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Ilse Dingjan

Ilse Dingjan
Visualizing the interaction between leukemic cells and the tumor microenvironment.

Dr. Ilse Dingjan studied Biomedical Sciences, followed by the master Oncology at the VU University. Upon obtaining her master’s degree, she started with her PhD at the Tumor Immunology department at the RadboudUMC under supervision of Prof. Dr. Carl Figdor and Prof. Dr. Geert van den Bogaart. Directly after obtaining her PhD (March 2018), she started as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Monique den Boer at the Princess Máxima Center.

She investigates and visualizes the types of interactions between acute lymphoblastic leukemic cells and the bone marrow microenvironment using microscopy, and how, what, and why they communicate. As this interaction also influences the sensitivity for (chemotherapeutic) drugs, Ilse wants to study the role of this interaction in resistance or relapse of acute leukemic cells.

Chemotherapeutic resistance of leukemia can be facilitated by the interaction of leukemic cells with the stromal cells of the bone marrow. We found that several organelles are transported from leukemic cells towards bone marrow cells, to instruct the bone marrow stroma to develop a protective, leukemic niche and promote subsequent chemotherapy resistance. Here, we visualized transport of one of these organelles (autophagosome, in red) from mCherry-positive leukemic cells (magenta) towards bone marrow stromal cells (actin – green). (Blue = nucleus)