The geologist Prof Veerle Cnudde has been named as one of the 33 researchers to win the prestigious Vici grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) this year. She thus becomes a so-called Vici laureate. One of the largest scientific grants given to an individual in the Netherlands, the Vici grant is part of the NWO Talent Program and is given only to highly experienced scientists with a demonstrable track record of innovative research.
Prof Cnudde is the team leader of the Ghent University PProgGRess (Pore-scale Processes in Geomaterials) research group, which specialises in the non-destructive 3D imaging of geomaterials. One of her main areas of research is the weathering of building stone, i.e. how the stones used in buildings are changed by prolonged exposure to the elements.
Stone weathering is also the focus of her Vici grant project. Specifically, she will explore the possibility of using stone-inhabiting bacteria for preservation purposes. It is already known that bacteria colonise rocks and that this can have detrimental effects, known as biodeterioration. Prof Cnudde will investigate whether bacteria can be used to mediate the levels of moisture in the stone in a way that will be protective rather than destructive.
Prof Cnudde splits her time between two professorships. She is primarily based at Ghent University, where she completed her Masters degree and PhD, but since 2019 she has also held a professorship of Porous Media Imaging Techniques at the University of Utrecht. (© AcademiaNet)