Vidi 2020

NWO has awarded 78 experienced researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. The grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group. Below a list with the names of the laureates and summaries of their research projects .

Facts and figures for the 2020 Vidi round

Number of (admissible) submissions: 402
Gender ratio of submissions: 206 men, 196 women 
Number of grants awarded (award rate): 78 (19%) 
Gender ratio of awarded grants: 38 men, 40 women 
Award rate among men: 18% 
Award rate among women: 20%

List of research projects

  • Sorted in alphabetical order

    A

    Language development after paediatric brain tumours

    Dr V. M. C. de Aguiar (v) - University of Groningen

    Cognitive disorders in children with brain tumours may occur due to damage caused by the tumour or due to necessary medical interventions. The researchers will study these children’s language abilities in relation to the treatment followed, consisting of surgery only or a combination of surgery, chemo, and proton radiotherapy.

    Finding a recipe to fabricate cell types on command

    Dr. A. (Anna) Alemany, LUMC

    All cells in our body share the same genetic information but have different functions and morphologies. The understanding of how the different identities are originated will make us better at generating desired cells from patient-derived stem cells. Here, researchers will investigate the mathematical rules of cell identity establishment.

    On the trail of new particles

    Dr. F. (Flavia) de Almeida Dias,  University of Amsterdam

    We still don’t know everything about the particles and forces that define our universe. Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider could provide answers and reveal new physical principles. Researchers will develop an innovative analysis to investigate if there are yet-undiscovered new particles hidden deep in the data.

    B

    Coordinating Multi-deal Bilateral Negotiations

    Dr. T. (Tim) Baarslag, CWI

    Automated procurement systems hold great promise for businesses, but they also require algorithms with a brand-new responsibility: performing several interconnected negotiations at the same time. The researcher will develop new negotiation and coordination algorithms that can strike multiple partial deals with multiple partners.

    The importance of Afromontane grasslands for carbon storage

    Dr. ir. M. (Mariska) te Beest,  Utrecht University

    Afromontane grasslands harbour an extraordinary biodiversity that is maintained by fire. At the same time, these grasslands store large amounts of carbon in their soils. I will investigate how biodiversity and fire contribute to soil carbon storage in Afromontane grasslands.

    Improvising subsistence security in urban Western Europe

    Dr. M.A. van den Berg (f) - University of Amsterdam, AISSR

    Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Europeans were navigating profound insecurities in work, care and access to basic infrastructures. This research project investigates how urban Western Europeans in Dublin and Rotterdam improvise new forms of subsistence security, for example by combining jobs or creating informal care arrangements.
     

    Feed me: optimal feeding of mushrooms by improving the nutrient supplying rooting system

    Dr R. Bleichrodt (m), Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Group Microbiology, Utrecht University

    Mushrooms provide a sustainable alternative for meat consumption. I have found a link between the architecture of the fungal network that feeds the mushrooms and mushroom yield. I will study which network architecture results in optimal nutrient transport to mushrooms and how this is regulated, which should improve mushroom yield.

    Climate change and mobility in the borderlands

    Dr. I.J.C. Boas (f)- Wageningen University

    What is the relation between climate change and international migration? This project examines this question by studying cross-border human mobility in climate change-affected borderlands. Four case-studies give insight into the historical-, socioeconomic-, and political-informed ways in which this relation takes shape.

    Living on the edge

    Dr. Ir. B.W. Borsje (m), Faculty of Engineering Technology, Water Engineering & Management, Marine and Fluvial Systems, University of Twente

    By adopting wetlands in front of dykes, we make our coast climate-proof, because these wetlands grow with rising sea-level and dampen waves before they reach the dyke. By mastering the resilience and tipping points of these systems under extreme hydro-meteorological conditions, we can design and build living dykes worldwide.

    The economic implications of long-term return predictability

    Associate Professor M.F. Boons (m) - Tilburg University

    In contrast to existing research that mostly focuses on the short-term, the researcher studies what drives the variation in long-term expected returns across stocks and bonds. Long-term returns determine the cost of financing of firms, which financing ultimately results in the investments that drive long-term economic growth.

    Breastfeeding: quantifying infant milk intake

    Dr.ir. N. Bosschaart (f), Faculty of Science and Technology, Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Photonic Imaging, University of Twente

    Breastfeeding offers unique advantages for mothers and infants, but is also associated with many challenges. Accurate quantification of breast milk intake by the infant is often desired, but objective methods are unavailable. In this project, we will develop new methods to quantify milk flow, and composition from mother to infant.

    Land Grabbing and Dutch Empire (16th-18th century)

    Dr. P. Brandon (m), International Institute of Social History

    Land Grabbing is an urgent global problem with deep historical roots. This project shows how the market-oriented early modern Dutch state encouraged large-scale dispossession of land as commercial strategy within and outside Europe. The Dutch example highlights the interplay between violence and markets in the development of agrarian capitalism.

    Instantaneous optimisation of dose distributions for radiation treatment of cancer patients

    Dr. S. Breedveld (m), Department of Radiotherapy, unit Medical Physics, Erasmus MC

    The initiation of a radiotherapy treatment is a complicated and time-consuming process. This project will investigate how this part can be realised in real-time. This enables strong personalisation to improve the treatment of the patient, allows reduction of waiting times, and contributes to reduced costs of healthcare.

    C

    Galaxy alignments answer fundamental questions about the Universe

    Dr. N.E. (Nora Elisa) Chisari, Utrecht University

    Galaxies are sensitive to tides across the Universe, like the ones that make the oceans on the Earth rise. In this striking phenomenon, there is a wealth of information hiding about how our Universe began, what it is made of, and how galaxies were formed. Researchers will uncover it.

    D

    Eliminating harmful cells to promote healthy aging

    Prof. dr. M. (Marco) Demaria (m), UMCG

    Aging is the slow but steady deterioration of physiological functions. A main contributor to aging and age-related pathology is the accumulation of old or ‘senescent’ cells. Aims of this proposal are to identify markers of old cells and use these markers to develop anti-aging interventions.

    The role of the noncoding genome in cancer development

    Dr. J. (Jarno) Drost, Prinses Maxima Centrum

    Although it is acknowledged that nongenetic processes likely contribute to the development of cancer, their actual functional role remains largely unknown. The researchers will exploit unique mini-tumour models cultured in the lab and mouse models to identify nongenetic changes that occur during tumour progression and to investigate their functions.

    F

    The Muscle Quality Index: multidimensional quantitative MRI made easy

    Dr. ir. M. Froeling (m), group Imaging Division, UMC Utrecht

    With this project quantitative MRI measurements of muscle will be linked to muscle function. This will lead to a better evaluation of disease progression and therapy in muscle disease.

    Standing firm: neuromechanical principles underlying the multiaxial control of standing balance

    Dr. ir. P.A. (Patrick) Forbes, ErasmusMC

    Standing balance is a defiant struggle against Earth’s gravity. This fundamental motor behaviour relies on complex interactions between our body’s biomechanics and the neural systems keeping us upright. Using novel robotics and sensory manipulations, this research will disentangle the neuromechanical interactions that underlie the brain’s control of our unstable body.

    G

    How should we re-wire our immune cells against cancer?

