Dr Mattias Björnmalm, from the Caruso lab at Melbourne University has been awarded a lucrative Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action grant by the European Commission. The fellowship was extremely competitive, with just under 9000 proposals considered by the organisers.
The 30 chosen researchers represent the 100,000 fellows who have been supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions over the past two decades. The group includes 28 European nationals, one from each EU Member State, one from Colombia and one from New Zealand. Their research topics cover a wide spectrum, ranging from tackling climate change and ground breaking research on fighting cancer to the prevention of violent radicalisation.
The grants were announced by Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, on the eve of 2017 International Women’s’ Day.
The grants enable researchers to go abroad and support cooperation between institutions and industry. For every single beneficiary, the award is an important boost for their career and the chance to improve citizens’ lives by advancing knowledge and innovation.
Mattias grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, before going to Lund University to study bioengineering and nanoscience. In 2013 he moved to Australia to pursue a PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Melbourne with Professor Frank Caruso’s lab. He completed in 2016. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher, and his research is focused on using strategies from science and engineering to develop nanomaterials for biomedical applications.
The grant will enable Mattias to work with Professor Stevens, a CBNS Partner Investigator at the Imperial College London. The work will investigate how nanoparticles interact with cells and tissues using state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques. A key challenge in this area has been to understand exactly what happens when nanoparticles are taken up by cells: What are the mechanisms involved? How are the particles and cells affected? and How does this translate into the groupings of cells that build up tissues? The answers to these questions are fundamental both for our understanding of these systems, but also for making the next generation of nanoparticles to help doctors treat diseases that are difficult—or even impossible—to treat today.
Dr Björnmalm said of the fellowship: “I’m looking forward to working with Professor Molly Stevens and her world-class interdisciplinary biomaterials team at Imperial College London. Their extensive experience in materials science and cell and tissue biology will be key for investigating these challenging topics.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, named after the double Nobel Prizewinning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support excellent researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. The programme is open to all domains of research and innovation, from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services. Research and innovation fields are chosen freely by the applicants (individuals and/or organisations).
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions aim to equip researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector. The actions are a key part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. During the current financing period (2014 – 2020), with a budget of EUR 6.2 billion, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are expected to support around 65,000 researchers.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/news/20170307-msca-researchers-100-000_en