Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship (MSCA IF) 2020 call received a record number of 11573 project proposals. From those, MSCA-IF will finance totalling €328 million, and support 1630 experienced post-doctoral researchers work at top universities and research units.

“It is an amazing opportunity provided by the European Union through the European Research Council (ERC), in supporting research activity in all scientific branches”, says Dr. Marko Ristic (Serbia)

Dr. Marko Ristic was one of the recipients this year. Their project SuccHSC, together with his supervisor, the SFNO member and Spanish principal investigator based in Norway, Dr. Lorena Arranz, scored 97 over 100. Their main affiliation will be at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway.

One way or another, most of us are familiar with someone who suffered from leukemia. Their MSCA IF will study Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), where silent assassins called Leukemia Stem Cells (LSCs) are responsible for disease origin, relapse, and absence of efficient cure. LSCs stem from healthy Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), parents to all blood cells. Mechanisms by which HSC turn into LSC are still largely unknown, which is why new knowledge is needed.

“This will allow development of novel and efficient therapeutic targets of clinical interest, with potential to eradicate the root of the disease and improve quality of life in AML patients”, says Dr. Lorena Arranz.

Chronic inflammation generates various molecules that can chronically activate bone marrow HSCs in a bad way, leading to myeloid skewing, exhaustion and in some instances transformation into LSCs. With the growing amount of data pointing to chronic inflammation as major cause of malignancy, their SuccHSC project will explore the role of succinate, intermediate metabolite and inflammatory driver, in LSC formation by epigenetic remodeling of HSC.