Vidi awards 2011

Viewing memory during psychosis Prof. T.A.M.J. (Therese) van Amelsvoort (f), Maastricht University – Psychiatry People with a psychosis suffer from memory problems as a result of which they often cannot work. What is the cause of this? The researchers will study this by making photos of the brain when the study subjects are performing memory tests.

Revealing dark matter with gamma rays Dr S. (Shin'ichiro) Ando (m), University of Amsterdam – Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITFA) Dark matter is the dominant matter component in the universe, but its identity is yet to be uncovered. Researchers will use gamma rays to reveal its nature. They will develop theoretical models and analyze telescope data to look for signature.

'Dutch Empire'? What Dutch Empire?
Dr C.A.P. (Cátia) Antunes (f), ), Leiden University – Institute for History
How did free entrepreneurs respond to the overseas monopoly positions that the West Indies and East Indies Trading Companies assumed? They fought! They cooperated ! They served! And by doing this created a borderless, cross-cultural and stateless empire independent of colour, religion or nationality – an early-modern 'melting pot'. This study will investigate the role of private independent entrepreneurship outside of the institutional boundaries in the Dutch Republic as it was building its foreign empire.

A closer look at MHC
Prof. P.I.W. (Paul) de Bakker (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Medical Genetics & Epidemiology
Genetic differences in the so-called MHC area of the genome play an important role in many diseases. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly which genes are involved. This research will make use of the latest techniques to map the MHC.

Coping with an unknown future
Dr N. (Nikhil) Bansal (m), ), Eindhoven University of Technology – Mathematics and Computer Science
In many situations, current decisions must be made without much knowledge of how the future will evolve. This research aims to develop general mathematical techniques for making decisions that minimize the impact of unexpected future events.

What makes a parasite tick?
Dr R. (Richard) Bartfai (m), ), Radboud University Nijmegen – Molecular Biology
The malaria parasite claims about 1 million human lives every year. Its development in the human bloodstream is governed by the timely expression of proteins. This research project aims to unravel how the expression of these proteins is regulated and to use this knowledge to combat this devastating disease.

Catalysts ticking over nicely
Dr A.M. (Andrew) Beale (m), Utrecht University – Inorganic Chemistry
Metal nanoparticles comprise the active component of many catalysts. However, it is not often clear why they are active. This research will therefore develop new analytical methods to study them 'in action' in order to determine what makes them 'tick'.

Towards a valuable and value-rich economy
Prof. S. (Sjoerd) Beugelsdijk (m), ), University of Groningen – Economics and Business Studies
Values and standards exert a considerable influence on people's economic decisions. Economists and business experts know that cultural differences play a role but the exact nature of this is unknown. This research is aimed at unravelling the relationship between culture and economics.

Do all children benefit from bilingualism?
Dr W.B.T. (Elma) Blom (v), University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication
Bilingual children experience a more rapid cognitive development than monolingual children. Does the same apply to children who become bilingual during their youth? And what about bilingual children with a language disorder? This research will answer these questions. The results will contribute to the timely recognition of bilingual children with a language disorder.

New nanomanufacturing techniques for future nanoelectronics
Dr A.A. (Ageeth) Bol (f), Eindhoven University of Technology – Applied Physics
The introduction of new nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene in computer chips is unavoidable if the performances of chips are to be improved in the future. The researcher will study new nanomanufacturing techniques so that carbon nanoelectronics can become a reality.

Light relief
Dr S. (Sylvestre) Bonnet (m), Leiden University – MCBIM
All anticancer drugs have severe side effects for patients because of their high toxicity. The researchers will make new compounds that are poorly toxic in the dark, but become very toxic and selectively kill cancer cells upon visible light irradiation.

Nature without borders: expertise en activism, 1930-2000
Dr R.F.J. (Rafaël) de Bont (m), Maastricht University – Arts and Social Sciences
International organisations have played a vital role in nature conservation since the 1930s. This research will investigate the role played by ecological experts in the protection. Were the experts more neutral providers of knowledge or were they more engaged activists?

