The Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation is a new institution through which a profound reforming effort is being attempted in the field of Research and Innovation in the country. The Organization supports free research (the systematic inquiry into scientific curiosity) and new researchers by providing scholarships for doctoral candidates and research projects for post-doctoral students, Researchers and Faculty Members.
Through H.F.R.I., the research and academic community is, for the first time, actively involved in shaping the country’s research and innovation policy without thematic or geographical exclusions, but with the sole criterion of scientific quality and excellence.
H.F.R.I. aims to promote research and innovation in the country and in particular to evaluate and fund free research, especially research activities and technological applications that result from scientific curiosity, without thematic exclusions or geographical constraints, but solely on the basis of scientific quality and excellence. H.F.R.I. was created out of the vital need to support young scientists and as a necessary tool in reversing the outflow of outstanding scientists abroad. Indeed, one of H.F.R.I.’s key goals is to hinder the scientific and economic hemorrhage that the loss of gifted Greek researchers entails.
In order to achieve its goals H.F.R.I.: Grants scholarships for doctoral dissertations and post-doctoral studies. Funds high quality research projects in which post-graduate students, researchers and faculty members are scientific responsible. Finances the purchase of research equipment Enables Universities, TEIs and research and technology stakeholders to access the financing of innovative research programs Supports the creation and operation of start-ups in order to exploit research results For more information please read here the 2018 Action Plan.
THE PEPTIC PROJECT
Proteolysis ExPloiTation for Improvement of Important Crops (PEPTIC)
Limited proteolysis (LP) cleaves proteins into shorter ones with new functions. The aim of this project is to explore the potential of LP in modulating plant physiology and incorporate this knowledge into the design of a new transgene-free breeding strategy to improve crops. Exactly how we can improve crops precisely and rapidly without transgenes, is a still lingering question with critical practical ramifications.
We recently have discovered a novel complex, comprised of a protease and its three modulators, executing LP that controls plant growth. Using this paradigm, we pioneered genetic and proteomic approaches for the elucidation of novel LP pathways producing new shorter proteins with the ability to steer plant physiology, enhance plant growth and potentially other critical agronomic traits. Our discoveries highlight roles for LP not exemplified before, warranting further exploration.
In this project, we propose 1) to use our approaches to collect an extensive dataset of LP targets and proteases important for growth and environmental adaptation in the important crop rapeseed, 2) to characterize novel mechanisms involving LP and 3) design and implement an innovative transgene-free strategy, using as test-case the improvement of rapeseed growth. To accomplish these objectives, we will fully exploit the power of cutting-edge proteomics and interactome mining tools that we have developed, combined with refined precision genome-editing. Our objectives are ambitious and potentially game-changing for improving rapeseed and in analogy many other crops. If successful, PEPTIC will push the field of basic and applied research by delivering new mechanisms controlling agronomic traits and provide a strategy for their exploitation.