Three ENW XL Grants for Radboud researchers

Date of news: 2 August 2022

Three research projects involving researchers from the Faculty of Science have been awarded a grant in the Open Competition Domain Science-XL programme. The ENW XL-grant gives researchers the opportunity and freedom to start, strengthen or expand excellent, challenging and innovative lines of research. An overview of the grants awarded:

Learning about dangerous places, from the pain of others
Dr. F.P. Battaglia (RU)

In evolution, knowing where danger looms makes the difference between life and death. To do that, we often tap into other people’s experiences. For modern humans, this is as simple as looking at the star-rating of Google Maps. Surprisingly little, however, is known about how the brain integrates the experiences of others into our general knowledge, for example about danger in space. By synergizing leaders in social and memory neuroscience, this consortium is an ideal and unique position to unravel how the large network of brain areas supports the creation of these “socio-emotional” memories and shedding light onto our social nature.

How do the first lineage decisions of cells take place during early embryogenesis?
Dr. H. Marks (RU)

How one cell, the fertilized egg, can faithfully develop into an organism with many different cell types is one of the most fascinating questions in biology. An important step takes place in the early embryo, when it is still a small clump of seemingly equal cells. A diverse team of top researchers will use detailed molecular analyses to investigate when and how these individual cells decide their future. This will provide fundamental new insight into how cells make decisions. It will also help with developing innovative strategies in cancer and stem cell research, and improve our understanding of developmental defects.

Advanced bioengineering strategy for production of human miniature hearts
Prof. dr. P.C.J.J. Passier (UvT) and Gert Jan Veenstra (RU)

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide. Current animal and cell culture models are not accurate enough to sufficiently predict the efficacy and toxicity of drugs. In this research proposal, we use an ultra-high-throughput platform that allows us to encapsulate and culture human stem cells in hollow microgels. Using single cell analysis of regulatory pathways in combination with predictive computational modelling, we aim to differentiate cells into miniature hearts, resembling the structure and function of the human heart. This allows us to use a screening platform of human miniature hearts for studying heart disease and testing drugs.

More information:

- Read the NWO press release