Flu jab for bacteria
Dr S. (Stan) Brouns (m), Wageningen University – Microbiology
Bacteria are constantly attacked and killed by viruses. To survive bacteria have developed an immune system with a 'memory' as result of which they are protected against virus infections. How that immune system works will be analysed in this research. The outcomes can be used to protect industrially important bacteria by means of a 'flu jab', so that production processes are no longer subject to viral infections.

How individual bacteria adapt to variable conditions
Dr ing. F.J. (Frank) Bruggeman (m), VU University Amsterdam – Molecular Cell Physiology
Bacteria are single-celled organisms. Bacteria populations are made up of millions to billions of individuals. These can be useful or pathological species. In this project, researchers will study the pros and cons of spontaneous differences between individual bacteria for the survival of the population.

The immune system in view
Dr M. (Mirjam) van der Burg (f), Erasmus MC – Immunology
The immune system provides protection against a broad range of microorganisms. In this research project the latest molecular techniques will be used to study how the immune system's total set of specific recognition molecules is formed and how that process can be disrupted by immunological disorders.

From generalized complex geometry to four-dimensional spaces
Dr G.R. (Gil) Cavalcanti (m), Utrecht University – Mathematics
Insights from physics have led to great development in several areas of mathematics, in particular, of geometry. This development manifested itself both in better understanding of spaces and in better understanding of geometric structures spaces can have. This project will deal with the marriage of two areas which have benefitted from such physical insights: the theory of four-dimensional spaces and generalized complex structures, geometric structures related to string theory.

The benefits and the regrets of mobility
Dr C.G. (Caspar) Chorus (m), Delft University of Technology - Transport and Logistics
Whenever people make choices they want to experience as little regret as possible in retrospect. Based on this principle, a quantitative mobility model will be produced for the whole of the Netherlands. A regret-based, cost-benefit analysis will be developed as well. This will be used to calculate the welfare effects of large infrastructure projects.

What is a black hole?
Dr G. (Geoffrey) Compère (m), University of Amsterdam – Physics
Black holes are the simplest objects described by both gravity and quantum mechanics. Physics focuses on understanding the structure of these objects and in this research a new method will be developed for that.

The authority of peer reviews among states
Dr T. (Thomas) Conzelmann (m), Maastricht University – Department of Political Science
States are increasingly using peer reviews to mutually assess policy performance and compliance with international rules. This project researches under what conditions states are willing to create authoritative peer reviews and to listen to the advice they receive from others.

Modelling oceans with dice
Dr D.T. (Daan) Crommelin (m), CWI
Many small-scale current patterns occur in the ocean. These jointly exert a significant influence on the large-scale currents and consequently the climate system. In this project, the researchers will model the fluctuating influence of these small patterns with stochastic processes in order to improve computer simulations of large-scale ocean currents.

Constructing a minimal cell
Dr C. (Christophe) Danelon (m), Delft University of Technology – Bionanoscience
Is life possible using far less components than we see in nature? The researchers aim to assemble an artificial cell using a minimal set of molecules for the construction of proteins in a lipid compartment.

Speech as shaped by our genes
Dr D. (Dan) Dediu (m), Max Planck Institute – Language and Genetics
People speak about 7000 very different languages. The organs we use to produce language also exhibit large anatomical and physiological differences. Researchers will investigate how these differences influence speech.

Molecules to investigate inflammations
Dr F.J. (Frank) Dekker (m), University of Groningen – Pharmaceutical Gene Modulation
Proteins that regulate inflammatory processes are potential targets for the development of new drugs. It is therefore important to study how these proteins function in their natural environments. New inhibitors and detection methods will be developed for this purpose.

