Six Faculty of Science researchers receive Veni grant

Six researchers from the Faculty of Science have been awarded a Veni grant of up to 250,000 Euros each from NWO. Veni offers promising young researchers the opportunity to develop their own ideas further during three years. In total, 1056 researchers applied for a Veni grant. NWO awarded 158 proposals, 30 of which at Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht and the Hubrecht Instituut.

Neglected drug development 
Dr. T.P.C. (Thomas) Dorlo (m), UU – Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences 
Neglected tropical diseases claim many victims in developing countries. Nevertheless only 1% of all newly developed medicines are aimed at these diseases. This research focuses on the development of innovative mathematical models to make clinical drug development for leishmaniasis, one of these neglected diseases, better, cheaper and faster. 

Can you help me, doctor? 
Dr. H.M. (Hieke) Huistra (f), UU – Freudenthal Institute
Increasingly, people ask their doctors for help without being ill. They request, for example, eyelid corrections and Viagra prescriptions, but also assisted dying. This project studies patient requests surrounding birth and death in the twentieth century. Thus, it investigates how patients have influenced the medicalization of ‘natural’ life events. 

Molecular teamwork 
Dr. D.H. (Dimphna) Meijer (f), UU – Crystal and Structural Chemistry, Bijvoet Center
Every neuron in our brain contacts approximately one thousand other neurons. The researchers combine two scientific disciplines, chemistry and neuroscience, to study how our molecular building blocks (‘proteins’) team up to build and maintain those contacts. 

Organisation by organelles 
Dr. W. (Wilco) Nijenhuis (m), UU – Cell Biology 
The functioning of cells is determined by their shape and internal organization. The researchers will use light to position specific cellular components within epithelial cells to study how these components locally influence the organization and shape of cells. 

Analytic techniques in the study of diophantine equations
Dr. D. (Damaris) Schindler (f), UU – Mathematisch Instituut 
The study of Diophantine equations has fascinated mankind for more than 2000 years. Given a system of polynomial equations with integer coefficients one wants to understand its solution set in the integers. This project studies aspects of this question using modern tools in analytic number theory. 

The Bam complex as a molecular cooper 
Dr. S. (Shengqi) Xiang (m), UU – NMR Spectroscopy, Bijvoet Center
In Gram-negative bacteria, the β barrel proteins on the outer membrane are inserted by a supramolecular machinery, Bam complex. This research aims to investigate the complex in its native environment and reveal the internal operating principle. The outcome can help researchers develop new antibiotics aiming at this machinery.