Ronald van Rij, Dept. of Medicial Microbiology, theme Infectious diseases and global health has been awarded a NWO Vici grant of 1,5 M€; one of the largest personal scientific awards in the Netherlands.
Summary of his research project:
Small RNAs with a large impact on virus spread
Mosquitoes transmit viruses like Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, which are responsible for debilitating disease and worldwide epidemics. These viruses are transmitted by two vector mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Small RNA pathways are crucial for antiviral immunity in insects, including mosquitoes. Of the three classes of small RNAs in animals, the PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway is the least understood. The research group of Van Rij recently identified novel classes of piRNAs that are encoded in the genome of Aedes aegypti. The VICI project will study novel functions of this intriguing class of small RNAs in gene regulation and inheritance of antiviral immunity.
More information NWO-Vici: link
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