Highlights

Most significant

Numerous grants were acquired by our outstanding researchers. We are delighted with these accomplishments. The most significant grants awarded in 2021 are presented on this page.

Grant received for new platform DARE-NL for cell and gene therapy

The new national platform DARE-NL has received a 5.3 mEuro grant from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF). Trudy Straetemans of UMC Utrecht is the platform's leader, with immunologist Harry Dolstra, theme Cancer development and immune defence, as Radboudumc’s co-applicant.

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Grant received for new platform DARE-NL for cell and gene therapy

Improvement of cell therapy and gene therapy, to allow more patients to take advantage of these innovative treatments.
Harry Dolstra, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 5,000 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 402 kEuro

The new national platform DARE-NL has received a 5.3 mEuro grant from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF). Trudy Straetemans of UMC Utrecht is the platform's leader. Immunologist Harry Dolstra, theme Cancer development and immune defence, is one of the co-applicants. DARE-NL will improve the availability of cell therapy and gene therapy. That way, more patients can start using these innovative treatments.

Cell therapy is a treatment with living body cells. These are usually cells from the patient's own immune system. These immune cells are taken from the blood and processed molecularly so that they can better recognize and destroy cancer cells. The processed cells are then administered to the patient by infusion. Gene therapy is used when the DNA of the immune cells is also modified.

Promising treatments are not yet reaching the patient


Cell therapy and gene therapy are promising treatments. Many patients are free of disease for a long time after the therapy; some people even recover completely. Especially for patients who do not have many treatment options, these therapies can offer a new perspective. Despite this great promise, there are not many cell and gene therapies available to patients at present. In the Netherlands, there are only a few. 
Many cell and gene therapies fail in their development and do not reach the patient. There are several reasons for this, such as the complex nature of the therapy and its safety. Another factor is that the knowledge and experience in the Netherlands is fragmented, few qualified personnel have been trained and the legislation and regulations are complicated.

A national infrastructure to make cell and gene therapy available more quickly


The new national platform DARE-NL is going to change this. The platform brings together all knowledge and expertise in the field of cell and gene therapy in 1 national infrastructure. DARE-NL is a knowledge network, a platform for raw materials and technologies, and it ensures that patients can make use of cell and gene therapy. 
DARE-NL consists of renowned researchers from all eight university medical centers, the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Sanquin Research and Utrecht University. Tumor immunologist Dr. Trudy Straetemans of UMC Utrecht is the project leader and Dr. Harry Dolstra, immunologist at the hematology laboratory of the Radboudumc's Department of Laboratory Medicine, Prof. Dr. Edwin Bremer of UMCG and Dr. Inge Jedema of the Netherlands Cancer Institute are the other three initiators of the platform. 
By joining forces, the development and production of new cell therapies and gene therapies is made easier and faster. In this way, the platform builds the bridge between a new idea and its clinical implementation, and in the future more people with cancer can benefit from these promising treatments.

The researchers are in the starting blocks


With the grant from KWF, DARE-NL can get started right away. The first step is to make an inventory of already available knowledge and set up a national IT platform to collect and share information. In addition, work will be done to develop and make available supporting sub-platforms for the exchange and harmonization of materials, processes, knowledge and the training of personnel.

 


Tiny blood vessels, big problems Radboudumc receives grant for international collaboration

The Radboudumc, together with the University of Cambridge, receives a grant of 1.8 mEuro from three collaborating cardiac foundations for international research into the small blood vessels in the brain. This study will be led by Neurologist Frank-Erik de Leeuw and internist Niels Riksen.

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Tiny blood vessels, big problems Radboudumc receives grant for international collaboration

CONTROL-SVD.
Niels Riksen, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 1.8 mEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 400 kEuro.

The Radboudumc, together with the University of Cambridge, receives a grant of 1.8 mEuro from three collaborating cardiac foundations for international research into the small blood vessels in the brain. Neurologist Frank-Erik de Leeuw and internist Niels Riksen will jointly investigate the role of inflammation and the immune system in what goes wrong in these tiny brain vessels, which can lead to strokes and diseases such as dementia.  

This research revolves around the tiny blood vessels in our brains. These are very important to supply our brain with oxygen, but in many people they do not work optimally. This can lead to cerebral small vessel disease, a brain disease that causes all kinds of symptoms, ranging from memory problems to dementia and Parkinsonism. It also causes over 25% of all brain infarcts and the majority of all brain haemorrhages.

There is no good treatment yet, because scientists do not yet understand exactly what goes wrong in those cerebral vessels. The international team, consisting of research leaders neurologist Frank-Erik de Leeuw, internist Niels Riksen and researchers from the University of Cambridge, will investigate this in detail over the next few years. They have hypothesized that the immune system, which protects the body from outside bacteria and viruses, plays a role in the development of small vessel disease.

By gaining a better understanding of how the immune system works, the researchers hope to gain more insight into the origins of this disease. Frank-Erik de Leeuw: "This grant provides a wonderful impetus to further expand a long-standing collaboration between Niels and me and to make maximum use of our complementary expertise in order to jointly find new treatments for patients with small vessel disease."
Niels Riksen: "Together with top researchers from Cambridge, we can look in great detail at how the immune system works in patients with small vessel disease; we expect this to lead to unique new insights into this disease."

