Our team

bernc Anton Berns (1945) studied biochemistry at the University of Nijmegen and received his Masters degree in 1969 (cum laude) and his PhD in 1972 (supervisor Prof. H. Bloemendal) from that same University. He did his postdoctoral training in the group of Rudolf Jaenisch at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA. In 1985 he was appointed as staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and in 1986 he became head of the Division of Molecular Genetics of the Institute. Here his group did pioneering work to generate and utilize genetically modified mice as a tool to search for new cancer genes. Currently, his group focuses on the development and use of advanced mouse models for cancer.
lansdorp Professor Peter Lansdorp is an internationally recognized pioneer in studies of blood-forming stem cells, telomere biology, epigenetics and the biology of ageing. He is an independent thinker with a track record of developing novel ideas and approaches to address scientific questions. He has published 354 papers, which on average were cited 57 times. He recently accepted a position as Scientific Director of the European Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA) at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Peter Lansdorp has a proven ability to productively change research fields and establish new interdisciplinary approaches. As a graduate student he discovered tetrameric antibody complexes. This discovery has found numerous applications (commercialized by www.stemcelltechnologies.com). His lab found that the length of telomere repeats in human hematopoietic cells decreases with proliferation in vitro and with age in vivo. He subsequently developed quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH) techniques using directly labeled peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes to measure the length of telomere repeats in chromosomes and cells. Most laboratories involved in telomere research use PNA probes according to the methods developed by the Lansdorp laboratory and he founded a company (www.repeatdiagnostics.com) to perform such measurements as a diagnostic service. His current research focus is on characterization of genome (in-)stability in single cells using DNA template strand sequencing techniques developed in his laboratory.
kiselev Professor Kiselev has a broad and strong background in molecular genetics and stem cell biology that was obtained working as a postdoctoral and PI in John’s Hopkins University (USA), St. Andrews University (UK), Institute of Gene Biology (Russia) and Vavilov Institute of General Genetics (Russia). For the past two decades, his research was focused on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of cell growth and proliferation specifically of pluripotent stem cells. Kiselev and his co-workers developed new methods of reprogramming and established a number of iPS cell lines from the diseased patients to study molecular mechanisms of pathology and develop new therapeutic approaches. As PI and co-Investigator on several grants, Kiselev has led the development of many innovative approaches to develop new treatments of the diseases. Currently the original gene therapeutic drug is being commercialized in Russia.

Non-Russian Professors

European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing University Medical Center Groningen University of Groningen

haan The general scope of studies of Professor de Haan is to further improve the understanding of mechanisms that specify normal stem cell functioning. Studies focus on hematopoietic stem cells, largely because superior technical tools and invaluable functional assays exist to study stem cells in this particular tissue. Gerald’s group is interested in the unique genetic and epigenetic program that distinguishes stem cells from non-stem cells.
berezikov Professor Berezikov is investigating molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell ageing and rejuvenation using the flatworm Macrostomum lignano as a model. This animal is emerging as a powerful model organism for research on regeneration, stem cell biology and ageing due to its high regeneration capacity, experimental accessibility and amenability to genetic manipulation. In order to investigate regulation of neoblasts – the stem cells of the animal – by small RNAs and other molecular pathways, Berezikov group is developing genomic tools and resources for M. lignano, including de novo genome sequencing and annotation, identification of neoblast markers, transgenics, and forward and reverse genetics methods. His group has recently obtained proof of principle for transgenesis in M. lignano, opening up the huge potential of this animal as a model for stem cell research.

Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research

 clevers Hans Clevers is a Professor in Molecular Genetics and was Director of the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht from 2002 until early 2012. In March 2012, he was elected to the post of President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most important early breakthrough was the discovery that the four members of the Tcf transcription factor family constitute the nuclear effectors of the Wnt signalling pathway, which controls a myriad of developmental events throughout the animal kingdom. When the basic principles of Wnt signalling were solved, he focused on the link between cancer and normal stem cell biology in the intestine of mouse and man. Clevers unveiled the roles of Wnt, Notch and BMP signalling in the normal self-renewal of the intestinal epithelium. A breakthrough came with the identification of the Lgr5 and Lgr6 stem cell markers, which allowed Clevers to describe novel stem cells in the intestinal tract and many other organs. With the elegant genetic mouse models that he created, a string of highly visible papers was published on a variety of properties of adult stem cells that generally contradict current dogmas on stem cell biology.
oudenaarden Dr. Alexander van Oudenaarden is a Professor of Physics and Biology at MIT and the director of the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research in Utrecht. Prof. van Oudenaarden’ research focuses on how single cells use gene and protein networks to accurately process intra- and extracellular signals. His laboratory made pioneering contributions to understanding stochastic gene expression and systems biology at the single-cell level. The current efforts in the van Oudenaarden group are focused on an integrated theoretical and experimental approach to understand the role of stochastic gene expression during development and stem cell differentiation.

Whitehead Institute
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Jaenisch Professor Jaenisch (MIT, USA) is a pioneer of transgenic research in which an animal’s genetic makeup is altered and inherited in next generations. Jaenisch is also a world leader in cell reprogramming using both Nobel winning approaches nuclear transfer technology and genetic reprogramming. His latest research achievements are tightly connected with the genetic correction of human diseases and induced pluripotent stem cells that advance our knowledge about pathology mechanisms allowing practical application of stem cells. He has nearly 500 scientific papers published (H index 83).
 Young Professor Young is mapping the regulatory circuitry that controls cell state in embryonic stem cells and differentiated cells in mice and humans. He has developed a powerful method called genome-wide location analysis, or ChIP-on-Chip, which uses chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNA microarrays together with computational analysis to map the genomic sites bound by protein regulators in healthy and diseased cells. Chromatin regulators and small RNA molecules have been identified in these studies.
Reddien Regeneration of tissues and organs is one of the great unsolved mysteries of biology. Professor Reddien work is focused on the studies of genetic mechanisms that drives stem cells continually replace aged cells and restore tissue or organ. Recently, Reddien’s lab discovered a number of genes that plays a key role in this process. These findings play an important role in the understanding how regenerating animals “know” which missing tissues to make.

Russian Professors

tomilin Professor Tomilin has broad interests in cell and molecular biology with a primary focus on pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Study of the molecular mechanisms of stem cell maintenance and development is his primary emphasis with increasingly work on developing applications of pluripotent stem cells in clinics.
 serov Many years scientific interest of Professor Serov was focused on the studies of reprogramming by cell fusion approach. He was the first in generation of hybrid cells by fusion of embryonic stem (ES) cells and somatic cells. The hybrid cells provide unique possibility to study of interaction between genomes with different developmental potentials within a common hybrid nucleus, as well as epigenetic mechanisms involved in the reprogramming process. His latest research is devoted to the development of direct reprogramming approaches to neural lineage and establishment of new therapeutic strategies using stem cell derivatives.
skryabin Professor Skryabin is internationally recognized specialist in genomic research. His work is focused on the analysis of genetic diversity of human populations, identification of polymorphic loci associated with various diseases between in different ethnic groups. This issue is of importance for safety and efficiency of stem cell therapeutic application. His specific interest is in the area of genetic mechanisms of tissue regeneration and cellular therapy of vascular disorders.
 kolchanov Professor Kolchanov is a well-known specialist in the fields of molecular genetics, bioinformatics, nanobioengineering. He developed new approaches for solving the tasks of bioinformatics and systems biology; studying of molecular mechanisms of functioning and evolution of regulatory genetic systems and mutagenesis; development of computer-assisted methods of designing genosensors for micro/nanofliud systems produced by ligatechnologies by using synchrotron radiation.