Vidi awards 2012


Interference in biochemical communication
Dr A.F.M. (Maarten) Altelaar (m), Utrecht University – Pharmacy
Hyperactivation of lines of communication within the cell, responsible for survival and growth, causes cancer. Switching off this communication using drugs results in the activation of alternative routes and therefore resistance. Technology developed here will improve the mapping of this process so that we can anticipate it better.

On the trail of brain fingerprints
Prof. C.F. (Christian) Beckmann (m), University of Twente – Neuroimaging
In the active brain many different regions communicate with each other. This research will deliver tools to capture brain fingerprints from brain imaging data that describe these relationships and then link this information to differences in a person's behaviour.

Calculating tumour destruction by T cells
Dr J.B. (Joost) Beltman (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Immunology
During T-cell therapy against cancer our immune system sometimes attacks cancer using T cells. Despite highly promising results in patients this type of therapy is not always successful. The researchers will make computer simulations to understand why and how T cells can help cure cancer.

If you rest you rust; too much rest shortens lifespan
Dr L. (Leónie) Bentsink (f), Wageningen University and Research Centre – Plant Physiology
For many organisms periods of rest are important for surviving unfavourable conditions. These rest periods extend the lifespan. However, in seeds too much rest leads to a shortening of the lifespan. This surprising new discovery has major significance for both ecology and the seed industry and will be further investigated.

Tomatoes arm themselves against insects
Dr P.M. (Petra) Bleeker (f), University of Amsterdam – Plant physiology
Cultivated tomatoes have become so vulnerable that they can scarcely defend themselves against harmful insects. By unravelling the genetics underlying 'green' antigens from wild ancestors we can arm cultivated tomatoes in a natural manner. As a result of this the use of insecticides can be limited.

Galectin-3: stiffening of the heart
Dr R.A. (Rudolf) de Boer (m), University of Groningen/University of Groningen Medical Center – Cardiology Congestive heart failure is a disease that mainly occurs in the elderly and in which the heart becomes stiff. The researchers will investigate the role of galectin-3 on connective tissue formation in the heart and will test whether inhibiting this improves heart function.

Me, myself, and… you
Dr E.R.A. (Ellen) de Bruijn (f), Leiden University – Clinical Psychology
People with psychopathology and people with social anxiety are often very focused on themselves and experience many problems with social functioning. It will be investigated whether and how processes, such as learning from other people's mistakes, are disturbed in their brains.

Computer-aided design of chemicals from wood
Dr R. E. (Rosa) Bulo (f), VU University Amsterdam – Theoretical Chemistry
Apart from energy production, fossil fuels provide the building blocks needed to synthesise consumer products (medicines, plastics). To assist the necessary transition to sustainable resources like wood, the researchers will develop computer programs to simulate the complex chemistry involved.

Swapped ends
Dr M. (Michael) Chang (m), University Medical Center Groningen – ERIBA
Nucleotide sequences can be exchanged between two similar DNA molecules in a process called recombination. Telomeres are repetitive DNA elements that protect the ends of chromosomes. The researcher will investigate how the integrity of the telomeres can be influenced by recombination.

Efficient communication with single quanta of light
Dr M. (Matthias) Christandl (m), CWI – Computer Science/Mathematics
In our daily communication, information is sent with strong electric signals or pulses of light consisting of many photons – particles of light. Using single photons, instead of larger pulses of light, will lead to entirely new methods of communication due to the, often peculiar, quantum mechanical behaviour of these particles. The aim of this research project is to design more efficient communication protocols with single photons.

The improvement of minute enzyme factories
Dr D. (Dennis) Claessen (m), Leiden University – Molecular Biotechnology
Enzymes are frequently used in biotechnology, for example in the food industry, but also for the production of biofuels. We will improve the growth of important enzyme producers, which will lead to a more sustainable production.

Are we what we eat?
Dr L.S. (Lorenza) Colzato (f), Leiden University – Neurocognition
The food we eat modulates the way we think and perceive the world. I will investigate how the food supplement tyrosine may enhance the way we control our thoughts and goal-directed behaviour and why some people may benefit more than others from this intervention.

