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LUCC researcher receive ERC Starting Grant

Emma Hammarlund was one of six researchers from Lund University in Sweden that was granted five-year starting grants from the European Research Council.

Photo of Emma Hammarlund
Emma Hammarlund
Emma Hammarlund, geobiologist and researcher at the Division of Translational Cancer Research, will investigate how life could develop on our planet. The availability of oxygen has long been the prime focus for different hypotheses, however research now shows that, on the contrary, it may be a controlled lack of oxygen that is the basis for enabling multicellular organisms to develop. The paradox that multicellularity would need both low and high oxygen levels in order to live has been the subject of very little research. One idea about how animal life dramatically took off in what is known as the Cambrian explosion, is based on clues from cancer research. This is because cancer cells are very successful at creating new multicellularity, i.e. tumours – surroundings with both low and high oxygen levels. Our stem cells, those that form new tissue, are also sensitive to high oxygen levels.

“I want to understand the significance of low oxygen levels in the formation of tissue and animals’ development. If we succeeded in harnessing low oxygen levels internally in order to be able to live with high oxygen levels outside – this may fundamentally change our view of ourselves, our world and our history”, says Emma Hammarlund.

Contact: Emma Hammarlund, geobiologist and researcher at the Division of Translational Cancer Research
emma [dot] hammarlund [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

The European Research Council (ERC) promotes high-quality, researcher-driven research in all fields of science. The ERC supports cutting-edge research, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects and ground-breaking ideas. The ERC Starting Grant, which is aimed at early career researchers who are ready to start independent research, is currently worth up to EUR 1.5 million over a five-year period. This year, 436 European researchers will share EUR 677 million. Starting grants have been awarded to 23 researchers in Sweden this year, six of whom are at Lund University.

Link to original text in article "Six LU researchers receive ERC Starting Grants" published 4 September 2020

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