Two LMU research projects awarded ERC grants

6 Sept 2022

The European Research Council has awarded two Proof of Concept Grants to scientists at LMU. Projects from the fields of medicine and computational linguistics were successful.

Medical researcher Sebastian Kobold and computational linguist Hinrich Schütze have already been supported by the European Research Council (ERC) since 2017 in the form of a Starting Grant and an Advanced Grant. Now the two researchers have received a Proof of Concept (PoC) Grant for their projects to build on their work. With this funding, the ERC helps researchers translate their results into practice. The grant is worth around 150,000 euros.

More on the successful projects

© LMU Klinikum

Prof. Dr. med. Sebastian Kobold is Group Leader and deputy director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at University of Munich Hospital. He develops immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a malignant disease of the hematopoietic system. Prognosis is poor especially for patients for whom initial treatment fails or who suffer a relapse. The use of specific genetically modified immune cells (CAR T cells) has revolutionized the possibilities for treating various types of blood cancer and could improve chances of recovery. However, it can have serious side effects. In the case of AML, the use of CAR T cells is also currently associated with severe side effects that restrict dosing and efficacy because of the poor specificity of used targets for AML blasts. In his ERC funded research (Starting Grant), Kobold has identified unique AML targets and chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) that bind to these targets and can be integrated into T cells. In his Proof of Concept project T2Lead (Define a lead candidate for clinical development of a novel T cell therapy), Kobold will now identify the most suitable CAR candidates and investigate their medical and commercial potential so as to advance their clinical application.

Following his medical studies in Bordeaux, Homburg, and Zurich, Sebastian Kobold worked at the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). In 2010, he moved to University of Munich Hospital, where he established an experimental research group in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. Since 2019, Kobold serves as a Professor of Medicine and Experimental Immuno-Oncology at LMU.


Prof. Dr. Hinrich Schütze is Chair of Computational Linguistics and Director of the Center for Information and Language Processing. His principal research interest lies in natural language processing, i.e., the automatic processing of human language.

Hate speech is a worldwide phenomenon that is increasingly pervading online spaces. While tech companies address this problem by filtering content using machine learning models trained on large datasets, these methods are insufficient for many languages due to lack of available training data. Moreover, since hate speech is highly dependent on cultural and personal context, responsive classifiers are needed that adapt to the individual environment. Hinrich Schütze develops techniques that enable language to be analyzed more effectively. The new funding is based on the results he has previously obtained in his ERC Advanced Grant project on multilingual representation models in low-resource settings for which there is little training data available. In the Proof of Concept project Respond2Hate (Responsive classifiers against hate speech in low-resource settings), Schütze is seeking to develop a pilot browser extension that allows users to locally remove hateful content from their social media feeds themselves – including in countries with little representation in current training datasets. To this end, he will validate self-developed adaptive models, continuously enhanced by means of natural language processing and deep learning techniques, for the filtering of hate speech.

Hinrich Schütze completed a PhD in Computational Linguistics at Stanford University in California. After that, he worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for five years and at search engine and text mining companies in Silicon Valley for another five. In 2004, Schütze took up a Chair in Computational Linguistics in Stuttgart, before moving to LMU in 2013.

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