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Published: 2023-11-29

Two Umeå researchers appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellows

NEWS Nicolò Maccaferri and André Mateus, researchers at Umeå University, have been appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellows by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The grant provides them with funding for five years.

Physicist and researcher Nicolò Maccaferri has a vision that the computers of the future will be able to be powered by light instead of electricity. Right now, he is in the process of developing components that can build the light-powered computers of the future – all to reduce the large energy needs of computers.

"It feels fantastic to be one of the recipients of this prestigious grant. I feel incredibly happy because I have put a lot of work into designing a research idea that is risky but at the same time exciting and hopefully rewarding for science and society in the long term," says Nicolò Maccaferri, researcher at the Department of Physics.

The goal of Nicolò Maccaferri's research is to develop a completely new more energy-efficiently way of storing and processing data in order to reduce the climate footprint of the digital world. 

"It is a recognition of the outstanding research we conduct here at Umeå University, and I am very grateful to my research group and the Department of Physics for making the research environment perfect for conducting cutting-edge research and exploring the most challenging scientific questions in our field. I am also very happy for my wife, who has always supported me, especially during the times when I have been writing research proposals, and of course for my team. This is a recognition of their fantastic work that they should be proud of," continues Nicolò Maccaferri.

The exciting world of gut archaea

Another prominent Umeå researcher who receives funding is André Mateus, who wants to investigate archaeal species that live in our gut, to better understand how they work and what role they play in our well-being. Archaea used to be called archaebacteria and scientists used to think that it was a subgroup of bacteria, but nowadays archaea are considered a domain of life their own.

To get a picture of what archaea do in our intestines, André Mateus will use an innovative method in systems biology. With the help of drugs, for example, the function of various proteins in the archaea is blocked. André Mateus then investigates the effect this has on the metabolism of archaea. The approach can be likened to blocking a street in a city to see what effect it has on traffic. On which streets do queues form? And which streets are not affected at all? The goal is to get an idea of what the molecular networks of archaea look like and understand how they can affect our health.

"I feel honoured and very happy that the project was selected for funding! I look forward to starting the project. This grant will enable us to open up a new field within the research group that aims to get a more comprehensive picture of what happens in our gut. I hope that we can combine the results from this project with other research in the lab to understand the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease," says André Mateus, researcher at the Department of Chemistry and the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).

For more information please contact

Andre Mateus
Assistant professor, other position
Nicolò Maccaferri
Assistant professor