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Five researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the AMC have been awarded a Vici grant of 1.5 million euros by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The laureates are Prof. Arianna Betti, Dr Susanne la Fleur, Prof. Marieke de Goede, Prof. Christian Keysers and Dr Sera Markoff.


The projects

  • Prof. Arianna Betti (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation): Ideas at scale – Towards a computational history of ideas (e-Ideas)
    Imagine if there was a ‘Google Concepts’, a tool that allowed you to trace how ideas such as tolerance, evolution, or science have changed throughout history in all digital texts available to you. In this project, Betti will establish the proper methodological foundations to make such a tool possible in the future.

  • Dr Susanne la Fleur (AMC, Endocrinology): Ready for glucose challenges; a novel role for the brain’s reward center
    The brain is important for regulation of blood sugar levels. An unexpected discovery is that the reward area in the brain that is important for motivational behaviour can detect sugar and can influence blood sugar levels. La Fleur will investigate how and when this area of the brain regulates blood sugar and how that knowledge can be used to improve the treatment of diabetes.

  • Prof. Marieke de Goede (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Finance/Security Practice after 9/11: Tracking the Money from Transaction to Trial 
    Banks are required to play a central role in combating terrorism by, for example, intercepting flows of money to ISIL. How does this influence decisions about security as equally the safeguarding of clients' privacy? In this project, De Goede will analyse the financial security chain from bank to courtroom.

  • Prof. Christian Keysers (Brain & Cognition and Netherlands Brain Institute - Social Brain Lab): From vicarious activations to neurons and social behaviour - a cross-species approach
    How does our brain make the emotions of others catching? Keysers will measure which cells in the brain encode emotions and how the emotions of others influence our own. He will modify this brain activity to test how this alters social behaviour.

  • Dr Sera Markoff (Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy): From micro- to mega-scales: understanding how black holes shape the local universe
    Black holes are exotic, very fundamental building blocks of the universe. When mass falls into black holes they eject powerful 'jets' that can drastically change their surroundings and can even stop the growth of galaxies or the formation of stars within these. With this project, Markoff will try to gain a better understanding of the content and power of these jets and their feedback.