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University Medical Center Groningen

2022 - a year rich in awards, honours and notable publications for departmental researchers

29 November 2022

Awards and honors for senior researchers

  • Prof. Sasha Zhernakova awarded the G.A. Gamow award. This award, named for physicist G.A. Gamow, was given to Prof. Zhernakova by the Russian-American Association of Scientists "for the elucidation of the role the intestinal microbiome and viriome play in aging and disease development." This award is for outstanding achievements by members of the Russian-speaking scientific diaspora that are recognized by the wider scientific community. For more information see the announcement here.
  • Prof. Cisca Wijmenga appointed member of EMBO. Former department head and current rector magnificus of the University of Groningen, Prof. Cisca Wijmenga was appointed one of the 67 new members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). The EMBO is an international organization comprising 1,900 members, all nominated by their peers. The aim of the EMBO is to support talented researchers in all stages of their careers and to stimulate interaction and the exchange of scientific knowledge. For more information see the news article here.
  • Prof. Lude Franke was appointed a new member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities is the oldest "Learned Society of Sciences and Humanities " in the Netherlands, founded in 1752, and has the aim of promoting science in the broadest sense. Read more (in Dutch) here.
  • Prof. Jingyuan Fu was awarded the 2022 China Gut Festival “Scientist of The Year - Fundamental Research” prize
  • Sasha Zhernakova, Jingyuan Fu, Cisca Wijmenga and Alex Kurilshikov were all on Clarivate’s 2022 list of highly cited investigators
  • The Dutch Science Agenda has granted more than 2 million Euros to a Northern Dutch consortium led by Mirjam Plantinga to work on the responsible development and implementation of artificial intelligence.

Awards and honors for junior researchers

  • At the International Human Microbiome Consortium Congress 2022 in Kobe, Japan, Trishla Sinha received the Corundum Systems Biology award for her research proposal and Milla Brandäo Gois received an award for best poster.
  • During the 2022 conference of the European Organ-on-a-Chip Society, Renée Moerkens received the prize for the best presentation.
  • Asier Fernandez was awarded the best poster prize at the annual ExposomeNL conference.
  • Johanne Spreckels received a grant from ISHRML to carry out an internship in New Castle on breast milk research.
  • Jiafei Wu received a personal scholarship from MMIT for her project on sleep and multi-omics.
  • Johannes Bjork received the best abstract award at the 2022 UEG meeting.

Honors and awards for departmental theses

Notable publications and related press

  • Chen, L., Zhernakova, D.V., Kurilshikov, A. et al.
    Influence of the microbiome, diet and genetics on inter-individual variation in the human plasma metabolome.
    Nature Medicine 28, 2333–2343 (2022).
    See the press release.
  • Zhernakova, D.V., Sinha, T., Andreu-Sánchez, S. et al.
    Age-dependent sex differences in cardiometabolic risk factors.
    Nature Cardiovascular Research 1, 844–854 (2022).
    See the press release.
  • Gacesa, R., Kurilshikov, A., Vich Vila, A. et al.
    Environmental factors shaping the gut microbiome in a Dutch population.
    Nature 604, 732–739 (2022).
    See the press release.
  • Warmerdam, C.A.R., Wiersma, H.H., Lanting P., Ani A., Lifelines Corona Research Initiative, Lifelines Cohort Study et al.
    Increased genetic contribution to wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    PLoS Genetics 18(5): e1010135. (2022)
    For more about this study see: Whether you followed lockdown rules may have been influenced by your genetics – new research (
  • Lopera-Maya, E.A., Kurilshikov, A., van der Graaf, A. et al.
    Effect of host genetics on the gut microbiome in 7,738 participants of the Dutch Microbiome Project.
    Nature Genetics 54, 143–151 (2022).
    For the related perspectives article see: Sanna, S., Kurilshikov, A., van der Graaf, A. et al. Challenges and future directions for studying effects of host genetics on the gut microbiome. Nature Genetics 54, 100–106 (2022).
Last modified:12 December 2022 4.49 p.m.

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