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Kolff Institute for Biomedical

Engineering and Materials

Institute director
Prof.dr. Yijin Ren 1 Words from the director
Policy officer
Wya Kloppenburg 2 Editorial
Research program leaders
BIOBI 3 Issue theme Henk J. Busscher
Dr. Paul C. Jutte
NANOBIOMAT 12 Kolff Days
Prof.dr. Andreas Herrmann
Dr. Patrick van Rijn
MOHOF 18 The People who are Kolff
Prof.dr. Henny J.A. Meijer
Dr. Prashant Sharma
Prof.dr. Marco C. Harmsen
23 Recent theses within Kolff
Prof.dr. Sjoerd K. Bulstra

Founding director
24 Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Henk J. Busscher

Past director
Prof.dr. Henny C. van der Mei

Words from the director
Prof.dr. Yijin Ren
Science and scientist, is the theme of the Very recently the mom of two toddlers
current issue. declared to NBC News that the idea of ba-
lance is antiquated, and wrote an article
It seems a matter of definition that a per- subtitled Why Balance is Bullshit. What
son successful in science is a successful she wrote made me wonder why it has
scientist. While science is a broad discipli- taken so long for someone influential to
ne with universal infinity, a scientist is abo- admit in public that work and life balance
ve all a human being with specific personal never truly existed, and why when someo-
traits. ne finally did, it went to the news headlines
as if it were a new discovery on this planet. Prof.dr. Yijin Ren
Nearly two centuries ago, Charles Darwin What annoyed me more was the fact that Director of the
said Alas, a scientific man ought to have following that news, more articles were po- W.J. Kolff Institute
no wishes, no affections a mere heart of sted by career women from different fields
stone. Recent studies seem to indicate describing their first-hand experiences tit-
the necessity of certain personality traits led Work-Life Balance Just Doesnt Exist or
of a scientist to be successful. Apart from a version of it.
the well-known general qualities one must
possess to succeed in anything at all, these Maybe its time to suspend the discussion
newly defined personality traits, ranging on whether such a balance ever did, does,
from arrogance, insensitivity, dominance should or will exist. Many men must strug-
to narcissism, do not at all sound char- gle in such a notion as much as women,
ming. To the opposite, it looks one has to though they may experience or cope with
turn himself into a rather unpleasant per- it differently. The question is why should
son in order to get close to successfulness. we idealize reality in the first place? Why
Merits such as charismatic, sympathetic, should we expect others or ourselves to
kind and gentle are being related to being be successful in different areas? Balance
weak, incompetent or unsuccessful. is never about how it looks like from the
outside, but how one performs her inner
Like in many other arenas, women in sci- calibration.
ence have often been studied as a separate
category. Today, many more women chose Things are the way they are because they
for a combination of career and family life. were the way they were, we hear Fred
A dedicated career-seeking woman stimu- Hoyle saying. If we let things the way they
lates automatically a general interest in her are, they will be the way they ought to be.
environment of her motherhood style or
domestic skills. 2017 june
Prof. Yijin Ren, Director W.J. Kolff Institute
for Biomedical Engineering and Materials

W.J. Kolff Institute 1 newsletter June 2017

Welcome to the 1st issue of 2017. In this issue we address career development and the challen-
ges faced from different perspectives. The issue that is before you provides reviews from articles
describing success stories in science, interviews with scientific staff, and opinions from the

Additionally, this issue will recap the exciting events at Kolff Days 2017, showcase recent
PhD-defenses and research highlights.

We hope that this issue will inform, inspire and make you think about how to be successful in a
scientific career. After reading the articles within, we aim to provide you with foresight to follow
a career path best suited for your personality and professional drive.

Kind regards,
The editorial board

Editorial board
Marieke van de Lagemaat (
Alberto L. Llacua (
Jiapeng Hou (
Arjan Dieters (
Brandon Peterson (
Lu Yuan (

W.J. Kolff Institute 2 newsletter June 2017

Issue Theme
Reality makes the decision tough to be a
highlights of the Nature report on the salary and job satisfaction of
global scientists
Are you satisfied with your job as a scien- two thirds scientists who enjoy a pay rise
tist? Have you heard any complaints from in Asia and North America. The salary level
your colleagues? Since the government is slightly different between the research
funding is flat and the competition for fun- fields. Those who work on health care and
ding is extremely fierce in many nations, clinical science enjoy a relatively high inco-
scientists are worried about their future. me, compare to the scientists in physics,
Recently, Nature has published a survey re- chemistry and engineering. While in terms
port based on 3328 responses from scien- of gender, male is reported to have higher
tists around the world. Two thirds are satis- average income than female, although it is
fied with their current job. However, there warned by the human-development rese-
are still many complaints, within Europe archer that men tend to show high income
in particular, about the salary, job options but female may express their feelings of
and prospects. under-appreciation by giving low numbers.
The working-hours also has to be taken in
to account when comparing the salary be-
tween male and female because some wo-
men have to sacrifice their working hours
for housework and children care.

