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3. Research for Our Health

Research on COVID-19 (Radboud university medical center)

The COVID-19 research team at Radboud university medical center was awarded the Hermesdorf Prize in 2020, Radboud University's honour for relevant research with a major social impact. In total, about 100 COVID-19-related studies were launched this year, including: the predictive value of blood counts for the course of the disease, immature blood cells as an indication of a severe course, the recovery of the lungs after COVID-19 treatment, the effects of coronavirus measures on migrant workers, the treatment of severe oxygen deficiency and the discovery of a new mechanism in the course of the disease, which gave rise to a new vision for treatment.


In total, around 100 COVID-19-related studies were launched.

Sport Before and After COVID-19

The research project ‘Inequality in sport and exercise amidst COVID-19’ – led by sports sociologist Remco Hoekman from Radboud University and the Mulier Institute – received half a million euros from ZonMw. Over the next two years, the researchers will study changes in sport and exercise behaviour amongst the Dutch population before and after the COVID-19 crisis, to see whether social inequality in sport increases or decreases. They will also study the role of sport and exercise in the living environment of specific target groups and the effectiveness of policies to encourage physical activity.

Health Research

Health research in 2020 led to a wide range of results with implications for common diseases. Several studies received grants. An overview: 

  • Evan Spruijt (Faculty of Science) developed simple model droplets to detect protein accumulation in cells and to discover drugs that prevent protein aggregation. These could be important for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

  • Research by Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff (Faculty of Social Sciences) offers healthcare professionals a tool to make interventions that are tailored to the individual and used at the right time. She investigates why and when clients suddenly get better, and whether there are optimal times when treatments are most effective.

  • Francesco Ciompi (Radboud university medical center) wants to use artificial intelligence to predict which lung cancer patients are suitable for immunotherapy, an expensive and burdensome treatment that does not work for everyone.

  • In a new study, physiologist Laurien Buffart (Radboud university medical center) unravels whether and how training can enhance chemotherapy for patients with metastatic colon cancer.

  • Radboud University and the company Logoclicks have developed the therapy app SimpTell, a platform on which people with aphasia – especially those suffering from Broca aphasia – can still express themselves. Broca aphasia is a non-congenital brain injury in which the expression of spoken and written language is impaired.

  • Sander Leeuwenburgh (Radboud university medical center) will use a Vici grant to investigate the recovery of diseased bones, for example, by designing injectable and self-healing biomaterials. To date, biomaterials have not been capable of self-repairing damaged or lost tissues.