Consortium led by Roberta Croce and with John Kennis receives an ENW NWO grant of 2.8 million

In the programme NWO Open Competition Domain Science - GROOT, twenty new consortia will start a large research project. This boost of more than 47 million euros will make new research possible in the science domain. Among the winners is the consortium Nanoscale Regulators of Photosynthesis led by Roberta Croce, professor of Biophysics of photosynthesis and with John Kennis, professor of Biophysics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The consortium has been awarded 2.8 million euros for five years of research.

02/25/2020 | 3:54 PM

The consortium, consisting of biologists, physicists and chemists, will conduct research into a protein in plants that plays a role in photosynthesis. Plants depend on sunlight for their energy supply. With the use of an ingenious antenna system they use this light very efficiently but in bright sunlight the chances to induce photodamage increase substantially. Fortunately, plants can cope with these dangers with the use of a special protein called PsbS.

Recognize danger
However, it is completely unknown how this protein does its job. A broad consortium of plant biologists, chemists and physicists team up to investigate with advanced experimental and theoretical methods how PsbS can recognize the danger and set in motion a cascade of processes that lead to efficient photoprotection.

In addition to Croce and Kennis, researchers Anjali Pandit (Leiden Universiteit), Herbert van Amerongen and Emilie Wientjes (Wageningen University & Research) and Siewert-Jan Marrink and Thomas La Cour-Jansen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) are part of the research group.

Food security
The insights that follow from the research program may be used to optimize the productivity of crop plants, and to increase their resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. In this way the research program may contribute to global food security in the near future.

NWO Open Competiton
At the start of the new Domain Science in 2017, there was a demand among researchers for substantial project funding in the open competition. This concerns curiosity-driven, non-programmed fundamental research. NWO Domain Science has therefore set up an open competition with three successive levels of funding: XS, KLEIN and GROOT. Grants within the NWO Open Competition Domain Science – GROOT programme are intended for consortia in which research groups create added value through collaboration.

Roberta-Croce  John-Kennis

Prof. dr. Roberta Croce                                  Prof. dr. John Kennis

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