‘Smart' nanoparticles for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Dr L.J. (Luis) Ricondo Cruz (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Radiology
In this project so-called ‘smart’ nanoparticles will be synthesised that not only make tumours visible but also treat these. The researchers will make use of clinically approved polylactic glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles that are targeted against a characteristic of the tumour and that also contain a contrast medium and substances that activate the immune system against the tumour.

A memory map in the brain
Dr C.F.A. (Christian) Doeller (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Memories form the core of our personality. However the organisation of the memory in the brain is largely unknown. In this project I will use ' brain reading' techniques to test the hypothesis that memories are not isolated but are organised in networks.

Controlling smart materials with catalysts
Dr R. (Rienk) Eelkema (m), Delft University of Technology – Department of Chemical Engineering
The researchers will make smart, structured and reactive materials by controlling the dynamics of their molecular building blocks with catalysts that can be switched on and off.

Predictability of dynamic systems
Dr T. (Tatjana) Eisner (f), University of Amsterdam – Mathematics
The research intends to make a link between different fundamental aspects of mathematics, and linear dynamic systems with a close relationship between locations that a single particle visits over the course of time and average spatial distribution of many particles.

Thick blood vessels and diabetes
Dr E.C. (Etto) Eringa (m), VU University Amsterdam Medical Center – Physiology
Mice with a prior stage of diabetes accumulate a lot of fat around the blood vessels. The researchers will investigate how this 'vessel fat' regulates the supply of blood to organs and sugar uptake by making a detailed study of this fat in people and specifically manipulating it in mice.

Enzyme mimics for bright energy future
Dr J. (Jorge) Gascon (m), Delft University of Technology – Catalysis Engineering
Catalysts speed up chemical reactions. The researchers will develop a new generation of synthetic catalysts that can directly transform methane gas into liquid methanol. Enzymes, the most exquisite catalysts, are the source of inspiration.

Predicting drug metabolism by liver enzymes
Dr D.P. (Daan) Geerke (m), VU University Amsterdam – Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Drug metabolism by cytochrome P450 liver enzymes plays an important role in the undesirable side effects and possible failure of drugs. To improve the process of drug development, the researchers will develop computer methods for the accurate and efficient prediction of drug metabolism by cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Pre-Columbian stone circles in Nicaragua
Dr A. (Alexander) Geurds (m), Leiden University – Archaeology
In 2011, the researcher unexpectedly stumbled upon building works in Nicaragua: about 500 hills that together formed large circles. The Mayan and Inca architecture is well known but which culture built this unique place? What is the significance of these stone circles?

Faster immune response from memory
Dr K.P.J.M. (Klaas) van Gisbergen (m), Sanquin Research – Haematopoiesis
After an infection, immune cells that recognise the pathogen continue to be present. These immune cells can respond immediately as a result of which we are better protected against a second infection. The researcher will characterise and manipulate the proteins that control this rapid immune response in order to improve immune reactions.

The addicted brain as a treatment area
Dr A.E. (Anneke) Goudriaan (f), AMC – Psychiatry, Brain Imaging Center
A wide range of changes occur in the brains of people who are addicted. For example, somebody who is addicted has less control over his use of the substance. This research will determine whether addiction can be treated more effectively and the control over behaviour improves if the brain is stimulated.

Relaxing after a meal to counteract obesity
Dr S.F.J. (Stan) van de Graaf (m), AMC – Tytgat Institute for liver and Intestinal Research
Substances from the liver (so-called bile salts) issue a signal in our body, which ensures that more energy is temporarily used, glucose is absorbed and inflammation reduced. The researchers will study how this works and whether we can extend this signal in order to counteract diabetes and heart disease.

Wisdom of black holes
Dr U. (Umut) Gursoy (m), Utrecht University – Physics
Plasma of elementary particles, such as quarks and gluons, and plasma of excitations in metals share a surprising property: both are related to the physics of black holes. Researchers will explore this relationship as a means of studying strongly interacting plasmas.

