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Three FSE researchers receive an NWO XS grant

06 June 2023

Three researchers from the Faculty of Science and Engineering have received an XS grant from the Dutch Research Council (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijke Onderzoek, NWO). The three researchers are Prof. Syuzanna Harutyunyan of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, Dr. Kristina Haslinger of the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) and Prof. John McKean of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute. The XS grant has an amount of EUR 50,000.

With the XS grants, NWO strives to encourage curiosity-driven and bold research involving a quick analysis of a promising idea. A special aspect is that the applicants themselves assess the other applications.

Prof. Syuzanna Harutyunyan (Stratingh Institute) | Towards adaptive drug delivery: synthesis of biologically relevant amides in oscillatory system

Adaptive drug delivery in sync with the body’s natural biological rhythms is a challenging field of nanomedicine that has been successfully developed for only very few systems. New approaches for modulating drug release dynamically are therefore highly interesting and important to provide a fresh impetus to this field. Harutyunyan proposes an adaptive chemical oscillating system capable of releasing bioactive amides depending on the presence of specific hormones and neurotransmitters. Successful realisation of the project could form an important milestone towards personalized, targeted drug delivery systems.

Dr. Kristina Haslinger (GRIP) | Tackling fungal infections at their roots – developing precision drugs acting on the packaging of DNA

Severe fungal infections affect 1.5% of the Dutch population annually. One tenth of these cases is caused by (multi-)drug resistant fungi. The low survival rate among these patients (less than 50%) urgently calls for the development of new antifungal drugs. In this project Haslinger aims to target a very fundamental process governing the transition to a pathogenic lifestyle in fungi, namely changes in the packaging of DNA. She will develop new, highly specific chemical inhibitors that target key players in this process with high precision. This research will open the door for the development of new antifungal drugs.

Prof. John McKean (Kapteyn Institute) | Hungry hidden monsters – A novel approach to imaging black hole activity over cosmic time

Every galaxy in our Universe has a black hole that lurks in the centre, devouring matter and growing in mass over time. Once sufficiently massive, the black hole releases energy in the form of a plasma, which interacts with the host galaxy, expelling the vital elements needed to form new stars. However, many of these hungry monsters are hidden from view by cosmic dust. In this project, radio telescopes across the Earth are combined to peer through the dust, localise the emission from black holes, and test whether the energy they release limits star formation as expected.

Last modified:06 June 2023 10.16 a.m.
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