This study is funded by the Heart Foundation, working with British and German colleagues, namely the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung (DZHK). It is expected that this international collaboration will provide new insights that the countries individually would not achieve - or would be much less likely to achieve. The cooperation partners in Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands all have specific knowledge, which is now being brought together for the first time.


KWF grant for better selection of individuals and lung nodules in lung cancer screening

The Dutch Cancer Society has awarded the consortium project ‘Multi-source data approach for Personalized Outcome Prediction in lung cancer screening’ with a grant of 1.4 mEuro.

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KWF grant for better selection of individuals and lung nodules in lung cancer screening

Multi-source data approach for Personalized Outcome Prediction in lung cancer screening (NELSON-POP)
Colin Jacobs, Rare cancers.
Total grant: 1.4 mEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1.4 mEuro.

The Dutch Belgian NELSON trial has recently demonstrated that low-dose CT screening leads to a 24% reduction in lung cancer mortality amongst long-term smokers. However, if a cohort were invited for screening based on age and long-term smoking (like in NELSON), many individuals would not benefit. Furthermore, many screen-detected lung nodules lead to extra investigations while most nodules are benign. Better methods are needed for stricter selection of screenees who will benefit from screening, and for improved nodule stratification.

The Dutch Cancer Society has awarded the consortium project ‘Multi-source data approach for Personalized Outcome Prediction in lung cancer screening (NELSON-POP)’ with a grant of 1,4 mEuro. In this consortium, the unique expertise and data from the various NELSON sites and associated research groups are combined to leverage various unexplored data sources, in order to identify the factors most predictive of lung cancer. Fundamental knowledge will be gained about the predictive power of data sources and biomarkers that can be derived for NELSON participants, namely genetic and environmental data, lung nodule risk data and chest CT biomarkers.

The consortium project is a public-private partnership and will be led by Rozemarijn Vliegenthart (University Medical Center Groningen) and brings the expertise of University Medical Center Groningen, Erasmus MC, UMC Utrecht, KU Leuven, Radboud UMC and MUMC+ together. This project is co-funded by Siemens Healthineers.

From Radboudumc, the department of Medical Imaging is involved in the consortium project. Colin Jacobs will lead the work package on using artificial intelligence to accurately determine the cancer probability of lung nodules, and subsequently develop optimized nodule management protocols.

Other KWF grants

Off-the-shelf stem cell-derived NK cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors and interleukine 15 to improve cancer immunotherapy. 
Harry Dolstra, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 726 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 726 kEuro.

Glyco-immune checkpoint mAbs against mSiglec E/ hSiglec 7/9 for immunotherapy of cancer (SIGLEC).
Gosse Adema, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 712 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 712 kEuro.


Technology saves lives! 1.9 mEuro from the Heart Foundation for developing smart watches

Niels van Royen is proud to be part of this consortium, initiated by Judith Bonnes, to develop a wrist band for early detection of cardiac arrest. Together with Erasmus MC, Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis and Corsano Health.

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Technology saves lives! 1.9 mEuro from the Heart Foundation for developing smart watches

DETECT: Development of a wearable bracelet that automatically DETECTs cardiac arrest: the next step in improving cardiac arrest survival.
Niels van Royen, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 928 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 928 kEuro.

The Heart Foundation is awarding nearly 1.9 mEuro to the development of smart watches. These are smartwatches that can detect a cardiac arrest as well as alert emergency services. Very important, because many people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital have no witnesses. And then calling 112 is also not possible. These kinds of technological solutions can save lives!

The money goes to two research projects, one led by the Radboudumc, Niels van Royen and one led by the Technical University of Eindhoven. Companies also participate in the research.

The project led by researcher Niels van Royen, theme Vascular damage stated the following: Technology saves lives! Help after a cardiac arrest now often comes too late for a large group of people. With solutions that enable quick help, we can prevent many deaths and neurological damage from cardiac arrest.

Niels is proud to be part of this consortium, initiated by Judith Bonnes, theme Vascular damage, to develop a wrist band for early detection of cardiac arrest. Together with Erasmus MC, Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis and Corsano Health.

 


Georgina Florez-Grau received ENW-XS grant from NWO

Georgina Florez-Grau has received an ENW-XS grant from the NWO for her project titled: ‘All immune-defence mechanisms are balanced: fact or fiction? Truth-finding in cancer patients.’

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Georgina Florez-Grau received ENW-XS grant from NWO

'All immune-defence mechanisms are balanced: fact or fiction? Truth-finding in cancer patients.'
Georgina Florez-Grau, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro

On 6 October 2021 Georgina Florez-Grau received the NWO Open Competition XS-grant. 
In this grant we want to study how to reverse the inhibitory effect of the tumor on the trained immunity to facilitate the development of beneficial trained-immunity types of immunotherapies for the benefit of patients.

 


Pascal Miesen received ENW-XS grant from NWO

Pascal Miesen received ENW-XS grant for his project titled: 'The sweet touch; glycoRNAs as novel players in immune cell communication.'

