Awards for Niek Bloks and Marcella van Hoolwerff at OARSI 2022

Niek Bloks and Marcella van Hoolwerff, PhDs from the osteoarthritis research group at the LUMC in Leiden headed by Prof. Ingrid Meulenbelt, were awarded for their ‘highest rated abstract’ during OARSI 2022 in Berlin. In the osteoarthritis research group a human in vitro 3D organoid model has been established in which hiPSCs are differentiated to deposit neo-cartilage with high similarity to autologous cartilage (over 90%). This human model can be applied to study cartilage homeostasis in health and disease and can be used for drug screening purposes. Both, Niek and Marcella used the organoids to gain insight in etio-pathophysiological effects of dysfunctional collagen type VI (COL6) fibrils and fibronectin (FN1), respectively, due to identified high impact mutations.

Niek showed that hyper-physiological mechanical stress of the organoid results in upregulation of mechano-senor genes. Marcella showed that alternative splicing of FN1 is changed during osteoarthritis.

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