Sue Gibbs is Professor of Skin and Mucosa Regenerative Medicine at the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, Amsterdam UMC location VUMC and at the Department of Oral Cell Biology, ACTA.
What sort of research are you doing?
“My research is focused on human skin and oral mucosa biology, and in particular in animal alternative methods to develop novel therapeutic strategies for treating and preventing human disease. I combine research in stem cell biology and immunology with advances in tissue engineering.
The current focus lies with developing next generation immune competent skin and mucosa tissue engineered constructs to understand the (patho)physiology of immune mediated disease e.g. allergy versus tolerance, allergic versus irritant contact dermatitis, wound healing and adverse scar formation (keloids, burns, hypertrophic scars) with the aim of identifying novel drug targets and advancing personalized as well as general therapeutic strategies.
Recently, my research has extended into the field of hair follicles and importantly Organ-on-Chip, in particular immune competent Skin-, Oral mucosa-, Melanoma-, Gut- and Lymph node-on-Chips.”
Who are you collaborating with, within hDMT?
“Recently two large NWA consortia projects have been granted where I am co-applicant: LymphChip and the Virtual human platform. These will facilitate extensive collaboration with many hDMT partners, in particular with LUMC (Valeria Orlova and Christine Mummery) and Utrecht University (Juliette Legler) who are coordinating these projects. hDMT partners in these projects are from universities, university medical centres, and technical universites.”
What do you like about hDMT?
“I like the network it creates for ‘young, intermediate and old’ scientists. It enables the tenure track scientists to get actively involved in consortia and to identify their own niche within the Netherlands.”
What else do you need from hDMT?
“Maybe more activities for PhDs and PostDocs e.g. theme days, seminars etc. It would be good to organize training days and summer schools for PhDs and PostDocs to get our methods implemented in other groups.”
What do you expect from Organ-on-Chip in the future?
“It will provide human-relevant models which will enable us to investigate human-related disease (not animal disease) and human toxicology (not animal toxicology). In this way, we will be able to identify and test novel drug targets.”
How will the field develop in the Netherlands and beyond?
“We are in the position to take the lead in this technology, everything is in place with hDMT.”
When do you expect the first applications in practice related to your research?
“We are currently developing, standardizing and testing our Skin-on-Chip models. Once the procedures are all in place we will be able to start applying them for many skin related immune disorders. I expect this to take about another two years.”