    Dr. K.A. (Krisitina) Ganzinger, AMOLF

    Promising recent cancer therapies equip our immune cells with bespoke receptors for killing tumour cells, but so far they can only cure few cancer types. Researchers will use advanced microscopy to understand how these receptors re-program immune cells and map out design principles to construct new receptors against different cancers.

    The power of lifelong experience: how knowledge drives information processing in the aging brain

    Dr. L. Geerligs (f) - Radboud University

    We typically associate aging with decline. However, as we age we also accumulate enormous amounts of knowledge and experience. The researchers investigate how our brain recruits this increased knowledge in lifelike situations and thereby allows us to function well into old age.

    Assess bridge safety from space

    Dr G. Giardina (f), Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences, department Geoscience & Engineering, Delft University of Technology

    Many bridges all over the world are at risk of collapse because of their age and the effects of climate change. I will use satellite data to automatically check the safety of bridges on a national scale, helping to decide which ones need immediate repair.

    Humour in Court

    Dr A. Godioli (m)- University of Groningen

    Defining the legal boundaries of free speech is difficult – even more so when humour is involved. National and international courts often have an inconsistent approach to offensive humour. Building on insights from humour studies and literary theory, this project aims to improve the handling of humour in free speech regulation.

    Steering light with a single layer of atoms

    Dr. J. (Jorik) van de Groep, University of Amsterdam

    Can light fields be manipulated with a single layer of atoms? Optical lenses and filters are heavy, bulky, and have a fixed functionality. By leveraging unique quantum mechanical effects in layered semiconducting materials, researchers aim to develop light-weight and atomically-thin optical coatings that can steer light dynamically.

    H

    CAMOSENSE: predicting predator-prey interactions across sensory worlds

    Dr. W. (Wouter) Halfwerk, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Camouflage can hide prey from both visual and acoustic predators. How does camouflage vary across a whole community of moth species, and towards their main predators – bats and birds? Researchers will quantify visual background matching and echo-acoustic absorption of moth scales in order to predict community shifts under environmental change.

    The impact of stress on Parkinson's disease

    Dr. C. (Rick) Helmich (m), Radboud University Medical Center

    I aim to understand why Parkinson patients are very sensitive to stress, if chronic stress accelerates their disease course, and if an intervention can reduce this. Using brain scans, I will test the effect of a stressor (coronapandemic) and stress-reduction (mindfulness) on disease course and brain function in Parkinson’s disease.

    Engraved in memory

    Dr. M.J.A.G. (Marloes) Henckens, RadboudUMC

    Traumatic memories can haunt one for life. This project investigates the role of an aberrant trauma memory in the development of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by investigating its neural representation and underlying neurobiological mechanisms.

    Alpha-emitters: a new treatment option for therapy-resistant tumor cells

    Dr. S. (Sandra) Heskamp (f), Radboud University Medical Center

    Immunotherapy has demonstrated to be very effective in subgroups of cancer patients. However, many tumors are resistant to this treatment. The researcher will develop a new treatment approach to kill resistant cancer cells using alpha-particle emitting radionuclides. In combination with immunotherapy, this can improve outcome of cancer patients.

    Spotlight on the neglected genome to escape dementia

    Dr.H. (Henne) Holstege (f), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Repetitions in the DNA-code influence the chance of Alzheimer's Disease. To increase our understanding of the heritability of Alzheimer’s Disease, we will compare repetitive sequences in Alzheimer-patients and healthy centenarians. This allows us to use individual genomes to predict who should be treated to prevent AD-associated brain damage, and how.

    J

    No data left behind

    Dr. S. Jak (f) - University of Amsterdam

    In this project, new models will be developed that allow all data to be included in meta-analytic structural equation modeling. With these models researchers are able to answer more types of research questions, using all available data. Consequently, policy makers can base their decisions on higher quality information.

    Repairing compact DNA

    Dr. A. (Aniek) Janssen, UMCU

    Our cells are continuously exposed to DNA damage, which has to be repaired properly in order to prevent disease onset. But does all the DNA in our cells get repaired in a similar way? This project will investigate how different DNA structures, from loosely to compactly packaged, are being repaired.

    Droplets and fibers: the physics of neurodegeneration

    Dr. L.M. (Louise) Jawerth, Universiteit Leiden

    To more fully understand and treat neurodegeneration, researchers investigate the mechanisms through which liquid‐like protein phases found in healthy neurons could cause, promote or hinder harmful fiber growth associated with the disease.

    Your memory may hurt you financially

    Dr. P. Jiao (f), Maastricht University

    When making investment decisions, do you try to recall previous investment performances, recent policies, or financial news? Despite its broad use, memory is not a reliable repository of information. This project investigates how the motivation to maintain positive self-views distort memory, compromising the quality of financial decisions.

    K

    Take your time: How cells ensure ordered cell division

    Dr. J.L. (Julia) Kamenz, RUG

    To avoid errors and prevent cancer, the complicated steps of cell division have to occur in an orderly manner, one step at a time. This project will explore how proteins communicate with each other to ensure that every step only happens at the correct moment during cell division.

    Commutativity in the world of symmetry

    Dr. M. (Magdalena) Kedziorek, Radboud University

    In mathematics an operation is commutative if the outcome does not depend on the order of inputs. Examples include addition, multiplication but not subtraction or division. The proposed research project uses modern methods from algebraic topology to understand commutative operations in the world of geometric shapes equipped with symmetries.

    Diving into immunotherapy responses in triple negative breast cancer

    Dr. M.K. (Marleen) Kok (f),  Netherlands Cancer Institute

    A small subset of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients benefit from immunotherapy using PD1-blockade. In this project we will work towards the identification of TNBC patients who can successfully be treated with immunotherapy and provide a foundation for novel immunomodulatory strategies for this aggressive breast cancer subtype.

    The EU fundamental right to ‘freedom of the arts and sciences’: exploring the limits on the commercialisation of academia

    Dr. V. Kosta (f), Leiden University, Europa Institute

    Increasingly Universities act like enterprises competing on the market, are managed like corporations and are understood to serve politico-economic interests. The Covid-19 crisis may amplify that. This project will determine the content of the EU fundamental right to ‘freedom of the arts and sciences’ to test this development’s legality.

    Mapping the vasculature to develop therapeutics for kidney failure

    Dr. R.J.T. (Rafael) Kramann (m), Erasmus Medical Center

    Changes in the renal vasculature and surrounding cells are the major drivers of chronic kidney disease. Using novel genomic technologies researchers will unravel the complex interactions and processes in this compartment to identify novel drug targets with the ultimate goal to develop targeted therapeutics for patients suffering from kidney disease.

    Common institutions, diverging identities?

    Dr. T. Kuhn (f) - University of Amsterdam

    Amid Brexit and rising populism, collective identity is a major concern to policy makers. While some scholars expect European integration to lead to a common identity, others argue that collective identity constrains further European integration. This project studies the dynamic relationship between institution building and identity change in the EU.

    Bioturbators drive greenhouse gas emissions from shallow inland waters

    Dr. S. (Sarian) Kosten, Radboud University

    Sediments of shallow waters are strong greenhouse gas emitters. We will investigate how bioturbating animals and plants regulate the emission. This is important because changes in community composition, for instance through climate change, may lead to strong increases in emissions by triggering an undesirable positive ecosystem-climate feedback.

