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11 December 2014

MIRA Vouchers


In the summer of 2014, MIRA offered vouchers to support excellent staff members to further increase their research performance. Tenure trackers, and assistant, associate and full professors submitted 21 proposals. A committee consisting of the 3 research theme leaders has evaluated all proposals for the MIRA vouchers, and the MIRA management team made the final decision.

MIRA was pleased with the quality of the proposals, their contribution to multidisciplinary and translational research and expects the outcome will result in new projects.

Therefore, the MIRA management team has agreed to award 8, instead of the originally suggested 5, proposals, of €40,000.- each.

The following proposals were awarded:

 

Horizon 2020 Project: Virtual Therapy for Head & Neck Cancer

-       Dr. ir. Ferdi van der Heijden (Robotics and Mechatronics)

“Virtual Therapy for Head & Neck Cancer” is joined research of the UT and the NKI-AVL. This research is both translational and multidisciplinary. A Horizon grant proposal is within reach, but the organization of a consortium and the writing of the proposal require much effort for which support is asked.

 

SCoRE (Steerable Catheter for Magnetic Resonance Environment)

-       Dr. Sarthak Misra (Biomechanical Engineering)

The goal of this study is to couple tendon-driven catheters, micro-coils and an existing MR- compatible robot to explore the feasibility of magnetic-based steering techniques. We aim to perform MR experiments as a proof-of-concept in preparation for our Horizon 2020 proposal. These studies will strengthen the collaborations with RadboudUMC and MESA+.

 

Cell deposition for clinically feasible tissue regeneration

-       Prof. dr. Marcel Karperien (PI), (Developmental BioEngineering)

-       Prof. dr. Detlef Lohse (Physics of Fluids)

-       Prof. dr. Daniël B.F. Saris (Reconstructive Medicine)

-       Ir. Claas Willem Visser (Physics of Fluids)

Spray deposition of cells is an emerging technology for regenerating damaged tissues in situ but its clinical application is hindered by substantial cell death. We propose an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to optimize cell spraying for clinical application by combining expertise in in-situ gelating hydrogels for cell deposition (DBE) with experimental and analytical modelling of cells during spraying (POF), and with biosurgical reconstructive expertise (RM). 

 

Preparations for a VENI proposal on E-health support in Parkinson’s disease patients with smart glasses

-       Dr. Yan Zhao (Biomedical Signals and Systems)

Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from gait deficits and circadian rhythm disruptions. Therefore, I am preparing a VENI proposal to develop external cueing applications for smart glasses that patients can use in everyday life to improve their gait, sleep, and mood, thereby increasing their independence and confidence.

 

Preclinical in vivo testing of mixed matrix membranes for blood purification.

-       Dr. Dimitrios Stamatialis (Biomaterials Science and Technology)

Recently, we showed that our mixed matrix membrane (MMM), which combines dialysis and adsorption in one step, could achieve, in vitro, complete removal of larger middle-sized molecules and protein-bound uremic toxins from human plasma. In this multidisciplinary and translational project, in collaboration with the UMC Utrecht, we will produce the first preclinical in vivo data of these MMM using a goat model for chronic kidney disease.

 

Lewy body toxicity is mediated by synaptic failure.

-       Dr. ir. Joost Le Feber (Clinical Neurophysiology)

-       Dr. Mireille Claessens (Nanobiophysics)

In neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease or Lewy body dementia the protein α- synuclein (αS) loses its function and becomes toxic. We will solidify our hypothesis that aggregation of αS hampers synaptic transmission. Cell death results not directly from the appearance of protein aggregates, instead toxicity results from insufficient cell activation, due to massive synaptic failure. Testing this hypothesis is essential for planned joined grant proposals.

 

Imaging Tumor Stroma: A Novel Strategy to Detect Tumors

-       Dr. Jai Prakash (Biomaterials Science and Technology)

Early and efficient detection of tumor is highly essential to achieve curative treatment of cancer. So far, major efforts have been made to detect tumor cells. However, most of the tumor types such as pancreatic, breast and prostate tumors contain huge amounts of stroma i.e. nonmalignant cells in tumors and extracellular matrix. In this project, we propose to detect tumor stroma instead of tumor cells in order to detect tumors. To accomplish this, we will target tumor stromal cells (i.e. cancer-associated fibroblasts) using our new peptide (AXI) conjugated to magnetic nanoparticles. Using the MIRA voucher, we will perform proof-of- concept preclinical MR imaging studies with the peptide nanoconstructs in a pancreatic tumor xenograft mouse model that we have recently set up in MIRA animal lab. The obtained data will provide me a strong base to acquire new external funding, strengthen my patent application on the novel peptide and give me an opportunity to start up a MIRA spin-off.

 

Patchwork: Merging signaling Pathways and Chemical libraries to Working therapies

-       Dr. Janine Post (Developmental Bioengineering)

-       Prof. dr. Marcel Karperien (Developmental Bioengineering)

-       Prof. dr. Jaco van de Pol (Formal Methods & Tools, CTIT)

-       Dr. Rom Langerak (Formal Methods & Tools, CTIT)

Patchwork aims to develop an automated approach to simultaneously master the massive amount of data generated in a high throughput screen and the complex interactions in biochemical signaling networks. More specifically, we will develop and perform a high throughput screen in a cell-based osteoarthritic disease model using the facilities of the bionanolab and develop tools for automatic filtering of this data by streaming the data through a model based tool paradigm, called ANIMO.