Meet the fellows

Andrea Gutierrez

Country of origin: Colombia
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Medical Physics & Technology department

Project:
MuSiC: a novel Multi-Slit prompt gamma Camera for in vivo monitoring of proton therapy

Starting date: 15 January 2018

Abstract:

Proton beam therapy is a relatively new and exciting form of radiotherapy that is only now becoming accessible to most patients. Proton beam therapy enables the radiation dose to be more localised in the cancer tumour than conventional radiotherapy. This advantage can be used to reduce the exposure of the healthy tissue and vital organs surrounding the tumour to radiation.

However, the full potential of proton beam therapy is currently limited by uncertainties associated with the patient setup, daily anatomical variations, organ motion and dose calculation, which can compromise the treatment and result in underdosing the tumour and/or overdosing normal tissues. Thus, online monitoring of proton beam therapy is urgently needed. Nuclear de-excitation in proton-irradiated tissues produces prompt gamma rays, which can be imaged, offering a promising approach for real-time, in vivo treatment verification.

I will be based at TU Delft in Dr Dennis Schaart’s team at the Medical Physics & Technology department, where I will develop and test a novel design of a Multi-Slit prompt gamma Camera (MuSiC) for the non-invasive, real-time, in vivo monitoring of dose delivery in proton beam therapy.

The LEaDing Fellowship will offer me the opportunity to interact intensively with collaborators at the Holland Particle Therapy Centre (Holland PTC), Erasmus MC and LMUC, as well as other academic and industrial partners. I will also have the opportunity to expand my knowledge on the clinical application of physics and technology at the Clinical Physics department of Erasmus MC Radiotherapy.

Aurora Dols Perez

Country of origin: Spain
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Bionanoscience

Project:
Biophysics of lipid nanotubes with a new approach: free-standing bilayers and optical tweezers

Starting date: 1 November 2017

Abstract:

Lipid nanotubes play a vital role in inter and intracellular communication and structural processes. They are found in several cellular organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. The study of their biophysics is often carried on vesicles, supported lipid bilayers or living cells. However, these approaches present limitations and challenges such as to achieve asymmetric lipid distribution, to control dynamically the buffer and the membrane curvature.

My LEaDing fellowship project follows to investigate and characterize the dynamics and mechanics of lipid membrane tubes and tube networks with the use of novel free-standing membrane models combined with optical tweezers.

Clara Esteban Jurado

Country of origin: Spain
Host institution: Leiden University Medical Center
Hosting group: Human Genetics Department

Project:
Functional characterisation of deficiencies in Fanconi Anemia complementation group J.

Starting date: 2 January 2018

Abstract:

Germline biallelic mutations in FANCJ/BRIP1 cause Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease that results in bone marrow failure, growth abnormalities and a strong predisposition to cancer. Additionally, monoallelic mutations in this gene have been found to predispose to ovarian cancer with moderate penetrance. During my Ph.D. I performed germline whole-exome sequencing of individuals belonging to unrelated families with a strong aggregation for colorectal cancer and amongst other genes FANCJ was identified as a candidate for colorectal cancer susceptibility. The research conducted during this fellowship period will focus on the functional validation of the candidate variants in FANCJ gene identified in families with colorectal cancer aggregation during my Ph.D. and in other independent cohorts of colorectal cancer patients. These genetic changes will be generated in mouse embryonic stem cells using CRISPR/Cas9 technology and will be assayed for interstrand crosslink sensitivity and phenotypes associated with loss of homologous recombination.

In addition, two novel assays will be developed in order to probe two basic questions concerning FANCJ that are yet unresolved: i) what is the role of FANCJ in DNA double-strand break repair? While the protein is implicated in DNA break repair, it is completely unknown how it acts and in which stages of this biological process; ii) is mammalian FANCJ involved in cells to resolve secondary DNA structures that can occur during DNA replication and which can impede the replication machinery eventually leading to genomic instability when not properly and timely resolved?

Finally, a potential genetic relationship between FANCJ and the alternative end joining factor POLQ will be investigated and the mutational signatures present in cells with mutations in FANCJ and in double mutants of FANCJ/POLQ or other DNA repair genes will be studied.

This work will be performed in the lab of Prof. Marcel Tijsterman at the Human Genetics Department of the Leiden University Medical Center in collaboration with the group of Prof. Roland Kanaar located at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam.

Dowon Bae

Country of origin: Republic of Korea
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Chemical Engineering

 

Project:
Beyond the solar-fuel era: Single-device-based PEC flow battery

Starting date: 2 February 2018

Abstract:

In Netherlands, merely around 4% of total energy production is derived from CO2-neutral energy sources. In this context, photo electrochemical (PEC) flow battery has been investigated as a mean of simultaneously storing of the solar energy into chemicals, which can readily generate electricity via reversible reactions.

Flow battery system present facile electrochemical kinetics and its energy storage capacity is several times longer than that of conventional battery systems. However, low solar-to-chemical conversion efficiency and poor stability of the system due to corrosion greatly hamper its wide implementation. Herein, the proposed project aims for a breakthrough in a realization of a stable and efficient PEC flow battery system using a wide bandgap-based bifacial photo electrode architecture.

The proposed work will be executed for two years at Prof. Wilson Smith’s group at the Delft University of Technology which is renowned as one of the leading groups in the PEC fuel conversion. Also, the in-situ X-ray study will be conducted using a synchrotron facility in collaboration with Prof. Marc Koper (Leiden University) for understanding degradation mechanism of the photo electrodes.

Elisabeth Timmermans

Country of origin: Belgium
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Project:
Why are you swiping? An innovative approach to study motives, expectancies and (un)successful interpersonal interactions on mobile dating apps

Starting date: 1 December 2017

Abstract:

I would like to introduce you to Lisa, a 25-year old woman who is looking for a romantic partner. She downloads the mobile dating app Tinder. She swipes right on men she could imagine herself dating. She matches with Frank, but abruptly ends the conversation when Frank says he and his friends would love to hear her best joke. Not much later she matches with Leonard, who tells her he is looking for female friends; he is madly in love with his boyfriend. Lisa is worried she will never find a partner on Tinder. How can I help Lisa have more successful interactions and attain her goal?

