Highlights

Our insights

Research with impact, that's what we stand for. We like to share our insights and results with the world around us. Where science and society meet, beautiful collaborations arise.

Richarda de Voer on colorectal cancer

Why do some people develop cancer at a very young age in life? With this question Richarda wants to make a difference for patients, together with fundamental and translational researchers, people in diagnostics and clinicians. Watch what they achieved in 2021!

One year of the Green Lab Initiative by Özlem Bulut & Estel Collado Camps

The Radboudumc Green Lab Initiative (GLI) took off. The path followed by the GLI is an excellent example of how bottom-up initiatives can sprout and grow. It shows that the commitment of the young researchers at RIMLS to a healthy future goes much further than their daily research activities. read more

One year of the Green Lab Initiative by Özlem Bulut & Estel Collado Camps

In 2021, the Radboudumc Green Lab Initiative (GLI) took off. The path followed by the GLI is an excellent example of how bottom-up initiatives can sprout and grow. It shows that the commitment of the young researchers at RIMLS to a healthy future goes much further than their daily research activities.

GLI was born from disappointment turned into enthusiasm of 4 PhD candidates, Julie Verhoef, Estel Collado Camps, Ezgi Taşköprü, and Rebecca Halbach, in late 2020. Now, we have not only PhD candidates but also technicians, policy advisors, master students working together to make our professional lifestyle sustainable.

We did a lot in 2021. However, details are already provided in detail in different media. There is a great video by Teun Bousema, Julie, and Estel on GLI’s first significant achievement: The Radboudumc Freezer Challenge. 13 lab groups, in 3 months, managed to save 26% energy by just changing the temperature of their ultralow temperature (ULT) freezers from -80 oC to -70 oC.

Video ''The Radboudumc Freezer Challenge''

In collaboration with the Radboud Green Office, we’ve shot a video on GLI’s foundation, the challenges that we had, and some tips and tricks for newly starting green teams. Currently there are 7 green teams, apart from GLI. Also, thanks to our technician members, we’ve published a Dutch article in the national magazine of NVML (Dutch Association of Biomedical Laboratory Employees).

Video on GLI’s foundation

We have written monthly blogs for the Radboudumc Research Newsletter, which granted us some new members. The topics range from using glassware in the lab, hidden threat of vampire power, the ecological costs of data storage and maintaining servers, and sustainable office habits to conscious gift giving. We hope that there is something for everyone to learn. We’ve also promoted the Thoughtful Travel Pledge initiated by Teun Bousema, a vow to be more mindful of the ecological consequences of academic traveling.

Video ''Thoughtful Travel Pledge''

The growth of the GLI means a lot. It means that more people are at the frontline of working towards sustainability and creating awareness in several departments. In this way, awareness can spread like an oil slick on the ocean. Says Walther van den Broek, senior technician. A benign oil slick, in this case. Walther initiated a green team at the Department of Cell Biology, which is now connected to the GLI.

It makes us proud that our efforts grew to a national level within a single year, showing the power of shared ideas and active networking. In 2021, Green Labs NL was formed by researchers and staff from Sanquin Amsterdam, the Princess Maxima Center for child oncology, the ErasmusMC, Leiden University and our own RIMLS. Green Labs NL is the coming together of research sustainability enthusiasts from all over the Netherlands. By means of a rapidly growing network, its goal is to encourage more sustainable research countrywide.

Green Labs NL has led us to a grant from the Ministry of Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) to implement the pilot phase of the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) in the Netherlands. LEAF is a very successful guidance tool, which has been implemented in over 20 research institutions in the UK. Four labs from RIMLS are already testing LEAF, joining other Dutch institutions in the race to reduce carbon emissions.

