Vidi awards 2013


Sorted by NWO Division


Alphabetical list by researcher's surname

Does chaos cause child abuse?
Prof. L.R.A. (Lenneke) Alink (f), Leiden University – Educational Sciences
Does chaos in the family influence child abuse? With a baby simulator it will be experimentally tested whether chaos increases the chance of abuse. The researchers will also study the effect of an intervention aimed at reducing chaos in risk families.

Knowledge for clean technology
Dr F. (Floortje) Alkemade (f), Utrecht University – Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
Technological breakthroughs such as CO2 neutral cars are needed to realise a sustainable society. The researchers will develop new methods to systematically study which mechanisms result in technological breakthroughs in clean technology.

The eternal life of stem cells
Dr R. (Renée) van Amerongen (f), University of Amsterdam – Molecular Cytology
Stem cells can apparently continue to divide forever. This special characteristic is vital for tissue maintenance and damage repair in our body. At the same time this process is strictly regulated. The researchers will identify the responsible control mechanisms to better understand and control stem cell activity.

Beyond rational expectations
Dr A. (Aurélien) Baillon (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Erasmus School of Economics
Do people have perfect rational expectations about their future like economists usually assume? This research will study the actual expectations of people. That will lead to an improved understanding as to why people take out insurances too quickly and save too little for their pensions.

The secrets of cracking and protecting smart cards
Dr L (Lejla) Batina (f), Radboud University Nijmegen
ICIS Smart cards are used as bank cards, SIM cards, public transport system cards, identity cards and also in passports. This project will investigate the security of such cards against the most threatening form of attack, so-called side-channel attacks, in which aspects like the accurate analysis of electrical current reveals secret keys.

Financial decisions: lessons from history
Dr F.B. (Fabio) Braggion (m), Tilburg University
Finance Taxes and the associated legislation are important factors when companies decide about issuing shares or paying dividend. However their actual impact is unclear. I will study how these financial decisions of companies changed when governments introduced company taxes and legislation in the last century.

Conversion of biomass using catalysis: nature shows us how
Dr P. C. A. (Pieter) Bruijnincx (m), Utrecht University – Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis
Nature has found elegant solutions to enable and control complex processes. With these solutions as a source of inspiration the researchers will develop new dynamic processes and catalysts to convert biomass into sustainable chemicals and fuels.

Gravity as a hologram
Dr A. (Alejandra) Castro (f), University of Amsterdam – Institute for Theoretical Physics
Black holes give rise to a radical possibility: our universe is like a hologram. The goal of the project is to explore the repercussions of holography. The basic question to answer is: how does geometry emerge from a quantum theory?

Civil disobedience – Democratic, global, digital?
Dr R. (Robin) Celikates (m), University of Amsterdam – Philosophy
Civil disobedience plays an important role in the history of democracy. Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example. How has this practice changed? This research will investigate the challenges of democratisation, globalisation and digitisation for civil disobedience at the start of the 21st century.

Sick capillaries in sick blood vessels
Dr C. (Caroline) Cheng (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Vascular Biology
Atherosclerosis is the thickening of blood vessel walls as result of which organs can no longer receive sufficient oxygen. In a severe form of this the ingrowth of poorly functioning microvessels occurs. That exacerbates the atherosclerosis and the researchers will therefore investigate how this process arises.

Can contaminants keep a fusion plasma under control?
D I.G.J. (Ivo) Classen (m), DIFFER – Fusion Physics
The success of fusion reactors largely depends on getting an instability that can cause sudden heat losses under control. Contaminants in the plasma are known to influence this instability. This research will use both a fusion reactor and a plasma wall simulator to explain the effects of contaminants and to find methods to avoid instability.

Parasitisation during a gradual disease process: artherosclerosis
Dr I. (Ingrid) Dijkgraaf (f), Maastricht University - Biochemistry
Artherosclerosis is a chronic disease in which the interaction between two inflammatory proteins plays a causative role. The researchers will study this interaction at the molecular level and try to break it with the help of a recently discovered tick protein.

Avalanches in the dark deep sea
Dr J.T. (Joris) Eggenhuisen (m), Utrecht University – Sedimentology
Surging avalanches transport sediment over a distance of 1000 kilometres through meandering channels on the ocean floor. These avalanches will be simulated in the laboratory to discover how that can happen and to predict where sand will be deposited in the oceans.

Experimental cosmology with superconducting nanocircuits
Dr A. (Akira) Endo (m), Delft University of Technology – Kavli Institute of Nanoscience
The sensitivity of superconductors for radiation will be used to unravel the cosmos. A nano-structured superconducting chip placed in the telescope will reveal where and how far away galaxies at the edge of the universe are.

New catalysts for the sustainable production of chemicals
Dr M. A. (Tati) Fernández (f), University of Groningen – Chemistry
The sustainable synthesis of organic molecules provides innumerable benefits for the environment and economy. The researchers will develop new catalysts for the direct and selective functionalisation of C-H bonds, a highly attractive strategy to achieve green, clean and efficient transformations.

From mutation to disease
Dr L.H. (Lude) Franke (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics
Genetic risk factors for many diseases are now known. However, for the majority of diseases it remains unclear how these mutations ultimately lead to the disease and which biological processes are disrupted. Researchers will investigate this with the help of big data.

The influence of intestinal bacteria on our lipid metabolism
Dr J. (Jingyuan) Fu (f), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics
Intestinal bacteria and human beings have a symbiotic relationship. This project will investigate how intestinal bacteria influence our lipid metabolism and which role genetic variation plays in this. This research will provide starting points for new treatment possibilities that make use of intestinal bacteria.

Making uncertainties in rankings visible
Dr J. J. (Jelle) Goeman (m), Radboudumc – Biostatistics
Rankings always have a winner and a loser, but if differences involved are small then chance often plays a big role in this. The researchers will design methods to indicate how certain we can be about a given ranking.

News from the New World
Dr M. (Michiel) van Groesen (m), University of Amsterdam – History
The first printed newspapers were full of news from the New World. The conflict about Brazil and the arrival of the annual Silver flotilla were closely followed back at home. This research will study the dynamics of transatlantic news reporting in the new media of the Golden Age.

Role of connective tissue in atrial fibrillations
Dr J.R. (Joris) de Groot (m), AMC/University of Amsterdam – Cardiology
Atrial fibrillations are the most prevalent type of cardiac arrhythmia and arise due to connective tissue formation in the left atrium. The researchers will study the connective tissue build-up and breakdown in a population of patients and investigate whether atrial fibrillations can be cured by treating the connective tissue.

Tinkering with the motors of the muscle
Dr J. (Joris) Hoeks (m), Maastricht University - Human Biology
In the muscles of type 2 diabetes patients the functioning of mitochondria, the energy suppliers of cells, is reduced. Improving the capacity of these mitochondria could therefore contribute to the treatment of diabetes. This research will study the new regulatory molecules that can influence the mitochondria in muscles.

Spontaneous formation of complex batteries
Dr M. (Mark) Huijben (m), University of Twente – Inorganic Materials Science
Batteries currently play an important role in the storage of energy but they do not satisfy our wishes yet. The researchers will improve internal connections by using complex three-dimensional structures. These spontaneously form themselves from the individual components by means of self-organisation.

