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Giovanni Finazzi - ERC Advanced Grant 2019

The prestigious "Advanced Grants" awarded by the ERC (European Research Council) are intended to support research projects for funding of up to €2.5 million over a period of 5 years. Candidates for the awards must be outstanding leaders in terms of the originality and significance of their research contributions. This year, three researchers from the Interdisciplinary Research Institute of Grenoble (IRIG*) were rewarded.

Published on 16 April 2019
Giovanni Finazzi is a biologist in the Cell & Plant Physiology Laboratory. His ERC project, entitled "ChloroMito", aims to characterize the role of subcellular energy interactions in optimizing photosynthesis in marine phytoplankton.

From an energy point of view, a microalgae is a "vehicle" containing two "engines": mitochondria, a combustion engine that uses carbon to produce energy and CO2, and chloroplast, a solar panel that uses light to produce energy and O2. So is it a solar hybrid vehicle?
The ChloroMito project aims to answer this question by studying oceanic microalgae (marine phytoplankton). Thanks to the formidable efficiency of phytoplankton, the ocean assimilates almost as much CO2 as tropical forests, while it contains less plant biomass. Using optogenetic approaches, 3D cellular/subcellular imaging and time-resolved spectroscopy, ChloroMito will investigate the hypothesis that the photosynthetic efficiency of oceanic microalgae is due to a very close coupling between their solar panel and their combustion engine.

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