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ERC Starting Grants for five young researchers from Leiden University

The ERC Council has awarded Starting Grants to five promising Leiden researchers. With an impressive three laureates, the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has done particularly well. The fourth grant goes to the LUMC and the fifth to the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.

Eiko Fried (Psychology)

Depression is common, debilitating and often chronic. Experts agree that prevention is the most effective way to combat this disease, but the biggest barrier to successful personalized prevention is identifying those at risk of depression in the near future. In his research, Eiko Fried aims to develop a personalised early warning system, WARN-D, that will reliably forecast depression  before it occurs, promising to radically transform the science of depression detection. He will follow 2,000 individuals over two years, and integrate emerging theoretical, measurement and modelling approaches from different scientific fields. These include complex systems theory, mental health measurement via smartphones and smartwatches, as well as network models and machine learning. Read more.

Elseline Hoekzema (Psychology)

Elseline Hoekzema and her team will investigate the impact of pregnancy, one of the most extreme endocrine events of life, on the human brain. Having previously shown that pregnancy confers long-lasting changes in human brain structure, Hoekzema will further unravel the neurobiological journey to motherhood by means of a prospective cohort study that combines neuroimaging approaches with various biomedical and psychopedagogic measures. In the project, she also aims to reveal the neural substrates for specific maladaptive peripartum processes as well as potential adaptations that confer long-lasting changes in maternal functioning and may facilitate the transition to motherhood. Read more 

Baoxu Pang (LUMC)

Baoxu Pang will systematically study repressive elements in human DNA, or what he calls ‘the dark side of the genome’. Less than 1.5% of the human genome contains information about the estimated 25,000 genes. The rest includes many so-called regulatory elements that control in which cell types and at what time certain genes are transcribed. Most regulatory elements have been characterised extensively, but one class – the silencers – has not. Pang will use his Starting Grant to systematically identify silencers in the human DNA and increase the general understanding of the biology of silencers.

Jewellord Nem Singh (Political Science)

Jewellord Nem Singh is Assistant Professor of International Relations. His main research lies on the intersection between development and democracy in Latin America and East Asia, with a particular interest in state-building, resource-led industrialisation and the development of social movements.

Jonathon Matthew Hoye (Institute of Security and Global Affairs)

Jonathon Matthew Hoye currently works at VU Amsterdam, but will carry out his ERC project at Leiden University. He currently researches topics such republican liberty in migration politics in the United States.

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