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Awards & Honors

ERC Proof of Concept grant for IMBA Researcher Stefan Ameres

IMBA was once more successful in competing for an European Research Council (ERC) grant: Stefan Ameres was awarded a Proof of Concept Grant to explore the commercial potential of his newly developed technology SLAMseq. After receiving the recognized Houska-Award earlier this year this is Ameres’ second appreciation for SLAMseq.

SLAMseq is an innovative sequencing method developed at IMBA that holds significant potential for research and medicine. “SLAMseq” – developed by Stefan Ameres and his team – allows the direct detection of sudden changes in gene expression and thereby revolutionizes the way scientists can investigate effects of genes and drugs. 

According to Ameres, this method has enormous potential not only for basic research but also for the pharmaceutical industry. Because it will make it possible to determine the molecular causes of deviations in the gene expression pattern, which can cause serious diseases, such as cancer. For this development, Ameres, who received a "Starting Grant" in 2013, has already been awarded the "Houska Prize" this year.

The ERC "Proof of Concept" grant from the European Research Council endowed with 150,000 euros allows scientists to explore the market potential of their results previously obtained with ERC funds. They may use it to register patent protection for their research results, explore business opportunities or carry out technical validation. The aim of the funding scheme is to bridge the gap between basic research and marketable innovations.

First steps towards economic exploitation have already been taken with the unique sequencing kit being marketed around the world by biotech company Lexogen, which like IMBA is based at the Vienna BioCenter life science cluster. 

About Stefan Ameres
Stefan L. Ameres earned his Master’s degree in Biology at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), and his PhD degree at the University of Vienna (Austria). In his award-winning PhD thesis, he reported the first in-depth enzymatic characterization of the human RNA interference effector complex. After his postdoctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, MA, USA), he joined IMBA as a group leader in 2012. For his innovative studies on fundamental biological mechanisms of gene regulation, Stefan Ameres received several awards, including the Houska Award and the OEGGGT Research Award for Young Scientists, and he obtained a Starting grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and a START grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). He is member of the EMBO Young Investigator Program and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Young Academy).