Modelling surface processes in quantum dot solar cells using first principles
Dr I (Ivan) Infante (m), VU University Amsterdam– Theoretical Chemistry
Inexpensive and high-performance solar devices that convert light into electricity efficiently are vitally important for society. Quantum dot solar cells are cheap, flexible and reliable devices that are expected to play a major role in future solar technologies. In this project, my group will develop and apply versatile computational tools to speed-up the development of this emerging technology.

Reconstructing packed DNA
Dr H. (Hugo) van Ingen (m), Utrecht University – NMR Spectroscopy Research Group
Our DNA is protected by firmly packaging it. DNA can only be read out once it has been unpacked. The researchers will develop new techniques to determine the mechanism of this reconstruction with an emphasis on the interrelationship between molecular structure, dynamics and interactions.

The future of mortality unravelled
Dr F. (Fanny) Janssen (f), University of Groningen – Demography
Mortality predictions are vital for social security and healthcare, but are continuously adjusted. This research will improve the mortality prognosis by obtaining and concomitantly considering new insights into developments in smoking, obesity, alcohol and the delay of aging.

3D protein models in an evolutionary perspective
Dr R.P. (Robbie) Joosten (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Biochemistry
Crystallographic 3D protein models help us to understand life in the cell and to develop medicines. In this research new computer techniques will be developed to continuously and systematically use knowledge from evolutionarily related proteins to make better and more informative 3D protein models.

Sticky when wet
Dr M.M.G. (Marleen) Kamperman (f), Wageningen University – Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science
Polychaetes live underwater and build cylindrical homes by sticking together pieces of shell and stone. The researchers will simulate the mechanism that the polychaetes use to secrete glue underwater and will develop a strong, tough glue that can be used as a biomedical adhesive, for example.

Tomatoes out of the stranglehold
Dr M. (Merijn) Kant (m), University of Amsterdam – Molecular and Chemical Ecology
Some parasites can suppress the natural immunity of crops. The researchers will map this Achilles heel and select tomato plants that cannot be suppressed. They will use these characteristics to release cultivated tomatoes from the stranglehold of pests.

Eddying into the deep sea
Dr C.A. (Caroline) Katsman (f), Utrecht University/Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Oceanography
In the North Atlantic Ocean seawater sinks to the deep sea. This process comes to a halt in a warmer climate, which further increases the sea level rise. The effects of eddies in ocean currents is, however, missing in this future scenario. By analysing what eddies do, the oceanographers can improve climate predictions.

Paying for All the King's Horses and All the King’s Men – A tax history of the Ancient Persian Empire
Dr K. (Kristin) Kleber (f), VU University Amsterdam – History
The Ancient Persian Empire (550-330 BC) was the first world empire with many cultures and it extended from Greece to modern-day Afghanistan. Studying the tax system of this empire will help us to explain its stability.

The collapse of the Indo-European mother tongue
Dr A. (Alwin) Kloekhorst (m), Leiden University – Linguistics
All languages from Europe to India originate from a single mother tongue, which was spoken thousands of years ago. In this project linguistic genealogical research will be used to discover how exactly the very first splitting in this Indo-European mother language occurred.

Climate change cannot be tackled without real estate
Dr N. (Nils) Kok (m), Maastricht University - Finance
People use the most energy in homes, offices and shops. To change this we need to invest in buildings or change our behaviour, for example through smart technologies. The researchers will examine the most effective methods and the consequences of these for economic value.

About malaria, mitochondria, models and medicines
Dr T.W.A. (Taco) Kooij (m), Radboud University – Medical Microbiology
The malaria parasite has just one mitochondrion for its entire energy metabolism and this could well be the Achilles heel of this global murderer. A multidisciplinary research team will clarify this metabolism and construct a complete malaria mitochondrion model. This will provide starting points for desperately needed new medicines.

Efficient organic solar cells
Dr L. J. A. (Jan Anton) Koster (m), University of Groningen – Photophysics and Optoelectronics
Organic solar cells are a highly promising new type of solar cell. However their efficiency needs to be improved before they can be used commercially. The researchers will therefore investigate how the leakage of charges in such solar cells can be suppressed.

Emotions and economic decisions
Dr G. (Gijs) van de Kuilen (m), Tilburg University – Economics
Emotions often influence people's economic decisions. However, which emotions are involved and exactly how these play a role is largely unknown. In this project the researchers will map the relationship between emotions and choice behaviour using a new measurement method.

'Mummy, beer isn't for you, it is for daddies!'
Dr E. (Emmanuel) Kuntsche (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Behavioural Science Institute
Dutch young people often drink their first glass of alcohol at quite a young age. This research will focus on the role of being exposed to the drinking behaviour of parents in the development of knowledge about alcohol in the childhood period (4-8 years) and expectations of alcohol and motives to drink it during early adolescence (9-13 years).

Imaging the brain's road network
Dr A. (Alexander) Leemans (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Image Sciences Institute
The connections in the brain can be compared with a motorway network. The researchers will map this road network of connections by studying the diffusion process of water molecules in brain tissue.

Tough bioceramics for bone restoration
Dr S.C.G. (Sander) Leeuwenburgh (m), Radboudumc – Biomaterials
Calcium phosphate bioceramics are used as an artificial material for bone replacement. Unfortunately, bioceramics are brittle and therefore not suitable for load-bearing uses. The researchers will develop a new class of tough calcium phosphate ceramics that can be used in load-bearing bones.

A navigation system in every cell
Dr S.M. (Simone) Lemeer (f), Utrecht University – Chemistry
Cancer cells are masters at avoiding blockers (medicines) that inhibit their growth. How does this internal navigation system work? Can the cancer cells still be killed by applying several blockers? This research will show whether or not this is the case.

Europe and civil law
Dr C. (Chantal) Mak (f), University of Amsterdam – Centre for the Study of European Contract Law
The public interest limits the freedom of private parties. What does this mean for judges who need to weigh up these EU objectives against national policy? Researchers will develop a theoretical framework for considering the public interest in European and national civil jurisprudence.

What makes humans so sociable?
Dr R.B. (Rogier) Mars, Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Human beings are social creatures. Due to our social capabilities we dominate the earth. In this research we will examine which changes in our brain have resulted in us becoming so social.

A closer look at DNA repair
Dr J.A.F. (Jurgen) Marteijn (m), Erasmus MC – Genetics
DNA damage disrupts transcription. As a result, the cells can die faster and this can lead to accelerated ageing. Researchers will study the functioning of proteins involved in the repair of this DNA damage in living cells using advanced microscopic and protein analyses.

Sound processing in the human brain
Dr F. (Federico) De Martino (m), Maastricht University - Cognitive Neuroscience
To understand the sounds that are part and parcel of our everyday lives, the acoustic aspects of sounds (such as the frequencies) must be analysed. This project will investigate how acoustic information is processed within the different stages of sound processing in the human brain and how the interaction of these processes leads to sound perception.

