Department of Cell Biology
The Department of Cell Biology is one of the three Departments that are part of the Center for Molecular Medicine of the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht. The Department of Cell Biology is an integrated academic center for fundamental and translational research, and education in the fields of cancer, stem cells and immunology. Its research fully fits within five of the six focus areas (speerpunten) of the UMC Utrecht: Personalized Cancer Care, Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells, Immunology and Infection,Child Health and Brain.
The faculty of the Department of Cell Biology comprises ten principal investigators, who with their independent teams work on various interrelated research topics within the biomedical life sciences. This creates a unique environment where a variety of experimental and theoretical expertises and competencies come together.
- Prof. Judith Klumperman: Understand how genetic mutations lead to cellular disorganization and disease, with special emphasis on diseases related to the cellular digestive system, the endo-lysosomes.
- Prof. Madelon Maurice: Mechanisms of Wnt signaling in stem cells, development and cancer.
- Prof. Ger Strous: Cell biology of the growth hormone receptor.
- Dr. Catherine Rabouille: (part-time associated) Regulation of secretion during development and by growth conditions
- Dr. Catherine Robin: (part-time associated) The self-renewing and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells
Together these research teams integrate cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, light & electron microscopy and high-throughput screening methods in order to tackle a diversity of biomedical questions with innovative approaches and from unique angles. In addition, a large variety of model systems are employed, including yeast, human-derived cell lines, adult stem cells, tissues and mouse models.
The Department also hosts three technical facilities available to research groups from within the UMC Utrecht, Hubrecht Institute and other interested parties: the Cell Microscopy Core (CMC) and the Cell Screening Core (CSC). The CMC assists microscopy-based research by providing access to state-of-the-art light and (immuno)-electron microscopy equipment and expertise. The CSC provides technological support to high throughput screening projects that require the use of automation. The focus of the CSC is on automated microscopy screens, so-called 'High Content Screens'. The CSC makes use of libraries of chemical compounds, siRNAs and other reagents such as miRNAs and provides library management.
The iPSC facility assists scientists in reprograming somatic cells to iPSC.
Work on how cargoes are transported through cells traces back to previous Nobel winners George Palade, Albert Claude, Christian de Duve and Günther Blobel (1999). The development of electron microscopy and cell fractionation techniques by Palade, Claude and de Duve paved the way for their discoveries of such subcellular organelles/structures as endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, and ribosomes as well as the assembly of secretory proteins. Blobel brought the field to the next level by uncovering a bar code on newly synthesized proteins and the characterization of the barcode reader that is required for their targeting and delivery to the correct intracellular compartment.[/acc]