- Böke, group leader at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), is among the six international early-stage researchers appointed with a Vallee Scholar Award this year.
- Böke will receive a grant of 340,000$ to keep developing her research on egg cells and female fertility at the BIST Community centre CRG.
- BIST was among the top research institutions in the world invited by the Vallee Foundation to nominate a candidate for the 2023 Award.
The USA-based Vallee Foundation has named Dr. Elvan Böke, group leader at the Centre for Genomics Regulation (CRG), as one of the six distinguished international researchers to be honoured with Vallee Scholar Award this year.
Originally from Turkey, Elvan Böke started her own research group at the CRG in 2017 focusing on one of the biggest problems developed nations are facing in 21st century: late-stage motherhood, and associated fertility problems.
Poor oocyte quality accounts for most female fertility problems, however, very little is known about how oocytes can remain healthy for many years or why their health eventually declines with advanced age. World-wide data show that more than 25% of female fertility problems are unexplained, pointing to a huge gap in the understanding of female reproduction. Böke’s research strives to help fill this gap by studying the mechanisms through which oocytes evade ageing for decades, and why these strategies eventually fail with advanced maternal age.
Speaking about her research, Böke stated, “My lab works on a problem that has been historically neglected but exclusively affects women: female fertility. The understanding of female reproduction is very limited compared to that of many other fields of similar clinical importance. Thus, our research on oocytes, specifically on oocyte metabolism and protein homeostasis machinery, has vast implications for having a ‘level’ playing field for women and improve the understanding of female germ cells at least to the levels of their male counterparts.”
Böke’s research projects have already been supported by highly competitive European Research Council (ERC) grants (Starting Grant, 2017 and Consolidator Grant, 2022), and her recent discoveries on oocyte biology have been published in top journals such as Nature.
The Vallee Scholar Award
The Vallee Scholars programme recognizes outstanding, young, independent investigators carrying out basic biomedical research. The award –$340,000 to be spent in research over a period of four years– is available only to investigators who have been nominated by institutions that have been selected by the Vallee Foundation Board of Directors, such as the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).
An external committee appointed by BIST selected Dr. Elvan Böke as candidate for the award among the BIST Community eligible researchers. The committee highlighted Dr. Böke’s outstanding creativity and rigorous approach to focus on complex and understudied biomedical questions. Böke was later selected among other outstanding researchers from worldwide institutions by the Vallee Foundation, becoming now the first Vallee Scholar in a Centre from Southern Europe.
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