Zhou Zhou



Characterizing stromal cells and exploring their immunoregulatory function in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a widespread problem in industrialized countries, consists of ulcerative colitis and Crohns’ disease (CD). A serious, persistent complication of CD is the occurrence of fistulas, pathological connections between two epithelium-covered organs. Due to high recurrence rates, incomplete fistula healing and non-responding patients, treatment is still challenging. Despite their abundant presence, the (pathogenic) role of stromal cells in IBD remains unknown. In this project we want to investigate their immunoregulatory function in IBD pathogenesis, also with a special focus on CD-associated fistula pathogenesis. Via RNA sequencing, we will identify interesting targets and more details in vitro will be studied. Several IBD models will be used to elucidate the role of fibroblasts in vivo. Furthermore, the correlation between mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), fibroblasts and the immune cells will be explored.


Zhou Zhou obtained her master degree in clinical medicine in Wuhan University (China) and started her PhD in the lab of Dr. Luuk Hawinkels in 2019.


Leiden University Medical Center

Building 1

Albinusdreef 2

2333 ZA Leiden

P.O. Box 9600

2300 RC Leiden

The Netherlands


Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum
Gebouw 1
Kamer c3-79

Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden

Postbus 9600
2300 RC Leiden