UMCG Research prize to Lude Franke

The UMCG Research prize was awarded to Lude Franke at the New Year Reception, held on January 6th. This is in recognition of his achievements over the past few years: gaining an ERC starting grant, an NWO-VIDI, and publishing many papers in top journals. For more information see his personal page

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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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Lude Franke appointed associate professor

The Department of Genetics is pleased to announce that as of 1st July 2014, Lude Franke has been appointed as an associate professor. We congratulate him on his new position. On behalf of the Management Team, Cisca Wijmenga, Head of department (N.B. This level is equivalent to UHD/adjunct hoogleraar in the Dutch university system or senior lecturer in the British system.)

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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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Trans eQTL paper by Westra et al. in Nature Genetics

Systematic identification of trans eQTLs as putative drivers of known disease associations, Westra et al. Harm-Jan Westra, … Alexandra Zhernakova, Daria V Zhernakova, … Juha Karjalainen, Sebo Withoff, … Yang Li, Ritsert C Jansen, … Lude Franke, of Dept of Genetics, UMCG, Groningen Published in Nature Genetics online: 08 September 2013 Lude Franke and colleagues report the results of a large expression QTL study performed on peripheral blood samples from 5,311 individuals. They identify trans-eQTL effects for 103 independent loci that were previously associated with complex traits at genome-wide significance, suggesting that this approach can provide insights into the downstream effects of many trait-associated variants.

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