Four principal investigators (PIs) affiliated with AGEM received grants the past month. Max Nieuwdorp and Stan van de Graaf received the prestigious Vici grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Louis Vermeulen received the Ammodo Science Award and the Medical Inspirator Prize 2020-2021 was awarded to Marlies Schijven.

Vici Grants

Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers.

This year, 44 proposals were submitted in the health domain (ZonMw). Six proposals (14%) were awarded a grant of which two went to AGEM PIs.
Max Nieuwdorp and Stan van de Graaf each received 1.5 million euros to develop a new innovative line of research for the coming five years.

Max Nieuwdorp

Picture of Max Nieuwdorp
Dietary fructose and its effect on microbiota and insulin resistance in obese subjects from different ethnic descent

The lifelong diabetes risk is quite different between Dutch citizens of different ethnic descent. The investigators aim to dissect interaction between dietary fructose and gut microbiota composition affects insulin resistance in obese subjects from different ethnic descent and if treatment with specific bacterial strains can provide a personalized medicine solution.

Stan van de Graaf

Picture of Stan van de Graaf
Hepatic bile acid uptake as a target to halt the fatty liver epidemic

After a meal, substances from the liver (called bile acids) provide a temporary signal that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood dampens inflammation and reduces hepatic fat accumulation. The researchers want to exploit this signal to combat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

For a complete overview of all Vici 2020 awarded projects go to the website of NWO (in Dutch):

Ammodo Science Award

The Ammodo Science Award for fundamental research encourages unfettered, fundamental scientific research and covers all scientific disciplines divided into four domains: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The Award serves as recognition of scientific achievements by outstanding, internationally acclaimed mid-career researchers.

Annemieke Aartsma-Rus, Patricia Dankers, Lisa Herzog, Walter Immerzeel, Rivke Jaffe, Christian Lange, Floris de Lange and Louis Vermeulen are the winners of an Ammodo Science Award 2021. The eight mid-career scientists will each receive a cash prize of 300,000 euros. They can use this money in the coming years to explore new avenues in fundamental scientific research.

Louis Vermeulen

Picture of Louis Vermeulen

Louis Vermeulen (1984) studies how derailments in the genetic material of stem cells can cause colon cancer. In doing so, he focuses specifically on the earliest development of tumors. He combines biochemistry and genetics with mathematical and physical models to map the dynamics of stem cells. With his innovative approach, he has made a major contribution to fundamental concepts within molecular oncology.

More information about the laureates and their research can be found at:

Medical Inspirator Prize 2020-2021

On February 18, the Medical Inspirator Prize 2020-2021 was awarded to Marlies Schijven and her team. The grand prize of € 100,000 was won by StoMakker: the ostomy app for children.

Marlies Schijven

Picture of Marlies Schijven with the Medical Inspirator Award 20/21

Having a stoma is very radical, especially for a child. Clear, accessible information is therefore important. Experts with experience, ostomy nurses, doctors, and children therefore want to work together to build a special medical aid. An app that teaches you how to deal with your stoma through gaming. And with which you can safely chat with other children with a stoma! After all, no one understands you as well as a fellow sufferer.

More information (in Dutch) can be found at: