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ERC Starting grant for Sasha Zhernakova

In Sept. 2016 Dr. A. (Sasha) Zhernakova was awarded an ERC Starting grant to study: “ The role of the virome in shaping the gut ecosystem during the first year of life”. She will study the development of gut flora in newborns. At birth, babies have a limited number of bacteria and viruses in their guts. These increase during the first twelve months, eventually forming a stable colony of gut flora (the microbiome). She will try to discover how the viruses and bacteria develop and how this affects babies’ health. She will study both genetic factors and environmental factors, such as diet, vaccinations

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Harm Jan Westra awarded a Rubicon grant

Harm Jan Westra has been awarded a Rubicon grant by NWO for a project proposal entitled “Localizing autoimmune disease alleles to CD4+ cell state-specific regulatory regions”. He is currently working as a postdoc in Boston under Dr Soumya Raychaudhuri, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is the only UMCG recipient of a Rubicon in this round.

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Lude Franke awarded ERC Starting Grant (€1.5m)

New ‘big data’ approach to identify environmental risk factors for disease Lude Franke (Department of Genetics, UMCG) has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant (€1,500,000) to identify new environmental risk factors for immune diseases. Many diseases have a genetic background but other environmental risk factors (such as viral or bacterial infections) must also play an important role. However, for most diseases these environmental risk factors are still unknown. In this project Lude Franke will identify these risk factors by using large amounts of genetic and gene expression data to study the interplay between genetic risk factors, the role of different

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BBMRI-NL2.0 awarded €9.8 million

BBMRI-NL2.0: building on the Dutch biobank On Tuesday 1st July, BBMRI-NL2.0 was awarded €9.8 million as part of the National Roadmap of Large Research Infrastructures. It is one of six facilities receiving a grant from NWO. The award was announced during a ceremony at Leiden University Medical Centre. Professor Cisca Wijmenga (UMCG) is director of this large-scale biobanking project. (BBMRI stands for Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure) BBMRI-NL will join forces with EPI2 and CTMM-TraIT in July 2014  │   BBMRI-NL embarks upon its second phase: BBMRI-NL2.0 The new endeavour will comprise BBMRI-NL and all the biobanks connected with it.

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2 VIDI grants awarded

May 2014: NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) has awarded VIDI grants to Jingyuan Fu for her project on “Understanding the causal relationships between the host genome, microbiota and lipids” and to Lude Franke for his project on “A novel approach to understanding how DNA variants cause disease”. (1) Understanding the causal relationships between the host genome, microbiota and lipids - Dr. Jingyuan Fu Lipid composition varies widely between human individuals and is associated with many diseases. Numerous studies have shown that the lipid composition can be affected by an individual’s genetic make-up and intestinal microbial composition. Over millions of years, microbes and humans have formed a truly symbiotic relationship.

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VENI grant for Yang Li

Dr. Yang Li, a postdoc working in the Wijmenga group, has been awarded an NWO VENI grant (€250,000) to perform systems genetics analyses on metabolic fluxes using yeast as a model system. Genetic analyses on multiple molecular levels can provide insight into how a genotype relates to a phenotype. She will use this approach to look for heritable causes of metabolite flow rate (flux) through metabolic pathways. See her homepage

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