The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has given UG researchers Tessa Quax and Marthe Walvoort the Early Career Award.
The KNAW awards twelve of these prizes every year, to young academics in the Netherlands who have innovative and original research ideas. Tessa Quax does pioneer research on the effect of viruses on single-celled micro-organisms and Marthe Walvoort studies ‘healthy’ sugars. The award consists of a piece of art and fifteen thousand euros.
Tessa Quax is associate professor of molecular biology at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE). She studies the mechanisms by which viruses infect micro-organisms (archaea).
Archaea are single-celled organisms that occur in a wide variet of places in the world, such as hot springs, salt lakes, and human intestines. According to the UG, her research contributes to the role viruses play in nature and their effect on the evolution of single-celled organisms.
Associate professor of chemical glycobiology Marthe Walvoort (FSE) is an expert in the field of sugar molecules. She studies the sugars in breast milk in an effort to understand which of these sugars contributes to the baby’s healthy growth.
The UG says her ‘innovative approach’ will lead to new insights into how these ‘healthy’ sugars work. She’s also intrigued by the sugars that produce pathogenic bacteria. By tracking and mapping these, Walvoort contributes to the development of new strategies to prevent bacterial infections.