406 2015 NWO Spinoza Prize for Celiac Disease Research - Celiac.com
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2015 NWO Spinoza Prize for Celiac Disease Research

The NWO Spinoza prize in brief: The NWO Spinoza prize is the highest award in the Netherlands science arena and can be seen as the 'Dutch Nobel Prize'. Each year, NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) awards Spinoza prizes to three or four researchers working in the Netherlands who, according to international standards, belong at the very top of their scientific field. NWO Spinoza laureates perform ground-breaking research that has a major impact and they are a source of inspiration to younger researchers. The prize winners will each receive 2.5 million Euros to spend on scientific research. In this way NWO aims to stimulate top research work in the Netherlands.

Cisca WijmengaThis year the prizes will be awarded to four scientists:

  • René Janssen, Professor of Molecular Materials and Nanosystems at TU Eindhoven
  • Birgit Meyer, Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University
  • Aad van der Vaart, Professor of Stochastics at Leiden University
  • Cisca Wijmenga, professor of Human Genetics at University of Groningen

Professor Wijmenga says "This is incredibly good news for my research work, for my research group, for the many patients who have made my work possible over the past 20 years by willingly cooperating with my projects, for the UMCG and the University of Groningen, and certainly for my department! The NWO Spinoza award is not only a prize, an honour, but also primarily a huge encouragement for my further research work".

The official presentation ceremony will be held on 14th September 2015 in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.

More information can be found at http://www.rug.nl/news/2015/06/spinoza-prizewinner_-_research-on-gluten-intolerance-is-a-matter-of-patience_#.VXtfLe3B6Ss.facebook

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Laudation given at Bessensap (NWO event for science journalists and communicators), The Hague, 12 June

Prof. Cisca Wijmenga (1964) is professor of human genetics at the University of Groningen. She is a leading researcher, both nationally and internationally, in the area of complex genetics and in particular the genetic risk factors that play a role in celiac disease, a chronic intestinal disorder. She has identified the risk genes for this disease and also developed a reliable, simple and cost-effective method of testing for these risk genes. Previously, she conducted similar research on genetic defects in type 2 diabetes and leukaemia. Wijmenga's work is highly interdisciplinary in nature. She successfully applies insights from molecular genetics, immunology, epidemiology and bioinformatics to her research.

As a scientist, Wijmenga uses many state-of-the-art techniques. In 2004, she was one of the pioneers to chart the whole human genome (genome-wide association study), in order to identify genetic risk factors for different diseases. This work led to the revolutionary insight that there is genetic overlap between celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases that initially seemed very different. Wijmenga highlighted the importance of identifying genes for different diseases and is considered to be a world authority in this area.

Wijmenga studied biology at the University of Groningen. In 1993, she obtained her doctorate with honours at Leiden University. Wijmenga was appointed professor at the University of Utrecht at the young age of 39 and in Groningen at the age of 42. She was awarded a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant from the European Union in 2012 for her research on gluten intolerance and sensitivity. She is also director of BBMRI-NL2.0, the Dutch project for biobank collaboration, which stores tissue samples and data from patients and healthy people. Wijmenga has been a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2012. She was recently involved in a project entitled 'Genome of the Netherlands', in which she mapped the historic development of the Dutch population through large-scale genetic analysis. She is also highly active internationally, as a member of Academia Europaea (since 2013) and as a distinguished visitor to the Harvard Medical School (Boston). In 2014, she was among the top 1% most-cited scientists on the Web of Science.

In addition to being an internationally renowned scientist, Wijmenga is also an accomplished and skilled ambassador of science, who likes to convey her insights to the public at large. For the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in Groningen, she and her team of 'DNA sleuths' developed the successful DNA bar, where visitors could isolate their DNA and take it home with them in a pendant.

Cisca Wijmenga was nominated by the Rector of the University of Groningen and the Chair of the Dutch Network of Women Professors.

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Cycling Lady, LMAO at IBeStumped! So true. Yes, he is trying the band aid approach it seems. That's probably the most frustrating thing of all. So yesterday I get a call back from his office and they say to stop taking the Viberzi and switch back to Imodium! I reminded them that Imodium didn't work, I had already used it 8 days with no changes. His assistant informed me that that is all he can recommend at this time until he sees me at my next appointment which is 5/24! I live near Chicago and I am about to make an appointment to go to the University of Chicago hospital which is the top celiac research hospital in the country. Hopefully they can give me better answers.