    L

    When therapy for mental health problems is (not) effective

    Dr. P.H.O. Leijten (f) - University of Amsterdam

    How can we increase the likelihood that therapy for mental health problems will be successful? By targeting factors that for an individual are relevant, malleable, and acceptable. This project maps individual risk and change profiles and develops a framework to use these profiles to personalize therapy in an evidence-based way.

    From 3D to 1D: desired topological states all-in-one

    Dr. C. (Chuan) Li, UT

    After years of searching, researchers from the University of Twente have identified a special kind of material that can maintain topological states in all dimensions for topological quantum computing. In this VIDI project, these researchers will integrate these materials into the topological devices and scale them up.

    AI-built bridges for prostate cancer patients

    Dr. ir. G.J.S. (Geert) Litjens (m),  Radboud University Medical Center

    Care for prostate cancer patients could benefit from building bridges between medical specialties to truly understand the disease. Within this project, I will leverage state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to integrate radiology and pathology, learning how the appearance of the disease under the microscope causes its behavior within the patient.

    M

    Commander Politics: Cooperation and Competition in Civil War

    Dr. R.A.A Malejacq (m), Centre for International Conflict and Management (CICAM)

    Most contemporary civil wars are fought in so-called weak states, such as Somalia and Afghanistan. In these wars, where multiple armed groups operate simultaneously, local commanders ‘flip’ from rebel to government side (and vice versa) and constantly form and break alliances. This project aims to understand why they do so.

    Hyperrealistic robotic systems to maximize post-stroke recovery

    Dr. L. Marchal-Crespo (f), Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, Department Cognitive Robotics, Delft University of Technology

    Robotic rehabilitation is promising, but still artificial and therefore ineffective: abstract task environments limit stroke survivors in relearning functional movements. I will reveal the processes that govern maximal individual recovery, incorporating insights into a hyper-realistic multisensory training system that provides patients with personalized lifelike interactions with tangible virtual objects.

    Rules of life: how prey evade bigger, faster, stronger predators

    Dr. B.T. (Ben) Martin,  University of Amsterdam

    Predators are generally much bigger, faster and stronger than their prey. Despite this, the vast majority of attacks are unsuccessful. By developing the first-of-its-kind underwater observatory to film predator prey interactions among fish on coral reefs biologists will solve the puzzle of how prey evade their predators.

    Future-proof cryptographic randomness

    Dr. ir. B.J.M. (Bart) Mennink, Radboud University

    Modern-age cryptography is ran by randomness: random looking data is used to encrypt, for example, internet communication and telephone conversations. However, attackers get more tools at their disposal, including stronger side-channels and quantum computers. This project will investigate how random looking information can be generated in a future-proof way.

    The need to eat: Why stress makes you crave junk food

    Dr. F.J. (Frank) Meye, UMCU

    Stress makes junk food seem even tastier and strains one’s self-control. This project investigates how stress impacts on brain function to increase craving for junk food, and seeks ways to prevent this by targeted manipulation of brain activity.

    O

    Heterogeneity in extreme risks in high dimensions

    Dr. A. Opschoor (m), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Uncertainties like covid19 or Brexit have potentially different effects on countries and industries. Most contemporary models cannot describe such heterogeneity sufficiently well. This research develops new models with more heterogeneity in risk responses and investigates the economic differentiation and robustness of different countries and industries in Europe.

    P

    Sex differences in heart disease explained

    Dr. S.A.E. (Sanne) Peters (f), UMC Utrecht

    There are major differences between men and women in coronary heart disease. It is unknown why these differences exist and that limits the translation to clinical practice. Researchers will use advanced statistical methods to find explanations for sex differences in heart disease.

    How the dictionary in our brain works

    Dr. V. Piai (f), Radboud University and RadboudUMC

    The researchers will investigate how we search for words in our brains. Is searching for words the same as searching for other information, for example about personal events? They will also investigate how the dictionary in our brains can adapt following brain damage due to a stroke or a tumour.

    R

    Quantum cutting sunlight with Yb3+-doped perovskite

    Dr. F.T. (Freddy) Rabouw,  Utrecht University

    Blue and ultraviolet sunlight are highly energetic. Current technologies to harvest sunlight cannot use this energy efficiently. “Quantum cutting”, the conversion of blue and ultraviolet light into infrared, can change this. This project will develop strategies for more efficient quantum cutting, which will inspire new technologies for sustainable energy production.

    Invariants of Rank-Metric Codes and Matrix Completions over GF(q) – A Combinatorial Approach

    Dr. A. (Alberto) Ravagnani, TU/e

    In the context of communication networks, rank-metric codes are mathematical objects that correct transmission errors and improve the communication reliability. In this project, we develop new methods of combinatorial flavor to investigate the properties of rank-metric codes, with the goal of solving fundamental problems about their mathematical structure.

    Lived time in late-antique Egypt

    Dr. S.M.J. Remijsen (f), University of Amsterdam

    Historians and specialists in ancient languages investigate how people in ancient Egypt used and experienced time in their daily lives. They want to understand how people dealt with profound societal changes from about AD 250 to 750 (such as Christianization or the Arab conquest) and the resulting social tensions.

    The importance of metabolism in (cancer) stem cells

    Dr. M.J. (Maria) Rodriguez Colman, UMCU

    Metabolism entails how nutrients are converted into the energy and building blocks that maintain our cells. Stem cells divide and differentiate to maintain tissue integrity and function. This study aims to understand how metabolism regulates the function of the stem cells in the healthy and diseased intestine, particularly in cancer.

    Malaria parasites taking the tollway

    Dr. M. (Meta) Roestenberg (f),  Leiden University Medical Center

    An effective malaria vaccine is urgently needed. Malaria parasites that are genetically altered cannot cause disease but can be used to train the immune system. To make genetically altered parasites into a very potent vaccine, researchers aim to improve better recognition of the parasite-vaccine by the immune system.

    Radical Activation: Threats, Emotions, and the Psychological Roots of Populist Radical Right Support

    Dr. M. Rooduijn (m) - University of Amsterdam

    Support for populist radical right (PRR) parties is rooted in someone’s personality. But how can something that barely changes (personality) explain something that changes all the time (PRR support)? Combining various innovative approaches and methods, this project examines how different types of threats and emotions activate the personality-PRR linkage.

    Answering the need for comparing latent processes: Cluster-based methods for validly comparing structural equation models

    Dr. K. De Roover (f) - Tilburg University

    Psychologists often study and compare relations/processes between unobservable (latent) variables across many groups/individuals. I present mixture-based structural equation models capturing groups (for multigroup data) or subjects (for multisubject longitudinal data) with common latent processes by group-/subject-clusters. To safeguard validity, they apply partially group-/subject-specific models for how latent variables are measured.

