Two scientists from the Faculty of Science received a Rubicon grant from NWO to do research abroad. Mohammad Kaplan goes to the United States to focus on bacteria with cryo-electon microscopy and Erik Kleyheeg visits Germany to study the spread of bird flu.
Mohammed Kaplan received the grant for his study “Deciphering the in-situ structure and activities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa type IV pilus machine using electron cryo-tomography”. Bacteria have developed effective nanomachines that guide them towards host cells where they can cause diseases. Kaplan will determine the structure of these nanomachines in high-resolution using cryo-electron microscopy. This will ultimately help with the design of new antimicrobial agents. With the Rubicon grant Kaplan stays for two years at the California Institute of Technology in the United States.
Erik Kleyheeg studies the spread of bird flu in his project “Flu flyways: unravelling the routes of avian influenza introduction by migrating waterfowl”. Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in poultry threaten both the economy and public health. The virus strains involved are spread from East Asia across the continent of Europe by migrating waterfowl. Kleyheeg will investigate which migratory routes are involved and how the introduction in Europe can be detected at an early stage. For this, he’ll work at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany for a year with the Rubicon grant.
This year, twenty-one researchers who have recently gained their PhDs received a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising scientists the opportunity to gain international research experience.