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Novo Laureate Research grant of DKK 50 million to Fulvio Reggiori

AIAS incoming Fellow Fulvio Reggiori is awarded a Novo Laureate grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to start his own research laboratory to study and answer key unsolved questions in the field of autophagy, the process of ‘self-eating’ cells, which has therapeutic potential to fight diseases such as cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Image (left): An autophagome, containing some of the intracellular cargo structures that it can sequester, which is fusing with a lysosome, the location where the cargoes are degraded. Autophagosomes are the hallmark of the catabolic pathway of autophagy. Photo (right): Professor Fulvio Reggiori, who will start his research at AIAS & the Dept. of Biomedicine at Aarhus University in June 2022.

Professor Fulvio Reggiori is an expert in autophagy, the process by which cells degrade and recycle their components, such as damaged proteins and organelles, to counteract potential toxic effects. This process also participates to a multitude of cellular and organismal functions, and, when impaired, can lead to pathologies like neurodevelopmental and autoimmune diseases.

Autophagy also has very important medical implications because it has been shown that its induction delays or prevents the onset of various diseases by degrading, in most of the cases, the agent that is causing them. This is the case of some neurodegeneration diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disorders, and specific myopathies and persistent infections.

Fulvio Reggiori will bring his research expertise in autophagy to Denmark when he starts his fellowship at AIAS on 1 June 2022, and simultaneously, he will initiate a new laboratory, the Reggiori Lab, at the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University. He is supported by a Novo Laureate Research Grant of DKK 50 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Currently, Fulvio Reggiori is a head of the section for Molecular Cell Biology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences of Cells and Systems, at the University Medical Center Groningen, in The Netherlands.

The unresolved questions of ‘self-eating’ cells

The ultimate objective of Reggiori’s novel project is to establish, reinforce and further expand three autophagy research areas in his laboratory at Aarhus University: mechanism and regulation, infection and immunity, and neurodegeneration. Within these research areas, the Reggiori research group aims at answering key unsolved questions by using cutting-edge cell biological, biochemical and molecular biology approaches, and by drawing on his vast international collaborative network.

“The choice of Aarhus University and AIAS, and especially the Department of Biomedicine, is motivated by the fact that we expect numerous synergisms, that will help with both the realization of the project and the development of new research lines, since three out of four research themes of our new department coincide with our research interests,” explained Fulvio Reggiori about his decision to continue his studies in Aarhus.

Conversely, Fulvio Reggiori will bring his expertise in autophagy to the Aarhus research community and ultimately to Denmark, as well as experimental competencies such as electron microscopy approaches for the examination of cells and tissues.

In addition to uncovering important fundamental aspects of the mechanism of autophagy, understanding the implications of autophagy in determined physiological and pathological contexts could provide the knowledge necessary to devise autophagy-based therapeutic approaches to intervene in specific diseases and possibly develop compounds modulating autophagy.

About the Novo Laureate Research Grants

The Novo Nordisk Foundation awards 7-year Laureate Research Grants to leading international researchers who want to establish a research group in Denmark. Each grant of up to DKK 50 million is a framework grant covering project operations, salaries and research equipment over the 7 years. The grants may be extended for another 7 years based on a new application and an evaluation of the project in the sixth year.


Fulvio Reggiori's project at AIAS



Fulvio Reggiori, Professor, Group leader

Molecular Cell Biology,
University of Groningen,
The Netherlands