Europe funds research by Isabel Fariñas on adult stem cells responsible for tissue regeneration

Isabel Fariñas’s team
Isabel Fariñas’s team
The full professor of Cellular Biology at the University of Valencia Isabel Fariñas has received €2.5 M from the European Research Council (ERC), in the Advanced Grants modality, to advance in the study of adult stem cells responsible for renewal and regeneration of the tissues. These are the largest individual grants awarded by the main European research organisation.

Stem cell plasticity in adult neurogenic niches -NSC-PLAS- , ERC-2022-ADG 101098241 is the title of the project led by Isabel Fariñas, professor of Cell Biology at the Faculty of Biological Sciences and researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (BIOTECMED) of the University of Valencia. The objective of the work is to provide clues about the basic mechanisms of regulation of quiescence, a state that preserves the properties of adult stem cells responsible for the renewal and, potentially, the regeneration of tissues.

"Adult stem cells, including those from the brain, have the potential to restore lost cells, but also to generate aggressive tumours", comments I. Fariñas. "One of their most characteristic and least understood properties is their ability to transition between an activated state, in which cell division occurs, and quiescence, a dormant state in which they can remain for long periods of time", she adds.

Understanding these transitions and their effects on aging or cancer is the objective of this project framed in the field of cell plasticity and tissue regeneration; a work that seeks results that can contribute to advances in the design of potential strategies for brain repair or treatment of brain tumours. "Cancer cells can resist chemotherapy if they are quiescent, a state that we still do not understand", concludes the scientist.

Isabel Fariñas is the main reasercher and coordinator of the Molecular Neurobiology group at the University of Valencia. Her work focuses on the study of the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of brain stem cells. Fariñas has published more than 100 research articles in molecular neurobiology, is a member of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and is among the 2% of the most cited scientists in the world.

ERC Advanced Grants

This year, more than 1,600 proposals for Advanced Grants have been submitted in all areas of knowledge. 219 have been funded for a total of almost 550 million euros. Around 8% of this aid has been granted to Spanish projects. These are five-year projects with a highly innovative nature and high impact in their research area and led by senior researchers.