Traffic chaos in intestinal cells causes severe diarrhoea
Dr S. (Sabine) Middendorp (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Paediatric Gastroenterology
Intestinal cells have a specialised transport mechanism to allow the efficient uptake and digestion of nutrients. Disruptions in this transport result in life-threatening diarrhoea in very young children. Researchers will investigate how this works and will look for new treatments.

In search of cause and effect
Dr J.M. (Joris) Mooij (m), University of Amsterdam – Informatics Institute
Which advertisements can a website best show? Are cost-saving measures reducing the national debt? How does a tumour cell respond under the influence of certain chemical substance? The researchers will develop a new theory and efficient algorithms for making of such causal predictions.

The politics of economic measurements
Dr D.K. (Daniel) Mügge (m), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
Key figures such as inflation or unemployment play a central role in economic policy. These figures often appear to be objective. But how we should measure our economies is anything but obvious in practice. This project will investigate why governments prefer certain measurement methods to others.

Bacteria: From unwanted intestinal residents to causers of diabetes
Dr M. (Max) Nieuwdorp (m), AMC/University of Amsterdam – Internal and Vascular Medicine
Obesity often causes inflammation in the abdominal fat tissue. This inflammation facilitates the development of diabetes in obese people. Researchers will try to unravel whether a specific intestinal bacteria forms the source of this inflammation and whether there is a possible treatment for this.

Are cold water coral reefs in the deep sea on ration?
Dr D. (Dick) van Oevelen (m), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Ecosystem Studies
Cold water coral reefs are genuine hotspots for biodiversity in the dark deep sea. However little food reaches the ocean floor. The existence of coral reefs in the deep sea therefore appears to be a paradox. This research will investigate how these deep-sea reefs escape rationing.

Origins of super-Earths
Dr C.W. (Chris) Ormel (m), University of Amsterdam – Astronomy

Super-Earths are a new and very common class of exoplanets. They are big and orbit close to their host star. The researchers aim to understand the origins of these planets and the diversity in architectures of planetary systems.

Shedding light on cardiac arrhythmias
Dr D.A. (Daniël) Pijnappels (m) Leiden University Medical Center – Heart and Lung Center, Cardiovascular Diseases
In cardiac arrhythmias the electrical current in the heart is disrupted. This occurs frequently and can be deadly. Algae produce electric current using light-sensitive ion channels. Biologists and physicians will use these ion channels to investigate cardiac arrhythmias and to treat them using light pulses.

Over-estimators and under-estimators fall more often
Dr M. (Mirjam) Pijnappels (f) VU University Amsterdam– Human Movement Sciences
In our everyday movements we match our behaviour to what our body is capable of. In this project it will be investigated whether elderly people fall more often because they either overestimate or underestimate themselves. A wrong estimation could lead to a high risk of falling or to inactivity.

Complex electrical conduction in the heart
Dr C.A. (Carol Ann) Remme (f) AMC – Experimental Cardiology
Sodium channels in heart muscle cells ensure a normal electrical conduction in the heart. A disrupted function of these channels can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. This research will map the complexity and diversity in composition, structure and function of sodium channels in the heart.

Software understands standards and values
Dr M.B. (Birna) van Riemsdijk (f), Delft University of Technology – Interactive Intelligence
Technology is becoming increasingly interwoven with our everyday lives. To ensure that this occurs with respect for important values such as privacy and freedom, researchers are developing smart software that adapts to people's standards and values.

Rules are rules! But how do you learn the rules of language?
Dr J. E. (Judith) Rispens (f), University of Amsterdam – Linguistics
Young children are capable of learning the rules of their native language without the need for an explicit explanation of these rules. This research will investigate which neurocognitive process contributes to this.

What do the medical data say?
Dr D. (Dimitris) Rizopoulos (m), Erasmus MC – Biostatistics
Physicians currently have access to a lot of medical data for each patient. In this project we will develop innovative statistical models to optimally determine the prognosis based on these data.

Divide and rule
Dr B.P.M. (Bert) De Rybel (m), Wageningen University – Biochemistry
To give tissues the correct three-dimensional shape, plant cells need to divide very precisely during the early development. Researchers will determine how the plant controls which cells are allowed to divide and how the direction of this division is determined.

Reading through proteins with graphene
Dr G.F. (Grégory) Schneider (m), Leiden University, Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Graphene is graphite sheet just one carbon atom thick at the edge. This research project aims to find out whether this atomically thin edge can ultimately be used to read-off the structure and chemical sequence in proteins with atomic precision.

Immune cells in the heart unmasked
Dr B.L.M. (Blanche) Schroen (f), Maastricht University, CARIM, Department of Cardiology
Despite the presence of immune cells in healthy and diseased hearts, their contribution to the functioning and dysfunctioning of the heart muscle has received too little attention. The researchers have found that recently discovered, non-coding genes such as “mascRNA” control immune cell behaviour. It will be investigated whether mascRNA in immune cells contributes to heart failure.

Programming stem cells
Dr R. I. (Richard) Sherwood (m), Hubrecht Institute
Stem cells can develop into every cell in the human body. However we do not yet know how we can control this process. The researchers will build computer models that will tell us how we can program stem cells to develop into every desired cell type.

Effects of climate change on animal populations
Dr I.M. (Isabel) Smallegange (f), University of Amsterdam – Theoretical Ecology/Population Biology
What are the consequence of climate change on plants and animal populations? This research will focus on setting up and testing a mathematical model that detail both the ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change in animal populations.

The copying device of a pathogen
Dr W.K. (Wiep Klaas) Smits (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Medical Microbiology
The machinery that bacteria use to copy their DNA is an important target for the development of new antibiotics. The researcher will analyse what the machinery is made up of and how this works in the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is causing diseases more often worldwide.

Worms as an anti-asthma agent
Dr H.H. Smits (f) Leiden University Medical Center – Parasitology
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs. Worms suppress inflammatory reactions by activating special B cells that induce tolerance. The researchers will investigate which worm molecules activate these B cells. The worm molecules can then be used for new therapies.

Making scientific inferences more objective
Prof. J.M. (Jan) Sprenger (m), University of Twente – Philosophy
The authority of science with the general public depends on the objectivity of scientific inferences. This research projects rethinks the foundations of statistical reasoning in order to make scientific inferences more objective.

Listening to quantum sound
Dr G. A. (Gary) Steele (m), Delft University of Technology – Quantum Nanoscience
In quantum mechanics, objects move in counterintuitive ways: quantum footballs can 'tunnel' through walls while classical footballs always bounce back. We will perform new experiments to listen to the quantum sounds of carbon nanostrings and nanodrums and to explore quantum motion and its applications.

A stable visual world
Dr S. (Stefan) van der Stigchel (m), Utrecht University – Experimental Psychology
Even though we continuously make eye movements, we experience a stable visual world. Following brain damage, however, this stability can be disrupted and patients then experience problems in everyday life. This research will investigate how visual stability in the brain works.

Reducing friction caused by turbulence
Dr C. (Chao) Sun (m), University of Twente – Applied Physics
Multiphase flows with particles or bubbles are an everyday phenomenon, especially in industrial applications. These systems suffer large losses due to the friction caused by turbulence. The aim of this project is to understand the physical mechanism of reducing friction with bubbles, droplets and particles, which will provide opportunities to improve the current industrial processes.

