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Innovative Leiden research receives NWO grant

On January 24 Professor Annemarie Meijer and Dr Sander Wezenberg received a NWO grant for their research. The grant was awarded within the Open Competition Domaine Science-M programme and is intended for innovative research areas that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.

Strengthening the breakdown machinery of immune cells

Bacterial infections are increasingly difficult to combat due to antibiotic resistance, so we need to find other ways to defend ourselves against these diseases. Professor Annemarie Meijer and her research group are developing a method to strengthen the natural defences of the immune system. The researchers have discovered a protein that stimulates the defence against tuberculosis and salmonella. ‘With this grant, we hope to gain further insight into the mechanism of action of this protein and the network of proteins around it,' says Meijer.

Filtering radioactive wastewater

To prevent the environmental pollution of water, it is important to filter out toxic substances from wastewater streams. One of the main contaminants in nuclear wastewater is radioactive caesium, which is very difficult to separate. Dr Sander Wezenberg's team will develop host molecules that can filter out caesium from a solution. This new separation method could help to reduce the amount of nuclear waste and thus make long-term storage possible.

In the ENW - M open competition, scientists submit proposals for non-programmed, curiosity-driven research. The funding thus offers them the opportunity to develop original, innovative, high-risk ideas. In this way, they can bring about scientific innovations and lay the foundations for the research themes of the future. The researchers have each been awarded approximately €340,000.

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