Empty pocket
Scientists from all research fields are com-
mitted to seeking for a better future for
human kind, whereas they have to accept
a low payment in return. One third of the
respondents are dissatisfied with their sa-
lary. Its pretty sad to see nearly 30% of the
senior scientists aged above 55 to have an Pale future
annual income lower than 50000 US dol- The pessimism on job prospects also wi-
lars. 30% of the 3292 full-time scientists dely spread in Europe. Only around half
have annual income less than 30000 US respondents feel fairy or positive for their
dollars, including not only post-doc and job prospects, in contrast to 58%, 68%
researcher, but also associate professor and 72% in North America, Asia and Afri-
and even full professor. Only 6% have an- ca. Comparing to the past generations of
nual income higher than 150000 US dol- scientists, more than 80% of respondents
lars, an income that is pretty common in in France, Italy and UK feel worse about
many other professions. Scientists in Euro- their job prospects, a percentage that is
pe not only complain about the low salary, tremendously higher than Asian countries
but also suffer from the lowest salary rise like India (30%) and China (29%).
among all other investigated continents.
Only less than 40% scientists in Europe
report a salary rise last year, comparing to
W.J. Kolff Institute 3 newsletter June 2017
Issue Theme
Reality makes the decision tough to be a
The Italian scientist Luciana DApice com- mend a science career. Because science
plains that the scientific support in Italy provides tremendous sense of satisfaction
is even worse than other European coun- in spirit, for those group of special people
tries, resulting in a great loss of motivated who are willing to forget and neglect all the
and brilliant young scientists for research pains. In this survey, the interesting work
work. The scientist Alexander Merle in Ger- itself and the sense of accomplishment
many also feels depressed because it is too are the most important gains for most of
difficult to get a permanent position even respondents. Other aspects like the work
when the candidate is qualified enough. environment, the autonomy and inde-
The German law even sets 12 years as a pendence also enhance the satisfaction.
limit for a scientific career (including PhD Compared to the past year, nearly 40% res-
project) in Germany without a permanent pondents feel an improved level of general
position. Therefore, many scientists like satisfaction in contrast to less than 30%
Alexander might have to leave academic who feel worsened. Many successful scien-
fields and find other jobs to do. The lack of tists would recommend science career be-
job security is a common problem in Euro- cause the gains outweigh the pains and
pe, which kills scientists passion and force they just love so much the feelings of dis-
them to leave science. covering the mystery. But young scientists
still have to be careful when considering
science as a career because the competi-
tion for funding is going to be the biggest
challenge for their career progression and
they should love the competition.

Work-life unbalance
In order to survive in the fierce competiti-
on, 42% respondents report that they have
to sacrifice their work-life balance and one
third sacrifice their relationship. This pro-
blem worries some female scientists even
more because they feel bad when they
cannot spend enough time to take care
of their children. In this respect, marrying
a right guy is important for a female scien-
tist, just as mentioned by Marian Jols, the
dean of UMCG.

No pain no gain
Despite all the complains and sacrifices,
still two thirds of respondents are satisfied
with their job and 61% are willing to recom-
W.J. Kolff Institute 4 newsletter June 2017
Issue Theme
Women in Science
An interview with Ingrid Molema, professor of Life Sciences at University of Groningen/UMCG
and president of the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) about equality of women
and men in science.
Why is a balance in number of men and Every year LNVH collects numbers from
women in science so important for University Medical Centers and Universities
science? with regard to gender ratios, for students,
Complexity requires different perspecti- assistant professors, associate professors
ves. All sciences have a certain extent of and full professors. From next year on we
prof. dr. Ingrid
complexity, no matter the subject. Com- will be reporting the numbers per faculty. Molema
plexity means that you have to look at the By this means, one will see that, for exam-
things from different points of views. Men ple, a faculty of science and engineering
and women are different. It is not only ge- with much less female students enrolling
nder diversity you would like to have in in the last decade cannot be forced to get
science, but also different cultural back- 30 % female full professors in the near fu-
grounds and socio/economic diversity. ture. While psychology with 70% female
Ideally we have a total package of peop- students for already a long time should be
le who look at the problem from all kinds able to reach a more equal gender distri-
of different perspectives. When you have bution for professors real quick. With reve-
such a diverse composition of your team, aling the gender problem per faculty I think
the chances of doing better research are we will have new means of supporting uni-
much bigger. versities to get new policies on board per
faculty. And if that doesnt work, then it
What can the government do to is time to finally go and ask for measures
stimulate gender equality? from the government, as a last resort. You
If all fails, they have to put quota on the should not punish the ones that do well,
percentage of women in academia. I feel, instead stimulate all to do (even) better.
though, that quota can be something that
will be very harsh on all the initiatives right When it is about the subject of gender
now that are out there in the Dutch univer- equality, many people often reply with
sities to get more highly qualified women the phrase: you do not want to be picked
on board. But in essence there could be because you are a woman, but because
pressure from the government onto all you are qualified. What is your opinion
our institutes, because we are government about this statement?
paid. They could say: If you do not manage Men and women are equally smart , know-
to attract and keep highly quality female ledgeable and skilled. Men get a better
academics in your institutes, then there chance to move up in the academic ranks.
will be financial consequences. So pressu- So the conclusion is that less compe-
re from the government to perform better tent men take up positions that could be,
could work, but I think right now it is not and should be filled by more competent
the time - yet. women. As long as men and women are
For more than 20 years we have a 50-50 equally smart, but the men have an easier
female/male undergraduate student ratio, route up, it is allowed by law to have spe-
and also since quite some years a close to cial programs on board like the Rosalind
even distribution of female/male PhD stu- Franklin Fellowship program to have the
dents, so you would expect that the ratio inequality counteracted. Be aware of the
of assistant professors would already be fact that the Rosalind Franklin Fellowship,
closer to 50-50 if the career path would be although you are only allowed to apply if
equal for women and men. you are a woman, is a fierce competition.
W.J. Kolff Institute 5 newsletter June 2017
Issue Theme
Women in Science
Last time we had 400 applications for 30 then apologized and thanked me for dis-
fellowships. These women are the hig- cussing it with him. So dont accuse people
hest competitive scientists you can think of doing wrong, but just make them aware
of, they outcompete the men. Everybody of the fact that they are biased. Discussing
says that in academia it is meritocracy that it makes people much more aware of this
drives your chances, meaning what you implicit bias. I hear a lot of my female col-
have achieved in life will determine your leagues rightfully complain that they al-
career path. Well, meritocracy is a myth. I ways have to be the ones to point out the
understand that women want to be picked problem, while it actually is a problem of
because of quality, I want the same. In our all of us. I wish more men would be daring
affirmative action programs you are picked enough stand up as well: just do it, be bold,
based on quality, if you dont qualify you dont be afraid.
dont get the fellowship. Right now in regu-
lar competition you are not treated equally What is your personal motivation for
to your male competitors, and until this si- this topic?
tuation is eliminated these affirmative acti- What I see is that highly skilled women get
on plans are needed. stuck in a system which is unfair. The num-
ber of women students increased in the
You say the Netherlands is under deve- 1970s and from the late 1980s on the ratio
loped in the gender equality issue. What of men and women students stabilized at
countries can be our example? 50-50. When I started to go to university in
Scandinavian countries do a lot with re- the 1980s, I slowly became aware that I was
gard to building a family at the time you actually part of the change, that women en
also want to go up the career ladder in aca- masse started to study. What motivates me
demia. So pregnancy leave and also paren- is that I see female undergraduates, PhD
tal leave is taken care of. Not only for the students, and also staff members, fighting
women, but also for the men. While these to get the same treatment as the men, but
regulations are much better developed, it eats up so much energy. They are some-
still for women it is often difficult to move times only fighting and do not have the
up the academic ladder in these countries. energy anymore to do the work that we are
This is because of the (implicit) bias we all hired for, to do high quality teaching and
tend to have which drives us to think that high quality research. So if women experi-
male leadership is more valuable than fe- ence these counterforces they dont have
male leadership. So still in those countries the same opportunities to florish and to
with good life-work balance regulations contribute to the universitys main tasks.
there is still the problem of moving up for What I find difficult to accept is that an in-
women. tellectual environment like a university is
not capable of allowing everybody to get
Do you feel or experience the effects of the same chance and have people develop
implicit bias in your daily life? themselves to their best. It is a waste of hu-
Yes, I do. A while ago I was at a PhD de- man potential, money and energy.
fense, we were with seven professors, six
were men and I was the only female. The
chairman was also a man. He addressed
the six men as professor and he addres-
sed me as Ingrid. Not once, but four times.
So I thought what to do? I called the man
and asked if we could sit down and talk. He Ingrids research group Endothelial Biomedicine & Vascular Drug
W.J. Kolff Institute 6 newsletter June 2017
Issue Theme
Women in Science
Equality and equity. Can you explain ly way doesnt always hit home. Saying it
this figure when it comes to gender in a slightly offensive or shocking way ma-
equality? kes people become agitated, which means
I associate equality with similar chances to me they heard what I said. This is not an
for men and women. Equity on the other ideal role, but on the other hand, it shows
hand is associated with the value of peo- people to not be afraid to discuss difficult
ple, so my female perspective on how sci- matters. It is the balance of sometimes wis-
ence should be approached should weigh hing to get away from the role model role
equally to the perspective of men. Which is and say what needs to be said and then be
not that you want me to be as my male col- the model academic professional again.
league but that you accept the fact that I
have a different view on matters, a different Do you have advice for our readers how
way of looking at life, how to build a team, to deal with gender (in)equality?
how to teach, how to supervise a student Not only gender equality is important to
etcetera. One of the things that people still me, but equality in general. The number
say is that if you want to be successful as of international students and colleagues
a woman, in a university or in a company is increasing. Embrace this diversity and
for example, you need to act like a man. make sure that everybody feels at home.
I think equity is about women not beco- When growth for all people will be achie-
ming men, but about women and men as ved we will create a much better work en-
professionals being able to differently deal vironment for everybody. I work based on
with work related matters which is both va- four foundations: have respect for people,
lued by our organizations . provide high quality work, take up respon-
sibility, and be accountable for what you
do. I do that from the perspective that eve-
ry person has the right intentions. If you
feel someone is not doing the right thing or
you feel that something is not right, then
let respect for different view points drive
you into discussing what is bothering you
or worrying you. It is my biggest wish for
the organisation that we allow everybody,
woman,man, dutch, non-dutch, religious
or not , to get an equal and fair chance.

