Ynte Ruigrok receives a one-and-a-half-million-euro ERC Starting Grant. This European grant is awarded to promising researchers who have the potential to become independent research leaders. Neurologist Ynte Ruigrok is looking for smart ways to find risk factors for an aneurysm in the head.

Three percent of the population has such a local dilation or bulge of a blood vessel. If an aneurysm bursts in a cerebral blood vessel, it leads to a stroke with serious consequences. Approximately one third of the patients die and a large proportion of the survivors suffer such severe brain damage that they never become their old selves again. "That's why it's so important to prevent an aneurysm from bursting," says Ynte.
 
Until now, the possibilities to detect an aneurysm in a timely manner have been limited and it only occurs in a small group of people with a family history of aneurysm. Ynte now wants to use machine learning to see if the so-called circle of Willis contains clues. "The circle of Willis is the vascular circuit of arteries that supply the brain with blood. Using machine learning, I will investigate whether the MRI shows differences in the circle between people in whom an aneurysm has been found and people in whom this is not the case. I want to combine the results of this research with genetic data and thus make a 'genetic MRI scan' of everyone." Ultimately, Ynte wants to develop a prediction model with which high-risk patients can be identified in good time.