    S

    Spectro-Dynamic MRI

    Dr. A. Sbrizzi (m), Group Computational Imaging, Division Imaging and Oncology, UMC Utrecht

    I will develop a new acquisition and reconstruction paradigm for MRI which makes it possible to characterize the behaviour of the human organs at high 3D spatial and temporal resolution on a personalized basis. Potential clinical applications include better examinations of musculoskeletal system and diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

    Digging beyond the surface – understanding chronicity in rheumatoid arthritis

    Dr. H.U. (Ulrich) Scherer (m), Leiden University Medical Center

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that will flare when treatment is stopped. Researchers discovered that specific immune cells remain chronically active in patients despite treatment. Here, researchers will use single cell technology to unravel this immunological disease activity and search for ways to silence it, thereby halting chronicity

    The collapsing brain in MS: Using networks to predict clinical progression

    Dr. M.M. (Menno) Schoonheim (m), Amsterdam UMC

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurological disease, where most patients become impaired in motor and cognitive function. In this project I am to understand and predict progression in MS by studying how damage spreads throughout the brain network. I will also implement these latest insights in daily clinical care.

    Skeletal Archaeology of Inequality, Health, and Early States

    Dr. S.A. Schrader (f), Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

    Social inequality directly impacts health outcomes in the modern world. This project examines health inequality using human skeletal remains in the ancient Kushite culture (2,500-1,500 BCE). We question the role that state formation and social inequality had on health, applying a deep time perspective to our understanding of health inequality.

    Extreme reefs as natural boot camps to enhance future coral reef survival

    Dr. V. (Verena) Schoepf,  University of Amsterdam

    Coral reefs are home to an enormous diversity of marine life and provide livelihood to millions of people. Yet, climate change threatens their survival. This project will investigate if and how frequent exposure to hot, acidic and oxygen-poor seawater could help corals to adapt and survive in a future ocean.

    Colon cancer: when good turns bad

    Dr. H.J.G. (Hugo) Snippert (m), UMC Utrecht

    Patients with early-stage CRC need less invasive treatments, that are often curative. However, some of these patients are already at high risk to develop life-threatening metastases. How do these early metastatic CRCs emerge? Better understanding, recognition and risk stratification of early-stage metastatic capacity will improve personalized treatment design.

    Genetic tools from bacteria with a safety switch

    Dr. R.H.J. (Raymond) Staals, Wageningen University

    CRISPR-Cas technology has had a tremendous impact on our ability to change DNA. In this project, we will investigate new CRISPR-Cas tools that previously escaped attention. We aim to repurpose these tools as safe new options for novel diagnostic and medical applications.

    When the immunological memory of T cells goes astra

    Dr. R. (Ralph) Stadhouders (m), Erasmus MC

    T cells use their memory to rapidly destroy bacteria and viruses, but also tumor cells. In diseases like asthma and cancer, these memory cells fail to correctly do their job. The researchers will use molecular magnifying glasses to unearth the cause of malfunctioning memory and find new leads for therapy.

    Quiet mirrors to discover our Universe

    Dr. J. (Jessica) Steinlechner (f), Maastricht University

    Gravitational-wave detectors are like telescopes, but for seeing dark objects such as black holes instead of bright stars. Thermal vibrations of the detector mirrors hide the signals we want to see. I will develop new coatings to reduce these vibrations so that we can make exciting new discoveries.

    Discovering Europe through Early Modern Literary Bestsellers

    Dr. L.J. Stelling (f), ICON

    Is there such thing as European identity? In the Renaissance, language and religion were factors not only of division but also of connection. Cities were the facilitators of these connections. This project investigates how Renaissance bestsellers explored these connection processes and contributed to ideas of Europe as a diverse community.

    Chance and Children

    Dr. G. Stulp (m) - University of Groningen

    When and how many children will be born is difficult to predict. Models based on medical insights on the chances of conception and machine learning can help improve prediction. Findings can inform family policies to reduce involuntary childlessness and reliance on medically assisted reproduction.

    Safeguarding drinking water resources

    Dr. N.B. Sutton (f), Environmental Technology, Wageningen University & Research

    Drinking water production in The Netherlands relies on clean groundwater. However, groundwater quality is threatened by micropollutants, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals. I will use naturally present microorganisms to degrade micropollutants. By investigating and engineering natural microbial activity in groundwater together with drinking water companies, I will safeguard our drinking water resources.

    T

    Project title: All good things comes in threes, also gravitational waves

    Dr. S. (Silvia) Toonen, University of Amsterdam

    The first direct detection of gravitational waves has opened up a new window to the Universe. With dozens of detections so far, and hundreds more coming, their sources are still heavily debated in the scientific community. Here we will investigate new and common pathways that involve multiple star systems.

    V

    e-MAPS (exploring Magnetism on the planetary scale)

    Dr. H.K. (Harish) Vedantham, ASTRON

    The Earth’s magnetic field traps and speeds up charged particles that create aurorae and radio-waves. This project will detect radio-waves from objects outside the solar system to answer a longstanding question: what determines the magnetic field strength of planets?

    Vitamin G: Green Care Farms as environment to improve residents well-being

    Prof. dr. H. (Hilde) Verbeek (f),  Maastricht University

    The environment determines our behaviour, but how does this work for nursing home residents with dementia? Green care farms provide a radical redesign and appear to improve residents’ daily life. The researchers examine residents’ functioning and well-being in green care farms and regular nursing homes to identify effective environmental elements.

    Exiled Empiricists: American Philosophy and the Great Intellectual Migration

    Dr. A. A. Verhaegh (m) - Tilburg University

    In the 1930s, a small group of European philosophers sought refuge in the United States. After the war, these thinkers had a tremendous impact on the American and European intellectual climate. This project describes and explains their impact through detailed archival studies and a computational analysis of thousands of publications.

    Making brain waves with ultrasound

    Dr L Verhagen (m), Donders Institute, Radboud University

    Brain disorders affect one in four people, but treatment options are limited. It is a dream of medicine to precisely and safely modulate deep brain regions. Focused ultrasound holds that potential. In this project, the researchers will pioneer novel brain-inspired protocols for a new approach to help Parkinson’s patients.

    Transfusion-related acute lung injury – a breathtaking syndrome

    Dr. A.P.J. (Alexander) Vlaar (m), Amsterdam UMC

    Although often regarded as lifesaving, blood transfusion can also induce life threatening side effects. The most important is acute shortness of breath. In this VIDI-project researchers will search for the mechanism of onset. Based on these findings novel strategies can be developed to improve safety of blood transfusion.

    Attentive bureaucrats? How top-level bureaucrats prioritize societal issues, define problems, and generate Solutions

    Dr. J. van der Voet (m) - Leiden University

    Top-level bureaucrats operate amidst an abundance of information and unclear political objectives. Their attention allocation explains if and how government responds to societal issues. This project investigates (1) which issues bureaucrats prioritize, (2) how they define the relevant characteristics of a problem, and (3) how they generate policy solutions.

    The Little Neutral Particle that Could

    Dr. J. (Jordy) de Vries,  University of Amsterdam

    Many questions remain about the matter in our Universe. Scientists do not know what dark matter is, where all the antimatter went, or how neutrinos acquire their masses. In this research it will be determined whether new neutrinos can solve these puzzles and how to reveal their existence experimentally.

