We are home to four research groups that share a mission to decipher biological principles in the context of animal development and tissue homeostasis. We also aim to train the next generation of developmental biologists through inspiring teaching at the level of bachelor, master, and PhD education in the biology department and Utrecht Life Sciences community. Learn more about our research or teaching through the links in the menu, or continue scrolling to read the latest news from our division.
We are proud to welcome Saskia Suijkerbuijk as a new group leader! Saskia’s group is interested in how the developmental process Cell Competition regulates tissues in health and disease. As a postdoc in the lab of Eugenia Piddini at the Gurdon Institute (Cambridge – UK), she found that adenomas in the intestine of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster use cell competition to drive their growth. When she returned to the Netherlands, she expanded her line of research under the wings of Jacco van Rheenen (Hubrecht Institute and Netherlands Cancer Institute). During this time her group developed 3D co-culture system to model cell competition driven by colorectal cancer in mouse organoids. We are very excited to expand our division with this new line of research and are looking forward to many fruitful collaborations.
Suzan Ruijtenberg received a grant from the Centre for Unusual Collaborations (Cuco). Together with an inter-disciplinary team of nine researchers, Suzan will co-create a toolbox of modular mini-games that can support interdisciplinary collaborations and education.
Congratulations Jorian on the first paper in 2022! We show that ERM-1 phosphorylation and binding to NRFL-1 NHERF1/EBP50 redundantly control intestinal morphology.Read the paper here
Ana's recent publication in STAR Protocols describes the generation of mixed murine organoids which can be used to model cellular interactions. Congratulations Ana!Read the paper here
Amalia's recent publication in PLOS Genetics shows that LET-413 Scribble is essential in the epidermis for animal development, and for directed outgrowth of the seam cells. Congratulations Amalia!Read the paper here
Jason's paper in Genetics presents C. elegans light-induced coclustering (CeLINC), an optical binary protein–protein interaction assay to determine whether two proteins interact in vivo.Read the paper here
I go to campus once or twice a week for the absolute essentials. It’s a luxury to be able to finish crosses that take weeks, so that the projects won’t be so delayed when we are able to work regular hours again. I’ve traded the lab bench for the dinner table. Rather than pipetting and worm picking I’m now focused on brainstorms on exciting genes, online meetings, thesis writing supervision and lots of planning ahead. For us lab tigers, it’s surprising how long the to-do list has become when being restricted to working from home! I’m already longing for to the daily bike ride, discussions in the corridors, cappuccino trips with colleagues and even to wearing that labcoat on a warm summer day again.
Nowadays, a large part of our work can be done behind every computer, and this time also challenges us to be creative in how we continue our work while working from home. As a teacher, I expand our existing materials on new platforms, for teaching digitally. This also involves innovating teaching material that was not digital before. At the moment, I am turning practicals into digital data sets and online instructions for my students. Many of the lectures will be done via video recordings. However, I miss the personal contact with colleagues and my students a lot! Video conferences also helps us in continuing meetings or social contacts, but it also shows me they do not give the same satisfaction as face to face meetings.