Motives as the indivisible particles of arithmetic
Dr L.D.J. (Lenny) Taelman (m), Leiden University – Mathematics
Many difficult arithmetic problems about prime numbers, for example, could in principle be solved by splitting the associated geometrical structures into 'motives'. The researchers will try to know more about these mysterious motives by studying them extensively in a simpler context.

Shaping segregation
Dr A.R. (Anthony) Thornton (m), University of Twente – Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics
Granular segregation is a major problem in many industries that often rely on empirical rules of thumb. The researchers will develop a model of this effect that will allow us for the first time to control and shape segregation in the way we want.

Large carnivores and nature conservancy law
Dr A. (Arie) Trouwborst (m), Tilburg University – Tilburg Law School
Wolves, bears and lynxes are making a comeback in Europe. That is good news for nature but can also lead to conflicts with people. This research project will investigate how nature conservancy legislation can constructively manage the 'carnivore comeback'.

Paramilitarism, organised crime and the state
Dr U.Ü. (Uğur) Üngör (m), Utrecht University – History
Paramilitaries are special units that commit violence against citizens during ethnic conflicts. These groups maintain close links with political elites, but also with organised crime. This research will explain how and why paramilitarism arises and how it contributes to ethnic conflicts.

The Darwinisation of culture
Dr K. (Krist) Vaesen (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Philosophy & Ethics
Culture distinguishes human beings from other biological species. Nevertheless, language, technology and religion are currently often studied using methods from evolutionary biology. The researchers will determine how useful the use of Darwin's concepts is.

Analysis of equations with noise
Dr M.C. (Mark) Veraar (m), Delft University of Technology
Analysis Models from everyday practice usually suffer from noise. Mathematically, such models are described by a stochastic partial differential equation. In this research a new class of equations with noise will be investigated that up until now has scarcely been understood.

Looking at a quantum tuning fork
Dr E. (Ewold) Verhagen (m), AMOLF – Center for Nanophotonics
'Large' objects – which consist of many atoms – should also be capable of making an extremely small 'quantum movement'. By very quickly and accurately determining the position of a vibrating bridge on a chip using laser light, the researchers will observe the quantum vibrations of the bridge and even influence these.

Talking with the neighbours
Dr J.E.M. (Joop) Vermeer (m), Wageningen University – Plants, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology
Plant cells are under high pressure and are attached to each other via the cell wall. The research will analyse how plant cells communicate with each other during the initiation and development of new organs.

Nanoparticles improve efficiency of cancer therapy
Dr T (Tina) Vermonden (f), Utrecht University – Biopharmacy & Pharmaceutical Technology
Anti-cancer drugs must kill cancer cells but they also destroy healthy cells and this gives rise to serious side effects. In this project biomaterials will be developed from which nanoparticles loaded with drugs are released over a longer period of time. This will improve the efficiency and can also reduce the drug dose needed.

The added risk of size
Dr M.G. (Martina) Vijver (f), Leiden University – Ecotoxicology
Nanoparticles are processed in a wide range of products to make them more scratch resistant, sunlight reflecting or lighter, for example. Despite their widespread use we do not know the risks of these particles. The researchers will combine ecotoxicological knowledge with advanced microscopy to determine how the particles are taken up, where they will end up in the body and in a cell, and whether they cause damage.

Role of the media in the economic crisis
Prof. R. (Rens) Vliegenthart (m), University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam School of Communication Research
Much of what people notice about the economic crisis is not based on direct experience, but on information gained by the news media. This project is about how that news reporting arises and how it influences economic and political perceptions.

Damaged blood vessels in the brain
Dr L. (Louise) van der Weerd, Leiden University Medical Center, Radiology & Human Genetics
Protein accumulations in the cranial vessels can cause strokes. The researchers will use imaging techniques like MRI to examine how this process proceeds, and which existing drugs might help to reduce protein accumulations or to make the blood vessels stronger.

Shedding light on dark matter
Dr C. (Christoph) Weniger (m), University of Amsterdam – Physics
The universe is dominated by dark matter, a puzzling substance that is not made of anything we know. The researcher will use telescopes and particle colliders to search for tell-tale signs of dark matter and then try to deduce what this is.

Spiral-shaped electrons become superconducting
Dr J. (Jasper) van Wezel (m), University of Amsterdam– Institute for Theoretical Physics
The electrons in some metals can cooperate with each other enough to jointly assume the shape of a corkscrew. The electrons then look like left- or right-rotating spirals. This research will examine which role such spiral-shaped electrons play in the formation of superconductors: metals, which if cooled down, can conduct electricity without any resistance.

Coevolution for autonomous systems
Dr S.A. (Shimon) Whiteson (m), University of Amsterdam – Computer Science
Making intelligent systems like robots autonomous requires algorithms to automatically discover rules that govern their behaviour. This project will develop such algorithms by exploiting the principle of coevolution to simultaneously optimise both behavioural rules and the way those rules are tested.

The natural brake sabotaged
Dr F (Femke) van Wijk (f) University Medical Center Utrecht – Paediatric Immunology
The immune system in children with a childhood rheumatism is disrupted. At the site of the inflammation the natural inhibition of the immune system is sabotaged. The researchers will try to find what is responsible for the sabotage and how this works.

The importance of export
Dr C. P. (Chris) Williams (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Cell Biology
Protein export from cell compartments is vital for replacing defective proteins or sending signals out of the cell. The researcher will use biochemical microscopic techniques to study the recently discovered export system of proteins.

The brain on autopilot
Dr S. (Sanne) de Wit (f), University of Amsterdam – Psychology
Good intentions are often not realised because effort is needed to unlearn old behavioural patterns and to gradually automate new ones. This research will determine whether the brain can omit this difficult process by strategically going on autopilot.

Chronic infections hush the immune system to sleep
Dr M.C. (Monika) Wolkers (f) Sanquin Research – Haematopoiesis
During chronic infections the immune system loses from the pathogen because increasingly less antigens are produced. This research will unravel how the protein production is inhibited and will study whether this can be treated.

Heroes? What heroes?
Dr J. (Joanne) van der Woude (f), University of Groningen – American Studies
Seafarers, explorers and Indian chiefs: we know them as heroes or villains. But why are they represented like this? This research will expose the political benefit of heroes in English, Dutch, Spanish and Nahuatl poetry from early America.

Nano gold illuminates individual enzymes in a living cell
Dr P. (Peter) Zijlstra (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Molecular Biosensors
Enzymes regulate biochemical processes in a cell. The researchers will use a small gold nanoparticle to study the biochemical activity of a single enzyme.

How do cells decipher noisy signals without error?
Dr J.S. (Jeroen) van Zon (m), AMOLF – Systems Biophysics
In the embryo, every cell must choose the right cell type on the basis of molecular signals that often exhibit random variation. The researchers will use microscopic techniques and information theory to understand how such 'noisy' signals can still lead to extremely reliable cell type choices.

