Prestigious ERC grants for Groningen scientists

Prestigious ERC grants for Groningen scientists

Two RUG researchers have been awarded ERC Consolidator Grants: molecular biologist Geert van den Bogaart en chemist Marleen Kamperman.
11 December om 9:41 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 December 2019
om 9:41 uur.
December 11 at 9:41 AM.
Last modified on December 11, 2019
at 9:41 AM.

Rob Siebelink

Door Rob Siebelink

11 December om 9:41 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 December 2019
om 9:41 uur.
Rob Siebelink

By Rob Siebelink

December 11 at 9:41 AM.
Last modified on December 11, 2019
at 9:41 AM.

Approximately three hundred scientists, including 28 from the Netherlands, have been awarded two-million ERC grants for ‘daring and groundbreaking research, and to make new inroads in science’. The ERC (European Research Grant) has evaluated almost 2,500 research proposals.

Wound glue

Marleen Kamperman (1979) is professor of polymer science and focuses on creating new materials. ‘My current focus is on materials that adhere to a wet surface. These could be used on the human body for example, to glue wounds shut instead of suturing them.’

Kamperman hopes to use the ERC grant to develop new materials through environmentally friendly processes. ‘In nature, various organisms create all sorts of fantastic materials, like an octopus beak, spider silk, and the velvet worm’s slime, without using any harmful solvents.’

Many of these materials consist of proteins, and before they reach their final form, they’re encased in their organism in liquid form. ‘The transformation from liquid to the end product is a really interesting process, and I want to study it and simulate it in the lab. I hope to develop a variety of new materials.’

Immune system

Geert van den Bogaart (1980) studied molecular biology and has been a professor of molecular immunology and microbiology in Groningen since 2018.

His research is focused on the connection between the innate immune system and the acquired one. The innate immune system is a quick but not very specific reaction to pathogens. The acquired immune system is slower, but much more purposeful and is necessary when the innate immune system can’t get rid of an infection itself.

Van den Bogaart wants to use the ERC grant to study why, in an infection, an immune response to the pathogens is created, at the same time preventing an auto-immune disease.

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