New SNSF grants awarded to three IRB researchers

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has recently awarded three group leaders at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to USI): Silvia Monticelli, Santiago González and Petr Cejka.

Silvia Monticelli, director of the Molecular Immunology lab, is interested in studying gene expression regulation in immune cells at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. “To better understand the mechanisms of autoimmunity, we need to extend our knowledge on the regulation of immune cell differentiation, proliferation and functions and the interaction between epigenetic modifications, transcription factors, and their targets”. The project financed by SNSF aims at identifying molecular mechanisms that contribute to the control of human T cell responses in autoimmunity.

Santiago González, leader of the Infection and Immunity group, studies the innate and adaptive immune responses to respiratory pathogens, and the mechanisms by which such viruses and bacteria fight the host immune system. “My project will help understanding the role of specific immune cells receptors responsible of the recognition of respiratory pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Influenza and SARSCoV-2, and how their interaction will affect the outcome of the disease” said Santiago González.

Petr Cejka, director of the Recombination Mechanisms group, is interested in DNA repair system and specifically, on the homologous recombination pathway. “We want to learn how these pathways operate in healthy cells and how defects lead to abnormalities and disease, like cancer”, he said. With this financed project, he aims to unravel new mechanisms of DNA repair and to understand more deeply the regulation of the DNA repair system.

The overall amount of the grants corresponds to more than 3 Million CHF. These funding will sustain the laboratory activities and the salaries of 3 Postdocs and 5 PhD students for the next 4 years.

The IRB congratulates Silvia, Santiago and Petr and wishes them a lot of success.