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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a prestigious Vici grant worth 1.5 million euros to four researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The grant will enable the researchers to conduct research and create their own research group over the coming five years. The laureates are Prof. Hilde Geurts, Dr Filip Meysman, Dr Jacobus de Roode and Prof. Eric-Jan Wagenmakers.

The projects:

Prof. Hilde Geurts (Psychology): The curious case of autism and aging

With increasing age, people’s cognitive skills decline. How quickly this happens, differs among people and depends on a variety of factors. It is not known whether having autism is a risk-factor for aging or a potential protective factor. In this project this will be tested and influential factors will be determined.

Dr Filip Meysman (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics): Microbial electricity: a surprise from the seafloor

In the seafloor bacteria are present that generate electrical currents over long distances, and this dramatically influences the ecology and geochemistry of the seafloor. This Vici project will elucidate how this newly discovered “electrical biosphere” functions. This research may eventually lead to entirely new conducting materials and bio-electrical applications.

Dr Jaap de Roode (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics): Does medication breed weak animals and vicious parasites?

Humans routinely use drugs to treat their own diseases and those of their agricultural animals. But what are the long-term consequences for health? The researchers will study monarch butterflies, which use medicinal plants to fight their parasites, to investigate whether drug use leads to weakened immunity and makes disease more severe.

Prof. Eric-Jan Wagenmakers (Department of Psychological Methods): Monitoring evidential flow: new Bayesian methods for medicine and psychology

Innovative research deserves coherent statistical analysis. This proposal aims to develop and disseminate new coherent analyses with important applications in medicine and psychology. Coherent analyses allow doctors and researchers to quantify evidence and monitor its flow as the data accumulate.