    W

    A shared responsibility to decarbonize land use: Modelling emissions of commodities, companies and countries
    Dr. B. (Birka) Wicke,  Utrecht University

    Complex agricultural supply chains between producers and consumers entail shared responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially for emissions related to land use. This project develops new approaches to deal with this by identifying and quantifying the role of relevant actors and reduction strategies and relating them to policy implementation.

  • Science (ENW)

    Finding a recipe to fabricate cell types on command

    Dr. A. (Anna) Alemany, LUMC

    All cells in our body share the same genetic information but have different functions and morphologies. The understanding of how the different identities are originated will make us better at generating desired cells from patient-derived stem cells. Here, researchers will investigate the mathematical rules of cell identity establishment.

    On the trail of new particles

    Dr. F. (Flavia) de Almeida Dias,  University of Amsterdam

    We still don’t know everything about the particles and forces that define our universe. Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider could provide answers and reveal new physical principles. Researchers will develop an innovative analysis to investigate if there are yet-undiscovered new particles hidden deep in the data.

    Coordinating Multi-deal Bilateral Negotiations

    Dr. T. (Tim) Baarslag, CWI

    Automated procurement systems hold great promise for businesses, but they also require algorithms with a brand-new responsibility: performing several interconnected negotiations at the same time. The researcher will develop new negotiation and coordination algorithms that can strike multiple partial deals with multiple partners.

    The importance of Afromontane grasslands for carbon storage

    Dr. ir. M. (Mariska) te Beest,  Utrecht University

    Afromontane grasslands harbour an extraordinary biodiversity that is maintained by fire. At the same time, these grasslands store large amounts of carbon in their soils. I will investigate how biodiversity and fire contribute to soil carbon storage in Afromontane grasslands.

    Galaxy alignments answer fundamental questions about the Universe

    Dr. N.E. (Nora Elisa) Chisari, Utrecht University

    Galaxies are sensitive to tides across the Universe, like the ones that make the oceans on the Earth rise. In this striking phenomenon, there is a wealth of information hiding about how our Universe began, what it is made of, and how galaxies were formed. Researchers will uncover it.

    The role of the noncoding genome in cancer development

    Dr. J. (Jarno) Drost, Prinses Maxima Centrum

    Although it is acknowledged that nongenetic processes likely contribute to the development of cancer, their actual functional role remains largely unknown. The researchers will exploit unique mini-tumour models cultured in the lab and mouse models to identify nongenetic changes that occur during tumour progression and to investigate their functions.

    Standing firm: neuromechanical principles underlying the multiaxial control of standing balance

    Dr. ir. P.A. (Patrick) Forbes, ErasmusMC

    Standing balance is a defiant struggle against Earth’s gravity. This fundamental motor behaviour relies on complex interactions between our body’s biomechanics and the neural systems keeping us upright. Using novel robotics and sensory manipulations, this research will disentangle the neuromechanical interactions that underlie the brain’s control of our unstable body.

    How should we re-wire our immune cells against cancer?

    Dr. K.A. (Krisitina) Ganzinger, AMOLF

    Promising recent cancer therapies equip our immune cells with bespoke receptors for killing tumour cells, but so far they can only cure few cancer types. Researchers will use advanced microscopy to understand how these receptors re-program immune cells and map out design principles to construct new receptors against different cancers.

    Steering light with a single layer of atoms

    Dr. J. (Jorik) van de Groep, University of Amsterdam

    Can light fields be manipulated with a single layer of atoms? Optical lenses and filters are heavy, bulky, and have a fixed functionality. By leveraging unique quantum mechanical effects in layered semiconducting materials, researchers aim to develop light-weight and atomically-thin optical coatings that can steer light dynamically.

    CAMOSENSE: predicting predator-prey interactions across sensory worlds

    Dr. W. (Wouter) Halfwerk, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Camouflage can hide prey from both visual and acoustic predators. How does camouflage vary across a whole community of moth species, and towards their main predators – bats and birds? Researchers will quantify visual background matching and echo-acoustic absorption of moth scales in order to predict community shifts under environmental change.

    Engraved in memory

    Dr. M.J.A.G. (Marloes) Henckens, RadboudUMC

    Traumatic memories can haunt one for life. This project investigates the role of an aberrant trauma memory in the development of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by investigating its neural representation and underlying neurobiological mechanisms.

    Repairing compact DNA

    Dr. A. (Aniek) Janssen, UMCU

    Our cells are continuously exposed to DNA damage, which has to be repaired properly in order to prevent disease onset. But does all the DNA in our cells get repaired in a similar way? This project will investigate how different DNA structures, from loosely to compactly packaged, are being repaired.

    Droplets and fibers: the physics of neurodegeneration

    Dr. L.M. (Louise) Jawerth, Universiteit Leiden

    To more fully understand and treat neurodegeneration, researchers investigate the mechanisms through which liquid‐like protein phases found in healthy neurons could cause, promote or hinder harmful fiber growth associated with the disease.

    Take your time: How cells ensure ordered cell division

    Dr. J.L. (Julia) Kamenz, RUG

    To avoid errors and prevent cancer, the complicated steps of cell division have to occur in an orderly manner, one step at a time. This project will explore how proteins communicate with each other to ensure that every step only happens at the correct moment during cell division.

    Commutativity in the world of symmetry

    Dr. M. (Magdalena) Kedziorek, Radboud University

    In mathematics an operation is commutative if the outcome does not depend on the order of inputs. Examples include addition, multiplication but not subtraction or division. The proposed research project uses modern methods from algebraic topology to understand commutative operations in the world of geometric shapes equipped with symmetries.

    Bioturbators drive greenhouse gas emissions from shallow inland waters

    Dr. S. (Sarian) Kosten, Radboud University

    Sediments of shallow waters are strong greenhouse gas emitters. We will investigate how bioturbating animals and plants regulate the emission. This is important because changes in community composition, for instance through climate change, may lead to strong increases in emissions by triggering an undesirable positive ecosystem-climate feedback.

    From 3D to 1D: desired topological states all-in-one

    Dr. C. (Chuan) Li, UT

    After years of searching, researchers from the University of Twente have identified a special kind of material that can maintain topological states in all dimensions for topological quantum computing. In this VIDI project, these researchers will integrate these materials into the topological devices and scale them up.

    Rules of life: how prey evade bigger, faster, stronger predators

    Dr. B.T. (Ben) Martin,  University of Amsterdam

    Predators are generally much bigger, faster and stronger than their prey. Despite this, the vast majority of attacks are unsuccessful. By developing the first-of-its-kind underwater observatory to film predator prey interactions among fish on coral reefs biologists will solve the puzzle of how prey evade their predators.

    Future-proof cryptographic randomness

    Dr. ir. B.J.M. (Bart) Mennink, Radboud University

    Modern-age cryptography is ran by randomness: random looking data is used to encrypt, for example, internet communication and telephone conversations. However, attackers get more tools at their disposal, including stronger side-channels and quantum computers. This project will investigate how random looking information can be generated in a future-proof way.

    The need to eat: Why stress makes you crave junk food

    Dr. F.J. (Frank) Meye, UMCU

    Stress makes junk food seem even tastier and strains one’s self-control. This project investigates how stress impacts on brain function to increase craving for junk food, and seeks ways to prevent this by targeted manipulation of brain activity.

