The cell is like a miniature factory working non-stop to do its job. Like any factory, the working environment is important for optimum productivity. For the cell, this means acquiring the nutrients required for doing the job properly and removing the waste that is not needed. The cell’s machinery works under very strict set of conditions and one of these conditions is the cell’s “internal pH”. Indeed, just a tiny shift in pH is enough to stop the growth of dividing cells. At the heart of fine-tuning the internal pH are a family of proteins that shuttle sodium ions across the cell’s membrane in exchange for protons. These proteins resemble machines and are working hard to keep the pH constant. When they are not working properly the outcome could be cell death and disease. Unfortunately, we currently know very little about the switches that turn “on and off” these small molecule transport machines.


The ERC Consolidator grant is for 5 years and close to 2 millon euros. “I am enthusiastic about understanding the intricacies of these dynamic and complicated transport machines that are so important for the healthy life of the cell”, explains David Drew. “Our team takes a multidisciplinary approach to this problem and we have a lot of fun along the way. Because the ERC grant is seen as the most prestigious funding a researcher can receive, it should also help our lab to retain and attract top talent to Sweden.”


David Drew Lab


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