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Pascal Miesen received ENW-XS grant from NWO

The sweet touch; glycoRNAs as novel players in immune cell communication. 
Pascal Miesen, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a crucial molecule with diverse functions in living cells. The amount and activity of RNA is regulated by various chemical modifications. It was recently discovered that RNA is also glycosylated, in which sugar molecules are attached to the RNA. The function of glycosylated RNA, short glycoRNAs, is completely unknown. Their localization on the cell surface and their binding to proteins found on immune cells suggests a role in cell communication during immune defense. In this project, researchers are studying the function of glycoRNAs in immune defense against viruses.



NWO-Groot grant awarded to Nico Sommerdijk for groundbreaking research with electron microscopy

In situ imaging of Biological Materials with Nanoscale Resolution using Liquid Phase Electron Microscopy (BIOMATEM)
Nico Sommerdijk, Nanomedicine.
Total grant: 1,500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1,500 kEuro.

Radboud university medical center and Radboud University, together with the universities of Leiden and Amsterdam, will use electron microscopy to obtain new insights and leads for the development of better medicines. To establish the required research facilities, Nico Sommerdijk and colleagues will both receive an NWO-Groot grant of two 1,5 mEuro and an additional contribution of 500 thousand euros from Radboudumc.

The complex biological processes inside and outside our cells form the basis of both health and disease. The development of new therapies for major diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis requires a fundamental understanding of these processes. In search of new fundamental insights and leads for the development of better medicines, researchers Nico Sommerdijk and Niels de Jonge, at the forefront of this field, are introducing a new type of electron microscope to study biological systems real time - without damaging them - in their natural habitat in detail. This nanoscopic imaging of biological systems sensitive to electron beams is challenging, but essential for improved understanding in the life sciences.

Nobel Prizes for Microscopy

Recent innovations in biological microscopy techniques have already advanced the field, as highlighted by the two Nobel Prizes awarded for the development of cryo-electron microscopy and super-resolution microscopy. Yet, these techniques are not able to reveal the full dynamics and context of the monitored processes, or these techniques lack the required spatial resolution. Recent developments in liquid phase electron microscopy have opened up the possibility to finally overcome these limitations and provide a powerful tool for dynamic imaging of biological processes the molecular scale.

National facility to better understand biological systems

Nico Sommerdijk, Professor of Bone Biochemistry at Radboud university medical center, explains his research. “We are going to set up a globally unique facility using the recently awarded NWO Groot (BIOMATEM). This facility will be the first of its kind dedicated to dynamic electron microscopy of biological materials in liquid, and as such will be internationally attractive for many researchers to conduct pioneering research. The technology is already highly advanced and can be applied immediately to achieve breakthroughs in the research programs of several Dutch biomedical groups. At the same time, ongoing innovations in hardware, software and sample preparation will significantly improve the imaging quality, expanding the variety of biological systems that can be examined.”

About the BIOMATEM project

BIOMATEM stands for In Situ Imaging of Biological Materials with Nanoscale Resolution using Liquid Phase Electron Microscopy. Co-applicants from Nijmegen are Dr. Elena Macias, Prof. Niels de Jonge, Prof. Sander Leeuwenburgh and Prof. Daniela Wilson (Radboud University).

About NWO Groot

With this program the Dutch scientific organization NWO funds large scientific facilities in which scientists from across the Netherlands collaborate, often with international partners. This investment enables a wide range of researchers to conduct innovative experiments and unlock new data. By making these investment funds available for the purchase of high-quality equipment, data collections and software, NWO strengthens the scientific infrastructure of Dutch knowledge institutions. With these funds NWO supports large national and international scientific projects, thereby also stimulating cooperation between scientists.


NWO OTP grant to investigate fibrotic diseases with organ-on-a-chip technology

Wouter Verdurmen and Peter van der Kraan have been awarded with a grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-OTP) to develop and employ innovative organ-on-a-chip models to investigate fibrotic diseases, with a particular focus on systemic sclerosis.

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NWO OTP grant to investigate fibrotic diseases with organ-on-a-chip technology

Next-generation organ-on-a-chip model for modelling fibrotic diseases - FibOoC. 
Wouter Verdurmen, Nanomedicine and Peter van der Kraan, Inflammatory diseases.
Total grant: 660 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 415 kEuro.

Wouter Verdurmen, Nanomedicine and Peter van der Kraan, Inflammatory diseases, in a consortium together with Séverine Le Gac (University of Twente), four companies (Fluigent, BEOnChip, Mercurna and Predica Diagnostics) and societal partners (Proefdiervrij and ReumaNederland) have been awarded with a grant of 820k Euro by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-OTP, Open Technology Programme) to develop and employ innovative organ-on-a-chip models to investigate fibrotic diseases, with a particular focus on systemic sclerosis.

In the research project entitled FibOoC (Fibrosis-Organ-on-a-Chip), the team will develop organ-on-a-chip models to study fibrosis and investigate novel candidate therapies. The research will be a collaboration with the clinic (Madelon Vonk, Dept. of Rheumatology) and make use of patient-derived materials to develop all-human testing systems as an alternative to animal models in the study of fibrotic diseases.

The project builds upon an earlier TURBO grant awarded to Wouter Verdurmen, Roland Brock, and Séverine Le Gac in which the team developed a new approach to implement hypoxic culture conditions in an organ-on-a-chip model, yet for cancer research. In the devices that will be developed, it will additionally be possible to expose tissues to mechanical forces. 


