17 juli 2015

Veni-grant awarded to 4 researchers of the Hubrecht Institute!

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Saskia Ellenbroek, Benedetta Artegiani, Helmuth Gehart and Kai Kretzschmar receive a very prestigious Veni-grant. The Veni-grants are awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and are designed to promote curiosity-driven and innovative research. In total there were 1124 requests, only 161 were awarded.

1. Saskia Ellenbroek (Van Rheenen-group) received her Veni-grant for the project Intravital stem cell imaging to reveal the cellular processes that drive colorectal tissue homeostasis and tumour initiation 

Our gut is continuously replenished by stem cells. These stem cells appear to compete for the best position in the gut. The researchers will map this competition between stem cells by filming the gut with healthy cells and cells with mutations that cause cancer.

2. Benedetta Artegiani (Clevers-group) received her Veni-grant for the project Behaviour and molecular signature of neural stem cells, and changes occurring during aging. 

Stem cells in the brain produce neurons throughout life. However, distinct subtypes of neural stem cells could contribute differently to this process. I will distinguish those different subtypes, study their behaviour, identify molecules responsible for their specific functions and I will investigate how those properties are changed with aging.

3. Helmuth Gehart (Clevers-group) received his Veni-grant for the project Repairing defective genes in mini-livers

Many liver diseases are caused by faulty DNA sequences in liver genes. Researchers plan to isolate liver stem cells from patients and repair the incorrect sequence in their genome. Subsequently, the team wants to show that the corrected cells can be injected into a damaged liver and repair the organ.

4. Kai Kretzschmar (Clevers-group) received his Veni-grant for the project Teaching immune cells to kill cancer

Tumours contain immune cells that can recognise and destroy cancerous cells. However, tumour cells often disguise as normal cells to escape this destruction. The researcher aims to develop a method to culture mini-tumours (‘organoids’) with immune cells to screen for new factors stimulating tumour destruction by immune cells.