7Hi jen and welcome No-one can diagnose remotely via nterwe posts but if there was such a game as celiac / gluten sensitive bingo, I would be calling 'House!' having read your account above... Lots of things fit the pattern as I'm sure your lurking has revealed. It's a tricky condition to diagnose however so you may have a little wait before you join the coolest club in town and get your funky celiac membership card For now it's really important that you stay on gluten. Keep eating it as accurate testing requires it. Ask your doctor to check the boxes for celiac testing alongside your liver blood tests. There should be enough in your history to get this without hassle but if they're reluctant INSIST and don't be afraid to assert your reasonable suspicion and wish to clarify and exclude. A good liver specialis will be aware of the possible links so you should be ok. If not gt second opinion. Ask for a full celiac panel as there are variety of tests. Find further info here There's a lot to take in, but be positive, I think you are on the right track and if so, you could soon be feeling better than you ever thought possible!

Hello, I am in a job that I travel every 3rd week...It gets challenging becuase many times I am doing audits of warehouses and they dont even have a cafeteria. I usually bring gluten-free protein bars as a back up if I have to miss a meal and then eat when I get back to the hotel. Just a suggestion because they certainly fill me up....Have a safe trip...Kelly

Hello all, I'm a new member here but have lurked for a while. I'm looking for some advice regarding my medical history, possible symptoms of celiac and next steps. General info: female, low level smoker, drink alcohol, aged 32. I started having bad gastro issues when I was around 17. Since then I've consistently suffered from chronic diarrhoea, frequent discomfort in the tummy area, feelings of dehydration despite drinking at least eight glasses a day and frequent fatigue for no real reason. In 2008/9 I visited the doctor as my diarrhoea was having an effect on my studies at the time. The doctor tested me for allergies; eggs, fish, gluten and lactose and did a "standard" blood test. Everything came back fine except my liver results, which were elevated to double (I did not the see the results for myself so can't say which enzymes etc). I was told to drink less and take Imodium. The doctor implied that perhaps I was stressed and / or anxious and, still being young plus a student who regularly went out drinking, I accepted this advice and carried on with my life. I would here add that I am not an unusually stressed person - in fact, learning to deal with my unpredictable bowels has forced me to be quite a laid-back person! Fast forward to 2016. I had been living with my partner for two years by this point who had noticed my bowel habits and informed me that this was definitely not normal. He encouraged me to try out a gluten free diet since I was apprehensive about visiting a doctor only to be fobbed off with Imodium again. I did the diet as strictly as a newbie can for around two months before we set off travelling. During the diet I noticed that after a couple of weeks of extreme tiredness I felt quite a lot better - I kept a food journal at the time which showed that I almost immediately had diarrhoea once after eating an ice-cream, i felt bloated and unwell after an attempt to make oat muffins (maybe i didn't cook them very well though!) and I felt bloated and had diarrhoea after eating some fish fried in flour (We made a mistake in ordering them but I didn't want to complain). My partner also reported that my mood swings (which I admit can be a little unpredictable) were much better. Once we started travelling I gave up and ate what I was given as we were staying with friends etc much of the time. Toward the end of our trip I started to feel extremely tired, to the point of having to stay in for "rest" days, and my guts were very unhappy. I chalked it up to irregular eating patterns, too many beers and late nights in general. During the trip I also had an extreme hangover after drinking wheat beer. And, while of course I accept that any overindulgence can make you ill, I really felt that that level of hangover was quite out of the ordinary. Finally, I developed a strange lump under my armpit during this period. Now back at home, I decided to go to the doc and check out the odd lump under my armpit. The doctor was pretty confident that it was nothing to worry about cancer-wise but she ordered a battery of blood tests just to be sure. The lump is fine (good news) but the results showed elevated GGT, high-ish ALT and normal AST liver enzymes plus signs of dehydration in red bloods / higher (but not concerning) levels of white bloods. I'm scheduled to go back for another blood test to double-check liver function and discuss results - if it is again high she will send me for a ultrasound. Does this history chime with anyone here? I know that the correct course in basic health terms is to stop drinking for some time (easily done) and stop smoking forever (easy to say...) but I cannot help but think that something else is going on here. I will discuss this with my doctor and make clear that my bowel issues have not been resolved and that the initial IBS diagnosis wasn't based on any thorough testing so to speak. In the meantime - does anyone have any advice for me in times of avenues to research or experience of similar symptoms? Gluten remains in my diet but in all other respects it could be regarded as very healthy, I think anyway... (pescatarian, plenty of fruit and veg, little to no sugar on a daily basis, not much dairy to speak of...) Thanks in advance and sorry for bending everyone's' ear about this... I guess it's just taken a long time for me to admit I might be sick and I need some help. Jen

Wish I could give you a hug. Unfortunately I know how that feels with Neurologists, Internists, Endocrinologists, Rheumatologists, GIs..... I got so tired of crying my drive home after refusing yet another script for Prozac. I do hope your GI can give you some answers even if it is just to rule out other possible issues. Keep on the gluten and we are here for you.