The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants to three researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen: Sarthak Misra (Biomaterials), Guido Krenning (Pathology) and Morris Swerz (Genetics). The grants, which are worth a maximum of €800,000, enable researchers to develop their own research lines and set up their own research teams.
The three grant-winning research lines are described below:
Prof. dr. Sarthak Misra: SAMURAI (Steering Actuated Probes for Targeted Interventions)
Probes are often used in diagnostics and for the delivery of medicines. Often, these generally inflexible instruments miss their target, resulting in complications. SAMURAI will develop flexible, robot-controlled probes to reach difficult locations in the body, thus enhancing both patient comfort and clinical results.
Dr. Guido Krenning: Identity crisis in a failing heart
Heart failure is caused by the scarring of the heart. Cells from the heart’s blood vessels contribute to this process of scarring by undergoing an ‘identity change’. The researchers in this project have discovered a protein that decelerates this identity change of the blood vessels and will examine whether the activation of this protein may avert heart failure.
Dr. Morris Swertz: Scalable ‘big data’ methods towards personalized genome diagnostics
New NGS techniques allow for the simultaneous measurement of all DNA variations. Unfortunately, diagnostics lags behind as gene labs are flooded with data. Previously, only one gene was tested at a time. This project will develop patient-oriented techniques for faster and better localization of harmful mutations to be used in personalized whole-genome diagnostics.
The Vidi Grant
Vidi is aimed at excellent researchers with several years of successful research experience after gaining a PhD. These researchers are among the best ten to twenty percent in their field. A Vidi grant enables the recipient to conduct research for five years. NWO selects Vidi laureates on the basis of the qualities of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected academic impact of the research proposal and the potential benefits to the body of knowledge. In this round, 87 of the 572 applications were honoured nationwide.