Veni june 2023
Veni june 2023

NWO Vidi Grant for Johan Mentink, Maike Hansen and Willem Velema

Johan Mentink, Maike Hansen and Wim Velema, all researchers within the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) of the Radboud University, have been awarded a NWO Vidi Grant. Vidi is a funding instrument of the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO). This grant allows researchers to develop an innovative line of research and build up their own research group for the next five years.

Exploring ultrafast nanomagnetism

Magnetism on nanometre and nanosecond time scales is the basis of data storage and processing in hardware. What is the very fastest and most energy-efficient way to write magnetic bits at the nanoscale? Despite years of "downscaling" the hard disk industry, much in this area of magnetism is still not understood. In the CHASEMAG project, Mentink will study whether fundamental quantum fluctuations needed for magnetism - usually seen as undesirable and obstructive, are effective to improve the control of magnetism. He will use theory and advanced computer simulations, partly inspired by machine learning. The research is theoretical in nature and performed in close collaboration with experiments using the latest generation of femtosecond X-ray sources. “We hope to explore and eventually push the fundamental limits for the control of magnetism”, Mentink says. Johan Mentink is Assistant Professor within the Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials group. studying ultrafast dynamics of condensed matter systems with a focus on the theoretical description and numerical simulation of (quantum) many-body effects in the ultrafast dynamics of magnetism.

Identifying cellular noise regulation

Cells in our body can be seen as a mini factory, where there is an assembly line that creates proteins as a final product. The amount of protein each cell makes can vary drastically between even genetically identical cells, this is called noise. Individual steps in this assembly can turn up or down the protein noise. For instance, increasing noise is a phenomenon associated with antibiotic resistance in bacteria or diseases such as HIV and cancer. This project determines how cells can regulate noise, which will improve the understanding of how defects in noise-regulation can result in disease. Hansen is Assistant Professor in the Biophysical Chemistry group. The research group is part of IMM. Her group focuses on the study of gene expression dynamics by employing techniques at the interface of computational modeling, cell-free biochemistry, and quantitative single-cell biology. The aim is to identify design principles that allow for robust outcomes in noisy crowded systems.

Studying RNA-metabolite interactions

RNA is a versatile biomolecule involved in almost every process in the cell and a key player in many diseases. In Velema’s project, researchers will study how RNA interacts with small molecules in the cell, called metabolites. It is believed that the function of RNA is controlled by these metabolites, but to what extent this occurs and the mechanisms involved remain unclear. Using state-of-the-art chemical tools, researchers will demonstrate the biological significance of RNA-metabolite interactions. Wim Velema is Assistant Professor within in the Physical Organic Chemistry group at IMM. The group focuses on the biological roles of nucleic acids. They aim to understand how drug resistance works at a molecular level and how RNA molecules are involved in this process. “Ultimately we want to use this knowledge to develop new approaches for combating drug resistance”, Velema says. 

NWO Vidi

Vidi is aimed at excellent researchers who have been producing successful research for a number of years since obtaining their PhD. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. A total of 625 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. 101 grants were approved in this round, with the following eight researchers from Radboud University and Radboudumc.

More information
Official press release NWO:

We warmly congratulate Johan, Maike and Wim with their grant!

Contact information
For more information, please contact
Johan Mentink: johan.mentink [at] (johan[dot]mentink[at]science[dot]ru[dot]nl)
Maike Hansen: maike.hansen [at]
Wim Velema: willem.velema [at]
IMM Communications: imm-communication [at]


Vidi IMM june 2023

Left to right: Johan Mentink, Maike Hansen, Wim Velema