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Noireaux wins prestigious grant for international research collaboration

Vincent Noireaux
Vincent Noireaux
Wendy Tschampl

School of Physics and Astronomy Professor Vincent Noireaux has received a program grant from the Human Frontiers Science Program Organization (HFSPO). Noireaux is the Principal Investigator of the grant for his research in biological physics which will be shared with his co-PI’s Albert Libchaber, Rockefeller University, (New York) Yusuke Maeda, Kyushu University, (Japan), and Albrecht Ott, Universität des Saarlandes (Germany). The whole team will share a total of $400,000 per year for three years.

Recipients went through a rigorous year-long selection process in a global competition which started with over a thousand applicants. The grant program gives strong preference to international collaborators and PIs are encouraged to include younger scientists in the grant as co-PIs in order to increase their participation in international collaborations. All projects were submitted under the theme of “complex mechanisms of living organisms” with preference given to those projects considered most cutting edge or novel.

Noireaux and his collaborators will use the grant to study “protocells and minimal cells: evolution versus engineering”. Noireaux’s lab has developed an experimental platform to engineer a minimal cell by integrating molecular components. The ultimate goal of the project is to bring new information regarding self-replication of unicellular cells.

HFSPo is one of the very few funding systems that sponsor international collaborations to achieve innovative projects. The grant will support three graduate students at UMN: Jonathan Garamella, Ryan Marshall, Mark Rustad.