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Five UMCG-researchers awarded a NWO Veni grant

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16 July 2019

​The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 5 highly promising young UMCG-scientists. The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years.

The Veni is awarded by NWO every year. Together with Vidi and Vici, Veni is part of NWO's Talent Scheme. Veni is aimed at excellent researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate. Researchers in the Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.

The list of awarded UMCG researchers, as well as brief summaries of their research projects:

Expecting the unexpected through diversity?

Dr. MGP (Monique) van der Wijst, UMCG – Genetics​
​During aging some cells become more alike, while others become more disparate. This has unclear consequences. Does this prepare cells for the unexpected? Or does it hinder efficient collaboration between cells? The researcher will determine the consequences of these changes on immune function during aging.​

Refurbishing human fatty livers to increase the donor pool for transplantation

Dr. V.E. de Meijer, UMCG - Department of Surgery​​
Due to widespread obesity, an ever-increasing share of donor livers is too fatty to be suitable for transplantation. In this project, hyperthermia is used to stimulate metabolism and mitigate reperfusion injury in machine-perfused livers. The goal is reconditioning of fatty livers to increase the number of donor livers for transplantation.​

Bringing diagnostic accuracy to primary care ​

Dr G.A. Holtman, UMCG - Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine​​
Tests must be evaluated before they can be used by general practitioners: however, this process is time-consuming and is usually only performed in hospitals. This researcher will develop a faster method that uses existing data from hospitals to evaluate whether tests could be useful in primary care.

​​​Genetic nurture – how parental genes influence their children's risk of depression through the environment

Dr. H.M. v​​​an Loo - UMCG- Psychiatry​​​
​Depression runs strongly in families. Its transmission occurs partly through the genes that parents give their children. But parents' genes may also act indirectly on their children, via the environment they provide, the so-called "genetic nurture". This research uses new genomic methods to investigate this largely unknown pathway to depression.

What makes cardiometabolic syndrome diff​erent in men versus women?

Dr. D.V. (Daria) Zhernakova, RUG​
Cardiometabolic diseases are the major cause of death worldwide, yet we still do not know why they are so different in men and in women. This project will identify the genetic, environmental and molecular basis of this sex difference and create a sex-specific risk prediction model for disease incidence.