Three ICMS researchers reel in Marie Curie grants

Three ICMS researchers have each acquired a personal grant from the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) of the European Horizon 2020 subsidy program. The grants, formally labeled as Individual Fellowships, range from 166,000 to 178,000 euro for two years. The projects concern nanoparticles, synthetic enzymes, and spintronics.

Corona around nanoparticles
Dr. Junhong Yan (supervisor: Menno Prins) – BMT / ICMS
Increasingly GPs and hospitals are using small devices to do tests near patients, tests that had previously been done in the laboratory, like a fingerprick test to measure hemoglobin and glucose levels. In many new tests nanoparticles are used, which are particles well smaller than a micrometer. However, one problem is that nanoparticles in biological fluids such as blood attract proteins, which tend to create a kind of shell (or ‘corona’) around the nanoparticles thereby hindering their action. In this project Yan will be investigating how exactly this happens by labeling proteins with DNA and monitoring their interaction. 

Fighting tumors on the spot
Dr. Nathan van Zee (supervisor: Bert Meijer) – ICMS
A highly promising new therapy to tackle tumors is to administer a drug in an inactive form and then activate it through a chemical reaction at exactly the location of the tumor, for instance by using a synthetic enzyme. In this project Van Zee aims to enhance the properties of potential candidates for this function, single chain polymer nanoparticles.

Organic spintronics
Dr. Chidambar Kulkarni (supervisor: Bert Meijer) – ICMS
In spintronics the magnetic properties of electrons (the ‘spin’) are used to store data in a computer memory rather than by electrical charge as in electronics. While most research tends to focus on inorganic materials as active components, Kulkarni will be investigating ‘organic’ variants in the form of supramolecular assemblies.