18 researchers who have recently received their PhDs can do their research at foreign research institutes thanks to a Rubicon grant from NWO. The Rubicon programme gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience.

Within the domain medical Sciences there are 10 young researchers  who received a Rubicon grant:

Faster and more efficient drug research

Dr R.P.A. (Ruben) van Eijk (m), University Medical Center Utrecht -> United States, Stanford University, Center for Innovative Study Design, 12 months. It costs a lot of time and money to develop drugs. The researcher will produce innovative mathematical models to more rapidly determine whether an experimental drug works and is safe. That will enable researchers to use the resources they have more efficiently in the future.

Detecting the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease with very frequent digital measurements

Dr R. J. (Roos) Jutten (f), Amsterdam UMC -> United States, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology, 24 months. Obtaining insights into early abnormalities caused by Alzheimer’s disease is vital for research into preventative treatments. My research aims to improve the detection of the very first memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease with the help of new computer tests that will be taken very frequently among people at home.

Eating around the clock?

Dr I.W.K. (Imre) Kouw (f), Maastricht University -> Australia, Royal Adelaide Hospital, ICU Research, 24 months. Intensive care patients are usually fed continuously and deteriorate considerably during their admission. Eating around the clock has negative effects in healthy people. The researcher will examine how tube feeding at set times influences the blood sugar levels and gastrointestinal function of intensive care patients.

The professional profile of the eosinophil

Dr S.T.T. (Sjoerd) Schetters (m), Amsterdam UMC -> Belgium, VIB, Inflammation Research Center, Ghent, 24 months. Asthma is often caused by eosinophils, immune cells that cause damage to the lungs. New drugs knock out these cells, but it is also clear that some eosinophils also play a beneficial role in our body. The researcher will investigate whether different types of eosinophils are present during diseases such as asthma and whether it is safe to eliminate all of these.

Pain &stress: From the past to the present

Dr A. (Aleksandrina) Skvortsova (f), Leiden University -> Canada, McGill University, Pain Genetics Lab, 24 months. Previous experiences influence our pain sensitivity. This project will investigate the role of stress in the relationship between past and present pain, and whether the pain experience can be reduced by reducing stress.

Thyroid hormone and sugar metabolism in the liver

Dr A.H. (Anne) van der Spek (f), Amsterdam UMC, Location AMC -> United States, Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, 15 months.Thyroid gland patients have a higher chance of developing diabetes. However, the relationship between thyroid hormone and sugar metabolism in humans is not yet clear. The researcher will study the influence of thyroid hormone on the processing of sugar in human liver cells.

Protection against sudden cardiac death for those who really need it

Dr F.V.Y. (Fleur) Tjong (f), University of Amsterdam -> United States, Stanford University, Stanford Medical School Cardiovascular Medicine, 12 months. An ICD is implanted to “reset” the heart if there is a risk of the heartbeat suddenly becoming so irregular that the patient would otherwise die. However, it is not always clear who is at genuine risk. Artificial intelligence can help to determine this and form a guideline for treatment.

A prosthesis with feeling: what does that feel like?

C.S. (Ceci) Verbaarschot, MSc (f), Radboud University -> United States, University of Pittsburgh, Rehab Neural Engineering Labs, 24 months. Prostheses now exist that allow people to move and have sensory experiences. This artificial sense is achieved by electrical stimulation of the brain. This project will investigate how this feels and which properties of feeling can be achieved by brain stimulation.

How do intestinal bacteria influence our response to medication?

Dr C.G.P. (Carlos) Voogdt (m), Utrecht University -> Germany, EMBL, Heidelberg, 24 months. Intestinal bacteria can change medicines taken before these reach their target. The researcher will determine which bacteria are responsible for this, how they do this exactly, and the consequences of this bacterial activity for our intestinal cells.

Towards precision psychiatry

Dr T. (Thomas) Wolfers (m), Radboud University -> United States, Harvard University Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, 24 months. Treatments for psychological problems can only be improved if we understand the mechanisms underlying the problems. Thanks to my new method, we will be able to describe mechanisms for each individual patient.

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Source: NWO

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