Several researchers of the University of Twente received a NWO ENW-GROOT grant for seven different research projects. The projects are all collaborations between different Dutch universities and research institutes and investigate very different topics: from stem cell research to quantum computer chips.
To alleviate the burden of age-related chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, there is an urgent need to direct regeneration of tissues. In the project SCI-MAP, UT-researchers dr. Jeroen Leijten, dr. Ing. Janine Post (both faculty of S&T) and dr. Hil Meijer (faculty of EEMCS) collaborate with prof. dr. Ingrid Meulenbelt and dr. Yolande Ramos (Leiden University Medical Center) to map and understand key modifiable factors that direct and maintain stem cell differentiation into stable, tissue specific, cells. Knowledge acquired within SCI-MAP will pave the way for development of effective regenerative therapies in osteoarthritis and beyond.
Many people suffer from a too slow heartbeat, because the natural pacemaker, the sinus node, does not function well enough. Prof. dr. Robert Passier and prof. dr. ir. Pascal Jonkheijm (both faculty of S&T) investigate the basic principles of the structure of a robust and regularly functioning sinus node in this project. With the new knowledge they will build a pacemaker from human stem cells. The cultured pacemakers made from stem cells will be useful to study slow heartbeat and to test new medicines.
Breakthrough technologies in our modern day, digital society are closely connected to ever-improving control over the electrical properties of materials. Researchers of six Dutch Universities including prof. dr. ir. Alexander Brinkman and dr. Chuan Li (both faculty of S&T) are teaming up to kick-start a new field of research, with the goal to develop novel materials they change their electrical or magnetic properties strongly under small perturbations such as pressure, temperature or applied electric field.
In this project prof. dr. ir. Floris Zwanenburg (faculty of EEMCS) and prof. dr. ir. Alexander Brinkman (faculty of S&T) focus on new manifestations of topological matter. On the fundamental side, we will realize a novel class of materials in which we induce a transition from a topological crystalline phase into a higher-order topological phase. As for applications, we will investigate whether Majorana quasiparticles and parafermions form on the interface between the higher-order topological material and a superconductor. Such quasiparticles can serve as building blocks for topological quantum computation.
Photonic crystals are important for many research areas and applications because they enhance the interaction of light with matter in an unprecedented way. In this project, prof. dr. Willem Vos, prof. dr. Ad Lagendijk (both faculty of S&T), dr. Matthias Schlottbom and prof. dr. ir. Jaap van der Vegt (both faculty of EEMCS) plan to make both periodic and quasi-periodic photonic crystals by using colloidal self-assembly, an inherently scalable and inexpensive approach. These crystals will have a so-called photonic bandgap for visible light, the equivalent of an electronic bandgap for electrons. The study of such structures, and how they can influence light, will not only provide new fundamental knowledge about quasicrystals but will also have applications in e.g. data manipulation, lighting, sensing and photocatalysis.
Turbulence, the ubiquitous state of fluid motion, has a strong tendency towards homogeneity and isotropy at small scales. Employing ‘smart’ particles, capable of affecting the smallest scales of the flow, prof. dr. Roberto Verzicco, dr. ir. Sander Huisman, dr. ir. Richard Stevens and prof. dr. Detlef Lohse (all faculty of S&T) explore how to generate ‘designer turbulence’.
Earlier we already reported about the research of prof. dr. ing. Bob van Eijk (faculty of S&T), who develops new techniques to determine the properties of the Higgs Boson more precisely. Professor van Eijk will work alongside physicists of Nikhef, the University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen on the Higgs project to develop these new techniques. They are all involved in the ATLAS experiment at the largest particle accelerator of the world, the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Geneva, Switzerland.