Swiss National Science Foundation funding for two AO projects

AO researchers Sibylle Grad and Martin Stoddart to receive funding for their projects.

16 May 2007

The Swiss NationalScience Foundation (SNSF) is Switzerland’s leading provider ofscientific research funding. The SNSF annually supports some 7,000 researchersin all disciplines, from philosophy and biology to the nanosciences andmedicine. It also invests in applied research in various scientificfields.

The focus of its activities is the scientific endorsement of projects submittedby researchers. The best applicants then receive SNSF funding, a figure whichtotals approximately 500 million Swiss Francs yearly.  


Both the amount and quality of work submitted to the SNSF for funding isvery high. There are several selection rounds before the final cut is made.Therefore, it is very pleasing that projects submitted by two AO researchershave been approved by the SNSF for funding.


Financial support will be received over a period of three years and will beused to expand project teams and to pay for necessary research materials.

Sibylle Grad

Sibylle Grad

Sibylle Grad’s project focuses on lower back pain. More specifically, sinceintervertebral disc degeneration appears to be the leading cause for chroniclower back pain, her project will examine the possibility of using mesenchymalstem cells, which are able to differentiate into multiple cell types, as avehicle for cell-based therapy.


The co-authors of the application were Mauro Alini, Keita Ito, and StephanZeiter. The work is connected to studies undertaken by Sibylle Grad inJapan.

Martin Stoddart

Martin Stoddart

Martin Stoddart’s project examines the effect of mechanical stimulation andbiological factors on human mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenesis andhypertrophy. Damaged articular cartilage has only limited natural repair andfocal injuries to articular cartilage may predispose the joint toosteoarthritis. The project will investigate the role mechanical load plays onthe differentiation of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells intochondrocytes (cartilage cells). It is hoped that the project will result in aprocedure whereby newly grown cartilage can be produced from the patients’ owncells, in a process that will be clinically applicable.


The co-authors of the application were Mauro Alini and Sibylle Grad.


Congratulations to both of the successful applicants and best wishes for afruitful outcome of their projects.

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