“ERC-Hattrick” for IMBA Group leader Stefan Ameres

Stefan Ameres, group leader at IMBA- Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences- could secure a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant worth 2 million Euros. It is already his third grant by the European Research Commission since he established his lab at IMBA. With the ERC Consolidator Grant Stefan Ameres aims to investigate the least understood aspects of gene expressions, namely the regulation of RNA fate and function.

In 2017, Stefan Ameres and his lab succeeded in combining metabolic RNA labelling and high throughput sequencing, to assemble a “movie” of gene expression activity as it occurs in living cells. This groundbreaking technology called SLAMseq allows scientists to follow the fate of RNA molecules, from their production by transcription, to the sequential processing and maturation, up to their tightly controlled turnover. Using this technology, scientists can precisely quantify cellular rates of key steps in gene expressions, and learn about the fundamental principles on how the genetic information is put into practice: during cellular differentiation, as response to external stimuli, or in the context of disease. At the same time, SLAMseq opens up new possibilities for medical screening and testing medication on live cells, and also has enormous potential to spark further advances in medicine. In a recent paper published in Molecular Cell, the Ameres lab combined SLAMseq with small RNA sequencing, to understand how small non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs, can act as key regulators of organismal development, physiology and diseases.

Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme. “I am deeply honored to have received a third ERC grant which is, first and foremost, a recognition of the excellent mentorship and education I enjoyed in the past. The outstanding team of scientists I was able to recruit into my lab over the last years are also at the core of this success, as well as the extraordinary research infrastructure and support here at IMBA, and the collaborative spirit at the Vienna BioCenter,”says Stefan Ameres. With the ERC Consolidator Grant, Ameres and his lab plan to investigate the molecular mechanisms that control the expression of genetic information which is the fundamental process that unites all living organism. “Our work will impact a broad array of biological processes and will have direct implications of our understanding of human diseases and the development of novel therapeutic approaches,” says Stefan Ameres.

About Stefan Ameres
Stefan Ameres was born in Munich. He obtained his PhD in Renee Schröder´s lab at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, and subsequently worked as a Post Doc in Philipp Zamore´s lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 2012 Stefan became a group leader at IMBA, where he and his group explore fundamental principles of gene regulation. In 2013 he received an ERC Starting Grant as well as the coveted FWF START Award. In 2015 he was inducted into the Young Academy of the OEAW. In 2016, he was admitted to the prestigious Young Investigator Program of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). In 2017 he received a WWTF grant. In 2018, he received the Houska Award, the biggest Austrian private award for industry-related basic research as well as the ERC Proof of Concept Grant.

About IMBA 

IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology - is one of the leading biomedical research institutes in Europe focusing on cutting-edge stem cell technologies, functional genomics, and RNA biology. IMBA is located at the Vienna BioCenter, the vibrant cluster of universities, research institutes and biotech companies in Austria. IMBA is a subsidiary of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the leading national sponsor of non-university academic research. The stem cell and organoid research at IMBA is being funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and the City of Vienna.