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Stressed bacteria: ERC grant for Henning Jessen

FRIAS fellow Henning Jessen receives ERC grant for his research on bacterial stress neurotransmitters. Congratulations!

Bacteria, too, are prone to stress. When lacking nutrients, in case of temperature shock or antibiotics bacteria produce so-called alarmones, that are responsible for a specific reaction, the “stringent response” and start to adjust to the stressors. Since all bacteria react to stress in that way, the stringent response provides researchers with an opportunity to develop new antibiotics that thwart the bacterial stress reaction.

This is what the ERC grant-winning research project by Henning Jessen, professor of bioorganic chemistry and FRIAS Senior Fellow, is all about: Jessen works on developing methods to analyze and manipulate the level of alarmones in living bacteria. On the one hand, his research aims at refining the understanding of the processes that shape the stringent response and at answering questions that haven’t been answered yet. For instance, it is not fully researched how bacteria can stop the stringent reaction and return to the initial state- On the other hand, he strives to initiate the development of antibiotics that repress the stringent response and thus hinder the multiplication of bacteria.

Jessen is a member of the clusters of excellence livMatS (Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems) and CIBBS (Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling) of the University of Freiburg. He is also senior fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).

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