24 January 2018

Scientist at Department of Pharmacy receives grant to research in protein superstructures


Associate Professor Vito Foderà from the Department of Pharmacy receives the Velux Foundation's VILLUM Young Investigators grant of DKK 8.6 million.

Photographer: Simon Knudsen

Photographer: Simon Knudsen

Associate professor Vito Foderà's present research is at the interface between physics and biology. Now he receives the Velux Foundation’s VILLUM Young Investigators grant of DKK 8.6 million. The VILLUM Young Investigators programme supports particularly talented, younger researchers in technical and scientific research with the ambitions of creating independent research profiles.

Vito Foderà, Department of Pharmacy, studies highly complex biological processes of wide interest in both basic and applied sciences. His main focus is on proteins and peptides undergoing self-assembly processes and his aim is to unravel the molecular mechanisms leading to the self-assembly and characterize the properties of protein aggregates. Such processes are closely related to neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Moreover, the high versatile nature of such self-assembled materials makes them ideal for exploitation in nanotechnology.

"I was extremely excited when I got the news about the Villum funding. My first thought went to the possibility of realizing what I have been theoretically designing in the last years. In that moment, I realized that obtaining this grant is a great step in my academic career. It will give me the opportunity to establish a new platform within the Department of Pharmacy and to strengthen collaborations within the Department and KU, and with scientists at the University of Cambridge. I am very happy for it and I look forward to the next 5 years", says Vito Foderà. 

A novel platform for tailored protein-based materials

Vito Foderà’s research project aims at unraveling the role of intermolecular interactions in controlling the growth, structure and properties of protein superstructures. The project will provide a novel platform for the design and realization of tailored protein-based materials for different uses, from tissue engineering to drug delivery and biosensing. The grant will allow the recruitment of two postdocs, one PhD student, and purchasing of new experimental equipment.

Vito Foderà received his PhD in Physics from the University of Palermo in March 2009 with a project on peptides and proteins biophysics. Since the beginning of his PhD, he has been experiencing multidisciplinary academic environments across Europe, firstly visiting the University of Copenhagen, and then being appointed Research Associate at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.
In March 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Marie Curie IEF for Career Development grant founded by the European Union.
In 2014, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Copenhagen.
In November 2016, he was appointed Associate Professor of Biophysics at the same department.

About the VILLUM Young Investigators Programme.

About the 2018 awards, inkl. pictures from the ceremony.

Photographer: Simon Knudsen

Photographer: Simon Knudsen