Vikas Trivedi, group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – Barcelona (EMBL Barcelona) and Verena Ruprecht, head of the Cell and Tissue Dynamics Laboratory at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), have received a «Synergy» grant of more than 10 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC). Over six years, the awarded project, BREAKDANCE, will bring together a multidisciplinary team of biologists, engineers and physicists to understand the developmental mechanisms of animal body plans.
“The name BREAKDANCE refers to the dynamic interactions between the cells of a tissue; the dance that breaks their symmetry”
Pierre-François Lenne, CNRS
In the early stages of development, cells begin by multiplying symmetrically. But at a certain point, they make their own decisions, differentiating and starting to form tissues. This process, which involves genetic and biophysical mechanisms that are as yet unknown, will be recreated with in vitro and ex vivo assays by BREAKDANCE’s interdisciplinary team, to try to understand them.
The «Synergy» grants seek to answer major research questions by fostering relationships with other laboratories and groups. In this case, the project brings together four groups from three centers: EMBL Barcelona, CRG and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France. In addition to expanding knowledge about symmetry breaking during development and training new scientists, Trivedi hopes to be an example to encourage other teams to design ambitious projects and apply for the ERC “Synergy” grant.