Jan Groen

Title of the project: Designed modular nano-biotechnological tools to detect and interfere with the key signaling pathway of heart fibrosis in vivo

Supervisors and Host institution: Dr. Eva Pereiro at ALBA-CELLS and Prof. Aitziber López at CICbiomaGUNE

Heart fibrosis is a condition that affects a large portion of the population with an age of 60 years and above. Even though there are treatments available, they are not without side-effects, which can, in the worst case, reduce the patients’ lifespan. During this project, I am investigating a protein repeat structure (TPR) that was designed and synthesized in the group of Prof. Aitziber Lopez Cortajarena and I am doing that at the Mistral Beamline at Alba Synchrotron under supervision of Dr. Eva Pereiro Lopez. My work involves growing and treating either Primary Fibroblasts or an immortalized fibroblast-like cell line (3T3 cells) and studying the fate and action of these TPRs, as well as their effect on cellular morphology. I am doing this mainly by correlative microscopy approaches, more specifically, 3D super resolution fluorescence and soft X-ray tomography, all in cryo conditions.

"Through this Doctoral-Family, I met some people, from other scientific fields, that I would have never met otherwise which I think is the most important thing. Apart from that, the guidance and help that we received through Doc-Fam and MSCA is something I will be always grateful for!"

I was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Germany. Since I had the nationality and spoke the language, I returned to the Netherlands (Wageningen) to study Biotechnology, with the specialization in Cellular- and Molecular Biotechnology. During this time I discovered my love for microscopy and research. As part of my master’s degree, I had to do an internship, which I did at the Mistral beamline. Here I met my current supervisor, Dr. Eva Pereiro, and she told me about this PhD project and about Doc-Fam. Now it is almost 3 years later and I am finishing my thesis. At this point, my most immediate career objective is finishing the thesis, but long term I would like to stay in Research, preferably working within the same field as I am currently (correlative microscopy). I feel like I discovered, learned and did so many things during this period, however, I didn’t have the time to do/learn everything that I wanted to. I think that this experience will be a great foundation for my future career.

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