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Leiden University

Country: Netherlands

Leiden University

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549 Projects, page 1 of 110
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 236521
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 335879
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101002511
    Overall Budget: 1,999,830 EURFunder Contribution: 1,999,830 EUR

    Supermassive black holes — located in galactic nuclei— and dark matter —dominant in galactic halos— are vital ingredients in the cosmological process of galaxy formation, including that of our own Galaxy. However, probing our Galactic Centre (GC) and halo has proven observationally challenging. Hypervelocity stars (HVSs) are unique in that they deliver key information on both. Following interactions with black holes in the vicinity of Sagittarius A*, HVSs are ejected on fast trajectories through the halo. They thus bear testimony not only to the black hole and stellar populations within the hard-to-access innermost parsec, but also to the Galactic mass distribution, imprinted on their orbits. Exploiting HVSs, however, has been limited by the paucity and quality of data. The ESA Gaia mission and new spectroscopic surveys are about to dramatically change this. Their upcoming data releases contain a few hundred HVSs with unprecedented astrometric measurements, but identifying them requires careful analysis of the basic data. This proposal capitalises on my comprehensive theoretical, observational and data mining work on SDSS and previous Gaia data. The proposal unprecedentedly combines three key facets: i) identifying and characterising HVSs; ii) modelling HVS data in a full statistical framework and theoretically interpreting our results for the GC; and iii) performing a joint analysis with complementary Galactic halo probes, never observed so abundantly before Gaia. The project will yield i) ~hundred of GC stars in a complementary mass range and with more robust parameter estimation than from direct GC observations; ii) the population of black holes in the GC and their dynamics; iii) robust ~10% precision measurements of the Galaxy mass distribution. These will allow not only to discriminate between assembly scenarios for both the Milky Way and its GC, but also to uniquely calibrate rate estimates for galactic nuclear phenomena, including gravitational wave sources.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 838372
    Overall Budget: 175,572 EURFunder Contribution: 175,572 EUR

    The research objective of this proposal is to use complimentary laboratory techniques to study the photo-ionization and photo-dissociation of large (>50 C-atoms) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. These molecules are omnipresent in the interstellar medium (ISM) where they are irradiated and electronically excited by ultraviolet photons. This excitation causes PAHs to ionize and/or fragment, contributing substantially to the molecular complexity in space. The underlying chemical pathways are largely unexplored and recent studies show that PAHs play a key role in the formation of i) smaller organic species along a top-down scenario, ii) fullerenes and carbon cages and iii) graphene flakes, i.e., bare PAH skeletons that have not been observed in the ISM yet. These molecules will be studied with a rather unique, fully operational and mobile 'instrument for Photodynamics of PAHs' (i-POP) that is capable of studying the fragmentation of mass selected PAH cations. The mobility of i-POP allows its implementation at different light sources, which include Synchrotron SOLEIL (Saint Aubin - FR) and the free electron laser laboratory FELIX (Nijmegen - NL). The project is timely as its results will actively contribute to European excellence by producing laboratory data relevant to data interpretation from international multi-billion Euro research facilities such as The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The training objective is aligned along this research program. The existing expertise in physical chemistry will be extended to the emerging field of astrochemistry and unique knowledge will be obtained through research projects at Synchrotron SOLEIL and FELIX. A secondment is planned in the first year at FELIX to expand my experimental portfolio to include varied irradiation techniques including a free electron laser, to obtain complementary information about astronomically relevant chemical species.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101111870
    Funder Contribution: 150,000 EUR

    The Heparanib Proof-of-Concept project aims to establish the feasibility of our unique small molecule heparanase inhibitors as drug candidates for the treatment of metastatic cancers. To strengthen our science case (experimental development A) and by building on our in vivo data in mouse models for metastatic breast cancer, lung cancer and multiple myeloma, we will (A-I) design a suitable route of synthesis to prepare sufficient quantities of clinical grade material; (A-II) synthesise reference compounds; and (A-III) perform initial pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) studies. With the aim to prepare for the establishment of a spin-out biotech company (business development B) to take our leads towards the clinic we will (B-IV) strengthen our intellectual property (IP) position; (B-V) perform an extensive analysis of the anti-metastatic cancer drug market; and (B-VI) prepare for commercialisation by consolidating the results in an investor-ready business plan to develop and commercialise our anticancer drug candidate.

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