Two collaborative projects of LUMC researchers receive grants from the Dutch Research Agenda

25 November 2020• PRESSRELEASE

Two joint projects led by LUMC researchers receive grants from the Dutch Research Agenda. Science funder NWO provides a total of 93 million euros for interdisciplinary research into societal issues. In her consortium, LUMC researcher Valeria Orlova conducts research into organs on a chip and Joke Meijer and her partners tackle the question of how to keep the biological clock healthy.

Precision instrument for measuring the effect of drugs

Group leader Valeria Orlova from the Department of Anatomy and Embryology will work with her consortium on building a human lymph system from stem cells in a microfluidic chip.  "The effects of drugs and mechanisms of disease can already be tested on miniature tissue models of heart, skin and gut. However, none of these models currently contain a lymphatic and immune system, which are essential for our health yet can cause disease when they go wrong", Dr. Orlova explains.

The researchers are developing 'organ-on-chip' models with a built-in lymphatic and immune system as a precision tool to investigate immune system-related disorders. This consortium, consisting of other universities, companies and organisations, will receive a total of almost 5 million euros.

The circadian clock in modern society

Our biological clock is disturbed by the 24-hour society in which we now live. "With our BioClock consortium we are going to make sure that the biological clock is, and remains, healthy. Our plans cover the society as a whole: from human health and disease to the natural environment and protection of biodiversity. Topics such as health effects of shift work, optimal times for immunotherapy for cancer and flu vaccinations are all covered," explains project leader and Professor of Neurophysiology, Joke Meijer. 

"This project is unparalleled internationally in the scope and applicability of biological clock research. After years of fundamental research, we can finally start working on concrete applications for society".

With the biological clock in the centre, the partners in the consortium will jointly develop strategies that contribute to a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. The consortium receives almost 10 million euros and has academic and non-academic partners, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to municipalities and from environmental organisations to health and safety services. 

Antibiotics and eHealth

LUMC researchers are also represented in other consortiums that receive grants. For example, Professor of Orthopedics Rob Nelissen and dr. Bart Pijls are involved in developing new antimicrobial technologies that are not based on antibiotics in order to tackle antibiotic resistance. In addition, Professor of Pediatrics Edmond Rings participates in the consortium that wants to develop high-quality eHealth tools for one million chronically ill children. These tools prevent psychological problems in a personalised, diagnosis-independent way and promote optimal participation.

Dutch Research Agenda

A total of over 93 million euros is available. Of this, 81 million euro comes from the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA, Dutch acronym: Nationale Wetenschapsagenda) and 12 million is co-financed by the consortium partners. The aim of research within the NWA is to make a positive, structural contribution to tomorrow's knowledgebased society by building bridges and tackling scientific and societal challenges today.

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