Do you consider yourself as a role

No, but a realize I am. Which is sometimes
difficult. Some people say I can be a little
millitant when I want to make a certain
point clear. But hey, a revolution without
Hungry for more about this topic?
militants is not happening, right? Some- Visit these websites:
times you need a kind of millitant fighting -
mode. I can shock people by just saying blishers-combat-implicit-gender-bias
what I think and sometimes that can be stroom-vrouwen-de-wetenschap/drie-succesfactoren/
a little offensive to particular people. I do -
that because saying something in a friend- reau/Ingrid-Molema

W.J. Kolff Institute 7 newsletter June 2017

Issue Theme
Narcissism and Science: The slippery slope of
Based on The Narcissistic Scientist by Bruno Lemaitre,
The Scientist October 1, 2016.
With thousands, if not millions, of scien- leading to the Nobel Prize. THE EDITIORS
tists competing worldwide for scientific OF THIS NEWSLETTER DO NOT CONDO-
breakthroughs that can change the course NE ANY EXTRA-MARITAL BEHAVIOR FOR
of society or the environment, it stands to THE PURPOSES OF SCIENTNIFIC ADVAN-
question how can a scientist get recogni- CEMENT. That being said, networking in
zed? In Bruno Lemaitres essay, based on a business atmosphere is highly advanta-
his book An Essay on Science and Narcis- geous to promote your research and gain
sism he suggests that certain personality name recognition.
traits may assist scientists in getting the
recognition, whether deserved or not at The second trait explored in Monod was his
the time, which then assist them to be able extreme self-confidence. To be a successful
to create noteworthy breakthroughs in the scientist, you must have confidence and
future. He cites a Nobel Prize laureate, believe in your work: if you cant believe in
Jacques Monod, as an example, but the- your results, how can you convince others?
re are many cases, and probably most of Yet, being overly self-confident yields blind
the readers of this article know someone spots that can cause significant errors in
who may fit part if not all of the personality judgement. For example, take an adult
traits of Monod. This article will explore the driver who has been driving for 20 years
slippery slope of personality traits that led without an accident. The driver becomes
Monod to his success against the possibili- overly confident in their ability to drive a
ties of exploitation and harmful effects to car that extra tasks are added while driving:
the scientific community. eating, texting, or even after small alcoho-
lic consumption. Sooner rather than later,
The first trait explored by Mr. Lemaitre, these tasks will interfere with the proper
was the unyielding need to be recognized operation of the car and an accident will
combined with a thirst for power. In his occur, that would not have occurred had
quest, Monod sought out key personal re- the focus stayed on task. In science, this
lationships to advance his career: the first holds true with ideas that are certain to be
being his marriage to a well-connected true, regardless of underlying data sugge-
woman. While a marriage of convenience sting otherwise. The non-supportive data
is not uncommon, when that relationship is dismissed as errors or random event and
wasnt fulfilling enough for Monod, he the main idea is still pushed forward as
sought other extra-marital relationships 100% certain. Later, as the ideas develop
with key women to further his career, ac- further, the underlying hypothesis may be
cording to Lemaitre. Most of us would con- proven inaccurate, which could have been
sider this to cross a barrier and consider foreseen by these dismissed data points.
this behavior unacceptable, yet because of Thus, it remains as it always has, that ob-
the recognition he gained, he was able to servations during experiments are critical
further his career, create scientific capital in formulating discussion points based on
which was then used to discover the ideas the hypothesis tested.

