'FOM-Vrij Programma' awarded to Chirlmin Joo (Delft/BN)


On 15 November the FOM Foundation awarded a total of 15.1 million euros to seven new 'Vrije FOM-programma's'. The subjects cover the breadth of physics: from research into knowledge beyond the Standard Model to networks and a method to determine the protein sequence of several molecules.

One of the awarded programs is that of dr. Chirlmin Joo (Delft/BN):

Determining the protein sequence in a single molecule
Together with researchers from Wageningen University and the University of Groningen, researchers from Delft University of Technology under the leadership of Dr Chirlmin Joo want to analyse proteins molecule by molecule using single-molecule techniques. A biological nanomachine will align the protein molecules after which the researchers will read out the amino acid sequence using a combination of optical techniques (single-molecule fluorescence) and electrical detection with nanopores. This will lay the foundation for a spectacular new technique for determining the protein sequence at single molecule level, also for complex and diverse cell proteins.

Joo is looking forward to the programme: "In view of the high desirability of gaining a better understanding of the molecular basis of human diseases, a method is needed that can accurately analyse proteins. With our team – three biophysicists, a biochemist, an organic chemist and a bioinformatician – I am looking forward to developing a first proof-of-concept for single-molecule protein sequencing."

About the Vrije FOM-programma's
In a Vrij FOM-programma the specialists from various Dutch knowledge institutes consolidate their strengths in specific areas. The research groups work in areas that Dutch physics excels in at an international level and for which there is a clear scientific and societal interest. The new research programmes must lead to a real understanding of recently discovered phenomena and in some cases also provide perspectives for new technologies. With the Vrije FOM-programma's FOM is trying to achieve two objectives: physics research of the highest possible quality in the Netherlands plus a focus on scientific subjects and the consolidation of research activities. Through the Vrije FOM-programma's FOM also realises strategic research policy via its subareas.

The Vrije FOM-programma's arise on the basis of ideas from researchers, who can develop and submit a proposal. All programme proposals are in competition with each other. The programmes should have a clear objective, focus, cohesion and added value (compared to separate small-scale projects). Of course, the scientific quality must be convincing as well.

With effect from 1 January 2017, FOM will be integrated within the new NWO. New research funding rounds in the physical and natural sciences will from that moment onwards be realised by the Physical and Natural Sciences (PNS) domain of NWO. Announcements about changes in the research funding will be communicated well in advance.