Vici totalling 1.5 million euros each for two LUMC researchers

26 February 2019• NEWSITEM

Dr Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes and Prof. Haico van Attikum have each received 1.5 million euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for their work on sex change in cells and DNA replication.

Can cells change sex?’       

This was the title of the research proposal submitted by Dr Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes, a researcher in the Department of Anatomy and Embryology of Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). During embryonic development, human cells make all the different organs and cell types, but only one type of germ line is generated: female cells make eggs and male cells make sperm. Chuva de Sousa Lopes wants to find out how this process is regulated and which genes can be switched on to make human stem cells change sex.

DNA replication and chromatin

An essential step in cell division is the replication of our DNA. However, damage to the DNA can disrupt this process. Prof. Haico van Attikum, who works in the Department of Human Genetics at the LUMC, will use the Vici grant to study how DNA replication is regulated in the event of damage and what role chromatin, the packaging material for our DNA, plays in this process.

Vici academic grant

Vici is one of the largest grants paid to individual researchers in the Netherlands. The 32 academics who were awarded this grant in the most recent round do research in a wide variety of fields. What they have in common is that they have successfully demonstrated their ability to develop their own innovative research lines and they can also coach young researchers. The Vici grants are part of the NWO’s Innovational Research Incentives Scheme.

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