W.J. Kolff Institute 8 newsletter June 2017

Issue Theme
Narcissism and Science: The slippery slope of
Lastly, a need for dominance was also de- While self-serving personality traits seem
scribed as a personality trait. This is espe- to aid the career advancement of scientists,
cially important when dealing with the po- it is important to remember to keep them
litics of science. Like it or not, the politics in balance as to not create blind spots in
of science dictate how science is practiced. your work. For those familiar with the Star
Having a dominant personality demon- Wars saga, a comparison could be made
strates the desire to be the best, something to the Sith and the Jedi. The Sith were
financiers greatly desire. Those with a do- known to be in a constant search for po-
minant personality may use their positions wer, despite harm to others, while the Jedi
of power for merely personal benefit rather were always servant to others. The main
than serving the community. If every suc- goal of the saga was to bring a balance to
cessful scientist were dominating in this the two sides, with neither side holding ab-
narcissistic manner, there would be little solute power. The same can be true of a
collaboration, and very few scientific ad- scientific team, a few dominant types are
vances due to the cut-throat nature of the required to procure financing for the team,
scientific community. Thus, formulating a while the others can undergo key scientific
team with different personalities creates a breakthroughs from the money, creating a
great balance that allows opportunities for successful circle promoting more funding
financing, while maintaining the focus on opportunities.
research that can serve the community or
the environment.

The Star Wars saga, Sith and Jedi are registered trademarks of Lucusfilm Industries currently owned by the Disney Corporation.

W.J. Kolff Institute 9 newsletter June 2017

Issue Theme
Why women are under-represented in academic
medicine? Any solutions?
In the past but also nowadays, women are But four other themes were consistently
under-represented in academic medicine. supported by empirical evidence: women
Take USA as an example, women constitu- are less interested in research than tea-
ted 40% and 47% of admissions to medi- ching; exposure to the research can encou-
cal schools in 1992 and 2013, respectively; rage women into academic medicine; wo-
however, despite the increase percentage men lack adequate mentors and models;
of women faculty from 21% in 2004 to 28% women experience gender discrimination
in 2014, gender equity in academic medici- and bias.
ne has not yet been achieved. There were
many concerns about the waste of intellec-
tual capital which would lead to a potenti-
al lack of diversity in research agenda and
future health practices.

Why was it that the entry to medical school

was nearly split between men and women,
but working in the field of academic me-
dicine were predominantly occupied by
men? The Oxford research group tried to
find explanations why women choose or The study indicated that women are less
reject careers in academic medicine, based likely to take a serious consideration of re-
on 52 studies published between 1985 and search career unless exposed to research
20151. Eight potential themes were analy- and positive model during their medical
zed in these studies. Some of them were education and training. Even those wo-
found well supported by empirical eviden- men who take up academic careers might
ce, whereas others despite being widely ci- subsequently be discouraged and finally
ted as reasons, lack decisive evidence. abandon it, unless theyre positively sup-
ported. It is true that medical and research
There was no consistent evidence in sup- training tends to coincide with most wo-
port of four themes: women are less inte- mens childbearing and early child-rea-
rested in research than men; women lose ring years and the gender roles within the
commitment to research during their edu- family might be changing, so the decisi-
cation and training progress; women are on-making processes for women during
deterred from academic careers by financi- this period is likely to be extremely com-
al considerations and the concerns about plex. Interestingly, the study mentioned a
the work-life balance. nationwide survey of US general surgeons
about the occupation of their spouse, 63%
of men reported their spouses as the pri-
mary childcare providers, compared with
only 5% of women.

Edmunds, Laurel D., et al. Why do women choose
or reject careers in academic medicine? A narrative
review of empirical evidence. The Lancet 388.10062
(2016): 2948-2958.

W.J. Kolff Institute 10 newsletter June 2017

Issue Theme
Why women are under-represented in academic
medicine? Any solutions?
The researchers also considered several effect of encouraging women to enter and
specific measures to improve gender equi- remain in, an academic career.
ty in academic medicine. The researchers
found that female students and residents
at research-intensive medical schools are
more likely to retain strong interests in
research and careers in academic medi-
cine. But they thought that the faculty of
medical school might lack enthusiasm or
resources for supporting student research,
suggesting that both cultural change and
dedicated resources might be needed,
which could be beneficial to both genders,
especially to these women taking up aca-
demic medicine.

As women seem to be more interested in

teaching than research, the study sugge- The study also calls for medical schools
sted two ways to encourage and help wo- and teaching hospitals might consider the
men to step into and stay in academia. One induction of unconscious bias training and
is to increase the status of teaching and al- addressing so-called stereotype threat by
lowing greater crossover between teaching promoting a more inclusive and suppor-
and research; the other is to increase of in- tive culture, to ensure that both genders
vestment in research and scholarship that have an equal opportunity to become the
focuses on medical education and also to next generation of leaders and innovators
encourage those who began their careers in academic medicine.
by researching education to transfer sub-
sequently to other research fields.

