Stem Cell Institute Leuven (K.U. Leuven)

Prof . Catherine Verfaillie




CATHERINE VERFAILLIE, MD is the director of the Interdepartmental Stem Cell Institute at KULeuven. She received her MD at KUL in 1982, did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at the University of Minnesota, and remained there till 2006, as Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor. She was Director of the U of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute between 2001 and 2007. She relocated to the KUL in 2006. She is a senior investigator in stem cell biology, with extensive experience in processes of de-differentiation as well as directed differentiation from hematopoietic stem cells and pluripotent adult and embryonic stem cells. She holds NIH and FWO grants, coordinates FP6-STROKEMAP, is partner on FP6 CHRYSTAL, and is spokesperson for IWT-BRAINSTIM.

YONSIL PARK, PhD, obtained her PhD degree at the University of Minnesota , USA, under the guidance of Dr W. Hu and Dr Verfailliein 2010. She joined the laboratory of Dr Verfaillie at K.U.Leuven in the fall of 2010 to work on scale-up of hESC expansion and hepatic differentiation and ECM substrates for more mature hepatic differentiation. She has experiences in microcarrier and 3D cell culture in bioreactor systems.

PHILIP ROELANDT, MD, obtained his MD degree at K.U.Leuven in 2003 and is currently in clinical training as a gastroenterologist/hepatologist at University Hospital Leuven. He started his PhD in the labs of Prof. Nevens and Verfaillie in 2007. He is well versed in ESC/iPSC differentiation to hepatocytes and non-parenchymal liver-specific cells from rat, mouse and human origin. In collaboration with others in the lab he has optimized a panel of functional tests (secretion, storage, phase I and II detoxicification) to characterize the stem cell progeny.

LAURA ORDOVÁS, PhD, obtained her PhD degree in December 2006 at the University of Zaragoza, Faculty of Veterinary in the Dpt. of Animal Embryology and Genetics under the direction of Dr C. Rodellar and Prof. P Zaragoza. She joined the lab of Dr. Verfaillie at K.U.Leuven in January 2009 to work in the generation of liver-specific hESC/iPSC reporter cell lines with the aim of enriching stage-specific cell types during their differentiation towards the hepatic lineage.

TINEKE NOTELAERS, MSc, obtained her MSc degree at the K.U.Leuven in 2007. Since 2008 she was active as a lab technician in the laboratory of Dr. Verfaillie, where she mainly worked on the differentiation of ESC and iPSC towards hepatocytes. She has started her PhD in 2010 in the Stem cell Institute. The aim of her project is to obtain a better insight in the early stages of differentiation of pluripotent stem cells towards hepatocyte-like cells.

YEMIAO CHEN, PhD, obtained his PhD degree at the China Agricultural University (CAU) in Biochemistry and Molecular biology, and did his first postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS) on the mechanism of small RNAs in Arabidopsis. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Verfaillie at K.U.Leuven in June 2010 to work on the function of small RNAs in guiding hiPSCs differentiation towards hepatocyte-like cells.

JOLIEN VANHOVE, MSc, obtained her MSc degree at the University of Hasselt in 2010. For her senior internship, she investigated MAPKAP Kinase 3 mediated Polycomb group signalling under hypoxic stress at the University of Maastricht under direction of Dr. W. Voncken. From September 2010, she started as a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Verfaillie where she will investigate and compare the transcriptome and epigenome from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) at different stages of hepatocyte differentiation with primary tissue-derived hepatocytes.


Former Members:

PAU SANCHO BRU, PhD, obtained his PhD degree at the University of Barcelona, School of Medicine in the hepatic fibrosis unit under the direction of Dr P. Ginès. He joined the laboratory of Dr Verfaillie at KULeuven in the fall of 2006 to work on differentiation of multipotent adult progenitor cells, ESC and iPSC to hepatocytes, and evaluate their function in vitro and in vivo.

KAREN PAUWELYN, MD, obtained her MD degree at KULeuven in 2000. She will defend her PhD thesis entitled "generation of hepatocytes from adult and embryonic pluripotent stem cells" in the spring of 2009. During her thesis work in the lab of Dr Verfaillie until the fall of 2007, first at the University of Minnesota and afterwards at KULeuven, she developed a protocol for hepatocyte differentiation from rat MAPC, which she and others subsequently proved to also be suitable for differentiation of murine and human ESC and iPSC. She is currently finishing her clinical training as an internist / hepatologist. From September 2009, she will be appointed as staff Physician at UZ Gasthuisberg, with 20% effort in clinical medicine and 80% of time devoted to basic/translational laboratory research in SCIL related to hepatocyte differentiation from stem cells.

Contact :

Prof. Dr. Catherine Verfaillie

Stamcelinstituut, K U Leuven, O & N 1
Herestraat 49, bus 804
3000 Leuven

Tel: +32-(0)16-330295









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