Dr Marthe Walvoort has been awarded the Gratama Prize this year. She is an internationally renowned specialist in glycochemistry and glycobiology. She is in the vanguard of research on the relationship between sugar and health. The Gratama Prize is for young scientists who stand out for their innovative, socially relevant and important research. The prize amounts €25,000.
By biologically synthesising sugars, Walvoort has gained insight into how mother’s milk functions, or rather, why breastfeeding contributes to the health of newborn babies. She has also explored the role of sugar in bacterial infections and in multiple sclerosis. Marthe Walvoort makes her scientific work accessible to a wider audience as a public sugar expert for newspapers, in videos and vlogs, and in public presentations.
She worked as a postdoc at MIT Boston, and she has indicated that she will use part of the prize money to go to San Diego in the USA to work on the health effects of breast milk sugars . Marthe Walvoort was appointed a Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen in 2015 and has received substantial research grants
, which have enabled her to found her own research group here in Groningen. She will use the rest of the prize money to cover the research costs of the students participating in her research group.
The Gratama Foundation says that Dr Walvoort’s work clearly demonstrates how a young scientist can successfully mix challenging questions, innovative scientific output and socially relevant results, can inspire students and present the results of her research to a general audience.
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