Legacy of plant roots
Dr G.B. (Gerlinde) De Deyn (f), Wageningen University – Soil Quality
Plant roots live together with soil organisms. When plants die, they leave specific soil organisms and roots behind. A following plant can respond positively or negatively to these. The researchers will determine which root properties can predict a plant's legacy.

Oriented cell divisions: a map to build an organism
Dr P.B. (Pankaj) Dhonukshe (m), Utrecht University – Biology
Oriented cell divisions build organisms by generating tissues and organs.  The researchers have engineered a first system with precisely rotating cell divisions.  By investigating this system they aim to resolve molecules and mechanisms that control oriented cell divisions during plant development.

Evolution theory provides insights into networks
Dr G.S. (Sander) van Doorn (m), University of Groningen – Theoretical Biology
Complex networks of gene and protein interactions translate the genetic information in the DNA into the externally observable characteristics of organisms. The research team will simulate the evolution of these networks in the computer to gain a better understanding of the complex structure and functioning.

Taking a better look inside the Earth and works of art
Dr D.S. (Deyan) Draganov (m), Delft University of Technology – Geotechnology
With this project we will be able to make sharper images of the inside of the Earth and of works of art using measurement data that are normally discarded, such as seismic noise and diffracted wave fields. We will use these techniques at scales of millimetres to hundreds of kilometres.

A new ethics of the landscape
Dr M.A.M. (Martin) Drenthen (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Philosophy and Science Studies
Stories about the significance of the landscape always say something about us as well. Changes in the landscape put our identity under pressure but also create new opportunities. This project will investigate what this insight means for ethical discussions about new nature.

Scanning our dynamic Earth
Dr A. (Andreas) Fichtner (m), Utrecht University – Earth Sciences
The Earth is continuously subject to deformation in the form of changes in the sea level and the movement of tectonic plates. In this study the driving forces behind this deformation, which we still know little about, will be investigated. This will be done by scanning the inside of our planet with the help of seismic waves caused by large earthquakes.

When the brain takes a break: a model-based cognitive neuroscience account of task-unrelated thoughts
Dr B.U. (Birte) Forstmann (f), University of Amsterdam – Psychology
Our daily life is permeated with task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs), lapses of attention where the mind starts to wander. Despite the high frequency of TUTs, we know little about what exactly happens when our brain takes a break. This research project aims to develop a quantitative framework to capture psychological mechanisms that drive TUTs.

Poverty alleviation and the distribution of wealth in Africa, 1880-2010
Dr E.H.P. (Ewout) Frankema (m), Utrecht University – Humanities
The global demand for African export products has increased rapidly since the turn of the century. This is creating opportunities to sustainably alleviate poverty. This research will examine the conditions under which processes of trade integration in Africa's past have contributed to poverty alleviation and the distribution of wealth.

Dancing particles for CO2 clean energy
Dr F. (Fausto) Gallucci (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
Clean energy production is urgently required to mitigate climate change caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. A novel, highly integrated reactor is developed to convert fossil fuels into energy while simultaneously avoiding CO2 emissions. A fundamental study is combined with an experimental proof-of-concept.

The battle for root juice
Dr P. (Paolina) Garbeva (v), NIOO-KNAW – Microbial Ecology
For their growth, many species of soil bacteria depend on nutrients excreted by plant roots. Serious battles for these nutrients takes place and bacteria are not afraid to deploy chemical warfare. In this research the most successful bacterial strategies will be studied.

Through the eyes of the other
Dr T.A.J.M. (Tamara) van Gog (f), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Psychology
Studying video images of how somebody else performs a task is an effective way of learning. This research will determine whether video images are even more effective if the person learning can see what the other person is looking at when performing the task.

The focus on tumours
Dr M.C. (Marlies) Goorden (f), Delft University of Technology – Radiation, Detection and Medical Imaging
Radioactive tracers can detect and characterise tumours at an early stage. They can also be used to determine the success of chemotherapy and other forms of therapy. The objective of this research is the development and application of new imaging methods to localise tracers with far greater speed and precision.

