31 Aug 2017

ERC Starting Grant Award

Pedro Leão, FCT Investigator at CIIMAR (U. Porto), has been awarded a 1.5 million EURO Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). These prestigious grants cover, for 5 years, the development of highly innovative projects and are awarded exclusively on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposal and merit of the researcher’s scientific path.

The grant will support the project “FattyCyanos - Fatty acid incorporation and modification in cyanobacterial natural products" -  which aims to unearth entirely new natural products and biosynthetic enzymes from the very chemically-talented Cyanobacteria.

Natural products have diverse biological activities and the potential to become drug leads; their complex structures and biosyntheses are a source of inspiration for synthetic methodology and catalyst development. These attributes, lend them important fundamental and applied scientific value.

Pedro Leão studied Biochemistry at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, where he carried out his MSc (2006) and PhD studies (2010, with Prof. Vitor Vasconcelos). In 2009 and 2012 he undertook research training periods at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with Prof. William Gerwick. In 2014 he carried out postdoctoral studies with Prof. Emily Balskus at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology of Harvard University, before taking up his current position at CIIMAR.