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About us Profile Prizes and awards Veni, Vidi, Vici-laureates

Veni, Vidi and Vici grants awarded to the University of Groningen in 2021

Grants awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, Innovational Research Incentives Scheme).

Vici awards

prof. dr L.H. Franke
prof. dr L.H. Franke

Consistency in mutations

prof. L. Franke (Lude) (UMCG)

Unlike many diseases, cancer is often caused by mutations of the cell that are spontaneous instead of genetic. By examining gene networks, professor Lude Franke is aiming to find out whether there is a unifying principle behind this difference in types of mutations. As a professor of Functional Genomics at the University of Groningen and the University Medical Centre Groningen, Franke has been working on analyzing data on the genetics of complex and autoimmune diseases. By applying computational algorithms to functional genomics datasets he manages to create new insights by finding innovative and creative angles to look at existing data.

dr L. de Jong
dr L. de Jong

Trends in Local Graves Use

dr L. de Jong (Lidewijde)

The advent of Rome meant new ways of presenting the dead in cemeteries in the Near East. This project explores the ways in which trends in epitaphs, portraits and decorative monuments were incorporated into local burial rites. This will provide new insight into cultural change.

prof. dr J. Yang-Fu
prof. dr J. Yang-Fu

Role Genome in Cardiometabolic Diseases

prof. dr J. Yang-Fu (Jingyuan) (UMCG)

Dr Jingyuan Fu’s research focuses on decoding the human genome and metagenome in cardiometabolic diseases. She will use the Vici grant to set up a new research project in this field. As with DNA, thousands of genomes in our intestinal bacteria encode the proteins that can contribute to the development of diseases. In this project, the researchers are identifying variations in bacterial genomes and their interactions with the human genome in order to identify the role that they play in individual risk of cardiometabolic diseases.

For more information about Jingyuan Fu’s research, go to:

dr I. S. Zuhorn
dr I. S. Zuhorn

Use of Nanoparticles

dr I.S. Zuhorn (Inge) (UMCG)

Dr Inge Zuhorn is conducting research into ways of enabling drugs to penetrate the brain. Brain tumours are difficult to treat because drugs cannot easily penetrate the brain. She will use this Vici grant to study the use of nanoparticles. Although nanoparticles may be the solution, they must be able to change in shape and size after they have been administered to the patient. The research project involves developing nanoparticles that can change their form inside the patient.

Vidi Awards

dr J.L. (Julia) Kamenz
dr J.L. (Julia) Kamenz

Take your time: How cells ensure ordered cell division

dr J.L. (Julia) Kamenz

To avoid errors and prevent cancer, the complicated steps of cell division have to occur in an orderly manner, one step at a time. This project will explore how proteins communicate with each other to ensure that every step only happens at the correct moment during cell division.

V.M. (Vânia) Correia de Aguiar, PhD
V.M. (Vânia) Correia de Aguiar, PhD

Language development after paediatric brain tumours

V.M. (Vânia) Correia de Aguiar, PhD

Cognitive disorders in children with brain tumours may occur due to damage caused by the tumour or due to necessary medical interventions. The researchers will study these children’s language abilities in relation to the treatment followed, consisting of surgery only or a combination of surgery, chemo, and proton radiotherapy.

A. (Alberto) Godioli, PhD
A. (Alberto) Godioli, PhD

Humour in Court

A. (Alberto) Godioli, PhD

Defining the legal boundaries of free speech is difficult – even more so when humour is involved. National and international courts often have an inconsistent approach to offensive humour. Building on insights from humour studies and literary theory, this project aims to improve the handling of humour in free speech regulation.

dr G. (Gert) Stulp
dr G. (Gert) Stulp

Chance and Children

dr G. (Gert) Stulp

When and how many children will be born is difficult to predict. Models based on medical insights on the chances of conception and machine learning can help improve prediction. Findings can inform family policies to reduce involuntary childlessness and reliance on medically assisted reproduction.

dr M. (Marco) Demaria
dr M. (Marco) Demaria

Eliminating harmful cells to promote healthy aging

dr M. (Marco) Demaria

Aging is the slow but steady deterioration of physiological functions. A main contributor to aging and age-related pathology is the accumulation of old or ‘senescent’ cells. Aims of this proposal are to identify markers of old cells and use these markers to develop anti-aging interventions.

Veni Awards

Dr Yingying Cong
Dr Yingying Cong

Fighting coronavirus outbreaks

Dr Yingying Cong (UMCG)

Coronaviruses are a recurring threat to human health and the farming industry, and new epidemics will inevitably emerge. This project aims at identifying and characterizing compounds that block the conserved mechanism of viral replication in coronaviruses. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide anti-coronaviral compounds to fight future coronavirus outbreaks.

Dr Max Fürst
Dr Max Fürst

Designer proteins on display

Dr Max Fürst

“Protein display” is among the most powerful engineering strategies researchers have devised to equip proteins with useful functions, because it allows assessing millions of variants. The researcher here describes the first display method that labels proteins with a molecular “barcode” to rapidly identify characteristics of computer-designed proteins.

Dr Esther Metting
Dr Esther Metting

Reducing health inequalities by opening up E-Health access for digitally non-skilled people

Dr Esther Metting (UMCG)

The healthcare sector increasingly uses E-Health to improve treatment. As a result, the treatment and resulting health of non-digitally skilled persons is lagging behind. Together with COPD patients and care providers, I will develop a method that will enable non-digitally skilled people to benefit from the health advantages of E-Health.

Dr Gwenny Verstappen
Dr Gwenny Verstappen

How B-cells break bad; unravelling B-cell hyperactivity in systemic autoimmunity

Dr Gwenny Verstappen (UMCG)

Overactive B-cells drive systemic autoimmunity, yet underlying reasons for B-cell hyperactivity remain elusive. This researcher will elucidate mechanisms of B-cell hyperactivity by uniquely combined functional and molecular characterization of B-cell responses in Sjögren’s syndrome, a prototypic B-cell mediated autoimmune disease, to map heterogeneity among patients and identify patient-tailored therapies.

The Complotype, a new criterion for donor-recipient compatibility in renal transplantation

Dr Felix Poppelaars (UMCG)

The inherited set of complement genes is called the Complotype and determines the individual’s ability to activate and regulate their complement system. I will investigate whether the Complotype combination of donor-recipient pairs predicts long-term prognosis and can therefore be used for donor-recipient pairing in renal transplantation to improve long-term outcomes.

Danger signals released from damaged lung cells trigger extra-pulmonary co-morbidities in COPD patients

Dr Simon Pouwels (UMCG)

I will study the impact of danger signals released from damaged lung cells on other organs, contributing to the development of extra-pulmonary manifestations of COPD. The goal is to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for COPD co-morbidities using a translational approach with large clinical cohorts and advanced 3D models.

Personalizing radiotherapy with Artificial Intelligence: reducing the toxicity burden for cancer survivors

Dr Lisanne van Dijk (UMCG)

Many head and neck cancer patients suffer from persistent severe toxicities following radiotherapy. As survival rates increase, toxicity reduction has become more pivotal. This project uses Artificial Intelligence techniques to predict toxicity trajectories, which can facilitate personalized decision-support to guide physicians in finding optimal strategies to reduce these severe toxicities.

Last modified:01 March 2022 2.08 p.m.
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