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Aleksandra Kordek

PhD student
Aleksandra Kordek
The apparent Janus-faced nature of ALL and AML

Aleksandra Kordek completed her bachelor’s degree at Maastricht University before moving to Utrecht in 2017 to begin her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (“Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology”). In 2019, she continued her education in Utrecht where she undertook the PhD project under the shared supervision of Prof. Monique den Boer and Prof. Josef Vormoor.

She investigates the similarities and dissimilarities in the microenvironment of acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloid (AML) leukemias. These two types differ in many aspects of their disease, including the lineage and function of white blood cells being affected, the (cyto)genetic drivers, the abundancy of stem cell like features and the prognosis. However, both types originate in the bone marrow and by using a combination of in vitro and ex vivo studies, Aleksandra works on elucidating the interactions between the different leukemic cells and the bone marrow microenvironment. Unravelling the aberrant factors involved and disrupting them is being explored as a way to sensitize these cells to chemotherapeutic agents.