30 June 2022

Vidi Grants awarded to Miao-Ping Chien, Rebekka Schneider, Tineke Lenstra and Monique Mulder

Elize Brolsma

Elize Brolsma

Elize is part of Oncode’s communication team. She has over 10 years of experience in the com-munication industry, both for commercial and non-profit organisations. After obtaining her bache-lor and master degree in communication at Utrecht University, Elize worked as a communication professional at a research institute, PR agency, law firm and internet company. She has a strong focus on external communications and Public Relations. At Oncode - together with her colleagues - Elize produces the monthly newsletters for Oncode Investigators & Researchers and the Oncode digital magazine. She publishes content for the Oncode website and is responsible for all social media channels. She enjoys discussing science with researchers and support them in their outreach.

Oncode Institute is proud to announce that three Oncode Investigators and one Oncode Researcher will receive a Vidi Grant worth 800.000 euros. This grant will enable Oncode Investigators Miao-Ping Chien, Rebekka Schneider (both Erasmus MC), Tineke Lenstra (Netherlands Cancer Institute) and Oncode Researcher Monique Mulder (Leiden UMC) to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group in the coming five years. 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 possibilities for knowledge use.

From left to right: Miao-Ping Chien, Rebekka Schneider, Tineke Lenstra and Monique Mulder

“The Vidi grant is a wonderful recognition of the innovative science of these four researchers. We are very proud that they are part of the Oncode community and look forward to all the great things they will discover in years to come” says Geert Kops, Scientific Director and Head of Oncode Institute.

An overview of their projects can be found below.

Miao-Ping Chien: Sequence the abnormality
Tumors change over time. Abnormalities in chromosomes are a main cause for these progressive changes in the nature and composition of cells that make up a tumor. These changes can lead to therapy resistance in for instance glioblastoma, the deadliest brain cancer. Biophysicists will develop a technology to identify rare cancer cells bearing severe chromosomal abnormalities and to study these cells at unprecedented resolution. They will investigate the causes and consequences of abnormal chromosomes in glioblastoma and aim to generate information that can lead to improved treatment for glioblastoma.

Rebekka Schneider: Kidney and blood
Our kidneys and blood are in a continuous cross-talk as kidneys filters our blood. One major open question is how this cross-talk is changed when the kidney function decreases or when blood cells become abnormal in a blood cancer. Clinical data indicate that this understanding is urgently needed as patients with reduced kidney function have an abnormal blood production and patients with blood cancer have reduced kidney function. We aim to protect the kidney from losing its function in blood cancer and to maintain a normal production of blood cells in kidney disease.

Tineke Lenstra: Visualizing the dynamics of gene regulation
Transcription factors turn on genes at the correct moment in the correct cell type. In this study, the researchers will apply advanced microscopy techniques to visualize individual transcription factor molecules inside cells, while simultaneously measuring when genes are activated. The results will reveal how transient transcription factor binding to DNA regulates the dynamics of gene expression.

Monique Mulder: Protein Dress Up gone wrong
Posttranslational modification of proteins, such as the attachment of the ubiquitin protein, regulates many biological cellular processes. These modifications are controlled by a complex enzymatic system, with more dan 700 players in the ubiquitin network, and disruption within these systems could lead to diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. Detailed insights into the mechanism behind this is however yet to be obtained, thus slowing the development of targeted medicines for treatment of these diseases. The researchers aim to develop chemical tools to finally unravel the workings of these systems paving the road towards medical treatment.

More information about the other Vidi laureates can be found on the NWO website.

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