Women in science

Incentive Grant for four female scientist

Erasmus MC researchers Dr Sreya Basu, Dr Tavia Evans, Dr Denise Hilling and Dr Catarina Osorio, have been awarded an Incentive Grant for Women in STEM from NWO. This grant aims to retain qualified women  in science, and to provide them with a stable launchpad for an academic career.

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Dr Sreya Basu is a scientist in the Department of Cell Biology and researches embryonic stem cells. These cells can develop into all types of cells in the body, but how exactly do they do that? She will investigate this by studying these cells with the latest techniques.

Dr Sreya Basu

‘I am delighted and honored to be awarded this grant, which supports female scientists in fulfilling their research ambitions. This grant allows me to take the next step in my academic career as a young principal investigator and enables my current and future research into how protein translational regulation controls pluripotency and stem cell fate. Through my work, I aim to discover new ways to harness the power of stem cells for regenerative medicine and gene therapy.’


Dr Tavia Evans is a post-doctoral researcher in the departments of Clinical Genetics, and Radiology and Nuclear Medicine within the Precision Epidemiology lab. She co-established the UNITED consortium with Dr. Hieab Adams and is currently the chief of imaging within the consortium.

Dr Tavia Evans

‘The current lack of representation of non-European individuals in research into neurodegeneration is striking. This is the reasoning behind establishing the consortium, which now includes over 82 global partner sites across 6 continents and over 115,000 individuals.’ Evans’s long-term ambition is to investigate detailed neuroimaging of neurodegeneration in currently under represented populations to increase health equity and unravel further insights into the neurodegenerating brain.

‘I am thrilled to receive this prestigious award and am very thankful for NWO for supporting women in a field that is historically lacking in female representation. The grant allows me to build off all of the hard work that’s gone into setting up the consortium to thoroughly investigate previously unanswered questions into neuroimaging of neurodegeneration in global populations. The grant further allows me to continue establishing myself within academia in the Netherlands and continue collaborating with academics and clinicians worldwide.’

Rectal cancer

Dr Denise Hilling is an oncological surgeon who wants to use new techniques to predict whether surgery is necessary for rectal cancer patients. These patients are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery. Some patients respond so well to this that the tumor disappears entirely after the chemotherapy and radiation. The operation, which is associated with a high risk of complications, could be omitted in these patients.

Dr Denise Hilling

‘I am very pleased with the award of this prestigious grant. The grant will make it possible further to expand my line of research at Erasmus MC and gain better insight into the biological behavior of rectal cancer. Hopefully, with the insights gained from this, we can further improve patients’ treatment and quality of life.’

Brain development

Dr. Catarina Osorio is a scientist in the Department of Neuroscience studying early brain development. Damage to the cerebellum can lead to cognitive and emotional problems such as various forms of autism.

Dr Catarina Osorio

Dr Catarina Osorio

‘I am very proud to be awarded The Incentive grant for Women in STEM, enabling me to consolidate my scientific career at the Department of Neuroscience. With this award, I will investigate how the disruption of genes regulated by neuronal activity impacts brain development and function. This study will be critical to advance our knowledge on the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders.’

Incentive Grants for Women in STEM

The Incentive Grant for Women in STEM is dedicated to the sustenance of women in research and recognizes their potential in the development of world-class talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

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