Two researchers from the UMCG, psychologist Marieke Wichers and molecular oncologist Marcel van Vugt, have been awarded generous EU research grants. Each will receive the Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), a European grant for talented researchers with seven to twelve years of experience as an independent researcher. Wichers and Van Vugt will each receive two million euros.
Marcel van Vugt is Professor of Molecular Oncology at the UMCG. He has been awarded the EU grant for his research into replication stress. Tumour cells make many errors during cell division. A large number of these occur during the duplication of their DNA, a process known as DNA replication. The theory is that this occurs more often with certain tumours, namely very aggressive tumours such as triple-negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer. This phenomenon is called replication stress. In his research Van Vugt will study how tumour cells manage to survive large amounts of replication stress. He will investigate which genes play a role in this and whether there is therapeutic value in inhibiting these in cancer cells. He will also develop a method to measure replication stress in tumour tissue.
Marieke Wichers is Professor of Dynamics of Emotion Regulation and Psychopathology at the UMCG Interdisciplinary Center for Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE). She studies the warning signs for tipping points in psychiatric symptoms. Psychiatric symptoms fluctuate over time. For instance, a patient who suffered from a depressive episode in the past may feel much better for a while, but at a certain point may suddenly relapse. A crucial question is whether it is possible to predict this type of sudden tipping point. Wichers will study whether these shifts in psychiatric symptoms are preceded by warning signs. This would then provide patient-specific information about an impending tipping point in symptoms. In her study she will investigate whether psychiatric disorders behave like what are known as complex dynamic systems.
Read more about Marcel van Vugt’s research in an article on KennisInZicht, the online scientific journal of the UMCG.
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