The TGS Award 2021 is awarded to the recently started PhD candidates Jan Siemen Smink and Marit Ten Hove. This year by exception two laureates because they finished very close at the top. The TGS Award is for talented and ambitious UT Master’s degree students who wish to pursue a PhD. Both accepted the Award on Monday 6 September during the Opening of the Academic Year of the University of Twente. The prize consists of a cheque of 2,500 euros, which they can spend on an educational programme or exchange during their research.
Jan Siemen Smink: “My research is about the design and fabrication of microfibers with controllable properties, carried out in the Engineering Fluid Dynamics group. These particles are produced using the novel technique ‘in-air microfluidics’. The behavior of these tunable particles in turbulent flows is investigated using the experimental setups present at the University of Twente. Unknown flow regimes with high concentrations of complex particles will be revealed by systematically varying e.g. the particle shape and flexibility. Previous research has shown that it might be possible to achieve drag reduction of these flows, to reduce for example energy consumption of industrial processes. We expect that optimizing the particle shape might reduce energy consumption even more. Finally, a better understanding of the particle production via in-air microfluidics would benefit future fabrication of precisely-controlled particles as well as 3D-inkjet printing, and solutions in health and pharmacy.”
With this award, Smink would like to visit a conference and a summer school in his field of study. “With these, you obtain important knowledge for your research, but moreover, you get to know others in your field of study, with whom could be collaborated in the future.”
Research into the therapeutic effect of a drug against liver diseases
Marit ten Hove: "In the Translational Liver Research group at the TNW faculty, I am focusing on the development of effective treatment against liver diseases. I am investigating the beneficial effects of a drug developed by iOnctura, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. I believe that this drug has a potential to be used for the treatment of fatty liver diseases.
More than 25% of the population suffer from fatty liver diseases, which occurs due to high-fat intake and an unhealthy lifestyle. Fatty liver diseases are also strongly associated with obesity and diabetes. A large number of people with fatty liver diseases develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease. Failure to halt this disease process can lead to liver failure or liver cancer. So far, there is no effective therapy available for liver diseases and liver transplantation is the only option available for the patients. However, due to lack of donor organs and problems associated with transplantations, innovative and effective ways of treatment would be needed to treat liver diseases."
With this award ten Hove would like to go to an international conference/workshop concerning liver diseases to discuss ideas and obtain new insights together with peers.
The final jury ranking indicated 2 very close top candidates. Therefore the jury decided, by way of exception, that the TGS Award 2021 will be shared by two candidates.
About Jan Siemen Smink: You gave a very good and clear presentation, proved to be thoughtful in your answers, showed you were on top of your subject, and even though the presentation skills could perhaps be better the jury was convinced that you were engaged in some very fundamental research that may prove to have a great impact on our understanding and use of materials as well as natural processes. You have a good track record (both BSc and MSc cum laude).
About Marit ten Hove: You gave a very good and clear presentation, showed enthusiasm and good communication skills, proved to be thoughtful in your answers, and you have a very good track record to start with, like for example evident from your publications, of which one as shared first author. The health research you are engaged in can be of great significance to many people.
The jury consisted of Dr Paul van Dijk, TGS chairman, Dr Ruchi Bansal (TNW), Dr Rick Hogeboom (ET), Dr Nelly Litvak (EWI), Professor Ariana Need (BMS,TGS), Professor Freek van der Meer (ITC), assisted by Dr Anne Dijkstra.