Muscled airways
Dr R. (Reinoud) Gosens (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Pharmacology
The muscles in the airways of asthma patients are thickened which hinders breathing. The researchers will study the origin of this pathology by systematically investigating a new network of signalling molecules. The aim of this is to identify potential new targets for drugs.

Cut and pasted DNA in immune cells and leukaemia
Dr J.E.J. (Jeroen) Guikema (m), AMC/University of Amsterdam – Pathology
Immune cells use genetic cutting and pasting to produce an enormous diversity of antibodies. But if the cutting and pasting gets out of hand leukaemia can be the result. This research will map the genetic damage of the cutting and pasting so that the researchers can gain a better understanding of how this process is regulated.

Children against the international measurement scale
Dr H.H. (Hinke) Haisma (f), University of Groningen – Spatial Sciences
Children are weighed and measured to follow their growth. This research will contribute to a more complete approach for growth in children. Besides height and weight, this will take the environment where the children grow up into account.

Did I do that? The experience of self-causation in health and in schizophrenia
Dr N.E.M. (Neeltje) van Haren (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Psychiatry
Sometimes relating to other people can be difficult, for example for people with schizophrenia. This research will determine whether reduced social functioning is associated with a reduced feeling that we cause our own actions and the consequences of these.

Paradigm shift in copper chemistry
Dr S.R. (Syuzanna) Harutyunyan (f), University of Groningen – Chemistry
Chiral tertiary alcohols and amines are molecules of substantial pharmaceutical and chemical importance. Researchers will employ new concepts to prepare single enantiomers of these crucial molecules using sustainable processes based on copper catalysis and in situ generated organometallics. The ultimate goal is to perform catalysis with (in-situ) organometallics in water.

Stem cell therapy for children with brain disorders
Dr V.M. (Vivi) Heine (f), VU Medical Center – Paediatrics
Children with abnormalities in the white matter in the brain experience learning difficulties, spasticity, disability and often die at a young age as well. Stem cells have an enormous restorative capacity. The aim of this study is to develop a cell therapy to reduce brain damage.

Killing sleeping bacteria
Prof. M. (Matthias) Heinemann (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Systems Biology
Bacteria can enter a sleeping mode in which they cannot be killed by antibiotics. Waking up from this state can cause reoccurring infections. The researchers investigate the molecular mechanisms behind this mode to pave the path towards antibiotics that can kill dormant cells.

Rheumatoid arthritis: the beginning of the end?
Dr A.H.M. (Annette) van der Helm-van Mil (f), Leiden University Medical Center – Rheumatology
Joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis starts earlier than the external sigs visible in patients. Yet it is this initial phase that determines whether the inflammation will spontaneously disappear or not. This research will study the earliest stage of the disease process to find leads for preventing rheumatism.

Vessel wall reveals cause of brain infarct
Dr J. (Jeroen) Hendrikse (m), Medical Center Utrecht – Radiology
Brain infarcts are nearly always caused by a blocked blood vessel. The cause of such a blockage is often unknown. Researchers will make very sharp images of the walls of these sick blood vessels to detect the cause of a brain infarct.

How do subduction zones arise?
Dr D.J.J. (Douwe) van Hinsbergen (m), Utrecht University – Global Tomography and Mantel dynamics
Subduction zones are a vital aspect of plate tectonics and cause earthquakes and tsunamis. However, we do not know how subduction zones arise. The researchers will analyse which forces initiate subduction zones and which processes can generate these forces.

Rapid matrix methods
Dr M.E. (Michiel) Hochstenbach (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Mathematics
Large matrices are found in nearly all modern calculation problems in science, engineering, industry, medicine, economics, etc. Researchers will develop smart mathematical methods to enable matrix problems to be solved with a far greater speed and reliability.

