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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants to ten researchers from the UvA and the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA, part of Amsterdam UMC). The recipients are: Camiel Boon, Efstratios Gavves, Joppe Hovius, Arno Kret, Dora Matzke, Judith Noorman, Pim van Ooij, Guus Regts, Josje Verhagen and Susanne Wilken.

The researchers will each receive 800,000 euros, with which they can develop their own innovative lines of research and set up research groups over the next five years. A total of 81 Vidi grants were awarded in this round from a total of 503 applications.

The recipients

  • Prof. Camiel Boon (Amsterdam UMC, AMC location): Developing cutting-edge treatments to combat early hereditary blindness
    X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is a relatively common hereditary eye disease, for which there is no treatment. XLRS causes severe vision loss or even blindness in childhood. I will develop a cure for XLRS in experimental models that mimic the disease, based on patient-specific stem cells and an animal model.
     
  • Dr Efstratios Gavves (Instituut voor Informatica): Finding time in videos
    Video is everywhere: in our phones, on Netflix or even in MRI. Today’s AI finds it hard to understand time in videos, making them unfit for future applications like autonomous driving or guiding medical devices and treatments. This research will study novel video algorithms that can find time in videos.
     
  • Prof. Joppe Hovius (Amsterdam UMC, AMC location): Ticked off?
    More and more people are affected by Lyme disease. Yet, there is no vaccine to prevent this tick-borne disease. By studying tick saliva and the human immune responses against ticks the scientists aim to design a vaccine against the tick to prevent Lyme disease in both Europe and the USA.
     
  • Dr Arno Kret (Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics): Shimura varieties and the Langlands conjecture
    The Langlands conjecture is one of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics, as it unifies the theory of algebraic equations with the theory of automorphic forms. The goal of this project is to solve new cases of this conjecture.
     
  • Dr Dora Matzke (Psychology Research Institute): How quickly can you stop?
    The ability to stop ongoing responses enables people to suppress impulsive actions and ensures that they can safely interact with the world. The goal of this project is to develop a methodological framework that enables researchers to measure the psychological processes that determine people’s ability to stop inappropriate behaviours. 
     
  • Dr Judith Noorman (Amsterdam School of Historical Studies): Golden Women
    This project measures the impact of women on the Dutch art market in the seventeenth century by studying household consumption. Drawing on various sources, the project studies how women manifested themselves as important patrons and professionals, thus challenging the persistent assumption that the art market was dominated by men.
     
  • Dr Pim van Ooij (Amsterdam UMC, AMC location): Less aortic motion in a diseased thoracic aorta
    The thoracic aorta moves constantly under heart motion and blood flow which in a stiff, diseased aorta can lead to tearing. This research focuses on the development of novel MRI technology to map aortic motion and stiffness in three dimensions to improve risk assessment for lethal aortic events.
     
  • Dr Guus Regts (Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics): Counting using complex dynamics
    Network colourings are of fundamental importance in statistical physics, computer science and even theoretical psychology. In this project, I will use techniques from complex dynamics and combinatorics to develop efficient algorithms for counting such colourings.
     
  • Dr Josje Verhagen (Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication): A bilingual advantage in communication
    Bilingual children communicate more effectively than monolingual children: They make better use of non-verbal cues and are more aware of another speaker’s knowledge state. This project investigates why bilinguals have a communicative advantage, whether it is found in naturalistic communication, and whether it helps language learning. 
     
  • Dr Susanne Wilken (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics: ‘Planimals’ in changing oceans
    Several marine microbes can grow as both plants and animals. If they become more ‘plant‐like’ they will increase ocean carbon storage; if they become more ‘animal‐like’ they release carbon back into the atmosphere. This study investigates how these mixotrophs (‘planimals’) will respond to warming and acidification of the oceans.