Three scientists from the Hubrecht Institute have been awarded a prestigious NWO Veni grant: Phong Nguyen (Bakkers group), Koos Rooijers (Kind group) and Matilde Galli (Korswagen group). The Veni grants are awarded to promising young scientists to enable them to further develop and execute their own research plans for three years. Of the 1127 applicants only 154 scientists were awarded the grant this year.

 

Enhancing heart regeneration – Phong Nguyen (Bakkers group)
Injury to the heart, for instance as a result of a heart attack, causes irreversible damage in patients. Unlike humans, zebrafish can regenerate their heart completely after damage. Nguyen is going to study zebrafish heart regeneration to find new factors involved in this process and better understand why the injured heart of a human patient cannot repair itself.

 

Visualizing DNA-damage repair in single cells – Koos Rooijers (Kind group)
The packaging of DNA in a cell is thought to form a barrier for enzymes that can repair damaged DNA. However, it remains unclear exactly how this packaging material influences the repair mechanisms. Rooijers is going to systematically identify DNA repair in single cells, to provide basic knowledge that might for example lead to better cancer treatments in the future.

 

Polyploidy: extra DNA by not dividing – Matilde Galli (Korswagen group)
Polyploid cells, cells that contain a multitude of chromosome pairs, are important for organ and body growth in many organisms. Galli is going to study how cells are programmed to become polyploid, by identifying the molecules that stimulate the cells to change their cell division program.