Cerebellar control of thalamocortical activity: how the little brain controls the big brain
Dr F.E. (Freek) Hoebeek (m), Erasmus MC – Neurosciences
The interaction between the little brain and the big brain has hardly been investigated. In this research we will investigate the influence of a single neuron in output cores of the small brain on neurones and the behaviour coded in the big brain.

The design of improved recollections of personal memories
Dr E.A.W.H. (Elise) van den Hoven (f), Eindhoven University of Technology – Industrial Design
Researchers will study how media such as photos are used in everyday remembering and forgetting and what the desired recollections are. The aim is to design innovative media products that support the remembering and forgetting processes through smaller quantities of more suitable media.

Jumping atoms transform nanocrystals
Dr M.A. (Marijn) van Huis (m), Delft University of Technology – Applied Sciences
It has become possible to chemically replace one atomic species in semiconductor nanocrystals by other atoms, thereby creating astounding optical properties. In this research, the exchange transformation will be studied at the atomic level.

Successful ageing despite socioeconomic adversity
Dr M.A. (Martijn) Huisman (m), VU Medical Center – eMGO+
People with low socioeconomic status live shorter lives and less healthy ones than people with a high socioeconomic status. This project investigates the characteristics of those individuals who have a low socioeconomic status but have aged successfully against the odds.

How the restoration of nerve damage is inhibited
Dr B.J.C. (Bert) Janssen (m), Utrecht University – Chemistry
Damage to the human central nervous system, for example after a stroke or spinal cord injury, is scarcely restored. The researchers will determine in detail how different proteins in the nervous system inhibit this recovery. The research might provide starting points for treatments that facilitate recovery.

Tinkering with fat and sugar
Dr J.W. (Hans) Jonker (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Center for liver, digestive and metabolic diseases
The capacity of the body to adapt during periods of food scarcity and food abundance is vital for human health. Researchers have discovered a hormone that is essential for this process and will study the role of this in the development and treatment of diabetes.

The regulatory circuits of genetic interactions
Dr P.P.C.W. (Patrick) Kemmeren (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Medical Physiology
In many diseases several genes are involved that influence each other's effects. However, the exact nature of these genetic interactions is as yet unknown. Researchers will investigate which regulatory circuits are behind these genetic interactions.

Learning against Alzheimer's disease
Dr H.W. (Helmut) Kessels (m), Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
Alzheimer's patients experience memory problems because the connections between their brain cells are weakened. In this research it will be examined whether an active brain cell is less susceptible to this. This would mean that a daily session of brain training could slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Enlightened doctors, hidden powers
Dr H.G. (Rina) Knoeff (v), Leiden University – Humanities
During the Enlightenment, doctors believed that hidden life forces set the body in motion. They did chemical experiments to understand exactly how this worked. This research will reconstruct these experiments and analyse the 'Enlightened body ' at the interface of medicine and culture.

Super GPS via fibre optics
Dr J.C.J. (Jeroen) Koelemeij (m), VU University Amsterdam – LaserLaB
This research will focus on new methods for transmitting accurate time and frequency signals via fibre optic cables. Such methods would allow a 'Super GPS system' to be realised in future that would be far more accurate, reliable and versatile than the existing Global Positioning System, GPS.

Blood platelets as assassins
Dr R.R. (Rory) Koenen (m), Maastricht University – Biochemistry
Blood platelets are vital for staunching haemorrhages but can also contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases by inflaming blood vessels. The possibilities for hindering this malignant role of blood platelets will be investigated.

White dwarfs twinkle like black holes
Dr E.G. (Elmar) Körding (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Astrophysics
At first sight, white dwarfs and black holes have little in common. But both attract matter and eject jets of gas into space. The researchers will study this similarity to understand the effect of relativity in this important astrophysical process.

Exposing fat structures in the kidney
Dr J.C. (Jaklien) Leemans (v), AMC – Pathology
The role played by the kidneys in fat metabolism is largely unknown. With electron microscopy the researchers have discovered new fat structures in kidney cells after a fat-rich diet. But what role do these structures play during obesity or food scarcity?

