ERC Starting Grant for Delft PI Liedewij Laan


Two weeks ago we announced the ERC Starting Grants of Leiden PIs Daniela Kraft and Milan Allan. This news item was incomplete - in the most recent round, also one of our Delft PIs was granted an ERC Starting Grant: Liedewij Laan. Below, you can read more about her project EvoCellBio.

EvoCellBio – Liedewij Laan

How do organisms evolve? How are proteins essential in one species lost in closely related species? Liedewij Laan will study how biochemical networks reorganize during evolution without compromising fitness. How organisms evolve is not only a fascinating fundamental question, but it also has important implications for human health: cancer and antibiotic resistance are poorly understood evolutionary processes. It is also a rather challenging problem: it is hard to know if a mutation has increased fitness, because this depends on the environment it arose in, which is typically unknown. Additionally, it is hard to find out how adaptive mutations improve fitness, because in cells all biochemical networks are connected.

Liedewij Laan will study how adaptive mutations improve fitness in yeast cells. She will use fluorescent live-cell microscopy in combination with physical modelling. Liedewij Laan will also create minimal evolvable in vitro networks consisting of emulsion droplets containing only the components that are essential for either fitness or evolvability, to find basic rules of network evolution.

More information about Liedewij Laan: http://laanlab.tudelft.nl/