UC researcher wins European grant of 1.9 million euros

To unravel the structural dynamics of molecular motors

Sérgio Domingos, a scientist at the University of Coimbra (UC), has just won a “Starting Grant”, worth 1.9 million euros, awarded by the European Research Council (ERC).

This funding will allow for the development, over the next five years, of an innovative, experimental strategy «to unravel the three-dimensional shapes of some key molecules in the field of molecular nanotechnology, and to understand their working mechanics», says the researcher from the Department of Physics. from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC).

Essentially, the project distinguished by the European Research Council, entitled “MiCRoARTiS – Microwave Fingerprinting Artificial Molecular Motors in Virtual Isolation”, aims to unveil “the secrets of the structural mechanics of molecular motors “built” by man, in order to make them increasingly more functional, but also to develop the microwave spectroscopy technique beyond the state of the art, making it increasingly useful in this and other areas of knowledge, such as the identification of molecules in distant parts of the universe (Molecular Astrophysics), or in the study of interactions between drugs and molecular receptors in the human body (Medicinal Chemistry)», highlights Sérgio Domingos.

To this end, and thanks to the funding obtained, a high-performance microwave spectroscopy laboratory will be created at the University of Coimbra, «a unique infrastructure in Portugal», explains the researcher.

Sérgio Domingos also says that «it is an incredible feeling to be selected in such a competitive science program and to have the opportunity to develop this project in my home, the University of Coimbra».

The European Research Council was created in 2007 by the European Union (EU) to fund outstanding scientists. The “ERC Starting Grant” grants are aimed at researchers at the beginning of their careers, enabling them to form working groups and develop projects in different scientific areas.

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