Julia von Blume awarded “Heisenberg” and “Plus 3” grant
Julia von Blume has been named as the recipient of the Heisenberg grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), for the duration of five years. She has also been given funding of € 900,000 as part of the Plus 3 Perspective Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. These highly coveted programmes provide outstanding researchers with support on their career path to becoming professors.
Julia von Blume, Leader of the Junior Research Group of the “Molecular Basis of Protein Trafficking” Department at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, is decoding how secreted proteins that are needed outside the cell are sorted by the Golgi apparatus, which effectively functions as a cellular distribution centre. Proteins to be sorted include, for example, signalling molecules or components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the connective tissue that surrounds cells. These ECM proteins have to be sorted at the right time at their place of deployment, as they are vitally important for an organism. However, this sorting mechanism is still not completely understood today. In recent years, Julia von Blume and her group have identified crucial players in this process. One key player is actin, a central support and transport molecule. Another is the calcium transporter SPCA1.
“We are looking at how these protein complexes in the Golgi apparatus control the sorting of central signalling molecules,” says von Blume. “I am very grateful for this financial assistance, as it will enable us to achieve our goals more quickly.”