Capturing radio flashes with the LOFAR telescope
Dr J.W.T. (Jason) Hessels (m), ASTRON – Astronomy
Radio flashes are produced by the most extreme astronomical sources, e.g. ultradense neutron stars. These flashes provide unique insights into the fundamental science of gravity and particle physics. The researchers will use the LOFAR radio telescope to accurately map these extraterrestrial radio flashes.

Stretching the limits of stretchable electronics
Dr J.P.M. (Johan) Hoefnagels (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Mechanical Engineering
The internal integration of extremely stretchable electronics with biological tissues, such as the brain and heart, makes futuristic medical applications possible, for example the control of epileptic fits. This project will investigate a revolutionary mechanism to make electronics extremely stretchable, demonstrated with an inflatable, in vivo ultrasound detector.

Searching for dark matter with stationary molecules
Dr S. (Steven) Hoekstra (m), University of Groningen – KVI.
The researchers will make molecules stationary so that these can be used as highly sensitive antennae. Such nano-antennae might even be able to pick up signals from the mysterious dark matter. Comparing the very accurate measurements on the molecules with the predictions from the standard model of particle physics could help to extend the boundaries of fundamental knowledge about our world.

The way out of tuberculosis bacteria
Dr E.N.G. (Edith) Houben (f), VU University Amsterdam – Molecular Microbiology
Tuberculosis bacteria excrete an arsenal of proteins to attack us. These proteins must be transported across the highly impenetrable cell wall of the deadly pathogen. The researchers will investigate exactly how the ingenious protein transport system ensures this way out works.

The vulnerable foetus
Dr V.W.V. (Vincent) Jaddoe (m), Erasmus MC – Paediatrics
Children with a low birthweight have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at a later age. Researchers will analyse which factors in the womb and early life after birth cause these relationships.

Protectors from outside the state
Dr R. (Rivke) Jaffe (f), University of Amsterdam - Geography, Planology and International Development Studies
Safeguarding security and maintaining public order are traditionally considered to be key tasks of the state. This study will investigate how citizenship changes if the government shares the monopoly over the legitimate use of force with other parties.

Combining innovation and efficiency
Prof. J.J.P. (Justin) Jansen (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship
Even though entrepreneurship and innovation are necessary for the creation of successful growth, few companies manage to achieve this. This research will describe how organisations can implement smart solutions to combine innovation and efficiency.

Making tumours visible during the operation
Dr H.W.A.M. (Hugo) de Jong (m), Utrecht University/ University Medical Center Utrecht - Radiology
In this research a new integrated gamma/X-ray camera will be developed with which tumours can be made visible during operations without the need for incisions. This could have major consequences for the success of the intervention and open up a new treatment area of minimally invasive operations.

Online privacy in a globalised world
Prof. M.G. (Martijn) de Jong (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Business Economics
It will be investigated how people from different cultures deal with privacy on the Internet. What do people share and why? Is the information shared correct? What are the consequences? How can privacy be better protected?

Greek scholars and Latin literature
Dr C.C. (Casper) de Jonge (m), Leiden University – Greek and Latin Languages and Culture
Greek scholars were prominently present in Ancient Rome. They maintained intensive contacts with Roman authors like Cicero, Horatius and Virgil. This research will investigate the intercultural dialogue between Greeks and Romans that was decisive for the literature in Rome.

Cells also give fingerprints
Dr P. (Pascal) Jonkheijm (m), University of Twente – Supramolecular Chemistry
Cell membranes have dozens of receptors that are vital in signal transfer. The researchers will obtain a better insight into the cellular processes by producing a chip with switchable artificial cell membranes. The knowledge acquired will accelerate research into biomaterials for regenerative medicine.

Zebra fish in a new light
Dr J. (Jeroen) Kalkman (m), Delft University of Technology – Delft Center for Systems and Control
The zebra fish is a very popular animal model used for the detailed study of many biological processes including diseases. The researchers are building a new type of optical microscope with which high-resolution, three-dimensional images can be made of the structure and function of the zebra fish.

