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Prof. Niels Geijsen: “Stem cell models of early embryogenesis”

Hubrecht Institute, Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research, Utrecht University Uppsalalaan 8 Room - 3584 CT UTRECHT The Netherlands
When May 27, 2019
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where CNR Conference Room
Contact Name
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Niels Geijsen received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He completed his post-doctoral training in the lab of Dr. George Daley at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research where he established a method for the in vitro generation of germ cells from embryonic stem cells. In 2004, Dr. Geijsen was appointed Assistant Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and principal faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, where he explored the biology of pluripotent stem cells. This work lay the foundation for his current work modeling human genetic disorders.

 In 2010, Dr. Geijsen relocated his research lab to the Hubrecht Institute of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences in The Netherlands and was appointed Full Professor of Regenerative Medicine at Utrecht University.

 Dr. Geijsen’s lab has developed a methods for the in vitro modeling of human genetic diseases, with particular focus on genetic muscle disorders. His team has identied a novel mechanism for the introduction of native proteins into mammalian cells and has shown how this technology can be appied to introduce CRIsPR/Cas9 gene editing complexes into primary (stem) cells. This technology, called iTOP, was the basis of a biotech startum, NTrans Technologies, which he co-founded.

Pluripotent stem cells are a powerful tool to model genetic muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and FSHD. Since the pathogenesis of many of these disorders starts during early development, Dr. Geijsen’s and his team develop stemcell-based assays to model the early stages of development in vitro. In a recent publication they demonstrate that stem cells can self-organize to form blastocyst-like structures that can be used to model early trophoblast differentiation and implantation.

Currently, Dr. Geijsen is Principal Faculty at the Hubrecht Institute of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at Utrecht University and co-founder of NTrans Technologies.

Dott. David Monk: "Survival of human-specific germline methylation differences and the maintenance of allelic methylation"

Principal Investigator, Imprinting and Cancer Group, Cancer Epigenetic and Biology Programm (PEBC) IDIBELL Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge Hospital Duran i Reynals 08908 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona)
When Jun 17, 2019
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where CNR Conference Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +39 081 6132 444
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David Monk

2019- Lecturer, Biomedical Research Center (BMRC), School of Biological Sciences, Norwich, UK.

2008 – 2019:  Group Leader, Imprinting and Cancer Group, Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC), Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL), Barcelona.

2006 – 2008:  Senior Post-doctoral Researcher: Institute of Child Health (ICH),

University College London (UCL), London, UK.

2004 – 2006:  Post-doctoral Researcher: IRDB, Imperial College London, London, UK.

2001 – 2004:  Multicenter Post-doctoral Researcher: MRC Harwell, Oxford, UK; The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK; IIRDB, Imperial College London, London, UK.

1998-2001:     PhD, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology (IRDB), Imperial College London, London, UK.

The research interests of Dr Monks team are centered on understanding epigenetic mechanisms relevant to human diseases, focusing on the application of high-throughput genome technologies to analyze genomic imprinting. In particular, his studies have addressed the role of these epigenetically regulated transcripts in imprinting disorders, as well as fetal growth restriction, fertility and cancer. Recently, his group has utilized sequencing technologies to characterized methylation in human gametes and pre-implantation embryos, resulting in the identification of novel transient imprinted regions. In addition to his research activities, Dr Monk was involved in the European COST network for Human Congenital Imprinting Disorders (EUCID; 2015-2017), being the coordinator of the Molecular Biology working group. To date he has over 100 publications.

Dott. Janine F. Felix: "DNA methylation in early life – the Generation R Study"

Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam The Netherlands
When Jul 08, 2019
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where CNR Conference Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +39 0816132251
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Dr. Felix’s research focuses on understanding genetic and epigenetic processes underlying cardiometabolic phenotypes in pregnant women and children. She has a background in medicine and (genetic) epidemiology. She is Senior researcher and Study coordinator in the Generation R Study Group at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Within the population-based Generation R Study, a birth cohort of almost 10,000 children and their parents, Dr.Felix's research focus is genetic and epigenetic studies of cardiometabolic phenotypes in mothers and children. She has extensive experience in genome- and epigenome-wide association studies in large international consortia, mainly the EGG (Early Growth Genetics) and PACE (Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics) Consortia, each with over 30,000 participants, Within these consortia, she leads or co-leads multiple projects. She also leads the NutriPROGRAM Consortium, an international consortium focusing on early-life nutrition and DNA-methylation.

Highlighted publications specifically relevant for the current application:
1. Joubert BR*, Felix JF*, Yousefi P*, …, Wilcox A, Melén E, London SJ. Maternal smoking in pregnancy and DNA methylation in newborns: Genome-wide consortium meta-analysis. Am J Hum Genet. accepted.
2. Joubert BR*, den Dekker HT*, Felix JF, ……., Nystad W, Duijts L, London SJ. Maternal plasma folate impacts differential DNA methylation in an epigenome-wide meta-analysis of newborns. Nat Commun. 2016;7:10577.
3. Felix JF*, Bradfield JP, Monnereau C, ……, Timpson NJ, Grant SF, Jaddoe VW. Genome-wide association analysis indentifies three new susceptibility loci for childhood body mass index. Hum Mol Genet. 2016;25(2):389-403.
* denotes equal contributions