Sander Leeuwenburgh and Sandra Heskamp received a grant from NWO for their PlatiBone research project

In the PlatiBone project, researchers Sander Leeuwenburgh and Sandra Heskamp will test new drugs that combine diagnostics, chemotherapy and radiation.

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Sander Leeuwenburgh and Sandra Heskamp received a grant from NWO for their PlatiBone research project

Combating bone metastases by bone tumor-targeted delivery of radioactive platinum-based anticancer drugs with combined chemo- and radiotherapeutic efficacy (PlatiBone).
Sander Leeuwenburgh, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine and Sandra Heskamp, Rare cancers.
Total grant: 850 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 420 kEuro.

Researchers from the Radboudumc, together with UMC Utrecht and University of Bari Aldo Moro, are receiving a grant of 850 kEuro from NWO for their PlatiBone research project. Two companies will additionally invest 200 kEuro. The partners are jointly developing new drugs to treat bone metastases. These drugs combine diagnostics, chemotherapy and radiation.

Effective treatments for bone metastases are still scarce. For example, in prostate cancer, doctors use radioactive radium, which is absorbed by bone and irradiates bone tumors. But recent research shows that this radiation can also damage healthy bone, while only a small number of patients actually responds well to this treatment. Therefore, there is an urgent need for effective treatment of bone metastases.

Combination of chemo and radiation

Lead applicant for the PlatiBone project Sander Leeuwenburgh (Department of Dentistry) has been working for several years on the design of new drugs and biomaterials containing so-called bisphosphonates. "These are drugs that bind to calcium in the body and specifically accumulate in bones," he explains. "By coupling other substances to these bisphosphonates, they are targeted towards bones. Together with a collaborating lab in Italy, we developed compounds of bisphosphonates with platinum. The platinum causes damage to DNA in cells that divide quickly, such as cancer cells, and therefore acts as chemotherapy. If platinum is combined with bisphosphonate, it accumulates specifically in bone with high metabolic activity such as bone cancer, where it can release the platinum-based drugs that damage cancer cells."

During discussions with the Department of Medical Imaging, the idea emerged to use radioactive platinum instead of ordinary platinum. Co-applicant Sandra Heskamp explains the advantages: "Radioactive platinum (Pt-195m) is a gamma emitter which means that you can monitor if the drug is indeed taken up by bone metastases upon injection into the bloodstream. Furthermore, radioactive platinum emits so-called Auger radiation. So in addition to the effect of platinum itself, the radioactive particles also damage the DNA of the cancer cells, causing them to die."

Multidisciplinary project

In the Platibone project the researchers will test whether compounds consisting of bisphosphonates linked to radioactive platinum can effectively treat bone metastases. Leeuwenburgh: "Until recently I could never imagine we would be able to use radioactive platinum as a therapy for bone cancer, so the collaboration in this project is truly unique. This is a great example of multidisciplinary teamwork, where the active contributions of different teams really add value."

The first chemical compounds have already been prepared together with the University of Bari in Italy. The researchers will now test these drugs on models of prostate cancer and breast cancer, as these are common types of cancers that often spread to bones. But this technique may also be effective for bone metastases caused by other cancers. The Departments of Orthopedics of Radboudumc and UMC Utrecht are therefore actively involved to evaluate the possibility for clinical translation. UMC Utrecht will also develop new animal models, where bone containing tumor cells will be placed under the skin. The aim of these models is to rapidly advance basic research into clinical applications.  

Industrial commitment

In addition to the various Dutch and Italian universities, two companies specialized in production of nuclear medicines participate in PlatiBone: Urenco and NRG. Urenco will supply raw materials to NRG as source for production of radioactive platinum. NRG will optimize this production method towards a product for clinical use in patients. “This project connects perfectly with another project already underway with NRG,” says Heskamp. “In this Fieldlab project we are developing new radioactive drugs with other UMCs. Hopefully the two projects can reinforce each other to such extent that we’ll have new drugs for treatment of bone metastases."


NWO Rubicons for Michelle Brouwer and Guido van Mierlo

Two science talents received a Rubicon grant from Dutch scientific organization NWO. This grant is intended for young scientists with a doctoral degree to conduct research at foreign research institutes. The Rubicon program is intended to give young, promising scientists the opportunity to gain international research experience.

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NWO Rubicons for Michelle Brouwer and Guido van Mierlo

Unexpected player in brain development. 
Michelle Brouwer. Infectious diseases and global health.
Translating the communication between DNA. 
Guido van Mierlo. Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 97 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 97 kEuro.

Radboud university medical center researchers Guido van Mierlo and Michelle Brouwer received a Rubicon grant from Dutch scientific organization NWO. This grant is intended for young scientists with a doctoral degree to conduct research at foreign research institutes. The Rubicon program is intended to give young, promising scientists the opportunity to gain international research experience.

Unexpected player in brain development – Michelle Brouwer

Michelle Brouwer will work in Belgium at Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie for two years. Her research is about our immune system, that possesses an arsenal of deadly proteins to attack pathogens. Surprisingly, one of these proteins appears important for normal brain development. She will therefore investigate how this protein exactly functions in the brain.

