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Luxembourg National Research Fund

Johannes Meiser awarded FNR ATTRACT Fellowship

Following the 2017/18 FNR ATTRACT Call, Dr Johannes Meiser has been awarded a 1.5 MEUR FNR ATTRACT Starting Grant to set up his own research line in the area of cancer metabolism at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).

Dr Johannes Meiser completed his PhD in plant molecular physiology in 2011 at Saarland University (Germany) before joining the research group of former FNR ATTRACT fellow Prof Karsten Hiller at the University of Luxembourg’s LCSB for 3 years, supported by the FNR’s AFR Postdoc scheme.

Dr Johannes Meiser (@JohannesMeiser)

During his time at the LCSB, he investigated metabolic alterations in the context of neuro-degeneration and immunity and identified the metabolism of the amino acid serine as an important integration point during metabolic stress conditions.

Before successfully applying the for FNR ATTRACT Fellowship, Dr Meiser spent 2.5 years as a Postdoc at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

“The FNR ATTRACT programme is a very attractive funding scheme for researchers who want to move forward in their career and gain more independence. What is distinctive about the ATTRACT position is that it is tenure-tracked. It includes a career development plan and an assessment at the end of the funding period. This funding scheme and the research environment here in Luxembourg are ideal to set up a strong team with a positive long-term perspective,” Dr Meiser commented.

Understanding brain cancer metabolism

Dr Meiser will set up his own research line in the area of cancer metabolism within the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory in LIH’s Department of Oncology. Dr Meiser, who as of 1 September 2018 has taken up the position of junior group leader, will be able to study how serine metabolism contributes to malignant tumour onset and progression in the context of glioblastoma, the most frequent and aggressive form of brain cancer.

Dr Meiser’s research on cancer metabolism has already led to major scientific advances. He published a significant research article in Science Advances in 2016 and in Nature Communications in 2018. Using stable isotope-assisted metabolomics techniques, he observed that cancer cells have very high rates of serine catabolism, exceeding the rates required for growth.

Read more on the LIH website

About the FNR ATTRACT programme

The ATTRACT programme is designed for researchers not yet established in Luxembourg, who demonstrate the potential to become leaders in their field of research. The scheme offers promising junior researchers the opportunity to set up their own research team within one of the country’s research institutions. The financial contribution by the FNR can be up to 1.5 MEUR for Starting Investigators (Postdoc & Junior Researcher level) or 2 MEUR for Consolidating Investigators (Established Researcher level). In the 2018/19 Call, the FNR expects to be able to fund 2 projects. Projects have a lifespan of 5 years. The next ATTRACT deadline is 15 November 2018 (pre-proposals).

Discover the feature series ‘FNR ATTRACT Fellows – the people behind the science

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