How do cells retain their identity?
Dr L.M. (Leonie) Kamminga (f), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre–NCMLS, Molecular Biology
In a multicellular organism all cells have their own function and identity. This is necessary for the correct functioning of the organism. In this study it will be investigated how the identity of cells is retained.

Navigating in brain cells
Dr L.C. (Lukas) Kapitein (m), Utrecht University – Cell Biology
Brain cells are so elongated that a transport system is needed to bring all of the parts to the correct place. For this special motor proteins run over an extended road system of protein tubes. Using new microscopic techniques it will be investigated how these motors find the correct route.

The analysis of angles
Dr I. (Irene) Klugkist (f), Utrecht University – Methodology and Statistics
Researchers from various social and behavioural sciences regularly collect data that is expressed in angles, or observations on a circle. For this so-called circular data the researchers will develop new Bayesian analysis techniques for both cross-sectional and longitudinal contexts.

Predictable variation in child doses
Prof. C.A.J. (Catherijne) Knibbe (f), Leiden University – Pharmacology
Some 40 to 80% of drug doses for children are not scientifically supported. Pharmacologists and paediatricians will develop computer models to predict drug doses for each individual child. For this they make use of a new integrated approach that includes advanced statistical methods and large datasets.

Biochemically unravelling Parkinson's disease
Dr A. (Arjan) Kortholt (m), University of Groningen – Cell Biology
Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are the most frequently occurring genetic link with Parkinson's disease. The aim of this project is to use structural and biochemical analyses to understand the development of LRRK2-regulated Parkinson's disease.

Coals in a greenhouse world
Dr K.F. (Klaudia) Kuiper (f), VU University Amsterdam – Deep Earth
During the Palaeocene large quantities of coal were deposited on river plains. The researchers will develop an accurate timescale to determine whether these coal depositions are correlated with astronomically controlled climate changes and which role the coals played in the global carbon cycle during this greenhouse world.

Unique sugars in the muscle
Dr D.J. (Dirk) Lefeber (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre– Neurology
In our muscles there is a unique sugar layer that is vital for a normal functioning of the muscle. If this incorporation of sugars goes wrong, the result is severe muscle dystrophy in patients. This research will investigate the molecular routes for the incorporation of sugars in the muscle.

Learning a second language in the wild
Dr K.M. (Kristin) Lemhöfer (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
For the most part you do not learn a foreign language in the class but ‘in the wild’. This research will determine when this natural learning of language does and does not occur and what the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms are.

Seeding strategies to foster innovation adoption: an incentivizing approach
Dr A. (Aurélie) Lemmens (f), Tilburg University – Marketing
How can companies and policy makers foster innovation adoption? While innovations are an engine of economic growth, they often require support to reach high adoption levels. This project investigates how to design incentive programmes that use seeding to foster innovation adoption.

The nucleus of embryonic stem cells
Dr H. (Hendrik) Marks (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Molecular Biology
Embryonic stems cells can develop into specialised cell types but they can also continue to divide without specialising. The researchers will integrally map the cell nuclei of mouse stem cells in order to understand these unique characteristics.

Living longer through institutions?
Prof. M. (Tine) De Moor (f), Utrecht University – Social and Economic History
Despite the weakening of family relationships in Western Europe since the late Middle Ages, the life expectancy in this region at an advanced age has been higher than in Southern Europe for quite a long time. We will investigate whether institutional or biological factors can explain this difference.

The genes work together
Dr K.W. (Klaas) Mulder (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – NCMLS
External characteristics such as our height, but also our sensitivity for diseases are determined by collaborating genetic factors (genes). The researchers will study which genes collaborate during the monthly renewal of the epidermis and what can go wrong in this during the development of diseases.

Hybrid nanoparticles to counteract atherosclerosis
Dr W.J.M. (Willem) Mulder (m), AMC – Experimental Vascular Medicine
Lipoproteins are the body's own nanoparticles with a natural affinity for atherosclerosis. In this research the components of these natural lipoproteins will be isolated and used to develop hybrid lipoprotein/polymer nanoparticles that deliver specific medication to blood vessels with atherosclerosis.

