5. Sept. 2023

His research team will investigate the role of translational control in neural tissue 

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the awarding of 400 Starting Grants to young scientists and scholars across Europe. The grants - totalling €628 million - support cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to social sciences and humanities. The grants will help researchers at the beginning of their careers to launch their own projects, form their teams and pursue their best ideas. One of the starting grants will be implemented at CEITEC MUNI by structural biologist Petr Tesina. His research team will focus on quality control during the translation process to unveil co-translational mechanisms in neural tissues. This research will be supported by the ERC with 1.5 million EUR and implemented at CEITEC MUNI over the next five years.  

This research project will help to understand how cells respond to problems during translation.  Thanks to the cryo-EM technology available at CEITEC MUNI, Petr Tesina will be able to resolve details in ribosomal complexes inside human cells. 

The main goal of Peter's project is to understand how Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC) works in humans. Understanding RQC is important because it eliminates toxic incomplete proteins in our cells. Errors in RQC lead to the production of faulty proteins, which cause various cellular problems and diseases, especially in neural tissue.  

“I want to investigate how and why mutations in ribosome-associated quality control factors lead to neurodegeneration. I want to unravel the underlying mechanisms that tie these mutations to critical health outcomes,” explains Petr Tesina. 

Petr Tesina has already studied RQC in yeast cells. Now, he will focus on studying the process in human cells and try to understand how errors in RQC are linked to neurological disorders. Overall, this ERC project is about solving a big puzzle in our cells, and Peter's results will provide new information about diseases that affect our nervous system. 

Petr Tesina joined CEITEC MUNI in July 2023. At that time, he was not sure whether his ERC grant would be selected for funding. His motivation to join CEITEC MUNI was the unique technological equipment that CEITEC MUNI offers and the generous support to establish his new group from EXCELLES project National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology. “CEITEC MUNI is the place to do cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in Czechia. Cryo-EM is the primary method to study the macromolecular complexes involved in translation control. CEITEC MUNI really offers cutting-edge infrastructure and expertise, concludes Petr Tesina. 

Pavel Plevka, director of CEITEC MUNI, says: "I congratulate Petr on his ERC Starting Grant and look forward to supporting him as he does great science. I am confident that Petr will not only establish an excellent research group but also contribute his extensive international experience to improve the overall functioning of CEITEC." 

About Petr Tesina 

Petr Tesina is a highly skilled structural biologist with a diverse educational background, extensive research experience, and a proven track record of contributing to cutting-edge scientific endeavours. He earned his PhD in Structural Biology at the Charles University in Prague for research carried out at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences.  

In his professional career, Petr has made significant contributions as a postdoctoral researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. His research projects, under the guidance of esteemed group leader Prof. Roland Beckmann, have been pivotal in advancing our understanding of co-translational processes. His dedication to advancing the field of translational control using cryo-EM is enhanced by his enthusiasm for mentorship. In July 2023, Petr Tesina joined CEITEC MUNI as a junior research group leader and in September 2023, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to investigate the role of translational control in neural tissue.   

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