Both Tessa Quax and Marthe Walvoort have been awarded the Early Career Award by the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). The KNAW presents twelve of these awards to researchers at Dutch universities annually. The award is intended for young researchers with innovative, original research ideas. The winners' research is relevant to society: Tessa Quax is a pioneer in the effect of viruses on single-celled micro-organisms, and Marthe Walvoort is researching 'healthy' sugars.
The KNAW Early Career Awards, consisting of €15,000 and a work of art, will be presented during a celebratory event in KNAW’s Trippenhuis on February 14, 2022.
Tessa Quax is an Associate professor of Biology of Archaea and Viruses at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute. She will be awarded an Early Career Award in Natural Sciences and Technology. Quax is intrigued by the diversity and evolution of viruses. She studies the mechanisms by which viruses infect microorganisms called archaea. Archaea are single-celled organisms found in the most disparate places in the world. They grow in hot springs, in salt lakes, and in the human intestine. Her research contributes to a better understanding of the role of viruses in nature and their effect on the evolution of single-celled organisms. Quax is a pioneer in this field and seeks to connect virologists who study micro-organisms through her positions in various international professional associations. Quax her research is featured on her website.
Walvoort is an Associate professor of Chemical Glycobiology at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. She will be awarded an Early Career Award in Natural Sciences and Technology. Walvoort is an expert on sugar molecules. She and her team of young researchers focus on the sugars in breast milk with the aim of discovering which ones contribute to the healthy development of babies. Her innovative approach is producing new insights into the functioning of these ‘healthy’ sugars. She is also intrigued by the sugars made by pathogenic bacteria. By identifying these sugars, Walvoort is helping to develop a new strategy for preventing bacterial infections. Walvoort tells all about her research on ‘healthy’ sugars in her podcast.
The winners represent the full breadth of science and have been selected in the four Academy domains: Humanities; Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences and Law; Natural Sciences and Engineering; and Medical, Biomedical and Health Sciences. There are three winners in each domain. The KNAW Early Career Award consists of a monetary award of €15,000 and an art object by Laura Klinkenberg. It is a brass screw with a twist, representing the ‘twist’ needed in both research and art to come up with new ideas and symbolising the contrariness of research.
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