Igniting the spark of life

Volkswagen Foundation grants research project on the beginning of life

Nadine Vastenhouw, research group leader at the MPI-CBG, and Jan Brugués, research group leader at the MPI-CBG, the MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems, and the Center for Systems Biology Dresden, have successfully applied for a 1.5 million Euro grant from the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung). Their joint project “The spark of life: initiation of transcription in embryos, and recapitulating such in synthetic nuclei” focuses on the moment an embryo takes over control over its development and starts to use the instructions encoded in its DNA. The research groups aim to determine the physical principles that are involved in sparking life in the embryo and determine how the spark of life results in all other activities that underlie embryonic development.

Congratulations to Nadine, Jan, and their labs!

This grant is part of the funding initiative "Life? – A fresh scientific approach to the basic principles of life” of the Volkswagen Foundation, which supports outstanding projects at the interface between natural and life sciences investigating the principles of life. The initiative was launched in 2015. In the current round of approvals, a total of EUR 9.8 million was approved for seven cooperation projects.