IBEC researcher awarded with an ERC Starting Grant to fight tuberculosis

IBEC researcher Loris Rizzello receives 1.5 million Euros from the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for his PANDORA project, focused on creating a new therapy to eradicate tuberculosis.

Last September 3rd the European Research Council (ERC) announced the projects awarded with an “ERC Starting Grant”. Among the 408 projects selected is the PANDORA project of Dr. Loris Rizzello, a researcher of the Nanobioengineering group of the IBEC led by Prof. Josep Samitier.
The PANDORA project of Dr. Rizzello aims to revolutionize the way we cure infections caused by intracellular pathogens, finding an universal therapy able to attack infectious diseases and, at the same time, avoiding antibiotic resistance. More specificially, the winning project of the prestigious ERC Starting Grant will seek solutions that help eradicate tuberculosis, one of the worst pandemics so far, identifying the molecular “barcode” of infected cells, in order to design polymeric nanoparticles that selectively attack infected cells, without affecting healthy cells.

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“This therapy would represent a complete revolution in the field of new antimicrobial agents, as it will combine complete bacterial eradication, development of memory immunity and the fight against drug resistance, the three central pillars of this project ”
Loris Rizzello, IBEC researcher.

The ERC Starting Grant, which is aimed for outstanding scientists so that they can create their own research teams and drive innovative proposals in all disciplines. “To respond to the most difficult challenges of our era, researchers need the freedom and conditions to follow their curiosity. This is what the EU provides through grants from the European Research Council: an opportunity for leading scientists to follow their most daring ideas, ”said Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation yesterday.
This year, 408 ERC Starting Grants were granted out of a total of 3106 applications, 20 of them for researchers working in Spanish institutions.