Translating the communication between DNA – Guido van Mierlo

Guido van Mierlo will work in Switzerland for 24 months at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). His research is about our DNA, that contains the information essential for our life. The researcher will develop novel tools to investigate how (disturbed) collaboration between pieces of DNA contributes to the onset of disease, or rather protection against this.

About Rubicon

Experience abroad is an important step in the career of many scientists. The Rubicon grant allows young researchers to conduct their research at top institutions such as Stanford and Harvard. The majority of researchers go abroad for 24 months. A total of 26 Rubicon researchers go abroad for 24 months, with the other 19 laureates going away for between 12 and 18 months.

With a Rubicon funding, scientists can spend up to 24 months doing research at a foreign research institution. The amount of funding depends on the chosen destination and the length of stay. Each year NWO can fund around 60 young researchers within Rubicon (for a total amount of seven million euros, divided over three rounds). The awards from this post concern two merged 2020 funding rounds.


Veni grants for three RIMLS researchers

NWO has awarded 89 promising young scientists Veni funding of up to 280 kEuro. Three of them are from Radboud Institute of Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS). They can develop their own research ideas over a period of three years.

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Veni grants for three RIMLS researchers

ACCELERATE: ZebrAfish CanCer modEl Leading thE way towaRds treAtmenT dEvelopment for phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas.
Margo A. Dona, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.

Respiratory mucosal immunity: gateway to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood respiratory infections.
Lilly Verhagen, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.

Dynamic changes in proteins during embryonic development.
Suzan Stelloo, RIMLS-Faculty of Science.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.

The Veni is awarded annually by NWO and ZonMW. This year they have awarded 89 promising young scientists Veni funding of up to 280 kEuro. Eight of them are from Radboudumc and Radboud University. They can develop their own research ideas over a period of three years.

These scientists will conduct research into slowing Parkinson's disease through exercise, the genetic complexity of psychiatric disorders, how to measure fear memories in the brain, the impact of viruses on greenhouse gas emissions from soils, and more.

Three RIMLS researchers and their projects who received the Veni grant 2021 are:

Margo A. Dona,  Vascular damage
ACCELERATE: ZebrAfish CanCer modEl Leading thE way towaRds treAtmenT dEvelopment for phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas.
Mutations in the SDHB-gene are the most important risk factor for malignant phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas, endocrine tumours, for which no curative treatment is available. This project entails the development of a mutant zebrafish tumour model, in which treatment modalities will be tested leading to novel treatment possibilities.

Lilly Verhagen, Infectious diseases and global health
Respiratory mucosal immunity: gateway to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood respiratory infections
Blood immune markers are used to diagnose children with respiratory tract infections. However, every respiratory infection starts with a local immune response in the airways. We will study innate immune cells that are crucial for the respiratory mucosal immune response to enable future mucosal treatment strategies without antibiotic overuse.

Suzan Stelloo, RIMLS-Faculty of Science
Dynamic changes in proteins during embryonic development
During early embryogenesis, stem cells develop into various different cell types. The development of different cell types involves changes in both protein expression levels and protein-protein interactions. The researchers will investigate the dynamic changes in protein expression and interaction during the development of embryonic stem cells into more specialized cells.

Talent Programme

Veni, together with Vidi and Vici, is part of the NWO Talent Programme (previously: the Innovational Research Incentive). Veni is aimed at excellent researchers who have recently gained their doctorates. Within the Talent Programme researchers are free to submit their own subject for funding. In this way NWO encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative nature of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and opportunities for knowledge utilization.


Vici grant for Michiel Vermeulen Reading the epitranscriptome

Michiel Vermeulen, RIMLS/FNWI, has been awarded a Vici grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), one of the largest personal scientific awards in the Netherlands.

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Vici grant for Michiel Vermeulen Reading the epitranscriptome

Reading the epitranscriptome.
Michiel Vermeulen, RIMLS/FNWI, Cancer development and immune defense.
Total grant: 1,500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1,500 kEuro.

Michiel Vermeulen will use his grant to further study the epitranscriptome. Recently it became apparent that RNA modifications play an important role in regulating gene expression in health and disease. In this project, the underlying molecular mechanisms will be studied in great detail during blood cell differentiation. Furthermore, aberrant RNA modification patterns will also be studied in leukemia.

Vici is targeted at outstanding senior researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers.


ZonMw Open Competition grant for Annemiek van Spriel

Annemiek van Spriel, cancer development and immune defense, together with Piet Gros, Dept. of Chemistry, Utrecht University obtained a ZonMw Open Competition grant to investigate IL-6 receptor structure and signalling in tumor cells.

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ZonMw Open Competition grant for Annemiek van Spriel

Resolving the structure and organisation of tetraspanin-cytokine receptor complexes to target cancer.
Annemiek van Spriel, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 750 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 750 kEuro.

Inflammatory disorders, including autoimmune disease, chronic infections and cancer are characterized by over-activation of the immune system. One of the key pathways involved in inflammation is interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) signalling which is a therapeutic target in sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, haematological cancers and COVID-19. Still many patients do not respond to anti-IL-6(R) treatment, and one of the problems is our limited understanding of the IL-6R multimeric protein complex. We previously discovered that the IL-6R complex is inhibited by tetraspanin CD37 in the membrane of tumor cells.

Annemiek van Spriel (Dept. of Tumor Immunology, cancer development and immune defense) together with Piet Gros (Dept. of Chemistry, Utrecht University) obtained a ZonMw Open Competition Grant (750K Euro) to investigate IL-6 receptor structure and signalling in tumor cells in order to develop proof-of-concept therapy of targeting tetraspanin-cytokine receptor complexes in cancer.​ This ZonMw project aims to deliver 1) conceptual new molecular insight into cytokine receptor complexes in cancer cells, and 2) new prospective to target tetraspanin building blocks to inhibit cancer growth and inflammation.  


Two grants aiming at cornea regeneration for Jo Huiqing Zhou

Jo Huiqing Zhou is awarded with the ZonMw Open grant and the Velux Stiftung grant, both aiming at cornea regeneration.

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Two grants aiming at cornea regeneration for Jo Huiqing Zhou

CorneaRegID: Cornea regeneration instructed by molecular cell identity characterization.
Jo Zhou, RIMLS/FNWI, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.
Total grant: 750 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 750 kEuro.

Jo Huiqing Zhou (Molecular Developmental Biology, Human Genetics, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine) has received two multi-center grants, as the coordinator, for projects aiming at improving patient care and developing regeneration methods for cornea damage patients.

Cornea damage can lead to blindness and severely impair a patients' quality of life. The state-of-the-art treatment is a stem cell-based transplantation therapy that requires cornea stem cells from the patient's uninjured eye to regenerate the transparent cornea. For patients with two injured eyes, this treatment becomes impossible and blindness follows.

The ZonMw Open grant (750 kEuro), CorneaRegID, is a collaborative project between Maastricht University MERLN Institute, Maastricht UMC+ and Radboud University/Radboudumc. This project uses a data-driven approach to develop a novel transdifferentiation method by converting patient’s cell from other sources, such as skin or oral mucosa, to cornea stem cells for efficient corneal regeneration, thereby restoring vision and preventing blindness. For this, they will apply single-cell multi-omics approaches to identify the precise cell fates of cornea stem cells and cells of the skin and oral mucosa from the same donors. These cell fate maps will guide rational design of genetic modification-free transdifferentiation strategies suitable for transplantation.

Another grant (193 kEuro) funded by Velux Stiftung that focuses on improving eyesight research in low- and middle income countries is an international endeavor with collaboration of clinicians and scientists in Palestine, Israel and the Netherlands. Part of the project will focus on training of Palestinian ophthalmologists for improving phenotyping and diagnosis, identifying genetic conditions of cornea diseases and preparing for future transplantation. The other part of the project is to characterize and improve existing suboptimal transdifferentiation methods for future transplantation. This project focuses specifically on vision problems in Palestinian territories, but the technology will benefit cornea patients world-wide. 


ZonMw grants to study optimal use of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with impaired immune systems

How do people with reduced immunity, especially kidney patients, react to a COVID-19 vaccination? And how can patients with peripheral arterial disease be helped by DNA testing? Our researchers received grants from ZonMw to make these studies possible.

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ZonMw grants to study optimal use of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with impaired immune systems

Renal patients COVID-19 vaccination (RECOVAC) consortium.
Renate van der Molen, Inflammatory diseases and Dimitri Diavatopoulos, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 3,830 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 485 kEuro.

How do people with reduced immunity, especially kidney patients, react to a COVID-19 vaccination? And how can patients with peripheral arterial disease be helped by DNA testing? Two different studies at the Radboudumc will try to find answers to these two questions. These studies are made possible by ZonMw.

COVID-19 vaccination in people with impaired immune system

Researchers Renate van der Molen, Inflammatory diseases and Dimitri Diavatopoulos, Infectious diseases and global health and Marije Baas and Luuk Hilbrands, both theme Renal disorders are going to collaborate with all the Dutch umc's to study the safety and efficacy of the corona vaccine for people with impaired immune system. ZonMw has made a sum of 3,2 million euros available for this. The study in which the Radboudumc participates, the RECOVAC study (led by UMC Groningen), looks at kidney patients. For them, COVID-19 is extra dangerous and an effective and safe vaccine is of great importance. Vaccine developers' clinical trials have almost never not included patients with severe renal failure and transplant patients. Therefore, two issues are now being investigated. Firstly, the immune system response and the clinical course after vaccination in patients with severe kidney damage (kidney function less than 30 percent), in dialysis patients and in kidney transplant patients. In addition, the long-term efficacy and side effects of the vaccines in a group of dialysis and kidney transplant patients will be investigated.

Better prescription of blood thinners based on DNA research in patients with peripheral arterial vascular disease

Physician-researchers and PhD candidates Loes Willems and Josephine Kranendonk will initiate the GENPAD study together with vascular and transplant surgeon Michiel Warlé, also principal investigator. For the GENPAD study, they have received a grant of 600K euros from ZonMw. The GENPAD study is a study into better prescription of blood thinners on the basis of DNA research in patients with peripheral arterial disease (arteriosclerosis of the legs). Peripheral arterial vascular disease increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. To prevent these complications as much as possible, patients are routinely prescribed a blood thinner, the drug Clopidogrel. In patients with certain DNA changes, Clopidogrel works less well. The GENPAD study will see whether patients suffer fewer complications if the treatment with the blood thinner is adapted to the results of the patient's DNA test. Should this treatment lead to better results, the study will also look at whether this method is cost-effective. This will possibly lead to changes in the current guidelines.


