Anna Akhmanova is one of the recipients of the NWO Spinoza Prize 2018 for her research into the cytoskeleton. Alongside the Stevin Prize, the Spinoza Prize is the highest academic distinction in the Netherlands. Every year, NWO awards this prize to up to four researchers who belong to the very best in their field from an international perspective. Anna will receive €2.5 million that she can spend freely on research of her choice.


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02-17-2017: Mike Boxem was awarded an NWO Vici Grant for his proposal “Deciphering the systems that control epithelial cell polarity“.


The ability to polarize and establish functionally distinct domains is an essential property of mammalian cells. The main polarized cell type of the body is the epithelial cell. Loss of epithelial polarity contributes to several diseases, including cancer. The research proposed here aims to elucidate how epithelial cells polarize.

ZonMw awarded three TOP grants to PIs in the IBB:

Cell division arrest and self-renewal potential of differentiated neurons and heart muscle cells
Sander van den Heuvel (UU), Casper Hoogenraad (UU) en Eva van Rooij (Hubrecht Instituut)

Microtubule organisation and membrane trafficking in metastatic cancer
Anna Akhmanova (UU), Judith Klumperman (UMCU) en Patrick Derksen (UMCU)

Early developmental processes underlying sensory deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders
Christian Lohmann (NIN, Amsterdam), Corette Wierenga (UU), Hilgo Bruining (UMCU) en Martien Kas (RU Groningen)

How do electrical signal propagate through brain tissue? To answer this question, groups from the Department of Biology and the Department of Physics will collaborate within the framework of a new FOM-program on Neurophotonics.

This program brings together experts in the field of single-neuron physiology (Corette Wierenga and Maarten Kole) with excellent groups in advanced imaging and wavefront shaping technology (Lukas Kapitein, Hans Gerritsen, Allard Mosk, Ivo Vellekoop (Twente), in order to unravel the physical principles underlying signal generation, propagation and integration in neurons embedded in functional circuits using advanced light-based methodology.


More info can be found here:

On November 18 & 19, the Kickoff meeting for the Marie Curie ITN PolarNet was held in Utrecht. PolarNet is a large European research and training consortium that brings together academic and private partners from 7 European countries to study the basic principles of cell polarity. PolarNet will run for 4 years, starting on October 1st 2015, and funds 15 PhD students (5 within the IBB).

Light in the darkness: the influence of light quality on the development of plant roots

Changes in the light spectrum enable plants to sense when they are in danger of being overshadowed by the surrounding vegetation. They respond to this threat by rapidly growing upwards towards the light, while the growth of their roots actually decreases. Both of these changes reduce investments in the edible parts of plants. In this project, we will attempt to identify the nature of the signals sent from the shoot to the root, and to localize and identify those processes within plant roots that are affected by such signals. However, different root growth processes also influence one another. Accordingly, the researchers will combine experiments with mathematical models, to sort the wheat from the chaff and find out exactly what is going on.