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I am supervising a team, consisting of a postdoctoral fellow, a PhD student, two technicians and two master students at CCB department of the LUMC. We are studying the molecular mechanisms important for tumor metastasis and dormancy using single cell approaches including high-resolution two-photon intravital microscopy of primary or secondary tumors in mice, in vitro live-cell imaging and in vitro 3D culture methods. In the first project we focus on the role of the TGF-beta pathway during hepatic colonization of melanoma cells. Using in vivo microscopy in living mice, melanoma cells entering and growing in the liver are monitored over time (days) at a single cell resolution. The dynamic role of the TGF-beta pathway in these cells, and in microenvironmental cells is investigated using a fluorescent TGF-beta transcriptional reporter. In a second project, new genes involved in single cell dormancy of breast cancer cells are studied using in vivo microscopy, an in vitro 3D dormancy model, and RNA-sequencing.
During my undergraduate work I developed an interest in cancer research and advanced microscopy techniques. This led me to perform my graduate work in the lab of Dr. Jacco van Rheenen (Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, NL), who used advanced in vivo imaging to study cancer biology. In this lab I developed and optimized high-resolution intravital microscopy (IVM) to study the metastatic and homeostatic process at the cellular level in living animals. I then performed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Sridhar Ramaswamy (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA), for which I received an NWO-rubicon and Susan G Komen fellowship. I pursued cancer dormancy-related research questions using a combination of cell biological, cancer biological and in vivo imaging approaches. Since April 2016 I started my own research line at the LUMC as an NWO-VENI laureate, LUMC Gisela Thier fellow and CGC.nl junior PI. My team specializes in visualizing dynamic processes using intravital microscopy.
Ritsma L, Ellenbroek SIJ, Zomer A, Snippert HJ, de Sauvage FJ, Simons BD, Clevers H, van Rheenen J.;
Nature. 2014 Mar 20;507(7492):362-365. doi: 10.1038/nature12972.
Ritsma L, Steller EJ, Beerling E, Loomans CJ, Zomer A, Gerlach C, Vrisekoop N, Seinstra D, van Gurp L, Schäfer R, Raats DA, de Graaff A, Schumacher TN, de Koning EJ, Rinkes IH, Kranenburg O, van Rheenen J.
Sci Transl Med. 2012 Oct 31;4(158):158ra145. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004394.
van Grinsven E, Prunier C, Vrisekoop N, Ritsma L.
van Grinsven E, Prunier C, Vrisekoop N, Ritsma L. Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1563:51-71. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6810-7_4.