Recently, an expanding body of literature has investigated mobile dating applications such as Tinder. The majority of these studies have explored users’ motives, self-presentation and whether they facilitate casual sex. What has not been examined, however, is the online interpersonal process (or computer-mediated communication, CMC) occurring between two individuals after they match. While online dating sites often allow for online relationship development, the use of GPS in mobile dating apps minimizes the time between an online and offline encounter, resulting in an accelerated tempo of (short-term) interactions. Yet, several studies found that only a small proportion of matches between users actually lead to an offline encounter, suggesting that these online interactions are often not that successful in generating offline encounters. This points to the importance of studying online interactions. It is worthwhile to gain more information on the online interpersonal process in order to help users have successful interaction on mobile dating applications. In doing so, I will conduct both in-depth interviews and experiments and interpret my findings through the theoretical framework of Expectancy Violations Theory.

Ian T. McCrum

Country of origin: United States of America
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Leiden Institute of Chemistry

 

Project:
Combining experiment and atomistic scale computational modeling to study the electrode-electrolyte interface

Starting date: 1 September 2018

Abstract:

Increasing our usage of renewable energy, including wind and solar, will reduce our greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions and reduce our dependence on finite, non-renewable resources such as coal and oil. However, many sources of renewable energy are intermittent, necessitating the use of energy storage technologies for when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shinning. Electrochemistry is a powerful tool which can be used to store this energy, by converting electrical energy to chemical energy and vice-versa at high efficiency.

However, many electrochemical reactions, including hydrogen oxidation/evolution, oxygen reduction, and carbon dioxide reduction, show an unexpected and sometimes complex dependence on the pH and composition of the electrolyte in which these reactions are carried out. In this project, we will determine the mechanism by which pH and alkali metal cations affect the rate of the hydrogen oxidation and evolution reactions on metal electrode surfaces. The proposed research will involve both computational and experimental work on well-defined surfaces within the group of Dr. Marc Koper at Leiden University. Once we gain a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of these pH and cation effects we will collaborate with Dr. Wilson Smith’s group at the Delft University of Technology. With his group we will apply this knowledge to design improved electrolytes and lower-cost catalysts for solar photo-electrochemical water splitting, where sunlight can be used to directly produce hydrogen fuel from water.

The fundamental insight we will gain on the electrode/electrolyte interface will also allow us to better understand these electrolyte effects on other reactions. These reactions include oxygen reduction/evolution and carbon dioxide reduction, where carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, can be converted into high value fuels and chemicals using renewably generated electricity.

Fernande Pool

Country of origin: The Netherlands
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: International Institute of Social Studies

Project:
Social justice under secular liberalism: Muslims’ everyday ethics and human development in India and the Netherlands

Starting date: 30 April 2018

Abstract:

The proposed multidisciplinary research is a comparative study of Muslims’ everyday ethics under secular liberalism in India and the Netherlands. Secular liberalism has so far been unsuccessful in guaranteeing equal human dignity and especially in a time of polarisation and anti-Muslim sentiments it is vital to gain better insights in what human dignity means for a discriminated religious minority in a secular country and crucial to improve the policy and development frameworks that aim for inclusive social justice.

The goal is of the research is to contribute to academic, policy and public debates on migration, social justice and multiculturalism, related to religious minorities and secular governance arrangements in general and to the Muslim population in India and the Netherlands in particular. The research involves: (I) a study of forms and practices of secular liberal governance in India and the Netherlands, including their intellectual underpinnings; (II) ethnography of everyday ethics of the Muslim minority in India and the Netherlands; (III) a comparative exploration of how secular governance can impact on the ethical life of a religious minority; (IV) evaluation of how I), II) and III) can inform scholars’ and policy makers’ understanding and implementation of human development and security frameworks in a secular state with regards to religious minorities.

Findings from original ethnographic research in the Netherlands, to be undertaken during the Fellowship, will be put into dialogue with findings from my PhD research in India and both Indian and the Dutch data will be explored within the human development and human security frameworks. The research is based at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS-EUR); involves collaborations with Leiden University CA-DS, LUCIS and LUCSoR; and a secondment at The Hague Institute for Global Justice.

 

Gabriel Forn-Cuní

Country of origin: Spain
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Institute of Biology - Animal Sciences and Health

Project:
Autophagy stimulation and improving host defence against Aspergillus infections

Starting date: 13 November 2017

Abstract:

Invasive Aspergillosis is a life-threatening disease that causes high-mortality in immunocompromised patients due to the germination of Aspergillus spores inside host organs, mainly the lungs and in its most serious manifestation, the brain. Cells of the innate immune system, as circulating and tissue-resident macrophages and neutrophils, are the first line of defence against spore germination. Recently, the specialized autophagy pathway Lc3-associated phagocytosis (LAP) has been identified as an important fungicidal mechanism used by innate immune cells. However, Aspergillus spores incorporate immune-evasion mechanisms in their cell wall, as hydrophobins. Importantly, the melanin present in the cell wall inhibits LAP and prevents the killing of the germinating spores. Therefore, lack of activation of the host autophagy response appears to be a limiting factor in the defence against Aspergillus.

With this project, we will use the zebrafish embryos to study if autophagy stimulation can improve host defence against Aspergillus infections in vivo. For this purpose, we will perform a detailed characterization of the autophagy activation –and related pathways as LAP– in the innate immune cells interacting with the fungal pathogen, from the initial internalization to the first stages of hyphal growth. A collaboration with the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam will provide insights into the importance and behaviour of brain local immune cells (as microglia) during the infection. We also aim to investigate which fungal cell wall components, in addition to melanin, are involved in the resistance of Aspergillus to this process. Finally, by genetically or chemically stimulating the autophagy response, we hope to determine whether this pathway presents a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of Aspergillus infections.

Geert-Jan Will

Country of origin: The Netherlands
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Institute of Psychology

 

Project:
Unraveling the neural basis of self-esteem in adolescent depression

Starting date: 1 February 2018

Abstract:

Depression is the leading cause of illness and disability, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. More than half of people who suffer from depression have their first symptoms during adolescence. Low self-esteem is a major contributor to the development of depression among adolescents.

