NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, has awarded 4 promising young scientists from Amsterdam UMC, 3 of whom are AII researchers, Veni funding of up to 280,000 euros. This will enable these researchers to further develop their own research ideas over a period of three years.
NWO has chosen the names Veni, Vidi, Vici for its grants. The words come from Julius Caesar who in 47 BC famously uttered the words "Veni, vidi, vici." is said after his victory at the battle of Zela. "I came, I saw, I conquered." The Veni grants are for talented newcomers. Which 3 researchers of AII receive the Veni grants? You can read it here.
Caitrin Crudden received a Veni award for her research project ‘Intercepting Cancer’s Mail; how extracellular vesicles micro-manage the secretome’.
Cell biology relies on so-called ‘lock and key’ receptor-ligand interactions. But ‘keys’ (ligands) are not freefloating on their quest to find their ‘lock’ (receptor). Instead ’key-chains’ (decoys) hold them and dictate their freedom. Crudden will investigate how these molecular key-chains control cell-migration in cancer, a process fundamental to disease progression.
The research project ‘Nanotrivax: three-component nanobody-vaccines targeting human dendritic cells for immunotherapy’ earned Alsya Affandi a Veni award.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are master regulators of immune system that have tremendous immunotherapy potential; however, current strategies have been unsatisfactory. Affandi aims to develop nanobody-based vaccines, consisting DC-targeting and DC-modulating nanobodies, conjugated to disease-antigen, to improve anti-tumor immune responses in cancer, or to dampen inflammation in autoimmune diseases.
Koen Prange received a VENI award for his research project 'Epigenetic control of inflammatory macrophage activation'.
Macrophages are a diverse set of immune cells fighting against a wide variety of pathogens and clearing debris. Prange will investigate how macrophages control this diversity via epigenetic processes. These processes determine which genes will be turned on and off and thusly how the cell will react to external stimuli.
Veni, together with Vidi and Vici, is part of the NWO Talent Program (formerly: the Innovations Impulse). 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.