Marie Curie Fellowship for Elena Macías Sánchez

Elena Macías Sánchez has been awarded with a MSCA-IF to develop her project in the department of Biochemistry, RIMLS.

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Marie Curie Fellowship for Elena Macías Sánchez

Deciphering collagen mineralization process by dynamic imaging in liquid (DYNAMIN). 
Elena Macías-Sánchez, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine. 
Total grant: 186 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 186 kEuro.

Elena Macías-Sánchez, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine, has been awarded a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, to develop a two-year project investigating the process of bone mineralization. Elena will develop a new imaging platform combining Liquid Phase Electron Microscopy (LPEM) with immunolabelling to study the role of regulatory molecules (proteoglycans) in mineral formation at nanoscale resolution. “By recreating the physiological mineralization conditions inside a liquid cell, we aim to obtain real-time data on the mineralization dynamics of bone.”

Despite its clinical relevance, the mechanism of bone formation is still poorly understood, mainly due to the complexity of the underlying processes. Until now most studies relied on simplified in vitro models that cannot represent this complexity. Furthermore, methods traditionally applied only provide snapshots of these processes, unable to extract dynamic information. “To really understand the mechanisms regulating bone mineralization, we need to simultaneously visualize the different components in their context, to be able to monitor these complex interactions.”

The project will be carried out at the Department of Biochemistry, under the supervision of Nico Sommerdijk, theme Nanomedicine/Reconstructive and Regenerative medicine, and in close collaboration with Niels de Jonge from the Leibnitz Institute for New Materials (INM, Saarbrucken). Sommerdijk and De Jonge pioneer the study of biomolecular interactions in the hydrated state by means of electron microscopy. The project is supported by the Electron Microscopy Center recently established within the RTC Microscopy.


NWO grants overview

NWO grants awarded to RIMLS researchers.

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NWO grants overview

NWO ENW-XS grants

RNA computational logic to classify and remove senescent cells. Ronald Brock, Nanomedicine.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro.

All immune-defence mechanisms are balanced: fact or fiction? Truth-finding in cancer patients. Georgina Florez-Grau, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro.

First AID to study mosquito immunity right on time. Ronald van Rij, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro.

The sweet touch; glycoRNAs as novel players in immune cell communication. Pascal Miessen, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro.

NWO-Groot grant

In situ imaging of Biological Materials with Nanoscale Resolution using Liquid Phase Electron Microscopy (BIOMATEM). Nico Sommerdijk, Nanomedicne.
Total grant: 1,500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1,500 kEuro.

NWO-OTP (Open Technology Program)

Next generation organ-on-a-chip model for modelling fibrotic diseases - FibOoC. Wouter Verdurmen & Peter van der Kraan, Nanomedicine.
Total grant: 660 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 415 kEuro.

Combating bone metastases by bone tumor-targeted delivery of radioactive platinum-based anticancer drugs with combined chemo- and radiotherapeutic efficacy (PlatiBone). Sander Leeuwenburgh, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine and Sandra Heskamp, Rare cancers.
Total grant: 850 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 420 kEuro.

Rubicon

Translating communication between DNA. Guido van Mierlo, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 97 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 97 kEuro.

Unexpected player in brain development. Michelle Brouwer. Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 97 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 97 kEuro.

Veni

ACCELERATE: ZebrAfish CanCer modEl Leading thE way towaRds treAtmenT dEvelopment for phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Margo A. Dona, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.


Respiratory mucosal immunity: gateway to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood respiratory infection. Lilly Verhagen, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.


Dynamic changes in proteins during embryonic development. Suzan Stelloo, RIMLS-Faculty of Science.
Total grant: 350 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 350 kEuro.

Vidi

Alpha-emitters: a new treatment option for therapy-resistant tumor cells. Sandra Heskamp, Rare cancers.
Total grant: 800 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 800 kEuro.

Vici 

Reading the epitranscriptome. Michiel Vermeulen, RIMLS/FNWI, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 1,500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1,500 kEuro.

 


ZonMw grants overview

A presentation of our ZonMw grants.

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ZonMw grants overview

ZonMw Open Competition grant

Resolving the structure and organisation of tetraspanin-cytokine receptor complexes to target cancer. Annemiek van Spriel, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 750 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 750 kEuro.

CorneaRegID: Cornea regeneration instructed by molecular cell identity characterization. Jo Zhou, RIMLS/FNWI, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.
Total grant:750 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 750 kEuro.

ZonMw grant (COVID-19 program)

Renal patients COVID-19 vaccination (RECOVAC) consortium. Renate van der Molen, Infectious diseases and global health and Dimitri Diavatopoulos, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 3,830 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 485 kEuro.
Timing and sequence of vaccination against COVID-19 and Influenza (TACTIC). Mihai Netea, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 473 kEuro.

