DynaMo Center receives second funding period – University of Copenhagen

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21 December 2016

DynaMo Center receives second funding period

Midterm evaluation

Upon a very positive midway evaluation the DynaMo Center, headed by Professor Barbara Ann Halkier, has been granted a second funding period running from 2018-2021.

From DynaMo's annual off site seminar in September 2016: left to right (both rows): Hussam, Emma, Sophie, Pascal, Deyang, Cuiwei, Barbara, Dora, Svend, Henriette, Konrad, Bente, Lea, Peter, Annette, Nikolai, Michael, Zeinu, Meike, Christoph and Alexander.

The DynaMo Center is a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The initial 6-year grant period has just been extended to 10 years.

Strong team, well-defined scientific focus and high-quality infrastructure

An international evaluation panel visited DynaMo in September 2016. They assessed DynaMo with the highest overall grading "Excellent" and listed the following aspects as explicit strengths of DynaMo (direct quote from the evaluation report):

  1. The team. Each team member brings his or her own expertise into the centre and all team members are recognized as leaders in their field. The center builds from within through the promotion of a collegial working environment that stimulates scientific discussion, open communication and respect between members of the center.
  2. There is a well-defined scientific focus on the regulation of glucosinolate synthesis, transport and storage in Arabidopsis. The knowledge gained is disseminated to the international scientific community via high impact scientific publications as well as via outreach activities to the general public. As a consequence, the centre has become a worldwide recognized centre of excellence in this research area, which is also recognized by commercial parties.
  3. The members of the centre have access to the high-quality research infrastructure (plant growth facilities, bioimaging center, chemical analytical platforms, molecular biology) that is needed to carry out the described objective, meat milestones and drive scientific excellence.

Diversity is nourished and celebrated

The DynaMo Center is made up of around 25 people and is lead by Professor Barbara Ann Halkier. The other center partners are Accociate Professor Meike Burrow (PLEN), Professor Dan Kliebenstein (UCDavis), Professor Alexander Schulz (PLEN) and - from the second grant period - Associate Professor Hussam Nour-Eldin (PLEN).

Each of the partners bring a unique and dynamic approach to the collective program including, but not limited to, glucosinolate biosynthesis and transport, regulatory networks, cell biology and imaging, genetics and systems biology.

The center is also well balanced with MSc, PhD and postdoctoral fellows as well as technical and management staff.

Game changing research questions

The scientists at DynaMo are undertaking research within plant molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and evolution using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana and its primary defense compounds, glucosinolates, as its model system.

Investigating the dynamic processes at the molecular level in multicellular organisms, DynaMo's ultimate aim is to uncover universal principles behind them.

By asking important, challenging and game changing questions, DynaMo is internationally recognized for its willingness to think outside the box.

From 2012 to 2021

DynaMo Center was established in January 2012 as a Center of Excellence for Dynamic Molecular Interactions with a grant of 49 million DKK from the Danish National Research Foundation.

The center would initially run for 6 years with the possibility of an extension for an additional 4-year period. The 4-year extension has now been granted and contract negotiations between the DNRF, Barbara Ann Halkier and the University of Copenhagen will be conducted during 2017; the final contract signing is scheduled to take place in November 2017.

The new funding period will start 1 January 2018 and will enable the center to continue its ambitious research activities uninterrupted until the end of 2021.