Also, some new family-friendly policies

that encourage men to share the child-care
role and strong job protection for women
returning to work, could have an indirect

W.J. Kolff Institute 11 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days
Day 1: Sunday
Yijin Ren

dr. Amir Zadpoor, TU Delft
prof. dr. Marian Jols, UMCG
The Kolff days 2017 started in the best wayThe second keynote speaker was Prof. dr.
possible. More than 70 people, of which 40 Marian Jols, Dean of the UMCG since Sep-
PhD students, participated to the Confe- tember 2016. She held a highly motivating
rence. The sunshine and the warm weather lecture and, in a remarkably humble man-
contributed to enhance an already enthu- ner, she shared with us the main stages,
siastic and friendly atmosphere, ideal for struggles and achievements of her out-
networking and for getting to know new standing career, while giving many advices
colleagues in the Kolff institute. Everybo-directed especially to young scientists. For
dy decided to enjoy the sunshine sitting example, she highlighted the importance
on the open deck of the ferryboat during of personal motivation and perseverance,
the trip to the Dutch island of Schiermon- as well as the ability to seek advice and to
nikoog and, since physical activity is a key
grab the chance to advance in a scientific
aspect for healthy ageing, many of us cho- career. Furthermore, she explained strate-
se to walk until the hotel situated in the vil-
gy and plans for the UMCG in the coming
lage of the island. years, encouraging all of us, as individual

research groups and as an institute, to fo-
After a delicious dinner at Hotel van der cus on the areas where we are excellent.

Werff, the 18th Kolff Conference started
with two brilliant keynote speakers. The
first was dr. Amir A. Zadpoor from the Fa-
culty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materi- It is a great opportunity for me to know other
als Engineering, TUDelft. He fascinated us peoples project and the instruments in other labs.
with an inspiring lecture on meta-bioma- Maybe I could use them for my research someday.
terials, materials in which the geometry (first year PhD student)
influences the mechanical properties, and
how they can be employed for treating
bone defects and other skeletal diseases.
He demonstrated how 3D printing, mi-
cro-architecture and surface nano-pat-
terns could work synergistically to create
a perfect meta-biomaterial with tailored
mechanical properties.

W.J. Kolff Institute 12 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days
Day 2: Monday
Patrick van Rijn (Morning)
Paul Jutte (Afternoon)

Chao Ma, Ren Rozenbaum, Qihui Zhou, Monica Echeverry Rendon, Kirian van der Laan,
Casper van der Wal, Brandon Peterson, Keni Yang, Elzo de Lange, Flip Klatter,
Henk Busscher, Edwin de Jong, Yafei Luan, Yong Liu.
The nice sunshine and fresh air on Monday bacteria to human cells. She developed a
morning gave everyone a great mood to magnesium-based stent to deliver thera-
start a wonderful day. After breakfast, the peutic cells for healing of vascular lesions.
Kolff scientific director Prof. dr. Yijin Ren of- The problem of releasing hydrogen gas for
ficially start the 21st Kolff conference. She magnesium material was overcame by the
gave a general introduction of the Kolff MgO/Mg(OH)2 coating with improved ad-
program this year and made a summary of hesion and function of therapeutic stem
the development and achievement of Kolff cells. As referred to cell adhesion and res-
institute last year, in terms of the research ponse on biomaterials, Qihui Zhou sho-
output, institute viability and teaching. We wed a high-throughput screening platform
should be happy for what weve done in for cell response with gradient surface to-
the past and eager for something more in pography. With this platform, they could
the future. easily mimic and predict the response of
human bone stem cells on clinically rele-
Then the floor was given to the PhD stu- vant biomaterials with gradient wrinkle
dents and Post-docs to present their nice size. After cell adhesion and growth, we
projects. Chao Ma firstly introduced us a started thinking about cellular aging. Kiran
nice SUP as a glue for skin use with a strong van der Laan presented the fluorescent
adhesion strength. This glue, consisting of nano-diamonds that were used to easily
the supercharged elastin-like polypeptides, detect the production and accumulation
are biocompatible, degradable, cleanable of reactive oxygen species as an indicator
and recyclable, and are thus potential in for cellular aging. At last, Keni Yang showed
cosmetic application. Then Rene Rozen- us how to deliver molecules to the target
baum told us how to treat the infections on cell. She coated the liposome carrier with
skin wounds by showing a synergy effect of protein nano-corona in order to recognize
monolaurin lipid nanocapsules and anti- the target cell and enhance the cell uptake
microbial peptides on killing of Staphylo- of the delivered molecules.
coccus aureus. But since the bacteria and
biofilms are always recalcitrance, Brandon
Peterson studied the effect of common
anti-biofilm treatment on biofilm residu-
als by measuring the bacterial vibrations.
He found that the combination treatment
of DNase and N-acetyl-L-cysteine could
lock the bacteria residue on the surface
with barely vibration. Then Monica Eche-
verry-Rendon diverted our attention from

W.J. Kolff Institute 13 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days
Day 2: Monday
Besides the talks from PhDs and post- The afternoon session started with a talk
docs, we were also glad to hear a detai- from Ing. Flip Klatter, the director of central
led introduction of the Zernike institute animal faculty. He introduced us the new
for advanced materials (ZIAM) from Prof. assessment procedure of the animal rese-
dr. Caspar van der Wal. He highlighted the arch proposal due to the newly introduced
ZIAM activities that drew attention in me- European directive in the Dutch legislation.
dical application, such as the 3D printing In this new situation, it became more com-
teeth with antimicrobial function from the plicated for researchers to get a licensee
group of Prof. dr. Andreas Hermann; the for animal experiments because the new
optical tweezers with viral assembly on idea was that no animal experiments were
trapped DNA/RNA from the group of Prof. allowed unless there was no alternative.
dr. Wouter Roos and the laser control and But Mr Klatter still gave us some good tips
probing of spins in silicon carbide from his for writing a successful project proposal.
own group. In the future, he expected more Then the floor was given to Prof. dr. Henk
collaboration between multidisciplinary Busscher who talked about the plagiarism.
group in a more open laboratory. The last He suggested us to copy-paste the mate-
talk in the morning session is given by Elzo rial & methods part and save the writing
de Lange from EmpowerMi. He taught us skills for the introduction and discussion. A
how to build a research collaboration with very useful tip was to give a reference after
the industries. Relying on a special data the sentence as explained before.
system, industrial companies were easy to
find and contact a suitable research group,
but the research group needed to contact
the right person if they wanted to start a
collaboration with an industrial company.
The research groups could not just wait

