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Double ERC Grant Success

Posted on 21 March 2022

Two academics in the Department of Chemistry have received prestigious European Research Council Consolidator Grants worth over £1.5 million pounds each, to support their rapidly growing portfolios of innovative research in the area of chemical biology.

Dr Martin Fascione (left) and Dr Alison Parkin (right).

European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants are highly competitive 5-year awards designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal.

Dr Martin Fascione received a grant worth €2.0M (£1.7M) for his project ‘Chemical Glycobiology for the Study and Exploitation of Pseudaminic Acid Sugars in Infectious Disease (ChemGlycoSEPSIS)’. Dr Fascione is an expert in chemical biology and his research team is developing an international profile for their work studying carbohydrates at the interface between chemistry and biology. By understanding how carbohydrates are perturbed in disease pathways, they aim to develop innovative new 'chemical glycomedicine' approaches for the prevention and treatment of disease. In ChemGlycoSEPSIS he will focus on combining carbohydrate chemistry and enzymology to tackle multidrug resistant bacterial infections.

Dr Alison Parkin received a grant worth €2.0M (£1.7M) for her project ‘Modernising Electrochemical Enzymology To Map Electron Transfer (Enzyme e-map)’. An expert in electrochemical methods, Dr Parkin uses these approaches to gain detailed insight into the behaviour of biological systems. Her proposed research aims to revolutionise the application of electrochemistry to the study of enzymes in order to gain new insights into electron transfer processes. Understanding such processes is important across a wide range of fields: from antibiotic development to industrial catalyst design. In Enzyme e-map she will combine sophisticated data analysis with molecular biology techniques to “see” the electron-hopping mechanisms that underpin important sustainable bio-fuel production reactions such as hydrogen production and cellulose degradation.

Head of Department, Professor Caroline Dessent said: “Huge congratulations are due to Alison and Martin.  The award of these highly competitive grants is a testimony to the exceptional science their research groups is conducting.  Colleagues across York Chemistry have supported Alison and Martin through the ERC application process, and it’s wonderful to see this departmental team effort leading to such success.”

You can read more about the ERC Consolidator Grants online.