In the Spotlight: ERC Advanced Grant for Prof. Dr. Frank van Kuppeveld

On the 12th of July 2022, Prof. Dr. Frank van Kuppeveld, head of the Virology Division of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Utrecht received the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant (European Research Council Advanced Grant). It is the highest and most prestigious individual research grant awarded by the European Research Council and it is awarded annually to exceptional senior researchers. With this grant, a total amount of 2.5 million euros has been awarded to Prof. Dr. van Kuppeveld, which he will use to conduct research on the multiplication of enteroviruses over the next five years. 


Get to know Prof. Dr. Frank van Kuppeveld

Prof. Dr. Frank van Kuppeveld is the head of the Virology Division of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. His research group studies the receptors, entry, and genome replication of picornaviruses, with a special focus on the mechanisms used by these viruses to create replication ‘organelles’ (virus production factories) to identify inhibitors for antiviral drug development. Additionally, his research group investigates how viruses are recognized by intracellular sensors and how (picorna)viruses suppress host antiviral responses.

Prof. Dr. Frank van Kuppeveld has been active in the science industry; publishing over 100 papers (Cell Reports, Nature, eLife), organized several (inter)national meetings, and he has also delivered several keynote lectures at international conferences. Previously, he also received the Beijerinck Premium, an award from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, for ‘most promising young virologist in 2004’. Additionally, he also received various personal research grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) including the NWO-VIDI and NWO-VICI grants. Furthermore, he has experience in coordinating several training networks that are focused on antiviral drug development including the EU-FP7 European Training Network EUVIRNA and the EU-Horizon2020-funded European Training Network ANTIVIRALS.


The ERC Advanced Grant

The ERC Advanced Grant is awarded to top researchers who have achieved a significant amount of research achievements in the past years and who are engaged in cutting-edge research. As mentioned previously, Prof. Dr. van Kuppeveld has been awarded by the NWO with prestigious grants (VIDI and VICI grants), and he has also coordinated two large EU networks in the field of virus replications and the development of antivirals.

A total amount of 2.5 million euros will be granted to Professor Dr. van Kuppeveld. With this grant, he and his research group will be conducting research on the life cycle of enteroviruses. These are common pathogens that have a major impact on our society, such as poliovirus, coxsackie virus, and rhinovirus.

His research focuses on locating and demonstrating interactions between viral RNA and viral proteins, and how these viruses hijack cellular proteins to form so-called replication organelles. With the grant, Prof. Dr. van Kuppeveld and his team will investigate this with advanced fluorescence microscopy, cyroEM, and “omics” techniques.