    Quantum cutting sunlight with Yb3+-doped perovskite

    Dr. F.T. (Freddy) Rabouw,  Utrecht University

    Blue and ultraviolet sunlight are highly energetic. Current technologies to harvest sunlight cannot use this energy efficiently. “Quantum cutting”, the conversion of blue and ultraviolet light into infrared, can change this. This project will develop strategies for more efficient quantum cutting, which will inspire new technologies for sustainable energy production.

    Invariants of Rank-Metric Codes and Matrix Completions over GF(q) – A Combinatorial Approach

    Dr. A. (Alberto) Ravagnani, TU/e

    In the context of communication networks, rank-metric codes are mathematical objects that correct transmission errors and improve the communication realiability. In this project, we develop new methods of combinatorial flavor to investigate the properties of rank-metric codes, with the goal of solving fundamental problems about their mathematical structure.

    The importance of metabolism in (cancer) stem cells

    Dr. M.J. (Maria) Rodriguez Colman, UMCU

    Metabolism entails how nutrients are converted into the energy and building blocks that maintain our cells. Stem cells divide and differentiate to maintain tissue integrity and function. This study aims to understand how metabolism regulates the function of the stem cells in the healthy and diseased intestine, particularly in cancer.

    Extreme reefs as natural boot camps to enhance future coral reef survival

    Dr. V. (Verena) Schoepf,  University of Amsterdam

    Coral reefs are home to an enormous diversity of marine life and provide livelihood to millions of people. Yet, climate change threatens their survival. This project will investigate if and how frequent exposure to hot, acidic and oxygen-poor seawater could help corals to adapt and survive in a future ocean.

    Genetic tools from bacteria with a safety switch

    Dr. R.H.J. (Raymond) Staals, Wageningen University

    CRISPR-Cas technology has had a tremendous impact on our ability to change DNA. In this project, we will investigate new CRISPR-Cas tools that previously escaped attention. We aim to repurpose these tools as safe new options for novel diagnostic and medical applications.

    Quiet mirrors to discover our Universe

    Dr. J. (Jessica) Steinlechner (f), Maastricht University

    Gravitational-wave detectors are like telescopes, but for seeing dark objects such as black holes instead of bright stars. Thermal vibrations of the detector mirrors hide the signals we want to see. I will develop new coatings to reduce these vibrations so that we can make exciting new discoveries.

    Project title: All good things comes in threes, also gravitational waves

    Dr. S. (Silvia) Toonen, University of Amsterdam

    The first direct detection of gravitational waves has opened up a new window to the Universe. With dozens of detections so far, and hundreds more coming, their sources are still heavily debated in the scientific community. Here we will investigate new and common pathways that involve multiple star systems.

    e-MAPS (exploring Magnetism on the planetary scale)

    Dr. H.K. (Harish) Vedantham, ASTRON

    The Earth’s magnetic field traps and speeds up charged particles that create aurorae and radio-waves. This project will detect radio-waves from objects outside the solar system to answer a longstanding question: what determines the magnetic field strength of planets?

    The Little Neutral Particle that Could

    Dr. J. (Jordy) de Vries,  University of Amsterdam

    Many questions remain about the matter in our Universe. Scientists do not know what dark matter is, where all the antimatter went, or how neutrinos acquire their masses. In this research it will be determined whether new neutrinos can solve these puzzles and how to reveal their existence experimentally.

    A shared responsibility to decarbonize land use: Modelling emissions of commodities, companies and countries

    Dr. B. (Birka) Wicke,  Utrecht University

    Complex agricultural supply chains between producers and consumers entail shared responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially for emissions related to land use. This project develops new approaches to deal with this by identifying and quantifying the role of relevant actors and reduction strategies and relating them to policy implementation.

  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

    Language development after paediatric brain tumours

    Dr V. M. C. de Aguiar (v) - University of Groningen

    Cognitive disorders in children with brain tumours may occur due to damage caused by the tumour or due to necessary medical interventions. The researchers will study these children’s language abilities in relation to the treatment followed, consisting of surgery only or a combination of surgery, chemo, and proton radiotherapy.

     

    Improvising subsistence security in urban Western Europe

    Dr. M.A. van den Berg (f) - University of Amsterdam, AISSR

    Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Europeans were navigating profound insecurities in work, care and access to basic infrastructures. This research project investigates how urban Western Europeans in Dublin and Rotterdam improvise new forms of subsistence security, for example by combining jobs or creating informal care arrangements.

     

    Climate change and mobility in the borderlands

    Dr. I.J.C. Boas (f)- Wageningen University

    What is the relation between climate change and international migration? This project examines this question by studying cross-border human mobility in climate change-affected borderlands. Four case-studies give insight into the historical-, socioeconomic-, and political-informed ways in which this relation takes shape.

     

    The economic implications of long-term return predictability

    Associate Professor M.F. Boons (m) - Tilburg University

    In contrast to existing research that mostly focuses on the short-term, the researcher studies what drives the variation in long-term expected returns across stocks and bonds. Long-term returns determine the cost of financing of firms, which financing ultimately results in the investments that drive long-term economic growth.

     

    Land Grabbing and Dutch Empire (16th-18th century)

    Dr. P. Brandon (m), International Institute of Social History

    Land Grabbing is an urgent global problem with deep historical roots. This project shows how the market-oriented early modern Dutch state encouraged large-scale dispossession of land as commercial strategy within and outside Europe. The Dutch example highlights the interplay between violence and markets in the development of agrarian capitalism.

     

    The power of lifelong experience: how knowledge drives information processing in the aging brain

    Dr. L. Geerligs (f) - Radboud University

    We typically associate aging with decline. However, as we age we also accumulate enormous amounts of knowledge and experience. The researchers investigate how our brain recruits this increased knowledge in lifelike situations and thereby allows us to function well into old age.

     

    Humour in Court

    Dr A. Godioli (m)- University of Groningen

    Defining the legal boundaries of free speech is difficult – even more so when humour is involved. National and international courts often have an inconsistent approach to offensive humour. Building on insights from humour studies and literary theory, this project aims to improve the handling of humour in free speech regulation.

     

    No data left behind

    Dr. S. Jak (f) - University of Amsterdam

    In this project, new models will be developed that allow all data to be included in meta-analytic structural equation modeling. With these models researchers are able to answer more types of research questions, using all available data. Consequently, policy makers can base their decisions on higher quality information.

     

    Your memory may hurt you financially

    Dr. P. Jiao (f), Maastricht University

    When making investment decisions, do you try to recall previous investment performances, recent policies, or financial news? Despite its broad use, memory is not a reliable repository of information. This project investigates how the motivation to maintain positive self-views distort memory, compromising the quality of financial decisions.

     

    The EU fundamental right to ‘freedom of the arts and sciences’: exploring the limits on the commercialisation of academia

    Dr. V. Kosta (f), Leiden University, Europa Institute

    Increasingly Universities act like enterprises competing on the market, are managed like corporations and are understood to serve politico-economic interests. The Covid-19 crisis may amplify that. This project will determine the content of the EU fundamental right to ‘freedom of the arts and sciences’ to test this evelopment’s legality.

     

    Common institutions, diverging identities?

