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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros to 11 experienced researchers from the University of Amsterdam and Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA). The grant will enable the researchers to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group.


In the current allocation round, the NWO awarded a grant to 86 research proposals; 571 researchers submitted a research proposal for funding. The UvA and AMC-UvA laureates will use the grant to, among other things, carry out research into imitation behaviour, the weather on alien planets and allergic esophagitis

The recipients

Dr Lisa van Baarsen (Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology): Fibroblasts Direct Rheumatoid Arthritis Development

Mice studies show that stromal cells are essential for the development of tolerance for self-tissues. Baarsen will investigate the function of these cells in relation to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. This will lead to more insight into the development of autoimmune diseases and provide innovative preventive treatment strategies.

Dr Carolyn Birdsall (Media Studies): Media Collections as Conflict Heritage

Conflict and war are commonly understood to seriously impact cultural collections, but the current challenge is how to map this process effectively. In this project, Birdsall will use national radio collections in Europe - during and after World War II - to trace how cultural objects can become transnational conflict heritage.

Dr Wouter van den Bos (Psychology): To Imitate or not to Imitate….

If your friends jump from the bridge, do you jump too? This rhetorical question is addressed to teenagers daily, but is the answer so clear? In this project, Van den Bos will investigate how we become smarter in imitating others and how it relates to risk-taking and the developing brain.

Dr Arjan Bredenoord (Gastroenterology and Hepatology): Identification of Food Allergens in Allergic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis (allergic esophagitis) is an allergic disease that leads to progressive narrowing of the esophagus so that food cannot be swallowed any more. Bredenoord will use small pieces of esophageal tissue to explore which food causes the disease, so that patients know which food they should avoid.

Dr Miranda Cheng (Mathematics and Physics): Moonshine in String Theory

String theory is a physical theory aiming at a uniform description of all laws of nature. The word moonshine refers to a mysterious relation between two different types of mathematical structures: special functions and finite groups. In this project, Miranda and fellow researchers will solve the puzzle of the origin of this relation by studying it in the context of string theory.

Dr Jean-Michel Désert (Astronomy): Weather on Alien World

We have discovered an astonishing diversity of planets outside the Solar System. To better understand the nature, origins and fates of these new worlds, and our own, Désert will retrieve their atmospheric composition, clouds, and weather systems occurring on these exoplanets.

Dr Evangelos) Kanoulas (Informatics): Conversational Search Engines

Searching for information in digital repositories plays a central role in today’s life. In this project, Kanoulas and fellow researchers will develop intelligent agents able to converse with users to accurately retrieve information in complex domains such as medical and legal.

Dr Bram Lancee (Sociology): Ethnic Discrimination on the Labour Market in Context

How do organisations and national institutions shape ethnic discrimination on the labour market? This four-country study analyses how organisational policies, organisational structure and interethnic attitudes explain discriminatory behaviour of employers. To answer these questions, Lancee will use a combination of methods: vignettes, field experiments, laboratory experiments and a survey.

Dr Elisabeth Lodder (Cardiovascular Diseases): Increasing the Pace of the Heart

Delay in conduction of the electrical impulse in the heart causes arrhythmia. No medications that improve conduction yet exist. TNNI3K was recently discovered as a new regulator of conduction. Lodder will study the mechanisms by which TNNI3K affects conduction and test TNNI3K-inhibitors to improve conduction and thereby prevent arrhythmia.

Dr Carla Rebeiro (Experimental Immunology): Fighting HIV-1 from the Inside

Immune cells at portals of HIV-1 entry are endowed with a shredder mechanism able to purge HIV-1. However, HIV actively thwarts this natural protective barrier. Rebeiro will uncover new ways to entrap HIV-1 into this shredding mechanism in a bid to halt HIV-1.

Dr Mingmin Shen (Mathematics): Algebraic or not?

Shen proposes to develop an obstruction theory to the integral Hodge conjecture by studying it in special - but important - cases and by relating it to the Grothendieck-Katz conjecture. He will then use the results to attack some long-standing rationality problems.

NWO Talent Scheme

Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Scheme. Researchers in the NWO Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.