Sorted by NWO Division

Earth and Life Sciences

The eternal life of stem cells Dr R. (Renée) van Amerongen (f), University of Amsterdam – Molecular Cytology
Stem cells can apparently continue to divide forever. This special characteristic is vital for tissue maintenance and damage repair in our body. At the same time this process is strictly regulated. The researchers will identify the responsible control mechanisms to better understand and control stem cell activity.

Avalanches in the dark deep sea
Dr J.T. (Joris) Eggenhuisen (m), Utrecht University – Sedimentology

Surging avalanches transport sediment over a distance of 1000 kilometres through meandering channels on the ocean floor. These avalanches will be simulated in the laboratory to discover how that can happen and to predict where sand will be deposited in the oceans.

The influence of intestinal bacteria on our lipid metabolism
Dr J. (Jingyuan) Fu (f), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics

Intestinal bacteria and human beings have a symbiotic relationship. This project will investigate how intestinal bacteria influence our lipid metabolism and which role genetic variation plays in this. This research will provide starting points for new treatment possibilities that make use of intestinal bacteria.

Eddying into the deep sea
Dr C.A. (Caroline) Katsman (f), Utrecht University/Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Oceanography

In the North Atlantic Ocean seawater sinks to the deep sea. This process comes to a halt in a warmer climate, which further increases the sea level rise. The effects of eddies in ocean currents is, however, missing in this future scenario. By analysing what eddies do, the oceanographers can improve climate predictions.

About malaria, mitochondria, models and medicines
Dr T.W.A. (Taco) Kooij (m), Radboud University – Medical Microbiology
The malaria parasite has just one mitochondrion for its entire energy metabolism and this could well be the Achilles heel of this global murderer. A multidisciplinary research team will clarify this metabolism and construct a complete malaria mitochondrion model. This will provide starting points for desperately needed new medicines.

A closer look at DNA repair
Dr J.A.F. (Jurgen) Marteijn (m), Erasmus MC – Genetics
DNA damage disrupts transcription. As a result, the cells can die faster and this can lead to accelerated ageing. Researchers will study the functioning of proteins involved in the repair of this DNA damage in living cells using advanced microscopic and protein analyses.

Sound processing in the human brain
Dr F. (Federico) De Martino (m), Maastricht University - Cognitive Neuroscience
To understand the sounds that are part and parcel of our everyday lives, the acoustic aspects of sounds (such as the frequencies) must be analysed. This project will investigate how acoustic information is processed within the different stages of sound processing in the human brain and how the interaction of these processes leads to sound perception.

Are cold water coral reefs in the deep sea on ration?
Dr D. (Dick) van Oevelen (m), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Ecosystem Studies
Cold water coral reefs are genuine hotspots for biodiversity in the dark deep sea. However little food reaches the ocean floor. The existence of coral reefs in the deep sea therefore appears to be a paradox. This research will investigate how these deep-sea reefs escape rationing.

Divide and conquer
Dr B.P.M. (Bert) De Rybel (m), Wageningen University – Biochemistry
To give tissues the correct three-dimensional shape, plant cells need to divide very precisely during the early development. Researchers will determine how the plant controls which cells are allowed to divide and how the direction of this division is determined.

Programming stem cells
Dr R. I. (Richard) Sherwood (m), Hubrecht Institute
Stem cells can develop into every cell in the human body. However we do not yet know how we can control this process. The researchers will build computer models that will tell us how we can program stem cells to develop into every desired cell type.

Effects of climate change on animal populations
Dr I.M. (Isabel) Smallegange (f), University of Amsterdam – Theoretical Ecology/Population Biology
What are the consequence of climate change on plants and animal populations? This research will focus on setting up and testing a mathematical model that detail both the ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change in animal populations.

The copying device of a pathogen
Dr W.K. (Wiep Klaas) Smits (m), Leiden University Medical Center – Medical Microbiology
The machinery that bacteria use to copy their DNA is an important target for the development of new antibiotics. The researcher will analyse what the machinery is made up of and how this works in the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is causing diseases more often worldwide.

Talking with the neighbours
Dr J.E.M. (Joop) Vermeer (m), Wageningen University – Plants, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology

Plant cells are under high pressure and are attached to each other via the cell wall. The research will analyse how plant cells communicate with each other during the initiation and development of new organs.

The added risk of size
Dr M.G. (Martina) Vijver (f), Leiden University – Ecotoxicology
Nanoparticles are processed in a wide range of products to make them more scratch resistant, sunlight reflecting or lighter, for example. Despite their widespread use we do not know the risks of these particles. The researchers will combine ecotoxicological knowledge with advanced microscopy to determine how the particles are taken up, where they will end up in the body and in a cell, and whether they cause damage.

Damaged blood vessels in the brain
Dr L. (Louise) van der Weerd, Leiden University Medical Center, Radiology & Human Genetics
Protein accumulations in the cranial vessels can cause strokes. The researchers will use imaging techniques like MRI to examine how this process proceeds, and which existing drugs might help to reduce protein accumulations or to make the blood vessels stronger.

Chemical Sciences

Conversion of biomass using catalysis: nature shows us how
Dr P. C. A. (Pieter) Bruijnincx (m), Utrecht University – Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis
Nature has found elegant solutions to enable and control complex processes. With these solutions as a source of inspiration the researchers will develop new dynamic processes and catalysts to convert biomass into sustainable chemicals and fuels.

Parasitisation during a gradual disease process: artherosclerosis
Dr I. (Ingrid) Dijkgraaf (f), Maastricht University - Biochemistry
Artherosclerosis is a chronic disease in which the interaction between two inflammatory proteins plays a causative role. The researchers will study this interaction at the molecular level and try to break it with the help of a recently discovered tick protein.

New Catalysts for the sustainable production of chemicals
Dr. M. A. (Tati) Fernández (f), RUG Chemistry
The sustainable synthesis of organic molecules provides innumerable benefits for the environment and economy. The researchers will develop new catalysts for the direct and selective functionalization of C-H bonds, a highly attractive strategy to achieve green, clean and efficient transformations.

Modelling Surface Processes in Quantum Dot Solar Cells by First Principles
Dr. I (Ivan) Infante (m), VU Amsterdam – Theoretical Chemistry
Inexpensive and high-performance solar devices that convert light into electricity efficiently are of crucial importance for society. Quantum dot solar cells are cheap, flexible and reliable devices that are expected to play a major role in future solar technologies. In this project, my group will develop and apply versatile computational tools to speed-up the development of this emerging technology.

Reconstructing packed DNA
Dr H. (Hugo) van Ingen (m), Utrecht University – NMR Spectroscopy Research Group
Our DNA is protected by firmly packaging it. DNA can only be read out once it has been unpacked. The researchers will develop new techniques to determine the mechanism of this reconstruction with an emphasis on the interrelationship between molecular structure, dynamics and interactions.

3D protein models in an evolutionary perspective
Dr R.P. (Robbie) Joosten (m), Netherlands Cancer Institute – Biochemistry
Crystallographic 3D protein models help us to understand life in the cell and to develop medicines. In this research new computer techniques will be developed to continuously and systematically use knowledge from evolutionarily related proteins to make better and more informative 3D protein models.

Sticky when wet
Dr M.M.G. (Marleen) Kamperman (f), Wageningen University – Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science
Polychaetes live underwater and build cylindrical homes by sticking together pieces of shell and stone. The researchers will simulate the mechanism that the polychaetes use to secrete glue underwater and will develop a strong, tough glue that can be used as a biomedical adhesive, for example.

A navigation system in every cell
Dr S.M. (Simone) Lemeer (f), Utrecht University – Chemistry
Cancer cells are masters at avoiding blockers (medicines) that inhibit their growth. How does this internal navigation system work? Can the cancer cells still be killed by applying several blockers? This research will show whether or not this is the case.

Reading through proteins with graphene
Dr G.F. (Grégory) Schneider (m), UL Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Graphene – a single layer of graphite – is a sheet that is only one carbon atom thick at its edge. This research project aims to find out whether this atomically thin edge can be used to ultimately read-off the structure and chemical sequence in proteins with atomic precision.

The importance of export
Dr C. P. (Chris) Williams (m), University of Groningen – Molecular Cell Biology
Protein export from cell compartments is vital for replacing defective proteins or sending signals out of the cell. The researcher will use biochemical microscopic techniques to study the recently discovered export system of proteins.

Physical Sciences

Experimental cosmology with superconducting nanocircuits
Dr A. (Akira) Endo (m), Delft University of Technology – Kavli Institute of Nanoscience
The sensitivity of superconductors for radiation will be used to unravel the cosmos. A nano-structured superconducting chip placed in the telescope will reveal where and how far away galaxies at the edge of the universe are.

Making uncertainties in rankings visible
Dr J. J. (Jelle) Goeman (m), Radboudumc – Biostatistics
Rankings always have a winner and a loser, but if differences involved are small then chance often plays a big role in this. The researchers will design methods to indicate how certain we can be about a given ranking.

Imaging the brain's road network
Dr A. (Alexander) Leemans (m), University Medical Center Utrecht – Image Sciences Institute
The connections in the brain can be compared with a motorway network. The researchers will map this road network of connections by studying the diffusion process of water molecules in brain tissue.

In search of cause and effect
Dr J.M. (Joris) Mooij (m), University of Amsterdam – Informatics Institute
Which advertisements can a website best show? Are cost-saving measures reducing the national debt? How does a tumour cell respond under the influence of certain chemical substance? The researchers will develop a new theory and efficient algorithms for making of such causal predictions.

Origins of super-Earths
Dr. C.W. (Chris) Ormel (m), UvA Astronomy
Super-Earths are a new and very common class of exo-planets. They are big and orbit close to their host star. The researchers aim to understand the origins of these planets and the diversity in architectures of planetary systems.

Software understands standards and values
Dr M.B. (Birna) van Riemsdijk (f), Delft University of Technology – Interactive Intelligence
Technology is becoming increasingly interwoven with our everyday lives. To ensure that this occurs with respect for important values such as privacy and freedom, researchers are developing smart software that adapts to people's standards and values.

 

Motives as the indivisible particles of arithmetic
Dr L.D.J. (Lenny) Taelman (m), Leiden University – Mathematics

Many difficult arithmetic problems about prime numbers, for example, could in principle be solved by splitting the associated geometrical structures into 'motives'. The researchers will try to know more about these mysterious motives by studying them extensively in a simpler context.

 

Analysis of equations with noise
Dr M.C. (Mark) Veraar (m), Delft University of Technology
Analysis Models from everyday practice usually suffer from noise. Mathematically, such models are described by a stochastic partial differential equation. In this research a new class of equations with noise will be investigated that up until now has scarcely been understood.

Coevolution for Autonomous Systems
Dr. S.A. (Shimon) Whiteson (m), UVA Informatica
Making intelligent systems like robots autonomous requires algorithms for automatically discovering rules governing their behavior. This project will develop such algorithms by exploiting the principle of coevolution to simultaneously optimize both behavioral rules and the way those rules are tested.

Humanities

Civil disobedience – Democratic, global, digital?
Dr R. (Robin) Celikates (m), University of Amsterdam – Philosophy
Civil disobedience plays an important role in the history of democracy. Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example. How has this practice changed? This research will investigate the challenges of democratisation, globalisation and digitisation for civil disobedience at the start of the 21st century.

News from the New World
Dr M. (Michiel) van Groesen (m), University of Amsterdam – History
The first printed newspapers were full of news from the New World. The conflict about Brazil and the arrival of the annual Silver flotilla were closely followed back at home. This research will study the dynamics of transatlantic news reporting in the new media of the Golden Age.

Paying for All the King's Horses and All the King’s Men – A tax history of the Ancient Persian Empire
Dr K. (Kristin) Kleber (f), VU University Amsterdam – History
The Ancient Persian Empire (550-330 BC) was the first world empire with many cultures and it extended from Greece to modern-day Afghanistan. Studying the tax system of this empire will help us to explain its stability.

The collapse of the Indo-European mother tongue
Dr A. (Alwin) Kloekhorst (m), Leiden University – Linguistics
All languages from Europe to India originate from a single mother tongue, which was spoken thousands of years ago. In this project linguistic genealogical research will be used to discover how exactly the very first splitting in this Indo-European mother language occurred.

Rules are rules! But how do you learn the rules of language?
Dr J. E. (Judith) Rispens (f), University of Amsterdam – Linguistics
Young children are capable of learning the rules of their native language without the need for an explicit explanation of these rules. This research will investigate which neurocognitive process contributes to this.

Making Scientific Inferences More Objective
Prof. dr. J.M. (Jan) Sprenger (m), UvT – Filosofie
The authority of science with the general public depends on the objectivity of scientific inferences. This research projects rethinks the foundations of statistical reasoning in order to make scientific inferences more objective.

Paramilitarism, organised crime and the state
Dr U.Ü. (Uğur) Üngör (m), Utrecht University – History
Paramilitaries are special units that commit violence against citizens during ethnic conflicts. These groups maintain close links with political elites, but also with organised crime. This research will explain how and why paramilitarism arises and how it contributes to ethnic conflicts.

The Darwinisation of culture
Dr K. (Krist) Vaesen (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Philosophy & Ethics
Culture distinguishes human beings from other biological species. Nevertheless, language, technology and religion are currently often studied using methods from evolutionary biology. The researchers will determine how useful the use of Darwin's concepts is.

Heroes? What heroes?
Dr J. (Joanne) van der Woude (f), University of Groningen – American Studies
Seafarers, explorers and Indian chiefs: we know them as heroes or villains. But why are they represented like this? This research will expose the political benefit of heroes in English, Dutch, Spanish and Nahuatl poetry from early America.

Social Sciences

Does chaos cause child abuse?
Prof. L.R.A. (Lenneke) Alink (f), Leiden University – Educational Sciences
Does chaos in the family influence child abuse? With a baby simulator it will be experimentally tested whether chaos increases the chance of abuse. The researchers will also study the effect of an intervention aimed at reducing chaos in risk families.

Knowledge for clean technology
Dr F. (Floortje) Alkemade (f), Utrecht University – Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
Technological breakthroughs such as CO2 neutral cars are needed to realise a sustainable society. The researchers will develop new methods to systematically study which mechanisms result in technological breakthroughs in clean technology.

