Hubrecht researcher Hans Clevers is part of two consortiums that receive 18,8 million euro for two ‘Gravitation programmes’ from the NWO. The projects are the ‘Netherlands Organ-on-Chip Initiative’ and ‘Materials-driven regeneration: Regenerating tissue and organ function with intelligent, life- like materials’. 

The gravitation programme aims at bringing the best researchers in a discipline or in several disciplines together and to facilitate excellence and the international position of research in the Netherlands. The consortia belong to the world top in the field of research or have the potential to do so.

A consortium is a collaboration between the best researchers in the Netherlands in a discipline or in several disciplines. Consortia can arise from Dutch research schools but also from influential top researchers and top research groups consolidating their strengths.

Netherlands Organ-on-Chip Initiative

For many common diseases in humans, there are no good laboratory models to study the condition. Using stem cells from patients the team will develop “disease-specific miniature organs on microchips” to investigate precise mechanisms underlying diseases of the heart, brain and intestine and the effects of intestinal bacteria and drugs on these processes. Simulating and studying the smallest functional building blocks of these tissues in “organs-on-a-chip” will allow the team to identify new drug targets. Linking organ chips together will also allow the team to investigate how diseased organs and intestinal bacteria influence each other. With this approach we hope to learn more about how certain diseases arise and how they might be treated.

Materials-driven regeneration: Regenerating tissue and organ function with intelligent, life- like materials

Regenerative medicine makes use of the regenerative capability of the human body to heal damaged or diseased tissues and organs. In the Center for Materials-Driven Regeneration, materials scientists, cell biologists, tissue engineers and medical scientists are jointly working on a new approach in which intelligent materials are used to coax the body into restoring itself. With this multidisciplinary approach, the consortium wants to tackle one of the biggest and costliest challenges of healthcare: the cure of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and organ diseases such as kidney failure.