The goals of this project are: 1) to elucidate the brain mechanisms involved in changes in self-esteem when adolescents learn what other people think of them, 2) to test how these mechanisms are affected in depression and 3) to predict improvements and declines in depressive symptoms through combining measures of brain activity with reports about daily experiences collected using smartphone applications.

Hilary Barrett

Country of origin: Ireland
Host institution: Erasmus Medical Center
Hosting group: Department of Cardiology

 

Project:
Towards the Development of a Molecular, Morphological and Mechanical Model for the Characterisation of Carotid Plaque Rupture

Starting date: 1 October 2017

Abstract:

Catastrophic stroke is a global leading cause of death. 30% of strokes is triggered by the rupture of a vulnerable carotid artery plaque which can be characterised by certain morphological features. This project will address a critical challenge in biomechanical cardiovascular research using a novel integrated molecular-mechanical approach. In this regard, 3 fundamental functional layers containing imaging and mechanical information must be addressed before the predictive power of molecular imaging techniques can be implemented for plaque rupture; 1) inflammation imaging, 2) micro calcification imaging and 3) biomechanical stress analyses.

The non-invasive multimodal molecular imaging aspect of this project will involve collaborations with Prof. Beekman CEO/founder of MILabs industry and his partnered research group in the Department of Radiation Science and Technology at TU Delft who is an internationally recognised leader in the development of nuclear systems and technology. The use of novel tracers that direct target molecular processes involved in plaque rupture will be utilised to image inflammation by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and micro calcifications by positron emission tomography (PET).

Additionally, specialised physiological plaque rupture experiments, which can emulate stresses required to induce rupture, will be performed to acquire the stress information and will be integrated with molecular imaging. This project ultimately creates an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at Erasmus MC resulting in the integration of the 3 functional layers and thereby disclosing the key drivers in plaque rupture for the development of a plaque rupture risk screening protocol.

Hiranya Sahoo

Country of origin: India
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Geosciences and Engineering

 

Project:
Devising a unified knowledge base in river-avulsion dynamics: deconstructing process-product linkage via coupled forward and inverse modeling

Starting date: 1 February 2018

Abstract:

Rivers are one of the most prominent geomorphic elements currently on the Earth and fossilized features on the planet Mars. River avulsion, a causative fluvial process, has profound implications to our socioeconomic prosperity. Given such importance, avulsion analysis has been a pivotal scientific pursuit, on the Earth as well as on Mars. However, in our pursuit of improved understanding on avulsion dynamics, a major lacunae stands out: inverse modeling (interpreting past processes from the rock record) and forward modeling (generating synthetic deposits from known processes) studies have been progressing rather in parallel and the cross-evaluation is rare.

Integration of inverse and forward modeling is key to advancing our understanding of avulsion processes and products. Employing Delft3D simulation and ancient data, the proposed research will target a coupled model-field analysis to investigate avulsion dynamics through cross-evaluation. Results from this mutually-validated study will be then used in formulation of a common knowledge base leading to development of new prediction tools and a fuller avulsion analysis at multi-disciplinary and cross-planetary levels. The execution of the proposed research includes central base at Delft University of Technology and potential collaboration with Leiden University and Deltares Institute.

Jim A.C. Everett

Country of origin: United Kingdom
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Institute of Psychology

 

Project:
Parochial morality: The role of deontological and consequentialist moral judgments in regulating group behavior

Starting date: April 2018

Abstract:

As humans, we have a remarkable tendency to seek out and identify with people like “us” while distancing ourselves from “them” and it is in our group-based character that the angels and demons of human nature can be seen: the shining success of intragroup cooperation that has given us liberal democracy and social welfare; and the darkness of intergroup conflict that has given us genocide and war.

Interestingly, these well-documented tendencies appear at odds with universalistic moral rules that people adhere to and hold others accountable for (e.g. “thou shall not kill”; “treat others as you’d wish to be treated yourself”). And most intriguingly, we are not only more likely to act in a moral way towards people with whom we share a group membership, but these group memberships fundamentally shape what we think a moral act is.

How can this peculiarity be explained? And once we understand it, how can we overcome these biases to bring about a better state for the world? During my time at Leiden, I will be conducting research on parochial morality: the way that moral judgments intimately shape group processes and vice versa.

Specifically, I will explore the role that rule-based (“deontological”) versus consequence-based (“consequentialist”) moral judgments play in influencing the way we undergo sacrifices to help people like ‘us’ (“intragroup cooperation”) more than we help people like ‘them’ (“in group favouritism”), while simultaneously neglecting or even harming ‘them’ (“intergroup competition”).

Johanna Kostenzer

Country of origin: Austria
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management

Project:
“Eggsplaining” Decision Making in Health Care Governance: A Multi-Level Comparative Study of Social Egg Freezing in the Netherlands and Austria

Starting date: 1 February 2018

Abstract:

With the further development of reproductive technologies, elective cryopreservation of oocytes or “Social Egg Freezing” (SEF) has emerged as an alleged option for women to postpone motherhood.

In Europe the practice remains to be highly controversial due to different value perceptions and bioethical concerns. The Netherlands and Austria follow opposing regulatory strategies. Analyzing the decision making process with regards to SEF in the countries concerned is considered necessary to better understand healthcare governance with respect to normative issues.

The application of a method mix including document analysis, Q methodology and focus groups shall enable the development of a decision making framework for normative issues in health care with practical relevance for policy makers.

Jolanda Luksenburg

Country of origin: The Netherlands
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Department of Conservation Biology, Institute of Environmental Science

Project:
Evaluating ecosystem resilience with environmental DNA

Starting date: 1 January 2018

Abstract:

There is considerable theoretical and some empirical evidence that ecosystem composition is regulated by apex predators and that predators may be important for the resilience of ecosystems. Because apex predators are declining in many ecosystems, there is an urgent need to develop methods that can detect the early warning signs of an impending ecosystem collapse.

The ecosystem effects of the removal of apex predators may be modelled using the flow of biomass through the system. However, this requires detailed biomass data which are difficult to obtain and prone to sampling errors using traditional, visual techniques.

