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Research Department of Genetics
University Medical Center Groningen

Vidi grant for Monique van der Wijst

30 June 2023

Assistant professor Monique van der Wijst has been awarded a prestigious Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for her research "Are your immune cells destined for greatness or for failure?"

Single-cell studies have previously revealed an unprecedented level of cellular variation, even between cells from the same individual and of the same type that have exposed to identical stimuli. However, beyond somatic mutations, it has been unclear whether this cell-to-cell variation has functional consequences that could affect an individual's health. With this 5-year, €800,000 grant, van der Wijst will explore how this cell-to-cell variation influences how well immune cells can build memory after exposure to pathogens.

'I expect that variation between immune cells can have a positive influence on their functioning', says van der Wijst. 'When there is a bit more molecular variation between these immune cells, they will also be able to respond to a pathogen that the body has not seen before, such as the coronavirus. With new experimental techniques and international collaborations, we are now for the first time able to investigate this molecular variation on a large scale and to link it directly to the functioning of these cells. By mapping this molecular variation on a large scale and linking it to the functioning of the immune system, and ultimately diseases, I hope to shed new light on how molecular variation within a person can lead to diseases.'

Monique previously received a Veni grant for her research in 2019.

For more information, please see the UMCG press release and the announcement from NWO.

Last modified:30 June 2023 3.42 p.m.

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