The main players in the research of Marco Demaria are senescent cells: aged, weary cells that can’t divide anymore, but also can’t die. An accumulation of these cells triggers chronic inflammation, which in turn promotes the development of age-related pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Understanding molecular mechanisms
Demaria will use the Vidi-grant to investigate mechanisms associated to different types of senescent cells. “We try to get a better understanding of these cells”, Demaria explains. “We know that senescent cells promote ageing and disease, but we have discovered in the past that subsets of senescent cells can positively help tissues to recover from injury. The goal of our research is to understand molecular differences between beneficial and detrimental senescence, so that we can identify and develop better and more efficient anti-ageing therapeutics.”
Veni, vidi, vici
The Vidi-grant, together with the Veni- and Vici-grants, is part of the NWO Talent Programme. In this Talent Programme researchers are free to submit their own subject for grant application. This way the NWO stimulates curiosity driven and innovating research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the opportunities for knowledge utilisation.
More successful researchers from Groningen
From the 78 granted five Vidi-grants go to researchers from Groningen. Next to Demaria, researchers Gert Stulp from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Alberto Godioli from the Faculty of Arts, Venustiano Soancatl Aguilar from the Center for Information Technology and Julia Kamenz from the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen, receive a Vidi-grant from the NWO.