verschillende handen op elkaar
verschillende handen op elkaar

ZonMw Open Competition Funding for antibodies and nightly challenges of new parents

For the ZonMw Open Competition funding 2023, a total of 29 research teams received funding from a total budget of € 23 million. With this funding, research groups can initiate innovative team science initiatives that contribute to long-term innovation within fundamental (bio)medical science and healthcare. Donders Institute will lead two of these projects.

The aim of the ZonMw Open Competition programme is to create room for curiosity-driven and creative collaboration that leads to groundbreaking research. Consequently, the programme is specifically aimed at researchers from two or more disciplines, who synergistically promote excellent team science. A total of 29 research teams will investigate a broad and diverse range of subjects by formulating questions concerning fundamental (bio)medical research. These are the projects that scientists affiliated to the Donders Institute will be leading:

Nightly dance – Dynamics of mother, father, and baby night interactions and sleep

The birth of a child is a period of adaptation for parents. Caring for a baby mostly entails sleep disruptions. This, together with other challenges of parenting, can lead to mental and physical health problems. Indeed, around 10-25% of fathers and mothers suffer from postnatal depression. We know little about how parents take care of the baby together at night, on a moment-to-moment basis, and if their behavior is related to their own health and to how the baby develops. In this project we will follow couples from pregnancy until the baby is six months, using small (wearable) devices that automatically register nightly baby crying, parent-baby proximity, and parents’ sleep and stress. Innovative sophisticated analyses will tell us how night caregiving behavior looks like, how it changes over time, and whether it predicts health problems. This important knowledge will help us design better advice and prevention programs for new parents.

Prof. C. de Weerth, Radboud University Medical Center, Dr A-J Annema, University of Twente, Dr T. Claassen, Radboud University, Dr M. Dresler, Radboud University Medical Center, Prof. A.F. Marquand, Radboud University Medical Center, and Dr R.J. Wiegerink, University of Twente

ACT-MD: Antibodies Contributing to Movement Disorders

Over the recent years, so-called antineuronal antibodies have been identified in patients with various neurological disorders. Many patients with such antibodies present with movement disorders that have a striking resemblance to neurodegenerative diseases, such as parkinsonism and ataxia. We will firstly investigate how many patients with a current diagnosis of a degenerative movement disorders in fact have a neuroimmunological disease, a potentially treatable disorder. We will not only search for known antibodies, but also try to discover new ones. Next, we will explore whether we can use our knowledge on these antibodies to find new genetic causes in movement disorder patients and examine whether genetic variation explains clinical heterogeneity between patients with such antibodies. This important project targets immune-mediated movement disorders, an underrecognized class of brain diseases, and it will change current disease concept and identify new diseases.

Dr B.P.C. van de Warrenburg, Radboud University Medical Center, and Dr M.J. Titulaer, Erasmus Medical Center.

More information

Read more information about funded projects in the press release of Radboudumc and ZonMw.