    Dr. T. Kuhn (f) - University of Amsterdam

    Amid Brexit and rising populism, collective identity is a major concern to policy makers. While some scholars expect European integration to lead to a common identity, others argue that collective identity constrains further European integration. This project studies the dynamic relationship between institution building and identity change in the EU.

     

    When therapy for mental health problems is (not) effective

    Dr. P.H.O. Leijten (f) - University of Amsterdam

    How can we increase the likelihood that therapy for mental health problems will be successful? By targeting factors that for an individual are relevant, malleable, and acceptable. This project maps individual risk and change profiles and develops a framework to use these profiles to personalize therapy in an evidence-based way.

     

    Commander Politics: Cooperation and Competition in Civil War

    Dr. R.A.A Malejacq (m), Centre for International Conflict and Management (CICAM)

    Most contemporary civil wars are fought in so-called weak states, such as Somalia and Afghanistan. In these wars, where multiple armed groups operate simultaneously, local commanders ‘flip’ from rebel to government side (and vice versa) and constantly form and break alliances. This project aims to understand why they do so.

     

    Heterogeneity in extreme risks in high dimensions

    Dr. A. Opschoor (m), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Uncertainties like covid19 or Brexit have potentially different effects on countries and industries. Most contemporary models cannot describe such heterogeneity sufficiently well. This research develops new models with more heterogeneity in risk responses and investigates the economic differentiation and robustness of different countries and industries in Europe.

     

    How the dictionary in our brain works

    Dr. V. Piai (f), Radboud University and RadboudUMC

    The researchers will investigate how we search for words in our brains. Is searching for words the same as searching for other information, for example about personal events? They will also investigate how the dictionary in our brains can adapt following brain damage due to a stroke or a tumour.

     

    Lived time in late-antique Egypt

    Dr. S.M.J. Remijsen (f), University of Amsterdam

    Historians and specialists in ancient languages investigate how people in ancient Egypt used and experienced time in their daily lives. They want to understand how people dealt with profound societal changes from about AD 250 to 750 (such as Christianization or the Arab conquest) and the resulting social tensions.

     

    Radical Activation: Threats, Emotions, and the Psychological Roots of Populist Radical Right Support

    Dr. M. Rooduijn (m) - University of Amsterdam

    Support for populist radical right (PRR) parties is rooted in someone’s personality. But how can something that barely changes (personality) explain something that changes all the time (PRR support)? Combining various innovative approaches and methods, this project examines how different types of threats and emotions activate the personality-PRR linkage.

     

    Answering the need for comparing latent processes: Cluster-based methods for validly comparing structural equation models

    Dr. K. De Roover (f) - Tilburg University

    Psychologists often study and compare relations/processes between unobservable (latent) variables across many groups/individuals. I present mixture-based structural equation models capturing groups (for multigroup data) or subjects (for multisubject longitudinal data) with common latent processes by group-/subject-clusters. To safeguard validity, they apply partially group-/subject-specific models for how latent variables are measured.

    Skeletal Archaeology of Inequality, Health, and Early States

    Dr. S.A. Schrader (f), Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

    Social inequality directly impacts health outcomes in the modern world. This project examines health inequality using human skeletal remains in the ancient Kushite culture (2,500-1,500 BCE). We question the role that state formation and social inequality had on health, applying a deep time perspective to our understanding of health inequality.

    Discovering Europe through Early Modern Literary Bestsellers

    Dr. L.J. Stelling (f), ICON

    Is there such thing as European identity? In the Renaissance, language and religion were factors not only of division but also of connection. Cities were the facilitators of these connections. This project investigates how Renaissance bestsellers explored these connection processes and contributed to ideas of Europe as a diverse community.

    Chance and Children

    Dr. G. Stulp (m) - University of Groningen

    When and how many children will be born is difficult to predict. Models based on medical insights on the chances of conception and machine learning can help improve prediction. Findings can inform family policies to reduce involuntary childlessness and reliance on medically assisted reproduction.

     

    Exiled Empiricists: American Philosophy and the Great Intellectual Migration

    Dr. A. A. Verhaegh (m) - Tilburg University

    In the 1930s, a small group of European philosophers sought refuge in the United States. After the war, these thinkers had a tremendous impact on the American and European intellectual climate. This project describes and explains their impact through detailed archival studies and a computational analysis of thousands of publications.

     

    Attentive bureaucrats? How top-level bureaucrats prioritize societal issues, define problems, and generate Solutions

    Dr. J. van der Voet (m) - Leiden University

    Top-level bureaucrats operate amidst an abundance of information and unclear political objectives. Their attention allocation explains if and how government responds to societal issues. This project investigates (1) which issues bureaucrats prioritize, (2) how they define the relevant characteristics of a problem, and (3) how they generate policy solutions.

     

  • Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES)

    Feed me: optimal feeding of mushrooms by improving the nutrient supplying rooting system

    Dr R. Bleichrodt (m), Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Group Microbiology, Utrecht University

    Mushrooms provide a sustainable alternative for meat consumption. I have found a link between the architecture of the fungal network that feeds the mushrooms and mushroom yield. I will study which network architecture results in optimal nutrient transport to mushrooms and how this is regulated, which should improve mushroom yield.

    Living on the edge

    Dr. Ir. B.W. Borsje (m), Faculty of Engineering Technology, Water Engineering & Management, Marine and Fluvial Systems, University of Twente

    By adopting wetlands in front of dykes, we make our coast climate-proof, because these wetlands grow with rising sea-level and dampen waves before they reach the dyke. By mastering the resilience and tipping points of these systems under extreme hydro-meteorological conditions, we can design and build living dykes worldwide.

    Breastfeeding: quantifying infant milk intake

    Dr.ir. N. Bosschaart (f), Faculty of Science and Technology, Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Photonic Imaging, University of Twente

    Breastfeeding offers unique advantages for mothers and infants, but is also associated with many challenges. Accurate quantification of breast milk intake by the infant is often desired, but objective methods are unavailable. In this project, we will develop new methods to quantify milk flow, and composition from mother to infant.

    Instantaneous optimisation of dose distributions for radiation treatment of cancer patients

    Dr. S. Breedveld (m), Department of Radiotherapy, unit Medical Physics, Erasmus MC

    The initiation of a radiotherapy treatment is a complicated and time-consuming process. This project will investigate how this part can be realised in real-time. This enables strong personalisation to improve the treatment of the patient, allows reduction of waiting times, and contributes to reduced costs of healthcare.

    The Muslce Qualtiy Index: multidimensional quantitative MRI made easy

    Dr. ir. M. Froeling (m), group Imaging Division, UMC Utrecht

    With this project quantitative MRI measurements of muscle will be linked to muscle function. This will lead to a better evaluation of disease progression and therapy in muscle disease.

    Assess bridge safety from space

    Dr G. Giardina (f), Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences, department Geoscience & Engineering, Delft University of Technology

    Many bridges all over the world are at risk of collapse because of their age and the effects of climate change. I will use satellite data to automatically check the safety of bridges on a national scale, helping to decide which ones need immediate repair.