What are black holes made up of?
Dr S.V. (Sameer) Murthy (m), Nikhef – Theoretical Physics
A black hole is a region of space with a gravitational field so strong that no matter or radiation can escape. The researchers will explore the microscopic structure of black holes using newly developed mathematical techniques.

Tackling the problem of 'friction' using computers
Dr L. (Lucia) Nicola (f), Delft University of Technology – Virtual Materials and Mechanics
Losses due to friction cost billions of euros. One third of the fuel in a car, for example, is lost like that. How can we reduce friction? First of all we need to understand how it works. Computers will help us to unravel this problem.

Earthquakes start at the microscale
Dr A.R. (André) Niemeijer (m), Utrecht University – Experimental Rock Deformation.
The development of earthquakes is controlled by friction between fracture surfaces. That concerns physical and chemical processes active at a microscale. The researchers will use experiments and models to systematically analyse the friction behaviour and this will allow the risk of earthquakes to be better estimated.

Logics for social behaviour
Dr A. (Alessandra) Palmigiano (f), Delft University of Technology – Technology, Policy and Management Understanding multi-agent phenomena is a crucial challenge in all fields of science. We will use state-of-the-art techniques in mathematical logic to improve our predictions on the evolution and outcome of social situations involving collective decision-making, or consumers' behaviour.

In shape for photoregulation
Dr A. (Anjali) Pandit (f), Leiden University – Leiden Institute for Chemistry
Oxygen-producing photosynthetic organisms can switch between transmitting sunlight and extinguishing sunlight in order to prevent photodamage. Using high-field magnet techniques the researchers will examine in detail how this mechanism works and what causes the switching process.

Universal oscillations due to structural relaxations
Dr S. (Stefanos) Papanikolaou (m), University of Groningen – Physics
Many complex systems, such as glasses and networks in cells, respond abruptly to stresses. When these amorphous structures become ‘softer’ they relax more easily and become stable. Their response then becomes oscillatory in nature. This research will explore their universal features.

The densest matter in nature
Dr A. (Alessandro) Patruno (m), Leiden University Observatory – Astronomy
Neutron stars are among the most extreme objects that exist in nature. The researcher will use X-ray space telescopes and a new innovative instrument he will build and use with ground-based telescopes to try to determine what such extreme neutron star matter is and to test some specific predictions of Einstein's theory of General Relativity.

Men of science
Prof. H.J. (Herman) Paul (m), Leiden University – History
Why did scientists from around 1900 like to talk about the 'character' and 'personality' of famous professors? The study will investigate what they meant by a 'scientific personality', what type of scientific ethics lay behind this and how these ethics contributed to the formation of scientific disciplines.

From blood to neuron
Dr N. (Natalia) Petridou (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Radiology
Brain activity can be studied by looking at changes in blood oxygenation. However, we do not know how close these changes take place to active neurons. This project will develop imaging techniques to study how closely neurons and blood vessels are related.

Plants compete for light
Dr R. (Ronald) Pierik (m), Utrecht University – Ecophysiology of Plants
Food crop plants compete for light to grow above each other. This is at the expense of the yield. The researchers will investigate shadow-tolerant plants to unravel how this response can be suppressed.

Fear of failure and cognitive performance
Dr P. (Peter) Putman (m), Leiden University – Clinical, Health and Neuropsychology
Strong fear of failure during cognitive performance (for example examination fear), does indeed reduce performance. This research will add to the formation of cognitive-psychological theory concerning this problem with insights from neuropsychology. Existing and new neurobiologically inspired treatments will be evaluated.

Material to reflect upon: relic veneration
Dr J.E. (Janneke) Raaijmakers (f), Utrecht University – History
Relic veneration has a long tradition within Christianity. The veneration of human remains, however, also elicited criticism and questions. How can a transcendent God make himself known through a material reality? This research will study mediaeval debates about this.

What is the influence of interest groups on political responsiveness?
Dr A. (Anne) Rahsmussen (f), Leiden University – Public Administration
An important consideration in many democratic states is the role of interest groups in political decision-making. This project will investigate how interest groups influence the ability of politicians to translate the wishes of citizens into policies.

