The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded its Consolidator Grants. Four KU Leuven researchers are among this year's recipients: breast cancer researcher Christine Desmedt, computer scientist Tias Guns, chemical engineer Simon Kuhn, and psychiatrist Lukas Van Oudenhove.
ERC Consolidator Grants provide funding for excellent researchers with 7 to 12 years of post-PhD experience. The grants are awarded for a five-year period and may be worth up to € 2 million.
CHRISTINE DESMEDT: THE LINK BETWEEN BREAST CANCER AND OBESITY
Head of the Laboratory for Translational Breast Cancer Research, Assistant Professor at the Department of Oncology, and member of the Leuven Cancer Institute (LKI)
Congratulations! Were you expecting this?
“I pulled out all the stops for this project application, but it's very difficult to gauge your chances beforehand. The selection process is extremely strict, and the jury members don't give anything away during the interview: you can't tell whether they like your answer or not. I’m happy my application was successful. It's a huge boost for my team.”
What will the project be about?
“We want to find out what the link is between breast cancer and obesity. In the West, half of all women are overweight or obese, and this percentage increases after menopause. There is evidence that overweight and obesity have an impact on the biological aspects of cancer, the effectiveness of treatments and the prognosis of patients, but the link between both health problems has not yet been sufficiently studied.”
“My team and I will analyse existing data on thousands of tumours, focussing, among other things, on links between certain mutations and patients’ body mass index (BMI). However, BMI isn't such an accurate indicator of adiposity, which is why we are also going to collect new data and consider, among other things, patients’ fat composition and lifestyle.”
“One in eight women will experience breast cancer at one point in their lives. With our research we hope to contribute to better personalised treatments.”
This article was first published on 9 December by KU Leuven.