In this study, I use DNA isolated from river water (environmental DNA) to test the hypotheses that the Orinoco river system, Venezuela, is top-down controlled by top predators and that their removal leads to a strong loss in ecosystem resilience.

Jukka Hirvasniemi

Country of origin: Finland
Host institution: Erasmus Medical Center
Hosting group: Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine

Project:
Extraction of radiomic features from magnetic resonance images for assessment of osteoarthritic changes in bone

Starting date: 31 December 2018

Abstract:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease in the world and it imposes a large economic burden on the society. OA affects all tissues in the joint but the etiology of primary OA and the role of subchondral bone are still unclear.

The extraction of the relevant quantitative information from medical images and linking it into OA disease process could potentially reveal unknown information about the development and progression of OA. Thus, the aim of this project is to apply quantitative image analysis methods on magnetic resonance (MR) images of the knee derived from large clinical and population-based studies on OA.

During the project, the association of quantitative MR image features to prognosis and status of OA, biomarkers and genetic data will be investigated. As a result of this project, new information about the role of bone in OA and about the linkage between MR image features and OA are expected.

Jyaysi Desai

Country of origin: India
Host institution: Leiden University Medical Center
Hosting group: Laboratory of Rheumatology

 

Project:
Investigating the role of neutrophils in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Starting date: 1 January 2018

Abstract:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease in which auto-antibodies against modified proteins are important. Currently, a novel concept is emerging indicating neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) as chronic antigen source that perpetuates and drives the auto-immune response.

In RA, different Anti- Modified Protein Antibodies (AMPA) have been described and my host laboratory at LUMC, Leiden recently discovered that these AMPA can be cross-reactive towards different modifications such as citrullinated and acetylated residues, both of which are found on NETs. At present, it is not known which post translational modifications are precisely recognized on NETs and whether a particular location on histones is required to induce proper antigen-recognition leading to a putative vicious circle feeding the auto-immune response and inflammatory reaction.

Likewise, it is not known which forms of NET formation leads to the formation of “AMPA-genic NETS”. As a LEaDing post-doc fellow, I plan to address these questions with the ultimate aim of developing new therapeutic targets for RA.

The project is an inter-disciplinary project in the fields of rheumatology, immunology and chemistry. More specifically, I will collaborate with the Leiden Institute for Chemistry at the Leiden University to generate a range of ‘artificial histones’ with specific and defined post translational modifications at specified sites to study recognition of NETs by AMPA and their “AMPA-genic” potential. Furthermore, by investigating which molecular mechanisms of neutrophil cell death and NET formation lead to recognition by AMPA, I plan to investigate novel therapeutic targets for RA and inflammation.

Paula Ruibal

Country of origin: Uruguay
Host institution: Leiden University Medical Center
Hosting group: Department of Infectious Diseases

 

Project:
Investigation of a novel immune cell type in human infectious disease: characterization of the specificity, function and pathogen killing ability of T cells restricted by non-classical HLA-E molecules in Tuberculosis

Starting date:  15 January 2018
End date:             30 June 2018

Abstract:

Based on recent work from the Tuberculosis Research group in the Department of Infectious Diseases at LUMC on the discovery of highly in vivo expressed Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) antigens, using genome wide bioinformatics and immunomics approaches, I here propose to identify Mtb derived epitopes presented by HLA-E from the most immunogenic and protective antigens identified thus far during Mtb infection.

HLA-E restricted Mtb specific CD8+ T-cells represent a novel human T-cell subset, which has only very recently been identified and which could be highly relevant during the immune response to Mtb infection. HLA-E has two alleles, HLA-E*01:01 (ER) and *01:03 (EG), which differ in only one single amino acid at position 107 (arginine to glycine) outside the peptide binding groove, limiting the number of peptides that can bind to it and rendering it an ideal presentation molecule for conserved Mtb antigens in a vaccine context .

HLA-E expression is enriched in Mtb phagosomes compared to classical HLA class Ia family members, thus facilitating HLA-E loading by Mtb peptides in infected cells. In contrast to most other HLA class I molecules, HLA-E is relatively resistant to down-regulation by HIV, a co-infection that is responsible for most of the TB related mortality.

Identification of novel epitopes will be performed in close collaboration with Dr. Thomas Abeel at TU Delft during a 3-month secondment where I will implement an improved prediction algorithm for the selection of the best candidate epitopes. I will subsequently determine the ability of the identified epitopes to induce superior CD8 T cell activation and Mtb killing in infected human macrophages.

I will further dissect the molecular determinants that control Mtb peptide binding and presentation by the two HLA-E alleles in relation to T cell activation. The resulting knowledge will be harnessed for TB vaccine development.

Nathan John Albury

Country of origin: Australia
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

 

Project:
Rationalising multilingualism in Malaysia from an interethnic perspective

Starting date: 15 October 2018

Abstract:

This project straddles sociolinguistics, the sociology of race and ethnicity, Southeast Asian studies, and socioeconomics. Malaysia is multicultural but ethnocratic whereby laws have determined that ethnic Malays, as Muslim natives, deserve more economic, cultural and linguistic privileges than the local Chinese and Indian Malaysian minorities. Despite their citizenship, these non-Malays are constructed by Malay ethnonationalism as perpetual migrants, and their languages play no formal role in defining contemporary Malaysia. Despite, or perhaps because of this hegemony, Malaysia is extremely multilingual. Chinese, Indian and indigenous languages are used parallel to Malay, such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, Telugu, Iban and Kadazan.

However, the Chinese have appointed Mandarin as its lingua franca even though it is not a local heritage language, and Indian homes are sooner shifting to English than to Malay. English has indeed remained a language of prestige since British colonisation, however Bahasa Rojak – a fluid mix of languages that manifests creatively and spontaneously – characterises informal interethnic talk, and Manglish has emerged as a local variety of English.

This project examines this multilingualism through the folk linguistic perspectives of Malaysian youth. It analyses how they, in their own terms, perceive, understand and rationalise multilingualism as a Malaysian social reality, the linguistic aspects of nation-building, their own multilingual language practices and linguistic citizenship, Malaysia’s language policy, linguistic epistemologies and ideologies within ethnic groups, and the nexus between language in socioeconomic mobility.

