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Excellent Science

Read more about the research talent at Erasmus MC.

Vici grant awarded to 2 Erasmus MC scientists

Stop and Start; How cells cope with DNA damage that interferes with transcription
Dr J.A.F. (Jurgen) Marteijn (m), Erasmus MC - Molecular Genetics

DNA damage impedes transcription. This can result in severe cellular dysfunction and accelerated aging. An innovative microscopic analysis method will be used to study effects of DNA damage on transcription in living cells. Combined with advanced protein analysis, the scientists will study how cells cope with transcription-blocking DNA damage.

Can computers predict disease?
Prof. M. (Marleen) de Bruijne (f), Erasmus MC - Radiology and Medical Informatics
The researchers develop computer techniques to discover new patterns in large collections of medical imaging data related to diseases such as stroke and lung disease. This helps to predict the patient's risk of developing a disease, leading to better, more personalized treatment and perhaps even disease prevention.

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  Jurgen Marteijn      Marleen de Bruijne
  Karim Kreft

Dr. Karim Kreft has been awarded the Gemmy & Mibeth Tichelaar Prize
MS Research Foundation has awarded Dr. Karim Kreft (Dept. of Neurology, Erasmus MC Multiple Sclerosis Center) the Gemmy & Mibeth Tichelaar Prize (worth €60,000) for this research on the role of B-cells in multiple sclerosis. MS Research Foundation awards the Gemmy & Mibeth Tichelaar prize every two years to young, talented researchers who carry out fundamental research on multiple sclerosis.

Please click here and here for more information (only available in Dutch).

Prof. Caroline Klaver and Dr. Ijaz Qadeer Kahn have received funding from NWO Refugees in Science

As part of the pilot "Refugees in Science", NWO has awarded funding to twelve academics, who have left their fatherland due to a threatening situation. This funding can be used by the project leader to appoint a researcher with refugee status to a current NWO-project for a period of one year. The pilot has been developed in consultation with The Young Academic, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Foundation for Refugee Students UAF.

NWO has awarded funding to the project "Fair share: ex vivo conservation of Zebrafish models" submitted by Prof. Caroline Klaver (Dept. of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology) and candidate Dr. Ijaz Qadeer Kahn, DVM. Zebrafish can be used to model many medical issues in people. The growing number of zebrafish lines require improved methods for archiving these sustainably (deep freezing) and subsequently making these available for exchange with the global research community. Dr. Ijaz Qadeer Kahn is an expert on animal reproductive technology.

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The KWF Young Investigator Grant has been awarded to Julie Nonnekens and Astrid van der Veldt
Dr. Julie Nonnekens (Depts. of Molecular Genetics, Radiology & Nuclear Medicine; right picture) and Dr. Astrid van der Veldt (Dept. of Medical Oncology; left picture) have been awarded the KWF Young Investigator Grant. The KWF Young Investigator Grant is awarded to young, talented (clinical) researchers in the field of oncology research.

Julie Nonnekens will attempt to improve targeted radionuclide therapy via modulation of DNA damage in the tumor, while Astrid van der Veldt will investigate the quality of life of patients diagnosed with advanced melanoma after early termination of nivolumab or pembrolizumab treatment.

Esther Mesman has been awarded the GGZ Postdoctoral fellowship 2018
Dr. Esther Mesman (Dept. of Pediatric psychiatry) has been awarded the GGZ Postdoctoral fellowship 2018 by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). This personal GGZ Postdoctoral fellowship aims to stimulate innovative, creative and ground-breaking research that may have a large scientific and/or societal impact and will have added value to the current Dutch mental health care.

Bipolar disorder is a severe, chronic mood disorder with a high interpersonal and societal impact, affecting 1-2% of the population. Offspring from parents affected with bipolar disorder are at high risk of developing bipolar disorder, mood disorders and psychopathology in general. Early identification and adequate treatment of bipolar disorder during adolescence and young adulthood is extremely important, given the fact that this time window is crucial for interpersonal and psychosocial development. Using novel paradigms in psychiatry and the Dutch Bipolar Offspring cohort with an innovative 20-year follow-up, Esther will identify targets for early detection and optimal treatment of unipolar and bipolar disorder, and contribute to the development of preventive strategies in a high risk population.

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Esther Bron has been awarded the Young eScientist Award 2018
Dr. Esther Bron (Dept. of Medical Informatics) has been awarded the Young eScientist Award 2018 by the Netherlands eScience Center. The Young eScientist Award aims to stimulate a young scientist demonstrating excellence in the development of application of digital technology to address scientific challenges (eScience).

Esther will undertake a joint research project to compare methods that predict the evolution of individuals at risk of Alzheimer's disease, as conducted by international research groups. She will collaborate with the eScience Center to build a web-based platform to integrate these prediction methods into the platform and to validate them. She will be supported by eScience Research Engineers, who are experts in the development and application of research software. This platform will make these prediction methods publicly available and easy applicable.

