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Seven Leiden researchers win €1.5m Vici grant

Seven Leiden researchers have each been awarded a Vici grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This will enable them to form a research group and develop their own innovative line of research.

The Vici grant is one of the biggest grants for individuals in the Netherlands and is aimed at advanced researchers. The following researchers from Leiden will receive a grant:

Sylvestre Bonnet - Blocking cancer proteins with metallodrugs and light 

Anticancer drugs are often very toxic for patients because they are not very selective. In this project, the researchers will make anticancer metallodrugs that are inactive in the dark, but upon light irradiation kill cancer cells by liberating two drugs at once that target two different proteins involved in cancer development.

Jeroen Codée - Sweet reaction mechanisms

The synthesis of oligosaccharides (‘sugars’) is of paramount importance in delivering these compounds for biological and medical research. The mechanisms through which a glycosidic linkage can be formed remain obscure to date. Codée will use computational and experimental techniques to elucidate these mechanisms in detail. 

Haico van Attikum - Damage during DNA replication: chromatin to the rescue! 

An essential step of cell division is the replication of our DNA. Damage to our DNA, however, can hamper this process. The researchers will investigate how DNA replication is regulated in the presence of DNA damage and determine the role of chromatin, the packaging material of our DNA, therein.

Yiya Chen - Melody in speech

Unlike Dutch and English, most languages employ melody not only to add nuance to sentences but also to differentiate between words. How languages do this remains largely unknown. This project will investigate the linguistic, psychological and neural processes underlying the parallel communication of word identity and sentence meaning through melody.

Sander Nieuwenhuis - The impact of arousal on cognitive function and cortical state

Arousal refers to the global state of activation of our central and autonomic nervous system. People exhibit subtle fluctuations in arousal level even during the day. Using mathematical models and neuroimaging methods, the researchers will investigate the exact effects of arousal fluctuations on cognitive functions and global patterns of brain activity.

Hendrik Jan Paul – Early Modern Vices: Why Do They Still Exist?

The world today differs radically from the world four centuries ago. Nonetheless, cultural stereotypes from the 17th century are still being used and even scientists sometimes talk in terms (‘dogmatism,’ ‘speculation,’ ‘prejudice’) that are centuries old. Why do they do this? What could explain such continuity in a changing world?

Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes - Can cells change sex?

During development, human cells make all organs and cell types, but can only generate one type of germline. Female cells can only make eggs and male cells can only make sperm. Can we discover what regulates this process in humans and induce human stem cells to change sex in a dish?

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