The grant awared to Professor Perkin will fund her research into highly concentrated electrolytes and electrolytic materials. The ELECTROLYTE project will study materials ranging from battery electrolytes to the interior of halophilic organisms, with the aim of uncovering the fundamental physical principles determining their collective properties and interactions.
The grant awarded to Professor Baldwin will fund his work on 'membrane less organelles' which are often formed by phase separation of proteins to form distinct regions inside cells. These little patches of 'organic solvent' have very different chemical properties to bulk water and it is thought that cells may be acting like synthetic organic chemists, effectively switching between solvents to conduct different reactions at different times during the cell cycle. If this is correct, then it is a large departure from the wider view that molecules inside cells are dissolved either in water or in membranes.
The ERC is the flagship programme of Horizon 2020, the EU's Research Framework Programme, supporting frontier research on the basis of scientific excellence.