Computer simulation of a merger of two stars
Computer simulation of a merger of two stars


The projects at Stockholm University receiving grants are:

The obligate respiratory supercomplex – augmented biological energy conversion

New opportunities for the development of drugs against tuberculosis and an increased understanding of how the cell’s energy factory works. These topics are highlighted when Martin Högbom and his research team take a closer look at the energy factories in the bacterium Mycobacterium smegmatis. 

In cells, there are molecular machines that together make up energy factories. These factories provide the energy that enable everything from muscle activity and nerve signalling to cell division and growth. These machines can work together in what is called a supercomplex. Either dynamic, where the machines included vary, or a permanent complex that is static. The aim is to understand more about why certain organisms have static supercomplexes, which also appear to have additional biochemical functions. 

“We will investigate why certain bacteria have additional functionalities in their system for energy conversion compared with almost all other organisms, including us humans, and what the consequences of those functionalities are,” says Martin Högbom, professor of biochemistry at Stockholm University.

The project receives a grant of SEK 38 million.

Access to potent medical drugs through polymorph-specific crystallization enabled by ionic liquids

Producing new active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, is an important step in the development of new, more effective medicines. To produce an administrable form of the medicine, the active pharmaceutical ingredient needs to be crystallised from water, or in most cases, an organic solvent such as alcohol. 

This process is currently surrounded by a range of challenges that limit and hinder the opportunities for the development of medicines. In a new project supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Anja-Verena Mudring and a research team are exploring whether ionic liquids could replace organic solvents, thus creating completely new opportunities for the production of medicines. 

“I feel extremely honoured and grateful. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation gives us the opportunity and support to carry out this challenging project. It gives us a chance to develop a gamechanger in the production of new medicines and could help to achieve Agenda 2030 and the UN’s global goals,” says Anja-Verena Mudring, professor of Physical Materials Chemistry at Stockholm University. 

The project receives a grant of SEK 33 million.

Gravity meets light

Cosmic collisions between compact stars create both gravitational radiation and normal light. The aim of the project “Gravity meets light” is to understand more about these collisions and the radiation that they create. By means of a complete chain from simulation models to observations, the research group hopes to find out more about gravitational radiation and where and how the heaviest elements in the universe are created. This will also provide more insights into the expansion of the Universe.

“The radiation is the final and observable result of a complex fusion process that involves strong gravitation, heavy elements, neutrino physics, nucleosynthesis and radiation transport. Comparing our computer models with actual observations will help us to understand what really happens in such cosmic collisions,” says Stephan Rosswog, professor of astrophysics at Stockholm University.

The project receives a grant of SEK 33.5 million.

Dynamic Quantum Matter

In quantum technology, which is predicted to take over from today’s silicon-based electronics, the possibilities are endless. But quantum matter is hard to study, partly because many microscopic properties of quantum matter have a strong inherent dynamic. Thanks to a grant of SEK 28 million, Alexander Balatsky and his colleagues can develop new models and methods for understanding these dynamic processes.

“Developments have been very rapid in recent years, with experiments that have shown a number of fascinating properties of quantum matter. But we often lack a theoretical understanding of these phenomena, which prevents us from understanding nature in a systematic way and optimising the results for future applications,” says Alexander Balatsky of Nordita, a research institute funded by Stockholm University and KTH, among others.

The project receives a grant of SEK 28 million

About the grant
The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation awards grants each year to research projects that are judged to have the potential to lead to future scientific breakthroughs. In 2019, the foundation has granted SEK 640 million to 20 research projects. Four of these grants, worth a total of around SEK 132 million, are awarded to Stockholm University.