NWO Veni's awarded to Erasmus MC researchers

Dr. Lieke Kros - Interplay of brain areas in autism
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social problems and repetitive behavior. Disruptions in cerebellar development or functioning can cause autism. I will investigate how the cerebellum affects other key brain regions to better understand how this interplay contributes to autism and hopefully to help identify new treatment possibilities.

Dr. Joshua White - Neural organisation of walking
Walking is a very complicated task, which many people with genetic disorders are unable to successfully accomplish. This project aims to understand how neurons are organised and active for complex movements such as walking.

Dr. ir. Esther Warnert - Oxygen delivery to the brain
A decrease in oxygen in the brain occurs in various diseases, like brain tumours or after stroke, and can lead to severe damage of brain tissue. In order to improve care to the individual patient the researcher will develop MRI techniques to map the oxygen delivery to the brain.

Dr. Hieab Adams - Brain genes in 3D
Neurodegenerative diseases have a complex genetic cause that is poorly understood. This research will first determine the effect of these diseases on the brain in great detail. Next, this will be combined with 3D information about the genes in order to improve our genetic understanding of these diseases.

Dr. Marco Medici - Personalized management of thyroid disease
Worldwide, millions of treated thyroid disease patients have residual disabling complaints and are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, as we currently cannot predict the optimal thyroid parameters for an individual patient. In this project we aim to predict these, enabling personalized care for thyroid diseases.

Dr. Inge de Kok - How can we efficiently reduce the dementia burden?
Dementia knowledge has increased, however, it is still unknown how the disease burden can best be reduced. An innovative microsimulation model will be developed, that synthesises all evidence. It will lead to better understanding of disease development and intervention influences, and will identify interventions that efficiently reduce the dementia burden.


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Steven Prize Marion Koopmans

Stevin Prize for Marion Koopmas
NWO - Stevin Prize 
Prof. Marion Koopmans (ViroSciences) has been honored with NWO's prestigious Stevin Prize. She will receive the award during a festive event on 12 September. This €2.5 million award is granted to researchers who have played a crucial role in bringing innovative applications into practice. The laureates may spend the funds on their research and/or activities to further knowledge exchange and impact.
Prof. Koopmans receives the award for her foundational work on noroviruses: notorious causal agents of gastric flu. Following on her important discovery that noroviruses can undergo rapid genetic change to stay one step ahead of the immune system of their hosts, she initiated the worldwide NoroNet network which has significantly increased our knowledge about genetic variability within these viruses. She has also led medical containment efforts during outbreaks of the Ebola and Zika viruses; in the case of the 2015 Ebola outbreak, she decreased the time needed to confirm the diagnosis from three days to six hours, which played a leading role in confining the outbreak.
In 2015, Koopmans received €20 million from the European Commission to realize an online databank for the early detection of infectious diseases. She is a member of numerous advisory councils and plays an important role as an adviser for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Simone Dalm - Click on Target: Developing a Safe Drug with Enhanced Therapeutic Potential for Prostate Cancer Treatment
KWF Young Investigator Grant 2018 

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common malignancy in men and the fifth cause of cancer-related death globally. The prognosis of PCa is dependent on the disease stage and the 5-year survival rate of patients with advanced PCa is only 28%. Over time different detection techniques and therapies have been developed, which positively impacted PCa patient care. However, currently used imaging modalities and therapeutic options are still limited; especially for the detection and treatment of (oligo)metastatic disease, improvements are needed for more accurate detection and dedicated, precise treatment with a low toxicity profile. The aim of this preclinical project is to develop and evaluate a pretargeting strategy based on click-chemistry for safe and effective GRPR-targeted radionuclide therapy. The pretargeting approach has not been applied before for such small molecules, and once established, may also be used for other radiopeptides and other small molecules.


Simone Dalm


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NWO - Vidi 2018

Dr. ir. Rik Vos - Cardiac 3D re-perfusion imaging - QUANTO
After hospital intervention for opening of clogged cardiac arteries, one-third of patients show no restored blood perfusion in the heart wall. The researchers will build a new echographic system to monitor the perfusion in the heart wall during the intervention, which enables patient-specific treatment for better health afterwards.

Dr. Debby van Riel - Respiratory viruses unmasked: exploring their neurotropic potential
Respiratory viruses, and especially influenza A virus and enterovirus D68, can cause disease of the central nervous system but the mechanism is largely unknown. The proposed studies will unravel how respiratory viruses enter and cause damage in the nervous system, identify important viral factors and optimize diagnostics.

Dr. Aleksandra Badura - How does the autistic brain work?
Although several genetic defects increase the risk for autism and researchers have developed several autism mouse models, the source of autistic behavior is unknown. Now neuroscientists will use video-monitoring systems, mini-microscopes, Virtual-Reality and computer models to look at similarities in the behavior and brain activity of several autism mouse models.

Dr. Geeske van Woerden - CAMK2 and brain development: inseparably linked?
CAMK2 is one of the most extensively studied enzymes in the adult brain, but its role in neurodevelopment remains unknown. In this study researchers will investigate the role of CAMK2 in neuronal development and study the downstream siganling pathways.

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