ZonMw PSIDER grant

Beyond the blastocyst: modeling human embryology with stem cells. Michiel Vermeulen, RIMLS/FNWI and Klaas Mulder, Cancer development and immune defence. 
Total grant: 3,500 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 1,000 kEuro.

ZonMw Off Road grant

MitoCarrier-Glo: probing drug effects on mitochondrial metabolite transport. Tom Schirris, Metabolic diseases.
Total grant: 100 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 100 kEuro.

Immune recognition of putative alien microbial structures. Jorge Dominguez Andres, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 100 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 100 kEuro.

Exploiting death to create a safe and efficacious malaria vaccine​. Annie Yang, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 100 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 100 kEuro.


Charity Foundation grants overview

A selection of our Charity Foundation grants.

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Charity Foundation grants overview

Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) grants

Research project, project # 2021-1. Off-the-shelf stem cell-derived NK cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors and interleukine 15 to improve cancer immunotherapy. Harry Dolstra, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 726 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 726 kEuro.

Research project, project # 2021-2: Glyco-immune checkpoint mAbs against mSiglec E/ hSiglec 7/9 for immunotherapy of cancer (SIGLEC). Gosse Adema, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 712 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 712 kEuro

Control - SVD, Tiny blood vessels, big problems. Niels Riksen, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 1.8 mEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 400 kEuro.

DETECT. Development of a wearable bracelet that automatically DETECTs cardiac arrest: the next step in improving cardiac arrest survival. Niels van Royen, Vascular damage.
Total grant: 929 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 929 kEuro.

DARE-NL. Harry Dolstra, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 5,000 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 402 kEuro.

Dutch Digestive Foundation grant

Initiation of a Dutch NAFLD consortium: sharing local expertise in a common mission to improve case finding and care for patients with NAFLD. Joost Drenth, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 165 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 165 kEuro.

Dutch Kidney Foundation grants

Innovation grant

A sweet deal: repurposing SGLT2i for renal hypomagnesemia. Tom Nijenhuis and Jeroen de Baaij, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 100 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 100 kEuro.

Senior Kolff Fellowship

Crystal clear: dietary prevention of vascular calcification in CKD. Jeroen de Baaij, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 375 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 375 kEuro.


Horizon 2020 grants overview

Some of the Horizon2020 grants obtained by our RIMLS researchers.

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Horizon 2020 grants overview

Marie Curie Fellowship

Deciphering collagen mineralization process by dynamic imaging in liquid (DYNAMIN). Elena Macias Sanchez, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.
Total grant 186 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 186 kEuro.

Horizon 2020 ERICA project (SC1-HCO-20-2020)

European Rare dIsease research Coordination and support Action (ERICA). Nicoline Hoogerbrugge, Tumours of the digestive tract and Wout Feitz, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.
Total grant: 2,314 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 65 kEuro.

European Joint Program on Rare Diseases (EJP-RD JTC 2020)

A cell-based reprogramming strategy for drug repositioning in patients with mitochondrial DNA-associated Leigh Syndrome. Werner Koopman, Metabolic diseases.
Total grant: 2,061 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 250 kEuro.
Aniridia – Novel therapeutic tools to treat or prevent progressive cornea opacification. Jo Zhou, RIMLS/FNWI, Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.
Total grant: 1,404 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 250 kEuro.
CHAnging Rare disorders of LysInE metabolism - CHARLIE. Clara van Karnebeek, Metabolic diseases.
Total grant: 1,239 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 250 kEuro.


Other grants overview

An overview of various grants awarded to our researchers.

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Other grants overview

IMI grant (IMI2-2020 call 20)

UNITE4TB - Academia and industry united innovation and treatment for tuberculosis. Martin Boeree and Lindsey ter Brake, Infectious diseases and global health.
Total grant: 185 mEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 65 mEuro.

Hanarth fonds

Multimodal data fusion to guide the development of immunotherapies for uveal melanoma patients. Kalijn Bol and Johannes Textor, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 390 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 390 kEuro.

Development of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve histopathological detection of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (DGC). Chella van der Post and Francesco Ciompi, Tumours of the digestive tract.
Total grant: 399 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 399 kEuro.

Villa Joep grant

Villa Joep Research Grant for Radiotherapy & OncoImmunology (ROI). Renske van den Bijgaart and Gosse Adema, Cancer development and immune defence.
Total grant: 410 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 410 kEuro

Academic Alliance Fund (AAF) grant

NETworking: Deciphering the pathologic properties of the neutrophil in Covid-19, ANCAassociated. Cansu Yanginlar and Johan van der Vlag, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 100 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 100 kEuro

STIMAG grant

Development of a novel treatment approach for pancreatic cancer using fibroblast activation protein-targeted photodynamic therpay. Sanne van Lith, Tumours of the digestive tract.
Total grant: 50 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 50 kEuro

LSH-TKI PPS Allowance

Enabling Functional Omics in Routine Clinical Environments (EnFORCE). Hans Wessels and Alain van Gool, Metabolic diseases.
Total grant: 364 kEuro. Awarded Radboudumc: 364 kEuro

KNAW Ter Meulen grant

Multiphoton ablation for the development of human vascularized renal organoids. Jitske Jansen, Renal disorders.
Total grant: 4,600 Euro. Awarded Radboudumc: 4,600 Euro