The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants to nine researchers at the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). This round of grants saw 86 of the 432 nationwide applications honoured. The grants are intended to enable researchers to develop their own line of research and set up their own research group. A Vidi grant can be worth up to € 800,000.
Vidi is aimed at excellent researchers who have already conducted several years of research after gaining their PhD
. These researchers must be among the best ten to twenty percent in their field. A Vidi grant enables them to conduct a research project for five years. NWO selects the Vidi laureates on the basis of their individual quality, the innovative character of their work, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and its potential for practical application.
Vidi is one of the three forms of funding under the Innovational Research Incentive Scheme. The other two funding options are Veni (for researchers who have recently gained a PhD) and Vici (for highly experienced researchers). The aim of the Innovational Research Incentive Scheme is to stimulate innovation in scientific research. The scheme was set up in association with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the universities.
Galectin-3: stiffening of the heart
Dr R.A. (Rudolf) de Boer (m), UMCG, Cardiology
Heart failure is a common disease that mainly affects elderly people, involving a stiffening of the heart muscle. The researchers will examine the effect of galectin-3 on the formation of interstitial tissue in the heart and test whether cutting down on galectin improves heart function.
Dr M. (Michael) Chang (m), UMCG, ERIBA
Nucleotide sequences can be swapped with two similar DNA molecules in a process known as recombination. Telomeres are repetitive DNA elements that protect the tips of chromosomes. The researcher will study the impact of recombination on the integrity of telomeres.
Trapping molecules to search for dark matter
Dr S. (Steven) Hoekstra (m), University of Groningen, KVI
The researchers will trap molecules in order to use them as highly sensitive antennae. These nano-antennae should be able to receive signals from the mysterious ‘dark matter’. Comparing the highly accurate measurements from the molecules with predictions from the Standard Model for particle physics should help to further fundamental knowledge of our world.
Biochemical unravelling of Parkinson’s disease
Dr A. (Arjan) Kortholt (m), University of Groningen, Cell biology
Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are the most common genetic link to Parkinson’s disease. The aim of this project is to understand LRRK2-regulated Parkinson’s with the help of structural and biochemical analyses.
Universal oscillations due to structural relaxations
Dr S. (Stefanos) Papanikolaou (m), University of Groningen, Physics
Many complex systems, such as glasses and networks in cells, respond abruptly to stress. When these amorphous structures become ‘softer’, they are more able to relax and more stable, and the response becomes oscillatory. This research aims to explore their universal features.
How bacteria take shape
Dr J.W. (Jan-Willem) Veening (m), University of Groningen, Molecular genetics
The pneumococcal bacterium is an important cause of ear infections, meningitis and pneumonia. This research will investigate at molecular level how this pathogenic bacterium acquires its characteristic rugby ball shape. Because cell growth and cell division are essential processes for the bacterium to survive and multiply, this research may lead to the development of new, highly necessary antibiotics.
Weak links in the tumour genome
Dr M.A.T.M. (Marcel) van Vugt (m), UMCG, Medical oncology
The genetic material that goes to make up tumours is often very unstable. Tumour cells, however, seem to cope very well. The researchers will try to find out how tumours manage this, and use the information about changes in tumour cells as a therapeutic point of intervention.
Host-microbe interactions define inflammatory bowel diseases
Dr R.K. (Rinse) Weersma (m), UMCG, Gastrointestinal and liver disease
People accommodate more bacteria than human cells. An intolerance to gut bacteria leads to Crohn’s disease or colitis ulcerosa. The researchers plan to study human and bacterial genes in relation to the development and progress of this disease.
Smuggler’s route to the brain
Dr I.S. (Inge) Zuhorn (f), UMCG, Cell biology
The blood/brain barrier prevents drugs used to treat brain conditions (such as Alzheimer’s disease) from entering the brain. This project involves working on nanoparticles capable of crossing this barrier. The particles will be packed with drugs, thus creating new opportunities for the effective treatment of diseases that affect the brain.
The rapid testing pilot project in the higher and vocational educational sectors in Groningen will be expanded. Two new locations will be joining the pilot project: one at the Euroborg for Noorderpoort students, and the other in the Wiebenga...
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded Prof. Lude Franke a Vici grant worth € 1.5 million. The Vici grant will enable him to develop innovative lines of research for the next five years. Vici is one of the largest personal academic grants...
Plastics are among the most successful materials of modern times. However, they also create a huge waste problem. Scientists from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) in...
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