Extreme magnets populate the universe
Dr N. (Nanda) Rea (f), University of Amsterdam – Astronomy
The neutron star population in our galaxy and in other galaxies is very diverse. The aim of this research project is to prove that most neutron stars have a magnetar-like internal/crustal field, and to explain their diversity by simulating magnetic-field decay with different field configurations at birth.

Acting skilfully in concrete situations
Dr D.W. (Erik) Rietveld (m), University of Amsterdam – ILLC, Philosophy / AMC, Brain & Cognition
This philosophical research will make use of insights into the role that the environment plays during everyday skilful actions such as cycling, in order to understand the intuitive expertise of surgeons and architects, for example. This will generate new perspectives on context sensitivity and 'higher' cognition.

Sea level rise unravelled
Dr R.E.M. (Riccardo) Riva (m), Delft University of Technology – Climate Institute
The rise in the sea level is never the same anywhere in the world. Using the best possible measurements of recent sea level changes this research will map the regional differences.

Molecular factors of osteoporosis and bone fracture
Dr F. (Fernando) Rivadeneira (m), Erasmus MC – Internal Medicine and Epidemiology
The unknown causes of fractures in weak bones of elderly people (osteoporosis) are genetically determined and can therefore be found in healthy children as well. This research in children and adults using modern genetic and imaging techniques will find new starting points for tackling osteoporosis.

Boarding cells by imaging viral nanopirates
Dr W.H. (Wouter) Roos (m), VU University of Amsterdam – Physics of Living Systems
In spite of all the immune mechanisms of cells, viruses are highly successful in penetrating cells. Using advanced atomic force and light microscopes the physicists will study this process at the molecular scale. This will ultimately clarify how these viral nanopirates board cells so effectively.

Where do criminals strike?
Dr S. (Stijn) Ruiter (m), Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement
The researchers will map where criminals have lived, been to school, have worked, spent their leisure time and where the family and friends have lived. It will be investigated whether this information can be used to predict where criminals will strike.

Dutch for the Dutch?
Dr G.J. (Gijsbert) Rutten (m), Leiden University – Linguistics
It seems obvious that Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands and that new Dutch citizens must therefore learn to speak Dutch. However that is not as obvious as it seems. This research will investigate how the Dutch language suddenly became a key element of the Dutch nation in about 1800.

Unilateralism and the protection of global values: opportunities and limits of the exercise of state jurisdiction
Dr C.M.J. (Cedric) Ryngaert (m), Utrecht University – International Law
The international community does not always work together well to protect the climate and the marine environment or to limit the effects of corruption. The researchers will investigate under which conditions one or more states can defend these global values on their own.

From harmless intestinal resident to hospital bacterium
Dr W. (Willem) van Schaik (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Medical Microbiology
The bacterium Enterococcus faecium is a harmless intestinal resident of people and animals. However in recent years it has also become a cause of life-threatening infections in patients in hospitals. This transition from intestinal resident to hospital bacterium will be investigated.

A Dutch encyclopaedia of genetic variation
Dr A. (Alexander) Schönhuth (m), CWI – Life Sciences Group
Everyone is different because we all have different DNA. The researchers will systematically reveal and categorise all DNA-related differences in the Dutch population. The resulting 'handbook' of Dutch DNA aims to serve as a guide for improved ‘personalised medicine’ practice.

Replacing heavy metals
Dr J.C. (Chris) Slootweg (m), VU University Amsterdam – Chemistry
Heavy metals are used for the manufacture of many important chemical compounds. Researchers will investigate whether a combination of cheap elements, such as nitrogen and aluminium, can also be used as catalysts in the chemical industry.

Genes for complex and changing behaviour
Dr S. (Sophie) van der Sluis (f), VU University Amsterdam/ VU University Medical Center – Functional Geonome Analysis/Clinical Genetics
Much human behaviour is genetically determined, but the changing nature and complexity of behaviour hinders the identification of the genes involved. So to unravel the underlying pathology researchers will develop new genetic methods of analysis in which the multifaceted and dynamic nature of behaviour will be expressed.

