What impact do bacteria from the human gut have on dance performance? This is the question that French visual artist and speculative designer Marion Lasserre and Leiden University Medical Centre endocrinologist Patrick Rensen are examining in their research project Chorea Symbiotica. Lasserre and Rensen have been awarded the 2021 Mingler Scholarship for their collaborative research project. The scholarship consists of a sum of € 10,000.

The two are using research findings that reveal a link between physical exertion and the gut microbiota of healthy young adults. In Chorea Symbiotica, they show how dance can be used to treat cardiometabolic diseases and to restore bowel function. The project is unique in that the physical data, taken from professional dancers, is picked up by vibration sensors and influences dance performance, giving rise to a form of communication between gut microbiota and dance. The findings will ultimately be incorporated into a performance and a film.

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About Marion Lasserre

Marion Lasserre is a speculative designer and futures researcher based in both Paris and London. She creates speculative narratives, installations, machines and objects that explore the invisible links between the human body, technology, science, myths and popular culture. Lasserre graduated from the MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins in London and from Parsons The New School for Design in New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Design Museum London, in Milan, and during Dutch Design Week. She also designed the Brain Spa, in which she examined the production of serotonin by the senses. For more information, see: marion-lasserre.com.

About Patrick Rensen

Patrick C.N. Rensen is Professor of Endocrinology at Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). He is Established Investigator of the Dutch Heart Foundation and chairman of the European Lipoprotein Club (ELC). Rensen investigates how  disturbances in energy metabolism are involved in the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The overall aim of his research is to apply the knowledge he gains towards developing novel therapeutic strategies for preventing and treating these diseases.  His research fits in well with the ‘Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment’ and ‘Regenerative medicine’ themes of the Dutch National Research Agenda. For more information, see Patrick Rensen - Universiteit Leiden

The Mingler Scholarship

The Mingler Scholarship is awarded by the Society of Arts in cooperation with The Young Academy, both part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Financial support is provided by the Niemeijer Foundation. The scholarship is designed to give an initial financial stimulus to start-up art-science collaborations. The Mingler Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2019. 


The jury for the 2021 Mingler Scholarship consists of members of the Society of Arts, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and The Young Academy. Koert van Mensvoort chairs the jury. 

The jury members are: 

  • Technical chairperson: Koert van Mensvoort, director of Next Nature Network
  • Academy member: Lisa Cheng,  Academic/Scientific Director and Professor of General Linguistics at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
  • Young Academy member: Marjolein Bol, Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Art, Utrecht University
  • Young Academy member: Cynthia Liem, Assistant Professor at the Multimedia Computing Group, Delft University of Technology
  • Society of Arts member: Claron McFadden, soprano, performing arts
  • Society of Arts member: Theo Jansen, artist
  • Academy Bureau: Annelies ten Have, secretary 

For more information, contact Annelies ten Have at annelies.ten.have@knaw.nl.

Read more about the Mingler Scholarship and the Mingler Network.


Photo by Marion Lasserre