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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Rubicon Grant to UvA researchers Jesús Aguirre Gutiérrez, Marc Heerdink and Annegreet Veldhuis-Vlug. The grant will allow them to conduct research at a foreign research institute.


Jesús Aguirre Gutiérrez (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics and Naturalis Biodiversity Center): Making Sense of Diversity: Remote Sensing of Functional Diversity of Tropical Forests

The diversity of tree species in a forest ensures resilience against changes. Together with colleagues at Oxford University’s Centre for the Environment, Gutiérrez will use new satellite data, e.g. hyperspectral data, to distinguish tree species so that a forest's resilience can be determined remotely.

Marc Heerdink (Psychology): Twitter Wars: Bipolarization, Hostile Emotional Expressions and Group Formation on Twitter

In online discussions two camps can often be recognised that show increasingly more extreme and opposite positions: bipolarisation. Based on Twitter discussions, Heerdink will investigate whether online bipolarisation strengthens enmity between groups and leads to the formation of groups with extreme opinions.

Heerdink will conduct his research for a period of one year at the department of Experiment Psychology at the University of Oxford.

Annegreet Veldhuis-Vlug (Academic Medical Center): A New Role for Follicle Stimulating Hormone in Bone and Fat Metabolism  

After the menopause, the level of the female sex hormone oestrogen decreases and the level of the pituitary gland hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) increases. Veldhuis-Vlug will examine whether FSH also plays a role in the increased risk of osteoporosis and obesity after the menopause.

Veldhuis-Vlug will conduct her research for a period of one year at Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s Center for Clinical & Translational Research (US).

About Rubicon Grants

The NWO’s Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising scientists the opportunity to gain international research experience. This year, a total of 21 researchers received a Rubicon Grant.