The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded two Vici grants, worth €1.5 million each, to two Groningen-based researchers. Prof. Van Vugt and Prof. Koppelman, both from the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), can use this money to develop an innovative line of research and to set up their own research groups for a period of five years.
The research by Prof. Marcel van Vugt is entitled ‘An unfinished symphony: incomplete DNA replication as a therapeutic target in cancer’. Cancer cells often initiate cell division before their DNA has been fully copied. Intriguingly, specialized DNA repair pathways resolve these problems while cells undergo mitosis. This project will investigate these molecular mechanisms and explore how to target them as a potential therapeutic approach for hard-to-treat cancers.
The research for which Prof. Gerard Koppelman has been awarded € 1.5 million is entitled ‘Eary diagnosis and targeted treatment of the onset of childhood asthma'. Asthma often starts in the first years of life, yet current methods do not allow for the diagnosis or treatment of asthma at such a young age. This project aims to diagnose asthma using DNA tests on nasal cells. Treatment of asthma inception will be targeted to airway cells involved in asthma inception.
Vici is one of the largest personal academic grants awarded in the Netherlands and is aimed at experienced researchers who are free to put their own research projects forward for funding. Alongside the Veni and Vidi grants, the Vici grant is part of the NWO Talent Programme (formerly known as the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme). Vici grants are intended for highly experienced researchers who have successfully proved that they are able to develop their own innovative lines of research, and who also act as coaches for younger researchers. The funding offers researchers the opportunity to create their own research groups, often leading to a structural professorial post.
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