Five Vici grants for Groningen researchers
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a total of 32 researchers a Vici grant. The grant will enable them to develop innovative research over the next five years.
Vici is one of the largest personal academic subsidies in the Netherlands and is awarded to senior researchers who have the freedom to submit their own research projects for financing.
The 2019 Groningen laureates are professor of psychosomatic medicine Judith Rosmalen and associate professor of cell biology Liesbeth Veenhoff, both with the Faculty of Medical Sciences/UMCG, professor of molecular systems biology and associate professor molecular biology Giovanni Maglia, both with the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and associate professor of demographics Fanny Janssen with the Faculty of Spatial Sciences.
Last year, NWO also awarded 32 Vici grants, but the RUG missed out, as none were awarded to Groningen researchers. According to rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga ‘the five awarded grants make up for this, and we’re especially happy three of the laureates are female’.
‘I know from personal experience how important it is to receive funding from NWO. A Vici grant enables people to expand and consolidate their own research group’, she says.
For this Vici round, a total of 242 researchers submitted their projects for funding. The Vici grant is one of three types of funding in the NWO Talent Scheme. The two other types are the Veni grant (for people who’ve obtained their PhD in the last three years) and the Vidi grant (for experienced post-docs who obtained their PhD in the last eight years).
What kind of researchers will the grantees be doing?
Matthias Heinemann: Metabolism and cell division are an essential part of life, but we don’t yet understand the interaction between these processes. Matthias Heinemann will be deciphering the mechanism responsible for the clock-like dynamic behaviour metabolism displays during the cell division in eukaryotes. This will unlock important information for the fields of biomedical sciences and biotechnology.
Fanny Janssen: Socio-economic differences in death are an important societal issue, but no one knows how these differences will continue to develop realistically. Fanny Janssen’s research is developing an advanced prediction model of death inequality, using new insights into the influence of smoking, obesity, and alcohol. It will also determine the potential effects of (preventative) health policies.
Giovanni Maglia: Cells can’t function without proteins. The concentration, expression, and chemical modifications in proteins can accurately predict many diseases. In his project, Giovanna Maglia is developing a cheap and fast technology to detect and analyse proteins, in an effort to improve home diagnostics.
Judith Rosmalen: Judith Rosmalen has been doing research into psychosomatic medicine for years. She will use her Vici grant to study how childhood experiences influence people’s physical symptoms. Earlier research has shown that the degree to which people suffer physical symptoms can vary greatly. This is potentially due to congenital differences, but also to earlier experiences of physical complaints. Rosmalen will study how these differences develop based on childhood experiences.
Liesbeth Veenhoff: Liesbeth Veenhoff wants to know how and why cells change as they age. Her research focuses on nuclear core complexes; the gatekeepers of the cells. Nuclear core complexes play a central role in biology; to create new molecules, information in the DNA has to leave the core. Veenhoff wants to which quality control mechanisms are in place to ensure the nuclear core processes function properly. These processes don’t always; they go wrong during the ageing process as well as in various neurodegenerative diseases. Veenhoff hopes that activating the control mechanisms can serve as a new way to prepare old or sick cells.