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The European Research Council has awarded Consolidator Grants to two Basel scientists – Malte Helmert and Lukas Jeker. The highly qualified young researchers will receive at least two million euros over five years for their projects.
Lukas Jeker is a medical doctor and works at both the University Hospital Basel and the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine, where he investigates the inner workings of immune cells on a molecular level, writes the University of Basel in a statement. He has received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) alongside computer scientist Malte Helmert, who researches artificial intelligence at the University of Basel.
The grants provide financial support to highly qualified young researchers, who have around ten years of experience after completing their doctorate and who have a promising scientific record. Jeker developed a strategy to genetically mark cells prior to therapeutic transfer, thus allowing cells to be removed if undesired side effects occur. The same mark can also be used to protect therapeutic cells from attack, with Jeker's ERC project now to test applications of this principle in preclinical models of blood cancer and a severe autoimmune disease. For the work, he is receiving a grant of 2.4 million euros.
Helmert is working on “the search for solutions in very large state spaces”, according to the university. Among trillions of possibilities, the right decision must be made to achieve a goal set for the computer – a process for which so-called heuristic search methods have proven to be successful. Now however, Helmert wants to go beyond these approaches to generate a new generation of search algorithms with the help of problem-solving declarative heuristics. He is receiving a grant of two million euros.