A Researcher at the Hatter Institute visited a European Research Council (ERC)-funded laboratory in Netherlands
Dr Frederic Nduhirabandi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Hatter Institute, has recently completed his first visit to ERC-supported lab at Maastricht University in the Netherlands in the context of his ERC/NRF partnership award.
This newly initiated NRF/ERC partnership award forms part of the larger implementing arrangement developed by the ERC and themed “Opening ERC teams to the world” to provide South African early-mid career researchers opportunities to pursue research collaboration with European colleagues already supported through European Union (EU)-funded ERC grants. This prestigious award is made possible by NRF and ERC, which are both the implementing agencies of an agreement between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the European Commission (EC) and allows the recipient multiple short visits of less than 6 months or single long visit of 6 to 12 months at the ERC host laboratory.
Frederic, was the only researcher from the University of Cape Town among only five NRF-supported researchers who received the award for 2016-2017. This award gave him also the opportunity to attend events commemorating 20 years of the EU-South Africa partnership and meet with the Minister of Science and Technology Dr Naledi Pandor and the heads of EC as well as the executive of the NRF to discuss the challenges and expectations of awardees considering their respective field and research environment.
Dr Frederic Nduhirabandi (second right) with other awardees and NRF Executive Director: International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Aldo Stroebel (first right), Vice-President: European Research Council, Professor Maart Saarma (fourth right), NRF Executive Director: Human and Institutional Capacity Development, Dr Romilla Maharaj (fifth right).
Hosted by Prof Sandrine Lecour, Frederic‘s current research focusses on the molecular aspects of the beneficial actions of the pineal gland hormone melatonin and the dietary melatonin in cardiovascular diseases. He is collaborating with Prof Leon de Windt, an expert in Molecular Cardiology at the Department of Cardiology, CARIM School of Cardiovascular Disease, and Maastricht University where he will expand his research on melatonin supplementation to achieve cardioprotection with the RNA technologies developed in the context of the ERC-supported laboratory. It is expected that this partnership will lead to long-term collaborations between Frederic and members of Prof Leon Group at Maastricht as well as other European researchers.
During his first visit (October-December 2016), in addition to interaction with other researchers and running experiments of the collaborative project, Frederic got the opportunity to visit the Universities of Liege (GIGA, Laboratory of Protein Signaling and Interactions) and Utrecht (Experimental Cardiology lab) where he gave talks on his research and discussed potential collaborations in the future. His next visit is planned in April to June 2017.
|Dr Frederic Nduhirabandi (right) with researchers at Maastricht University.|
Dr Frederic Nduhirabandi (in middle) with Dr Hamid el Azzouzi (left), a researcher at Maastricht University and Prof Joost Sluijter (right) of the Department of Cardiology, Experimental Cardiology Laboratory, University Medical Centre (UMC) Utrecht.
By Mlamli Tshaka