for invitations but they had to prepare a
list of relevant companies, understood the
research interests of those companies and
tried to contact the decision maker. Actually, I was surprised about the
Kolff meeting, very interesting. I quite
This year, the lunch on Monday seemed enjoyed it. Also, I got some useful
to taste even better because of the nice suggestion for my research.
weather. Everybody couldnt wait to walk (post-doc)
around the beautiful island and enjoy the
one and half hour free time after lunch.
Most of us chose to walk with our work-
shop group members so we could exchan-
ge our nice ideas that were inspired by the
nice sunshine and great view. Then we
went back to the conference hall to have a
pre-look of all the interesting posters befo-
re afternoon session started.

W.J. Kolff Institute 14 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days
Day 2: Monday
The last three talks were all from PhD stu- The next part was the poster session. As
dents. Edwin de Jong presented an effec- usual, those who didnt have any poster
tive trans-endothelial drug delivery system just walked around to study the poster that
across the blood brain barrier by using GMI they were interested, and the poster pre-
targeted biodegradable polymersomes as senters explained their nice work to their
the drug carrier. Yafei Luan studied the ef- own audience and answered the difficult
fect of surface roughness on the race bet- questions. The posters this year were all
ween bacteria and human cells. By adjus- clear and nicely designed with high quality.
ting the surface roughness, human cells The discussion was pretty warm and every-
could survive in the cell-bacteria co-cul- body enjoyed in learning with each other.
ture even when the concentration of the One hour seemed to be still too short.
bacteria suspension was 10 times higher
than the clinical condition. Yong Liu sho- After a tasty dinner, all the workshop
wed a photodynamic antimicrobial thera- groups started to be serious in discussing
py to overcome the multidrug resistance of their project design, searching for the sup-
bacteria. He used light-activatable micelle porting references, making slides and pre-
to kill bacteria by releasing reactive oxy- paring to convince the jury. They all wor-
gen species when activated. The micelle
could penetrate staphylococcal biofilms
and showed high killing efficiency in mice
in vivo experiments.
ked late at night with high passion and
concentration. Those who still didnt want
to go to bed after the exciting discussion
went to the toxic bar to enjoy the Monday

night tradition of the Kolff conference.

The most exciting part is the work-

shop, not only the interactions be-
tween team members but also the
questions from other groups.
(Junior researcher)

To be honest, it is quite good, but

Im a little bit tired
(First year PhD student)

W.J. Kolff Institute 15 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days
Day 3: Tuesday
Sjoerd Bulstra
Henny van der Mei (Afternoon)

Leonie Los, Isabelle Degors, Matheus Ramos, Aldy Aliyandi, Vincenzo Terlizzi, Maria Pihl,
Derly Tescaro Narcizo de Oliveira, Jiapeng Hou, Xenos Petridis, Gabriel Liguori,
Simon hemlaar
The final day of Kolff Days started with possibly lead to failure. The most interes-
the keynote lecture given by Dr. Leonie ting part was the game between the tricky
Los from Department of Ophthalmology. questions and smart answers, both of
She shared us with the important effects which were the real winner of applauses
of collagen structure on vitreo-retinal pa- and cheers. The final decision for inves-
thology. The following wonderful presen- tors was quite hard, the final winner was
tations focus on gene or stem cell therapy, group six with the project SUPer gene the-
nanotechnology and antibacterial materi- rapy followed by group four with the pro-
als. After all presentations in the morning, ject If you cant kill it, let it go.
the most exciting and cheerful moment,
Yijin announced the award winners before We left the island Schiermonnikoog by fer-
lunch. This year, two female PhD student, ry at 16.30; Surprisingly, there were seals
Mnica Echeverry-Rendon and Valentina sitting on the beach, also a Piranha flying
Vignali won the Best PhD student Oral Pre- in the sky. What a happy ending for Kolff-
sentation Award and Best PhD student Pos- Day this year! See you next year April 15-17!
ter Presentation Award, respectively.

After two-night teamwork, all six groups al-

ready had their perfect project and were
ready for the battle. First, there was one
group member to introduce the project
that based on clinical questions, how to
solve it and the significance of the project.
Only the best project could get the big
prize from these investors. The competi-
tion was quite fierce, teams were requi-
red to not only answer the questions from
these investors but also the questions
from their competitors, one mistake could

W.J. Kolff Institute 16 newsletter June 2017

Kolff Days

I was so happy during the Kolff

meeting! The most exciting part was
the battle, a lot of fun. Its a great
idea to bring us together!

I have been the meeting for almost
15 years, and the best thing is that
the program is always improving!
(senior researcher)

W.J. Kolff Institute 17 newsletter June 2017

The people who are
drs. L. Yang, PhD student

Hello, everyone! My name is Liangliang Yang of now have a close relationship with before.
and I come from Hebei province, China. I star- During the past three months, I learned a lot
ted my PhD from 1st January, 2017 under the about the research methods and instruments
supervision of Professor Henk J.Busscher and with the help of my colleagues, and many
Dr. Patrick van Rijn. My PhD project is to study thanks to you from my heart.
the mechanism of double gradient biointer-
faces for cell-biomaterial interaction. It is well The people here are very nice and I like them. drs. Liangliang
known that stiffness and topography of bioma- Groningen is a beautiful city full of tradition
terial have an important impact on cell behavi- and energy. For myself, I am an outgoing and
ors and the differentation of stem cells. So our humorous person and I like to make friends
purpose is to find the best suitable parameter with other people. In my spare time, I like to
to drive stem cell differentation into specific play basketball and table tennis. I hope to have
cell types. a wonderful experience here.

