ERC Advanced Grant for Hans Clevers

22 April 2021

Hans Clevers, group leader at the Hubrecht Institute, receives a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant of 2.7 million euros. Together with his team, he will use the grant for research into the biology of human Enteroendocrine cells. They aim to comprehensively characterize these cells, which will inspire new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Clevers is awarded the ERC Advanced Grant for the third time in his career.  

The lining (epithelium) of the intestine consists of different types of cells, including Enteroendocrine cells (EECs). This rare cell type produces more than 20 different hormones. EECs sense intestinal content and regulate the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, metabolism and food intake. However, a lack of good experimental models complicated research into human EECs. Clevers and his team previously filled this gap by developing organoids – 3D structures of about half a millimeter in size that mimic organ function – that can be used to study EECs.

With his third ERC Advanced Grant, Clevers and his colleagues will further develop these organoids and generate a detailed picture of the biology of EECs. Additionally, the researchers will investigate what triggers the EECs to become active and how they are connected with each other, as well as the hormones they produce. The resulting comprehensive characterization of EECs will inspire new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of metabolic diseases, including diabetes, obesity and other consequences of the Western diet.

European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) awards grants to individual scientists of all nationalities and ages based on scientific excellence. The Advanced Grants are specifically awarded to established scientists who lead their own research groups and aim to pursue a ground-breaking, high-risk project. Typically, around 10% of applicants receive an Advanced Grant.