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Three research projects granted via the Open Competition Domain Science – XS

The NWO Domain Board Science has awarded 26 applications in the Open Competition Domain Science - XS. Each project could apply for a maximum of 50.000 euros. The themes vary from research into volcanos, developing techniques for navigation of drones, sustainable chemical techniques and using an electronic nose to detect multiple sclerosis. The XS category emphatically strives to encourage curiosity-driven and bold research involving a relatively quick analysis of a promising idea. 

Nanocarriers for Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras to Fight Incurable Diseases
Dr. M.A. Hempenius (Universiteit Twente)

Alzheimer, cardiovascular disease, chemotherapy-resistant cancers- all these conditions remain incurable. We will develop tiny particles, nanocarriers, for treatment of such conditions. Our unique approach is to encapsulate Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) in nanocarriers. PROTACs are novel, revolutionary drugs that degrade “bad” proteins involved in these conditions. PROTACs were efficient in initial experiments. However, major challenges hamper PROTACs performance: stabilization of PROTACs in blood, and targeting the diseased cells. Encapsulation of PROTACs in nanocarriers will tackle these challenges, leading to new treatments of major public health problems in the future.

CHitosan Interacts with Polyphenols & Digestible Acorn proteins are Left in solution

Dr. ir. S. Lindhoud (Universiteit Twente)

To feed the world sustainable protein sources have to be found. Plants would be an ideal protein source, but protein recovery from plants has been proven difficult due to the interactions between proteins and polyphenols. In CHIP&DALE an environmentally friendly water-based method will be developed to separate polyphenols and proteins from acorns. This separation method is inspired by the way molecules are spatial temporal organised in the cellular fluids. If our recovery method is successful it can be applied to other seeds, peels and plant waste material, uncovering new sustainable protein sources to feed the planet.

Sustainable Forest Protection: Biobased Nanocarriers Against the Bark Beetle

Dr. F.R. Wurm (Universiteit Twente)

The bark beetle is a major threat to forests worldwide, destroying this natural protection of our climate. Even worse, climate change lets the bark beet population grow rapidly. Thus, this pest can destroy larger quantities of forests. The only weapons to date are massive spraying of pesticides and cutting the infected trees. We propose a sustainable alternative using drug-loaded sugar- or lignin-based nanocarriers. These nanocarriers are injected inside of the trunk of infected trees, transported to the place of the beetle or their larvae, and attack them as a nanosized Trojan horse - without spraying of pesticides.