The Foundation for Polish Science has announced the results of the evaluation of grant applications for research related to COVID-19 pandemic submitted by the beneficiaries of the ongoing projects funded within the framework of the Smart Growth Operational Programme Measure 4.4. The Jagiellonian Centre for Experimetal Therapeutics (JCET) and the JU Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology will receive additional funds worth over 3 million zlotys.
The grant submissions were accepted from 15 April to 12 May 2020 and addressed solely to the current beneficiaries of the Smart Growth Operational Programme Measure 4.4. The competition was entered by 53 beneficiaries, whose research had to be directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including medical, epidemiological, diagnostic and crisis management issues linked to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The applications were jointly evaluated by experts from the aforementioned fields. The additional funds from the same EU programme, totalling almost 15 million zlotys, were allocated to 14 research projects.
875 thousand zlotys was awarded to Prof. Stefan Chłopicki from the Jagiellonian Centre of Experimental Therapeutics who, since 2018, has been running the project “Endothelial profiling to predict therapeutic activity or vascular toxicity of compounds in early preclinical research” as part of the TEAM-TECH Core Facility programme. The additional funds and enhancing the project duration by 6 months will be used to study the endothelial activity in vivo as well as antiviral compounds with multiparametric MRI.
Researchers from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology will receive additional funds worth 2.2 million zlotys. With the use of the infrastructure of the Structural Biology Core Facility, built in 2018, the research team of Dr Sebastian Glatt aims to isolate and characterise highly specific oligonucleotide aptamers which are capable of binding coronavirus proteins. These aptamers could possibly be used against SARS-CoV-2 as detectors or inhibitors. The goal of another team, headed by Prof. Jonathan Heddle, is to design, produce and test artificial exosomes (ArtExo) for T cell stimulation against SARS-CoV-2 antigenic peptides.