Ten Rotterdam researchers receive Vidi grant

Campus Woudestein in the morning.
Campus Woudestein Erasmus Universiteit

From stereotypes in pornography to the collaboration between doctor and computer: ten researchers will receive a Vidi grant of up to 800,000 euros to develop an innovative line of research and expand their own research group over the next five years. The laureates are from Erasmus MC, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

The laureates and their research:


  • The big impact of the little brain: Uncovering the role of the cerebellum in autism developmental trajectories

    dr. H.J. Boele, Erasmus MC

    What do brain cells of individuals with autism look like? Here I plan to unravel how various genetic factors cause changes in the structure of brain cells that result in autistic behavior. In addition, I will investigate the most frequent non-genetic autism risk factor: damage to the cerebellum around birth. I will study how this form of autism differs from genetic forms. My research involves measuring brain connections and activity in lab animals using advanced methods.

    Henk-Jan Boele
  • Why do people enjoy stereotypes in online pornography?

    dr. S.R.J.M. van Bohemen, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Pornography has a history of relying on stereotypes to deliver its viewers sexual pleasure. On the Internet this culture industry attracts hundreds of millions of people around the world each day. I will develop an interdisciplinary multi-methods approach for understanding why so many people with diverse social backgrounds enjoy watching stereotypes in online porn. Is it because they want to dominate or learn about sexual others? Or are they enjoying these stereotypes because they teach them something about themselves? I also study how these stereotypes impact young people and how we can effectively prevent some of their harmful effects.

    dr. (Samira) SRJM van Bohemen, ESSB
  • Intrinsic neuronal control of neurotropic virus infection

    dr. M. van Gent, Erasmus MC

    Virus infections of the human nervous system can have severe deleterious consequences, including neonatal infections with permanent sequelae, eye infections that can lead to permanent blindness, and potentially fatal inflammation of the brain. In this project, it will be investigated how neuronal cells arm themselves against incoming viruses to prevent infection and virus proliferation. Understanding these protective processes is a crucial step towards the development of improved therapeutics to combat virus infections and prevent serious damage to the fragile nervous system.

  • Perfect parents

    prof. P.C.M. Luijk, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Raising children is a beautiful yet heavy task. Many parents experience exhaustion, which is a precursor of parental burnout. Underlying parental exhaustion and burnout are societal ideas that parenting can be done ‘right’ and that parents should be able to do it on their own. Paradoxically, although parenting advice is intended to support parents, it may exacerbate the problem by wrongly implying that perfect parenting is possible. In this project, pedagogues study how societal trends influence parental exhaustion and burnout, and will develop, in co-creation with parents, future-proof solutions to reduce parental exhaustion and burnout.

    Prof.dr. Maartje Luijk - ESSB
  • Bringing us together or pulling us apart? How working in multiple teams affects inclusion in the workplace

    dr. J. Mell, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

    Many people work in multiple teams at the same time. While this means they meet many colleagues in their different teams, it also means they have little time to build meaningful relationships in each of their teams. This can make them feel like an outsider rather than fully included in the workplace. This project explores how working in multiple teams affects inclusion of women and men in the workplace and develops solutions to offset possible negative effects that working in multiple teams can have on employee inclusion.

    Julija Mell
  • Prior performance information: blessing or curse?

    dr. K.M. Stegers-Jager, Erasmus MC

    Raters often already have prior information about a trainee. This prior information can contribute to learning, for example through specific feedback, but can also lead to stigmatization. This project investigates how prior information plays a role in single assessments and in decisions based on multiple assessments. The researchers also look at whether this leads to unjustified differences in assessments between ethnic minority and ethnic majority trainees. Unravelling this assessment process is crucial for fair assessments for all trainees, and thereby for achieving a diverse future workforce for our multicultural society.

    Karin Stegers-Jager
  • How do urban migration infrastructures facilitate irregular migrant mobility?

    dr. T. Swerts, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Irregular migration has become a political priority in Europe. While European and national policies criminalize migrants who are 'in transit' to a further destination, cities and local actors are taking a more inclusive stance. However, local responses to 'transit migration' suffer from a double knowledge gP about the field of institutional and non-institutional actors providing local services to undocumented migrants and the conditions of migrants on the ground. This project closes this gap by comparing urban migration infrastructures in three European transit hubs and demonstrating how these infrastructures locally facilitate the arrival, transit, settlement and departure of undocumented migrants.

  • The mysterious case of biological dark matter and human uniqueness

    dr. A. Vidaki, Erasmus MC

    The vast majority of our DNA code is full of segments that are repeated multiple times and do not contain genes. So far scientists have been largely ignoring them because they were difficulty to read. Yet, we know that in principle they can change or expand and influence disease. In this project, researchers develop novel laboratory and computational methods to accurately read both the sequence and chemical profile of long DNA repeats. They then employ them to study their variation between several tissues of unrelated individuals and identical twins, to uncover the truth behind the uniqueness of repetitive DNA.

  • The action of thyroid hormone in human brain cells

    dr. W.E. Visser, Erasmus MC

    It is well known that thyroid hormone is critical for human brain development. This multidisciplinary project uses human brain samples, stem cell technology and advanced brain imaging to better understand the actions of thyroid hormone in human brain development, both in health and disease.

  • Rules of engagement: unraveling the best strategies for physician-computer collaboration in the diagnostic process

    dr. L. Zwaan, Institute of Medical Education Research Rotterdam (iMERR)/ Erasmus MC

    ‘Computers outperform doctors in diagnosing skin cancer’ is a headline you might see in the newspaper. Computers are indeed reaching high levels of diagnostic performance and diagnostic accuracy can improve substantially if physicians and computers collaborate. However, it is unclear how this collaboration should occur. This project will reveal optimal ways for collaboration between computers and physicians in the diagnostic process.

    Laura Zwaan
dr. H.J. Boele
dr. M. van Gent
dr. K.M. Stegers-Jager
dr. A. Vidaki
dr. W.E. Visser
dr. L. Zwaan
More information

More about Vidi

Together with the Veni and Vici grants, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. The NWO Talent Programme gives researchers the freedom to pursue their own research based on creativity and passion.


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