Regenerative Medicine Utrecht

Research team

Debby Gawlitta, PhD

Principal Investigator






Since 2014, Dr. Debby Gawlitta holds a position as Associate Professor at the department of ‘Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Special Dental Care’ of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. Her group is working on maxillofacial bone regeneration in the RMCU (Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht). Research keywords include clinical translation, biomaterials, bone/cartilage/vascular regeneration, stem/progenitor cells, bioreactors.

Debby Gawlitta was trained as a biomedical engineer at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Her PhD thesis was focused on generating engineered skeletal muscle tissue to model and monitor the development of pressure ulcers.

In 2007, she moved to the department of Orthopaedics, University Medical Center in Utrecht, to work on bone and cartilage tissue regeneration within the Hospital’s strategic impulse on regenerative medicine. During her postdoc, she received a prestigious Veni grant (Dutch innovation grant) to pursue (endochondral) bone regeneration from a cartilage template with bone marrow-derived stem cells. Her second research line is directed at co-culturing of different stem/progenitor cells for vascularization of engineered bone tissue. At this department, she was also involved in two European FP7 projects ‘HydroZONES’ (zonal cartilage regeneration) and ‘iDAC’ (antibacterial coatings for orthopedic prosthetic implants).

Further, Debby Gawlitta developed and coordinates the 2-year Master’s program RMT – Regenerative Medicine and Technology. Since 2012, RMT is a collaborative program of the UMCU, Utrecht University and Eindhoven University of Technology.


Lizette Utomo, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher




Lizette Utomo obtained her Master of Science degree in 2013 after studying Technical Medicine at the University of Twente, Enschede, specializing in regenerative medicine. In 2014, she started her PhD in the group of Prof. Gerjo van Osch at the department of Orthopaedics at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam. During this period, she also conducted research at the lab of dr. Matteo Moretti at the IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute in Milan, Italy (partially funded by a personal grant of the Annafonds|NOREF). As of January 2018, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Debby Gawlitta. In September 2018, she defended her dissertation on macrophage phenotypes in degenerative joint diseases.

Current project: mandibular condyle regeneration


Barbara Klotz, MSc.

PhD Candidate

Current project: Engineering biomatrices for pre-vascularising bone analogs

Alessia Longoni, MSc.

PhD Candidate

Current project: Endochondral bone regeneration: stepping stones in clinical translation

Luuk van Dijk, MSc.

PhD Candidate

Current project:

Iris Pennings, MSc.

PhD Candidate

Current project: Bio-inspired engineering of perfusable vasculature


Current project: Translational Aspects in Vascularized Maxillofacial Bone Regeneration


Current students (>6 months)
Abbie Robinson
Filippo Albertino
Louiza Ignatiou
Arlan van Spijk

Former students (>6 months, 2015 – present)
Adriana Palom Agusti
Ana Garcia Duran
Bram Soliman
Gregor Weisgrab
Inge van Hooijdonk
Jonas Kruppe
Lisa Preimel
Maya Wright Clark
Melissa van Velthoven
Sophie Gorter de Vries
Valentine Vetter
Yee Xiang Chang