this grant Prof. Nowack will study the molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death in plants. Programmed cell death is fundamental to the development and health of all multicellular organisms. But, despite its importance for growth and reproduction, how this process takes place in plants remains mysterious.

Based on innovative pilot studies on the Arabidopsis root cap in the Nowack lab, the team will now leverage new technologies to gather new, high-resolution information on programmed cell death in plants. The improved, detailed understanding of plant programmed cell death generated by this research program will shed light on a fundamental principle of plant development and open new avenues for crop improvement and protection. 

Moritz Nowack (VIB-UGent): “It is absolutely elating to receive this extraordinary chance to consolidate our research on developmentally controlled cell death in plants. With the ERC grant, my team will be able to investigate in detail how a plant cell controls the most drastic decision in its life – when and how to die.”

Moritz Nowack
©VIB-Ine Dehandschutter