Four talented, young scientists go to foreign institutions with Rubicon grant

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Four UMCG-researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. They are Wouter Huiting, Ayegül Erdem, Anne-Grete Märtson and Emma Gerrits. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience.


With a Rubicon grant researchers can spend up to 24 months doing research at a foreign institution. For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. Thanks to the Rubicon grant these young researchers can do their research at a foreign institute that offers the best environment for their research.  

The size of the grant is dependent on the destination chosen and the duration of the stay.  

More information about the awarded proposals:    

Deciphering the metabolic crosstalk in the leukaemia microenvironment 

Dr. A.l Erdem, -> Belgium -> de Duve Institute UCLouvain -> 24 months 

It remains unclear how distinct cancer subtypes metabolically interact with their microenvironment. By characterizing the influence of cells from the bone marrow microenvironment on the metabolic profile of different leukaemia subtypes, the researcher will identify interactions that can be therapeutically targeted, with the aim of developing adaptive, personalized cancer treatments. 

Spatial reconstruction of the neurovasculature in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia 

Dr. E. Gerrits, -> Sweden -> Karolinska Institutet -> 24 months  

The researchers will generate a molecular atlas of brain and spinal cord tissues of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. These data will form the base for a new CNS-disease atlas of the Human Protein Atlas project. 

Uncovering the secrets of functional protein aggregation  

Dr. W. Huiting, -> United States -> Stanford University -> 24 months  

Protein aggregation is linked to ageing and neurodegeneration, and is often viewed as innately detrimental. Recent studies have found however that aggregation can also be important for normal cell processes. The researcher will investigate how functional protein aggregation works, how it is regulated, and what distinguishes it from harmful aggregation. 

New methods to combat emerging viruses 

Dr. A.G. Märtson, -> United Kingdom -> University of Liverpool, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics -> 24 months 

Viruses with pandemic potential are continuously emerging. This project will use cytomegalovirus as a model to utilise a novel laboratory method to investigate emergence of resistance and viral killing. The method will provide new dosing regimens for cytomegalovirus treatment, and will be used to accelerate drug development for emerging viruses.