Small vessels, big problems
Dr F.-E. (Frank-Erik) de Leeuw (m), UMCRadboud - Neurology
During ageing, everybody experiences damage to the small blood vessels in the brain. In some people this leads to dementia and Parkinson's disease but in the majority of people it does not. Using innovative MRI techniques the researchers will unravel in which people the damage leads to these highly prevalent diseases in ageing societies and, importantly, who not!

Getting a grip on weak bonds
Dr M.E. (Mirjam) Leunissen (f), FOM/AMOLF – Supramolecular Interactions
Unlike most artificial materials, biological materials can dynamically adjust to their environment by means of weak bonds that continuously break and reform. The general physical properties of such weak bonds will be unravelled using new model systems of synthetic DNA that can be extremely well controlled.

Counting points on surfaces
Dr R.M. (Ronald) van Luijk (m), Leiden University – Mathematics
Since the Ancient Greeks we have known that there are an infinite number of solutions to Pythagoras' equation [a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared] such as (3,4,5). However, we often know little about more complex equations. The researchers will examine families of equations for which they have recently demonstrated that there are far more solutions than people dared to believe until just a few years ago.

Raindrops on sand
Dr R.M. (Devaraj) van der Meer (m), University of Twente – Physics of Fluids
A raindrop falling onto a layer of sand seems so straightforward. Yet surprisingly little is known about the physics of this everyday phenomenon. In this research lasers and high-speed cameras will be used to shed light on the complex manner in which a drop of water penetrates a layer of sand.

Blood curdling scenes in reproduction
Prof. S. (Saskia) Middeldorp (f), AMC – Vascular Medicine
If blood coagulates too quickly this increases fertility but a pregnancy goes wrong more often. This research will examine whether anticoagulants can be used to prevent a miscarriage. In the laboratory the researchers will study the exact relationship between coagulation and reproduction.

Puzzling with translations
Dr C. (Christof) Monz (m), University of Amsterdam – Computer Science
Automatic translation is becoming increasingly important in a globalising world. Current translation systems, however, still produce only a moderate quality. The researchers will tackle this problem by developing new methods that will result in translations of a higher grammatical and terminological quality.

Industrial clusters facing economic globalisation
Dr A. (Andrea) Morrison (m), UU – Economic Geography
Globalisation challenges the competitive position of industrial clusters around the world. Some clusters will survive while others fade away. This research project finds out which factors affect the birth, growth and survival of clusters and how they change over time.

Family labour in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies
Dr E.J.V. (Elise) van Nederveen Meerkerk (f), International Institute of Social History
In the period 1830 to 1940 considerable changes took place in the types of work performed by men, women and children, both in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies. This research will reveal how the colonial ties influenced these changes in both countries.

Building with individual atoms
Dr A.F. (Sander) Otte (m0, TUD – Quantum Nanoscience
Complex materials (for example superconductors) are difficult to understand because their magnetic atoms interact with each other in an extremely complex manner. In this research such materials will be replicated step by step by positioning the atoms one at a time with the help of a special atomic force microscope.

Nebulin, a misunderstood giant
Dr C.A.C. (Coen) Ottenheijm (m), VU Medical Center - Physiology
Muscles are built up from a refined mechanism of countless proteins. Congenital abnormalities in these proteins cause the mechanism to fail, resulting in life-threatening diseases. This research will study how a single abnormal protein, the gigantic protein nebulin, causes this network to fail.

Improving global environmental governance
Dr P. (Philipp) Pattberg (m), VU University Amsterdam – Institute for Environmental Studies
Current attempts to solve environmental problems at the global level are not well coordinated. What we find is a set of competing policies, rival actor constellations, conflicting norms and diverging discourses. This project aims at understanding the consequences of this development and will propose reform options.