With Malaysia as a case study, the research helps to decolonise sociolinguistics - which remains dominated by epistemological assumptions from the global North - by analysing grassroots cognitive engagement with multilingualism in the global South. To achieve this, the project advances the poststructuralist turn in sociolinguistics to decentralise knowledge authority, and it further expands the purview of folk linguistics: what non-linguists claim to know about language and how that knowledge structures action and discourse.

Rosaleen March

Country of origin: United States of America
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Institute of Environmental Sciences, Department of Conservation Biology

Project:
Application of remote sensing to model spatiotemporal distribution of functional diversity

Starting date:  6 November 2017
End date:         31 October 2018

Abstract:

Functional diversity among species communities allows ecosystems to function optimally and provide essential services for society, e.g. carbon sequestration and climate regulation and also determines the ecosystem’s resilience to environmental changes, such as climate change.

Therefore, functional diversity is of direct economical and societal importance. Mapping functional communities, given their species interactions, is more ecologically meaningful than mapping single traits and more useful for understanding ecosystem functions. With species traits being emphasized as Essential Biodiversity Variables, information on functional diversity for international policy will become increasingly important, but we currently lack the tools for its assessment and its drivers across spatial and temporal scales are not yet clear.

Temporal dynamics of functional diversity has not been investigated while this information would give important insights into how ecosystem functioning responds to change.

In this project, I will determine the spatiotemporal dynamics of functional diversity and its drivers using remotely sensed data from hyperspectral vegetation signatures, vegetation structure, time-series of earth observation data and abiotic environmental data, incorporating them into a distribution modelling framework. Models will be trained and tested using detailed plot data.

Weiming Wang

Country of origin: China
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Design Engineering

 

Project:
Topology Optimization for Additive Manufacturing: Considering Critical Process-Dependent Loads

Starting date: 1 March 2018

Abstract:

In this project we investigate the fundamental problem of considering process-dependent loads in structural optimization. Structural optimization is the classical engineering discipline of finding the structure which is optimal with respect to some performance measures, e.g. maximizing structural stiffness subject to a minimum amount of material volume.

The performance is typically measured and optimized for the entire, i.e. the final, structure, while structural properties at intermediate stages are not taken into account at all. In combination with additive manufacturing, topology optimization is the method of choice as it can fully explore freedom in shape and layout enabled by additive manufacturing.

In this project, we will derive new formulations to incorporate process-dependent critical loads into structural (topology) optimization and will develop efficient numerical algorithms for solving the 3D optimization problem. The solution will eliminate the necessity of additional supports for maintaining structural stability in (large scale) additive manufacturing, leading to more economic, more accurate and faster fabrication.

 

Ka Leung Lam

Country of origin: China
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Water Management

 

Project:
Integration of water, energy and material flows to achieve sustainable urban solution

Starting date: 1 November 2018

Abstract:

Cities account for the majority of resources consumption of humanity and contribute 70 to 80% to global CO2 emissions. Water is by far the largest portion of this urban resource flow in term of shear mass. The urban water system has traditionally been designed to serve purposes of bringing in treated drinking water and removing wastewater generated. A similar linear view is common in other resource flows like energy and nutrient flows.

The interlinkages between these flows and opportunities within cities have not been well acknowledged historically. Recent years has seen a growing interest in capitalising on these opportunities because of growing pressures from water scarcity, urban population growth, resource depletion, increasing energy cost and climate change. Despite a growing interest, there are still major knowledge gaps (e.g. impact of scale, spatial and temporal impact, life-cycle impact, trade-offs/interactions) and lack of tools for decision makers to identify the appropriate strategies in a given context.

This project aims to improve our knowledge and develop decision support tools to help water utilities and government agencies make informed decisions about water, energy and material flow management and their integration in cities. The focus of this project will be on the interactions of water cycles with energy and material flows in cities.

The research will quantify the potential of water, energy and material flow management opportunities; and develop decision support tools for identifying and prioritizing opportunities. Ultimately, this will help identify more sustainable solutions for enhancing urban resource efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Adva Eichengreen

Country of origin: Israel
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Institute of Psychology, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology

Project:
Creating an inclusive school environment for deaf and hard of hearing children

Starting date: 1 August 2018

Abstract:

A world-wide increasing number of deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children go to regular schools, where they are the only children with hearing loss in their class. Educational integration, however, is not a guarantee for social inclusion, as many of DHH children in regular classes suffer from loneliness and social difficulties. This can have a negative effect on their social, mental and even educational development. In this project we will examine which factors in the school environment are important for these children's social inclusion.

Together with the faculty of Architectural Design & the Built Environment in Delft University and by means of non-obtrusive technology developed at the department of Computer Science in Leiden University, this project will uniquely assess acoustic characteristics of the school area, not only of classrooms but also of social areas such as the playground or the corridors, to identify factors that impact the quality of DHH children’s social interactions. We will also look for the perspectives of DHH children themselves about accessibility in the social context.

In addition to communicational barriers, DHH children may face unacceptance by hearing peers. It is not easy for children who have differences for various reasons, to achieve a sense of belonging in a society that is not aware, adapted or accepting of people who are considered as ‘different’. This project will also focus on cognitive and emotional attributes of the classmates which can predict the degree of their openness and willingness to be friends with DHH children. The outcomes of this research will potentially support future interventions to promote inclusive school environment.

Alise Renee Muok

Country of origin: United States of America
Host institution: Leiden University
Hosting group: Biology Institute, Ariane Briegel Laboratory

Project:
Determining the structure of a chemotaxis kinase complex with receptor mimetics and cryo-EM

Starting date: 1 November 2018

Abstract:

Many pathogenic bacteria are known to rely on bacterial chemotaxis to properly navigate host environments for survival. Underlying chemotaxis is a sophisticated sensory system that controls cell movement in response to chemical changes in the surroundings. Examples of such organisms are Vibrio cholerae and Burrelia burgdorferi, the pathogens responsible for cholerae and Lyme’s disease, respectively. The chemotaxis sensory apparatus generates high sensitivity and wide dynamic range through cooperative interactions among transmembrane receptors, the histidine kinase CheA, and adaptor protein CheW. Because homologs of CheA are not found in humans, targeting the chemotaxis system through CheA-directed antibiotics offers an attractive strategy for treating such diseases.

