13 July 2017

Four young researchers receive NWO fund to go abroad

Four researchers from the Faculty of Science, University Medical Centre Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute received a Rubicon grant. The Rubicon grant allows these scientists to do their research at top institutes and gives them the opportunity to gain international research experience.

With a Rubicon grant researchers can conduct research for a period up to 24 months at a foreign research institute. For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career.  The size of the grant depends on the destination chosen and the length of stay. In this round, 15 researchers in total received the Rubicon grant.

THE LAUREATES FROM UTRECHT

Exchanging letters in patient DNA
Manda Arbab, Hubrecht Institute  United States, Harvard University (24 months)
SMA is a severe genetic disorder as a result of which babies become paralysed and die. It is caused by a single wrong letter in the DNA code of these patients. With the help of new technologies the researchers want to correct the DNA of these patients.

The magnetic charm of topological defects
Benedetta  Flebus, Utrecht University United States, University of California, Los Angeles (24 months)
Defects are not always as bad as they sound. In this project it will be investigated how topological defects in magnetic materials can be used to efficiently transmit information in the classical and quantum mechanical regimes.

Oncogene-induced DNA breaks: where, when and how?
Britta Bouwman, Hubrecht Institute  Sweden, Karolinska Institute  (24 months)
Activated oncogenes disrupt cellular processes and in doing this create DNA breaks that ultimately contribute to the development and progression of cancer. In this project, the researcher will investigate exactly how and where these breaks arise and why some pieces of DNA break more easily.

A hole in the genes?
András  Spaan, University Medical Centre Utrecht United States, The Rockefeller University (24 months)
Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen that causes life-threatening infections, produces pore-forming toxins that kill the cells of the immune system. Spaan will investigate whether genetic abnormalities in the immune response of children to these toxins can explain their sensitivity for serious infections caused by this bacterium.