Fine-grained software project memory
Dr M. (Martin) Pinzger (m), Delft University of Technology - Software and Computer Technology
Software systems are changing frequently and engineers spend much time on understanding changes and their effects. This project investigates means to facilitate this understanding by storing and sharing detailed information about changes in the source code of software systems.

Building the future of steel
Dr M.J. (Maria) Santofimia (f), TUD – Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical properties of steels depend on how atoms are organized forming microscopic crystalline phases in their structures. This project will investigate for the first time how interactions between crystalline phases can be effectively used to create novel steels with improved properties.

Comprehensibility of a foreign language in background noise
Dr O.E. (Odette) Scharenborg (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Linguistics
Some people are very good at understanding a foreign language in background noise whereas other people are not. The researchers will use listening experiments, cognitive tests and a computer model to explain these individual differences between people.

Shining light on cellular behavior
Dr T.S. (Tom) Shimizu (m), FOM/AMOLF – Systems Biophysics
All living cells sense their environment and make informed decisions on their actions. The researchers will analyze how molecules inside cells achieve this by building microscopes that reveal their position and minute movements, one molecule at a time.

Cholesterol accumulation underlying cause of hepatitis
Dr R. (Ronit) Shiri-Sverdlov (f), Maastricht University – Genetics and Cell Biology
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a highly prevalent western problem but the causes of this inflammation are unknown. Previous work from this research group has demonstrated that the manner of cholesterol storage plays an important role. The researchers will now further investigate new molecular starting points, non-invasive markers and treatment for NASH.

Which stories do video images tell?
Dr C.G.M. (Cees) Snoek (m), University of Amsterdam – Institute for Computer Science
Video images can only be found if people describe the content beforehand. This research programme will teach computers to automatically tell the story of non-described video images on the basis of recognised people, objects and scenes and the interaction between these. This could lead to the new YouTube.

Cell death in atherosclerosis
Dr O. (Oliver) Soehnlein (m), LMU München
Vessel hardening (atherosclerosis) is characterized by the infiltration of white blood cells which undergo cell death within the artery. This research project aims at understanding the importance of leukocyte cell death in atherosclerosis and its applicability in a clinical setting.

Competition between banks: good or bad?
Prof. L. (Laura) Spierdijk (f), University of Groningen – Economics, Econometrics and Financing
Competition between banks can result in lower lending rates and higher savings rates but can also contribute to banks taking undesirable risks. This research will use a new competition standard to analyse the effect of bank competition on the economy.

Smart organisation on the outside of immune cells
Dr A.B. (Annemiek) van Spriel (f), UMCRadboud – Tumour Immunology
Immune cells are vital for protection against diseases. Communication between immune cells and the environment occurs via the outside of the cell, the cell membrane. This research will explore the smart organisation of the cell membrane that helps immune cells to perform their task.

No trust without reliability
Dr S. (Sigrid) Suetens (v), Tilburg University – Experimental Economics
Trust and reliability are vital building blocks for human interaction. But without reliability trust cannot exist. The researchers will analyse the interaction between trust and reliability. When does it go well? And why does it go wrong so often?

Understanding emotions in the real world
Dr M. (Marco) Tamietto (m), Tilburg University – Medical Psychology & Neuropsychology
In everyday life emotions are influenced by the physical and social context in which they occur. The present project investigates how the human brain integrates emotion and context information to rapidly extract the global meaning of the situation.

New antibodies in the case of rheumatism
Dr L.A. (Leendert) Trouw (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Rheumatology
Antibodies are proteins that protect our body against infections. Occasionally something goes wrong and antibodies target our own body. The researchers will study a recently discovered antibody to gain a better understanding of how rheumatism develops and progresses.

Information flow in the human brain
Dr K. (Kâmil) Uludağ (m), Maastricht University – Psychology & Neuroscience
The brain processes information from the physical world and combines it with internal expectations. The researchers will study the micro-architecture of this bottom-up and top-down information flow in the human brain using high magnetic field MRI.

