Seventeen young researchers start their own research abroad with Rubicon grant

Seventeen recently graduated scholars can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO and ZonMw. For many researchers, experience abroad is an important step in their career. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience.

These researchers will try to answer a diverse array of research questions. For example, Emiel Kruisdijk (Delft University of Technology) will research water quality in aquifers and drinking water filters. Bram van der Kroft (Open University) studies the mechanisms and motives of sustainable investing. Michelle Broekhuizen (Erasmus MC) will investigate deficiencies in blood vessels in heart diseases, the results of which offer possibilities for future treatments.

Destinations and durations of stay

Most laureates from this round leave for the maximum allowed 24 months. Five will leave for a shorter period. Eight laureates are going to the United States, two scholars each will be going to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The last remaining researcher will be based in Norway. 

Public summaries

It’s a (wo)men’s world: gendered stigmatization of persistent somatic symptoms.
A.V. Ballering MSc -> UMC Groningen -> Belgium -> Ghent University -> 21 months

Many people experience medically unexplained symptoms. These people often face stigmatization, resulting in an exacerbation of symptoms and delays in seeking healthcare. The researcher will identify differences between women and men in stigmatization of persistent medically unexplained symptoms, to aid adequate and gender-sensitive interventions that reduce and prevent health-related stigmatization.

Towards in vivo histology: Can high-performance MRI reveal myelin integrity in Multiple Sclerosis?
Dr K.S. Chan -> Radboud University -> United States of America -> Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School -> 24 months

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder that impacts millions globally, primarily characterised by myelin damage in brain tissue. By developing a novel MRI method to assess myelin structural integrity, the researcher will investigate the impact of MS on brain structure, enhancing our understanding of this condition.

Deciphering the role of IDO1 in the human vasculature.
Dr M. Broekhuizen -> Erasmus MC -> United States of America -> Medical College of Wisconsin -> 12 months

The smallest blood vessels in our body ensure a sufficient nutrient supply to our organs. In this study I investigate how a deficiency in the enzyme IDO1 contributes to impaired function of our blood vessels in heart disease, with the ultimate aim to develop new therapies for this disease.

A better understanding of the flu: how can influenza virus affect your brain?
Dr K.A.Y. Defourny -> Utrecht University -> Belgium -> VIB Center for Inflammation Research -> 24 months

Airway infections with viruses such as Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 can result in acute and chronic neurological symptoms, and promote development of neurodegenerative disease. To explain these phenomena, this project will investigate if membrane vesicles produced by cells infected with Influenza enter the brain, and affect both brain and lung function.

Setting international standards for measuring the quality of cancer survivorship care.
Dr J.A.M. Vos -> AmsterdamUMC -> Harvard Medical School -> United States of America -> Dana-Farber Cancer Institute -> 15 months

There are many different ways of measuring the quality of cancer survivorship care. With this project we provide a comprehensive overview of different quality aspects of care. We ask different stakeholders which aspects of care they find important. We use these results to develop a guideline on measuring quality care.

The cancer pedigree: unraveling how colorectal cancer spreads to the peritoneum.
Mr. D.S.H. Andel -> UMC Utrecht -> United States of America -> Harvard Medical School -> 12 months

Metastases to the peritoneum are associated with a poor prognosis, but the mechanisms by which peritoneal metastases arise are largely unknown. In this project, the researcher will reconstruct the life history of colorectal cancer cells that have spread to the peritoneum and identify the molecular characteristics of metastasizing cells.

Features of the Rubicon programme

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 depends on the destination chosen and the duration of the stay. Each year, NWO and ZonMw can fund about 60 young researchers within Rubicon (for a total amount of 7 million euros allocated over three rounds). The awards in this news item concern the third round of 2023.

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