Sensory Disorders Talent Award


Ruben van Bergen (Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior), Roos Schellevis (Ophthalmology) and Lonneke Haer-Wigman (Human Genetics) received prizes in the first Sensory Disorders Talent Award competition on 21 January 2015). During the Radboud Research Round, 8 young researchers (PhD students or <3 years after their PhD) presented their scientific article that was published in 2015. The prize winners were selected for their presentation skills, the scientific merit of the publication, societal impact and discussion.

Ruben van Bergen (1st prize) presented his paper that was published in Nature Neuroscience (van Bergen et al. Nat Neurosci 18(12), 1728-30, 2015) that focused on neural representation of sensory uncertainty in the human visual cortex. This project required a combination of skills in fMRI and probabilistic modeling, as well as a knack for method development. He excellently presented this complicated material and convinced the audience about the societal impact of his work.

Roos Schellevis (2nd prize) discussed her paper about the involvement of the immune system in the eye disease chronic Central Serous Chorioretinopathy (Breukink, Schellevis et al. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci 56(9), 5608-13, 2015). Within the five-minute presentation she explained both the complement system and the eye disease and how these were correlated.

Lonneke Haer-Wigman (3rd prize) presented here paper from Human Molecular Genetics (Haer-Wigman et al. Hum Mol Genet 24(13), 3742-51, 2015). She identified a surprising new genotype-phenotype correlation in which HGSNAT mutations are associated with non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa. Mutations in this gene earlier were associated with mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIC (MPS IIIC), a lethal disorder characterized by progressive neurological deterioration. The retinitis pigmentosa patients carried ‘hypomorphic’ variants. HGSNAT activity levels in blood leukocytes of patients were reduced compared with healthy controls, but usually higher than those in MPS IIIC patients.

On top of their prize, all nominees received a ticket to the MuZIEum, in which they can experience the world of visually impaired patients. We’re looking forward to seeing the 2016-papers that will be presented next year during the Talent Award!

undefinedOn the photo from left to right:

Roos Schellevis, Ruben van Bergen and Lonneke Haer-Wigman

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