The endeavors of the GLI have not been without difficulties. The first year has taught us about the importance of flexibility, horizontality, and openness in an institution. Many important partners did not know each other before the GLI brought them together. At times we did not know who was ultimately responsible or whom we had to approach when needing certain expertise. We also felt how the high workload and bureaucratic needs can prevent new ideas from flourishing. But we are proud of what we learned. Now that the RIMLS is part of an institute-broad reorganization (both physical and organizational), we want to send some key messages:

Flexibility and openness are needed to achieve cultural change. Cathelijne Frielink, a senior technician at Nuclear Medicine, saw how a simple message could change the perspective of many colleagues: 1,5 years ago, we joined the freezer challenge. When I asked everyone's permission to change the temperature from -80ºC to -70ºC to save a lot of energy, the whole group agreed. No one had realized before that a ULT at -80ºC was using that much energy, and that -70ºC was also a possibility!

Working in well-connected teams, promoting horizontality, and learning from each other will benefit innovation. The way a laboratory works is very specialized - even between labs, there are differences. Cathelijne tells us how having to be careful with radioactive waste makes one more conscious of how much is discarded and how:

At other departments, the workers from Asito take care of the regular bins in the lab. We have to do that ourselves because regular waste can be contaminated with radioactivity. We work with large amounts of radioactive material, which is discarded via a special route. If you trash your own waste, it’s more evident how much waste a lab is producing in one week! The amount of recyclable paper and plastic that end up in the wrong bins has been irritating me for years.

The Nuclear Medicine lab was also the first laboratory in The Netherlands to achieve the LEAF bronze level. Congratulations, and thank you for your dedication!

Translating plans from the lab to the managing teams and vice versa is challenging. Our advice? Visit each other. Before embarking on plans, learn how all parties work. Communicate proactively and state your needs and expectations. The next time a GLI member seems to be talking gibberish, ask for a guided tour. We would love to show you around the lab.

Thijmen Sietsma, the coordinator of Radboud Green Office, is working on connecting different green teams so that we all are more efficient. We are trying to get a plan of action from all the Green Teams. This gives us an overview of what every Green Team is working on. With this knowledge, we can connect Green Teams. We are also thinking about planning a symposium or another event where Green Teams can meet up and exchange ideas and experiences.

After all we’ve learned and done, the GLI is better connected and looking ahead to ambitious plans. We entered the phase 2 of the LEAF pilot and recently participated in a workshop to strengthen our connections and set the following goals. We’ll work to measure the energy consumption of lab equipment and monitor how much energy we can save. We are connected with the sustainability workgroup to ensure that the future lab spaces are designed for more sustainable daily work. We’ll continue our awareness campaign by organizing workshops, Q&A sessions, and writing more blogs.

Cathelijne and Walther sum up what our goals are for 2022:  We have to change the mentality of all the people who are working in the lab. That needs time. But just reminding, again and again, is essential to change the culture!

Our secret recipe for the next steps? Well, it’s not at all that secret:  A good and clear plan to convince the right people. Keep following us in these next steps. And who knows? Maybe you will even join our efforts.

Blog by Estel Collado Camps and Özlem Bulut


Crowdfunding contributed to a breakthrough in the treatment of IgA nephropathy patients

Raphaël Duivenvoorden started a research project, which was made possible by crowdfunding, to unravel the cause of IgA nephropathy. IgA nephropathy is a slowly progressing disease that causes kidney damage and leads to kidney failure in about 25-50% of patients. read more

Crowdfunding contributed to a breakthrough in the treatment of IgA nephropathy patients

IgA nephropathy is a slowly progressing disease that causes kidney damage and leads to kidney failure in about 25-50% of patients. The reason why some people develop IgA nephropathy is unclear and there is no effective treatment.

Raphaël Duivenvoorden has now started a research project to unravel the cause of IgA nephropathy. It is of fundamental importance to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to IgA nephropathy. The role of the gastrointestinal microbiome and immune cells in the bone marrow, are of particular interest for further research.

Therefore, in this research, Raphaël Duivenvoorden focuses on these two aspects to gain insight into how IgA nephropathy is caused. New insight into the cause of IgA nephropathy may contribute to the diagnosis of this disease and the development of targeted treatments. 