Beyond rational expectations
Dr A. (Aurélien) Baillon (m), Erasmus University Rotterdam – Erasmus School of Economics
Do people have perfect rational expectations about their future like economists usually assume? This research will study the actual expectations of people. That will lead to an improved understanding as to why people take out insurances too quickly and save too little for their pensions.

Financial decisions: lessons from history
Dr F.B. (Fabio) Braggion (m), Tilburg University
Finance Taxes and the associated legislation are important factors when companies decide about issuing shares or paying dividend. However their actual impact is unclear. I will study how these financial decisions of companies changed when governments introduced company taxes and legislation in the last century.

The future of mortality unravelled
Dr F. (Fanny) Janssen (f), University of Groningen – Demography
Mortality predictions are vital for social security and healthcare, but are continuously adjusted. This research will improve the mortality prognosis by obtaining and concomitantly considering new insights into developments in smoking, obesity, alcohol and the delay of aging.

Climate change cannot be tackled without real estate
Dr N. (Nils) Kok (m), Maastricht University - Finance
People use the most energy in homes, offices and shops. To change this we need to invest in buildings or change our behaviour, for example through smart technologies. The researchers will examine the most effective methods and the consequences of these for economic value.

Emotions and economic decisions
Dr G. (Gijs) van de Kuilen (m), Tilburg University – Economics
Emotions often influence people's economic decisions. However, which emotions are involved and exactly how these play a role is largely unknown. In this project the researchers will map the relationship between emotions and choice behaviour using a new measurement method.

'Mummy, beer isn't for you, it is for daddies!'
Dr E. (Emmanuel) Kuntsche (m), Radboud University Nijmegen – Behavioural Science Institute
Dutch young people often drink their first glass of alcohol at quite a young age. This research will focus on the role of being exposed to the drinking behaviour of parents in the development of knowledge about alcohol in the childhood period (4-8 years) and expectations of alcohol and motives to drink it during early adolescence (9-13 years).

Europe and civil law
Dr C. (Chantal) Mak (f), University of Amsterdam – Centre for the Study of European Contract Law
The public interest limits the freedom of private parties. What does this mean for judges who need to weigh up these EU objectives against national policy? Researchers will develop a theoretical framework for considering the public interest in European and national civil jurisprudence.

What makes humans so sociable?
Dr R.B. (Rogier) Mars, Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Human beings are social creatures. Due to our social capabilities we dominate the earth. In this research we will examine which changes in our brain have resulted in us becoming so social.

The politics of economic measurements
Dr D.K. (Daniel) Mügge (m), University of Amsterdam – Political Science
Key figures such as inflation or unemployment play a central role in economic policy. These figures often appear to be objective. But how we should measure our economies is anything but obvious in practice. This project will investigate why governments prefer certain measurement methods to others.

A stable visual world
Dr S. (Stefan) van der Stigchel (m), Utrecht University – Experimental Psychology
Even though we continuously make eye movements, we experience a stable visual world. Following brain damage, however, this stability can be disrupted and patients then experience problems in everyday life. This research will investigate how visual stability in the brain works.

Large carnivores and nature conservancy law
Dr A. (Arie) Trouwborst (m), Tilburg University – Tilburg Law School
Wolves, bears and lynxes are making a comeback in Europe. That is good news for nature but can also lead to conflicts with people. This research project will investigate how nature conservancy legislation can constructively manage the 'carnivore comeback'.

Role of the media in the economic crisis
Prof. R. (Rens) Vliegenthart (m), University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam School of Communication Research
Much of what people notice about the economic crisis is not based on direct experience, but on information gained by the news media. This project is about how that news reporting arises and how it influences economic and political perceptions.

The brain on autopilot
Dr S. (Sanne) de Wit (f), University of Amsterdam – Psychology
Good intentions are often not realised because effort is needed to unlearn old behavioural patterns and to gradually automate new ones. This research will determine whether the brain can omit this difficult process by strategically going on autopilot.

Physics

Gravity as a hologram
Dr. A. (Alejandra) Castro (f), UvA - Instituut voor Theoretische Fysica
Physics Black holes give rise to a radical possibility: our universe is like a hologram. The goal of the project is to explore the repercussions of holography. The basic question to answer is: how does geometry emerge from a quantum theory?

Can contaminants keep a fusion plasma under control?
D I.G.J. (Ivo) Classen (m), DIFFER – Fusion Physics
The success of fusion reactors largely depends on getting an instability that can cause sudden heat losses under control. Contaminants in the plasma are known to influence this instability. This research will use both a fusion reactor and a plasma wall simulator to explain the effects of contaminants and to find methods to avoid instability.

Listening to quantum sound
Dr. G. A. (Gary) Steele (m), TUD - Quantum Nanoscience
In quantum mechanics, objects move in counterintuitive ways: quantum footballs can "tunnel" through walls while classical footballs always bounce back. Here, new experiments will listen to the quantum sounds of carbon nanostrings and nanodrums, exploring quantum motion and its applications.

Looking at a quantum tuning fork
Dr E. (Ewold) Verhagen (m), AMOLF – Center for Nanophotonics
'Large' objects – which consist of many atoms – should also be capable of making an extremely small 'quantum movement'. By very quickly and accurately determining the position of a vibrating bridge on a chip using laser light, the researchers will observe the quantum vibrations of the bridge and even influence these.

Shedding light on dark matter
Dr. C. (Christoph) Weniger (m), UvA Physics
The Universe is dominated by dark matter, a puzzling substance that is not made of anything we know. I will use telescopes and particle colliders to search for telltale signs of dark matter and figure out what it is.

Spiral-shaped electrons become superconducting
Dr J. (Jasper) van Wezel (m), University of Amsterdam– Institute for Theoretical Physics
The electrons in some metals can cooperate with each other enough to jointly assume the shape of a corkscrew. The electrons then look like left- or right-rotating spirals. This research will examine which role such spiral-shaped electrons play in the formation of superconductors: metals, which if cooled down, can conduct electricity without any resistance.

Nano gold illuminates individual enzymes in a living cell
Dr P. (Peter) Zijlstra (m), Eindhoven University of Technology – Molecular Biosensors
Enzymes regulate biochemical processes in a cell. The researchers will use a small gold nanoparticle to study the biochemical activity of a single enzyme.

How do cells decipher noisy signals without error?
Dr J.S. (Jeroen) van Zon (m), AMOLF – Systems Biophysics
In the embryo, every cell must choose the right cell type on the basis of molecular signals that often exhibit random variation. The researchers will use microscopic techniques and information theory to understand how such 'noisy' signals can still lead to extremely reliable cell type choices.

Technology Foundation STW

The secrets of cracking and protecting smart cards
Dr L (Lejla) Batina (f), Radboud University Nijmegen
ICIS Smart cards are used as bank cards, SIM cards, public transport system cards, identity cards and also in passports. This project will investigate the security of such cards against the most threatening form of attack, so-called side-channel attacks, in which aspects like the accurate analysis of electrical current reveals secret keys.

Spontaneous formation of complex batteries
Dr M. (Mark) Huijben (m), University of Twente – Inorganic Materials Science
Batteries currently play an important role in the storage of energy but they do not satisfy our wishes yet. The researchers will improve internal connections by using complex three-dimensional structures. These spontaneously form themselves from the individual components by means of self-organisation.

