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Second place at the BioRiverBoost! 2023 for researcher of UoC

Plantman, a collaborative project between the Clusters of Excellence in Age-Associated Diseases (CECAD) and Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) at the University of Cologne, is taking an innovative approach to identifying potential drugs to treat polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases, such as Huntington's disease. To study how plants cope with toxic protein deposits, the researchers introduced the harmful mutant protein huntingtin into plants. This protein causes cell death in the human nervous system. The study found that Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants can actively remove huntingtin protein deposits and prevent harmful effects. Using synthetic biology, the scientists were able to transfer this ability of the plants to human cell cultures and animal models of Huntington's disease.

Dr. Ernesto Llamas, a postdoctoral researcher at CEPLAS, made it to the 8 finalists with his early-stage innovative project and pitched to investors and industry partners for the first time, placing 2nd.

The BioRiver Boost! is a start-up competition where scientists with innovative research projects, or young companies in the field of Health or AgTech can apply.

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