The sweet side of a meat eater
Dr N.M. (Nina) van Sorge (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Medical Microbiology
Streptococcal bacteria, such as meat-eating bacteria, cause serious infections in people and animals. The outside of Streptococci consists of complex sugar structures. The researchers will investigate the role of the sugar structures in the disease process in relation to vaccination.

Clearing up old cells in fat tissue
Dr R. (Rinke) Stienstra (m), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center– Internal Medicine, Wageningen University & Research Centre – Human Nutrition
Obesity often causes inflammation in the fat tissue. This inflammation facilitates the development of diabetes in people who are overweight. The researchers will try to unravel whether a problem in clearing up old fat cells forms the source of this inflammation.

Geometry of fundamental physics forces
Dr W.D. (Walter) van Suijlekom (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Mathematics
In particle physics, interactions between particles are described by four fundamental physics forces: the electromagnetic force, the weak and strong nuclear forces and gravity. In this project the researchers will try to unravel the mathematical structure of these using a new type of geometry.

Blocking of flows and getting these going again
Dr B.P. (Brian) Tighe (m), Delft University of Technology – Process & Energy Department
All around us the flow of materials is blocked, for example in pipelines or in the vessels of the human body. The researchers will use computers simulations to understand the blocking of flows and how these get going again.

Minuscule differences between particles and antiparticles
Dr J.A.N. (Jeroen) van Tilburg (m), Nikhef – LHCb     
Particles and antiparticles behave slightly different from each other. The subtle difference can be measured using the LHCb detector at CERN. By very accurately measuring the difference it is possible to gain a glimpse of particles that we do not know about yet.

How bacteria gain their shape
Dr J.W. (Jan-Willem) Veening (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Genetics
Pneumonococci bacteria are an important cause of infections such as earache, meningitis and pneumonia. This research will figure out at the molecular level how this pathogenic bacterium gains its characteristic rugby ball shape. As cell growth and cell division are essential for the bacterium to survive and reproduce this research could lead to the development of new, vitally needed, antibiotics.

Detecting trade with prior knowledge
Prof. P. (Patrick) Verwijmeren (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Finance
Although trading with prior knowledge is forbidden, there are indications that certain parties still trade if they have prior knowledge about future company investments. Using detailed data it will be investigated in which cases this illegal trading takes place and how this can be prevented.

Weak links in the tumour genome
Dr M.A.T.M. (Marcel) van Vugt (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Medical Oncology
The genetic material of tumours is often highly unstable. Nevertheless tumour cells appear to be able to deal with this. This research will investigate how tumours realise this with the aim of using these changes in tumour cells as a starting point for therapy.

Host-microbe interactions define inflammatory bowel diseases
Dr R.K. (Rinse) Weersma (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Gastroenterology
A human being consists of more bacteria than human cells. Loss of tolerance for intestinal bacteria can result in Crohn's diseases or ulcerative colitis. The researchers will investigate human and bacterial genes in relation to the development and progression of the disease.

Quantum gravity in table-top experiments
Dr S.W. (Silke) Weinfurtner (f), Radboud University Nijmegen – Theoretical High–Energy Physics Quantum theory and general relativity set the foundations of modern physics, but their unification is one of the pending grand challenges. I will address this issue by exploring various phenomena predicted by unified quantum gravity theories in table-top experiments.

Learning from software errors
Dr A. (Andy) Zaidman (m), Delft University of Technology – Software Engineering
Most software contains errors. Systematically learning from these errors will make it possible to produce software more efficiently. This research will develop techniques to make optimal use of this implicit knowledge of software errors.

Smuggling into the brain
Dr I.S. (Inge) Zuhorn (f), University Medical Center Groningen – Cell Biology
The blood brain barrier prevents drugs against brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, from ending up in the brain. In this research, nanoparticles will be developed that contain drugs and can pass through this barrier. This will provide new possibilities for the effective treatment of brain diseases.