Unraveling the molecular mechanism of how the receptors engage and regulate CheA would greatly advance our current understanding of this remarkable system. Isolating homogenous ternary chemotaxis complexes that consist of receptor mimetics with CheA and CheW will allow me to determine the three-dimensional structures of full-length CheA in the kinase-on and kinase-off states. Structural analysis of these complexes promise to reveal key conformational differences in CheA, as well as the nature of interactions among components that are responsible for changes in CheA activity.

My preliminary data, collected as a graduate student at Cornell University, has provided a hypothetical model of the deactivated ternary complex. I aim to improve this model by determining the 3D structure of the complexes via single-particle cryo- electron microscopy at Leiden University’s NeCEN facility. Improving the current model for CheA modulation will not only advance our understanding of the chemotaxis system, but it will also provide the scientific community new insight into signal transduction mechanisms in general.

Amy Cochrane

Country of origin: Ireland
Host institution: Leiden University Medical Center
Hosting group: Department Anatomy and Embryology

Project:
Utilizing innovative organ-on-chips to model genetic vascular disease using human pluripotent stem cells

Starting date: 1 November 2018

Abstract:

Vascular disease is a major cause of death and disability in the western world. Most vascular pathology stems from dysfunction in the EC monolayer that lines all our blood vessels acting as an essential barrier between the blood and vessel wall.
In this project I will use patient specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived vascular cells cultured in microfluidic devices to generate robust 3D vessels. The ‘vessel-on-a-chip’ can then be used to elucidate vascular physiology and pathophysiology.

Using this combination of genetically matched pairs of hiPSC-ECs with Organ-on-Chip devices provides a platform to create accurate vascular models while reducing the requirement for animal testing. We will be able to investigate responses of hiPSC-ECs to stimuli in a biological environment resembling that in the human body. Furthermore, utilizing hiPS-ECs allows testing of an individual patient response to candidate drugs which brings personalised medicine closer to a reality.

I will be working in the LUMC under Professor Christine Mummery and Dr Valeria Orlova which will provide me with the skills and opportunities in stem cell models of vascular disease along with collaborations through scientific groups such as the Netherlands human organ and disease modelling technology (hDMT) consortium.This will allow me to be part of the ongoing `Vessel-on-a-Chip' research theme and the network of researchers and centres involved, providing me with new skills, knowledge and collaborations in this interdisciplinary research.

Antonio Raimondo

Country of origin: Italy
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Aerospace Structures and Computational Mechanics group

Project:
Towards a computationally-efficient damage prediction for long-life aerospace composite structures

Starting date: 15 August 2018

Abstract:

The current demand for efficient and cost-effective vehicles with high safety standards drives the aerospace research to investigate innovative materials and new structural architectures. In order to meet these needs, composite materials have experienced, in the last decades, a rapid diffusion thanks to their outstanding properties in terms of specific strength and stiffness.

However, the estimation of fatigue-life of a composite component, which means the number of repeated cyclic loads that the structure is able to sustain before the breakdown, is still an open challenge. Although several approaches exist in literature able to address this issue at the coupon level, they are yet not suitable to simulate fatigue damage propagation in full-scale aerospace components, due to the huge computational costs required.

The objective of the project is to develop computationally-efficient numerical methodologies able to accurately predict fatigue-induced damage in large-scale composite structures, such as stiffened panel. This research has the potential to contribute to the academic understanding of damage mechanisms in composite materials, but more than this, it may have an impact on the aeronautical and aerospace industry by providing tools and methodologies able to assist in designing long-life composite structures, leading to a significantly reduction of certification costs and time.
The research activities will be carried out at Delft University of Technology in the Aerospace Structures and Computational Mechanics group involving the collaboration of the NASA Langley Research Center and the Fokker Technologies.

Carlos Javier Riumalló Herl

Country of origin: Chile
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: Department of Applied Economics

 

Project:
Income inequalities in life expectancy: A cross-country approach

Starting date: 1 September 2018

Abstract:

In the last century, life expectancy has increased around the world to the extent that individuals can now expect to live more than 70 years on average. Despite the progress, two important challenges remain and stand out. First, improvements in life expectancy have been unequal. Evidence across countries shows that while mortality has decreased considerably, the reductions have been much slower amongst individuals in lower socioeconomic status. Second, while we have identified policies that address mortality inequalities at early ages, less is known on how different health and social policies can narrow mortality and health inequalities at older ages.

In order to address the challenges above, it is first necessary to further our understanding of how longevity inequalities have evolved in different contexts. Current evidence from Europe suggests that mortality inequalities with regards to education and occupation have been widening, however there is little evidence of these trends with regards to income, a modifiable factor at older ages in contrast to education and occupation.

Second, few studies have evaluated the role of different social or health policies targeted to the elderly in reducing health inequalities. This proposal contributes to the agenda above by pursuing two ambitious objectives. The first is to use income household surveys and mortality registrars to develop estimates of life expectancy trends by income for three countries with different institutions and context- Brazil, the Netherlands, and the United States. This will provide a cross-national comparison that allows us to identify potential policies and institutions that may contribute to the narrowing or widening of mortality inequalities. The second objective is to go beyond the ecological analysis and use individual-level administratively linked data from the Netherlands to develop individual models of life expectancy by income. This will allow us to identify characteristics or mechanisms through which income may impact life expectancy at the individual-level.

Cecil Meeusen

Country of origin: Belgium
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: Department of Public Administration and Sociology

Project:
How do ethnic minorities respond to adverse political conditions?