Tomatoes out of the stranglehold
Dr M. (Merijn) Kant (m), University of Amsterdam – Molecular and Chemical Ecology
Some parasites can suppress the natural immunity of crops. The researchers will map this Achilles heel and select tomato plants that cannot be suppressed. They will use these characteristics to release cultivated tomatoes from the stranglehold of pests.

Efficient organic solar cells
Dr L. J. A. (Jan Anton) Koster (m), University of Groningen – Photophysics and Optoelectronics
Organic solar cells are a highly promising new type of solar cell. However their efficiency needs to be improved before they can be used commercially. The researchers will therefore investigate how the leakage of charges in such solar cells can be suppressed.

Tough bioceramics for bone restoration
Dr S.C.G. (Sander) Leeuwenburgh (m), Radboudumc – Biomaterials
Calcium phosphate bioceramics are used as an artificial material for bone replacement. Unfortunately, bioceramics are brittle and therefore not suitable for load-bearing uses. The researchers will develop a new class of tough calcium phosphate ceramics that can be used in load-bearing bones.

Reducing friction caused by turbulence
Dr C. (Chao) Sun (m), University of Twente – Applied Physics
Multiphase flows with particles or bubbles are an everyday phenomenon, especially in industrial applications. These systems suffer large losses due to the friction caused by turbulence. The aim of this project is to understand the physical mechanism of reducing friction with bubbles, droplets and particles, which will provide opportunities to improve the current industrial processes.

Shaping Segregation
Dr. A.R. (Anthony) Thornton (m), UT Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics
Granular segregation is a major problem to numerous industries who often rely on empirical rules of thumb. The researchers will develop a model of this effect allowing us for the first time to control and shape segregation to our will.

Nanoparticles improve efficiency of cancer therapy
Dr T (Tina) Vermonden (f), Utrecht University – Biopharmacy & Pharmaceutical Technology
Anti-cancer drugs must kill cancer cells but they also destroy healthy cells and this gives rise to serious side effects. In this project biomaterials will be developed from which nanoparticles loaded with drugs are released over a longer period of time. This will improve the efficiency and can also reduce the drug dose needed.

Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)

Sick capillaries in sick blood vessels
Dr C. (Caroline) Cheng (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Vascular Biology
Atherosclerosis is the thickening of blood vessel walls as result of which organs can no longer receive sufficient oxygen. In a severe form of this the ingrowth of poorly functioning microvessels occurs. That exacerbates the atherosclerosis and the researchers will therefore investigate how this process arises.

From mutation to disease
Dr L.H. (Lude) Franke (m), University Medical Center Groningen – Genetics
Genetic risk factors for many diseases are now known. However, for the majority of diseases it remains unclear how these mutations ultimately lead to the disease and which biological processes are disrupted. Researchers will investigate this with the help of big data.

Role of connective tissue in atrial fibrillations
Dr J.R. (Joris) de Groot (m), AMC/University of Amsterdam – Cardiology
Atrial fibrillations are the most prevalent type of cardiac arrhythmia and arise due to connective tissue formation in the left atrium. The researchers will study the connective tissue build-up and breakdown in a population of patients and investigate whether atrial fibrillations can be cured by treating the connective tissue.

Tinkering with the motors of the muscle
Dr J. (Joris) Hoeks (m), Maastricht University - Human Biology
In the muscles of type 2 diabetes patients the functioning of mitochondria, the energy suppliers of cells, is reduced. Improving the capacity of these mitochondria could therefore contribute to the treatment of diabetes. This research will study the new regulatory molecules that can influence the mitochondria in muscles.

Traffic chaos in intestinal cells causes severe diarrhoea
Dr S. (Sabine) Middendorp (f), University Medical Center Utrecht – Paediatric Gastroenterology
Intestinal cells have a specialised transport mechanism to allow the efficient uptake and digestion of nutrients. Disruptions in this transport result in life-threatening diarrhoea in very young children. Researchers will investigate how this works and will look for new treatments.

Bacteria: From unwanted intestinal residents to causers of diabetes
Dr M. (Max) Nieuwdorp (m), AMC/University of Amsterdam – Internal and Vascular Medicine
Obesity often causes inflammation in the abdominal fat tissue. This inflammation facilitates the development of diabetes in obese people. Researchers will try to unravel whether a specific intestinal bacteria forms the source of this inflammation and whether there is a possible treatment for this.

Shedding light on cardiac arrhythmias
Dr D.A. (Daniël) Pijnappels (m) Leiden University Medical Center – Heart and Lung Center, Cardiovascular Diseases
In cardiac arrhythmias the electrical current in the heart is disrupted. This occurs frequently and can be deadly. Algae produce electric current using light-sensitive ion channels. Biologists and physicians will use these ion channels to investigate cardiac arrhythmias and to treat them using light pulses.

Over-estimators and under-estimators fall more often
Dr M. (Mirjam) Pijnappels (f) VU University Amsterdam– Human Movement Sciences
In our everyday movements we match our behaviour to what our body is capable of. In this project it will be investigated whether elderly people fall more often because they either overestimate or underestimate themselves. A wrong estimation could lead to a high risk of falling or to inactivity.

Complex electrical conduction in the heart
Dr C.A. (Carol Ann) Remme (f) AMC – Experimental Cardiology
Sodium channels in heart muscle cells ensure a normal electrical conduction in the heart. A disrupted function of these channels can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. This research will map the complexity and diversity in composition, structure and function of sodium channels in the heart.

What do the medical data say?
Dr D. (Dimitris) Rizopoulos (m), Erasmus MC – Biostatistics
Physicians currently have access to a lot of medical data for each patient. In this project we will develop innovative statistical models to optimally determine the prognosis based on these data.

Immune cells in the heart unmasked
Dr B.L.M. (Blanche) Schroen (f), Maastricht University, CARIM, Department of Cardiology
Despite the presence of immune cells in healthy and diseased hearts, their contribution to the functioning and dysfunctioning of the heart muscle has received too little attention. The researchers have found that recently discovered, non-coding genes such as “mascRNA” control immune cell behaviour. It will be investigated whether mascRNA in immune cells contributes to heart failure.

Worms as an anti-asthma agent
Dr H.H. Smits (f) Leiden University Medical Center – Parasitology
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs. Worms suppress inflammatory reactions by activating special B cells that induce tolerance. The researchers will investigate which worm molecules activate these B cells. The worm molecules can then be used for new therapies.

The natural brake sabotaged
Dr F (Femke) van Wijk (f) University Medical Center Utrecht – Paediatric Immunology
The immune system in children with a childhood rheumatism is disrupted. At the site of the inflammation the natural inhibition of the immune system is sabotaged. The researchers will try to find what is responsible for the sabotage and how this works.

Chronic infections hush the immune system to sleep
Dr M.C. (Monika) Wolkers (f) Sanquin Research – Haematopoiesis
During chronic infections the immune system loses from the pathogen because increasingly less antigens are produced. This research will unravel how the protein production is inhibited and will study whether this can be treated.