The crowdfunding that make this research project possible was organized as part of the Radboud Fund.

 


ZonMw Gender in Research competition awarded to Genderful Research World Consortium

Natalia Valdrighi and Esmeralda Blaney Davidson won the competition to create a plan for the dissemination of the knowledge and skills gained during the Gender in Research workshop. read more

ZonMw Gender in Research competition awarded to Genderful Research World Consortium

Natalia Valdrighi, from the group of Peter van der Kraan and Esmeralda Blaney Davidson, Inflammatory diseases, and colleagues were awarded with the Gender in Research Fellowship from ZonMw. This fellowship included a competition to create a plan for the dissemination of the knowledge and skills gained during the Gender in Research workshop amongst their peers, colleagues and institution with a reward of € 8,000 in prize money, financed by ZonMw and CIHR-IGH in Canada.

Currently, many great initiatives and key resources exists to support researchers on their quest to integrate sex and gender sensitivity into their health research. However, it remains difficult to find the right resources because many researchers aspiring sex and gender knowledge do not know where to start. Resource pages can be busy and overwhelming, and it can be difficult to identify the resources best suited to support your research.

With this funding, the Genderful Research World Consortium aims to develop a prototype for an interactive website with a curated list of existing relevant sex and gender resources for each key research phase to get scientists in health research with a novel interest in sex and gender started.

They will work on this project with an multidisciplinary and international team including researchers from the Radboudumc, Vrije Universiteit, ErasmusMC and University of British Columbia.


Rare and complex urology: Clinical overview of ERN eUROGEN

Wout Feitz and colleagues published in ‘European Urology’ about the impact of a European Reference Network (ERN) for rare diseases in urology. read more

Rare and complex urology: Clinical overview of ERN eUROGEN

Wout Feitz and colleagues, Reconstructive & regenerative medicine, publish an article in European Urology, which provides an overview and identifies challenges in collecting data at the European level from the ERN eUROGEN patient population.

Background 

In 2017, the European Commission launched 24 thematic European Reference Networks (ERNs). Radboudumc participates in 14 networks and two of these networks are coordinated by Radboudumc: ERN GENTURIS and ERN eUROGEN.

ERN eUROGEN is the network for urorectogenital diseases and complex conditions, and started with 29 full member healthcare providers (HCPs) in 11 countries. It then covered 19 different disease areas distributed over three workstreams (WSs).

Objective

To provide an overview and identify challenges in data collection at European level of the ERN eUROGEN patient population treated by HCPs in the network.

Design, setting, and participants

A retrospective cohort study was conducted of the 29 HCPs who were full members between 2013 and 2019.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Data were extracted from the original HCP applications and the ERN continuous monitoring system. Patient volumes, new patient numbers, and procedures were compared between different WSs, countries, and HCPs. Discrepancies between monitoring and application data were identified.

Results and limitations

Between 2013 and 2019, 122 040 patients required long-term care within the 29 HCPs. The volume of patients treated and procedures undertaken per year increased over time. Large discrepancies were found between patient numbers contained in the application forms and those reported in the continuous monitoring system (0-1357% deviation).

Conclusions

Patient numbers and procedures increased across ERN eUROGEN HCPs. Reliable data extraction appeared challenging, illustrated by the patient volume discrepancies between application forms and the continuous monitoring data. Improved disease definitions, re-evaluation of affiliated HCPs, and valid data extraction are needed for future improvements.


Frans Russel appointed member Supervisory Committee of RIVM

Frans Russel, Renal disorders, has been appointed by The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). read more

Frans Russel appointed member Supervisory Committee of RIVM

The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has appointed Frans Russel, Renal disorders, as member of the Supervisory Committee of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

RIVM is a knowledge and research institute dedicated to promoting public health and a healthy and safe living environment. The legal task of the Supervisory Committee is to monitor the scientific quality and integrity of RIVM. The Committee reports annually to the Ministry of VWS.