Starting date: 1 September 2018

Abstract:

For Western democracies, one of the most important repercussions of widespread and growing ethnic and cultural diversity is the rise of social conflicts on issues such as the integration of minorities and the demarcation of group identities. This ‘integration-demarcation’ cleavage not seldom results in conflictual intergroup relations, such as prejudice, political alienation, discrimination, and populist radicalization. As a result, some cities and neighbourhoods are more welcoming to ethnic minorities than other ones. How does this affect their mental well-being, political attitudes and voting behaviour? Do members of ethnic minorities more often report lower mental well-being in cities and neighbourhoods where the ethnic majority is less welcoming? And do they become more politically active under such conditions, or do they opt out from the political domain altogether? These are the questions I will try to answer during my two year Leading Fellowship at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

The Netherlands –Rotterdam in particular– provide a unique context to examine the consequences of polarization for populist attitudes and well-being. In the local elections of 2018, two opposing populist parties presented lists: the PVV of Geert Wilders, mobilizing feelings of cultural, economic and security threat from (Muslim) immigration and critiquing the political establishment for being too tolerant toward growing ethnic diversity; and the recent party Denk of Tunahan Kuzu, seeking to combat everyday racism and targeting disconnected Dutch with a (Muslim) immigrant background, most notably former guest workers and their descendants. A pivotal question is: how do interethnic relations affect the popularity of both party types and how does this affect mental well-being?

This interdisciplinary research project combines cultural-sociological insights on stigmatisation with insights from public health on mental well-being and insights from political science on political attitudes and behaviour. I will use survey research and quantitative research methods to analyze these questions.

Dr. Charissa Granger

Country of origin: Aruba
Host institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Hosting group: Erasmus School of history, Culture and Communication

Project:
Steelpan music as a practice of knowing

Starting date: 1 September 2018

Abstract:

Discarded 55-gallon oil barrels were used for music-making in 1930s colonial Trinidad and Tobago; a period deeply shaped by discrimination of its performers. Often standing at the beginning of personal and political consciousness, music empowered performers, giving a sense of self-regard and -respect by mixing and transforming materials and musical structures, forming a symphonic steelorchestra. This project explores ways of knowing in music(-making), examining how a markedly musical way of being in, and relating to, the world is experienced in steelpan music. Concentrating on feelings that emerge in musical experiences, this project asks: What is being known in this musical way of knowing? And how is this knowing triggered by the experience of music-making? How does this way of knowing empower musickers —i.e. performers/listeners—in their everyday lived experience?

According to Kramer "knowledge in its most robust form, is never a matter of simply knowing what is true or what is false. Knowledge of the world, as opposed to knowledge of data, arises only in understandings that can neither be true nor false, that is, in understandings the epistemic form of which is the form of the aesthetic" (Kramer 2016: xiii). To understand steelpan music and performance along such conceptual lines requires methods for giving a written account of how this knowledge emerges in practice. Thus, this project also asks what analytical and methodological tools might be used to explore music as a practice of knowing?

This project explores forms of musical knowing and their implied epistemologies arising from the musical structures of steelorchestral arrangements and performances. It argues that steelpan music-making can be considered not only as a coping mechanism, but as an epistemology, asking: how does music, conceived as a practice of knowing, allow musickers to engage with and make sense of their environment, and thereby transform it?

This musical way of knowing has only been theoretically examined in music studies (Kramer 2016), and only skimmed in academic debates on modernity, post-colonialism, history and epistemology (Gilroy 1993; West 1999; Kun 2005). The project’s sense-based epistemology fills a gap by exploring steelpan music(-making) as a knowledge practice, considering music not only as a representational practice that expresses identity or acts of resistance. Instead, it focuses on how music(-making) makes this knowledge practicable and how the music-making experience empowers musickers to understand and cope, through music, with their socio-cultural, political and economic environment.

Within cultural and post-colonial studies, calls remain to consider alternatives to the text-centrism traditionally emphasized within Anglo-American scholarship (Quijano 2007; Mignolo 2012, 2007; Gilroy 1993). This project offers one such alternative, arguing that music studies’ contribution to discourses and research on belonging, dwelling, notions of home and remembering is valuable to those in other fields addressing these concerns, such as post-colonial and decolonial studies. In this way, the project contributes to debates in fields such as sensory studies (Classen and Howe 2014; Ingold 2011), sensory ethnography (Pink 2009), musicology (Hahn 2007; Le Guin 2006; Henriques 2011; Kramer 2016), and post-/decolonial theories, enabling an argument for sensuous ways of knowing in music.

Charlotte Cecil

Country of origin: France/United States of America
Host institution: Erasmus Medical Center
Hosting group: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

 

Project:
Developmental pathways to child disruptive behavior problems: Bridging the gap between epigenetics and neuroscience

Starting date: 1 January 2019

Abstract:

Disruptive behaviour problems (DBPs) are one of the most common reasons for child treatment referral and a major risk factor for psychiatric problems later in life. Children with DBPs engage in a range of aggressive and antisocial behaviours (e.g. fighting, stealing, bullying), that affect their ability to follow rules and adapt to society, do well in school, and form healthy relationships with peers. Those who do not receive treatment are also at increased risk for many negative outcomes in adult life, including poorer mental and physical health, lower job prospects, more contact with the police and a lower quality of life. As a result, preventing and treating DBPs is a major public health priority.

We know from previous research that both genes and the environment play an important role in the development of DBP. However, how exactly this happens at a biological level remains unclear. In this project, I will investigate how DNA methylation – an epigenetic mechanism sensitive to both genetic and environmental influences – relates to children’s brain development and behaviour, in order to better understand pathways to DBPs. For this, I will use longitudinal data from the Generation R Study – one of the largest studies of brain development in the world – based at Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. I will also collaborate closely with Leiden University Medical Centre, a leading biomedical research centre at the forefront of the rapidly developing field of population epigenomics.

The knowledge generated from this project will lead to a better understanding of how DBPs develop, which can help inform the creation of more effective strategies for prevention and intervention.

David B. Steffelbauer

Country of origin: Austria
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Water Management

Project:
DASH of Water

Starting date: 10 September 2018

Abstract:

Across the globe, water utilities face exceptional challenges due to ageing water infrastructure, population growth, financial and regulatory pressures, and climate change while new resources are ill-equipped to meet rising water demands. Thus, water companies are forced to operate their systems in a more efficient way; e.g. through leakage reduction, energy use minimization, better asset lifecycle management, water quality improvements, etc.

