Marie Curie Career Integration Grant awarded to CECAD Scientist Dr. David Vilchez

Cologne, May 9, 2013. The Marie Curie Career Integration Grant is a great recognition for
excellent research and for young scientist Dr. David Vilchez. His transfer from Berkeley to
Cologne to the Cluster of Excellence CECAD strengthens the cluster ́s outstanding basic
research in central aspects of the aging process and allows opportunities to investigate more complex issues in interdisciplinary cooperation projects within the Cluster. The main focus of Dr. Vilchez ́s research is to understand the loss of protein quality control during the aging process. Damaged and toxic proteins accumulate during the aging process, impairing cell function and tissue homeostasis. These perturbations to the quality of proteins contribute to age-related pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Dr. David Vilchez’s laboratory at CECAD uses an innovative approach based on a combination of human stem cells research with genetic analysis in a roundworm aging model to uncover new mechanisms for extending longevity and healthspan. Given the observation that embryonic stem cells replicate continuously in the absence of senescence, Dr. Vilchez hypothesized that these cells could provide a novel paradigm to study the regulation of proteostasis and its failure in aging. In his previous research, Dr. Vilchez found that embryonic stem cells have an incredibly ability to degrade damaged proteins. Modulation of this degradation mechanism in an organism extends longevity and protect from the symptoms associated to Huntington’s disease. The Marie Curie CIG Grant is funded by the European commission and contributes to the awardee ́s research costs over a period of four years. It is annually awarded to excellent scientists with solid background in research, who wish to move to a new host organization in Europe.
The just now awarded Marie Curie CIG Grant will allow Dr. Vilchez group to further investigate the impact of proteostasis in stem cells, aging and age-related diseases. By using this novel approach, the group of Dr. Vilchez will identify novel components of the proteostasis network and further improve the research in aging related diseases. In addition to the financial aspect, the Grant is also a valuation of Dr. Vilchez ́ research achievements and the CECAD vision to better understand the molecular aspects of the aging process.

Dr. David Vilchez

Astrid Bergmeister
Head of CECAD PR & Marketing
Phone. + 49 (0) 221-478-84043

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