    Hyperrealistic robotic systems to maximize post-stroke recovery

    Dr. L. Marchal-Crespo (f), Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, Department Cognitive Robotics, Delft University of Technology

    Robotic rehabilitation is promising, but still artificial and therefore ineffective: abstract task environments limit stroke survivors in relearning functional movements. I will reveal the processes that govern maximal individual recovery, incorporating insights into a hyper-realistic multisensory training system that provides patients with personalized lifelike interactions with tangible virtual objects.

    Spectro-Dynamic MRI

    Dr. A. Sbrizzi (m), Group Computational Imaging, Division Imaging and Oncology, UMC Utrecht

    I will develop a new acquisition and reconstruction paradigm for MRI which makes it possible to characterize the behaviour of the human organs at high 3D spatial and temporal resolution on a personalized basis. Potential clinical applications include better examinations of musculoskeletal system and diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

    Safeguarding drinking water resources

    Dr. N.B. Sutton (f), Environmental Technology, Wageningen University & Research

    Drinking water production in The Netherlands relies on clean groundwater. However, groundwater quality is threatened by micropollutants, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals. I will use naturally present microorganisms to degrade micropollutants. By investigating and engineering natural microbial activity in groundwater together with drinking water companies, I will safeguard our drinking water resources.

    Making brain waves with ultrasound

    Dr L Verhagen (m), Donders Institute, Radboud University

    Brain disorders affect one in four people, but treatment options are limited. It is a dream of medicine to precisely and safely modulate deep brain regions. Focused ultrasound holds that potential. In this project, the researchers will pioneer novel brain-inspired protocols for a new approach to help Parkinson’s patients.

  • Health Research and Development (ZonMw)

    Eliminating harmful cells to promote healthy aging

    Prof. dr. M. (Marco) Demaria (m), UMCG

    Aging is the slow but steady deterioration of physiological functions. A main contributor to aging and age-related pathology is the accumulation of old or ‘senescent’ cells. Aims of this proposal are to identify markers of old cells and use these markers to develop anti-aging interventions.

    The impact of stress on Parkinson's disease

    Dr. C. (Rick) Helmich (m), Radboud University Medical Center

    I aim to understand why Parkinson patients are very sensitive to stress, if chronic stress accelerates their disease course, and if an intervention can reduce this. Using brain scans, I will test the effect of a stressor (coronapandemic) and stress-reduction (mindfulness) on disease course and brain function in Parkinson’s disease.

    Alpha-emitters: a new treatment option for therapy-resistant tumor cells

    Dr. S. (Sandra) Heskamp (f), Radboud University Medical Center

    Immunotherapy has demonstrated to be very effective in subgroups of cancer patients. However, many tumors are resistant to this treatment. The researcher will develop a new treatment approach to kill resistant cancer cells using alpha-particle emitting radionuclides. In combination with immunotherapy, this can improve outcome of cancer patients.

    Spotlight on the neglected genome to escape dementia

    Dr.H. (Henne) Holstege (f), Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Repetitions in the DNA-code influence the chance of Alzheimer's Disease. To increase our understanding of the heritability of Alzheimer’s Disease, we will compare repetitive sequences in Alzheimer-patients and healthy centenarians. This allows us to use individual genomes to predict who should be treated to prevent AD-associated brain damage, and how.

    Diving into immunotherapy responses in triple negative breast cancer

    Dr. M.K. (Marleen) Kok (f),  Netherlands Cancer Institute

    A small subset of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients benefit from immunotherapy using PD1-blockade. In this project we will work towards the identification of TNBC patients who can successfully be treated with immunotherapy and provide a foundation for novel immunomodulatory strategies for this aggressive breast cancer subtype.

    Mapping the vasculature to develop therapeutics for kidney failure

    Dr. R.J.T. (Rafael) Kramann (m), Erasmus Medical Center

    Changes in the renal vasculature and surrounding cells are the major drivers of chronic kidney disease. Using novel genomic technologies researchers will unravel the complex interactions and processes in this compartment to identify novel drug targets with the ultimate goal to develop targeted therapeutics for patients suffering from kidney disease.

    AI-built bridges for prostate cancer patients

    Dr. ir. G.J.S. (Geert) Litjens (m),  Radboud University Medical Center

    Care for prostate cancer patients could benefit from building bridges between medical specialties to truly understand the disease. Within this project, I will leverage state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to integrate radiology and pathology, learning how the appearance of the disease under the microscope causes its behavior within the patient.

    Sex differences in heart disease explained

    Dr. S.A.E. (Sanne) Peters (f), UMC Utrecht

    There are major differences between men and women in coronary heart disease. It is unknown why these differences exist and that limits the translation to clinical practice. Researchers will use advanced statistical methods to find explanations for sex differences in heart disease.

    Malaria parasites taking the tollway

    Dr. M. (Meta) Roestenberg (f),  Leiden University Medical Center

    An effective malaria vaccine is urgently needed. Malaria parasites that are genetically altered cannot cause disease but can be used to train the immune system. To make genetically altered parasites into a very potent vaccine, researchers aim to improve better recognition of the parasite-vaccine by the immune system.

    Digging beyond the surface – understanding chronicity in rheumatoid arthritis

    Dr. H.U. (Ulrich) Scherer (m), Leiden University Medical Center

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that will flare when treatment is stopped. Researchers discovered that specific immune cells remain chronically active in patients despite treatment. Here, researchers will use single cell technology to unravel this immunological disease activity and search for ways to silence it, thereby halting chronicity

    The collapsing brain in MS: Using networks to predict clinical progression

    Dr. M.M. (Menno) Schoonheim (m), Amsterdam UMC

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurological disease, where most patients become impaired in motor and cognitive function. In this project I am to understand and predict progression in MS by studying how damage spreads throughout the brain network. I will also implement these latest insights in daily clinical care.

    Colon cancer: when good turns bad

    Dr. H.J.G. (Hugo) Snippert (m), UMC Utrecht

    Patients with early-stage CRC need less invasive treatments, that are often curative. However, some of these patients are already at high risk to develop life-threatening metastases. How do these early metastatic CRCs emerge? Better understanding, recognition and risk stratification of early-stage metastatic capacity will improve personalized treatment design.

    When the immunological memory of T cells goes astra

    Dr. R. (Ralph) Stadhouders (m), Erasmus MC

    T cells use their memory to rapidly destroy bacteria and viruses, but also tumor cells. In diseases like asthma and cancer, these memory cells fail to correctly do their job. The researchers will use molecular magnifying glasses to unearth the cause of malfunctioning memory and find new leads for therapy.

    Vitamin G: Green Care Farms as environment to improve residents well-being

    Prof. dr. H. (Hilde) Verbeek (f),  Maastricht University

    The environment determines our behaviour, but how does this work for nursing home residents with dementia? Green care farms provide a radical redesign and appear to improve residents’ daily life. The researchers examine residents’ functioning and well-being in green care farms and regular nursing homes to identify effective environmental elements.

    Transfusion-related acute lung injury – a breathtaking syndrome

    Dr. A.P.J. (Alexander) Vlaar (m), Amsterdam UMC

    Although often regarded as lifesaving, blood transfusion can also induce life threatening side effects. The most important is acute shortness of breath. In this VIDI-project researchers will search for the mechanism of onset. Based on these findings novel strategies can be developed to improve safety of blood transfusion.