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Dr Andrew Kellett to lead €4-million EU project NATURE-ETN
December 18, 2019

Congratulations to SSPC Funded Investigator Dr Andrew Kellett.

DCU is to lead a major new project to support the development of new treatments for many human diseases, including cancers and genetic diseases, and enhance the skills and training of researchers across Europe.

Dr Andrew Kellett, Associate Professor of Inorganic and Medicinal Chemistry in DCU School of Chemical Sciences, and Funder Investigator with both SFI Research Centres SSPC and CURAM, is the lead researcher on NATURE-ETN, a European Training Network (ETN) project funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Dr. Kellett becomes one of the few European scientists to successfully coordinate two H2020 ITN networks.

NATURE-ETN will train 15 early stage researchers in seven European countries in skills and technology relating to nucleic acids, a field that is rapidly becoming underpinning new drugs being developed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world. Nucleic acids are the building blocks of life but can be chemically designed to find and connect with specific targets within cells, making them useful for modifying cellular activities or as a vehicle for precisely delivering drugs.

NATURE-ETN will train the early stage researchers in the use of tools such as nucleic acid immunotherapy, gene editing, DNA crystallography and epigenetic DNA sequencing technology, enabling the researchers to develop more powerful nucleic-acid-focused therapies.

“The training that researchers will receive through this network led by DCU will help fulfil the need for highly qualified experts in the biochemical and biopharmaceutical industries,” says Dr. Kellett. “The ETN will use recent breakthrough discoveries in epigenetic manipulation, gene editing, small molecule DNA targeting, and rapid gene/transgene detection to extend the boundaries of molecular medicine and provide new tools for treating cancer and monogenetic diseases. The early stage researchers trained within NATURE-ETN will acquire the necessary knowledge and skillset to fill high-functioning industry jobs, but also to maintain and advance Europe’s competitiveness and innovation capacity.”

NATURE-ETN will start in April 2020. It is coordinated by DCU, and the other institutions in the network are Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, University of Oxford, Université de Recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres, Ustav Organicke Chemie a Biochemie (IOCB) Prague, University of Reading, University of Warsaw, ATDbio Ltd, Baseclick GmbH, National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) Ltd and accelopment AG.

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