Geijsen Group – Tackling Inherited Genetic Muscle Diseases using Genome Editing, Protein Engineering and Models of Embryonic

Muscular dystrophies are a collection of inherited genetic muscle diseases, that are characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, which have a major impact on both the patients and their caregivers. We conduct research in three main areas.

We explore early embryogenesis and skeletal muscle development using stem cell-based 3D models of embryogenesis. We explore muscle homeostasis and regeneration using in vitro and in vivo models and we develop new CRISPR/Cas-based gene editing applications to intervene in the progression of these disorders.


What we study

Using 3D human iPSC differentiation models of early post-implantation development (gastruloids), we study the formation and patterning of the body axes and the cellular specification of the skeletal muscle lineage. We believe differences in cellular ontology may explain the pathology of genetic muscle disorders such as Facioscapulohumeral Dystrophy (FSHD) Using 3D models of skeletal muscle, and murine models of muscle regeneration, we explore how skeletal muscle functions during homeostasis and during regeneration. Finally, our group develops novel technologies for the precise genome manipulation, both in vitro and in vivo.

Themes for innovation and Societal Outreach

Our team

  • Prof. Dr. Niels Geijsen (Group leader)
  • Dr. Peng Shang (Assistant professor)
  • Dr. Fanny Sage (Assistant professor)
  • Pascale Dijkers (Assistant professor)
  • Dr. Annabel Ebbing (Project manager)
  • Btissame Saidi (Management assistant)
  • Melissa van Kranenburg (Lab manager)
  • Isabel de Poorter (Research technician)
  • Darnell Kammeron (Research technician)
  • Lisa Koster (Research technician)
  • Marianna Vinagre (Research technician)
  • Dr. Prarthana Mohanraju (Postdoc)
  • Zhihan (Ada) Zhao (PhD student)
  • Jorik F. Bot (PhD student)
  • Ouafa Dahri (PhD student)
  • Mehmet Yildiz (PhD student)
  • Clara Martinez Mir (PhD student)
  • Theun Martinus de Kort (PhD student)
  • Dorien Vinke (PhD student)
  • Olga Veth (PhD student)