I got my masters degree in Donghua Universi-

ty of Shanghai and majored in biological che-
mistry and molecular biology. I focused on the
preparation of scaffolds and stem cell differen-
tation in the past three years, so the research

drs. V. Vignali, PhD student

Hi! During my studies I have always been attracted

I am Valentina Vignali and at the beginning of by viruses as customizable tools for therapeu-
this year I have started my PhD on virus-poly- tic applications and finally I got the chance to
mer hybrids at the department of Biomedical work on them during my PhD here. The aim of
Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Pa- my research is to increase the effectiveness of
trick van Rijn. bacteriophage treatment in humans but I will
probably use viruses for other interesting pur- drs. Valentina
I was born in Ferrara a small city in the North poses. I will let you know.
East of Italy and I have studied there and in
Bologna Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotech- What about myself? I like running in the coun-
nology. After the Masters I have continued to tryside and searching for beautiful landscapes
work on my thesis project investigating the to photograph and I love to spend sunny days
behavior of the prion protein, etiological agent at the sea.
of spongiform encephalopathies, from a biop-
hysical point of view.

W.J. Kolff Institute 18 newsletter June 2017

The people who are
drs. X. Ren, PhD student

My name Xiaoxiang Ren. I have become a Ph. After that, I have received the scholarship
D student from Oct 1st under the supervision from CSC to financially support me do the PhD
of Professor Henk J. Busscher in Biomedical project at the University of Groningen in the
Engineering department of UMCG. group of prof. Henk. Now, my research mainly
focus on the co-culture of HGF cells and HOK
I studied in the Chinese medicine in Guang- cells with the challenge of bacterial and den-
zhou University of Chinese medicine from tal material. I think it is really meaningful to the drs. Xiaoxiang Ren
September 2009 to July 2013. In the same year oral clinic research.
after my graduation from university, I joined
lab under supervision of Professor Xudong Li In my free time, I am fond of travelling, reading
at the National Biomaterial Engineering Rese- and cooking, if you have the same interests,
arch Center of Sichuan University as a master you can contact me and we can enjoy the wor-
student of pharmaceutic. My master project ld together.
was about hybrid hydroxyapatite nanoparti-
cles for the drug delivery application and an-
ti-cancer therapy.

W.J. Kolff Institute 19 newsletter June 2017

The people who are
drs. Matheus Ap. S. Ramos, PhD Student and Guest resear-
Hello Kolff People! have been continued in the Doctorate project,
My name is Matheus Aparecido dos Santos and since 2015 we are studying the compositi-
Ramos, a PhD Student from Brazil (So Paulo on and the application of a natural derivative
State University - UNESP) doing my research in the fungal vaginal infections and fungal bio-
internship at Department of Biomedical Engi- films control using nanotechnological phar-
neering. In January 2017 I started a new jour- maceutical formulations to improve the anti-
ney in my academic carrier as a guest resear- microbial potential. drs. Matheus
Aparecido dos
cher at BME Department under supervision of
Santos Ramos
Prof. dr. Henk J. Busscher and Prof. dr. Henny Without any question, this is the best experi-
Van der Mei, in this sense, since this special ence in my academic career. The possibility
date I am a Kolff people. of working side-by-side with important rese-
archers who seek improvements for humanity
Since my undergraduate school in Pharma- is simply a gift to me! To be a Kolff person
cy (2009-2012) I am an integrant in research is having the opportunity to experience and
groups to discover new therapeutic agents participate daily in the routine of an amazing
from natural products, such as the medicinal research center that seeks improvements for
plants and their applications. During my mas- the human being.
ters degree (2013 - 2015), in Pharmaceutical
Sciences, we principal objective was to in- For myself, the experience to live in the Nether-
vestigate the antifungal potential of a vegetal lands, especially the direct contact with BME
extract to employ in the vulvovaginal candi- Department and the UMCG brought to me
diasis treatment. According to positive results many especial things, such as new friends the
obtained in the Masters project, the research opportunity to learn something new every day!

drs. A. Morita, PhD student

My name is Aryan Morita. I come from Yogya- function as magnetic resonance sensing pro-
karta, a small city in the center of Java, Indo- be into the cell. By following the particles and
nesia. Since November 2016 I started my PhD measure at different locations and times I want
under supervision of Dr. Romana Schirhagl. Im to reveal where free radicals are generated un-
a dentist and got my bachelor and master de- der which circumstances in an aging cell.
gree from Universitas Gadjah Mada, the oldest Im easy going, like to make friends, and little
state university in Indonesia. During my PhD, bit quiet. I do love cat, so you can find me in
I plan to use nanodiamond particles which cat caf Groningen especially after finishing
drs. Aryan Morita

W.J. Kolff Institute 20 newsletter June 2017

The people who are
drs. Damla Keskin, PhD Student

My name is Damla Keskin and I am a PhD stu- tionalization of the surfaces of the membranes
dent working at the Department of Biomedi- by using surface-initiated ARGET ATRP with
cal Engineering together with Patrick van Rijn, the hydrophilic monomers in order to enhan-
Henny van der Mei and Henk Busscher. The ce the membrane characteristics. Previously,
subject of my project is preparation of ionic-li- I completed four years B.Sc. degree in the De-
quid polymer brushes as antifouling surfaces. I partment of Chemistry at Istanbul Technical
will be here for the next 4 years. University (ITU) in Turkey. drs. Damla Keskin