The boundaries of the Roman limes
Dr J.W.H.P. (Philip) Verhagen (m), VU University Amsterdam – Archaeology
The Romans built a line of defence along the river Rhine, the Limes. This research will examine how they organised supplies to the forts and where agriculture, cattle farming and forestry took place. New computer techniques will be used to calculate the economic models.

Risky politics
Dr B. (Barbara) Vis (f), VU University Amsterdam – Political Science
Why do some governments and political parties take risky decisions that could cost them votes or their place in government, whereas others do not? And does the environment exert a similar influence on the risks that politicians and 'normal' people are willing to take? Researchers will answer these questions with a theory about political decision-making under risk.

Shocks and failure in fragile matter
Dr V. (Vincenzo) Vitelli (m), Leiden University – Lorentz Institute
In ordinary solids, shocks and cracks are extreme mechanical phenomena that require the application of extreme forces. But soft matter is different. Granular media, foams and polymer networks can be made so soft that even the tiniest perturbations elicit extreme mechanical responses. When that happens these materials are not just soft, they have become fragile. For fragile materials, the standard theoretical approach of linearizing the Hamiltonian fails. Their theoretical description requires a new approach based on non-linear waves and unusual modes of failure as the fundamental excitations of fragile matter. The ultimate aim of my research is to unveil how geometrical and topological features of the architecture of fragile materials control their extreme mechanics.

Potatoes that remain healthy
Dr V.G.A.A. (Vivianne) Vleeshouwers (f), Wageningen University – Plant Breeding
Potato blight is caused by an aggressive pathogen. New disease-resistant varieties repeatedly lose their effect. The economic damage is only limited by the frequent application of pesticides. The researchers will study new forms of resistance and then apply these as an extra line of defence.

Do government officials trust citizens?
Prof. S. (Steven) Van de Walle (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Public Administration
Does a tax officer think that citizens are honest, competent and of goodwill or that you cannot control them enough? We will investigate whether it is true that a young government official starts his job full of confidence and naivety but gradually becomes cynical and mistrusting.

Patterns of trades and prices
Dr M. (Makoto) Watanabe (m), VU University Amsterdam – Economics
Market economy is full of obstacles to transactions. This research project aims to find out what economic agents can/should do to mitigate such a difficulty. It also analyses how prices can guide us to understand how well markets can work.

Ancient climates unravelled
Dr J.W.H. (Johan) Weijers (m), Utrecht University – Geochemistry
Our climate is changing due to CO2-emissions caused by humans. To find out how much warmer or wetter it could become, the researchers will look for fossil molecules from bacteria from a period in the Earth's history when the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were just as high as now.

The human side of statistics
Dr J.M. (Jelte) Wicherts (m), Tilburg University – Methods and Techniques
Although research is a human effort, little is known about the effects of the expectations of researchers on the outcome of their statistical analyses. Frequently occurring errors in this area will be investigated and the researchers will develop remedies and model-based corrections for the deviations that occur as a result of this.

A balanced brain
Dr C.J. (Corette) Wierenga (f), Utrecht University – Cell biology
In a healthy brain, activating and inhibiting signals are roughly in balance. The researchers will study how this balance is regulated and what goes wrong in the case of autism. They will do this by making the connections between nerve cells in mice visible and then following the changes that occur in these.

Adhesion molecules make the connection
Dr J. (Joris) de Wit (m), VU Medical Center (m) – CNCR
The nerve cells in our brain are connected with each other by adhesion molecules. In brain diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease nerve connections are lost. The researchers will determine how adhesion molecules regulate the stability of nerve connections so that a better understanding of these diseases can be gained.

Liver's immune system combats viruses
Dr A.M. (Andrea) Woltman (f), Erasmus MC – Gastroenterology

The Hepatitis B virus often conceals itself from the immune system. It can therefore remain in the liver and eventually cause liver failure. Researchers will determine how this virus circumnavigates the immune system and will develop a treatment to put an end to this.