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Vidi grants for nine Leiden researchers

From artificial intelligence to letters from the Dutch East Indies and from breast-cancer gene BRCA-1 to the collaboration between government and opposition: nine researchers from Leiden University have been awarded a Vidi grant for their research.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awards Vidi grants to experienced researchers who have spent a number of years conducting research after completing their doctorate. In total, 85 researchers were awarded a Vidi grant of 800,000 euros this year. This will enable them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. 

The nine Leiden laureates are as follows:

Automatic faster learning for artificial intelligence - Tim van Erven

Mathematical Institute, Faculty of Science

Existing AI algorithms use a fixed strategy to learn from examples, but the best learning strategy often depends on the specifics of the learning task, which can only be discovered while learning. The researchers will develop new AI methods that automatically adapt themselves to the learning task to learn faster.

Immune cells under control of sugars - Bart Everts

Parasitology, LUMC

Recent observations suggest that in immune cells certain sugars can change protein activity by binding to them, which can subsequently lead to changes in immune cell function. This project will investigate how this exactly works and explore whether that knowledge can be utilized for therapeutic purposes.

A struggle for control - Gerbrand van der Heden-van Noort

Chemical Immunology, LUMC

The localization and activity of cellular proteins is regulated by dynamic posttranslational modifications. It turns out these modifications are also modified themselves, leading to a novel hidden layer of control. The researchers aim to develop chemical tools to study these complex processes in detail.

Voicing the colony - Rick Honings

Centre for Arts in Society, Faculty of Humanities

This project studies travel writing about the Dutch East Indies written between 1800 and the end of the Second World War. By analyzing both Dutch travel texts and Indigenous travel texts in Javanese and Malay, it presents a new, double-voiced perspective on (the historiography of) the Dutch colonial past. 

When the heart gets nervous - Monique Jongbloed

Anatomy and Embryology, LUMC

After myocardial infarction the number of nerves in the heart can increase significantly and cause life-threatening arrhythmias. Cells from the outer layer of the heart, the epicardium, may cause this increase. This research aims to study mechanisms and identify patients at risk providing a basis for future prevention and/or treatment.

Parliamentary cooperation between government and opposition - Tom Louwerse

Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

In a representative democracy, opposition parties offer citizens the opportunity to vote for an alternative. In this project the researchers study the extent to which opposition and government parties actually behave differently in parliament. Does a change in the level of cooperation lead to changes in turnout and democratic satisfaction? Read more about his research.

Unmasking BRCA1’s Janus face in preventing tumour formation - Sylvie Noordermeer

Human Genetics, LUMC

Faulty activities of the BRCA1-protein lead to tumour formation. BRCA1-acitivity depends on binding to many other proteins. However, it remains unclear how this is regulated. The researcher proposes to study why, when and where BRCA1 binds to those proteins and what effect disruption of the interactions has on tumour formation.

Lighting up Einstein’s Dark Universe - Alessandra Silvestri

Leiden Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science

Two decades after the discovery of cosmic acceleration, we are still facing the challenge of unlocking the theory of gravity governing the universe on large scales. My research addresses this issue combining theoretical, numerical and data analysis methods into a framework for the successful interpretation of data from cosmological missions.

Teaching synthetic molecules how to communicate - Sander Wezenberg

Leiden Institute for Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Living organisms have complex chemical communication networks in which external signals are received and passed along. The researchers will integrate such kind of networks into synthetic molecular systems, which will lead to the development of new intelligent materials and medicine in the future.

Vidi grants

Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Scheme, which encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.

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