Regenerative Medicine Utrecht

Internships for Master students

Neuroregenerative treatments, preterm neonates – Nijboer group

Novel neuroregenerative treatments to reduce white matter injury in preterm neonates.

Dr. C. Nijboer (C.Nijboer@umcutrecht.nl); Laboratory of NeuroImmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease (NIDOD); UMC Utrecht, location WKZ

Preterm birth is an enormous problem in neonatal clinics as it represents the major cause of neonatal morbidity at present. White matter injury (WMI) in the brain is a major complication after preterm birth and is strongly associated with severe long-term neurological consequences like cognitive impairments, motor deficits, seizures, and behavioral and learning difficulties. Moreover it has become clear that preterm birth is associated with an increased risk for developmental disorders like autism.

Currently there are no effective therapies available for preterm infants with brain injury. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of preterm WMI and the development of novel treatments aimed at improving brain development and repair of WMI are urgently needed to improve quality-of-life for these patients.

Developing a regenerative therapy using stem cell transplantation is a major goal of the research line “Neuroregeneration” at the NIDOD Laboratory, located in the WKZ (UMC Utrecht). We have year-long experience in using stem cell therapy in rodent models of neonatal ischemic brain injury and we closely collaborate with the Dept of Neonatology within the WK transplantation in neonatal mice induces repair of WMI, characterized by improved motor function and increased myelination.

As an intern you will work in a team of post-docs, PhD students and research technicians at the NIDOD Laboratory. We will investigate if stem cell transplantation can regenerate WMI in our neonatal rodent models,
for instance by investigating myelination, glial activity and oligodendrocyte maturation. We will use histological techniques, behavioral paradigms, MRI techniques, and ex vivo and in vitro culture systems of e.g. mesenchymal stem cells and primary glial cultures. Other techniques are Western Blotting, ELISA, RT-PCR, cloning and cell transfections.

We are looking for a highly-motivated and flexible student with a strong interest in pre-clinical research into regenerative medicine and pathophysiology of the brain.