March 29, 2012

Prestigious HFSP awards for IST Austria Professors

Two new HFSP grants for Gašper Tkačik and Harald Janovjak • Four IST Professors now funded by HFSP awards

Gašper Tkačik and Harald Janovjak, both Assistant Professors at IST Austria, are awarded grants from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) in the 2012 award round. HFSP is a funding program for frontier research in the life sciences, managed by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) based in Strasbourg. (http://www.hfsp.org/). HFSP grants are regarded as especially prestigious in the field of life sciences, placing an emphasis on cutting-edge, risky projects pursued by internationally collaborating, interdisciplinary teams.

Gašper Tkačik, a neuroscientist and biophysicist, received a Program Grant for his project on "Information processing and computation in fish groups". Tkačik will share his Program Grant award with Iain Couzin of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, USA, and Elad Schneidman of the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.

Harald Janovjak, a molecular and cellular biophysicist, was awarded a Young Investigator Grant together with Colin Jackson of the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra and Christian Henneberger of the Institute of Cellular Neuroscience at the University of Bonn. Together, they will pursue research on "In situ real-time imaging of neurotransmitter signaling using designer optical sensors".

In the 2012 round, eight Young Investigator Grants and 25 Program Grants were chosen from almost 800 letters of intent, and 96 subsequently invited full applications. Teams receive up to US-$ 450,000 per year for the whole team to support their research.

In 2011, IST Assistant Professors Călin Guet and Michael Sixt were both awarded HFSP grants. With the current awards, the number of IST Austria Professors holding grants from the HFSP was raised to four, underlining the strong international ties and collaborations of researchers working at IST Austria.

IST President Thomas Henzinger commented on the news: "I congratulate Gašper Tkačik and Harald Janovjak. These two new awards prove IST’s capability to attract young outstanding scientists and that IST can offer them an excellent environment to implement their talent."

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