Career News

ERC Grants for Viennese Researchers

Kristin Teßmar-Raible receives Starting Grant, Monika Henzinger an Advanced Grant

25.9.2013 | The awards are worth 1,5 million and 2,4 million Euros respectively. The neurobiologist Teßmar-Raible studies the lunar rhythms of marine bristle worms, and the computer scientist Henzinger works with algorithms and their applications.
Dr. Kristin Teßmar-Raible
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Dr. Kristin Teßmar-Raible
Dr. Teßmar-Raible and her team at the "Max F. Perutz Laboratories" use the marine bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii as a model organism to investigate how the synchronisation of Platynereis' reproductive rhythm with the lunar cycle works on a molecular and cellular level. Recent findings of the group show that Platynereis possesses both a circalunar and a circadian clock. Both clocks jointly control the reproductive rhythms of the worm. Older studies, as well as their own work, also showed that the monthly lunar clock is set by nocturnal light stimuli. However, the sensor remains unclear. The new ERC Starting Grant will fund research to answer this question. These grants were established in 2007 by the European Research Council ERC to support young researchers in Europe.

ERC Advanced Grants, on the other hand, allow established research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking projects that open new directions in their research fields. It is considered the "flagship" grant for basic research in Europe. Both grants are stretched over a five-year period.

Prof. Monika Henzinger
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Prof. Monika Henzinger
Prof. Monika Herzinger has just received an Advanced Grant for her fundamental research into algorithmic problems and their applications in computational sience. "Algorithms are like recipes for computers and can be communicated via various programming languages", Prof. Henzinger explains. "Computers need recipes for each and every function. But some algorithms are faster, some are slower, some need more memory space, some need less. In algorithm research, we try to find the most efficient algorithm for each function."

Computational science is an interdisciplinary field including applications in biology, chemistry, physics, applied mathematics and computer science. Computers are employed either to solve problems or to simulate complex processes. Prof. Henzinger and her team are already working on applications in biology, in computer-aided verification, this being an automatic analysis of software and hardware systems, and in internet advertising. With her future projects, she aims to develope further applications in computational science. For her, computer-aided research is like a pracital tool: "The natural sciences profit greatly from progress in computer science, and vice versa. And all of these new insights together change the way we see the world. So ultimately, we use computers to try to understand the world around us", Prof. Henzinger concludes.   (© University of Vienna, AcademiaNet)
Veronika Schallhart, Susanne Dambeck

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