I studied my M.Sc. degree in Graduate School I really like to live in Groningen so far, such a lo-
of Chemistry, Biology and Physics (Ecole Na- vely city. Besides, I love travelling and reading.
tionale Suprieur de Chimie de Biologie et I am feeling so lucky about the group mem-
de Physique-ENSCBP) at Bordeaux Institute bers in BME, all the people are very nice and
of Technology in the field of Polymer Design positive. I am so sure that I will enjoy working
and Formulation in France. I carried out my in- together.
ternship for my M.Sc. thesis preparation at In-
stitute of Polymer Research in Helmholtz-Zen-
trum Association in Hamburg, Germany. The
main focus of my work for my thesis was func-

W.J. Kolff Institute 21 newsletter June 2017

The people who are
drs. Y. Wu, PhD student
Hello! Im Yanyan Wu and I come from China. I During my PhD, I will focus on the synthesis of
am doing my PhD studies at UMCG under the antibacterial nanocomposites for clinical ap-
supervision of Professor Yijin Ren, Professor plications. This project is very meaningful to
Henny van der Mei and Professor Henk Bus- me, as I believe that to do research is to make
scher. it capable of being used in real life and benefi-
cial to people, so I think I have figured out what
I hold a masters degree in chemistry and stu- I like.
died nanoscience & technology. When I was a drs Yanyan Wu
graduate student, I was amazed by the diffe- I am glad to continue my research studies in
rent properties of nanomaterials and curious Groningen, to be exposed to different cultures,
about their bioapplications. It is fantastic as to learn how to communicate with people who
we can investigate complicated biological and have different backgrounds, and to develop
biomedical processes through nanotechno- and grow as a person. Here there are so many
logy that are hard to access with conventional beautiful reasons to be happy, the beautiful
approaches. city, friendly and enthusiastic colleagues, and
the work that I really want to do. I enjoy my life
every day!

drs. A. Forson, PhD student

My name is Abigail Forson. I was born and rai- At the moment, I am working on a project
sed in Kumasi, which is one of the main cities that aims to understand the three-way relati-
in Ghana. Before moving to Groningen, I lived onship between neutrophils, staphylococcal
in Belgium where I completed both my ba- nuclease and biofilms on different substrates.
chelor and master studies in biochemistry and This project is part of the ALERT-COFUND PhD
biotechnology at the University of Leuven. My programme and under the supervision of Prof.
experience in Leuven birthed my interest in Henny Van der Mei and Dr. Jelmer Sjollema.
innovative research which is one of the main drs. Abigail Forson
focus of the UMCG. I love my job at the UMCG and I look forward
to achieving every one of my set goals. Due to
its beauty, I adore the city of Groningen, but on
dry and sunny days, I totally fall in love with it.

W.J. Kolff Institute 22 newsletter June 2017

Recent theses within
W.J. Kolff Institute
dr. C. Jensen-Louwerse

Implant-supported removable partial

dentures in the mandible
Conventional removable partial dentures unique and innovative. In addition cost-ef-
(RPD) in a free-ending situation in the fectiveness and the radiographical inter-
lower jaw (i.e. only front teeth left) have pretation of bone volume were studied.
a poor reputation. Several problems like
discomfort and functional problems are In general it is concluded that patients
frequently encountered, resulting in dis- are well served with an implant-suppor- dr. Charlotte
satisfied patients and desperate dentists. ted RPD, regardless of implant-position.
By supporting the RPD by implants, good Implant-support resulted in a significant
results were reported by other researchers improved chewing ability, oral health rela-
as we started our clinical trial, be it based ted quality of life and patient satisfaction
on weak scientific evidence. with stable clinical and technical conditi-
ons. Based on the preference of patients,
In our randomized cross-over clinical trial the implants should be placed more to
several aspects of distal extension im- the back, but from a clinical point of view
plant-supported removable partial den- it is wise to place the implants directly
tures in the mandible were investigated. behind the last remaining natural teeth.
Clinical , radiographical as well as func- The cost-effectiveness is determined and
tional aspects and patient-based outcome dependent on the willingness of the payer
measures were obtained and related to to invest. Panoramic radiographs suffice
different implant positions within each in most of the cases for the evaluation of
patient: more to the front or further to the implant placement in the lateral parts of
back of the lower jaw. This concept was the lower jaw.

19th April 2017

prof. dr. M.S. Cune
prof. dr. H.J.A. Meijer
prof. dr. G.M. Raghoebar

W.J. Kolff Institute 23 newsletter June 2017

Are you interested in CARDIOLOGY and do you have no plans for the first week of July? Do you want to learn about the
newest techniques in this field? Then join us!

The Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Summer School is a one-week interactive school for advanced undergraduate,
master and PhD students who want to learn about the complexities of regenerative medicine in cardiovascular biomedi-
cal research.

When: from 2nd to 10th July 2017

Where: Groningen, The Netherlands
APPLY BEFORE 1st of May 2017

Visit our website and apply:

Or contact us directly:
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W.J. Kolff Institute 24 newsletter June 2017

W.J. Kolff Institute 25 newsletter June 2017
W.J. Kolff institute was
founded in 1998
After the passing in 2009 of Prof. W.J. Kolff, in-
ventor of the artificial kidney and many other
biomedical devices, his relatives have allowed
us the exclusive right to carry his name.
We believe this is a sign of recognition of our
quality an will be a stimulus for our students and

About our logo

The W.J. Kolff Institute for Biomedical Enginee-
ring and Materials Science rebuilds the human
body once it is beyond natural repair. Bees are
the busy animals strongly associated with buil-
ding. Moreover, bees know how to work together
in an efficient way. There the bee was chosen as a
symbol for the institute. The four cells in the logo
not only refer to the constructions made by bees,
but also represent the four research programs
of the institute. The bee and the cells together
constitute a logo that encompasses the multidis-
ciplinary nature of the institute, from biology to

WJKI-news is a publication of Edditorial address:

the W.J. KOLFF INSTITUTE Hanzeplein 1 / BB72
9713 GZ Groningen
June 2017
Issue 68 +31 50 361 0131

W.J. Kolff Institute newsletter June 2017