NWO has awarded 4 UMCG-researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. Iris Jonkers and Sasha Zhernakova of the department of genetics, Judith Paridaen of ERIBA and Maaike Oosterveer of Paediatrics.
The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group. Vidi grants enable researchers to do research for five years. NWO awards Vidi grants every year. Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Scheme. Researchers in the NWO Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding.
The awarded research-projects are:
"Small changes, big effects"
Dr. I.H. (Iris) Jonkers (f), UMCG – Genetics
Immune-mediated diseases are partially caused by small genetic mistakes in patients. However, it is unclear how these mistakes in DNA lead to disease. Therefore, I aim to determine the consequences of these mistakes because a better understanding of this link between genetics and immune-mediated disease will provide new treatment strategies.
"The individuality of stem cells"
Dr. J.T.M.L. (Judith) Paridaen (f), UMCG – Ageing Biology
Stem cells produce all specialised cells in our body. Therefore, stem cells undergo repeated divisions to produce progeny. The number and type of produced cells varies between individual stem cells. To allow better predictions of stem cell progeny, the researchers will study how individual stem cells determine their division outcomes.
"Breast milk as a missing link between mothers and their babies' health"
Dr. A. (Sasha) Zhernakova (f), UMCG, Department of Genetics
Breast milk may play a significant role in establishing a baby's gut microbiome. I will study the breast milk microbiome − the nutritional and maternal factors that influence its composition, its role in the development of babies' gut microbiome and its link to infant health.
"Sugar: a jumpstart for cancer"
Dr.ir. M.H. (Maaike) Oosterveer (f), UMCG, Nutrition/ Physiology
Metabolic diseases can cause cancer. The researchers have found that high sugar levels can disturb cell division. In this project they will establish how cell division can go wrong when sugar accumulates, and how the normal process can be restored to prevent cancer development.