A growing number of utilities use hydraulic models to improve the performance of their water distribution systems. However, flow and pressure sensors in these systems had only existed at larger distribution pipes and measurements are sparse even today —resulting in computer models that are not sufficiently good for optimizing operations.
A relevant recent development is ubiquitous customer side smart metering and associated big data analytics. An innovative new way of combining hydraulic models and data from smart meters—recently available devices measuring and transmitting water usage of households in real-time—can help to quantify and reduce model uncertainties and, hence, increase water system’s operational efficiency in a wide range of applications.

This project aims to develop beyond state-of-the-art methods to simulate water distribution systems in a more realistic and accurate way by utilising the potential of recently available smart meter technologies. First, data science algorithms will be developed and applied on real-world smart meter data to retrieve relevant information for hydraulic modelling and operational optimisation. By linking smart meter data, stochastic demand simulation software and hydraulic computer models—advanced DAta-driven Stochastic Hydraulic (DASH) models of drinking water systems will be developed. Finally, these novel models will be employed and tested on a wide range of real-world applications.

The research is based at the water management department of TU Delft and includes collaborations with Leiden University’s Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) on data science algorithms, KWR Water Cycle Research Institute on stochastic demand modelling, as well as a water utility (Oasen drinking water) for applying these novel DASH models on real-world water distribution systems.

Edouard Lesne

Country of origin: France
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Department of Quantum Nanoscience

Project:
Quantum Control of Elementary Excitations of Complex Matter in Hybrid Quantum Circuits

Starting date:  1 November 2018

Abstract:

Quantum materials have low-energy collective excitations arising from many-body interactions which determine their thermodynamic properties as well as their phase transitions. In this project we aim to detect and control these excitations at the quantum limit. In the state of the art, microwave and terahertz radiations have been used to resonantly drive low energy excitations in quantum materials. Though, in these experiments, electromagnetic fields are typically very weakly coupled, driving the system incoherently and probing the bulk response of the sample in the thermodynamic limit, with limited sensitivity.

Here, we plan to leverage technologies from quantum information science, such as high quality factor (high-Q) superconducting cavities and superconducting qubits, to coherently probe and control excitations of complex oxide materials.

Advances in materials synthesis, notably in pulsed laser deposition technique, have made possible the experimental realization of oxide heterostructures, where two or more complex oxides are combined with atomic-scale precision. Such oxide systems are the hosts of virtually every quantum ground states of solids, spanning from paramagnetic insulators, metals and semi-metals to superconductors, ferroelectrics, (anti-)ferromagnetics, and even multiferroic materials. We propose to study magnetic oxide heterostructures which are expected to host topologically non-trivial magnetic Skyrmions, as well as the canonical quantum paraelectric SrTiO3 whose incipient ferroelectric character is suppressed by quantum tunneling of its polarization down to sub-Kelvin temperatures.

I will be conducting my research in the group of Dr. Andrea Caviglia, which has been exploring ultrafast dynamics of complex oxide systems, and has successfully adapted a number of standard patterning techniques to realize oxide-based nano- and meso-devices. In collaboration with the group of Prof. Gary Steele, we will integrate complex oxides with state-of-the art superconducting resonators, and qubits. Such probes will offer exquisite sensitivity, innately acting as quantum sensors of the materials at the nanometer length scale, allowing us to detect and observe the fluctuations of individual excitations of quantum matter.

Elena Sánchez López

Country of origin: Spain
Host institution: Leiden University Medical Center
Hosting group: Human Genetics Department

Project:
Unravelling the progression of Polycystic Kidney Disease by a comprehensive metabolic mapping.

Starting date: 1 November 2018

Abstract:

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a complex clinical entity which unifies a group of diseases that result in renal cyst development. Particularly, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a genetic disease characterized by progressive renal cyst formation and fibrosis, which affects 1 in 2500 individuals worldwide who, in most cases, need renal replacement therapy at the age of 55-65. Despite the efforts focused on developing therapies, the current licensed treatment for ADPKD produces side effects, therefore, it is needed to look for alternatives.

I hypothesize that metabolic remodeling plays an important role in cyst development, thus, the major objective of my project is to investigate in detail the affected metabolic pathways of ADPKD. On this sense, metabolomics, understood as a tool to obtain massive information regarding metabolic profiles, will help me to unravel the mechanisms underlying cyst formation and ADPKD progression. By understanding these metabolic mechanisms, I will be able to find potential therapeutic targets.

In this project, I will apply metabolomics analyses in a multidisciplinary setup combining in vivo (a sophisticated mouse model of ADPKD) and in vitro (unique 3D cyst culture models) experiments, together with the integration of transcriptomics data, and an ADPKD patient cohort. With all the above I will obtain a unique data source for the in-depth analysis of the metabolic control in ADPKD. This data source will be used to answer the following fundamental questions: 1) Can we identify active (sub)networks critical for the initiation of cyst formation or (sub)networks characteristic for disease progression? And 2) Can we modulate the activity of these networks?

I will carry out this project in the Department of Human Genetics of the LUMC under supervision of Prof. Dr. Dorien J. M. Peters and in collaboration with the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, at the LUMC. My project also includes a secondment at the spin-off biotech company OcellO B.V. from the Leiden University where I will work with a unique 3D cell culture model of cyst formation.

Elisa Ragno

Country of origin: Italy
Host institution: Delft University of Technology
Hosting group: Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CiTG) – Water Resources Section

Project:
A Generalized Framework for Quantifying Coastal Flood Risk in Areas with Multiple Flood Drivers

Starting date:  1 September 2018

Abstract:

Traditionally, the risk of a flood event has been quantitatively defined based on the probability of occurrence of one single physical driver, e.g., river discharge, or storm surge. However, the single-driver assumption can lead to substantial underestimation of the risk of flooding in coastal areas prone to multi-driver extreme events (also known as compound events). Hence, the proposed study aims to better characterize and predict the risk of compound flooding by further investigating the interplay between flood drivers, i.e., river discharge and storm surge, and the reliability of man-made infrastructures to cope with extreme events.

The theoretical framework developed will be used to generate coastal flood risk maps at regional scale. Insights for mitigation and adaptation strategies can be derived from the interaction between the hazard (i.e., compound flood) and the vulnerability (i.e., flood protection systems) and exposure (i.e., people and environment at risk) of the flood-prone area.