c o f f e r l a b

center for molecular medicine × REGENERATIVE MEDICINE CENTER


Listening to cells to understand disease

WHILE every human cell contains around 20,000 genes, ONLY A HANDFUL OF THESE actually provide IT with a unique identity. this relatively small number of genes can generate enormous biological complexity by being utilised in unique combinations, at specific times and at precise levels. in the same way, while there are only 88 keys on a piano, playing these keys can generate an almost infinite variety of music. the music produced will depend on both the combination of keys played and how long and hard they are pressed. In this way, combinations of genes are able to control all aspects of biological function. by listening to this cellular 'music' we hope to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of disease, leading to new therapeutic opportunities.

our research IS driven by both fundamental and clinical questions in the fields of cancer, immunology and stem cells.  examples of research areas that are currently being explored include: 

- UNderstanding and manipulating INTERACTIONS BETWEEN IMMUNE CELLS & TUMORS 

- transcriptional control of epithelial plasticity and metastasis

- Targeting deregulated T cell metabolism in autoimmune disease

- Therapeutic use of mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomES


Our research uses a broad range of molecular and cell biological approaches, as well as in vivo and ex-vivo models of disease. This forms a 'translatable' research program with close connection with our clinical collaborators.

We are part of the center for molecular medicine and Located at the Regenerative Medicine Center, UMC Utrecht.



+31 (0)30 212-1800



Regenerative Medicine Center
Uppsalalaan 6
3584CT Utrecht



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Paul Coffer

Group Leader

Chair, Utrecht University Regenerative Medicine PhD program


Cornelieke Pals

Lab Manager


Koen Braat

Senior Lecturer

Program Manager, Utrecht University Regenerative Medicine PhD program


Magdalena Lorenowicz

Senior Scientist

Interest: therapeutic application of stem cell-derived exosomes


Guy Roukens

Senior Postdoc

Interest: the mammary tumor niche


Enric Mocholi

Senior Postdoc

Interest: (de)regulation of immunometabolism in autoimmune diseases

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Laura Russo


Interest: (de)regulation of immunometabolism in pediatric arthristis


Janneke Peeters

PhD Student (van Loosdregt/Coffer)

Interest: epigentic regulation and autoimmune diseases


Cindy Frederiks


Interest: understanding the role of SOX4 in breast cancer


Simona Antonova

PhD student (supervisor Prof. Marc Timmers)

Interest: TFIID assembly and function

Selected Recent Publications

1. Braccioli L, Vervoort SJ, Adolfs Y, Heijnen CJ, Basak O, Pasterkamp RJ,, Nijboer CH, Coffer PJ. (2017) FOXP1 Promotes Embryonic Neural Stem Cell Differentiation by Repressing Jagged1 Expression. Stem Cell Reports. 9:1530-1545

2. Gómez-Puerto MC, Verhagen LP, Braat AK, Lam EW, Coffer PJ, Lorenowicz MJ. (2016) Activation of autophagy by FOXO3 regulates redox homeostasis during osteogenic differentiation. Autophagy 12, 1804-1816

3. Bartels M, Govers AM, Fleskens V, Lourenço AR, Pals CE, Vervoort SJ, van Gent  R, Brenkman AB, Bierings MB, Ackerman SJ, van Loosdregt J, Coffer PJ. (2015) Acetylation of C/EBPε is a prerequisite for terminal neutrophil differentiation. Blood. 125, 1782-92

          see also News & Views: Gombart, 2015. Blood 125,1688-90

4. Arpaia N, Campbell C, Fan X, Dikiy S, van der Veeken J, deRoos P, Liu H, Cross JR, Pfeffer K, Coffer PJ, Rudensky AY. (2013) Metabolites produced by commensal bacteria promote peripheral regulatory T-cell generation. Nature 504, 451-5

5. USP7/HAUSP-mediated stabilization of Foxp3 increases Treg suppressive capacity. van Loosdregt, J., Fleskens, V., Fu, J., Brenkman, A.J., Bekker, C.P.J., Pals, C.E.G.M., Meerding, J., Berkers, C.R., Barbi, J., Grone, A., Sijts, A.J.M., Maurice, M.M., Kalkhoven, E., Prakken, B.J., Ovaa, O., Pan, F., Zaiss, D.M.W. and Coffer, P.J. (2013) Immunity 39, 259-271 

          see also News & Views: Laurence et al, 2013. Immunity 39, 201-203

6. Canonical Wnt signaling negatively modulates T regulatory cell function. van Loosdregt, J., Fleskens, V., Tiemessen, M.T., Mokry, M., van Boxtel, R., Meerding, J., Pals, C.E.G.M., Kurek, D., Baert, M.R., Delmarre, E.M., Grone, A., Groot-Koerkamp, M.J., Sijts, A.A.M., Maurice, M.M., van Es, J.H., ten Berge, D., Holstege, F.C., Staal, F.J.T., Zaiss, D.M.W., Prakken, B.J. and Coffer, P.J.  (2013) Immunity 39, 298-310

7. The EGF-like growth factor Amphiregulin hampers effciient tumor therapy by enhacing regulatory T-cell function.Zaiss, D., van Loosdregt, J., Rjks, H., Gorlani, A., Bekker, C., Grone, A., Sibilia, M., van Bergen en Henegouwen, P., Roovers, R., Coffer, P.J. and Slijts, A.J. (2013) Immunity 38, 275-284

8. Modulation of glutamine metabolism by the PI(3)K-PKB-FOXO network regulates autophagy. van der Vos, K.E., Eliasson, P., Proikas-Cezanne, T., Vervoort, S.J., van Boxtel, R., Putker M., van Zutphen, I.J., Mauthe, M., Zellmer, S., Pals, C., Verhagen, L.P., Groot-Koerkamp, M.J., Braat, A.K., Dansen, T.B., Holstege, F.C., Gebhardt, R., Burgering, B.M., Coffer, P.J. (2012) Nature Cell Biology 14,  829-37.

          see also News & Views: Sandri, 2012. Nature Cell Biology 4, 786-788

Click here for a full list of publications

Contact Us

Regenerative Medicine Center, UMC Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 6, 3584CT Utrecht, The Netherlands

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