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Veni grants awarded to fourteen University of Groningen and UMCG researchers

23 July 2013

Fourteen researchers from the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen have been awarded a Veni grant as part of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme run by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the universities. The personal Veni grants are worth up to a maximum of € 250,000 and enable talented researchers who have just completed a PhD to conduct research of their own choice.

The grants awarded to University of Groningen and UMCG researchers are:

Fosfaat: zout in de wonde bij nierpatiënten? [ Phosphate: salt in the wound for kidney patients?]

Dr M.H. (Martin) de Borst (m), UMCG - Internal Medicine

Kidney patients retain salt, which makes their treatment less effective. Phosphate apparently plays an important part in regulating salt levels. The research will explore whether monitoring phosphate and salt in the diet will improve treatment for kidney patients.

Zinsbegrip vanaf het eerste woord [Making sense of sentences]

Dr J. (Jakub) Dotlacil (m), University of Groningen – Centre for Language and Cognition

When a person speaks, we immediately start to interpret what we hear. We often choose the right interpretation even before the person has finished speaking. How do we do that? This project combines semantic and cognitive research in an attempt to answer this question.

Het evangelie op de markt [Street corner evangelism]

Dr S.A. (Suzan) Folkerts (f), University of Groningen – Faculty of Arts

It is time to rethink our traditional opinions of ‘mediaeval’ vs. ‘modern’ and ‘religious’ vs. ‘secular’. This project aims to study how ordinary people read and understood the first printed versions of the Bible, and to formulate new ideas about late-mediaeval urban religious culture in the Netherlands.

Kiezen voor duurzamer transport [ Choosing more sustainable transport]

Dr E (Eva) Heinen (f), University of Groningen – Planning

Every day, we all choose whether to travel by car, bike or public transport. This needs to change if we are to create a more sustainable and healthier society. The researcher aims to unravel the effect of identity and variation on this change.

Through galactic fog to the first stars

Dr V. (Vibor) Jelic (m), University of Groningen – Kapteyn Institute

Complicated emission from our own Galaxy obscures the first stars in the Universe. Astronomers will study this Galactic ‘fog’, and clear the view towards the early Universe. This will allow them to see 13.2 billion years back in time.

Berekenende babysitters? [ Calculating babysitters?]

Dr S.A. (Sjouke Anne) Kingma, (m), University of Groningen – Behavioural Ecology and Self-Organization & Theoretical Biology

In cooperative breeding systems, some animals postpone reproduction in order to help other animals care for their broods. This project will use computer simulations and 30 years of field data on the Seychelles warbler to find out why certain individuals do this.

Bacterial warfare in the human intestine

Dr A (Alicia) Lammerts van Bueren (f), University of Groningen – Microbial Physiology

The human gut microbiome consists of over 1000 bacterial species that are competing for space within the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers will study the activity of bacterial enzymes that target and degrade surface sugar molecules of competing bacterial species in a ‘bacterial warfare’, which exposes the targeted bacteria for clearance by the immune system. Investigating this novel competition strategy will lead to new insights into the regulation of human microbiome populations.

Buying for charity

Dr M.C. (Marijke) Leliveld (f), University of Groningen – Marketing

The economic crisis has encouraged many charities to form alliances with commercial companies: ‘Buy product x and the manufacturer will donate to a charity on your behalf’. This may be money, but it could also be a material donation, such as a tetanus vaccination for UNICEF for every pack of nappies you buy.

Leliveld plans to study the difference between marketing campaigns that promise financial donations and those that promise material donations. At the same time, she will explore the possible negative effects of campaigns like these. We already know that people maintain their own moral balance; doing a good deed entitles us to do something ‘bad’ and vice versa. The question is whether this form of donating makes it too easy to ‘do good’, and makes people feel less inclined to support other good causes or simply help their fellow man.

Systems genetics of metabolic fluxes

Dr Y. (Yang) Li (f), University of Groningen – Molecular Systems Biology

Genetic analysis on multiple molecular levels can provide insight into how a genotype relates to a phenotype. The researcher will use this approach to look for heritable causes of metabolite flow rate (flux) through metabolic pathways.

In- en afbraak van membranen [ Breaking into and breaking down membranes]

Dr M.N. (Manuel) Melo (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Dynamics / Biochemistry

Some antibacterial proteins work by breaking down the bacterial membrane, while others break into the cell and attack from within. The researchers will use computer simulations to try to understand the difference, and test whether this knowledge can be used to produce better drugs.

Socialistische staatstelevisie ontmoet het Westen [Socialist state TV meets the West]

Dr D. (Daniela) Mustata (f), University of Groningen - Media and Journalism Studies

During the Cold War, Rumanian state television managed to maintain secret relations with the British BBC. This project aims to disclose accounts of the day-to-work of the television makers, which have remained secret until the present day.

The limits to life's diversity

Dr A. (Alex) Pigot (m), University of Groningen - Biology

Life has diversified into a bewildering array of species but is there a limit to how many species can be supported? This research project aims to address this question and identify the ecological and geographical processes regulating species diversity.

When 2 viruses strike at once

Dr I.A. (Izabela) Rodenhuis (f), University of Groningen / UMCG – Medical Microbiology

Cases of the simultaneous mosquito-borne Dengue and Chikungunya virus infections are on a rise. Since the mechanisms of the co-infection are yet not known, researchers will analyse which cells are targeted during the co-infection and how these cells respond to the dual attack.

Tongbeweging als basis voor uitspraakverschillen [Tongue movement affects pronunciation]

Dr M.B. (Martijn) Wieling (m), University of Groningen – Applied Linguistics

A Dutch or German person’s pronunciation of English is often recognizable. In this project, we are trying to find out how their tongue movements differ from those of English native speakers, and how visualizing these movements can improve their pronunciation.

Last modified:19 February 2021 2.41 p.m.
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