NWO-Veni grants for Casimir postdocs Paola De Magistris and Sergii Pud


The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 166 highly promising young scientists. Amongst them are two Casimir postdocs: Delft/BN postdoc Paola De Magistris and former Delft/BN and current LION postdoc Sergii Pud. The grant provides the laureates with the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years.

The Veni laureates will conduct research on a variety of subjects, such as: the possibilities of a prosthesis that directly translates brain activity into audible speech, how lightning is initiated or propagates through the sky, the use of 3D printing techniques to reconstruct complex tissue types, how the brains of mother and infant become synchronized and how this synchronization may become disrupted, and the secret behind the question how old individuals can withstand adverse effects of blood cancer.

Paola De Magistris will, under the title ‘The great escape’, study the genetic information that is transcribed from DNA to RNA molecules, exiting from the cell nucleus to produce proteins. Paola and her team will unravel the mechanism of this crucial exit process by creating a minimalistic system mimicking export through the nuclear pores. She expects that this will open new paths to study transport-related diseases.

Sergii Pud’s project is called “Molecular ping-pong to study proteins. In his abstract, he writes: “Proteins are the building blocks of life and studying them provides the key to understand life and cure diseases. We will make a new tool for studying protein molecules one by one through engaging them in a game of molecular ping-pong and observing their behaviour in it.”

The Veni grants are awarded by NWO every year. A total of 1,151 researchers submitted an admissible research proposal for funding. 166 of these have now been granted. That comes down to an award rate of 14%. The submissions were assessed by means of peer review by external experts from the disciplines concerned. In this Veni funding round, NWO is investing a total of 41,5 million euros in free and curiosity-driven research.

Click here for an overview of all Veni Grants 2019. The list of awarded grants contains the names of all the laureates, as well as brief summaries of their research projects.