The European Commission today announced the results of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant 2023 competition. Out of nearly 2,700 applicants from around the world, after a ten-month evaluation process, 400 projects were selected for funding. Among them is Dr. Lea Rems, who will lead her 1.5 million euros, five-year ERC project called “REINCARNATION.”
An outstanding achievement for Slovenian science!
Researcher Dr. Lea Rems is the eighth recipient of the European Research Council Starting Grant 2023 for an independent research career in Slovenia. The project “REINCARNATION” – “Reversible and irreversible cardiac electroporation: Establishing the fundamentals to advance cardiac treatments” was selected for funding within the ERC panel for biotechnology and biosystems engineering. This is the first ERC project in this field in Slovenia to be led by a researcher at the beginning of their independent research career. It is also the twelfth ERC project for the University of Ljubljana as a hosting institution and the first for the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana.
Advancing therapies for heart treatment
Dr. Lea Rems’ research focuses on acquiring fundamental knowledge necessary for the development of electroporation-based therapies. This method involves temporarily increasing the permeability of biological cell membranes using high-voltage electrical pulses. The method has been used for three decades in Slovenia and around the world to treat cancer, and in recent years, it has shown remarkable success in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. The ERC Starting Grant project “REINCARNATION” encompasses research that will contribute to further development of irreversible electroporation as a new method for non-thermal ablation of arrhythmogenic cardiac tissue in the treatment of heart arrhythmias. Additionally, the project includes research that could pave the way for the use of reversible electroporation as a non-viral method for introducing nucleic acids into heart cells for the purpose of heart regeneration after a heart attack.