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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Consolidator Grants 2023

Two CSCI Group Leaders are among the eight researchers from the University of Cambridge who were awarded European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants last week.

Dr Elisa Laurenti and Dr Daniel Hodson were selected from over 2,000 applicants for their research conducted at the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI).

The ERC is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers across Europe This year it has awarded €657m in grants to 321 researchers across Europe. Consolidator grants are given to scientists conducting essential research to pursue their most promising ideas.

“ERC Consolidator grants support researchers at a crucial time of their careers, strengthening their independence, reinforcing their teams and helping them establish themselves as leaders in their fields,” said President of the European Research Council Professor Maria Leptin. “And this backing above all gives them a chance to pursue their scientific dreams.”



Dr Daniel Hodson, of CSCI and Department of Haematology, has been awarded a grant for Unwind-Lymphoma: RNA helicases; switched paralogue dependency as an exploitable vulnerability in aggressive B cell lymphoma.

Of his award, Hodson said: “This ERC-funded project, Unwind Lymphoma, will explore sex-specific, cancer cell addiction to the DDX3 family of RNA helicases, proteins that unwind secondary structure in mRNA.

“We will develop recent findings from our lab showing that whilst most male Burkitt lymphoma cells have deleted the X-chromosome gene DDX3X, they instead become uniquely addicted to the Y-chromosome paralogue DDX3Y, a related protein that is silenced in most normal cells. By unravelling the molecular basis of this ‘switched paralogue dependency’ we will expose a potential therapeutic Achilles Heel in this devastating form of blood cancer.

“I am thrilled to receive this award, which I hope will take me one step closer to a tenured position in Cambridge or beyond.”


Dr Elisa Laurenti, University Associate Professor in Stem Cell Medicine and Wellcome Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow of CSCI and Department of Haematology, has been awarded a grant for HEXAGEN: Harnessing haematopoietic stem cell EX vivo Adaptation for GENe therapy.

Laurenti said: “Blood stem cell-based gene therapy has the potential to cure an expanding range of debilitating genetic diseases. HEXAGEN seeks to further improve gene therapies and their outcomes by overcoming the loss of stem cell function observed in current clinical protocols. Using cutting edge single cell technologies, we aim to identify how blood stem cells adapt to the invitro environment, dissect how this negatively impacts their function, and design new strategies to improve gene therapy.

“This award gives my team the unique opportunity to be ambitious and complete a full circle from basic stem cell biology to improving gene therapy for patients with many diseases. I am very excited, because unlocking blood stem cell behaviour outside our bodies will also drive many other clinical applications.”


Read more about the other Cambridge awardees on the University website, or find out more about the European Research Council here.



This article was adapted from a press release from the University of Cambridge

Learn more

Read more about these Group Leaders and their work on their pages below. 

Dr Daniel Hodson

Dr Elisa Laurenti