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26 Apr 2022 - Third ERC Advanced Grant to Ivan Đikić.

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Prof. Dr. Ivan Dikic
Director of IBCII
Fotograf: Uwe Dettmar

IBC2 director Ivan Đikić has been awarded with an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). This is the third time he receives the prestigious grant that comes along with research funding in the amount of € 2.5 million for the next five years.
With his grant, Ivan Đikić intends to unravel molecular mechanisms of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) remodelling via ER-phagy pathways. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the largest intracellular membrane system and covers important functions in numerous processes. It is essential for cellular homeostasis and wellbeing. To fulfill its diverse functions, the ER is constantly adapting its shape, and Ivan Đikić is amongst the pioneers in shedding light on the regulation of these dynamic changes. He postulated that ER-phagy, a selective autophagy route targeting ER, is a major driver of ER remodelling and found first molecular cues on how this process is regulated. 

The ERC project builds on a decade-long success story of continuous funding in the field – especially on results generated within the DFG-funded CRC 1177 on selective autophagy and on the HMWK-funded large-scale project on ubiquitin networks (Ub-Net), both of which led by Ivan Đikić. 
Within his ERC project, Ivan Đikić will now explore the novel concept of ubiquitin-driven receptor clustering igniting the entire process of membrane remodelling. He proposes to combine structural and cell biological approaches with dynamic simulation and molecular modelling to obtain a hithero unprecedented insight into the molecular details of this process. The emerging data will not only provide new insights in the organelle dynamics, but will also help to understand the impact of ER and ER-phagy on neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and infections, which has been known to exist for a long time. 
As such, the results of the ERC project will also aid the development of novel therapeutic strategies, which is the core aim of the HMWK-funded cluster project ENABLE, which is co-led by Ivan Đikić and has recently given rise to the initiative EMTHERA, a joint endeavor of Frankfurt and Mainz scientists and one of the candidates for the next round of the federal excellence strategy.